Living in a semi-rural area, you get the best of both worlds. Lovely countryside, with beautiful scenery and a peaceful existence, but also an impressive array of different shops and entertainment options just a short distance away. The frustration I have, though, is that it's very difficult to get around. We are lucky, because we have a rather old, but utterly brilliant car. It's utterly brilliant because, despite being middle-aged in car terms, it goes. That level of reliability is worth its weight in gold living here.
*In association with Money Barn
It frustrates me though, because it would be nice not to have to rely on the car sometimes. The sad fact is, despite the Government trying to encourage people to use their cars less, in many parts of the country there is no viable alternative. It's not that I expect a bus service to replace the car entirely. I realise that, by living in a less populated area, there will always be an element of compromise with timetables. I accept that I will have to plan my journey and leave a lot more time to get to places. I don't even mind that, often, our buses are an hour apart. People who live in even more rural areas, are even worse off, with some having barely any buses at all. Not much use if you want to follow the government's advice and ditch the car in favour of the environment! What bothers me though, is how unreliable they are. It's not so bad, if you just want to pop out for the afternoon, to have a look round the shops, or something, but when you need to be somewhere for a certain time, it gets really silly. As the buses are sometimes late and have been known to not turn up at all, if I need to be somewhere at a specific time, I have to get the bus before the one I need, so that I will still get there if it lets me down. Sometimes it can take up to two hours to do a twenty minute journey! It's crazy. Not to mention a real worry, if this happens...
Our last car succumbed to an engine fault for the second time and we had to let it drive off to the big motorway in the sky. It was a sad day, I was quite sentimental about it! We managed to last a few months without a car, but it wasn't easy. We tried to be stoic about it, see it as a fun challenge, but it did not go well. Firstly it rained every day for the first two weeks! Secondly, the husband works nights, so the buses are even less of an option and it was too far to cycle every day. He did give it an incredibly valiant effort, but it's hard to cycle 10 miles and then do a 12 hour nightshift in a manual job. After a few months, some inclement weather and many, many trips to the supermarket with a very funky looking wheely shopping trolley, we had a stroke of luck. A family member was replacing his car, so we inherited the old one for a very reasonable price! I sometimes wish I could insure the car, like I do the washing machine, as it's equally hard to do without it and I don't want to go through that again anytime soon! There is always the option for specialist car finance, even if you have bad credit, which is good to know and the interest isn't as much as you'd think. I hope this car lasts a bit longer, though, we've been on so many adventures already, I'd be sad to see it go!