So the Leeds rear-ending (which incidentally demonstrated the resilience of the Nissan Primera, as not even the trifle wedged at the back of the boot suffered any injury, unlike the front of the Rover which had largely disappeared) left us with one car, the aging Jeep Cherokee.  As it was making more and more geriatric noises, we traded it in for a Nissan Serena people carrier.  According to the motoring press of the time, this was so abominable a vehicle as to scarcely deserve the title of a car at all, but it performed sterling work over the next few years, not least by taking us and assorted possessions to Italy where we lived from 2002 to 2004.  We started promptly upon the business of formally importing the car, but so interminable is the grinding of Italian bureaucracy that two years later, when we left, it still had UK number plates and an open file in a grey cabinet somewhere.  Our next peregrination was to County Clare, in the Republic of Ireland where the importation procedure, though quicker and less opaque, was still going to be a hassle and, moreover, to cost a largish chunk of the car’s remaining value.  Having spent a winter living on the edge of a mountain range in what was optimistically called a ‘farmhouse’  (in the sense that cowsheds, barns and donkey sanctuaries could be described as houses  by their more anthropomorphic occupants) the joys of remote country life were beginning to pall and it occurred to us that if we rented a house within walking distance of Ennis town centre, we could dispense with owning a car altogether.  It was worth a try, anyway; we could always buy another later if it didn’t work out.