Taking Stock - January 16, 2012

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Motoring these days is an expensive affair, what with the price of insurance, petrol, road tax, repair bills and parking.

Insurance is one of my big bugbears.

I always thought, as I became older, rational and more mature, I’d end up paying less.

Alas that hasn’t been the case thanks, so I’m told, to an increasing number of numptys on the road and the ever-rising number of claims.

Apparently, whiplash alone, accounts for more than £90 a year on everyone’s premium, despite the fact it’s nigh on impossible to prove.

Paying up when you can actually drive is bad enough but it’s even more galling to see those direct debits go out when you’re off the road.

That, sadly, is where I find myself at the moment.

It all started last week when, in the normal morning rush, I strapped the Munchkin into the car to take her to nursery.

Child secured I stepped into the drivers seat, turned the key and nothing happened.

And when I say nothing, I mean nothing.

Now, I’m no mechanic. My car knowledge pretty much consists of remembering to put petrol in (and sometimes I forget to do that).

But even I know nothing happening is bad.

So, after a Basil Fawlty-inspired moment of breakdown induced rage (thankfully there are no trees in our driveway) I decided it was probably bust and elected to walk.

A week later and things still aren’t fixed, which means I’ve been forced to swallow my pride and commute to work by bus.

While this does afford me a new and exciting list of reasons to be late, it’s not the most ideal option, turning a five-minute jaunt down Lytham Road into a half-hour epic adventure.

Now, I’m not averse to using public transport – indeed for long journeys I’d always much rather take the train than suffer the stress of the motorways.

But the bus?

Well, for the most part it’s been fine, apart from the day I had to lug home a 5kg bag of cat food My Good Wife kindly had delivered to Gazette Towers.

It has, however, brought back some memories of my school days, when I’d spend a good two hours a day sitting at the back of a double decker causing, I’m sure, untold misery for other passengers.

Thankfully I start work too late to run into the school crowds.

My only quibble is the confusing costs.

The same journey, give or take a few hundred yards, costs anywhere between £1.10 and £1.70, depending on which bus I catch.

I’m sure I’ve paid less than that for a flight to France and, having tried out all the options, it seems the longer the bus takes to cover the same distance, the more I pay

What’s more, even though I know I’m going to go home at the end of the day I can’t buy a return.

It’s all so confusing, I think I’ll pay to get that car fixed.