Tips for my Fellow Drivers that descends into a ramble about Australia

Actually, it’s not so much tips for my fellow drivers. I only have one really. I was reminded of this particular ‘tip’ this morning, when, once again, I’m travelling along Great Eastern Highway doing the allowable speed of 80km/hr and just ahead of me I see a Ford driver, (the make of the car is irrelevant, but as a Holden/Commodore girl, one notices when an evil Ford is in one’s path). The Ford driver is waiting to pull onto the highway. The Ford driver pulls out onto the highway just in front of me!

Fortunately, as I’m driving a Little White Holden Nova, aka a brilliant car with excellent brakes, I was able to slam on them and reduce my speed from 80km/hr to around 20km/hr in the 5 seconds time frame that could have resulted in me and my Little White Holden Nova occupying the same space as the Ford and the idiot behind its wheel.

This is not the first time a driver has done this to me. And I am sure some of my Fellow Drivers on the Great Eastern Highway have had it done to them.

If someone has to slam on their brakes to prevent slamming into you, YOU HAVE PULLED OUT TOO SOON!!!

I think the police might have to introduce a system whereby people have to retake the test for their drivers licence every 5 years, because the dangerous way some people manoeuvre about the roads suggests to me that some of them received no instruction at all, or need a little reminder about how to be a safe and courteous driver.

Now, I am not saying I am a perfect driver. No, indeedy not. In fact, I got ‘done by the fuzz’ for talking on my mobile the other weekend. I wasn’t driving at the time. I was sitting at the red traffic light. There was a police car in front of me. The phone rang, I was trying to meet up with someone, so I answered it. Then I saw the police car’s lights flash.

“I’ve got to hang up! It’s the Fuzz!”

It turns out that if you are in your vehicle and the engine is on, NO PHONE! I thought it would be okay because I was stationary at the traffic lights. No, the police man informed me, giving me a caution and telling me to put my phone away. (I learned something very important and I provided some amusement for the ANZAC Day Parade attendees who were standing about waiting to cross the road.)

So, you see, I am not a perfect driver. However, I do wait for there to be a sufficient break in traffic before I pull out in front of fast-moving vehicles. Maybe I can be accused of waiting too long, going by the chap who was sitting behind me the other morning, during peak hour, I hasten to point out. Suddenly, he’s sounding his horn, furiously reversing back before, illegally, coming down beside me, waiting for 2 seconds and then shooting out onto the highway, right in front of two lanes of peak hour traffic causing the lead cars to, go on, guess! There was a reason I was sitting there for a long time, dickhead! (The DH in question wasn’t driving a Ford. It was a Nissan.)

The thing is, and this probably harks back to the ‘Thought for the day‘ I posted earlier, every time this happens to me I get plunged into a melancholy. If you have wandered onto my blog before, you know that I am, as my nephew J…… and I refer to ourselves, an Aussie-Pom. He actually is, whereas I am one at heart. These near misses on the road are a brief moment when the possibility of dying in bloody Perth becomes an actuality!

I am a Perth-girl born and bred, but my soul belongs in the Mother Country, (aka England), and I am desperate to get back there. (Though not desperate enough to get my skates on and finish the Blasted Thesis it would seem.)

Perth is a great place, don’t get me wrong. If you like the beach, we have the best in Australia. Yes, it is sunny and hot, bloody hot, for most of the year, unless you live in Melbourne, and is probably why I love that city so much. However, these two things, which are the reasons why my English friends think I’m mad for wanting to live in England, do not appeal to me at all. I absolutely deplore the heat. It is awfully relentless here in summer time. It’s soooo draining. To me! This Aussie does not thrive on, or in, the heat. I can’t even tolerate it. (I am very much a Whinging Aussie-Pom in summer time; if the heat hasn’t zapped me free of even enough energy to utter a whinge.) Every summer I spend in Australia, I pray daily to the gods who inspired the people behind the invention of air conditioning. Bloody marvellous invention! I’m more polar bear in my tendencies. Give me a good thunderstorm with a chill in the air and… BLISS!

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As for the beach babe thing. Well, I used to love going to the beach. It was something the Elliott Clan did almost every weekend and our camping holidays were generally to beachside destinations like Kalbarri (fabulous), Denmark (lovely) and Dunsborough (best bakery!).

