"The car's broken down and I'm just standing here on the M3."
Geoff sounded a bit lost. The night before, he'd been out to East London to check out a car for us, and had decided to buy it. We needed a car because we now live in the country, 5 miles from civilisation. We also needed a car because we were flying out of Luton Airport to Barcelona on Thursday, along with Geoff, and arriving back home around midnight on Tuesday. Luton Airport is 3.5 hours away by various trains, and buses to our place from Romsey are sporadic, at best.
So, Geoff was helping us buy a car. He'd already test-driven it the day before without incident. But after 30 miles, it died completely at the start of the M3 (motorway), leaving him stranded! Geoff was still around 100 miles away from our house, and it was rush hour. Picking him up with our flatmates' car was not an option.
After careful scrutiny of our car insurance policy (bought at 11pm the night before!), I realised that it included free breakdown insurance. I relayed the news to a very relieved Geoff, who was still stranded on the M3 watching the cars whizz by.
Unfortunately, the tow company would only tow for 20 miles. Dumping the car back on the seller's doorstep wasn't an option, as much as we wanted to! I found a garage 20 miles towards London, gave the address to the tow company, and the car was there for the night. It also happened to be the closest to the Tube Station.
The next morning, Geoff arrived early at the garage. It refused to repair the car, saying it would only break again. Also, the cost to repair would be more than the cost of the car. We were leaving for Barcelona about 8 hours later, and the car would almost certainly be towed if we left it on the street. Geoff managed to sell it for scrap about 3 hours before we were due to be at the airport, just to get rid of it.
To summarise: we bought, and lost a car in one day. We never actually saw it, only a photo from Geoff. And now we don't have the money to buy another car, since we spent it on train tickets to Luton Airport.