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The French Connection - Living with a 90s Twingo (#2)

I'll be honest, since the last Twingo series post, it's fair to say that the poor little fellow has been a little bit neglected. With work finally picking up, and various other jobs needing attention, spare time had become quite difficult to come by, and as such it's spent a fair chunk of time just sitting still, not really doing much.

In fact, it had sat still for such a while that starting it up for the first time was a bit of a baited-breath affair. The Twingo hasn't presented any battery draining issues but even so, it had been getting chillier and that's rarely helpful to batteries - even so, it fired into life in such a convincing way that I decided it would be my trusty companion to an automotive gathering in Peterborough - a nice 50 mile round trip to help charge the battery before what I thought would be another extended period of no use. It fared admirably, attracted the usual raft of attention from friends and strangers alike, and I was quite sad to be putting it away again.

So, as you'd expect, when my friend Andy enquired last Sunday as to whether I would be interested in a quick jaunt to Caffeine & Machine, I didn't really need to give much thought to which car would be coming along.

Now, when I say quick jaunt - I feel that's underselling the distance I have to travel each time I nip over to C&M, which seems to have been rather often ever since I first made my way over there. To be exact, my route there covers a distance of 92 miles. Now once a small detour for food was incorporated, having forgotten that they stop serving at 5pm on a Sunday, my total round trip for the evening came to a rather lengthy 193 miles - or around 310km to keep things European.

Now, 193 miles isn't what one would consider a short journey even if travelling in a modern car, with pleasant amenities such as correctly-aimed headlights, functioning side mirror adjustment or sound deadening - in a near-enough 25 year old 1239cc tin can, it should have felt like an age and left me with aches and pains in parts of my body that I didn't know existed.

But it didn't.

You see, the Twingo has this amazing ability to make even a lonely, long and boring drive interesting. Maybe it's the novelty of being left-hand drive, which I feel still hasn't quite worn off. Maybe it's the thrill of pulling onto motorways with whatever remains of the 54hp it once had. Maybe it's the constant fear in the back of my mind that, being a French hatchback with nearly 300,000 kilometres on the clock, something is almost-inevitably about to break or catch fire - or both. Regardless of what it is that causes it, the Twingo soaks up the onerous miles of a journey with pure joy. I'm very glad that I don't get filmed driving it, because with my hand on my heart, I can say that I spend every moment driving it with a massive grin on my face, even if partially to hide the pain of knowing the aforementioned French reliability worries may one day come true.

But until then, it continues to plod along. And may it continue for a long time to come.

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