I had wheels…..


Most of the time here I don’t mind not having a car  (OK, that’s a lie in hot summer weather or when I want to leave someplace right then; right now!) – but really it would be sort of silly to have one when I can walk to most things I need and the train is efficient in taking me to work.  Any little car would spend most of its life sitting in our street –  and where I live the extent of a car’s wellbeing on that street might be questionable.

But I really feel that I’m missing out on something here after I’ve had a trip to Oz where I’ve spent time zipping about in a car singing along to silly pop songs!

At Sydney airport, after I’d signed away all the insurance options, the guy handed me the keys and said “it’s a brand new car” …

OMG –  the pressure! Each time I left the car unattended I was convinced that I would return to it and find that it had somehow participated  in a derby while I was away!   This fear caused me to park miles away from everyone else in all car parks and usually with one side  protected against a big cement pillar (not that that’s any guarantee against damage as I once reversed out of a space and totally ripped the bumper bar off the front of a car on the corner of a pillar!  –  LOL I was young!).

When I stayed with the Locksmith son I didn’t park on the potentially dangerous busy street but along the front of their building in a sort of quasi legal lot for the buildings on his block.   Every day I managed to park within the same few feet of a sweet spot handy to his building’s entrance.   One night I was out when this is what happened:….    
“Someone”  was looking after me!   As you can see it did take down a portion of fence and apparently damaged two cars!

And even though this was the price of petrol  ($5.67 a gallon!)
in 12 days I still managed to put just over 3,500 kilometres (2,174 miles)  on the car  –  and I returned it without a scratch!!



42 responses

  1. Sorry…had to laugh at the incident ripping the bumper off on a pillar.
    I did exactly the same thing (not quite to the same extent) having deliberately parked in that position for safety in a supermarket carpark.

    Glad you and the car returned to the depot without a scratch. 🙂

    • It was very embarrassing GOF – it was in the underground parking of a supermarket so the sound was amplified. I was in a boyfriend’s Toyota Corolla and the bumper bar ended up mostly on top of the hood. I had to get out of the car and put it in the boot!!!!

  2. LOL my first thought when you said parking next to a pillar was “Oh no she didn’t”. Because the reason why I always avoid to park next to a pillar is that I am afraid to rip the car. I rather let someone else do the stoopid parking and possibly create scratches and bulkes. But I couldn’t live with myself if I would be the one to hit the pillar.

    • LOL – after my little incident with the pillar I was pretty nervous about parking near them for a while but eventually I got over that and “mastered” it. Haven’t hit a pillar since 🙂

  3. I’m awed about the pillar too. They scare the crap out of me. Sounds like you got in touch with your inner road warrior! Maybe you got it out of your system until next time. 🙂

  4. Zoiks! Is that a eucalyptus tree? They do love to shed big limbs in storms…
    Double zoiks! Whenever us Yanks get our panties in a twist about the price of gas, I have to remind myself of what folks in the UK and Europe pay! (And apparently also Oz.)
    I once had a rental car for two weeks. It had 30 miles on it when I got it. Herher… On the contrary, my dear, you should consider this the time to really put the poor thing through its paces. You don’t want it to think its going to live a soft life, do you? 🙂

    • Yep that’s a eucalyptus and I think they just love to drop limbs willy-nilly. I don’t pay a lot of attention to gas prices here because of the lack of car (and the whole gallon thing) but I notice that any trips I have home seem to correspond with an increase in the cost there! 🙂 LOL – I guess no rental car has a soft life.

  5. Wow! You were lucky to escape that tree disaster! I don’t drive often. I’m at school most of the year and I don’t have a car. I just walk everywhere. So when I’m home, I borrow my mom’s car. I’m so nervous I wait until there’s a huge buffer before I try to turn left. XD

    • Yep – the car absolutely would’ve been under that tree if I hadn’t been out. My daughter-in-law said she heard a couple of loud snaps and then some bangs and when she looked out the branches were lying on top of a couple of cars! I’m glad I didn’t have to explain anything to Budget! 🙂 My daughter offered me the use of her car but it doesn’t have air con and it was so hot while I was there that I would’ve been a mess without it!

  6. Oh



    I actually LOLed when I saw the pic of the branches. You dodged a bullet. I’m so, so glad that didn’t happen. Phew!!! You must have been so relieved the branches elected to fall while the car was out.

    • LOL – I laughed a lot too when I saw the branches on the ground – it was one of those thank-God-nervous- relieved laughs! 🙂 It was the same way that we laugh at the misfortunes of others …..

  7. Oh I see ! You were insured, but with a deductible which were as expansive as the car value ! …
    OMG … I understand the pressure ! … I salute your achievement to drive through towns, deserts and storms, and return this bloody car without a scratch ! … 🙂
    Have a nice day

  8. Glad you enjoyed the freedom. I wish we had good public transport here–even if I had to ride with the VIOLENT CRIMINALS out here (srsly, you know about my school years, it’s the same people just adults). It’s nonetheless wonderful to have that option of a car for when you want to go someplace nowhere near stuff (which would be where I live…).

