Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bigger Is Better!

At least it is for me!

In the car department, that is...

Ever since I have been married and living on the farm, owning 'bigger' cars has been a prerequisite. There is a stigma that comes with driving a bigger car (luxury car, wealthy farmer, extravagence etc.) but the reality is that without a car like this, my life would be so much more difficult. I can't even begin to imagine what wrangling these roads in a Corolla on a daily basis would be like!!!

Here's some facts about my life.
1. Our driveway (either driveway - there are 2) is 3km long. That's 3km to the mailbox. And here is a pic of a fraction of our driveway...

2. Every single week day I drive a total of 80km, JUST to get my kids onto a school bus and bring them home again. That's not including the days I go into town for meetings, appointments or work. At least once a week (and sometimes 3 or 4 days a week) I drive 160km a day as well.
3. To go shopping I drive a total of 200km minimum (return trip), and to go to the dentist I drive a total of 500km. (Return trip).

This averages about 500km a week!

Here are some images of the road I drive on every day...

White rock road

And not even to mention what it's like when it's wet! This is what we drove through after being stuck at home in the last floods for just under 3 weeks! With a small car we would have been able to get out after more than a month!

Don't worry everyone! We walked through this first!

And then there's the damage left after the water has gone! The 20km trip to the bus stop is a bit like manouvering your way around a mine field at the moment!

The grass is always greener when it comes to the road out here. Ten years ago, the road was so awful that even at the smell of rain, the road would go to jelly, and I would have to pull out my extreme car driving skills just to get to the sealed road! I have written before about how I am not a fan of 4WD-ing, so when the council upgraded our roads to white rock I was ecstatic!... Until I realised that white rock rips your tyres to shreds much faster than the old roads do. And that's these big, heavy duty tyres too. On little cars, the damage to tyres would be far worse, and more frequent.

Bigger cars are also better out here for one other (pretty major) reason... THE ANIMALS. I once blogged about kangaroos. They are missiles hell bent on projecting themselves at your car at the most inconvenient time possible. In a small car, the effects can be disastrous.In a big car, the effects are managable. Once I even hit a wild pig (in the old car). And you don't want to do that in a small car.

I have had two cars in the last almost-10 years.


When CP and I first married, we purchased the Nissan Patrol. It was exactly what we needed. It was high off the ground, Diesel and comfortable. We had no children, but knew that they were inevitable, and as this car was a base model, it meant that it came without carpet etc. It was perfect for any mud, food, dust and spilled beverage that might be inflicted upon it. We bought it second hand, and it had done about 36 000km at the time. The warranty was valid until 100 000km and at 99000km I was driving it to work and it had a full motor/engine break down. It literally died. So with 1000km to go on the warranty, we had almost an entirely new 'motor/engine' fitted, and had very little trouble with it for the remainder of its life with us. By the time we traded it in (9 years later) it had almost 300000km on the clock!


After about 2 years of pleading and begging, we finally traded the old car in to get this Toyaota Landcruiser Prado. It still smells new, even after stinky kids and mud and dust have tried their hardest to make it 'old'. We chose this car because it was a 7 seater (the kids are at the age where they want to have friends over, and it's a bit rough when we can't fit anyone else in either). It's also automatic (oh my goodness, it's so nice not to have to work my way through clunky gears anymore!), and has a bunch of other features I love. It is a 4WD and we've already had to use it once, but it's not as high as the old car was (off the ground), but otherwise, it ticks all the right country boxes. We've had it for about two months and it's already racked up about 8000km!

Rocking up to someone's property can be a bit like attending a 4WD convention. But we are all in the same boat!

So living out here, bigger is more often than not, better. I have no idea why anyone would want to drive a car this big if they lived in the city. Rest assured my 'luxury car' is almost permanently coated in dirt and mud. I need a toothbrush to clean the dust out of the panelling inside. I actually use the 4wd on occasion. I don't drive it because I think of it as a status symbol, but rather as an investment in my driving security as long as I am living out here.

