Thursday, 20 December 2012

The day Ulrika died

Ulrika ka ka, my beautiful Ford KA, finally breathed her last this week. After five months of sheer bliss together (sort of), taking her for a long-distance spin when she was on her last legs spelt disaster. 

High on fumes, running on empty and having narrowly avoided several collisions, I managed to make it to Fords of Winsford, a well-known used car supermarket in Cheshire. It had taken me five hours to get forty miles.

I got Ulrika parked in the humungous car park and bundled myself through the glass doors towards reception. A friendly looking chap greeted me and was sympathetic to my plight. What I really needed at this point was a hug, a nice cup of cocoa and… well, a new – and preferably free – car.

I sat down with a man named Paul Atherton to discuss my options, and we were joined by another lovely chap whose name I’ve forgotten (I blame the fumes) who was learning the ropes. They talked me through my options and it soon became clear that I couldn’t afford any of them. No surprises there.

But Paul was undeterred. Unlike most car salesmen (sorry for the generalisation, but there does tend to be a ‘type’), he was honest, helpful and resourceful. First he arranged for poor Ulrika to be ‘reappropriated’, for a better sum than I was expecting. He haggled hard on her behalf, and I was immensely grateful.

Then we looked for a smallish car that would get me from A to B with the occasional long-distance run thrown in. We found one that was just the job, but unfortunately it was reserved for another customer. We found another and the same thing happened… it wasn’t looking good. But then, third time lucky, we found a handsome little wagon that ticked all the boxes. A 2008 Ford Fiesta Zetec without even the slightest scent of burnt engine.

There were still a few problems to overcome though. I needed to secure the necessary finance… I needed Fords to agree to lend me a courtesy car for more than a week as my car needed to be thoroughly checked before I could drive it away… And I needed to source my missing V5 certificate to prove that I was indeed Ulrika’s rightful owner. I asked about 100 questions and Paul answered them all. He even threw in a free cup of cocoa to sweeten the deal (see what I did there?).

Once the paperwork was signed, he drove the courtesy car round to where Ulrika had conked out and we unloaded my many bits and bobs, furry dice included. I gave her one last stroke and managed to hold back the tears. It was time for her to go to scrapyard heaven, and time for me to get to grips with the Hyundai I’d be borrowing for a week.

After a quick demo from Paul, it was time for me to say goodbye to Fords of Winsford and its wonderful employees. No hugs were exchanged, although I gave Paul and his deputy an imaginary one (I hope they don’t mind if they’re reading this). I drove off into the freezing fog, toasty warm and excited about my new wheels. It’s going to be hard for my family to match the present I’ve gifted myself!

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, it’s partly because I wanted to voice my gratitude to the guys that helped me in my time of need (including the lorry driver who stopped to help me on the side of the road and ended up making the problem worse… his heart was in the right place). 

And I also need name suggestions for the new car. At the moment she's called Fiesta ta ta (Fi for short), so if you think you can do better, add your suggestions in the comments section below. All sensible options will be considered! 

Finally, it occurred to me that we are bound to experience disappointments, breakdowns and losses in life. If things are going well for you at the moment, and I hope they are, be grateful! Thank the people that have helped you this year. Remember to enjoy the good times because you never know when they might end; especially if the Mayans have anything to do with it. If things aren’t going so well, I pray that the New Year will bring better times – don’t give up hope.

And with Christmas nearly upon us, let’s take time to remember why we have the fairy lights, the pigs in blankets and the warm mince pies: that Jesus, not turkey, is the reason for the season.

A very Merry Christmas to you from all of us at Sorted xxx


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for the constructive comment 'anonymous'!

    2. Great to hear a funny story albeit some time ago. I agree that the staff at Fords and online with my endless questions really are sooooo helpful and non pressurising.

  2. Great story, and testimonial of FOW. I'm looking at a car myself and I've heard a lot of good stories about them!

    Thanks for the write up, and for the record, I think Fi is a perfect name for the car! :)


    1. Thanks Dave!

      My experience with FOW was really good - they even MOT'd the car so I had a full year before the next one.

      Hope you find the right car for you!

  3. Nice Story. Hope your car is doing well

  4. Lovely little heartwarming story! Reassuring to know that there are helpful people still out there on our roads and in local businesses. You hear so much about staff that are treated unfarily these days. Seems that Fords takes good care of their staff and customers. Will be looking for a car myself soon at Fords - have had positive experiences there in the past and hope to do so again this time when going for our next car.

  5. Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

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