Right before we moved to France, my husband rushed off to his local Mercedes dealer in Germany waving his bonus cheque and made a substantial down-payment on a 4×4. Having advised my husband to wait while I investigated the tax implications of such an acquisition, I was not a happy bunny. Even though Mercedes is a global company, there was no way legally we could continue to insure and pay for a German registered car while living in France.
As a consequence, I had to put in train the rather long and very tedious process of re-registering the car in France which starts with parceling up the number plates and sending them to the German consulate in Marseille. I won’t bore you with the rest of the process. The car was effectively off the road for 6-weeks and I, yes I, had loads of paperwork to complete and visits to offices in difficult to find locations.
Having, finally, successfully re-registered the car, we then had to exchange it for a new model as we could not transfer the German operating lease. So much for the EU! Needless to say my beloved was over the moon. Me, much less so. The car was used mainly for business purposes, indeed our personal use of the car was less than 10%. I had to keep a record for the French tax authorities. In addition, despite it effectively being a “company” car, not all of the costs were tax deductible as it cost much more to run than was fiscally permissible. A point which rankled with me.
Finally, the operating lease came to an end and this time my husband was forcibly prevented from acquiring the car with a balloon payment. That’s right, he’s not a signatory on any of our bank accounts. A very wise move on my part. Initially, one of his clients allowed him to use one of their pool cars but that arrangement ended with the contract.
Initially, the thought of not having his own car, was difficult for him to digest and he mulled over a couple of options which, to humour him, I appeared to entertain. But, finally, he conceded that we could manage perfectly well with only one car. However, I have had to point out that use of my car does carry with it a number of conditions. Yes, note the use of the possessive, it is my car, not our car. My beloved now just borrows my Smart and we hire a larger (and more comfortable) car for longer road trips.
There’s just one teeny, tiny problem…….I don’t really like lending anything that’s mine. There are rules to be followed:-
1. When the light flashes indicating that it needs more petrol, please fill it up. I do not want to get into the car, see the flashing light and wonder whether I have enough in the tank to make it to the nearest petrol station. My beloved has run out of petrol on a number of occasions, I have not.
2. The car should be left in the same condition in which you found it. For example, if birds pooh on my car while you’re using it, you immediately clean it up. I keep cleaning fluid and roll of paper in the box in the boot of my car for this very purpose.
3. I do not like to be seen in a dirty or untidy car. It gets a weekly trip to the car wash where it is carefully washed, hand dried and vacuumed. If you get it dirty, you know what needs to be done. I don’t have to spell it out.
My beloved knows what will happen if he doesn’t follow these three simple rules. We have been married long enough for him to appreciate that I make promises, not threats, and I have an elephantine memory.
Yesterday, which started bright and early, saw me glued to my office chair until the late afternoon. My husband went off for his late morning swim and returned, so it seemed, in the blink of an eye, demanding to be fed. I pointed him in the direction of the fridge and a home-made lasagna.
When I finally managed to escape for a quick ride, before heading to the shops for supplies for dinner, I had a bit of an unpleasant surprise. As I went to open the car door I noticed that it was now splattered with bird pooh, where before it had been pristine. Obviously, this had happened while it had been entrusted to you know who.
There used to be a series of car adverts for Toyota Aris where unfortunate things happened to friends who abused the beloved small car of their wife, friend or husband. These adverts struck a chord with me. I think you can see where I am going with this one. I am currently plotting my revenge!