* No car dealership paid me to write this blog, however if Toyota (or any other car dealership) would like to sponsor me in future, feel free to contact me to flog you on my blog!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Things I Remembered Yesterday... (And A Giveaway!)

Yesterday I walked into the lounge room only to witness an all in brawl about to break out. I quickly sought out the root of the problem and learned from my three year old son that 'Olivia and Darcy were singing the boys part of the song, and they were girls.' For all it was worth, he was speaking another language. I approached Olivia, who is far wiser at the grand old age of seven, to find out what was going on.

"We were listening to this song, and Darcy and I were singing and dancing and Sam started yelling at us because he thinks only boys are allowed to sing this bit and that we have to wait for the girl bit to sing."

Still following?

Before I could actually resolve the issue, I found myself cast back a good 25 + years to my own childhood. Within seconds I was sitting in my loungeroom as an 8 year old, alongside my younger brother and sister. The theme song to Inspector Gadget was blaring and we were mid way through a massive loungeroom brawl. I was insisting on being Penny, my brother had to be Inspector Gadget (because he was a boy), which meant that my little sister had to be Brain, the dog (and only remaining character). The rules were simple. You WERE your assigned character, and you could claim all bragging rights for any cool things they did in a given episode. Furthermore, we were assigned specific lines to sing in the introduction and any break from routine surely resulted in a sibling beating. (Or at the very least, verbal hammering).

Flash back to the present. Nothing much has changed; only the faces. How could I deal with this properly when I understood the passion? So instead, I yelled "BE NICE TO EACH OTHER!" and then turned and left the room.

So with the theme song to Inspector Gadget still ringing in my ears, I started to fondly recall the early days of television in my life. Who could forget classic such as Danger Mouse and Count Duckula? (And on a side note - did you know that David Jason was the man behind voices in both those classics?! No? Neither did I...until today).

The flashbacks didn't stop there. Olivia (after she had bound and gagged her siblings for inappropriate miming) started asking me about Roald Dahl (famed children's author - do I even need to write that??). I immediately downloaded 'The Witches' (my favourite Roald Dahl story) for the kids to watch, and we spent a good part of the afternoon chilling out on the lounge watching this. It was brilliant!

One of our favourite Roald Dahl stories in this house is 'The B.F.G.' As you may already know, 'The B.F.G.' is a tale for all ages about a little girl called Sophie and a 'Big Friendly Giant' who set out to rid the world of the gruesome 'bone crunching' giants that eat little children for breakfast. Oh yes, no topic is off limits in this house!

So here is something else I learned yesterday...

It's been 30 years since Roald Dahl first created the B.F.G., and to celebrate the creation of this timeless character, the fully animated feature film version of The B.F.G. is being brought to DVD. This classic children’s tale is available on DVD on June 7th, by Roadshow Entertainment   (http://www.village.com.au/), and features the voice of... none other than... David Jason!!!! (See you learn something new every day!)

To celebrate the release of 'The B.F.G.' on DVD, I am running a giveaway! (Yay - my first ever!) I have 5 copies of 'The B.F.G.' to giveaway!

All you need to do is:  1. Tell me in the comments below what your favourite Roald Dahl
                                        story is (and why) in 25-100 words, and then head over to my  
                                        facebook page (link above) and leave your name under the BFG


                                    2. Go to my facebook page and leave a comment on what your
                                        favourite Roald Dahl story is (and why) in 25-100 words.

Thanks to Roadshow Entertainment for the fantastic giveaway!

Also remember to pop over regularly to the 'Promotions and Giveaway' page, as I will keep a list of what's going on there! x

PS. If you are really feeling the love, feel free to click on the Village Roadshow link above! x

PPS. Competition closes on Monday 11th June, and is only open to residents of Australia and New Zealand! The winners will be randomly selected from all the entries. Judges decision (that's me) is final. No correspondence will be entered into.