Actually, I should say dear little car because that is always what I have called you - I never bothered to give you a name; it just didn't seem to suit.
Tomorrow we take our last journey together; the doctors tell me that you don't have much longer and although your spirit is strong, it is the frailty of your body (as it ultimately is with all of us) that has called time on our time together. But before we part, there are a few things I'd like to say.
I need to apologise to you little car, for my failings as an owner. You are my first car and, much like new parents with their precious offspring, I never really had a clue what I was doing. I'm sorry for not cleaning you regularly, and for letting vast numbers of receipts, sweet wrappers, chewed gum, pens, and fragments of everything from pizza to pastries litter your insides for long periods of time. I'm sorry for reversing you into the wall at work not long after we first met; I'm sorry for the 'incident' with the lorry on the way to Shaftesbury; I'm sorry for getting you stuck on a low wall whilst thrashing your clutch in a vain attempt to free you, and for reversing you into the fence panel - both incidents happening in the same car park at the pub in Ibberton. I'm sorry for not seeing the car approaching as I pulled out of that turning that one time, and I am so, so sorry for the countless times I left your lights on overnight(s) and drained your battery completely. If owners had to have a MOT, I would have failed mine.
But enough of the apologies - I want to thank you as well.
In the just over four years that I have had you, you have never failed me through direct fault of your own. Yes, your exhaust blew once - but I'm in no position to judge on that front.
You have faithfully taken me from A to B - and on to C, D, E and many other letters whenever I've asked (although thanks to my Sat Nav you have gone from A to B via Q - remember how we got lost going to Peterborough?).
In all weather you have started first time, and even when I played chicken with your un-informative fuel gauge and went to fill up not knowing if you had enough petrol to get there, you always made it.
I remember the time we got up to 103 mph on the motorway - I know we shouldn't have, but for a moment it was a sublime feeling of fear mixed with joy. And I'll never forget the nights coming back from Sign Language class - after Level 1 classes we'd listen to Classic FM as we drove home in the dark winter nights. And after Level 2 Classes we would rejoice at the wonderful awfulness of "The Organist Entertains" on Radio 2 as we drove home - well you did most of the driving as my brain was addled from information overload.
From picking up family members from work to impromptu trips to my works packing house, and drives back to Essex to see old friends you have faithfully transported me without question or condition.
Remember the games of hide and seek we played when we first met? I'd park you somewhere and go away, and then when I returned I'd spend a few minutes trying my key in other car doors because I hadn't yet memorised what you looked like. Oh the looks I got from other drivers....
But now, old friend your journey is over. We both know that there are no more trips planned, no more roads to travel. But this will not be the end for you. I know that you, like me, have signed up to be a Donor after you have gone. Your parts will ensure that other cars, many of whom are struck down prematurely, will be given the chance to live because of your ultimate generosity. And because of this, I know you will live on.
I thank you for the journeys we have enjoyed together, your warmth on cold winter days, and your reliability. You are my first car, and I will never forget you.
Goodbye little car - and thank you.