When I was 47 years old I spent nearly a full year believing I was 48.
It was only after meeting an old classmate from St Eunan’s College who claimed he was still only 47 as we starting chatting about the arrival of ‘The Big five O’ that I realised, mistakenly that I skipped a year in my life. I was never that good at sums.
I had the same feeling this year missing the spring and start of summer in this lockdown, I was there for it and beautiful as it was from my kitchen window, I missed being out on the road.
But we’re back on the road this week.
“A twister, a bottle of Football Special and the Lotto for Wednesday night, please?” I said to the shopkeeper.
I was sure this wee post office and country shop of Cassidy’s in Inver would be closed and the cordoned off tape around the front door on my arrival this week seem to back up my fear.
On closer inspection what I had mistaken from a closed sign was a sign to use the side door, as they were fitting a new footpath at the front of the premises.
The wee shop hasn’t changed much (with the exception of a big sheet of Perspex hanging from its low roof at the counter) since Anne, the shopkeeper’s mother bought it as a going concern in the 1950’s. You appreciate places like this, that you know of along the road for years that you would have taken for granted before the lockdown.
The summery syrup taste of McDaid’s Football Special brought me back to the one and only sporting cup I was a part of a team playing in. That was for Glencar playing in a football pitch where Scoil Cholmcille now stands. I think it was Oldtown that we played against. We went the long way home down the Back Road and up the Main Street.
We called into Mc Caul’s Pub at the foot of the town and someone filled the cup with McDaid’s Football Special, we were made, it looked like Smithwicks! and for all we knew we believed it tasted like it too.
Back to this week, I normally look for a nice Donegal beauty spot to photograph a car that I’m writing about for this column, today looking at the Seat Arona from across the road at Inver Post Office sign this location after lockdown was just perfect, it looked beautiful.
A Rover Rossnowlagh, A Morris Marble Hill or A De Lorean Downings just haven’t the same ring to it, those being that of the names of beach resorts in Donegal as the Seat Ibiza or the Seat Arona sound like, both called after faraway holiday areas of Spain and Tenerife.
The Arona is the crossover version of the Seat Ibiza, and is the title holder “Continental Tyres Irish Small Crossover Car of the year.”
There is nothing small about the inside of the Arona finding loads of legroom and headroom thanks to some very well planned seat and steering wheel adjustments.
It’s all petrol versions now as will be the norm, this 998cc engine is very capable producing 85 to 115 bhp depending on which model you go for and returning a healthy 56 miles per gallon with the right lite foot.
I don’t know if it was the sunshine on my trip through the Gap this week but collecting this latest Seat for a spin from DMG Motors just seem to tick all the right boxes.
It has a very sporty and stylish feel to its interior and the seating position gives you a very clear view of the road ahead. It has beautiful half leather seats and some very stylish detailing red stitching in the steering wheel and a leather-covered handbrake.
Getting back to normal
Trying to read between the lines with production of cars back in action now, it would be a good estimate to say that most car manufacturers are still only at 30% production because of the restrictions of social distance etc.
With the likes of the Seat Arona, the different finish levels have a good range of extras as standard.
Going forward and looking about changing your car this year it would be worth working with you local dealer to see what’s available from the stock rather than ordering some specification that might in the present climate take longer than normal to arrive.
This Seat Arona looked sharp on style with its black over silver exterior and it higher ride height on the road.
At 115 brake horsepower, this raspy petrol unit pulls well on the road matched up with a 6 speed gear box. I even had it in cruise control heading up the bypass in Mountcharles.
Reversing camera, radio, phone and sat nav all come up on a central display unit which is a pleasant change to Alexa which we had in our ear for the last few months in lockdown.
Enjoying that HB ice-cream Twister sitting with the air-con on at a traffic light as the big Volvo Moxys dump trucks got back to work to re-aligning the Donegal Town to Killybegs Road, the Eco-friendly engine of the Arona switched itself off in the stationary position.
On days like this, you reflect on how bad this pandemic was but trying not to forget that it is still very much here, even though Ireland as a group like the footballer on the mineral bottle played a blinder in defence in levelling the road ahead.
The main reason for this write up this week was see what it is like to go back into garages in preparation to look at new or second hand cars or to get cars serviced.
Included with DMG motors we visited Kelly’s Toyota and Inishowen Motors this week all of which have made big steps to reassure customers that all possibly can be done is being down to prevent any possible risk of transmission.
Right through from customers’ keys placed in sealed bags for servicing to relocation of stores and service point of contact to front of showrooms to clearly mark sanitation of touchpoints before and after services right through to sanitation units to clean the air within the car.
Right through to personal appointments where guideline on procedures can be explained over the phone before a visit.
Overall my first steps out of isolation were positive as long as every so often you pause and think what you’re doing before you do it.
Hopefully, this next phase will be as successful at the lockdown was, pausing also to reflect on those that lost their lives during this pandemic (connected or not) that could not mourn with family and friends in the traditional Irish way.
On a lighter note filing this copy on Wednesday afternoon I am waiting hard on Wednesday nights Lotto and hoping that the Lotto will be won in Inver, Co. Donegal.
Happy motoring Folks.Tags: