When my mum and dad ring to tell me that they have bought something new I normally feel my stomach sink. I feel that the roles have reversed. It used to be me ringing to tell my mum my latest purchase only to hear her roll her eyes over the phone. Now it’s the other way round.
My dad is extremely fond of buying “toot”. This is the man who probably has 22 pairs of green waterproof (I do not know why they have to be waterproof and I don’t want to know) trousers, all identical. Then there was the alarm in the garden that emits a high pitch noise to scare cats off. I can hear it, my parents can’t and it seems that the cat can’t either as it likes to sit next to that alarm taunting us all as my ears bleed from the sound. Let’s not mention the objects that fill their small garden. So many ornaments, fountains, clocks, sundials, their entire back fence is covered in delights from the local garden centre. It looks like the garden centre vomited into their garden. However, it has a certain cluttered charm. The list of impulse and insane purchases is endless. My favourite one is from my dad again. It was a wedding anniversary gift for mum. I have a feeling that it might have been their 20th wedding anniversary. What did dad buy mum to mark this special occasion? A pickle picker. Yup, a pickle picker for 20 years. How she didn’t launch it as his head I don’t know. However, at least that was relatively cheap. The latest purchase would not have been as cheap as a pickle picker…
Mum: (She is extremely giddy and talking very fast). I’m very excited. We have got an excellent deal. We are very excited.
Me: (Sinking feeling in stomach) Oh no, what have you done now? Please don’t tell me that you have booked into that nude yoga retreat, backpacking trip around the world, pimped the car up with alloys and fuzzy dice?
Mum: Well, you know that the car kept breaking down? Well, we only managed to part exchange it. We have a lovely new car.
Me: Oh? What did you get? Please don’t tell me that you have given into dad and purchased a convertible. It is never sunny enough for that and we are now in winter.
Mum: Noooo. An electric car.
Mum: An electric car. We are doing our bit for the environment. We are that man who climbed trees. What was he called? You remember, used to be all over the news.
Me: (Sighs) Swampy.
Mum: Yes, we are a pair of swampies.
Me: (Mutters under breath) Nutters more like.
Mum: Pardon. The phone line doesn’t seem to be very clear.
Me: Right, very environmentally conscious of you. Well done. You went for a hybrid right?
Mum: No. We are fully committed to this so we went full on electric.
Me: So you have basically bought a mobility scooter.
Mum: Don’t be rude. No, it has roof and doors you know.
Me: Ooooh fancy.
Mum: It was a fantastic price.
Me: Hang on. You live in the middle of the countryside. Do you have any charge stations in your village?
Mum: (sounds sheepish) Well, no.
Me: Whaaaaaat. Have you lost the plot?!
Mum: It can do a 100 miles.
Me: But Nan lives further away than that.
Mum: Ahh well we can charge up at Colchester.
Me: Is that not a 100 miles away?
Mum: Erm, no, I don’t think so.
Me: What if you get stuck in traffic, have to take a diversion, can’t find a charge station? Oh gosh, what have you done! You are going to break down in a dark country lane and no one will find you until it’s too late. The electric car will kill you!
Mum: Stop being so dramatic. We will switch the radio off and windscreen wipers to save electricity.
Me: (Starts weeping at the madness of it) Hang on you do realise that it makes no sound and dad drives like a lunatic. He will end up running someone over and end up in prison. You need to hang out the window making a vroom vroom sound as you go along.
Mum: There is a button you can press and it then makes an engine noise. Honestly Emma, we aren’t stupid you know.
A couple of days later I rang my mum for her to answer with the words “it’s very messy, so messy. We are having a melt down. I’m going to have to ring you back”. I didn’t want to know what my parents were up to but my mum later rang up to explain. They had made it to Colchester in the electric car but then realised that couldn’t actually get back home unless they topped up the car. What was even worse, they hadn’t signed up with the quick charge station they visited. Seven miles further down the road, they finally found one atthe Retail Park. Unfortunately, it released the electric out at a trickle because three hours later they were still sat there waiting for their car to fill up. Where they thought the electric car would save them money, they whiled away their three hours by visiting Costa for coffee and biscotti, Next to get their Christmas jumpers, McDonalds for another coffee and burger, and Boots for an assortment of goods, which meant they spent far more than 3 gallons of good old Unleaded. They would have been better with a mobility scooter. Now my mum has realised that her dreams of being an eco-warrior were a little ambitious and she is cursing Swampy for inspiring her. In the meantime, my dad is enjoying the fact that my mum can’t venture further than one mile in the car because she is so scared that it is going to run out of charge. Let’s just say that my mum’s busy social calendar has been put on hold for now. I’m sure she will work the electric car out eventually.
By the way, if you see a man in deepest, darkest Suffolk driving a silent car as he leans out of the window shouting “vroom, vroom, vrooooom”, save yourself and get off that road quickly.
Update to this post – since writing this post I have found out that the electric car is too big for mum and dad’s garage too. Genius.