Monday, July 16, 2007

Take me home, country road

You'd think that researching the kind of car you wanted, test-driving a few bombs in that model, finding a pristine version at a reputable dealer and paying the top price in the range you'd researched would pretty much allow you to drive out of the car yard and live happily ever after, wouldn't you?

Not in my world, Nelly. We drove to Tumut yesterday to visit my beloved aunties, and thoroughly enjoyed the smooth cruisey world of Holden Commodore. Then, ten minutes into the way back, the power cut out. Nothing. No steering, no brakes except the handbrake. All I could do was vaguely point towards the side of the road and stop. Bugger.

It was a quiet country road with no mobile reception, ten minutes drive from the aunties, but half an hour's walk. Best Beloved was due to fly to WA before dawn the next day, and I was teaching a class the next day, and had hoped to get back in time to ensure that the Book Stud was habitable (lots of workmen skulking though the week spreading toxic MDF dust). Bugger.

And we'd just spent the last hour laughing with Auntie S about her weird and occasionally aggressive neighbours. We hadn't heard anything about nice ones, probably because they're not as amusing lunch conversation.

So when we flagged down a surly-looking old dude in a four-wheel drive, we were a bit nervous, and I made BB get in the car with him for a lift back to the aunties while I sat in the dead car with Bumblebee and read the papers we'd luckily brought with us. BB is tall, and wide, and looks quite tough. He's not, he's an absolute wimp in the snaggiest sense, but they don't need to know that.

Luckily he was one of the good neighbours, and 90 minutes later we were driving my auntie's spare car (she has a ute and a long-distance car), following our shiny grey Holden which was towed by the local NRMA teenager mechanic. I remembered to pluck my ANU parking permit off the windscreen before we wended our way back along the Hume, stopping only for lapfuls of hot chips, which is the sort of comfort food you want to eat when you've been pissed off by the side of the road for over an hour in winds straight off the snowy mountains.

One of the advantages in researching the kind of car you wanted, test-driving a few bombs in that model, finding a pristine version at a reputable dealer and paying the top price in the range you'd researched, is that the car comes with a 3-month warranty, and so we don't have to pay a cent for the inconvenience, and luckily my auntie is coming to Canberra on Thursday anyway, so we can do a car-swap then.

But Dolly has lost our trust. She still has our love, but we're going to be warier with her until she proves to us that she's not going to leave us stranded again. We miss Suby-Ruby, because at least when she broke down we could SEE what was wrong with her (especially the time her radiator exploded and shot green shite all over the windscreen!), and with Modern Miss Dolly it's all hidden in facings and computers. Sigh.

In other news, my class today went well, although it's very hard to teach a group the basics of letterpress in one day. People used to spend years learning this stuff! After three hours of my intensive ramblings, I looked up and saw that if I said even one more word they would implode. So I sent them off to work out what text they wanted to play with next week. I was in such a good mood that as they left I actually waved my arms and said

'Fly, my pretties! Roam free!'

The returning students smiled and walked off. The new ones looked a tad worried. Bumblebee, who is coming in to school with me this week because the Albatross has the flu (it's his holiday access week), snickered. Ah well, who ever said that teachers had to be dignified? Besides, it's hard to look dignified when your son is sitting in the corner of the room dressed up as Harry Potter . . .


meli said...

Oh dear. Glad you made it back ok. Our new-second-hand car in Norway broke down the first day we drove it, but it's ok now. And once I took my dad's brand new Subaru Forester to Kangaroo Island, and it just stopped in the middle of nowhere. They didn't know how to fix it, they had to ship it to the mainland... My (similarly blonde young tall female) friend and I were stranded at the mercy of mad hermit locals for days.

Ampersand Duck said...

Oh dear! I feel very lucky. Isn't Kangaroo Island where they have a feral chicken problem? Or is that King Island?

fifi said...

That reminded me of when I used to drive my beloved 1962 EK Holden. Every so often when we stopped at a crossing it would spit boiling water (brown) out from under the bonnet at some unsuspecting crosser and burn their butt.

I have given up on the "take the boy to class" tactic since he told everybody, unknown to me, that he had three penises, and everyone laughed all through the class with bewildered old me trying valiantly to work out why...

that musta been lovely, stuck in the wind down there...bloody freezing!

Bernice said...

Suby-Ruby says she would've at least rolled to a halt in a sheltered roadside picnic nook. Well she will when her engine & innards are put back together... bloody computers.
Fly my pretties? you musta be in a very good mood - I usually want to kill them. Slowly.

Mummy/Crit said...

Bummer about your Dolly. They jsut don't make cars like they used to, do they? Also bummer about the school holiday problem. D's dad decided that the hols would be a perfect time for him to go away with his girlfriend to Bali, leaving me to figure out what to do with a child on my two 12 hour work days....(we sorted it out) and I have yet to see HP. Jay isn't into it at all, I'll have to co-opt my sis.

genevieve said...

Hehe, Harry Potter child. What larks.
Who was it said'Fly, my pretties'? Sounds awfully like Witchy Poo.
Commiserations on your vehicular failure. Waiting for my newbie to do the same now (I hope not though.)