Stella has gone to live on a farm.

Stella has gone to reinvent herself as a star of stage and screen. Stella has gone to make another young driver happy.

Stella has gone away on the back of a recovery truck, whisked into the dark of midnight, her humpy rump vanishing around a corner never to be seen again.

Stella has gone.

I'm torn about this. Part of me feels it is about damn time, and a weight off my shoulders. The other part keeps looking out of the window in case it was all a dream and she is parked happily outside.

No part of me is embarrassed when I think about the fat tears I shed as I stood on the pavement watching the mechanic strap her firmly to the back of the truck.

"If your car peters out, call Peter's out," was painted on the back of the driver's cab and I read that over and over in an attempt to distract myself from my ridiculous, self-indulgent, public crying.

Here, I should reverse, something I will never again do in Stella. Stella, you will have put two and two together, is my car. I am not emotionally ready to speak in the past tense.

I bought Stella new in 2006 and she has been my best friend ever since. She has outlasted jobs and relationships and friendships. She has rescued friends in their hour of need. She has been privy to first kisses and heartbreak and ferried my godsons as new babies and as teenagers.

She has taken me to university and to work. She has travelled all around the UK and back again. Stella and I used to go and visit our friend Stephanie in Doncaster every year but, this was before satnav, I would become lost every single time.

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One year we went awry at Scotch Corner and ended up in Lancashire instead of Yorkshire, which I realised because the service station we stopped at had a red rose above the door, instead of white. It was the first time my English Literature degree had had a practical application and was a prompt to buy Stella a route map for her glove box.

What times we've had in nearly 18 years. But then, instead of being a safe space for my tears, Stella became a cause of my tears every time something expensive went wrong with her. I paid a frankly bonkers £4000 to keep her on the road in a short space of time and the mechanics at our garage began to gently suggest her time was drawing near.

These lads, I have to say, were champs. They would, bless them, also call her Stella and when I phoned to book her in I would say the booking was "for Stella" or that I was calling "about Stella" and no mockery was ever made.

A year ago I finally SORNd her and she has been sitting outside my flat ever since, a comfort blanket and a mechanised symbol of what I imagine is a form of attachment disorder. I could not part with her. I could not keep her.

My mum said she might go to making some other young woman, as I had been, just as happy. When I was little, I wouldn't give up my dummy so my mother told me it was going to be donated to a child from a family who couldn't afford to buy them a dummy. I did not care about that child and their lack of dummy.

I did not care about some other young woman in need of an affordable vehicle. My cousin, a psychologist, reminded me that when our loved ones die we bury them in the ground, we don't put them in our gardens and watch them rot.

How do you think Stella feels, he asked me, seeing you drive off every day in a younger, better model? Poor Stella. Her front passenger seat started going mouldy and she had emerald green moss growing along her window seal.

I don't even want to dwell on what the neighbours thought.

But it's not so unusual, right, to love a car? It's why the so-called war on motorists gains such instant traction - we love our cars. We love the open road and the freedom; we love them as status symbols. Car designers fashion cars to appeal to people's innate predilections - curvy like a temptress or cute like an animal.

Stella was an older model Nissan Micra so cute: a button nose bonnet in powder blue and all bubble in the back.

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I'm on the insurance policies of five different cars. I've driven umpteen hire cars. Stella was not my first car, she was my fourth. For work, I have had the chance to drive McLaren sports cars that flew and growled from deep in their throats. But none matched Stella.

I turned to Google to find out why people anthropomorphise their cars. I find a story with the headline: "People who talk to cars are actually totally normal, according to science", which is perhaps the type of encouragement I don't need.

Last Saturday, gripped finally by a bout of conscience, I decided to let Stella go. I regretted it instantly. She is gone to a new life.

But what if she likes her new life better? Christ, somebody slap me.