Friday, 6 November 2009
Choosing Car Number 3!
Oh, I really wish I could get myself organised and write more posts, more often on my blog!!
Anyway, here I am and another week has gone by.
I am pleased to say that Martin and I have not scratched each others eyes out, by being around each other all day!
In fact........... and I apologise for being soppy..........actually, no I don't - but it just feels even more special to be able to spend time with him and to get things done too!
The first week was taken up with getting applications done for the relevant benefits to apply for. We knew it was going to be a lot of paperwork, but wow, I feel like we have used up a tree's worth of paper! Why do they insist on asking the same questions, over and over, just in several different ways? It is very frustrating!!
I finally feel like we are achieving things around the house. The lounge is looking a lot more organised and far tidier!
We have a lot of pictures and Disney art, that were taken off the walls, so that decorating could be done. They haven't made it back on the walls for well over a year, but finally, we are starting to get them put back up - it feels so satisfying!
The one thing we have been able to do, without trying to squeeze it in on a weekend, is go and test drive some cars.
I am lucky enough to qualify for a car on the Motability scheme.
I thought they were mad, when I was told that I would be able to get a brand new car, to have for three years, after which, I could change it again for another brand new car! I had never had a new car in my life!
This was back in 2004, when I first qualified for the Higher mobility rate on my DLA (Disability Living Allowance).
The first car we went for was a Peugeot 206. At that point, we didn't really think practically, we just went for what we wanted!
I was also astounded, that I could get it adapted, for me to drive it with hand controls.
Drive, with my hands, were they mad?!
It totally changed my life. I hadn't driven for about six months as I just didn't trust my legs, and I knew I would never forgive myself, if anything happened, just because I wanted to drive.
I was told about hand controls, and I was given an assessment, to see what I would need. I was just blown away - I would get my independence back!
I have a push/pull accelerator and brake, which fits under the steering wheel and attaches to the pedals. It has to be an automatic car for the attachments to work. I also have a steering peg, that fits on the steering wheel, to allow me to steer with one hand! But the pedals are still there, so Martin can drive it with his feet, as a normal car.
After a couple of years of driving the Peugeot, things had got a little more difficult for me. By the end of the three years, I was finding it really difficult to get in and out of the car. And it wasn't really big enough, if we wanted to fit any equipment in it, like a wheelchair or a scooter. So a few months before the contract was up, we started looking at what to get next. But this time, we did look around and tried to think practically about it.
For car number two, we decided to go for a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Wow, what a car! We did test drive the Vauxhall Astra too, but there was no contest!
Again it was fitted with hand controls. I felt like a kid with a new toy! It was so much easier to get in and out of and there was so much space in it. It had a lot more room in the back seat area, so I felt like I could ride in the back, should I need to.
This car has been a total joy to own, but the downside to this car has been the fuel consumption. We knew before we took it, that it would be a thirsty car, after all, it has a 2.4 litre engine! But with the price of petrol increasing like it has and with our circumstances changing, financially, it has not been the cheapest car to run.
So now, here we are again, getting ready to choose car number three!
Where as with the previous two, we had a clear idea of what we wanted, this time we didn't. I had been looking around at different models for a while, but there was no front runner. Then I came across the Nissan Note. I liked the look of it, it has a quirkiness about it! I looked it up on the motability website, to find out if we could get one. They have an automatic model and the advance payment isn't too bad.
Then I noticed an advert for a Citreon C3 Picasso. I loved the look of it! Again, I looked on the motability website. We could get this model for a nil advance payment, but it doesn't come as an automatic. I thought about it for awhile and discussed it with Martin. Did I need to drive? I was considering giving up driving. Martin is now my full time carer and therefore will be around to drive me, and since my last relapse, my right hand has not been the same. The sensations in that hand are constantly altered and there is always some degree of pain. I can still drive, but not without discomfort.
I wasn't convinced either way.
So we went to look at the Citreon first. It was brilliant. It was easy to get in and out of, there is a lot of space in the boot and the back seat area. And it comes as a diesel manual, so the fuel consumption is great. Martin test drove it and felt quite comfortable doing so.
We both felt that this could be the car for us. BUT, we still wanted to test drive the Nissan, just to be sure and I needed to be sure about giving up driving.
We went to see the Nissan Note. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It is quite deceptive, because there is a lot more room inside, than it looks like there should be from the outside! Again it is easy to get in and out of and it feels really comfortable. Martin test drove it and he felt it was a bit more stable to drive. I certainly felt good in the passenger seat.
It comes as an automatic, so they can get the hand controls fitted and I would be able to drive it. The fuel consumption isn't as good as the Citreon, because it is an automatic and it is petrol, but it is still better than the PT!
So we are now left with a dilemma!! Do we go for a manual car that is diesel so has good fuel consumption, but that I can't drive, OR, do we go for the automatic car, that has lots of space and I will be able to drive, but the fuel consumption isn't so good?
We have still to make our decision, so watch this space!!!!