Then I saw Jaws.

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I must have been under 12 because it was at our Cook Ave house. It was the viewing choice of our guest, Rosalie C-F, who wasn’t afraid of anything! After that it was a case of, “The beach? Swimming? No thanks!” I don’t need to remind you that for us Aussies, Jaws is a reality. That was enough to put me off going into the water for a long time and the fear was exacerbated by a documentary we watched in Science class around the same time about the perils of the ocean, particularly the deadly blue-ringed octopus, who is rather fond of the West Australian waters. (Or so I got into my head and have thought ever since until I looked him up now for the linking and discovered he prefers South Australia and New South Wales waters.)

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Oh! Another one. We were holidaying in Denmark one year. I was floating about in the tidal waters atop my boogie board when Dad suddenly appeared beside me and says calmly, but, I remember sensing, with a little urgency, “Lisa, come over here to me now please”. I dutifully floated over and Dad pulled me off my boogie board. I turned around to see I had been followed through the shallows by a rather enormous sting-ray. Yes, the creature that Steve Irwin was in the act of taunting just before he was tragically killed, by the sting-ray.Image

My fear of the beach wasn’t helped when my sport teacher forced me into the water for a swimming lesson. I wasn’t happy about it, but like Dory in Finding Nemo, I ‘just kept swimming, just kept swimming’. Until. Suddenly I have stopped swimming, am standing up, screaming and pulling at my bathers. A jellyfish had floated into my decolletage area and attached itself under my left lady-part to do its stinging thing. My friend, Dulcie reached in and ripped it out, but the damage was done. And I’m not talking about just to the underside of my left bosom. The incident was further confirmation that the beach was no place for me. (And just a tip. Yellow, red and orange bathers are a bad idea as they are attractive colours for sea creatures. I was wearing red bathers when I encountered the stingray and bright orange ones when I had my close encounter with the jellyfish. Proof.)

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But, seriously though, many many Australians go through their life with very little disagreeable or fatal contact with our rather ferocious wildlife. The Australian landscape is bloody amazing, as I was reminded earlier this year when I accompanied Dad and the Penthouse Caravan on the drive back from Canberra across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth.

Potential Visitors, do not be put off with our joshing you about the wildlife. The life guards won’t let you in the water if there are sharks and we are pretty good at keeping the deadly spiders at bay. Don’t venture off into the bush without a functioning GPS and lots of water. (Actually, just don’t do that unless you are on a guided tour with The Bush Tucker Man.) The crocodiles of the Northern Territory won’t snack on you if you actually pay attention to the signs. They are everywhere and they aren’t there purely as subjects for your holiday snaps.

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I can’t remember the last time I encountered a deadly spider. I remember very clearly the last time I saw a snake (about 3 years ago) and, fortunately, it was in our pool and I think it was dead, but I didn’t stay around long enough to check. (Apparently they are more terrified of us, so, as the posters tell us, Keep Calm and Stay Still. Oh, and always wear long hiking trousers or socks when walking in the Aussie bush, so if they go for you, they can’t get your ankles.) I saw crocs when I toured Kakadu National Park, with Australian of the Year John Farnham, and survived because, unlike John’s young son, who wanted to jump in to swim with them, I didn’t. I stayed in the boat. I paid attention to the croc signs whenever I came across an inviting looking watering hole. Actually, if you come to a watering hole, check for signs before going anywhere near the water. In regard to the prehistoric reptiles, I recommend you don’t have a crocodile pie when visiting the Darwin Croc Farm. It really isn’t sensible to be walking about a farm full of human-lovin’ creatures with their relatives lingering on your breath. Tomato sauce enhances the taste, but it doesn’t cover the smell.

I know my Fellow Aussies will back me up that, yes, we have deadly creatures here, but you very rarely encounter them. Well, they will if they aren’t having too much fun taking the piss out of you.

Anyway… Where the dickens did we start? What was the point of this bloggy post? Oh yeah!

DON’T PULL OUT IN FRONT OF ONCOMING TRAFFIC IN A MANNER THAT COULD RESULT IN COLLISION, YOU IDIOTS!

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