I have just had the most sodding mongrel of a journey this evening.

It started out as a simple trip from Clayton to Craigieburn to pick up some
wireless LAN cards. My first mistake was to use the whereis.com.au navigation engine. It
gives directions such as "Turn LEFT at Roundabout in Craigieburn." How in
blazes I'm supposed to know which sodding roundabout it means (turns out it
was the fourth) when I'm not even sure which suburb I'm in, I have
no idea.

The traffic on the Citylink was so bad that I feel pretty disgusted at
paying the toll. For what it was worth, as the cameras took a shot of my
number plates, I flipped them an obscene gesture. It wasn't all that hard -
the traffic was so slow that I was sitting under the damn thing for the
better part of twenty seconds.

Anyway, then I started following the directions to Craigieburn and managed
to get hopelessly lost trying to find them. Throwing the printouts onto the
floor of the front passenger side, I proceeded to navigate by a general
sense of direction, which turned out to be much better. I made the outbound
trip in a total of two hours, with the better part of one hour sitting on
the Citylink. Hmph.

By now, I'm starting to have to keep my foot on the accelerator when I'm
stationary to keep the engine running; the drizzle that just started appears
to be affecting the airflow into the engine, too. Bugger. This is a problem,
because it also makes the car much harder to start and easier to stall.

While driving along Sydney Rd, I wasn't quick enough in getting off the
brakes and onto the accelerator and clutch when I stopped at some lights.
(Yes, I needed to keep the revs up in order to keep the engine running.) So
I stalled it. And, true to form, couldn't get the bloody thing started again
because the spark plugs didn't want to fire for the first few tries, and
that flattened the battery enough to stop me from kicking the engine over
again. This is getting stupid!!

On the way there, I noticed that I was down a headlight - the left one. "Not
good," I think to myself, "but I'm getting the car serviced this week so
I'll get them to change it then." The car's been running a bit rough lately,
and I can't get the spark plugs out as they're caked in by too much burnt

So I arrive and pick up the cards. All is well. I breathe a huge sigh of

I leave and get back onto the highway. While I'm travelling at about 100km/h
along with everyone else, it starts to rain. Not quite bucketing down, but
enough to make me turn the wipers onto their fastest setting. No problems.
Until, that is, about five minutes later, when my right wiper just stops
moving! It looks like just a loose nut, but you try fixing that on a
freeway, in the dark, when you can't take your bloody foot off the
accelerator for fear of stalling and not being able to start again; that
means that it wasn't possible to close the driver's side door, either.

Finally, I decided that this was not going to get any better, and that the
driver of any towtruck I called would laugh so hard he'd wreck his own
vehicle, so I started up again and got moving.

Picture this: a beaten-up old '85 Colt, with one headlight out, one wiper
(opposite side) out, a driver leaning across to the passenger's side of the
vehicle in order to see out of the windscreen (the other side being obscured
by the rain) and then having to juggle the clutch, accelerator and
hand-brake in order to keep the thing running at the lights.

Somehow, I managed to make it home. The car is sitting outside and it's not
going bloody anywhere before I fix a few things. This has just
decided it for me - I need a new car.