Years ago, I looked after four children – aged 2, 5, 8 and 11 – while their parents were on holiday (I was young, I needed the money…). I had use of the mother’s car, but it had some sort of weird system where, when you stopped the car it had to kind of settle down and because it hadn’t settled before I’d turned the engine off… it broke. (I asked on Twitter what this wonder of technology would have been and the answer is Citroën’s hydropneumatic suspension. You know, if you care.) This meant we had to use the bus.
The children of the (pretty wealthy) family had never used the bus before. Ever. They weren’t keen. They couldn’t believe they had to walk to the bus stop. In fact, they couldn’t believe they had to walk full stop.
So one of the thing that’s really surprised me since we became car-free is how easily Harry’s adapted to it. He’s happy to get the bus and equally happy to walk. He’s also keen to be involved in the purchase of a new car. Walking to school one day last week Harry said, “There’s a car for sale there!” We were in a hurry to get to school so we couldn’t stop, but Harry said, “I didn’t see how much it was. But it was black, I think…” An important detail.
On the way home we stopped to have a look at it (it was blue) and I read the advert out to Harry and explained all about road tax, insurance, MOTs and the expression “two careful lady owners” (I know. But he’s actually quite interested in that kind of thing). We talked about it all the way home. Whether it would be big enough, what car he’d prefer (another Daewoo Matiz) (no chance), what car I’d prefer (a Fiat 500), what car Daddy might like (Who cares? We won’t be getting it). It was his main topic of conversation for quite a few days.
One rainy morning, he said, “I know you like walking… but when we get a car, could we walk when it’s dry and sunny and maybe drive on yucky days like this?” I had to stop and squeeze him.
It’s been so interesting (and a bit trying) managing without a car, but one of the best things about it has been how grown-up Harry’s been about it.
(you can read more in the Carless Whispers series by clickety clicking on the image above)
Debut novel DELLA SAYS: OMG! out now
“Confidence-boosty sex-positive first love goodness. This could be the Forever of the 21st century, girls…” – Susie Day, author of Big Woo! and Girl Meets Cake