And so the New Year has rolled around. A year for finally sending down some roots. A year for laying the foundations for making something semi-permanent (or least, slightly less piecemeal) of myself. A year for getting around to some of those ambitions that never really made sense without a stable base of operations.

And a year for getting over the old black layout and … basically renovating my entire blog. Fear not (or alternatively… be appropriately afraid); I’ll still be documenting my adventures in ecumenical mischief with the same unjustifiable arrogance as ever. I just can’t really claim to be far from home anymore. That ship has sailed. And then come back.

This is also a year for doing something about the black hole of financial disasters that was 2009. I’ve set out budgets, planned my repayments and got everything categorised in nice neat boxes. This was an entirely unnatural process for me, so used to flying by the seat of my pants and touching the ground only long enough to take stock of my next leap and, on occasion, to repair the seat of my pants.

I was feeling so unreasonably proud of myself that I must have upset the universe somehow. It seems to be an immutable fact of life that just when it looks like I can sort myself into some sort of rhythm and make some sort of progress, the universe bowls me a googly.

I was piloting the GSS Tarrdis home after celebrating New Year’s Eve in town. I had almost reached the outskirts of Palmerston and was reflecting on what a good run home I’d had. Not another car on the road, no pounding monsoonal downpours and no bastard in a four wheel drive tailgating me all the way along the highway. I didn’t even come across a breathalyser, despite us all having been assured by the police that they were going to check every single driver on New Year’s Eve. Darwin doesn’t have that many roads in and out, but apparently they couldn’t quite cover both of them. No sooner had I thought this than I ran headlong into a subspace anomaly.

Okay, it wasn’t so much a rift in space-time as it was some sort of animal. At the time, I believed it to be a dog, but closer inspection of the dent in my car suggested it may have been a hippo. Either way, there wasn’t much left of it after it stepped into my headlights as I approached at 100 km/h. I take some comfort in the knowledge that it was certainly killed instantly, and probably literally didn’t know what hit it. Shaken, but not stirred, I continued home.

The next day, I inspected the damage. There was dented panelling where I had hit the buffalo and some of the undercarriage had been bent out of shape. I thought it looked nasty, but she would hold up until I took her in for her first service. I hopped in to drive to the supermarket. There was a nasty buzzing sound coming from the bonnet, but I figured that was the dented panelling vibrating. Then the check oil light came on. I decided at that point that I should probably take her into the mechanic on Monday. I drove out of the carport and she stalled. I started her up again and decided to take an experimental lap around the block before I braved the main road. She stalled twice more, before giving up altogether just as I got back to the front gate of our complex. She bluntly refused to start again, so I coasted to a stop and parked on the side of the road outside our unit.

Monday morning I called the Ford service centre and had the Tarrdis towed in to start the fun. The mechanic was a little confused as to what I was doing there, since the receptionist hadn’t filled out the job folder properly, so I explained that I had hit an elephant and torn an oil line somewhere, among other things. I left the car in his capable (I hope) hands and caught a bus in to Casuarina to speak with the insurance folk.

I’m pretty sure the girl at AAMI is thoroughly sick of me. I must have been in to see her half a dozen times at least while trying to get the documentation for my loan sorted out, which wasn’t that long ago. She had a strange look in her eye as I approached. I couldn’t decipher whether it was a look that said “Oh good grief, what is it now?” or one that said “Hmm… perhaps he’ll bring me flowers this time.” Maybe both. She was a little surprised that I was making a claim so soon after having bought the car, but I explained that I had run into a brachiosaurus on my way home from New Year’s and she started processing the claim for me.

Meanwhile, the mechanics had finished their diagnostic tests on my car. Apparently the collision tore the oil filter off and crushed the radiator against the body of the engine. All involved were suitably impressed that I had successfully made it home without the whole thing bursting into flames.

Unfortunately, the protocol of these situations is that the insurance assessor then travels to the workshop to inspect the damage and approve the plans of the mechanics to repair it. The mechanics can’t touch the car until they get approval from the assessor. A week later I’m still waiting to hear back from this mysterious and apparently prohibitively busy assessor. I was going to wait until I heard back before posting this so I could present the full saga in one instalment, but it’s now Saturday and I’m once again stranded in Palmerston for the weekend and it’s raining outside and I’m bored, so I decided to start blogging to keep the tedium at bay for a few minutes more by sharing it with you.

I suppose it is somewhat appropriate in this, the season of new starts, that here I am; right back where I started from.

Insert yet to be determined, classy yet quirky new sign off line here.


Garry with 2 Rs

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