First off, I'm amazed and very proud of the following this blog has garnered over the past months. You think it's good to read about, you should try being here being a part of the experimentation and getting to eat the produce that so much hard work yields from the garden (even though I must confess to being a long way from being a vegetable lover!).
For the most part, I leave Rachel to it, helping out only where a bit of muscle or advice is required. She really does work very hard to make it all happen – you don't need to bother with gym membership if you have this sort of lifestyle!
So, do I just sit back and enjoy having my own self-sufficient slave? Not really, no. As much as I love curbing our impact on the planet – and I really do like that – I'm a petrolhead who likes meat. Both are rather expensive elements of my life and so I have to work to fund these aspects. I spend my time writing, and am lucky enough to get paid for that.
So, having got that out of the way and set the scene, I can now continue to write about a fossil-fuel guzzling monster on a blog about self-sufficiency!
I've owned 2CVs since I was a long haired 18 year old and have owned Elly since 2000. We've been through an awful lot together and are looking forward to our 100,000th mile together later this year. She's a constant work in progress, having undergone lots of restoration work over the years. I'd much rather do this that throw her away and buy something newer though. Why do people buy new cars when there are so many good second-hand ones out there already? Buying a second-hand car is pure recycling, especially if you keep repairing it rather than throwing it away when something breaks.
I met Rachel in 2003 and, shortly afterwards, plucked up the courage to introduce her to my 2CV. I needn't have worried. Rachel loved her instantly, though sadly this wasn't reciprocated at first... After Rachel enjoyed her first passenger ride in Elly, the seemingly-jealous 2CV responded by hurling her driver's door handle onto Rachel's driveway. Rachel's first drive didn't go too well either. She was happy to have mastered the quirky gearchange but as we raced down a hill – and subsequently past the junction we were meant to take – Rachel screamed “She won't stop!” Old car brakes require rather more pedal pressure than modern cars...
Elly has been a major part of our lives though, taking us to France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as a tour all around the UK mainland. Elly was also a key part of our wedding ceremony (we each arrived riding a 2CV like a chariot!) and was even present for our first kiss...
No, I'm not showing you a picture of our first kiss!
This was us leaving at the end of our wedding ceremony
Rachel herself has been won over by the 2CV's simplicity, though she prefers her Austin Mini to get about in – simplicity on wheels! Our motto is, why buy a complicated car when a simple one does the trick just fine? Less to go wrong, less to worry about.
I own other cars too, but they come and go (though they are always cheap and simple!). The 2CV remains. After all, it isn't just a car, it's a way of life.