As a part of the reinvention of Pandora, finding a vehicle for the new and improved Pandora was coming imminent.
Actually, it was more the fact that Andrew, my old, trusty Echo was going to start costing me a lot of money - and being an eleven year old Toyota, though as a reliable as a Tony Abbott diatribe on the carbon tax, it was going to need a new clutch and various other large mechanical jobs in the next year.
Besides - I am the new and improved Pandora, time for a new and improved car.
For the last year I've been hemming and hawing about trading in the Echo for something a bit more modern. A car that I didn't have to stop and pull the key out of the ignition to get to the boot. A car which had a few mod cons like electric windows and maybe even power steering (though the Echo was pretty light, it still gave you a work out going round small roundabouts.) A car that had a few more safety features than a working brake light. A car that would suit my new improved self. After nearly seven years, it was time to shake my Toyota driving persona into something a bit more street credible.
I've always loved the Mazda 2 Maxx. They're cute. They're zippy. They have a great shape. They run as well as Toyota. And though there are tonnes of them on the road, they are still a bit unexpected as the Maxx has the spoiler and the alloy wheels.
Scanning back to December last year when Tin Can, String and Whistle gave me the flick, I remember sitting in the room with Popeye and the HR girl looking at my payout figure and stating "That's a Mazda 2 for me. A Mazda two with mags and a spoiler."
Unfortunately I had to use most of that money to live on, but the dream of the Mazda 2 remained.
Scanning the car sales pages online a few weeks ago there was this add for a dealer second hand car. Two years old. Silver grey. Spoiler. Alloy wheels. 29000 kms on the clock. Clean drive, no accidents recorded. Dealer car. RACV approved. Five doors - brilliant - it means I can put Mum in the back.
The model I wanted (Mazda 2 Maxx). The right price. Pretty much the right everything.
I put in an enquiry and a nice, older car salesman called me back the following morning. I said I'd be out on the weekend, but don't count on my buying it - I'm more likely to buy in a few months, but I'd love a look. Sure he said. He sounded like a good bloke. Not a dud. I don't like salesmen at the best of times, but this one sounded alright.
Sunday came, I braved Richmond traffic (and the stupid people who tried to get in to see the houses of "The Block" which is situated down the road) and drove out to Mulgrave.
The car salesman, Chris, was a joy. Not pushy, friendly and relaxed. He took me over to the car and I did my bestest "Dagenham Five Step " (how you're taught to look over a car in England.)
I had a look over the car. I asked a few pointed questions. Kicked the tyres. Looked under the bonnet, in the boot, went up and down over the car.
"You ask a lot of questions." said Chris.
"I worked as a car buyer for a fleet company in England."
"Oh. You know what you want?"
"You want to test drive it?"
"Half an hour enough?"
"Yep - as long as you have no issue with me taking it down the Monash."
"Not at all."
It was love at first sight. For a two-year-old car it's practically unmarked. One or two spots in the duco. Drives like a dream. It has power steering and lots of air bags and keyless entry and cup holders and alloys and the spoiler I wanted. And a six stacker CD payer which does MP3s too - and stereo controls on the steering wheels.
Okay, I wanted a black one when I put out my wish list - but black ones are hard to keep clean. I've always had white cars, over white cars. No more goody, goody image. But this silver car is sexy and understated.
After leaving Mr Chris with a deposit, I went and visited a friend and started to panic.
What had I done?
I'd bought a car!
The insurance, the e-tag for the tolls, the rego, the car loan - all sorted in a lunchtime during the week. I asked a friend about taking Andrew off my hands - he declined so I traded him in. Could have got more if I sold him privately, but heaven knows how long that would have taken.
It's all sorted. Yesterday afternoon I waved goodbye to Andrew with a little regret. It was like leaving your dog at the vet to get rehoused or put down. I hope he goes to a good family - he's been a great car.
I am now the owner of a two year old Mazda 2 Maxx. It's me, saying to the universe, "Keep me gainfully employed, please." and, "See, I do have some sort of sex appeal and street cred!."
And as for the name...
Well, I had Colin the Diahatsu Centro with the 0.65 litre engine a few years ago. Colin's always appear to have "small man syndrome" or mother issues. I would have called the car Allan, but Allan always make the tea - and a Diahatsu can't make tea. My mother loved that car. I left her with him when I went and lived in Greece for a few months - the perfect runabout, but she would have been screwed if she hit a roo on her way to the Victor Harbor Woolies. Colin was just a lawnmower with a tinfoil shell.
Then there was Andrew the Toyota. Andrew was named after an ex's wedding tackle. Andrew was small, but got you where you needed to go.
Yes, I'm a disgrace - but I didn't name my exes tackle. Honest.
So what do you call a silver grey Mazda 2, with alloys and a spoiler.
Dennis came to mind. But Dennis will be reserved for when I get a black car. Black cars are hot - like an old workmate of mine, who is just lovely.
We discussed it at work. What about Trevor? Nope, too many uncles called Trevor - not particularly reliable. Kevin - hell no! Last bloke I went out with was a Kevin - bad name, bad move, dreadful associations. Malcolm? Nope - my father's brother (who also has a brother called Trevor too - can't name cars after family members.) Donald - nope, my step-dad's feral brother who my Mum won't have in the house. Steve? Rodger? Randall? Porn Star.
Peregrine? Tarquin? Rupert? Nope. The car isn't going to be into Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand.
Then the name Neville came up. I wanted to say that Neville was the concrete aboriginal on "Kingswood Country" but I thought the better of it. I was at work. Can't say things like that.
But Neville sort of rang true. The only Neville I know is my cousin's first ex-husband - and he's okay. Laid back, killer sense of humour when you get to know him. Quiet, understated, sort of respectable, but there is a bit more going on under the surface.
Neville it is.
Okay, I name my cars after middle-aged accountants (or in this case a greying police prosecutor from Mount Gambier)
Neville it is.