Saturday, 16 June 2012

Manual vs Automatic Cars; No Contest

I might treat our car a little better after my driving experience today!

Your not really living the kiwi dream unless you are driving a second hand, automatic, four wheel drive!

Automatic cars are the norm here.

It's quite acceptable to drive round an old banger here. Some of the cars are something else! It's amazing that they are still on the road but I think because they have to get a warrant of fitness every six months they keep going longer...or some such car talk.

Four by fours are the car of choice, the Rav 4 in particular. Lovely Hubby reasoning for the volume of these cars; 'very much farming country and petrol was cheap (compared to U.K anyway) until recently'. Whatever you say dear x.

So in a bid to fit into our new country we trotted along to a car auction not long after arriving and now we have an 10 year old, automatic, Ford Escape. Super easy to drive and goes like shit of a shovel when required, although it is very thirsty beast. A poor mans four by four but hey ho one day we might be able to get a real one.

So for the last 13 months I have got into the swing of driving an automatic. For a while there I would try to find the clutch with my left foot or reach for the gears that aren't there. Now though I am a lazy, lazy automatic driver.

My Lil Sis has embraced the old banger part of the car ways over here. She recently bought her friends 17 year old Ford Fiesta. FYI she can't drive but her clearly insane Boyfriend is only too happy to teach her to drive in her rust bucket, at only $500 it's cheaper than driving lessons.

Not being a car person I took little interest in her car when she got it a couple of months ago. I made all the right noises of joy that she had a car but I didn't look at it in great detail or have a shot or anything.

Until today that is!

Well what can I say? I wish I could say 'never again' but in order to get my Lovely Lil Sis to help me out Cherubsitting on a Saturday morning while i work I must brave the archaic contraption that is her car so she can have mine for shipping the Cherubs around!

Thankfully on my first venture back into the driving seat of a manual Lovely Hubby was in the passenger seat for the first 10 minutes. If not for his words of support (inbetween sniggers ar my stupidity) I probably would have phoned into work sick!

First things first there is no radio, just beautiful wires hanging out where a radio should be. One of excitements of going to work on a Saturday is getting to listen to Hamish and Andy! Although after putting the foot down and reaching the speed limit (actually just getting to 50kmph) the rattling and wind whistling thought the vehicle would have drowned the radio out!

Our driveway goes straight out onto State Highway 1, perilous at the best of times! So today after a shuddery start I attempt pulling out of the drive onto the highway only to be faced with a steamywindow so naturally I reach down to open the windows, not silly enough to expect a button to do this but looking for a handle to wind the window down. But no even that was too much to expect. Where a handle to wind the window should be there was a nub, yep I said a nub...

So I dropped lovely hubby off, he wiped the windows for me with his gloves (love is) and I noticed that the petrol gauge was looking dangerously low so I asked him if I would get there and back with what I had, 'yeah, yeah, trust me sweetheart, you could get to Auckland and back (8 hours away) on that'. Thanks 'sweetheart', fecking petrol light went on half way there. No problem putting petrol in (theres a man to do that here) but I was worried about manoevering the beast in a straight line down the highway nevermind in and out of a petrol station!

What next? Trying to change lanes on the highway, good girl checking all my mirrors ten times before moving. Eh a bit tricky when you can't see out the back window. Come on now the blowers had been on full blast since I got in the car, pretty sure they were actually making the windows steamier.

To top things off I gave myself minor heart failure after hairing down the road. No clock (of course) to see if I was making good time but I seemed to be doing ok. I was trundling along at 100kmph, thinking I was doing well to still have the sides and roof on the car thinking to myself 'funny all these other fancy cars aren't over taking me'. When panic, pure nonsensical panic you realize, struck. What if this car, like the manual cars back home, was in mph not kmph, oh boy I was gonna be in trouble. But it was ok it too, like all other cars in N.Z. I'm sure, was in kmph...obviously.

It's ok though I made it to work in one piece, did my shift, filled up with petrol successfully and quite enjoyed my drive home.

However I will not (not for a few days anyway) take my luxurious (in my head now) automatic for granted again.

Not only that, if Lil Sis can learn to drive in that contraption then she wil be able to drive anything.


  1. Highly amusing, however doesn't fill me with confidence knowing that number two daughter drives this beast.

  2. Like I say, if she can drive this beast she can drive anything. No worse than the tin can!

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    1. Em thankyou for your comment but I can't help but think you are taking the Michael!

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  4. Sounds like a nightmare! Found you on Suzanne's oldiesbutgoodies - I've posted too!

  5. Haha! My first car was a red Ford Fiesta, I loved it! But it did look and sound a little like the car you describe. Wish my car was an automatic, I love them! Thanks for linking up x