Last October we said goodbye to Betsy, our lovely silver Holden Statesman taxi. Almost new, she was loaded down with great features, and was a pleasure to drive.
But while I was off in America, the owner managed to write her off. One design flaw is that the A-pillars are very thick, hiding oncoming traffic at intersections. He didn't mean to hit the other car, but he did, and hard enough to do some serious damage.
But he bought her back off the insurance company and over the past half year or so, while we've been driving loaner a Ford Fairlane, he's gradually put her back together in the back of the workshop.
Yes, Charles the Fairlane that I crashed a week ago.
Friday it all came together and we swapped the patched-up Charles* for renewed Betsy. I got to drive her first shift as a reborn cab, just like I drove her first shift as a new cab last year.
What a pleasure! She's got some wonderful functions, such as automatic windscreen wipers, front and rear parking sensors, MP3 disc player. The gas tank in the boot doesn't rattle, so I don't have to use the "ex-girlfriend" joke any more.
On the slight downside, there's no seat memory - a boon for a car with three regular drivers - and the transmission makes a racket. Put your foot down, and the world can count the revs.
There's also a new taximeter, so I'll have to upgrade my muscle memory after three years of hitting the old set of buttons. At least this one comes with a user manual, which is a lot more than ever we got with the old one.
* Charles was repaired with bits from another Fairlane that just happened to be stuffed in the back of the workshop, and - trust me on this - there's a fair bit of duct tape hiding some of the scars.