Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's going to be legendary...

Ah life, what a wonderful mixed bag of comings and goings you are proving to be so far this year. I'm enjoying it.

I have seen both the lovely R and M this weekend, and they have both spoiled me rotten with belated Christmas presents. They truly are far too good to me, those two. Roze and I got together for lunch on Friday to celebrate her return to the continent, and it was absolutely lovely. I just got back from Em's place actually, and am now nomming on some truly amazing chocolate candy floss. It's a miracle of modern science, this stuff.

I had a perfect weekend, all things considered. Ma mere and I headed to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on Saturday for the 'Masterpieces from Paris' exhibition. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, our favourite Van Gogh was out as well as my favourite Monets, so definitely left happy. We had a mosey around the rest of the Gallery as well, and it was just lovely. There was quite a crowd, so the exhibition is certainly proving popular - we had to line up for about twenty minutes to get in. We had a late lunch and headed back to Sydney, through a rather impressive storm when we hit Gouldburn, and we were home before dark. An excellent day, I think, all round and an easy day-trip.

All this driving I've been doing over the last two weeks - to Penrith last weekend (approx 64km) and Canberra yesterday (274km) - has made me pontificate on the subject matter somewhat. This is the part of the blog where I wax lyrically about cars so if that sort of thing bores you to tears, now is the time to hit the escape button.

Firstly I have to say that, to me, driving, in the right car, is one of the most simple, pleasurable things you can do. I think it is an absolute joy to drive a car that *wants* to be driven along highways and byways, straights and winding roads, in any condition. A lot of people don't appreciate the simple pleasure of driving - here because we can't really drive properly, and in other places often because public transport is more prevalent, and then again some people just find it dull. Having grown up in South Africa though, with a completely car-mad male faction of the family, I often think appreciation for cars (and racing) is in my DNA. Cars (and bikes), in short, are one of my passions. It's true that I'm a pretty feeble rev head, I don't care how many gs its putting out on the corner or how much torque it has. The only thing I care about is looks, and how fast it is (and handling but I don't absorb much mechanical talk, all I need to know is if it sticks properly on a corner without feeling like it's going to roll over).

I found myself particularly mulling over my cars and driving on the way back from Canberra - an easy daytrip on an absolutely gorgeous road that is one of the few decent freeways in this state, straightforward with no traffic, it is a pleasure...and hard to resist just flooring it to the horizon - and no doubt helped by the huge amounts of Top Gear I've been watching lately. Anyway, my mother seems to think I'm a Jay Leno in the making because I love my cars and cannot imagine parting company with Jack, though he is old and beyond his prime, when I get a new car. I'd much rather polish him up and park him a garage for the rest of my natural life, to take out for spins when the urge takes me. He's my first car, he means a lot to me.

Sure, when I talk about the "pleasures of driving" I am not talking about Jack. He is not the smoothest car to drive, I mean we get on well enough and he sits fantastically on a corner (though that is more tyres than anything else) but he is still 20 years old, and he drives like it. His steering is difficult (he has no power-steering), his gearbox is sluggish on a steep incline, and he absolutely hates, hates driving 110. Which is, for some unfathomable reason, the general speed limit in this country. It's absurd, no car likes doing 110, they're made to do 120, 110 is just some misguided fool's idea of making things safer. Jack is incredibly nervy at 110, the engine doesn't like it and the entire body shakes, but if I push him just that little bit more, he settles fine...which isn't bad for a car his age really. He is a 1.3L fuel injected version true, but he also runs an aircon which sucks up virtually any power he has.

Martha (not really mine, but which I will no doubt inherit when dad gets a new one in a year cause he is physically incapable of owning a car more than 2 years) on the other hand, is an absolute dream to drive. There is no doubt in my mind that the Hyundai Getz is the best value small car on the market. They are brilliant little cars. Absolutely brilliant. Considering what you get for it, you cannot possibly ask for more. She is a little slow on the change sometimes, but this is probably my own fault for giving her too much gas on a pull-away than anything else, but other than that, she is gorgeous. She is also quite quick, and I think her top speed is reasonably good - on the open road I think you should easily be able to get her to 150. With the aircon on, which would kill poor Jack.

Seriously though, if someone is thinking about getting an economical small car, the Getz is the way to go. You get comfortable fittings and safety in a great spacious little car that can really motor. It's a bargain really.

All of which leads up to me simply stating that I love Martha and I'd hate to part company with her too, so in the fictional car garage, I'd polish her up and park her next to Jack. So now I've got two cars...what's next?

Well, ladies and gentleman, in 2006 when my parents headed off to Jeep-Chrysler to pick up the latest Wrangler, I fell in love with a zippy little convertible commonly known as a Crossfire. I still insist this is one of the single most gorgeous cars I've ever had the pleasure of mucking about in, and Top Gear agrees with me! Though they believe it to be absolute rubbish technically. But it's not as if I could actually drive it like a proper sports car in the city anyway, so in this this instance I don't care if it's just a car in disguise. It is just that good looking.


I love this car. It is *gorgeous* and it is the car I'm buying as soon as I have the means. I won't even think twice about it.

Then, if by some stroke of fortune I find myself in the position to do so, I will buy my dream car. A 1966 Mustang. I've wanted this car all my life, all my life I tell you.


And now, since we've left the world of reality well behind, my next acquisition would be a Porsche 911 Turbo. Why? Because it is a Porsche 911 people and if I am to have a fictional garage full of cars I have hypothetically loved in my life, it needs to have a Porsche 911 in it. Also, my mum would want to drive it. She loves these.


But I figure why stop there? Why not make sure I have a hypothetical car for every day of the week? So, with that logic, we have the brand I've wanted almost as long as I've wanted a Mustang, namely Ferrari. The thing is, I've always been sort of torn over which one. The other night I thought I finally found the perfect model in the F430.


It is not only absolutely stunning to look at it, but it always drives incredibly well. And that's not really something you hear about a sports car all that often. But then there is of course the Enzo, which is hard to pass up...we are living in fantasy land at the moment after all.


The final car-of-the-week in my fictional garage, would be an Aston Martin Vanquish...


That's right, that is the Sunday car.

Then, just because I can, I'd have an emergency car in the Masserati GranTurismo S.


Or maybe a Lamborghini Murcielago...



I have delusions of grandeur, what can I say...

Music: How I met your mother
Mood: Sleepy

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