Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Queen Mary sailing schedules

I get up early now to prepare to take Cate to work in the Queen Mary. We had an opportunity to change it for a smaller car but Cate bungled the move and used the wrong strategy. Instead of saying 'it's a manual and my husband is a klutz and can't drive a manual' she said 'it's too big'. So of course she was offered a smaller car (an Audi weighing only 25 tonnes - but still a manual).

So we are stuck with the QM until the Merc arrives. This seemed like a good choice at the time we bought it but the cars of choice for hire cars and taxis here are black Mercs so I expect that we will be hailed a lot as we drive along. I suppose I could make a quid if I wanted to.

We have solved the turntable problem. This would work briefly each morning and then clag out. It turns out that Cate was using the green button to get it started and then the red emergency stop button to bring it to a grinding halt. The use of the red button apparently requires the attention of a mechanic to get the turntable moving again.

Today it worked - so we started our journey leaving the garage head first - for the first time. It is difficult to explain the garage but suffice to say that there is just enough room to stuff the QM in there leaving mere centimeters on each side - and at the top. Imagine inserting a (very large) banana into its skin and you will come close.

The space is 1.5 metres high by 5.0 metres long. The car is 1.51 metres high (it has rubber handles on top of it - I am not sure what these are for) and 4.99 metres long. It is best not to get out of the car and stand up as a loud clang will be followed by short bout of unconsciousness. One enters and exits the car in the manner of Quasi Modo.

So because of the height there is an unnerving scraping noise when we move in or out. This is not as exciting as the front, back and side proximity alarms which increase in frequency and intensity as you get closer to objects. When the car is finally inserted into its spot all the alarms are going full blast. I have started carrying a paper bag with me and breathing slowly into this to settle myself down.

The turntable is also very exciting as the QM does not quite fit onto it so there is a frisson of excitement as you wait to see if you will scrape the walls.

This morning started well and we got all the way to Cate's street with her screaming only twice. While waiting to turn a motorist starting tooting and waving at me so I assumed (I am sure correctly) that I was doing something illegal so I panicked and took off - arriving back at the same place about 15 minutes later.

Cate is always very quiet when she gets out of the car to go into the office.

When I arrive home I am required to ring Cate and tell her I'm alive. We are always both surprised.

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