The tale of the Austin Metro

Just like you should never work with kids or animals, you should never let nostalgia rule your head on anything important. Especially if that ‘something important’ is buying a daily runner car (sorry Nancy, sorry Martha) to keep your cars salt free over winter.

bad metro

Oh dear…

To justify another stupid British Leyland purchase, I talked Mum into the idea of having another Austin Metro; an idea she was actually ridiculously keen on. So with a sense of trepidation, I viewed a Metro or two ‘int North’ before finding ‘the one’ in London.

She was a perfect 10. A beige 5 door Austin Metro City X. In the photos she was every inch the super star; a beautifully clean interior with a body to match. She was the 80s dream I was searching for and at a price I could stretch to with a few weeks of beans on toast. I nervously exchanged emails with the seller and in broken English he praised the car for reliability, overall condition and said she was ‘rot free’ (apart from a dodgy inner wing – but every girl has a fault).

And with that, I booked my tickets to London…and somehow talked my friend Kim into the whole sorry saga with a promise of an adventure if she came with me.

Knocking round Camden Stables looking like an exchange student

Knocking round Camden Stables looking like an exchange student

We duped my poor Dad into driving us to Peterborough, to get the train and Underground to Swiss Cottage, where we were greeted with…disappointment.

The car dumped in front of the dingy tower block was a mere shadow of the photos we had seen; a crumpled back, a hanging bumper and ripped and sagging interior. I suddenly knew how people felt when duped by ‘young’ photos on dating sites. Turns out those photos were from 3 years ago…

And with that, we were faced with a harsh reality: we had totally sailed up a creek with no paddle.

We stood there for a few moments taking in the absolute horror of neglected British motoring and decided to hop on the Underground to Camden – the gothic paradise we’d been obsessed with visiting since we’d met 10 years ago.

DSC_4985 copy

A tragic wedding

Somehow after buying street food, buying some clothes we’ll never wear and some suspicious accessories; we found our way back to a little shop selling ‘fancy dress photography’.

Before we knew it, I was dressed as the ‘American Woman’ from Titanic the movie and Kim was dressed as some sort of Disney Ariel Little Mermaid bride…with a Victorian backdrop. We posed for a few photos and upon deciding we couldn’t pick just one (because we are so ridiculously vain); we paid an eyewatering amount to get a collection of snaps on a CD to show the world via Facebook.

As we stumbled into the fading afternoon light, we spotted our favourite shop of dodgy teen angst days, Cyberdog. Having slightly changed round since the heady days of Cybergoth; the store is now a lot more mainstream with a ‘mature adult section’. We seemed to drift into this section quite by accident (honest Mum) and we stood transfixed as this woman in a knock off Kylie ‘Can’t get you out of head’ era outfit pole danced and stared seductively at the tragic lingering men in-store.

Before we knew it, it was time to get home. With a quick swipe of the much used Visa Debit; we were back on a train to Peterborough – where we had to scrounge a lift in a very nice Triumph Stag to get back to Boston. Hardly the British Leyland working class experience we’d hoped for, but marvellous nonetheless.

Despite getting fleeced royally into seeing a car that was better suited to Scrapyard Challenge, I’m so glad I went to London with somebody I consider to be the next best thing to a sister. I’ve not learnt much (despite always saying every adventure teaches you a lesson), however, I’ve definitely decided 2015 will be the Year of the Metro.

Watch this space.


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