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Here Comes Treble: A Christmas Gift

...“Yes, a red car for Christmas would be ideal,” added Leon.
And the red car was available....

Now Isabel Bradley has a new "friend'' Sally - a beautiful, ruby-red, metallic-finished Yarris Hybrid.

About two weeks ago, Leon and I walked into our nearest Toyota Dealer. It was time to replace my faithful little white car, which had done six years of sterling service, with a newer, more modern vehicle, preferably one which came with a good maintenance plan. I had already decided that the sporty little car I’d seen at another dealer was probably the one I would sign for. However, Leon persuaded me that shopping around a little before finally making up my mind wouldn’t hurt me, and we’d already been to another brand dealer earlier that day.

The salesman Leon had spoken to on the phone, Leslie, greeted us with a wide smile showing a glinting gold eye tooth. He proudly took us to see the very attractive, though boringly white, Yarris Hybrid. This was a new model in the hybrid range. The hybrid car has two driving forces; an electric motor and a petrol engine: when running on petrol, the electric motor’s battery is charged; when running on the electric engine, the car is silent and smooth; on the overrun and while braking, the rotating of the wheels also charges the electric battery. When needing more speed, or to drive uphill, the petrol engine takes over once again. The body is a five-door ‘hatch’, with smooth, sporty lines. When either engine is running, the top of the headlights are lit with diamond-like LED lights.

After oohing and aahing over the vehicle, we moved to Leslie’s desk where he offered us tea, coffee or hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was a definite positive step towards making a sale: it was delicious, sweet and creamy. While Leon sipped his filter coffee and I enjoyed a second and third cup of hot chocolate, Leslie explained the price of the vehicle, what he could offer as a trade-in value on my current car, and we discussed how soon we could take delivery. The end-price was significantly lower than the car I had earlier set my heart on, and the Hybrid offered wonderfully low fuel consumption.

The deal wasn’t closed yet. I have always wanted a red car, so I asked innocently if they had a red Yarris Hybrid to sell me. White was just too boring. Leslie tapped his computer keyboard and went into his dealer network. He said that they had a red one at a branch on the other side of town, but it was probably a special order and already sold.

“Please just check on it for me, see if it’s available?” I asked.

“Yes, a red car for Christmas would be ideal,” added Leon.
And the red car was available. “How soon can we take delivery?” Leon asked.

“Once all the paperwork is signed, you can have it early next week,” Leslie promised.

So we went through all the paperwork and the payment procedures, completed several documents and paid the required deposit. Then we went off to the game-reserve for a magical four days of good company, music and game-viewing. Of course we told our friends about my new car and they were fascinated at the thought of the Hybrid vehicle.

On the drive home on Monday afternoon, we spoke to Leslie. He said we could collect the car the next afternoon. The anticipation was as thrilling as the anticipation of Christmas morning when I was a child.

Getting through Tuesday morning was hard work. I went to gym and sweated madly on the treadmill and the steps. Then I went to the mall to do the weekly grocery shopping, came home, took the packets filled with goods from the boot of my little white car into our lovely beech-wood kitchen, packed the food away into the fridge and the pantry, and made lunch.
By the time we’d eaten and cleared the dishes, it was at last time to fetch my new car.

We arrived at the dealer’s a little earlier than Leslie expected us. He hurried us past the tantalising sight of a dark-red Yarris Hybrid being polished, to his desk, with our backs to the vehicles on the sales floor. He served us hot chocolate and coffee, and kept us busy with the final paper-work, dealing with the trade-in. I handed him the keys to my little white car without a hint of regret.

Finally, he led us to the doorway where a vehicle stood, hidden in blue cloth with a huge gold bow on its bonnet. “You said you wanted a blue car,” Leslie joked as he took a photo of me standing in front of the vehicle. Then he and Leon disrobed the car – and it was perfect. A beautiful, ruby-red, metallic-finished Yarris Hybrid. She was beautiful. She was mine.

We purred out of the dealership a little later, after more photographs were taken, and drove home more quietly than ever before. I didn’t mind the heavy rush-hour traffic and the stops and starts; this was a car with an automatic gear-box, so I didn’t have to worry about the clutch and changing gears.
Her name is Sally, after a lovely friend I had years ago when I spent some time working at the Toyota head office in South Africa. She is a delight to drive, her sound system is wonderful and I listen to CDs of wind quintets playing wherever I go. No doubt I’ll extend her repertoire to recordings of marvellous flute music and all sorts of other genres as I get to know Sally.

Leon is happy to ride as a passenger, fascinated by the screen that shows which motive force the car is using, how it switches between electric and petrol, the readouts of fuel consumption and battery charging; he calls the car Electric Sally.

Sally is a wonderful Christmas gift from my loving husband.
And with Leon to love and cherish all my life, I am the luckiest person in the world.

Until next time…. ‘here comes Treble!’
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23 December 2012 by Isabel Bradley


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