Today the farmer has taken delivery of a new car. We have driven to Northallerton, our nearest town of any size, to collect it. Nice to be in a shiny new car which also smells new and purrs along. But there the excitement ends. We last had a new car three years ago and three years before that another one. In other words, it has become a natural thing to do - change the car every three years.
Coming home I was thinking about the first car my first husband and I ever owned - about the excitement of getting it, the worry of whether we could really afford it, the first ride out in it. So I thought I would tell you about it. I must say that it reads like something out of a very old story, although the events which I am about to unfold actually happened in 1960 - a mere fifty years ago.
We lived in a small village in very rural Lincolnshire. Someone in the village had a Reliant Three-wheeler van for sale. It was like a little green box on two wheels with a third wheel sticking out of the front on a kind of spring. Although the windscreen was made of glass, the door windows were made of mica and had a little hinged triangle in the corner, so that you could stick your hand out to give a hand signal. Get the picture so far? In addition to that, if you got a device to block off the reverse gear, you could drive it on a motor cycle licence, which my husband already had.
The man wanted £50 for it - and how we wanted it. So we emptied piggy banks, trouser pockets, housekeeping accounts, savings banks (we had very little money and Dominic was a very small child) and scraped together enough to buy it.
I can still remember our first ride out in it - the thrill of owning our own car and being able to go for trips out in it. We had some adventures in it. Once, going to the seaside, which was about thirty miles away, we stalled the engine on a hill (about the only hill in Lincolnshire!) and ran the car back down the hill. It rose up along a bank at the side of the road and was in danger of tipping over until four strong young men on motor bikes literally lifted us back on to the road.
Its final demise came one day when my husband was driving behind a bus and the bus suddenly stopped and began to reverse. He had not seen our little van and as we had no reverse we could not get out of the way and the poor little van was crushed to oblivion.
By that time we had saved a little money and after adding the insurance money we were able to buy a better car. But nothing - ever - has equalled the joy of that first little boxy van.
What was your first car?
##By popular request (well just Tom actually) - the farmer is not a car person - more of a tractor man - so our new car is a quite boring Vauxhall Astra - and as I am a woman and interested in such things, I will also tell you it is black.