Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Do I really need a Car?



Whilst we still have the luxury (burden) of homes in two different countries (one friendly; one antagonistic), I suppose the realistic answer to my question is 'yes'. 

However, if my gallivanting days were to be over, and I was restricted to life only in the UK, I think that answer would be very different.

One of the first 'administrative' things I did on my return to England last October, was to apply for a Bus Pass. I had to wait for several weeks before it came through, but arrive it did. I also registered to vote.

Since receiving my card, I have only used it twice (which surprises me), but I certainly intend to use it a lot more. Free travel is a real bonus for those who wish to spread their wings; especially with my dodgy legs!

Realistically I have no need for a car. Everything I need here is either within easy walking distance, or a free bus ride away. When I wish to spend time in France I can fly from Gatwick to Bergerac, pick-up a hire car, and have no need for a car of my own. It would save a lot of time and money, and be one less thing to worry about.

I had my first car (white VW Beetle EBP323) when I was a student, and have not been without a car since. It would be a new experience not to have one; and to know that the garage was empty.

Actually, I find the idea rather appealing.

46 comments:

  1. Just looked it up: Are you aware that, in the UK, you have to renew your driving licence when turning seventy, and every three years after that. Otherwise you'd be driving illegally. Which, I suppose, would have implications re your insurance should you be involved in an accident. Here, have a piece of marzipan to sweeten the bitter pill.

    In answer to your question: It's nice to have the option to be able to jump into the car (your dodgy knee notwithstanding), spur of the moment, and go places (say, the countryside) which no bus route will service.

    U

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    Replies
    1. I have been keeping my licence up to date, and have a few years to go. I enjoy driving, and would call myself a 'good driver'; no accidents, full no claims bonus, etc. Better to have ME on the roads than about 70% of those I encounter.

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    2. Just occurred to me, judging by your answer, you most likely do drive on a French licence for which, of course, different rules apply. The French being a bit more laisser-faire.

      As to you being a "good driver": I have yet to come across anyone who doesn't deem themselves so.

      U

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    3. No, I really am a good driver. I don't speed, I keep back from cars in front of me, and I'm NEVER in a hurry.

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    4. Hahaha....no....not commenting. Said that myself.

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    5. I do actually have a serious question though, about our future plans. How do I contact you?

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  2. Dear Cro Magnon
    I’ve been enjoying your posts greatly for several years now.
    I too live in France (25 years) but am considering moving back to the UK at some point.
    Just out of interest, what do you mean when you say one country is friendly and the other antagonistic?

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    1. Not only is Macron openly antagonistic to Brexit Britain, but my tiny hamlet (where we've lived for 48 years) has recently had an influx of some less than desirable newcomers. A great shame.

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    2. OK, thanks for clarifying. I do in general find people in the UK more friendly and open towards people they dont know. Not sure I fancy growing old here.

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    3. I would quite happily have grown old in France. We lived in Paradise, but then the evil ones moved in, and ruined everything.

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  3. I have recently given up my car and it's made life quite difficult. It's a 15 minute walk to the bus stop, dicing with death amongst speeding drivers I'm not eligible for a bus pass and it costs £6 to get to the nearest post office or supermarket.

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    Replies
    1. We are now right in the centre of town and everything is on hand. Once I get the hang of my bus pass, the world will be my oyster.

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    2. Six pounds?? I don't have a pound symbol, not one that I can find anyway. Or is it six Euros and is that more or less than pounds?

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  4. We lived in Central London for 5 years without a car and loved it. We then moved to rural Norfolk and had to have one - but when we moved again (partially because of the distance from facilities and other changing circumstances) we opted for a small coastal town which has every facility we need within walking distance - and a bus service to larger towns should we need them. We still have a car for the time being but should we have to, or choose to give it up -it would have minimal impact. This last move has given us the best of both worlds.

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    1. That's rather how I see it. If a car is essential, then I'll have one. If it's not, I'll go car free!

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  5. You might run this by Lady M first. I'd hate a no car option. Getting to Hospital appts and The Dog to the vet on a bus?

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    Replies
    1. She already did take Billy to the Vet on the bus... no problem. I don't see it making that much difference. Brighton is a Taxi-Town (rather like London), we take them as part of everyday life.

