It’s been a week since I sold my mini of 9 and a half years. The mini I named PJ, after Ganesh was on the phone to me after I had bought it saying, “What are you going to call him?” and I was like, um, and then looked at the numberplate and said “PJ?” Here’s a photo of the car before I bought it, sitting all pretty at the Maidenhead Mini place back in December 2006.
I had always wanted a shiny red mini, for as long as I can remember. And I mean the original tiny little minis. My dad was adamant that I shouldn’t get one, as he had a mini back in the 70s and had a bad accident in one. I had to reassure him that minis these days were made by BMW, much bigger and sturdier.
But it was an impulse buy – the biggest one for me at the time. I had just started my new job at Barbie (Mattel), which was in a random business park in Maidenhead. I had planned on commuting by train, but it was a 20 minute walk from the station through little alleyways and parks and what seemed like a forest. I could not do this every day! So I bought this mini in my second week!
It was the start of many adventures. At Mattel we worked longer hours Mon – Thurs so that we could finish at 1pm on Fridays. I often drove to Kingston to meet Ganesh after work as he worked at Unilever there in the olden days. But PJ got to see a lot more than just Kingston 🙂
He was our wedding car – not the main one obviously – but the one we drove off in after our wedding weekend, and I drove it to Bath for our mini-honeymoon (the main one was in Hawaii a month later). I had changed out of my wedding dress for the drive, as it was massive, but we put wedding ribbon on the car, and stopped off at a service station for our wedding dinner – that still cracks me up, how romantic!
PJ came with us when we moved to Brixton for the start of our new married life. He helped us move all our stuff – which wasn’t that much at the time. I had to get a Lambeth residents parking permit for him, and he’d be parked outside our flat – there was always a fight for the best space! It snowed a lot that first winter, and poor PJ got covered in snow.
He took us on our first roadtrip for our first anniversary. We just hopped in and drove to Devon and then Dorset. We went to Teignmouth, Dawlish, Lyme Regis, Dorchester and Weymouth across a week, staying in BnBs. It was so much fun!
The following year we did another roadtrip for our second anniversary, this time to Norfolk and we visited Great Yarmouth, Wells-next-the-sea, Hunstanton and Cambridge.
And then Tyler was born! I first felt brave enough to drive with Tyler in the back when he was 3 weeks old. He cried and cried and cried for the first 10 minutes and then suddenly stopped. I looked in the mirror and he had just frozen, eyes open, arms open wide but not moving! I was so freaked out. Then he closed his eyes – ahh he was falling asleep, phew. Here’s a photo of Tyler in the car at 3 months.
And then for our 4th anniversary, we took Tyler on his first roadtrip with PJ at 15 months old. I was too afraid to go abroad with him but driving to Devon and Cornwall, that was way more exciting. I wrote all about those trips in my Toddler Trips series. We did Salisbury, Dawlish, St. Ives, Penzance, Lands End, Bude and Yeovil.
In 2014 we moved to Slough and PJ had his new parking spot in our underground car park. He took us on another adventure to Hastings for our 6th anniversary.
PJ took us on all our days out there, including the Kent & East Sussex Steam Railway, and visiting the old castles. My sister came with us, and it was quite a squash in the mini, but that made it all the more fun!
And that brings us to today. I knew I would have to get rid of PJ anyway as he was falling apart and the cost of fixing him was just not worth it – everything was broken, the passenger window that would not open, the dented roof with cement stains, the broken keys, the rusty door hinge that made closing the passenger door impossible, the hole in the bumper. I’m amazed I got anything for it! Plus it’s just not a practical car to have with two children and the tiniest boot ever.
Tyler was very attached to PJ, calling it ‘Mummy’s car’ and even having his own version of it. Whenever he’d see a different coloured mini on the road, he’d say, “Look a blue mummy’s car”. He’s alright now though, after 1 minute of sadness, he now calls minis ‘Mummy’s old car’.
I kept PJ as long as possible, but with my road tax running out on May 31st, and Honey Nut due in June, I had to get a new car. So these are my last photos with PJ 😦
And here’s a video I made of our last weekend with PJ:
PJ, thanks for all the adventures, you were a great car and we’ll always remember you. I hope your next owner looks after you well.