Well, I've given it back. They didn't charge me for any extra mileage, they didn't charge me for the flat tire and I used about a tank of petrol. The journey was, in my opinion, much nicer and I managed not to get lost on the way back either.
Having been on a shopping spree in Norwich on Saturday (lots of pretty clothes), Mum and I headed for the garden centre in the little car to get a whole new border for the back garden. I ended up buying a Japanese maple for the bargain price of 10.99 and loads of pretty delicate flowers which should thrive in my shady garden - I'll put some piccies of the pushkinas up - they so lovely :) Unfortunately, after the garden centre, we headed to Homebase to get some paving slabs for a front step and I drove over a screw in the car park. By the time we got back from our shopping the tire was completely flat and we had to wait 2 hours (!) for the RAC man to arrive. Still, he was very nice and reassuring when he finally did.
I thought the car hire experiment went really well in the end, and it's definitely something I'll be doing again. They weigh up like this...
|Price||£75 (hire) + approx £30 (petrol) = £100||£10 (bus ticket) + £3.20(tube) + £40 (train) = £53.20*|
|Journey time||way out 3h40 (fairly heavy traffic), way back 3h15 (fairly light traffic)||4h10 (best case) / 5h30 (worst case)**. It's normally much closer to best than worst though.|
|Convenience||high - no waiting around (well, not standing up outside anyway), good radio reception, handy to have when there. Can fill boot up with stuff to take home. Don't have to share with anyone (can sing along v. loudly to CDs :) )||medium/low. Waiting around, sometimes in the cold, poor radio reception but can go to sleep. The train is very busy on Fridays too.|
In the end, my time and convenience is definitely worth another £50 to me. I actually quite enjoyed the journey home yesterday instead of finding it draining and frustrating. The trouble is that I'm once again starting to wonder whether I could just about squeeze my budget to accommodate a car...* Assuming that I've bought a Young Persons railcard but don't arrive in time for saver fares and that I don't blag student tickets on the bus. ** Out of house, wait for bus 10m/30m. Bus journey 1h30m/2h. Tube 20m/30m. Wait for train 10m/30m. Train 2h/2h30m.