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Me and My Car

The Chrysler Grand Cherokee pleases my two year old and is to my life what Ronaldo is to Brazil – weighty and built for comfort rather than speed, says Kevin Duffy

Despite being unequivocally opposed to George Bush and his ozone corrosive cronies I admit complete hypocrisy in driving a Chrysler Grand Cherokee.

But more about the mobile Montessori nursery shortly. Suffice to say I am not vain when it comes to cars. Aston Martin DB9? Do me a favour- I’ve got the complete James Bond DVD collection and know all the lines. I’m afraid 諩te cars are a little too scented for my palate.

This wasn’t always the case. As a 1980s Essex Boy I abused a red XR3i. No CD player of course but Wham!’s Club Tropicana still blasted out on tape. This love affair ended abruptly when the Essex police disagreed with one nocturnal manoeuvre and subsequent blood sample.

This was followed by a period of employment by NatWest as its in-house ‘Stig’, test-driving pool cars every three months in between selling endowment plans. Neither the plans nor the cars received much tender loving care.

In between I have driven many cars not out of place on a suburban drive including a Rover 75, a Peugeot 406 and various estate models. Now that I am financially minted (not), I have made a practical selection based on what I own, notably a cavernous golf bag along with tennis, horse-riding and walking paraphernalia, two kids under nine and four pushchairs of varying shapes and sizes.

The Cherokee is to my life what Ronaldo is to Brazil – weighty and built for comfort, not speed.But my favourite features include lots of shiny electronic buttons that my two year old can cover in chocolate, a horn that makes him delirious with laughter on pressing and heated seats that I even use in summer.

A diesel engine means fuel consumption on the M25 and A3 car parks is tolerable. The car reflects its owner’s rotund build which allows it to contend well with the annoying road scum that are white vans, cyclists and despatch riders.

But my favourite feature is the tinted windows. Making calls and reading the trade press in London traffic are routines best executed beyond the gaze of Gestapo traffic cops who you’d think would have better things to do.

Little DeedeConveyancer is establishing itself as one of the premier brands in the online conveyancing market. Formed in 2004 by entrepreneurial managing director Nigel Hoath and technical director Andy Best it added old-timer Alan Dring to its young senior management team in 2005 and is expanding to bursting point at its base in Thame, Oxfordshire.

The building is a converted grammar school and The United Group is built on the principles that were the basis of academic success – commitment, dedication and knowledge of your subject. Free spirits are allowed to express themselves. The ghost of a former headmaster haunts the building, ensuring everyone is committed to these ideals.

Hoath established his own IFA business in 1994 after 11 years with Scottish Amicable and was joined by Weston when they established The United Group in 2000 and launched panel survey business United Surveyors. They launched into conveyancing in 2004. The combination of keen betting man Hoath and optimist Dring is driving the company’s move into the Home Information Pack market.

“Our product is of the 21 century but our principles go back to the 16th. Our policy is about learning from the past and preparing for the future and my short odds bet is we will be a winner even if the government does a U-turn on HIPs,” says Hoath.

First And Last – Peter Gladdy, director, Mortgages DirectI originally took a Greater London Council mortgage to buy a 7,500 terraced property in Luton. It had a 25-year fixed rate of 7%.

When I went to the estate agent and told him my income and what I wanted he just laughed but I found the deal for myself anyway. At the time I was a loans underwriter for UDT.

In between, I have had a couple of other mortgages but for the past 15 years I have had a standard variable rate deal with Britannia and have been enjoying its annual loyalty bonus.

I paid off my mortgage last year but am buying another property – smaller but more expensive – and I’m taking a 35,000 mortgage fixed for 10 years at 5.08% with Nationwide. Of course it is portable and allows me to pay an extra 500 per month without penalty.

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