It was mooted some time last year that if I lived long enough (i.e. until my 25th birthday) and managed not to crash the Fiesta in the meantime, I might be able to get insured to drive my Dad's car, a 2009 Mondeo diesel estate.
I reached the old quarter-centenary last month. Without crashing the Fiesta.
As of early yesterday afternoon, I'm told, I am now insured to drive the Mondeo. So last night I went for my first spin in it. I have to say, it was quite a surreal experience, in that all the principles are exactly the same, but pretty much every single detail was different. Still an automatic gearbox, but a different type of automatic gearbox. Still got the indicator stalk on the left, but it feels different somehow. Still got brakes (as you'd hope, really), but much more bitey than in the smaller car.
But if you'll excuse the terrible pun, the big difference was how big it is. Compared to the Fiesta, the Mondeo is a bit wider, has a higher and longer bonnet, and sticks out half a mile further at the back end, which makes cornering that bit hairier. I spent the inaugural drive alternating between thinking "this is fine, I don't know what Mum complains about," and then having sudden moments of doubt whenever I came up to a corner, as the Mondeo's hugely increased wheelbase makes cornering a very different experience to what I'm used to.
But strangeness aside, I got it back onto the driveway in one piece, so it was all good in the end.
And then, out of sheer force of habit, I reached for the key to turn it off.
Which was silly of me, because I've known all along that you don't put the key in the steering column in the Mondeo. It signals its presence wirelessly, and you start or stop the engine with a button on the dashboard. But my muscular memory kicked in, and I reached for the non-present key anyway. Duh.
- The Colclough