I wasn’t sure if I was meant to be laughing or crying.
As my chariot for the past 5 years sputtered, coughed and stalled its way to a trade-in, I couldn’t help but reflect on our journey.
When we first acquired the Bastard Pug it was already a little temperamental. But at that stage it fell under warranty and after a few visits to the workshop seemed to be well sorted. It was also our second car as I had the privilege of a company car. A late model Mercedes no less.
It was only when we started Ginger&Co on a shoe string budget with a bootlace finance plan and no company car anymore that the Bastard Pug began it’s real shenanigans. Subtly pretending everything was fine until service plan and warranty were over, the Bastard Pug revealed it’s true character.
It started innocently enough…..an extended shudder when turning off the ignition. The odd jerk when accelerating and somewhat bizarrely the windscreen wipers would intermittently turn on.
With the financial constraints of a start up business steering any small profits back toward staff and ingredients, the Bastard Pug probably didn’t get the workshop loving it so needed. And boy did it let us know. Now keep in mind, we live about 30km outside of town. Essentially our business is a delivery business. You order online and we deliver. A reliable car is somewhat important. So with Estie walking the kids to school while I packed and headed into town for deliveries, the Bastard Pug plunged the depths of its behavior and my patience.
First it decided that gears 2 and 4 were surplus to its mechanical requirements and ceased to work. Every gear change now involved revving the blazes out of the car to ensure there was no stalling between gears. Especially difficult on a steep uphill. But still manageable. It was the exit of the reverse gear function though that really tested me. Every parking had to be planned for a forward exit. But still…..I managed.
Then the alarm began squealing whenever and wherever. To avoid embarrassment I was parking 500m away from the delivery addresses and walking the remainder of the way with the customers delivery in a cooler box on my shoulders. With every step the wailing of the alarm following me...taunting me.
Another quirk of the Bastard Pug was to let the fan run indefinitely after exiting the car. It made a hell of a noise, complimented at times by the alarm, and it would run the battery flat. So not only did my exit plan always have to be forward facing, it also needed to be on a downhill so I could jump start on the occasions the battery ran flat.
The engine management light was a constant presence.
Even my father-in-law was not spared. On one occasion he took the Bastard Pug on a test drive to see if it would be safe to drive back to JHB to fix up and sell there. In a moment of inspired malice the Bastard Pug took him down the one way slip-off by Gillwell Mall. Facing oncoming traffic going the wrong way he realized his error. But alas, in that moment we were reminded that the ability of the reverse gear to function belonged to the Bastard Pug and the Bastard Pug alone. My father-in-law was however treated to a lovely moment of Ubuntu as a group of informal traders came to his rescue and pushed the Bastard Pug backwards and uphill out of harms way. Needless to say my father-in-law left and the Bastard Pug stayed.
In time our family came to the rescue with a second car to use. But still the Bastard Pug was used on those occasions when as a family we needed to be in different places.
And again in time (3 years too late and thanks to local part time mechanic, all round good guy and my friend Stu) we spent some time and money doing the small things to improve the mood and behaviour of the Bastard Pug. And once more it was running smoothly.
But there was one more last dig to come. The decision to trade in had been made. And once a suitable replacement had been found it was just to get the valuation done on the Bastard Pug. And with a snigger and a shudder, a jerk and a stall, the variable valve sensors went on a party making the car almost un-drivable. I say almost, because after 4 years I knew damn well how to make this car move.
So with full disclosure to the dealership about the latest bit of petulance from the Bastard Pug (which resulted in taking a knock on the trade in price I might add) I found myself, for the last time and somewhat appropriately, staggering up the North East Expressway in the emergency lane with my hazards on towards the end of our journey together.
And I was strangely sad. Never a missed delivery. Never a late delivery. Safely taken to wherever we needed to be. And despite everything…..the Pug never fully broke down.
The Pug will now be fixed up, taken care of, spruced up and given a warranty. It is a beautiful car and I wish now that I could have had the means to look after it better than I did. But circumstance and situation put us at odds with each other.
So farewell my chariot...you Beautiful Bastard.