Now and then we play a little game called 'What the hell has Ruppert bought now?'. The winning answer gets an e-book, or some saucy pictures of Shed 7 or something.
Actually, we are going to be playing this a couple of times in the coming weeks because there are major automotive upheavals in these parts, and I've been forced to rearrange what is on my driveway.
To begin with, I had to buy a first car for my offspring. We spent a fascinating day shopping on several windswept forecourts. My encounters with the motor trade were the usual mixture of marginal product knowledge, under-enthusiasm and occasional indifference.
The lack of preparation of cars that were for sale was quite shocking. I know that things can get busy, but a wash and brush up and knowing where the motor came from and the mileage, and whether the cam belt has been done should be the basics, really.
What, no private sales, you ask? Not really. Sometimes I prefer dealing with car dealers where you can set terms and conditions and get things sorted out before you collect, plus they should do the data checks.
It all means less potential hassle for me, which is good because the car wasn’t strictly going to be mine, but set to be driven by the other half and offspring instead. If it is a car just for me, I’ll buy off fairies in the woods if the deal is good and the car is right.
Well this car is right: smallish and painted black, with 50,000 miles on the clock and two owners since it was first registered in 2008. And it's cheap to insure, obviously. Actually, I was surprised how lovely it is to drive and easy to use. Oh, and it is far better built than all of the budget first cars I looked at. Maybe because this isn’t strictly a budget car.
We bought it from an independent dealer, who made sure the service sheet was in order, the cam belt was done and the brake discs were new, as well as knocking a few hundred quid off the asking price.
So what is it, then? Answers on the postcard, please, along with your suggestions on what to buy as a perfect ‘first car’ for a loved one.