Tall trees, Mrs Doyle and my life in cars

My first car was a Hillman Imp. If any manufacturer has produced a poorer car I'd be surprised. It was all on to drive it in a straight line. Yes it got me in to a lot of trouble, that car. Next was a Mini Clubman (fun), then a Mini 1275 GT (another dog), Saab 96 (great apart from a dodgy second gear), Triumph Dolomite (left in a will), VW Golf GTi Mk I (when we were yuppies and dinkys, i.e. had money), Golf GTi Mk II (ditto), Volvo 240 estate (young family), Volvo V70 (ditto), Chrysler people carrier (three growing kids), Another Chrysler people carrier (never loved), Volvo XC70 (perfect), Jaguar XF (heart ruled head). Eleven cars in thirty odd years. The odd one out really has been the Jaguar - a smooth saloon, brilliant motor, but not really suited to fishing beats, dogs and the like. Now, with two dogs we need an estate/hatchback and probably something slightly smaller. We'd decided on a Freelander, then saw a great deal on another Volvo XC70, so for two days I've we've dithered.

If the Volvo saleswoman had had a little bit of the Mrs Doyle (manual or automatic? Oh, go on, go on, go on, go on......go on, go on, go on!) about her, I'm sure it would have tipped it her way.

The Volvo was a great car, comfortable on motorways, huge load space, ideal for all our needs. Hence the dithering. But I wanted a change (Gill would have been happy with the Volvo). The Freelander isn't particularly economical or spacious and we could get by without a 4x4. But we can get a good deal on one and with the back seats down it should take all we need. I quite liked the Evoque but that seems to be a kind of Marmite car. You either love it or hate it. Gill wasn't keen.

Went to see Lincoln last night. I loved it, Gill thought it a bit boring, but Daniel Day-Lewis has to get an oscar for that performance. It's pretty wordy and confined mostly to rooms, so doesn't need the big screen. I'd like to have seen it as a play.

The best of the day today was early and I missed that. So I took Pippa to the military land and there was some serious shooting going on in the woods, machine guns, semi-automatics, the lot. But It doesn't seem to faze her one bit. If there's one image that I think says everything about Surrey woodland, it's sunshine streaming through trees. Can you see Pippa?

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