View more on these topics

Me and My Car

As long as you keep looking ahead, don’t need any boot space and remain optimistic about the British weather, the Mini Cooper Convertible is the perfect car, says Ian Giles

My Mini Cooper Convertible is classic, classless and cute but has virtually no rear visibility or boot space.

The Mini is not the first vehicle I’ve driven without a roof. I’ve had a variety of cars in my life – everything from a wide boy Ford Escort Mexico with Cibie spotlights for rallying around the lanes near my home in Hampshire to a classic 1970s Rover P6 with an eight-track stereo and windscreen wipers that resembled a pair of elderly gentlemen trying to cross a road in a gale.

And of course there was that recreational vehicle in the US that I ripped the top off like a tin of sardines when I drove under a low carport outside a restaurant in Colorado.

All I can remember of that event is the sight of dozens of dazed American diners pausing in mid-chew, open-mouthed as myself and the vehicle’s cab and chassis passed swiftly by their window, sadly not accompanied by the vehicle’s body. I removed the roof, including the air conditioning unit, and terminally damaged the sewage outflow pipe leading from the onboard bathroom.

But the Mini Cooper Convertible is the first new car I’ve ever bought. It’s a rather extravagant purchase because I do most of my travelling to and from London by train and bike – cycling from Victoria to our head office in Paddington.

The Mini is really a BMW so it’s utterly reliable for the motorway trips to our operations centre in Reading and on visits to our business partners, as well as ferrying my wife and daughters around at weekends, in search of some elusive sunshine.

It has no confusing gadgets like satellite navigation (for goodness sake, learn to read a map), four-wheel drive (stop pretending you have acres of land somewhere hilly) or heated seats (wear thicker pants) – just the essential CD player.

My favourite album so far this year is by Sigur Ros, who sing in Icelandic and play like they’re standing on a glacier, looking out across a vast sea.

You can’t see much out of the back of a Mini Cooper Convertible but as long as you look forwards, don’t need any boot space and have a healthy sense of optimism about the British weather, it’s the perfect car.


Halifax Estate Agents takes top estate agency award

Halifax Estate Agents has taken a top award at The Estate Agent & Letting Agent of the Year Awards 2006.For the second successive year HEA scooped the national gong for Best Estate Agency Chain. The event, supported by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, featured special guest presenter Phil Spencer from Channel Four’s Location, Location, […]

AIFA welcomes FSA pledge on retrospective action

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers has welcomed the Financial Services Authority’s promise not to judge financial firms retrospectively. At the Personal Investment Marketing conference, Stephen Bland, director of small firms at the FSA, told delegates it will not take action against firms for mis-selling after the event, provided they meet its requirements under its […]

Equity release not a last resort, says Defaqto

Equity release should not be seen as a last resort but considered as a possible solution to financing retirement, says a report out from financial research company Defaqto.It says house price inflation is the driving force behind the growth of the equity release market, with it predicted to grow from 1.4bn this year to 2.4bn […]

Brokers frown on Two Shags’ sporting life

A whopping 68% of Mortgage Strategy Online readers last week voted that the deputy prime minister John Prescott has crossed the political line with the revelation that he likes croquet. However, it seems Two Shags is down but not out – albeit minus his super-department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. And Home Information […]

Sub-Saharan Africa Near-Term Outlook

By Paul Caruana-Galizia, Neptune Economist

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic renaissance continues. After growing at an average rate of five per cent over the past decade, the IMF projects an acceleration to 5.5 per cent growth among Sub-Saharan economies in the next two years, as developed economies emerge from the crisis. We expect this growth to be sustainable for three broad reasons.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up