When I was still a teenager my dad just came out one morning and told me that I was buying a car! He insisted that I pool the small amount of hard earned money that I had accrued and invest it into my very first set of wheels. To help, he even drove me around to places that had advertised in the Saturday morning paper to inspect and purchase this automobile. Why on earth he would even consider such an option came as a bit of a surprise to me.....after all, I had perfectly good parents who dropped me off and picked me up everywhere. But still, under duress, I agreed!
In my head, of course, I had envisaged a flash, shiny and almost new car. One that had people's heads turning. My friends who had purchased vehicles were all driving cars that one would term 'interesting' or 'cute' or 'cool'. Brands like VW, Mini and the like were common....all great students' cars and all with 'hip' classifications! Somehow, my first motor investment wasn't quite so swish. I ended up coming away with a not-so-new, not-so-shiny and definitely not-so-hip Hillman Hunter!
Now, I know that these days, Hillman Hunters have a kind of quaint and collectible appeal to some. Back in the mid eighties for a teenage girl though, they didn't! But still I drove my little white beast around cause, apart from walking, she was the only transport that I had! And beast she was! Her paint work, while once must have been sparkling white, always had a dull, powdery sheen while she was in my possession! And the interior was simple and (to put it nicely) merely serviceable!
Throughout the three years that I owned that car, I can say that life as an automobile owner wasn't dull. Money always needed to be spent on her....albeit small and wear-and-tear things like new tyres, a tune up here and there and (ahem) a new clutch (but we won't mention the lecture I got about 'riding' the clutch after this little mechanical failure)! In those days, fuel was averaging about 30-40c per litre so thankfully those costs were down. And although I can't remember what price registration was, I can guarantee that it was the astronomical $800+ per year that the Queensland Transport Department thinks is perfectly acceptable in 2009!
By the end of my time with my Hillman, it had seen all sorts of auto events......a few little prangs (who ever did invent posts in car parks that were impossible to see out of back windows!), storms (the hail damage from the very large storm in the summer of 1985 pocked cars all along my street...except mine! The steel on the Hillman was so strong that it barely scratched when marble sized hail landed on it!) and theft (someone broke into it, only to find about 50c in the glove compartment! Obviously, they didn't want to take the car as a whole!). I even remember once when my friend and I were driving in it that we smelt rather nauseating petrol fumes. Logically, we wound down the windows to let the fresh air in, only to realise after a few kilometres of driving that the fumes were actually coming from the outside of the car.....so we wound the windows back up again!
A few years later, after I finished university and got an actual job that didn't involve flipping hamburgers and cooking chips, I bought a new car. My Hillman owning days had come to an end. And to give you an indication of the sad state of my car, I eventually sold it to a wrecker for a couple of hundred dollars! I didn't cry and I didn't miss it....it's only now, all these years later that I realise that that little 'bomb' was probably a great, inexpensive car for a newbie driver like me!
Today, as I drive my considerably newer car around, I realise just why my dad insisted that I needed my own wheels. My life these days fits in between driving my children to their own life events.......to school, from school, to sports events, parties and now work. I even got a 'Mum, I missed the bus, can you come and pick me up!?' call last week! Obviously, my children aren't old enough to drive themselves yet, hence the need I have for one of those 'mum's taxi' bumper stickers. I admit though that once they are old enough, a good sturdy second hand car is what they will be getting, too!
Image courtesty of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MHV_Hillman_Hunter_02.jpg for study purposes only.
The second day of back yard transformation came in the form of another dirty looking machine. This one, however did not require whole pieces of fence to be removed! Phew! Instead, it came right through the gates and delicately selected huge pieces of rock to create a pretty snazzy retaining wall! After a while the wall statted to take shape! It was amazing to see how quickly the driver worked. This wall ends up going right across the back yard but it's definitely looking better.
And for those of you who have asked, yes, we have been talking to pool builders but no, we aren't sure if we will build one. It's awful but we just can't decide!
First came the truck to dump big rocks for future retaining wall! Then came the massive excavator to dig out all of the soil! It also created a dust bowl! Piles of soil were trucked out! A little machine flattened out the back yard!
I have always hated the layout of our backyard. People who ventured up there likened it to mountain goat climbing. The kids preferred the flat front yard to kick balls, ride bikes etc and seriously, the whole space really was a waste!
After much nail chewing, DH and I have decided to begin major renovations and reclaim our back yard. It is always going to be steep (can't change what is!) but we think that a bit of earth works to make the space more usable would benefit all.
It's not going to be an overnight job....after the excavating, we have retaining walls to build, drainage to install and grass to lay. Here, however, I'm giving you a general idea of the 'before' picture so that you can see the progress for yourself. Stay tuned for the 'during' and 'after' shots to come!
I'm a mother, wife, worker, housekeeper, chief chef (at my place!), educator, chauffeur (to the kids), personal assistant (to my kids), secretary (to everyone here!), pet carer, laundry worker.....ummmm...need I go on!
Sanctuary by Nora Roberts.....I'm having a Nora 'love-in'. This is the fifth book of hers that I've read in a row and I still love her stuff!
CDs and Songs I'm Currently Listening To
Offspring Season 2 Soundtrack!
Adele...that woman has a God-given voice!
What I'm Watching!!!
Offspring...season 2....if you don't know what I'm talking about then you either don't live in Australia or have been living under a rock! One of the best tv shows on our screens! Sadly, season 2 has just finished (on a massive high storyline wise!) And I have to say to all of the fellow followers out there...I'm definitely team Patrick!!!!!
Eat, Pray, Love....don't be deceived by mixed reviews. This is a sweet movie with a lovely, hopeful ending. Like the book, it bubbles along so don't go expecting action packed emotionally wrenching storylines though!