Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Husbands Love Affair

“It looks like Saab could be gone” himself proclaimed recently, in a tone one would normally associate with the announcement of the death of a close family member. “Oh” I said, smiling a huge beamy smile inside. I am not at all upset to hear of the possible demise of the Swedish car company. Like Princess Di all those year ago, I can also say “there are 3 of us in this marriage” and like Di “it’s a bit crowded.” But instead of the horsey looking matron she had to worry about, my ‘other woman’ is a Saab convertible.

The only time I ever threw a vase at him was when he casually announced the purchase of the first convertible. Let me make it clear at this point, that both he and I have our own vehicles. He needs a jeep for his work. This extra car, we didn’t need and back then, we definitely could not afford it either. I tried to throw him out – he wouldn’t go. But I was so angry that he didn’t dare to bring his new purchase home for almost a year. He kept her, like a loyal mistress in a rented lock-up and visited her furtively, on his way home from work every so often. My anger eventually burnt out and we moved to a house with a garage and so she was formally introduced to the rest of the family. I should also say that this first convertible was not actually a Saab. Oh no, this was some kind of kit car that someone else had put together. It had only 2 tiny seats and travelled about 2 inches above the road.

One night he asked me if he could take me up the mountains to see the full moon and stars. Under the cover of darkness we wedged ourselves into this ridiculous car and off we went. The moon and stars were lovely alright but we looked like two elephants in a matchbox as we breezed south on the N11.

Bless him, he spent an entire winter rebuilding the dashboard. Finally after many long, freezing nights in the garage he proudly announced that his work was finished. She had a lovely shiny metallic dashboard. Great. “I’m just going to take her out now for a bit of a run” he announced, “see you in an hour.” Off he went. But about fifteen minutes later I heard him coming in for a landing on the drive. “What happened” I asked nervously looking for signs of damage. “I indicated at the junction and all the electrics blew”. Changing a light bulb is really the extent of his gift with electrics - or any DIY for that matter. And so like all mistresses, old Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was outliving her mystique. He decided to put her up for sale and so began his indulgence in Saabs.

Our Saabs are always a few years old and come from the UK. So each purchase has involved a one way Ryanair ticket to some regional British airport and ferry crossing home. These trips are planned with the same passion and energy of many adoptive parents on their way to Vietnam or China. Paperwork has to be sorted and VRT payments organised. And finally he arrives proudly driving his new baby down the road. This palaver has happened so often now that the only member of the family to display any excitement is the dog. And he gets excited any time anyone comes home!

Our garage has long since been converted and so the Saab lives on the driveway where it only gets very occasional use. Instead we grow a lovely kind of vibrant green moss on the soft top which also provides a cosy, warm, hammock-like bed for the cat on sunny mornings.

I think we were on Saab No 3 when he lost it altogether and decided that I would like one of my own. And so on our 10th Wedding Anniversary I was presented with the key to my very own Saab. Great! We now had 2 spare cars, one of which had to be parked around the corner as the driveway and road outside the house was full. After allowing him to bask in the glory of his huge generosity for a few months I finally got him to realise that having to pay two insurances and two road taxes for garden ornaments was madness. We sold both and yep – he bought another one.
About 3 or 4 times a year, usually on a sunny Sunday he gives his beloved Saab a good seeing to! She gets washed by hand, paying attention to all her nooks and crannys. He completes this ritual with a massage of polish. Afterwards they both sit and bask in the shine!

His devotion to Saab is total and unconditional. A couple of years ago, I thought we could all do with a sunshine break and found us a good deal for a week in the Canaries. He declined to join us saying he was too busy. Off we went and while we were away he managed to free enough time to pay to visit to Sweden to visit the Saab museum. I kid you not!

And the most amazing thing of all? We are still married, cos unlike the tragic Diana – I won’t let the bitch win!


  1. What a saab story! Beautifully written and should be in a book!!!!!! Loved it!

  2. That made me laugh out load, go Barbara!, men and cars we'll neverg get it, should send it to Jeremy Clarkson, really good, enjoyed it,

  3. Very funny - makes me sound like some kind of madman...
    - agreed though- well written and should be published somewhere !!
    Paul x x x

  4. That's a really great piece - well written and soooooo funny. If I wasn't his ma-in-law, I'd really want to meet Paul - he sounds very interesting. On the one hand, driving up the mountains with you to admire the moon and then refusing to holiday in the Canaries in order to go to visit the Saab museum in Sweden.

  5. Brilliant! - you had me laughing all the way through and when I got to the the two elephants in a matchbox!! well that was the icing on the cake!

    You really write funny things so well and I definitely second what everyone else has said, it should be published!

    Thanks for sharing this and for making me laugh so much!

  6. Very Funny Barbara! I had to smile when Saab was regulated to rented storage. Husband here purchased a motorbike when I was 30000ft in air on route to Ireland. I refused to speak to him for weeks. Very cold shoulder over the phone. Refused to look at motorbike for months. Glad to see I am not alone here. You captured husband's love of his motorbike. Is it just men? Are they twins? The only vehicle in this household with a guaranteed place of honour in the garage. Unlike you though, I still refuse to sit on the thing!

    Great writing, so witty! I second that, it should be published.

    Still chuckling.

  7. Hi Barbara,
    Came across your blog through the Inkwell Writers site. Loved this piece, it was hilarious! Although, I have to say I was very attached to my last car, I'm still on the look out in case I see it driving around anywhere in Co. Cork:)

  8. omg - I am stunned. Lots of comments in a few hours! Great. Thanks all for taking the time.
    @jan and @susannah will let you know just as soon as someone offers me a book deal!!! Thanks for laughing!
    @brigid Jeremy Clarkson gives me the willies big time! But thanks for the suggestion and glad you laughed
    @noirinscully and knew you would laugh. And you know that I am mining a paricular deep seam of funny stories
    So @ Paul Sherwood you had better watch out... there could be more to come!!!!!
    @Ann - should we set up a support group for poor wives like us. And yep it's a man thing although I used to think maybe it was a Brit thing but clearly not from what you say!
    @oliveobrien hello Olive and thanks for posting a comment. Glad you like this piece. And looking out for your last car.... what do you plan to do if you see it? Wave at it? I wouldnt know my last car if it crashed into me!!!

  9. So funny Barbara! I can't believe that he hid the car around the corner from you! And yes you should definitely look into having it published, it's really well-written.

  10. Hi Barbara, probably would try and buy it back, for a tenth of what I sold it for in this economy!

  11. I have to say.... I think your husband sounds like a wonderful bloke, one I'd very much enjoy meeting one day.

    And don't worry, we're trying very hard to keep his dream alive.

    Steven Wade (Saab employee, lives just down the road from said Saab museum)

  12. It's nice to get the woman's perspective. Now I know what my poor wife is going through with my love of Saab. It's time to rethink my obsession and pay a little more attention to the lady who's put up with me for 20 years. This will be, of course, right after I wash the Saab. lol

  13. Nicely written! I'm the one with the Saab love in my marriage. I'm deeply, madly in love with my 9-3 convertible. Thankfully, my husband is starting to see what all the fuss is about. I recently visited Sweden from the US and went totally out of the way to visit the museum. Once you're in a State of Nine mindset, it's hard to see otherwise. :)

  14. Loved this post Barbara - laughed out loud more than once!!


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