MY first car was an MG Midget.
Quite appropriate when you consider that I am not the tallest bloke on the block.
But it was big enough.
The driving seat was certainly ample for my less-than-ample bum.
I would fit in there snug as a bug in a rug.
One of my retirement dreams is to search out an MG Midget and buy it. Give myself one last taste of life in the almost-fast lane with the wind in my...well, let’s not go there.
And do you know. I reckon my bum would still fit in the driving seat.
Which is more of a boast than I realised.
For cars are getting wider as drivers and their passengers are getting fatter.
I cannot pretend that I haven’t put on weight in the last 40 years.
In fact, the other day I climbed on the scales in the bathroom to learn to my utter dismay that I am now heavier (fatter too) than I have ever been.
But I am still not a Mr Blobby.
And there are plenty of them around.
You see them waddling across car parks as they head for the lift rather than the stairs to buy burgers rather than fruit.
Meanwhile, car manufacturers have been rising to the challenge.
Over the years cars have gradually expanded to accommodate their payload.
In fact, a Ford Prefect back in 1953 was 4ft 9in wide. The equivalent vehicle today, a Ford Focus, is 6ft 1in. The seat in 1953 was 18in long. Today it’s 23in.
Honda, over the last two years, has progressively made its seats 2in wider so fatter bums can get behind the wheel.
And Mercedes is planning to strengthen the grab handles above doors to support the weight of their bulkier passengers and Porsche have designed steering wheels which rise up when the engine is switched off so the driver can clamber out into the parking lot.
Why pander to fatties?
Isn’t this just making life easier for them, when that’s the last thing in the world they need?
Is there any wonder that walking is going out of fashion, with the number of journeys taken on foot at its lowest level for 15 years?
It is reckoned that as we become increasingly joined at the hip to our cars, we walk less and less.
Today, only 41 per cent of the population of Britain walked for 20 minutes on three or more occasions a week.
Taking all of the above into consideration, can you tell me why supermarkets insist on marking out those mother and toddler parking bays so close to the doors?
Call me a grumpy old so-and-so but shouldn’t we be teaching children that it is good to walk, rather than indoctrinate them from an early age that the shortest distance between two points is via a car?
They will grow up thinking that there is no option to being driven to their destination with only a short hop-skip to the automatic doors.
It’s the same with the school run mums. They nudge their vehicles as close as they can to the school gates so Junior doesn’t have to experience the inconvenience of taking more than 10 steps in the open!