The child bride and I need a car. Well, the child bride needs a car; suffering Arriva gives me something to talk about and, unlike driving, it is an experience improved by alcohol.
But Arriva doesn't go to Ebbw Vale, which is where Rachel's new job is based*.
In searching for pictures of Ebbw Vale, I found a website that offered such exciting scenes as the Argos, the Domino's, and (I hope you're sitting down) the interior of a multi-storey car park. I've never actually been there, but from what people tell me of the place, there's not much else to see. Like a lot of Welsh towns, its history is tied to the slow, miserable decline of mining (coal, iron, slate, et al) until the industry's abrupt death due to Thatcherism. Not a whole hell of a lot has happened since. If you know anything about dietary trends, you know that this sort of situation -- where identity, community, and economy are struggling -- tends to result in high rates of obesity.
So, Rachel will be working with children and their parents and trying to make a difference. It's not exactly the glamorous European experience that Americans abroad want to put into letters. We want to be able to make it sound like outdoor cafes and reading of broadsheet newspapers are everyday experiences. Nonetheless, Rachel is really looking forward to it; this is actually what she went to university for.
And, as I say, now we have to find a car. Most likely, we'll end up with something ridiculously small and embarrassing for me to be seen in, like a Ford KA (for those of you playing along at home, this car is wee; it is smaller than a Mini; my bicycle looks quite large in comparison). Although we would like to avoid buying a car that is GM or Ford, this looks to be a lot harder than you would think. We have thought we might get a French car simply to annoy our staunchly pro-American family members. For these purposes, we'd like a Peugeot 206 that plays "La Marsellaise" when you hit the horn.
*That's called burying the lede, kids. The child bride got a job!!