I LOVE cars. I love reading about them, I love writing about them and driving them gives me enormous pleasure.
But owning them is something different. I'm actually somewhat cheesed off with owning a car, especially after such a tumultuous few months behind the wheels of my own motors.
A few years ago I had a fantastic car. It was a sporty Rover and it never let me down despite years of abuse. I had to sell it in the end because I was piling too many miles on it but I still miss it to this day.
The search for a replacement was not something I took lightly. Not just because I love cars but because I'm practical and try not to let my head rule my heart. So I bought a Vauxhall.
My Signum, which is a bit like a Vectra that has a load of gadgets built in, was great. It ticked all the boxes and served us well for nearly two years.
But something was wrong. The car itself was good, I'd recommend one to anyone, but I never bonded with it. I never fell in love with it like I did with my Rover.
Whether that was anything to do with the £1,700 garage bill I was once saddled with when its gearbox exploded I'm not sure but it's the only car I've owned that I've never washed. I don't know why but It just wasn't "me".
So I set out to put it right. I sold the Signum, lost a fortune in the process, and let my heart rule my head for a change and buy a car I wanted that would scratch my itch. I bought a car I've always promised myself. A Jaguar.
My gorgeous four-wheel-drive, three litre, V6 X Type entered my life one sunny but brisk Saturday morning after I'd been searching for eight months for the right one.
It was in a gleaming champagne silver, with spotless cream leather seats and, although it was older than I was originally looking for, it had covered just 60,000 miles and the dealer - who happened to live just down the road from me - was letting it go for a great price.
Owning a Jaguar was one of the best 10 minutes of my life. It's just a shame it was such a short experience.
Unfortunately and, for reasons nobody could have seen coming, my gorgeous new toy's transmission catastrophically failed on the way to its new home and it was too expensive to repair.
All credit to the dealer, who had sold my Signum on by now and was bending over backwards to ensure I didn't have to hire a car to keep me mobile.
During the Christmas period I must have borrowed half a dozen of the cars in his fleet. Everything from tiny hatchbacks to big 4x4s, while he frantically searched for a replacement Jag. It was actually rather fun, I must admit.
But nobody sells cars during the Christmas and new year period and I'm annoyingly picky so in the end he had to refund my money. I didn't want that. It would leave me in the mire. Granted I'd have a pot of cash but, without a car, I'd have to beg lifts or hire a runabout - which would have been impractical and expensive.
Anyway, during a paperwork visit to his garage a car he had just bought in caught my eye. It was a type of Volvo that I've always had a soft spot for and as I asked him about it I think we both came to the same conclusion at the same time.
The idea works like this: I buy the Volvo off him, he guarantees to buy it back for the same money (providing I keep it in one piece).
In the mean time he pesters his extensive network of contacts for a decent Jag but I retain the option to turn them down and I can still look for one privately and sell the Volvo on privately.
So it's a win-win situation for both of us. Well, if you ignore the money the dealer lost on refunding my dead Jag.
I now own a cheap run-about which will keep me going and save me hiring a car and the dealer knows that the next decent Jag he gets in will fly off the shelf.
So my current car is a big black Volvo estate with blacked out windows and black leather seats. I call it the dark destroyer and, despite its 131,000 miles of experience, it drives well and is proving very reliable and economical.
In fact I'm in an ideal position. I've got a very cheap Volvo, money in the bank, and the Volvo's frugality means I'm saving a small fortune in fuel costs.
So why not stick to the Volvo I hear you cry? Well that's simple. Because it's not a Jag.
And if you've ever driven a Jaguar then you'll understand exactly what I mean.