Will I ever own a car again?

To my embarrassment, I own a car. I haven’t driven it since Christmas, it sits unloved on a little tarmac in Eton. Yesterday I tried to start it and found the battery flat, I contacted the AA and found my MOT was out of date, they wouldn’t help. I phone around and found a chap called Jimmy Mohammed who came down from Slough and made me a cash offer to take the car off my hands for a monkey. Money and keys were exchanged, logbook will follow. The car will be towed away this morning while I am sailing Lady Lucy up to Goring.

The car was purchased in 2003 by Eagle Star and has been driven by me for over 200,000 miles. It is hard to think how much time I spent in her in the early years of the decade. She had 195,000 miles on the clock in 2019 , since the pandemic started, I have scarcely started her.


Leaving a car behind means leaving insurance, MOTs , road tax, petrol stations and repair bills behind. Exchanged for Zip Cars and Ubers , our wonderful train system, Boris bikes and that most wonderful of things, the human body. But having had a car since I was 20, I now realise that I am in a new world.

You might call this a step on my road to carbon neutrality, I wouldn’t be so grand, it is more a step on the road down the new normality. My son is 24, he has had a driving licence since he was 17, he has never driven a car without an L plate – never wants to.

I am actually joining a virtuous loop of non-car owners which spans (but does not include) the generations with dependent children. It strikes me that the savings I make from not having a car will pay for the increased spending I will incur on those essentials like heating and eating that will cost so much more.

Why didn’t I cut driving out of my budgetary framework some years ago? I wish I had!

I’m grateful for Jimmy Mohammed who is taking a load off my mind and a monkey off my back. All the same – I’ll miss the old car and the fund I’ve had with her.

My parking place below Napier House in Brighton


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Will I ever own a car again?

  1. Andrew Young says:

    Interesting number plate. Could have sold it in Brighton.

  2. Peter D. Beattie says:

    Henry. Keeping things going is a matter of personal discipline that’s sadly missing in your so called ‘new normality’. If you have family responsibilities, especially if you have to care for those that are elderly or vulnerable its vital that one has transport to hand to carry those that are not mobile, have to carry loads or get them urgently to hospital – a bike just does not offer that flexibility! That is more suitable to the young and certainly not in our adverse climate. I am afraid that the ‘Uber or hire’ can be found to be unreliable and that does not suit those of us that are autistic, having little patience or understanding when events do not go to time! So if you have a ‘driving licence and owner’ you have a responsibility to ensure it is maintained to the standard required on the highway. That requires regular attention and discipline. I am approaching 90 and still are able to keep driving my two ‘classic historic cars’ of 1960’s and supports ‘British design and manufacture’. What has happened to the discipline and venturesome of UK business – not in sight!

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