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A Covid-compliant car collection

After my mother died in February, it was decided amongst the family that it made most sense for me to inherit her car, as my mini is now 17 years old and on its last legs. With hindsight, I should have driven it home straight after the funeral, but at that point my father, sister and I weren’t really in the frame of mind to make too many decisions, and we hadn’t finally decided what to do with it. Instead, we SORN’d it, and then subsequently agreed that I’d call in at my father’s on the way back from my holiday in France in April, and pick it up then,

Then, of course, Lockdown happened, the holiday was cancelled, and I couldn’t pick up the car as arranged. Months later, it was still in my father’s garage, and I was no closer to being able to collect it. My father is in a “bubble” with my sister, who has been visiting him at least weekly, and we are all clear that there is no way we are prepared to endanger him by breaking that bubble. But he lives too far away for me to be able to get there by public transport and then drive straight home in a strange car. I’d have to stay overnight and that would put him at risk.

Fortunately, we’re quite a resourceful family, and came up with a solution that avoided any risk of me unwittingly passing the Virus on to my father, either directly or indirectly via my sister. I put my sister and her husband on the insurance for the car, and they drove it back to their place after their regular weekend visit. We then agreed to meet up at Hook railway station – chosen because it’s a fairly straightforward drive back to Malvern from there, doesn’t require navigating a tricky town centre one-way system in a strange car, and was fairly easy for my sister to get home again by train from there.

Hook is a commuter town, but at the weekend in the midst of a pandemic the station car park was deserted. So I was able to meet up with my sister and brother in law, and take possession of the car whilst maintaining a good social distance at all times. I was also able to drive up and down the car park a few times to get the hang of the car and be sure I had the seat etc in the right position before I drove home.

It was fine in the station car park, but I did have a bit of a scare once I ventured out into Hook to start my journey home. Suddenly the car “bonged” at me as I went round a roundabout. Then it did it again. I was really concerned that there was something seriously wrong, and very nearly turned round and went back to the station, as I knew J&P would still be there waiting for the train home. But then the car “bonged” a third time as I went around a corner, and I caught sight of a light briefly flashing on the dashboard. It was complaining about a seatbelt not being fastened! Of course, I didn’t have a passenger, but I had put a bag on the front passenger seat, and that must have shifted enough as I went around the corner to set off the pressure sensors in the seat. I pushed my bag onto the floor, and that seemed to do the trick and shut it up. I got home with no further incident.

If it hadn’t have been for the pandemic, it would have been really nice to sit down with J&P in a coffee shop, or better yet for lunch, before heading home. I’m sure there must be somewhere suitable in Hook. But that would have run the risk of breaking the “bubble”. Having spent the past five months stringently shielding my father, we didn’t want to risk all that for the sake of a coffee. So a brief, socially distanced handover in a windy, rainy station carpark was the most responsible way of doing it.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. pauld | 26 August 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like old Audi i had, used to go ‘bong’ on left hand bends, then drivers door would lock. Allways had to remember to throw car thru a right hand bend before leaving the site unless i got stopped and couldnt get out.