ANYONE to whom I have claimed green credentials - look away now. Look away.

Yes, I cycle as much as possible. Yes, I like a reuseable cup and milk in glass bottles. Yes, I sweat with guilt about the flights I take. 

Let me also tell you: I love my car. I love her. Stella, her name is. To be clear, I don't love cars. I'm not into cars. I just love my own car. When I say she is my best friend, people think I'm joking. I'm not joking. She's my best friend.

Among my peers, passing your driving test was top priority. Turn 17, start driving lessons.

Getting your licence was freedom. And oh, I loved it. I'd grown up in a carless household so driving was novelty indeed. It took me time to save up to buy my first car - a K registration Ford Fiesta that had a cassette player and a choke - and I was smitten. Mathilda. 

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Poor Mathilda met somewhat a sticky end, as did the two Ford Fiestas who came after her. I had a really, really bad run of luck. Then I met Stella.

Stella has been in my life for nearly 18 years. We have had adventures together, we have escaped together from sad situations and pootled together towards happy. 

She is cheap to run and, for a great many years, needed very little in the way of repairs. Not so the past few years. I have spent thousands of pounds keeping Stella on the road. 

I read a piece in the New York Times by a guy who wrote that his mechanic told him, with regular maintenance, his car could easily last 25 years. My mechanic makes a decent little mint from Stella but still encouraged me to buy something else.

The Herald:

I did not heed this advice and spent a thousand or so more on my friend. I should have heeded his advice. Autobahntechnik in Govanhill has saved my bacon so many times, been incredibly kind and the guys call my car Stella without making me feel like an idiot. You can't put a price on that.

But I'm not so unusual in keeping a car on the road. The UK has an ageing fleet of cars. The average car age has risen in recent years to be the highest since records began - around eight years. People are keeping their cars for longer because of knock on effects of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit in driving up car prices. 

There's also hesitation about buying new because of the shift towards electric vehicles. But last year Stella needed another expensive array of work to keep her on the road. It was getting unsustainable. The thought of parting with her was distressing but it was time.

The other issue pushing me towards parting with Stella was the new Low Emissions Zone in Glasgow city centre. She might - just - be compliant now but for how much longer, should the emissions targets be tightened up or the zoning widen? 

I'd thought that, should the time ever come to part with Stella, buying a new car would be thrilling. The innocence of the ignorant. Should I go electric? Several friends had bought electric cars and were selling them to return to petrol. 

Some will counsel that it's greenest to keep an old petrol car on the road rather than buy a new car, which takes a lot of energy to build. Others say that yes, generally it's greener to buy fewer things and keep them for longer, but this isn't the case with cars. 

Car shopping was hellish. I started and gave up several times. I tried the car club to see if I could perhaps live without a car at all but it wasn't flexible enough to suit my needs. 

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As with all green conversations, we return to public transport. It takes me 13 minutes to drive from my flat in the south side to my friends' in the west end. It takes nearly 40 minutes by bus. I could take the bus and then the subway to save 20 minutes but I'm not a millionaire. 

A few years ago First Glasgow stopped the only bus that goes from Coatbridge to Glasgow. For a time the train line near my mum's house didn't run on a Sunday. If you didn't have a car it was difficult - without taking taxis - to get from a main commuter town into the nearest city, which is nuts.

The Glasgow bus was also the main bus going from my mum's part of Coatbridge to the town centre and then on up to Airdrie. You now have to take two buses to get to Airdrie and I'm not sure my mum will ever forgive First Glasgow for this.

She was telling me she needed to get to the audiology clinic in Airdrie last week. The shuttle bus that arrived at the stop only went as far as the Monklands hospital. She asked the driver why he couldn't just head on a little further and take her to Airdrie town centre. 

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I said, mum, that's not how buses work. Apparently that's what the driver told her too. She said: "We are living through a crisis. The rule books are out of the window". No matter how crazy the times, a bus will change its route for no man. 

My point is, us Glasgow dwellers argue the toss about the efficacy or otherwise of public transport in the city but overlook the trouble for people with even further to travel. I need to be able to visit my mum several times a week and without a car it's time consuming and difficult. 

Finally, I buy a new car. Chonks. Chonks turns out to be a nightmare. My garage checks her over and she has a long list of faults - the garage also failed to mention she had been in an accident. What follows is months of stress, back and forth, trying to have the new car repaired. 

All the while Stella sits outside and I can't bear to part with her. I go to stay with my cousin in Sydney. He's a professor of psychology so I ask him his take. He's at pains to point out this isn't his area of practice or expertise before he points out this: "When our beloved relatives die, we bury them in ground."

He goes on: "The worst thing you can do if you love something is to keep it near you, rotting." This is making sense so far, it is. 

He, warming to the theme now, says: "You've personified Stella to such an extent that she's a person to you so... think about how she feels. What must it be like for her to sit there every day and watch you drive off in a newer, fancier model?"

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Oh God. He's right. Poor Stella. Still, I can't part with her. I don't know what to do with her but I've gone from fretting about the environment to owning two vehicles. 

She, Stella, has become something of a metaphor for my general inability to let go and move forward. It's rather like the complaints about the LEZ this week. At the eleventh hour, Labour politicians who voted for it are moaning about its execution.

A Glasgow business has taken the council to court to try to block the LEZ enforcement the day before its introduction. Guys, you've had years to raise this. Years. You look ridiculous.

I want to make some sort of clever link between Stella's gentle rusting outside my window with how hard it is to make significant changes in life and how being greener is going to come with some necessary pain. 

Really, though, I just have to get a grip. And so do those opposing the LEZ.