It's been an interesting and rather eventful month with our long term Mitsubishi Outlander. There's been some highs, but unfortunately two rather depressing lows.
You'll be pleased to hear neither of the latter had anything to do with the car. The first came just a few weeks after a trip to London. In my inbox appeared an email from the lovely people at Mitsubishi HQ breaking some bad news. Yes, it was a ticket.
Fortunately not of the speeding variety, but of the slap-on-the-wrist-we-now-want-your-cash flavour. On the way into town I'd spent too many seconds in a box junction on the King's Road. Enough seconds to relieve my wallet of £65.
I was a bit aggrieved at first, but when I thought about it I was actually quite glad said ticket had been issued.
Why? Well I hate those morons that block traffic in the yellow hatchings and even though I'd strayed in unwittingly into it, I still deserved a fine.
That misdemeanour was shortly followed by a slightly bigger problem. Before going away for a three-day trip on my motorbike, I hung the key up at home where I always do, but when I returned it had disappeared.
No one in the house knew where it was – and after heavy questioning my two-year-old daughter didn't crack. She did point the finger at Peppa Pig – and, if I'm honest, I've never quite trusted that porky little character – but despite the accusations I couldn't prove anything.
I hunted everywhere a two-year-old might think to stash a key. In the big plant pot by the door, in the oven (both real and plastic versions), the dog bowl, the shoe cupboard, in the recycling bin, under the computer table where she likes to 'get some privacy', and behind the sofa (where I did find the DVD remote – every cloud). Anyway, you get my gist – I looked everywhere.
After five days of frustration I had to make the call to the press office and fess up – fortunately my embarrassment was dulled by the start of the conversation with a member of the press team admitting they thought raisins grew on trees. They know how to make you feel better these press types...
Two days later the key and I were reunited and I was back to enjoying our 4x4. I've grown very fond of the big beast in the short time it's been on the fleet. It's huge inside and extremely comfortable. I've been pounding the roads for meetings all over the country recently and it's been a trusty companion.
I do have a couple of moans though. I've bought a new phone and can't for the life of me work out how to hook it up to the Bluetooth.
Last time I just happened to be at Mitsubishi HQ and their technician did it for me, but now the phone has changed and I'm stuck again.
And to be honest, the multimedia unit isn't really the best. The sound that comes out of the speakers is immense, but it's clunky to use and frustrating. The sat nav barks orders at you like a butch female prison guard and to make matters worse she doesn't 'do' postcodes.
Despite those minor gripes, the torquey engine fast shifting auto and solid feel make up for those shortcomings. The Outlander always feels like it's going to last a lifetime.
On that aforementioned bike trip I headed to Wales and it seemed every other car there was a Mitsubishi – either they've got a brilliant dealer network across the border, or the Welsh just know how solid these things are. I've got a feeling it's a combination of the two.
Right, I'm off to try and pin the key theft on Peppa Pig. She MUST have had something to do with it...