    • I was at our entrance to the metro today when there was a huge police take-down of a guy who allegedly had a gun. I often wonder how many people on the metro (train) with me are armed. That’s funny about the criminals – when I was home my kids were talking about how so many of the kids they went to school with are now in jail for crimes like rape and murder. These were little thugs at school so perhaps it is not surprising they turn into violent adults – when they are young you sort of hope they will “grow out of it” though.

  9. “3,500 kilometres (2,174 miles) on the car – and I returned it without a scratch!!” now that is amazing. Nevertheless, I would recommend some type of insurance in the future.

    • I just hate the way they start with a “base rate” for car rental and then add all the extras on for basic insurance and then another charge to reduce the liability etc – it adds so much to the cost. Generally I take out travel insurance and look for one that includes some rental car coverage – much, much, much cheaper.

        • I had not thought of that – Emjay is right, they really sock it to you. I usually pay around $250 for a week in the States just for the frakking insurance. Every single trip!

  10. I won’t park next to pillars like that because I always tend to forget they are there and so when I open the door it smacks into the cement. Scratches in a new paint job are the worst thing in the world.

    A car in your circumstances would mean more snow shoveling too, wouldn’t it? Or having to move the thing to alternate sides of the street for plowing. Or finding a crack addict has taken up residence in your back seat. Yeah … if I lived in a big city I’d skip the car.

    • I don’t like those cement blocks they put in to stop you going too far forward. Most cars I’ve driven are so low in the front they get damaged before a wheel ever touches the cement.

      And – you reminded me we have silly street sweeping once a week in the spring/summer months – one week one side; the next week the next side! I’d never get that one right! LOL – I’d probably find my car a distribution point for “baggies” . The dealers used to hang them in little bushes but the bushes got removed by DC council ……

  11. I also miss driving sometimes and with the buns I need to be able to rush anyone who is sick to the vet in the big city, where there is a renowned rabbit specialist. But that is the extent of it for me so I have put it off. Here I would need to attend driving school, our insurance would be horrific because I would be considered a first time driver (!!!), and I would want a Prius. All that is very expensive. I order a food delivery once a week, anything else I pick up in the corner shop in the town after work, or veg and eggs at the farm shop in the village except milk (we cancelled the milk man, he SUCKED, could never get our order right). I can take the bus to work and walk on a very good day (it is 4 miles one way – not done it yet). I am not a cyclist. I really would prefer to not drive at all. It is expensive and not green. Conceivably I could take a bus to town and the train to that vet but that would be very stressful for the bunny. and then there is the kicker that my American license will run out soon and when I go back I have to rent a car because there is no way to get from the airport to my son’s house.

    • LOL about the milkman! I’d love an old fashioned milkman – alas I think they are extinct in DC. A friend has asked me to look after her cat while she goes on vacation later this year. I expressed feeling a little nervous about what I would do if it got sick and I had to get it to a vet; my friend said “you can have my car too” – *now* I’m really nervous as I will have two things to worry about! LOL. If we bought a car I would like one of those little “Smart” cars – they are teeny. Actually, they are so teeny the manservant wouldn’t fit in one! 🙂 To get a DC Driver’s license all I had to do was take my Australian one in and pass the written test for vehicles and motorbikes (I had a motorbike endorsement) . No-one asked me if I could drive on the right hand side! 🙂

      LOL @ your “crack” joke …. 🙂

  12. You were smart to park far away from other cars. This winter our neighor’s plow guy rammed into my parked car and took off without a word. Cops tried to contact him, but to no avail. You would do great with a car but oh, the expense!

    I do love the image of you whizzing around singing pop songs. That sounds fun.

      • You’ve a license to drive a motorbike? Wow, did you add this endorsement to your farm combine license, truck license, and because you’re married to the astrodweeb, an additional endorsement to travel the Milky Way? Wow, you go girl!

        • LOL Raymond – how cool would it be to ride the Milky Way! I got my bike license when I was 19 or 20 years old using my brother’s bike for the test (I think it was a Kowasaki). It was a policeman who did the testing way back then and he said that if I “made it back around the block in one piece” I could have the license! 🙂

  13. Gas was $4 a gallon at some stations in San Francisco this weekend. I squawked—it cost me $54 to fill up my car back in Sacramento, which was “just” $3.95 a gallon—but my daughter chided me, saying that in Japan and other countries gasoline can be $7 a gallon and higher.

    At some point however I think it will be too expensive for “average people” to own a car, and cities will have to provide some form of public transportation if they want citizens to get to work. I think you’re lucky you have the metro to go to work on: here we have a terrible bus system, which raised its rates to $2.50 and recently stopped offering service on the weekends.

    Oh well. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Thank you for the postcard with the pictures of the noisy birds!

    • I’m glad the postcard arrived with noisy birds intact! Last year Metro had a two-fold increase in fares – the one that hurts the most is that there is now a “peak of peak” fare – if you travel in peak hour it costs extra! I think it is unfair to be penalized traveling to work when one’s work hours are dictated and unfortunately require one to travel in the “peak hours” . I think some of the w/end services have been cut a bit (like maybe closing an hour early which doesn’t affect me as my bedtime is well within operating hours). Our Metro turned 35 years old on Sunday and is starting to show some wear & tear – and there is no money to spruce it up.

    • I hear people at work complain about the cost of gas all the time and I remind them that there are many places in the world that have always paid a lot more. Thank you for visiting Christina 🙂

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