I was a car snob, but now I’m about to buy an Astra

A Vauxhall Astra
A Vauxhall Astra
Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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I’ve not had a lot of luck with cars recently and picking the next motor is driving me insane.

Why can’t I just see a car for what it is - a car!

I bought an 07-plate BMW 525d M Sport last spring, but now baby Holly has arrived we need more space on the drive so I wanted to trade it in for a hatchback.

Petrol or diesel? Manual or automatic? I wake up in a cold sweat, wondering how I’m going to make the right choice.

What I soon discovered was that the vehicle didn’t have the full BMW service history the dealer said it had.

In fact it had hardly any.

Well I know my rights and, as trading standards said, I can ask them to replace the car for one of similar value.

So now the search is on to find some new wheels.

As long as it had an engine and some seats, I bet many of you would be happy with most cars.

But for me it’s different.

I love cars and I admit that I can be a bit of a car snob.

If you drive a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW, I reckon it says you’re doing pretty well in life.

I scour Auto Trader looking at all the cars available. I check all the different specifications, engines and extras of each vehicle.

Petrol or diesel? Manual or automatic? I wake up in a cold sweat, wondering how I’m going to make the right choice.

In my mind, the best hatchback was always the VW Golf.

But I’ve had a few in my time and they are just a tad dull-looking.

Audi? You can save cash on them and buy Skodas instead.

The Ford Focus is an excellent car mechanically and I think its styling is lovely.

It’s a real contender, but we already have a Ford S-Max. I can’t have two of the same make!

One car keeps coming up. Surely not? For a car snob like me?

Well it’s the best-looking of the hatchbacks, it drives well plus it’s Top Gear’s latest featured ‘reasonably-priced car’.

Yes, it’s a Vauxhall Astra.

Vauxhall used to make ugly cars, but not any more.

For me, Vauxhall’s reputation is on the up.

If it’s good enough for The Stig, then it’s good enough for me.

I was very disappointed to wake up on Sunday morning with no snow on the ground.

The forecast showed we’d get an inch or so, but it fell as rain here.

Boo!

I conveniently forget that after the delight of fresh snow, you then have days of rock-hard, treacherous ice to contend with.

My radio listeners informed me that maybe it was too cold for snow.

Apparently in the UK there is an optimum temperature of -2c to +2C for snow, but to lay on the ground it needs to be at freezing point.

Sadly, the ground is still wet from all the rain so the conditions weren’t right this time.

Our last snow was 2013, but I have my unused snow shovel at the ready just in case.

Tension mounts every Tuesday morning as yours truly heads for my weekly weigh-in at Slimming World.

I might be one of only a handful of men there, but the welcome is warm and the banter is always fun.

I’ve been good all week, hardly used up any of my ‘sins’ or ate naughty, fatty food.

I’ve been running and the instructor at the gym now knows my name I’ve been there that many times.

My digital scales in the bathroom say I’ve lost 7lb in two weeks.

But I still walk to Thorngate Halls in just my running gear so I can be as light as possible!

My target is to lose three stone. I’ll let you know the results in June.

Gulp!