Today I did something that terrifies me. I got rid of my car.
I knew this day would come eventually, but I wasn't expecting it to come so quickly. Just two weeks ago my car got a flat tyre. Little did I know this was just the start of a very painful and expensive fortnight, as parts started to fail and fall to pieces.
To many, my car is a 10 year old lump of rust, covered in scratches, missing parts (hubcaps - stolen; aerial - stolen; wing mirror cover - stolen...), and full of the signs of an owner who was less than careful. It's just a car.
But to me, she is much, much more than this. My beautiful car has been my chariot, my castle, my safe place - the proverbial shed at the bottom of the garden.
My car has stood by me through bad times - the day I realised I had depression, it took me to the beach and waited patiently while I sat and stared at the water for hours. It didn't even complain when I filled it with sand.
My car has taken me places - on adventures with friends through the Scottish Highlands; on long journeys to Wales and beyond.
My car has been an extension of my flat - uncomplainingly carrying boxes and bags full of paraphernalia for Brownies, University and work.
My car has needed me as much as I needed her - when its engine failed on a very wet night on our way back to Wales from Oxford; when its radiator fell out on our way to visit a friend in hospital; when its battery stopped working (albeit because I'd left the light on over night). It has let me love it and hate it in equal measures.
My car has had the patience of a saint - when I was learning to drive, and since then, when I forgot it was longer than I thought it was and drove it into assorted stationary objects (most recently a roadside bin). And some moving ones.
My car and I have had some hilarious adventures - particularly the winter when we drove to Oxford one very snowy Boxing day and got stuck at the bottom of an icy hill in the dark.
Recently, my car has been showing the signs of old age. She stopped being able to climb hills as fast as she once could. Infact, she stopped being able to stop at all. She started creaking and groaning more often, and she was getting just too expensive to look after.
Rather than force her to be miserable, I made the difficult decision to move on. After all, if my car was a horse in a western movie, she would've been shot at the first sign of being lame. About 5 years ago.
So today I say goodbye to my old companion, and replace her with a newer, smaller, more economic model. I hope this new car realises that she has a lot to live up to. I'm sure I will grow to love her, and expect nothing more than the space and security my old car has given me, and I'm sure we will have many wonderful adventures together.
I just hope someone lovely buys her at auction. Goodbye old friend.