Our Car 

KPMG gives us two options for a car.  We can take an annual car allowance and purchase a car, or we can forfeit the allowance and use a car from the company’s fleet.  For convenience mostly, we decided to just lease a car from the company fleet.  Unfortunately, (but not surprisingly) they didn’t have a car in their fleet big enough to fit our family so they are going to acquire one.  (Buying a car just for us! Yay!)  In the meantime they have given us this VW Touran to drive until September.  (It is a rental.) 

It is so small compared to our van from the states.  It’s size hasn’t been a problem yet, in fact it makes driving in the city so much easier, and this car is on the big side of things.  I can’t imagine trying to drive anything bigger than this.  It seats seven, two in front, three in the middle and two in back.  It’s quite cozy.  There is no way for me to “walk” to the back and hand out snacks like I could in our Sienna.  Sorry kids!  There are no aisles or very little legroom to speak of.  But the biggest difference is the “boot” or the trunk of the car.  It fit one suitcase, as opposed to the Sienna that could fit six or seven.  

A lot of things that are new to us with this car aren’t unique to the UK, they are just new to us.  For example, it’s a hybrid, so whenever the car is at a standstill with your foot on the break for more than a few seconds it turns off.  This is such a strange feeling! At first I kept thinking the car was dying over and over.  It was unnerving and it takes some getting used to.   To get the engine running again you just put your foot on the gas and it fires right up.  

It has no “oomph” at all. Which suits me.  I’ve never had a need for speed and I do believe in being ecologically responsible so I’m willing to sacrifice that for fuel efficiency.  And did I mention 

IT IS SO FUEL EFFICIENT! 

Here they call gasoline “petrol.”  And it isn’t cheap.  But our little road trip to Ramsgate and back only used about half a tank of petrol.  Not too shabby.   

I was under the impression that all distances here would be measured in kilometers, and sometimes they are. But most of the time they are measured in miles.  And all the speed limit signs are in mph.  Time is usually done in what we call military time on digital clocks.  2:00pm=14:00.  That is taking a little getting used to.  And temperature is in Celsius, which I am still trying to make myself familiar with.  19 degrees Celsius is just barely starting to mean something to me.  (That seems to be the average temperature of our house.)

Anyway, the car is working quite well for us.  Richard has already become an all-star parallel parker.  And you can park on either side of the street, facing either direction.    The problem is, the roads are so narrow that if you are driving in a neighborhood and someone is coming from the other direction, one of you has to pull over into a parking spot in order for the other one to get by.  This usually goes smoothly and naturally, but sometimes it doesn’t.    

Driving on the other side of the road takes some getting used to, I’ve had to remind Richard a time or two that he needs to be on the left, and as I mentioned I’ve had my own moment of mental lapse.  

We don’t plan to use the car much.  It’s easier for me and the kids to get around by bus or train and Richard will never drive to work, all for the same reason which is parking.  I will probably have to drive the kids to school because we chose a school that didn’t happen to be very close.  And by very close I mean that it is 1.3 miles away and my walking limit is one mile.  (With the kids anyway.) And we will probably drive to church.  Otherwise it will be used mostly for little day trips or weekend holidays.  

So that’s that.  Our {little} car.  

2 thoughts on “Our Car 

  1. Nice car. I think it would be very hard to get used to the driving on the opposite side of the road. Kudos to you and Richard. Gary and I are going to dinner with your parents tonight. We are excited since we haven’t seen them since Villette blessing. Take care and thanks for sharing. Julie😀

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  2. I’ve been to Ramsgate. Also just wait until you try to figure out how much you weigh in “stones”. You guys are living my fantasy. Enjoy…

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