I believe the popular saying goes something like “two things that are guaranteed in life are death and taxes”. I suppose you can’t really argue with that statement and I must admit that when I am feeling a little despondent about the world such a phrase inevitably comes to mind. Then I think to myself hang on, there are a lot of positive things happening as well so like the title of one of my favourite Elvis Costello albums we should all “Get Happy” once in a while.
Let’s face it, there is nothing better than a little of bit of harmless escapism to distract us from the seemingly constant barrage of depressing news from around the world, the recent situation in Georgia for instance to name but one. It’s as if there is a happy/sad balance in operation and nowhere reinforces this more than when you switch on the TV news.
Despite talks of a recession in the UK which now seems inevitable and the strong likelihood of a change in government at the next election for better or worse, there is a tangible wave of euphoria sweeping the nation in response to team GB’s incredible success in the Beijing Olympic Games. This seems to have temporarily distracted us all in the UK from yet another dismal summer and the fact that we didn’t make it into the European Football Championships. I doubt this ‘feel good’ factor will last very long as everyone is worried about the cost of living and falling house prices but we can all enjoy the moment while it lasts.
I am always amazed at my young daughter’s ability to change her moods in an instant. One minute she will be screaming her head off over a seemingly minor problem mainly not being able to open the food cupboard and grab a handful of rice cakes. When she occasionally manages to do this she triumphantly waves them like a trophy and shares her spoils with Ozzy our nutty sheepdog. If she doesn’t manage it she likes to throw herself on the floor dramatically but then a few minutes later all is forgotten and she is off to pursue some other activity which usually involves hiding my car keys.
I wish I was as easy to please as her. I’ve just successfully managed to book my car into the garage after several attempts so it can have its annual MOT test which was a weight off my mind but then I thought that’s going to cost me £50 and the car won’t be any different when I collect it.
I enjoy having some kind of project to work at and my latest one has been to research buying a new car. It’s amazing how your priorities change as you get older. There was a time when all I was interested in was how fast it would go and how big are the alloy wheels and most importantly did it have a stereo capable of making your ears bleed.
When you pass your driving test there is the inevitable question of affordability with your first car and to that end my first car was a Volkswagen Polo 1.0. I remember every detail about that car and especially the fact that it was red and due to the previous owner’s laziness they had never polished it so every panel was a different shade of red and the roof was practically pink.
Then when I reached the insurance milestone of 25 I was able to afford a very nice Volkswagen Golf GTi. I would spend every waking hour polishing it and would park in the remotest part of a car park to avoid parking dents only to return to find someone trying to steal parts of it (you can’t win).
Now look at me in my later years researching a Volkswagen Touran and trying to work out if we can fit numerous pushchairs and baby seats and god knows what into it. Maybe if we get one I’ll attempt to recreate my youth and put 18″ wheels on it as a final gesture of defiance! Perhaps when I retire VW will have created something to spend my final years zooming around the supermarket car park in.