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Posts tagged ‘mr2’

You can’t see anything for the goosebumps

Since our bask atop Mt Eden last weekend, Auckland has enjoyed a week of near perfect weather. Yesterday was so warm, I was moved to strip down to a camisole top while lunching on the deck with the family in Mt Wellington.

This morning, we awoke to another perfect blue sky, sunshine winking in the bedroom window. We decided to go to Karekare Beach.

“Let’s take the MR2,” suggested Husband.

Last summer, Husband and I drove everywhere in his sports car, posing in sunglasses with the roof panels off. It is a two-seater, apparently designed for anorexic models and athletic teenage car-jockeys. In other words, not much spare room for anything more than a spare bikini and a credit card.

So I travelled to Karekare with 36kg of canine sitting on top of me. Jed occasionally managed to kick Husband in the face with his hind leg, before he discovered the optimal position sitting on the floor on my feet, with his front paws on my lap. Sadly, it was far from the optimal position for my bladder.

Unhindered by cloud, the glittering sun cast deep shadows beneath the trees. Our drive was accompanied by the sticky sound of melting tarmac and the acrid stench of lightly broiled bitumen. Just before Karekare, we turned onto Lone Kauri Road, where the warm, buttery smell of gorse wafted us down to the beach. Ah, the scents of spring.

I’ll tell you how hot it was: I went for a swim in the sea.

Perhaps that only tells you how insane I was.

Husband would have come in too, but he has a rare condition which makes him react violently to salt water and he could die. What’s it called again? Oh yes: Being a Total Wuss.

Husband took a video, but you can’t make out anything for all the goosebumps. So here’s a clip of another swimmer:-


In memory of my left boot

Last Saturday week, Husband lost my walking boot.

There was room for doubt as to who was guilty of gross negligence, but I tricked Husband into a full confession.  No need for electrodes or a waterboard; I am a cunning and resourceful woman crammed full of my mother’s mother’s genes. Oh, he denies it now. But it is futile.

Now, you might ask, how do you lose a single boot? Indeed, that’s a good question and have you ever considered a career in politics or the diplomatic corps?

The last time anyone saw my left boot was in the back of the MR2 the morning we set out for Karekare. Sometime between the hours of 10am and 2pm between the days of Saturday and Wednesday, my boot exited the boot (the arse-end of the car).

Now, I seriously doubt my walking boot FELL out of the car, because that would have involved ignoring gravity to topple 3ft up and over the lip of the boot. Similarly, I doubt it leapt out in an explosive discharge of surplus kinetic energy.

More likely, the fury of Husband’s rummaging fired it out of the car like a deadly projectile. However, there are no witnesses or corpses bearing the imprint of a size 38 footprint on the forehead to corroborate this.

What makes it Husband’s fault is that, upon returning home, he removed the one, single boot from the car and placed it on the shoe shelf. Who removes a single boot without wondering where its companion is? Who?

Ok, we all know the answer to that.

When I discovered the missing boot later in the week, I asked Husband why he hadn’t remarked upon it. And he said, “I thought you had the other one.”

As if he thought I might have just wanted to take my right leg out for a walk.

We drove back to Karekare in the vain hope that we could track down my boot, or that someone had handed it in to the surf club.

Husband volunteered to conduct a scatter pattern search while I enquired at the surf club. Husband has a remarkable ability for search and rescue – if the man had a better sense of smell, he could probably find Elvis – while I have a talent for shallow charm that is highly effective on a superficial level. I felt this was a fair division of duty, until I accosted one of the lifeguards taming a wave.

He himself had not sighted my boot, and offered to radio the surf club to see whether someone had handed it in. It took him five goes before he could say ‘Lady here wants to know if someone handed in a boot last Saturday’ without sniggering.

The woman on the other end of the radio said, ‘A BOOT?’ Then indulged in a minute or two of muted snorting.

“What sort of boot?” she said.

“Er, a left boot.”

Then they rolled around the place laughing. They’re probably sleeping together. I really feel they should keep their sexual tension out of the workplace.

Nobody had handed in my boot – or, for that matter, anyone else’s – and Husband’s search was fruitless, which means the boot has probably left the country

Death by impatience

Saturday afternoon and I’ve just finished cutting into the trim in the lower hallway and kitchen areas. We’ve done no painting for months, mainly because the mere thought of it was enough to induce spontaneous coma in the pair of us. I can just see us finishing the painting a week before we move on.

Cutting in turns me into a person who can spend however long it takes obsessively coaxing three bristles into a 1cm2 corner. I always have to be careful not to get an eyeball stuck to the brush or my tongue stuck to the wall.

There is a shelf that runs the entire length of the stairs hallway, with a 40cm section I can’t reach unless I balance by the toenails on the banister or dangle from a light fitting. Unfortunately, I’m not quite limber enough for either these days. When I asked Husband to do it, he claimed he didn’t have the patience.

“To paint a 40cm strip?” I asked.


“You realize I could fall off the banister and injure myself?”

“Well, I might DIE.”

I’m not sure from what exactly – acute impatience? Then again, this is a man who would spend his time exclusively soldering bits of metal to other bits of metal and soldering the result to more metal, except that he occasionally has to eat and sleep.

While I painted, Husband spent the morning ripping out the interior of the MR2, including door handles and panels, the dashboard and centre console, the seats and floors. I think he’s fixing the car stereo. The reason I’m uncertain is that it always sounded fine to me. However, he flew into a rage yesterday afternoon, because – from what I could make out – the car is too small to fit a sub-woofer.

To inspire him while he tinkered, Husband put on a CD of greatest rock hits ever. At the moment, Jimi Hendrix’ ‘All Along The Watchtower’ is vibrating the living room, while Husband has sufficiently fixed his car stereo to blast Norah Jones at top volume.

