I think that I’m about to do something rather distasteful and quite painful. No, I won’t be joining Sir Max for one of his weekly dungeon sessions – this is far worse. You see, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to go out and buy myself a seven-seater. My actual circumstances haven’t changed – Mrs. R isn’t in the family way again – but for all kinds of reasons my clan needs a minibus.

image On principle, I won’t get a full-sized version – I don’t want to look like I’ve started a child-minding service. I did seriously consider an XC90 on the grounds that it only looks like an evil off-roader, and not the devil-spawn that is a XXL seven-seat people-carrier, which would do my social reputation far more damage. But perhaps fortunately, even the earliest and shabbiest versions of the big Ovlov fall well outside by budget.

So I’m thinking compact: Zafira, Megane Scenic or Touran. And before I get too excited with thoughts of a fire-spitting Zafira GSI turbo with a 300bhp chip in the ECU – whatever I end up with has to have an automatic gearbox. Oh, joy.