Thursday, October 1, 2009

alles auto

Today is the first of October and so very soon I have to have the winter tyres put on my car, they're supposed to be on the car O to O (Oktober to Ostern = easter) they're for a reason, clearly, giving a bit more grip on roads made slippery by wet leaves, rain, ice, snow etc. but I do hate them! Although last winter, when a particularly heavy snow fall hung around for a week and our local roads resembled an ice rink, I did feel a lot safer in the knowledge that my car was grippier than it would have been in similar conditions in the UK.

I love nice cars and currently have to drive an eminently practical, black Toyota Corolla Verso, which in summer with its alloys on and when clean & polished (i.e fresh from Mr Wash - do you seriously think I'd do that myself?) it looks ok, not head turningly wow, but ok...
It's by no means the car of my dreams (that would have to have a soft top at least, which I personally have never owned (although Simon did have a Lotus Elise for a couple of years) my favourite cars that I've owned would include a Tigra and an old style Mini Cooper) but the Toyota does the job that it needs to.

It has the space for a family of 4 plus a large dog, and the ability to pop 2 extra seats up out of nowhere on the many times in the year that we have visitors (who clearly have to be taken to & from the airport and entertained during their stay). All the rear seats can even be folded completely flat so that you have a big space to transport rubbish to the tip.
So, a hugely practical but very dull car!
Soon to be even duller for 6 months....and winter tyres aren't even something you can opt out of (although you can do them with alloys but then apparently the salt on the roads knackers them) if you were to have an accident during O to O and the Police deem it to be your fault and you didn't have winter tyres on then your insurance wont pay up...
So winter tyres and a boring as f*** car for 6 months it is then!

Mind you I get my revenge - I refuse to wash it, why bother when it looks so ugly and anyway what's a bit of dirt (although if it's the nasty salty road dirt then I guess I should get it washed off to protect the paintwork)? This probably winds up my neighbours dreadfully (Germans are terribly opinionated about EVERYTHING so they're bound to see the state of my car and to mind) because you see, Germans (generally) keep their cars spotlessly clean, every weekend they wash them, and this is no easy on the drive job, oh no, you're not supposed to do that here, because of the detergent being nonbiodegradable or something, so everyone troops off to the carwash at the weekends (great long queues).

Germany is often considered to be the birthplace of the car industry (which as a Brit, who grew being educated about Stephenson's Rocket & Rolls Royce, living just down the road from Longbridge and Landrover is quite galling) but I guess with Benz & Daimler both born in southern Germany only 1 year apart and going on to produce such historic vehicles I should allow that birthright.

In Germany the car industry is one of the largest employers producing up to 10 million cars/year over half of which are exported, so cars are important to Germans for financial reasons as well as aesthetic ones, because while it is often said that an Englishman's home is his castle, I believe that a German's car is his castle!

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