Some things never change, but there’s something infinitely comforting about that

Wanky wanky shit bollox

When we were sorting out the MR2 and the Mazda – which we are fostering for a while – the insurance company refused to cover me without a New Zealand driving licence.

It seems Kiwis are pretty relaxed about car insurance – amongst other things – and many only insure new cars. Allegedly 200,000 drivers in NZ are uninsured, one of whom we bumped into last month. Well, technically she bumped into us when Husband, in full compliance with the Left Hand Rule, gave way to someone turning right and the car behind attempted to drive up the MR2’s exhaust pipe.

Anyway. Being a former project manager and mildly obsessive/compulsive and my father’s daughter, driving uninsured was not an option. I’m not too concerned about potential damage to my car – that’s the Mazda, which is known as ‘my car’ or ‘your car’ depending on who is talking at any given time, Husband or me, and let’s face it, it’s usually me so for the sake of simplicity I’ll stick with the former. My car still projects a striking olfactory presence, has more rust than metal and a dent in the front bumper where a rubbish bin misjudged Husband’s sense of distance.

No, what I’m worried about is some drunk, coked-up Kiwi pop star crashing into me and bribing the police with wads of cash and a few personalised autographs to allege it was my fault and hitting me with a repair bill for NZ$ 300,000 for damage to the bodywork down the passenger side of his Audi R8. (Agreed, that scenario is pretty unlikely: there aren’t any Kiwi pop stars. Let’s say some All Black high on testosterone and steering with his feet.)

Happily and improbably, I had excavated my UK driving licence during the final site dig in Dubai. Carbon dating placed the artefact circa early 1990s, but it was valid until 2036. To convert it to a NZ driving licence, I had to take the driving theory test.

Since it has been years since I’ve sat any sort of exam, perhaps it’s not surprising that I was nervous. It didn’t help that anyone I mentioned it to said, “Don’t worry, mate. Test is a piece of piss,” or “Nah mate, my cousin passed and he’s a blind epileptic autistic midget. Aw yeh, couldn’t even reach the pedals, mate. You’ll be sweet AS.”

Eventually I bought a Road Code and sample test paper from the BP garage. Unfortunately, I didn’t do so well on the sample paper. I was gripped with false confidence by its striking resemblance to a piece of piss – and because it was multiple choice. Normally I’m GREAT at multiple choice exams. It’s a 50% chance of getting the answer right, since two options are usually misdirecting rubbish and can be instantly rejected.

The very first question disproved that theory. I scratched three of the four answers before getting the right one:

If you miss your exit on a motorway, you should:

(a) reverse back to the exit

(b) make a U-turn back to the exit

(c) drive on to the next exit

(d) stop and take a photo

In fairness, I spent the last 10 years driving around the Middle East where options a, b and d are valid manoeuvres.

I spent the next three weeks frantically swotting up on the Road Code. During this time, conversations usually went along the lines of:-

Me: “Aw, f-!”

Husband: “What?”

Me: “It’s ‘d’. Wanky wanky shit bollox.”

Husband knew all the answers, which was intensely annoying. I’m not talking about things like:

What side of the road should you drive on?

(a) left

(b) right

(c) down the middle preferably on two or less wheels

(d) if you drive fast enough your car will become airborne which is technically not ON the road at all

No; I’m talking about the sort of minutiae most normal people file in the dark recesses of their mind to make room for, you know, useful stuff.

Me: “Ok, question 281: if a load extends more than one metre out the back of your vehicle, what colour flag must you tie on?”

Husband: “Permissible colours are white, red, orange or fluorescent yellow. The flag must be at least 30cm by 40cm in size. The load must be firmly secured and not touch the ground.”

Me: “I didn’t ask you- that- the last things.”

Husband (primly): “Niamhie, you need to know this stuff.”

“I do! It’s just I haven’t read that bit yet-”

“What if you get a question about carrying a load on your car?”

“Shh! I’m READING, you occasionally deeply unpleasant individual.”

After a while, I was having dreams of parking on a fire hydrant in the middle of a railway crossing with out of order traffic lights. I was fully prepared, absolutely crammed:-

“Husband! Test me! Ask me anything!”

“Aw Niamhie, do we have to do this again?”

“You want me to pass, don’t you? Grill me on reversing into a driveway! Or the four second rule!”

“*sigh!* Ok. If driving in a 50 km/h area, the horn-”

“-on your vehicle should not be used between the hours of 11pm and 7am except in the event of an emergency. If you are having difficulty preparing for your test due to a language or reading difficulty, you should contact Literacy Aotearoa on 0800-900 999. Next!”


“Come ON! Hit me!”

“If a flock of sheep are coming towards you on a country road, you should (a)-“

“Offer the farmer a fair price for the best looking sheep. Ha ha, only joking. The answer is (d) slow down, pull over to the side of the road and follow any advice the farmer may give you. Although, I don’t fully agree with that. I mean, if a farmer were to give me a fashion tip, I’m not sure I’d follow it.”

“All right, that’s it. No more.”

When Husband started having nightmares about beating me to death with The New Zealand Land Transport Road Code 2007, he packed me off to do the test. In the end, the most challenging part was the mandatory eye exam. I had to guess a couple of letters and the peripheral vision exercises were a joke.

“Which light is blinking,” asked the 12-year-old Test Official, “left or right?”

“Th- they’re both blinking,” I said. In fact it was like a war zone: I was seeing flashing lights all over the show.

“You should see one blinking more than the other.”

“Oh, right. The left. No! The right. No! The left. No-”

“Ok,” she said. “What- I passed?” She shrugged.

Apparently I must have, because she issued me a NZ driving licence

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