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Published: December 10th 2002
I decided to drive to Wellington. My car had been going nicely for about 1000 kilometres, picked a couple of hitchhikers. About 20km from Wellington the oil light flickered on, and off and on. I started looking for a petrol station to stop and check it out. The temperature was low… in fact almost on the bottom of the scale. The oil light stayed on a rattling sound started. I stopped. The engine was so hot. Waited. I had reached the edge of a town called Greytown. I waited some more. I decided to start the engine and see if I could get to the middle of the town and into a garage. The engine exploded. Smoke and steam and noise and smells overwhelmed the car. The two german girls that I had given a lift to offered to hang around with me until we got to Wellington but I told them that this wasn’t something that anyone would be able to fix and would probably need a new engine. Nice sounding like the expert after the event. They put out their sign got a lift in five minutes from someone with a much nicer car than mine.
After collecting together everything strewn around the car into my bags (in case I had to ditch it) I walked across the road and knocked on the first door I could see. Could I use the telephone? Phoned a car recovery in the paper. The tow truck turned up, hauled the vehicle on the back. Underneath the car bits of engine shaped metal lay - my expert opinion was right.
John towed my car to Featherston, a small commuter and retirement town on the northside of a hill between me and Wellington. John was in his fifties divorced and worked all the time. After taking me to the garage he said that I could either sell the car for not a lot, or fix the car (a new engine) for quite a lot. I didn’t know what to do, he was real nice and said that I could phone up the next day and tell him my decision. I had a few hours till the train to Wellington, so he took me to a pub near the station. I got chatting and drinking with Alan a local guy who renovates houses for a living, buys sections of land brings in houses on trucks and does them up. Selling them for more than he has spent. Currently he has three houses in varying states of renovation. Missed my train. Alan said I could stay at his (another divorced guy). So I went with Alan and John had a nice roast dinner (it was Sunday) at another pub and went back to Alan’s. The house was real nice, just ready for sale.
In the night I woke up and was really sick. The whole night was spent throwing up in Alan’s nice new bathroom. What a great guest I proved to be.
In the morning, I helped (well attempted to help - being very shaky and pathetic) with fencing one of the sections that Alan was working on, the train was in a few hours. Caught the train this time and made for Wellington.
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