You are most interested in the seagull poo, aren’t you? I have to be honest and say it isn’t the highlight of my year driving a convertible (as you would expect) especially as I was 100 miles from home and en route to a funeral. But I had to just sit there, laugh, and take it on the chin. Or right shoulder to be more accurate. The perils of being stationary in a station car park, with the roof down in a seaside town.
Just over ten months ago I became the proud owner of a convertible Mini. A very generous birthday present from my parents who gave me a budget and told me to buy a car. I set my heart on a Mercedes or an Audi only to realise they were far too serious for me and that I needed something smaller and much more fun. One criteria that never waivered though was the fact I wanted a convertible as I had never had one before. ( I wrote about the buying process here: Buying a used car ) .
Well after 10,000 miles in my little ruby bundle of joy I have learnt quite a lot:
- Firm hold hair spray is no such thing.
- There is no point trying to have a conversation on the phone. It might come with built in blue tooth but that only really works with the roof up, or at 10mph. With the proviso at 10mph you are happy for all around you to hear your conversation too. Anything sensitive, sweary or smutty and people WILL turn around and look at you.
- The same is true, ish, for music. I love motorway driving with the music turned up loudly and have an Apple Music Playlist of top driving tunes. Billy Joel’s Piano Man and ELO’s Mr Blue Sky are terrific, Dua Lipa’s IDGAF or Kings of Leon’s My sex is on fire whilst sitting in a traffic jam and you’re on dodgy ground indeed.
- Washing the windscreen is not a good idea. Even when you tell your passenger to duck just before hitting the windscreen button, they still get wet.
- Talking of getting wet, watching clouds becomes a whole new game when you drive topless. Will that grey cloud still be there when I get closer? Is it actually raining under it? How far are the nearest services? Are you allowed to stop in the pull in areas on smart motorways just to put the roof up? I need 19 seconds for the roof to close, if I do it at the next set of red lights will I have enough time? Questions I have asked myself several times over the past 10 months.
- There is also no smugger face than the one that has spotted a black cloud ahead, as approaching the end of stationary traffic on the north circular you close the roof (it can’t be done whilst travelling above 20mph) and as it finally latches the heavens open. You can almost feel the people next to you saying “jammy sod”.
- You do need a hat. I thought people wearing hats whilst driving convertibles were just lightweights but you soon realise that the sun visor on cars is pointless when the sun is just above the roofline, and beating down on your head. Not only do you need it to stop your scalp burning, you need it to keep the sun off your face. Trust me.
- You will also suddenly decide during a snow storm that you want to drive your car with the roof down. You will convince yourself that if you drive fast enough you won’t get too wet and keep reminding yourself that the heated seats and blowers work instantly and brilliantly to allow you to “enjoy” being topless in -4.
- It won’t be long before you are also aware of every dairy farm in your area. And how to seek alternative routes that don’t cause your nostrils to be assaulted.
- Ditto lavender fields / gardens full of magnolia / rose arches. You will seek them out at every opportunity and pray that you can be slowed down sufficiently that you can crawl past them and get a lung full of their heady scent.
- Your car will be the tidiest it has ever been. a) you don’t want stuff to blow out of it at random intervals; and b) you want to be able to park it and not put the roof back up every time.
- It also won’t take long for you fall in love with driving again too. To not care that you are stuck in traffic or have a five hour journey ahead of you. It will make you smile every time you get in it and make driving a joy.
If you think convertibles are just for the summer, think again.
Unless you live by the coast, then you might want to consider the seagull situation first.