Thursday – Driving With Duckface


Jeremy I found a little bit of the ocean in Wiltshire yesterday that almost outshone the Pacific blue paint job on our Golf. The sleepy village of Ashmore, near Salisbury, has been cleaning up it duckpond and as a result, the water has turned a lovely shade of Mediterranean blue. It was such a bright blue that I completely forgot to take a photo with the car beside it.

I spent the morning walking with Anna ChancellorDuckface from Four Weddings and a Funeral – for a feature for the Financial Times. We had a two-car convoy through sunny countryside, which ground to  halt as we came face-to-face with another Golf travelling towards us.

What happened next was fairly comical. The woman driver politely started reversing down the lane and kept going, and going and going! But her trajectory wasn’t in a straight line – it was up one bank, back onto the road and then up the other bank. Not surprisingly, her Golf had the scars of previous reversing operations, probably down the same lane…

What she needed, of course, was our new, Mk VII Golf because it’s equipped with VW‘s optional touchscreen sat ‘nag’ system (£1,135) and rear view camera (£165). The 8-inch screen projects what is behind the car when you engage reverse gear, with track lines showing where the car is heading. I have to say, it does take some getting used to but for narrow Wiltshire lanes and Waitrose car park, it’s invaluable.

I’m still loving the Golf. The TDI is still returning 51.3mpg for everyday driving, which includes being pushed quite hard on A-roads and  ‘sport’ mode being set on the gearbox. I can’t remember the last time I drove a car and achieved over 50mpg!

Wednesday – What Happened To Jackie Kenny?


Jeremy Nobody could claim the Golf is a pretty car. Even our gleaming new GT model has plain Jane styling, regular hatchback looks and a corporate VW nose. Despite all this, the Golf does come with some endearing qualities that make it hard to resist.

I can’t imagine falling for a Ford Focus, a Vauxhall Astra or a Skoda Octavia for example in the same way as I’ve already fallen for the Golf. And I certainly have fallen, judging by the number of times I have peeped out of the dining room window to check it is still on the driveway.

What is it about the Golf? Is it because it has been a constant in my life? When the Mk I was born in 1974, I was buying my first David Bowie record, chasing Jackie Kenny around the playground and cursing a device called a slide rule. My father was driving a Vauxhall Viva but I secretly longed for him to drop me off at school in a Golf.

I’ve never been one to give cars a name but the Volkswagen is already starting to feel like a friend. I know that it will be 100 per cent reliable, carry five adults and a decent amount of luggage in comfort, and it will hold its value better than the competition. My Golf won’t look out of fashion in five years time and the TDI engine will keep on performing until the bitter end, however hard I push it.

So, driving my first few miles in the Golf, I can tell you that under that refined, and more sculpted new bodyshell, it’s just like the old Golf. And there couldn’t be a better recommendation than that.