24 July 2018

old faithful, betrayed

IT SEEMS STRANGE TO POST ABOUT A MOTOR, but parting with our Citroën Berlingo was quite a wrench at the beginning of this year; why – Mrs Melling shed a tear even… so I trust my public will excuse this brief requiem for what is (or rather was) after all, an assembly of steel, aluminium and plastic. Don't bother with reading this then – move on to more exciting topics, if I have any to offer, which I doubt.

You see, we found our, hem hem  Berlingo Multispace 1.4HD Desire (I wince at that 'Desire' tag) almost the perfect set of wheels for our driving on the right exploits. OK– it was a van, with windows. But what a van! It pains us now to see older Berlingo models, often considerably worse for wear, still going about their business, with every indication that they will be continuing to do so for a good while yet . . . whilst our trusty steed will have been torn apart for spares, recycled and made into razor blades, battleships and park railings by now. It was running generally very well when we traded it in… I mean, just look at it … The picture above was what the 'van' looked like on the eve of its meeting with the crusher. A picture of health! We took care of it…

The reason for selling out on our loyal servant was mostly to do with the expectation of increasing bills to keep the motor on the road; the almost annual MOT failure – because of emissions, righted by administering a can of decongestant, but which one day would become much more expensive to sort out, the slight oil leak, wearing suspension linkage and an intermittent horn (which we rarely used so hardly were aware that it might add another cost to getting the old girl through her annual check-up). Diesel no longer being the flavour of the month in Blightey, we also found that the bus was worth a bit more than its list price of £675… thus it was we accepted a bribe of no less than £4500 to hand the motor over for breaking, in exchange for a newer, cleaner, cooler and, we hope, as reliable, estate car— this time petrol fuelled.  So far we are well pleased with the replacement.

But there is a sort of hankering back to a car you could get out of without needing a winch, a car with higher views, a car that can carry a baby grand… (I made that up, but it could I guess if you mashed the piano up a bit: it certainly coped with a sofa and maybe a water trough or was that the XM?). Anyway,  you could easily whip the seats out and load up Belgium with a bit of pushing and shoving.

And now, whenever we park up in this spot or that, when driving on the right, we oft recall being there in WG57 YZX; and, well – we feel a presence, we detect a bitter sweet taste of a betrayal in the ether…




We got through three Berlingos, all diesels (here above are the other two). The third one (which had loads of bells and whistles, some of which not even the new motor runs to) lasted ten years and took us to France etc many many  times. A life expired battery was the only road side whoopsy (in France naturally) plus an overnight brake adjustment that delayed us a day until it was put right for free. The 'van'  only slightly dropped us in it twice, both times easily sorted by my road manager: I'd have been stuffed, not knowing the language (I blame my school) so thanks to Mrs M for her garage forecourt directive skills.

Little did we know when we parked the wheels outside our hotel in Roscoff last november (left), that the dear thing was spending its last night on French soil …
I am welling up …

So farewell diesels, farewell Citroëns and in particular farewell our trusty final Berlingo,
you done good!