This morning I went to look at a new flat. I’d quite like to keep living in London close to the river, even though it is very expensive. So it’s time to downsize to a one-bedder.
The flat was in a 1930s mansion block which, unusually, had car parking spaces. This particular flat, however, didn’t have parking. The estate agent suggested I talk to the management company, which might have a space for sale – for which I should expect to pay around £15,000.
I explained to her that a parking space was essential for me. Then I had a thought. "Do people looking for flats usually ask for parking?" With a Gallic shrug, she said: "Not really. If you are selling to a family, they will have a car, but people in flats usually don’t."
It was at that point I realised, after 21 years as a motoring hack and a London resident, I am now officially a dinosaur. A relic of the 1980s who grew up influenced by motoring magazines and the futuristic verve of the landmark 1989 Tokyo auto show.
I didn’t personally have a need for speed, but the sheer utility of the car – and, often, the joy of great design and engineering – has made a massive difference to my life. The four major house renovations I’ve executed over the previous years would have been inconceivable without personal transport.