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Monday, 25 August 2014

WHEN NOT WALKING..

Although I generally much prefer walking, living quite a long way from anywhere, including the office, I do need transport.
My very first vehicle was a moped, a Ciao, a very used, rusty (literally) pink model, that you had to pedal fast to get started. I used this, would you believe it, in Naples, “whizzing” down from the hillside Vomero district to the centre of the city. I was much younger then and not particularly intimidated by the Italian driving, quite capable of holding my own at the junctions and weaving in and out of the rush-hour traffic. It is surprisingly how quickly you learn. It was the pre-crash-helmet era too and no, I didn’t wear one either.
From then I progressed to a Guzzi with gears. It was low and blue and much trickier 
to manoeuvre than the faithful Ciao. I never really liked it. By then I had moved from Naples to the village of Nerano, so gone were the narrow, cobbled streets and in their place I now had bends, lots of them.
Along came a child and a shop and  I eventully acquired a car of my own: a Fiat 500 with a difference. It was a kind of orange colour, with an open-top roof and it was a hatchback. The model was officially a “giardiniera” which translated means “carryall” and in fact it did carry all: children, dog, cartons of cigarettes and boxes of merchandise for the shop. It was already old when I got it, but it didn’t matter. It had character, it was the perfect size for these roads, it could be parked in the smallest of spaces and it rarely let me down.
My present car is a Fiat 600. I snatched it up for a bargain 500 euros several years ago when my Fiat of the time (a Fiat Uno) was severely rammed on a bend in wet weather and never recovered. It has stood me well, even though the back bumper fell off one morning driving in to work, trailing behind me like a very noisy dog on a leash down the main road into Sorrento. The mechanic screwed it back on, with bit of wire added, just to make sure. And of course I always have a bottle of water in the car to clean the windscreen, since the automatic sprinkler has never produced more than a sorry whining sound.
However this one too is beginning to show signs of old-age. So the hunt is on. This time I quite fancy a Fiat Panda...but not a new one of course!
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