I took the car keys from the Europecar sales man with calm trepidation.
I don’t know if he could see the terror i possessed about being the primary driver in a compact car on the trolley sized lanes of Ireland.
Clinton has always been the driver on holidays, with me navigating by his side.
It was role reversal with me behind the wheel and Maddie with the iPhone map.
“Insurance miss? It’s only £19.95 extra a day with no excess.”
“No thank you, my travel insurance covers that (“I think” says the voice in my head).”
“Or you could go for the £14.95 a day insurance with a £250 excess? Otherwise any scratches, dents and marks mean you are liable to pay a £1200 excess.”
“No thanks! I’m sure my travel insurance covers this type of thing (shit I hope it covers this).”
“Well, here are the keys. Have a safe journey.”
We walk to the car and read the cars crim check. Two items list. Meticulous ones at that. A scratch 10 – 20mm long on the rear bumper and a another two scratches above light on right rear bumpers.
Shit, we are screwed if we so much as nick the hub cab of the gutter (of which I’m known to do).
“What if I find another mark while we are driving,” I ask, “as its difficult to fully inspect the car in this terrible raining weather,”(thinking – great escape should I knick something).
“Miss, you have a day to report any other faults you see. I recommend parking it undercover to see if there’s anything else.”
That’s the answer to make your fingernails drop off.
Lights, camera action.
We sped off, unintentional wheelie and all in the rain.
It was all going well until we reached the Cliffs of Moher
I had spoken to Belinda the night before we arrived and she said you could take or leave those Cliffs of Moher. They were the Great Australia Bite, but a little colder, with a cover charge and a lookout fort.
We should have left them.
We arrive at the scene of the crime.
I parked quite dramatically in a ditch, making a thud on the front left hand side of the car. Maddie jumped out to see if the damage had been done.
I’d been treating the bloody car like an egg.
Wrapping in cotton wool wherever we parked, gently driving Fifi up the highway, moving as far away as possible from incoming trucks and gently opening her doors when pulling up in city centres.
In my haste of worrying about her poor little tyre, I forgot about her fragile right door, violently opening her up onto the mini van parked next to me.
There was no damage to the tyre.
There was 1mm scratch of her black body, where once she held paint on her door.
I could rescue it – it was on the side of the car beside me, but I wouldn’t be able to permanently put it back on.
It was like breaking Wendy Walkers arm – devastating.
Fortunately, we got Fifi the Ford into the Belfast Airport without anymore bumps to her shell and we were later to find out that there was no report of damage.
I was so glad Mr Meticulous wasn’t working that day.