About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Guest post: All about that 2CV

A request by one of the followers of this blog has drawn me, the not-so-suffering husband into putting some words together.

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!

Monster? What monster?

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.


  1. I always wanted a 2CV when I was a kid - one of my teachers bought and restored them for a hobby. Right with you on the old car thing though, we have a 16 year old Rover and she's so much better than any other (newer) car I've driven.

  2. I desperately wanted a 2CV for my first car but had to make do with an Austin Allegro. In tomato red. She was called Henrietta and I loved her, even when the points went as I was reversing out of a car parking space at the vets, but I always wished I'd had a 2CV.
    And I've never had a new car, I can't see the point.

  3. We've never considered a new car - crazy idea! I used to borrow a friends 2CV at the office from time to time. Great fun: loved it, made me smile, especially on roundabouts. I rolled up to a police station once to represent a client in custody, parked outside and walked in laughing. The desk sergeant was totally baffled! We used to run a Sunbeam Rapier - great car, simple mechanics, repairable and fun to drive. Best thing was the overdrive. We'd gather a line of boy racers at one particular stretch of road just outside Hereford, sweep round the bend towards a straight, knock it out of OD and take off, leaving the boy racers in our wake, puzzling over what could have happened. Warmly recommended.

  4. Non-suffering husband3 April 2012 at 13:48

    Great stories. @Hazel - an Allegro is still a very cool car. To some people. Me included...

  5. Woo! Thanks for getting your OH to post this Rachel!
    It is such a beautiful car, making me pine for my old Beetle :(
    Nevermind, in a couple of years my OH's Marina will be back on the road and we can concentrate on getting and doing up my next car - an Allegro!

    ps - I love the wedding pic, your clothes and car!


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