When I started this blog it was so that I could organise all my pictures into some coherent fashion instead of them being stuck on the hard drive of a computer forgotten and neglected. Family and friends could look at them and see what I was up to and where I’d been. It kind of morphed into a blog about my home city of Manchester. It never occurred to me that other people might be interested in it. But once it’s out there on the Internet it’s there for all to see. The last time we looked it was heading for 10,000,000 hits!

It’s also go me invited to parties attended by the great and the good of the fashion world in Manchester (it DOES exist people) at one end of the spectrum, and to a night helping to hand out clothes to the homeless and dispossessed of the city at the other end. In both cases they gave me access to worlds I know little about and while one was fun, eating canapés and drinking champagne while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mary Portas, the other was a sobering experience meeting people who can’t share in the good life that can be had in this city.

Well another experience has come my way. And I’m excited and intrigued as to how it is going to pan out. While I was preparing for my unpleasant Wednesday last week an email arrived among all the spam from easyCar Club (https://carclub.easycar.com/). As I was in a bit of a state about Wednesday it might have been ignored if it hadn’t been followed up by another email. If you don’t know about easyCar Club, this is how it works. In London, owning a car is a mixed blessing. Traffic jams, congestion charges and the rest make it a difficult and expensive business. I know Londoners complain about the Tube and the rest of their public transport but it is actually pretty damn good. You could get about most of London without needing a car. If you have one, for trips out of the city, it could be sat on your drive (or in some outrageously expensive parking space; Radio 4 reported on a garage somewhere being sold for £500,000 this week) for days or weeks on end, costing you money but with you getting no real benefit from it. Other people, who don’t have a car but occasionally need one, have the expense of going through one of the hire companies.

What easyCar Club (https://carclub.easycar.com/) does is bring together the two groups. People who have a car doing nothing can rent it out to people who need one. The latter gets a car, the former gets some cash! Brilliant concept. It’s been working in London for a while now and earlier this year it’s been rolled out to the other big cities like Birmingham, Leeds and, of course, Manchester.

To promote the fact that the company has expanded into Manchester and to see how the concept works in the city I have been loaned a car, a silver Vauxhall Vectra. Over the next couple of months I am going to publish it on their site and blog about the car’s and my adventures. Two other bloggers, one near York and the other near Birmingham have also been given a car. It will be a fun thing to do. At least I hope it will be.

This morning a nice guy called Tom drove it up from London. He went through the processes with me and I think I’ve got it all. I drove him back into Manchester for me to get used to the car and for him to pick up the train back to London. I hope he got back in good time. He’ll be coming back to Manchester in June to pick it up. And, Tom, I’ve got the rather nice coffee machine working again so you can have one when you come back north.

If anyone wants to rent a car for a while over the next couple of months, I have one. Let me know. Here’s the car…