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  6. Like you I am in the ideal situation of being 10 minutes walk from amenities and having a bus pass, I haven't driven for 7 years. We looked at new cars recently as our elderly Saab can be a concern on the long drive to Italy. Some cost a small fortune to tax, £500+ per year, perhaps that will become an encouragement not to own one for folk like us.

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    Replies
    1. The 'authorities' are doing their damnest to dissuade people from owning cars. In a few years I will probably join the dissuaded.

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  7. I remember that white Beetle. Didn't the rear window pop out if you slammed the door too hard?

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  8. Why is that big, ugly thumb covering your image on the bus pass? I never realised you were so bashful.

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    Replies
    1. It has my name, hat size, and inside leg measurement on it.

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  9. Coincidence...my first car was also a white VW Beetle, called Gertrude!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think mine had a name, other than unrepeatable ones; she seemed to get through clutch plates on a regular basis.

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  10. I don't know if your bus pass is the same as mine Cro,it does look it, but mine says I can use it anywhere in England, not just locally.

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  11. Cro. If having two homes in two different countries really is a 'burden', then give one to me. It makes sense for both of us eh?

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    Replies
    1. It has a nice big garden; you'd love it.

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    2. Then please do give it to me. I would really do it justice, and you are most welcome to stay!

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  12. Or just invite us over and we can chat about mine and Amandas 'France' ideas.

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  13. I’ve recently given up my life in 2 countries as tax and Covid made it difficult to continue to visit the UK. I was looking forward to getting a bus pass and traveling around without the difficulty and expense of parking, and enjoying watching the scenery go by. I think it would have given me a new lease on life as I was becoming reluctant to go out other than for necessities.
    Now that I am based solely in the USA’s Pacific North West a car is a necessity, but parking is generally free and plentiful even in tourist spots.

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    Replies
    1. Covid has changed so many things, it'd hard to imagine getting back to 'normal'. Driving in France was quite pleasant. Very few cars on the road, paid parking hardly exists, my car's road worthiness test was only every two years, and no car tax.

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  14. My mum is at the point where she is also thinking about getting rid of her car.What with insurance, up keep and the price of petrol. She uses the bus to go to town as she can never find a parking space.Other than the weekly shop she finds it a nuisance. The only thing holding her back is the supermarket trips. We have suggested she use an Uber or a local taxi company who do it as a regular fixture. Same driver to give her peace of mind. (Like Weaver)

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    1. The major hypermarkets usually have a bus service; I know ours do. I'm sure she'd soon see the benefits of being car-less.

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  15. I have been without mine for almost a year now. I do have a Bus Pass and the bus into town stops at the end of the road but sadly I can't get up the steps. But I can'y say I really miss my car - for hair appointments, hearing aid fittings and the like I just have the local taxi service - very reliable and probably cheaper than running a car I would guess.

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    Replies
    1. Occasional taxis must be cheaper than running a car; and no worries.

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  16. We have relatives in Brighton who belong to a shared hire scheme. You have to have an app to find a free car, I think you can book them, and you pick it up and drop it off in the dedicated bays.

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    1. That sounds like a good idea. I do remember hearing about such schemes, I didn't know they were still going.

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  17. And just think how much stuffs you will be able to store in your garage. If it wasn't for family living in three different direction one hour plus drives, we could well do without a car.

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    Replies
    1. I hope my wife doesn't read your comment, it'll give her ideas.

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  18. Having the luxury of choices makes life all the better. Your bus system sounds quite good. I always enjoyed the taxis over driving in London proper.

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    1. I loved driving (and cycling) in London. I had a company car, and would often go out after midnight for a drive when the roads were empty-ish. You saw London in a totally different light; much as one does by bike.

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  19. You'd save a fair bit on tyres, registration and insurance too.

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    Replies
    1. And, of course, on those inevitable repairs!

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  20. My daughter lives in Brighton and finds the Enterprise Car Club most satisfactory. She is in Zone Z and has no chance of a permit due to the waiting list. Normally, she has no need of a car but the odd trip to Wakehurst etc it's very usful.
    PS like your pork pie :)

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