Back Where You Belong

Our car was stolen a few months ago and we’d accepted that we’d never see it again. Came up with all kinds of exciting scenarios for how it had happened: Russian car theft rings, deranged farmers with wild dogs who come down to the villages and lift cars every now and then, chop shops – we thought we’d imagined every possibility.

But the reality was much less glamorous. Some country sad sack needed a ride home to the next village one night, and “d’uh, I take this one!” nicked our lowly Ford Escort from in front of the garage where it had recently been repaired. Left it sitting there, parked on the sparsely-traveled street, for almost two months. A local, noticing the blight on the landscape, eventually called the police.

They summoned us to the village where the garage is located back in October. The day a paper had come from the auto insurance company, asking Eric to verify his identity before they could proceed with any claims. We’d met with four policemen in front of a shabby, ancient barn, all of them tall and in knee-high polished black boots (and the rest of the gendarme outfit but it was the gleaming boots that captured my imagination). The tallest one with the little mustache r-o-l-l-e-d back the barn door and shined his flashlight in.

“Is this your automobile?” he asked.

Eric, overcome with emotion, hid his face in my shoulder, sobbing “Oh my God.” (He didn’t really, but as they were acting so CSI, it would have made sense.)

As he stepped forward to throw his arms around the car, one of the officers shouted, “Ne touchez pas la voiture!” They instructed us to circle the car, as they held up stuff they’d found inside. “Is this your…CD?” (The Eels! We thought it had been lost forever). “Two ancient pines cones?” Check. “Is this your…bag of garbage?” (Three empty water bottles and a crumpled boulangerie bag, present and accounted for!)

After all this verifying, they took Eric into the station where he signed a report. Then we went away on tour for two months.

This past Friday, we went back to the garage. Sitting out front, looking the cleanest it has in four years, doors unlocked (ahem), good as or better than it was before – the Ford Escort.

Happy New Year!

12 thoughts on “Back Where You Belong

  1. Jim S

    yeah, too bad no music was required – I think Ride of the Valkyries is the approved tune – but only if you can get Robert Duval for the crazed leader of the raid…

  2. Seb

    When he asked was it your car, you should have looked at it, it looked at him, rubbed your chin and said "Mmmmmaybe…. do you have a nicer one we can pick?"

  3. amy

    I know, Fly, still thinking that would've been fun…They didn't even take the pinecones Marina. Nice thieves.The only one we could find who wasn't out hunting when we took the photo, Eric.Thank you Ang!Jim i worried they might be used to that one by now…was thinking maybe the Swingle Singers would have done the job?A missed opportunity Seb – we could have finally gotten that deux chevaux I've had my eye on…though might not be so good on the Autobahn.

  4. Wreckless Eric

    Too bloody right. I once rented a Deux Chevaux – they were five pounds a day at the time, it being the eighties. I got it up to seventy five and the roll back roof thing suddenly leapt in the air and came down with a sharp crack on my head. And you couldn't even get an amp in the trunk/boot. And the seats were like deckchairs only less comfortable. Not the sort of car for driving to Bradford in which is what I did.

  5. Richard

    I've been trying to find the right Eels song for the Escort. I'm going with "To Lick Your Boots" since there is new respect for the machine and an Englishman.

  6. amy

    But I bet you looked great getting there. Glad to know your "interesting" motoring experiences have nothing to do with some kind of automotive curse on me…It was Beautiful Freak, Richard, but I like your choice.

  7. Andy D

    As an owner of a classic Ford myself it’s so nice to see a concourse classic like this returned to its rightful owners. The boys at the Ramsgate Historical Car society have been worried about this fine example for a while now.

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