J Figes, via e-mail...

“In my battered classic Mini Cooper, I took an exotic local honey called Natasha out to a nice country gastro pub. Unable to resist any opportunity to impress, I proceeded to throw the car about like a demented rally driver. But without the skill: rounding a bend too fast, I rolled it – luckily landing the right way up in a field. Somehow, we both managed to avoid any injury. More amazingly, I then managed to convince Natasha to stick with the plan and go for a drink. Leaving the car behind, we finished the journey on foot.

While calming her nerves with a few drinks, I prattled on about myself until finally she told me she was off. Still clinging to the hope of a second date, I offered her a lift home – promising to drive more sensibly this time. At eleven o’clock in the middle of nowhere, she had no better offers, so cautiously agreed. Heading back to the car, however, we found some local pyromaniac had been past and torched it. Some things were not meant to be.”