I adore convertibles. When I was little my mother had a bright green Citroen 2CV and we used to drive through the Dorset lanes with the wind in our hair and Dory Previn on the ropey old tape machine. My dad loathed the car because it was noisy and unreliable and my mum went off it when the roof came adrift and knocked her half-unconscious as she drove along. But my sister and I adored it and after my mother got a swankier car she gave it to us. I was working on a local newspaper at the time and when I set off for work at the crack of dawn every Monday morning me and my mum had to push it down the road for a quarter of a mile to get it started. On a good day its top speed was 60mph but on bad days lorries and caravans whizzed past me with ease. I was still so entranced that when it finally gave up the ghost I bought an identical Deux Chevaux in a shade of pale blue Cath Kidston would give her eye-teeth for.
But years later I still hankered for another convertible so eventually I took the plunge and bought one. Great – apart from the fact that there were only a handful of days when it was warm enough to have the roof down. At my teenage son’s insistence we tried it in February but we had to wear so many extra layers to keep warm on the school run that we soon gave up.
Even when summer arrived I only had the roof down for one short journey before a man on his way home from work took his eye off the road and slammed into the back of me. Once it was repaired I reluctantly decided it was time to say goodbye. I made sure my new car had a sun-roof but as my children keep telling me sadly “it just isn’t the same…”
In France this summer they spotted a beaten-up turquoise 2CV for sale for three hundred euros outside a garage in Dieulefit and tried to convince me to buy it. I admit I was half-tempted but luckily someone else snapped it up before I could do something even sillier than usual. And now it turns out that driving a convertible with the top down can seriously damage your ears – so maybe I’m better off without it.