Social Skirmishes

I imagine most clients assumeI’m driving a “company car” as Iplonk my Renault Clio roughlyadjacent to the pavement outsidetheir residences.

Actually, I suspect the publicmight picture social workersgoing about their daily businesson bicycles with baskets attachedto the front full of confidentialpapers which gaily scatter down the street in the breeze.

But, no, my Clio is doing justfine and, I fancy, cuts a morestylish figure than the VauxhallCorsas favoured by my colleagues.And there it is, the archetypalsocial worker car: the Corsa, dullperhaps, but still a cut above thecar seemingly favoured by someof my clients, the battered andoften “shared” Ford Fiesta.

Of all the cars I’ve driven roundthis borough, my favourite wasmy Hillman Avenger, one ofthe lesser 70s icons I confess.Rust-coloured, unreliable, strewnwith Steely Dan cassettes plusa few fag ends and Marathonwrappers, to me it symbolisessocial work in the 70s, whenwe worked for the people andagainst oppressive state control. Itwas a chaotic and uncooperativecar, but I was comfortable in it;there was no hint of corporateblandness, it would never be acompany car. Service users wouldthoroughly enjoy being offereda lift in it (maybe)… its smooth0-30 acceleration in two minutesproviding many an adrenalin rush.

OK, extreme sport it wasn’t, butI loved it. Eventually, however, theoil turned to cream, the driver’sside footwell began to give meglimpses of the road beneath andwe were into the 1980s…

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