Lisa Markwell: Just a penny a mile – until the crash

Urban Notebook
Click to follow
The Independent Online

For a whole 12 months I have relished a moral superiority. I have enjoyed a financial freedom my fellow commuters could only dream of. I have, in short, been a smug bitch.

That's what happens when you drive an electric car in London. My car, a G-Wiz, is a non-polluting, petrol-station avoiding, silent dream of a thing. "A penny a mile to run", I'd chirrup to colleagues as I plugged it in to charge in the car park.

Well now the smirk has been slapped right off my face.

Me and the G-Wiz got into a fender-bender situation with white van man last week and the bill, like the front of the car, ain't pretty.

To replace and spray the bumper of the car – a modest moulded plastic thing that in size and strength resembles your average Lego brick – is going to cost me £700, which is just a smidgeon less than 10 per cent of the entire cost of the car.

Fellow G-Wizers may raise a rueful smile at this: anecdotal evidence is that we all get a nasty shock on maintenance and repair charges.

I even surfed eBay in the hope of finding an old model that I could strip down for parts, credit-crunch style. But either others have got there before me, or we're all grimly hanging on, unwilling to go back to fuel-guzzlers.

So, in an attempt to avoid getting stressed and grumpy about this ruinously expensive incident (which, it won't surprise you to learn, did nothing at all to the van), I've been totting up how much I've "saved" by not driving a petrol car through the congestion zone for the past year, and, of course, I still come out on top. I wish I just didn't feel like my little prang is making a big profit for someone else.

Strappy frocks at the ready

Next week I'm swapping the faux-Spring chill of London for a fortnight in the almost-summer climate of Los Angeles. This is a terrifying prospect: a winter-weight body that's spent the last six months encased in swathes of forgiving black must suddenly be exposed to sunlight and strappy sundresses. The only upside? London shops that are already filled with high-summer fashions are, for once, useful.

Me and Fern at school

If Fern Britton really is leaving This Morning because she's fed up being second fiddle to Phillip Schofield, it confirms something. We went to the same grammar school, me and Fern. I too get stroppy when there's any inequality in the air. Something drilled into us, maybe.

Susie Rushton is away