Having written that last post - a very sensible screed, I thought - I promptly burst into tears.
What, not repair Fiona? Cast her aside for some nameless substitute? Over my dead body! I will not give her up. She will not be abandoned. Whatever it takes, that car will stay on the road and serve me for ten more years. I dare say it will cost me. But she's my beloved car, and I am roused to her defence. So please don't waste any time trying to change my mind. It's settled. And it feels right.
It's just as well I've realised how matters stand. It'll save me wasting my own time on investigations that I won't follow through. I am dealing here with a cherished object somewhat akin to a boat or ship; and hard-headed thinking is going to take second place to what love and high regard demand. The tears are the proof. Fiona has always been a personality, a prized and treasured possession, quite independently of what she can do. I have made a personal cult of her. Normal rules and considerations do not apply.
I immediately thought of Nicholas Monsarrat's sea story H.M.S.Marlborough Will Enter Harbour, about a seriously damaged warship that does not sink as expected, but, in the hands of her captain - who loves her - recovers and heroically limps back to port, to fight another day. I have that story in front of me now. Fiona is my Marlborough.
I suspect, judging from my strong emotions here, that I possess many other things that I will not be able to part from prematurely. My house. My caravan. And smaller things too, that I may have taken for granted, but, if they are threatened, I will protect them as fiercely as I am now going to protect Fiona. I'm sure some of my friends will find this unbelievable. But it's how it is, and I really don't care what anybody else thinks.
Well, it's now just a question of securing that loan and telling the Volvo dealer to go ahead. It would be nice to set the ball rolling within the week. There is no point whatever looking at what Honda or Toyota or Hyundai might be offering. Whatever they have, whatever the deal, my stubborn heart will say no.
Of course, there's no harm in finding out whether there are any independent Volvo gearbox specialists handy, and what they think of this prospective replacement. Who knows.