It’s a Mini Adventure

This weekend I have been mostly drinking lager.

Well, actually… no. I’m actually (horror of horrors) cutting back slightly on the beer. I live in Lichfield, and we’re actually famed for being the best recycling council in the UK. There’s a couple of green boxes – one for bottles, jars, cans and stuff. The other for paper and card. These two boxes get taken weekly. There’s also a black wheelie bin for everything else and a brown one for garden stuff (grass etc). These get taken every two weeks. So, I began to notice that the one green bin was overflowing weekly with beer cans. We even got to the point of using the paper box for the overflow. Not good. Every other house in the street have copies of “The Times” or “The Daily Telegraph” sticking out of there green boxes along with some jars and the odd bottle of wine. We, on the other hand, have a copy of “Heat” and several million empty cans of Fosters.

So I’ve trimmed down on the beer now. Well.. I’ve cut down on cans of beer. Now I’m just going down the pub more often ;) Less to recycle that way. :) :)

So what have I really been doing this weekend ?

Well, this weekend we’ve been looking at cars. The missus can’t decide what motor she’d like to purchase next. We had a wonder around the local Motor House to get ideas. This is a great car shop. No hassle, no salesmen getting on your tits – you just walk around the cars. If you like one (and they truely ARE cheap – this isn’t one of those rip-off car markets, these cars have narrow margins and they sell bucket loads weekly) you just ask the salesman for the key, then you get to do whatever you want….apart from drive one. No, you see – the Motor House sell so many cars so quickly that they simply can’t move a car out of the parking lot (there’s a few other hundred cars to move). So, if you like a car you either have to buy it right there (by the way, it’s not the salesmen who do the hard-talk, it’s the finance guys in the back when you say “yes”) or go elsewhere and test-drive a car.

So, we had a look at the BMW Mini. The Mini that we saw at the first garage had everything on it. Sun-roof, 17 inch alloys, everything. Bear in mind that I wasn’t really looking at it too much. I like bigger cars. I’ve always driven a big car. I’m not a fan on smaller motors like the “hot hatch” things like the Peugeot 106 or Renault Clio Sport etc. I ended up with a Lexus IS200… I loved it… I crashed it.. So I got another one. But this Mini ? Nah.. sorry…

…but she wanted to drive one. So we went to the local BMW garage. After wading through the hideously collosal BMW X5’s we came to a bunch of Mini’s. She instantly fell in love with the John Cooper Works Mini which was sat on the front. However, after delicately explaining that it had aroun 210 bhp she decided that test-driving that one wouldn’t be wise. So, we went in and asked if we could test drive a Mini. We randomly picked a Mini Cooper (the one pictured) – not a Cooper S (she was scared even by the 170 bhp that one has) and asked for a test drive. After a quick photo-copy of the driving licences they stuck some trade-plates on and then gave us the key… and that was it.. no salesman.. just “there you go”…

Umm.. so when do you want it back?

“Well, if you run out of fuel, just replace it. No hurry”


So off we toddled. Bird was driving and it seem to handle quite well. I read the Mini sales gumph … The brochure has lots of options and extras you can add on. I couldn’t help notice some strange rattling noises in the car and it tended to get a bit noisy.

“Do you want to have a go”, says she.

I wasn’t too fussed. The car didn’t seem like something I’d enjoy. “Yeah, go on”, says I. Right then I’m reading a bit in the brochure that describes the Minis’ “Go-Kart” feel.

So she pulled over and we swapped over. “What the f…?”, says I… “No electric seats? How to I move this seat around?”

I was rammed in with my knees stuck under the steering wheel. Eventually I found where the “lower the seat down a bit” lever was and I ended up sitting in a weird “boy racer”-type position due to my height. After all that faffing about I pulled away from the car-park we’d stopped on and onto the dual-carriageway.

“Lets see what the little bugger can do then”, says me, full of pessimism.

Oh my god. What a bloody fantastic motor. It’s glued to the corners, it nips up through the gears and accelerates quite rapidly. It’s very nimble and really does have a very “go kart” feel indeed. Where’s the roll cage and my helmet? Get me one of these now! Gone are the all my thoughts of rattling noises and smallness, this is a lovely pocket-rocket with chocka low-profile alloys sticking you to the road.

Windy country roads, here we go! Ho hooo!!!

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