Lifestyle

Break downs and carking it

By Liam Nash

Our favourite Kiwi Liam Nash is back again, and boy is he suffering from car troubles.

Cars — I may just have the worst luck when it comes to them.

Last weekend I experienced my very own darkest hour, or hours, and although Churchill had to deal with the impending threat of invasion, he most likely didn’t have to worry about a blown head gasket.

I will try to go through it all — but first, some back story.

Upon my arrival in the country, I went about finding a means of transport. Bear in mind, I had only heard of horror stories involving bangers and lemons as my 1998 Honda Civic back in the homeland was as dependable as they come.

Soon I was Melbourne bound to check out a Holden Cruze. No, not the reliable localised model driven by every man and his dog across Australia.

I had to go out and look at the obscure mini SUV which is basically a Suzuki in sheep’s clothing. The car viewing itself transcended from a quick test drive to pulling into a car show, dropping off a rusty motorcycle, and ended with a tour of the owner’s house. Much more than I had bargained for, which is ironically the one thing I didn’t get.

Long story short, I wasn’t able to drive the vehicle home after purchasing so I had arranged to meet this particular individual at Seymour train station mid-week. I was there on time; surprise, surprise — no sign of the little white wagon trundling along the main street. Two hours passed, and finally my phone began to ring with he-who-should-not-be-named on the caller ID.

The conversation consisted of some rushed excuse about a late finish which translated to him only leaving the city at that moment, with not one iota of an apology mixed into this hurried batch of dialogue. He even had the cheek to ask me to buy him dinner while I waited! I only just managed to hold my nerve when it finally became time to exchange the keys, and I was off. Happy days.

Imagine my shock when, driving to work the next day, the car lost all power steering, revs and began to shake. Think of that crash scene featuring Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky, but with less Cameron Diaz and more of me yelling expletives. Shattered at the fact that I had just been Ponzi’d, what followed was a trip to a mechanic and a six-week wait before my steed was back in action.

I was sailing along for 11-odd months without issue until last weekend, which is where the second act of this tragic tale begins.

With the call of a music festival impossible to resist, I hurtled down Hume Hwy for what should have been a roaring few days, but upon my departure from the city centre I experienced the worst kind of deja vu while winding through the outer suburbs.

A wretched gurgling noise emanating from the belly of the mechanical beast morphed into a death rattle every time my foot touched the accelerator; and, just like that fateful day in December, all systems were not at go.

Luckily, a petrol station on the horizon grew increasingly near as I spluttered and stalled along the road until the car finally came to rest at the BP.

While the entirety of Melbourne sat immersed in AFL grand final action, I had the pleasure of drinking in the beauty of the servo with all its interesting trinkets and exotic fumes. Thankful to have abandoned my post at the garage, an equally enthralling stretch of conversation with a gruff tow truck driver was next, and then once my deceased automobile was in the hands of a mechanic it was time for the last leg of the not so amazing race; the longest Uber of my life back to Southern Cross station and an Olympic sprint to catch the last train of the day to Shepparton. What a nightmare.

Waking up the next day, it all seemed like a bad dream. Maybe this was all a hallucination and my little white wagon was parked outside in perfect condition. No such luck. A phone call from the mechanic with the opener “so, do you still want to keep it?” confirmed my worst fears.

So here I am, in the market for a new ride with less trust in humanity than ever.

Prayers and thoughts welcomed.

I am listening to...

The Flying Club Cup. Indie band Beirut’s ode to Paris features a track list littered with tasteful accordion and bristling ukulele, dancing above an underlying brash horn ostinato — all of which blends together to saturate the eardrums in the best possible way.

I can distinctly remember my brother teaching me how to play Nantes on our rickety old piano which hadn’t been tuned since the turn of the millennium.

That sorry excuse for an instrument made any song sound like 1950s honky-tonk.

I am gearing up for...

Cricket season. As winter melds into spring-soon-to-be-summer, the soccer boots are banished to the back of the closet and are replaced with the bat and pads.

Although I haven’t rolled my arm over in about half a decade, I cannot wait to strike fear in the hearts of E-grade batsmen all over the district with some questionable leg spin.

Along with the thrills and spills of the game itself, the cricketing lexicon never ceases to amaze me — cow’s corner, Doosra, lolly — simply brilliant.

I am watching...

Moon TV. The lovechild of New Zealand comedian Leigh `That Guy' Hart, attempting to describe this ridiculous spoof show would be like trying to explain the difference between left and right.

A series of stupidly funny skits such as The Hamster Man from Amsterdam, Speedo Cops and Late Night Big Breakfast, Hart’s puerile comedy never ceases to leave me split at the sides.

The amateurish, unrehearsed production value is what gives the show its charm and is most likely what will keep its cult following looping those short but sweet six seasons for years to come.

I am noticing...

The heat. Spring may have only just cracked open its doors, but as a non-native, I barely made it through last summer.

Before making the trip across the ditch, 45 degrees was only associated with a trigonometry lesson and wasn’t an actuality of the temperature range.

For the most part of January and February I felt like a proverbial dog in a parked car, and I am desperate to avoid drowning in a puddle of sweat during the upcoming months.

I’ll be on the lookout for any cryogenic chambers available for hire as the weather warms up.