Feathers and Fish Hooks
The annual Economy Run was held on December the 9th, starting at 1:00pm from the Motorway Services at Drury. We were treated to the briefest of briefings from Gary who basically said “Welcome to the Economy Run. Please line up over here and you’ll be set off individually.” “What???? Is that it????” Every time one of the Zed Club cars started up, I wished that my Mini and I were in their group, as it sounded like a litre of fuel used just to turn the motor over, let alone winning a genteel cruise in the country.
The normal 60 sec interval between cars seemed to be taking forever, but it was a chance to have a chat with others while the earlybirds received instructions on the start line. It was apparent that tactics were being employed already so as not to sit too long in the queue, with its stop/start nature, using the precious liquid gold unnecessarily. Little did I know what was waiting for us I thought I saw some ruffled feathers flying from some cars on the start line, but took no notice. I had taken the bait!
There were a few, myself included, who were doing the run solo, my usual navigator having decided that her (oops his/her) time would be better spent shopping! What a good call this would turn out to be, although it was not appreciated at this time.
Eventually, my turn came to line up for the start. Gary opens the door, hands me some sheets and says something about being two sheets of questions with no clues as to what / where they are except that they are in order. I hardly heard him after “two sheets” as sheet 1 looked had about 100 questions on it (about 15 really!) and appeared to be very obscure.
This would not be a genteel cruise in the country.
Before I had a chance to come to terms with these, more sheets are handed over with the course instructions. Gone are the usual well written step-by-step instructions. In their place are about 40 ‘tulip’ diagrams that showed the direction to take at intersections.
This is going to be a quick and genteel cruise in the country!
Suddenly it dawned on me that there would be more than 40 corners and that these were only the ‘important’ ones.
Maybe not so quick and genteel after all.
With my mind starting to come to grips with the questions and instructions, ‘He who must not be named’ hands over another sheet. With the voice of a choirboy Gary calmly states that this is also to be a treasure hunt and these are the items you need to collect. OMG! Has this man no mercy? It’s apparent that JK Rowling has modelled Voldemort on Gary. Feathers!! Fish Hooks!! I bet there’s a horse’s head on the list somewhere! I wish I had a Nimbus 2000 so I could bash Gary around the ears for this.
I longed for a genteel cruise in the country.
Not only have we been taken hook, line and sinker, but at the moment it feels like the rod, reel and boat as well. Raw wool do we need to start sheep rustling now? For the first, and hopefully only, time in my life, I wish I was Australian because then, there would be plenty of raw wool in the backseat of my car! Shell? We aren’t going anywhere near the coast. Maybe we will pass a Shell Garage and I can sneak in get a corporate logo. I wouldn’t dream of filling the car as well while I was there, would I… Queen of Hearts? Maybe there is a stray picture of the late Princess Diana in one of the Sunday papers. She was known as the Queen of Hearts. Should I take the “We should be a republic, not a monarchy” view and hand in a picture of Helen Clark? She could be our Queen of Hearts. No wait, she’d be our King of Hearts. Cork from wine bottle… This will be a problem since I’m never drinking again after that last time. Oh well, if I have to make a sacrifice, better make it a 2002 Cabernet! Looking down the remainder of the list, I thought about the chance I had to go and stick pins in my eyes instead of doing this run. I am very glad that we do not have to hand in a pin! Hang on a minute lads…… that fish hook would do the job just as well.
Where’s my genteel cruise in the country?
Had Darth Vader finished his tormenting? Not by a long way. Whilst waiting in line for the start, I noticed lot of water running down the road and mentioned this to Catherine along with the hope that it would not lead to problems for someone later. With that, I made sure I still had the compulsory 3 litre bottle of water in the car that I always carry in case I get lost in the desert. Then the reason for the water on the road becomes crystal clear. Lord Sauron suddenly produces a plastic cup of water and boldly states “Hand this in at the end with the same amount of water in it.” Stunned, I look and immediately realize what Frodo felt like when agreeing to destroy the Ring by ‘throwing it into the Fires of Mt Doom’. I know where someone should throw Dr Evil! Then with a cheery OK, Michael Corleone moves on to his next ‘customer’.
Time for the genteel cruise in the country!
After looking at all the sheets and throwing the water out the window he didn’t say it had to be the same water off I go. A famous TV star once sang “It’s not easy being green” and it certainly wasn’t easy keeping up with the directions and questions, whilst looking for feathers and fishhooks. However, this made me curb the natural instincts when driving the GT and slow down. It dawned on me that this was actually improving the fuel economy of the drive and this was the aim of this run. Things hadn’t worked out too bad although I did forget all about the feathers and fishhooks for the first half of the run. In the back blocks of Bombay there were several paddocks of sheep, and Pinnacle Hill Road was just like a treasure hunt supermarket raw wool on the fences, pine cones by the hundred, gorse was plentiful although not many flowers. Got a few pricks getting that did they remind me of anybody? Discarded wine bottle - I hate people who litter although it did provide me with the cork I needed. Maybe it was OK to litter in this instance??? NO it was not and never is alright to throw your rubbish out of your car. Got a shell from the stop at Yard Art no need to find a Shell Station after all. A glance around the car proved to be a bonus. There was my plastic bag with some of the cards from the Poker Run. Maybe, just maybe there will be a Queen of Hearts there and stop me looking for a picture of Helen. Yes!! Feather still required. I resisted the temptation to ‘lose control’ of my car going around a corner that just happened to have a Pukeko wandering about because that is not the sort of thing Samwise Gamgee would have done.
This was turning out to be a genteel cruise through countryside ranging from the long straight flat of Karaka to the ups and downs of Bombay/Paparimu that would challenge any fuel economy run. I noted with satisfaction that the fuel gauge hadn’t moved much at all maybe, just maybe the twin 1.25 SU’s would do all right. Perhaps I should have leaned them off a little? It was too late now as I arrived at the Bombay Services for the finish. The car as filled up and mileage (sounds better than kilometerage, doesn’t it) recorded. The tank took what seemed to be just a splash of fuel (woohoo) but then I remembered the other tank (boohoo). Still 6 point not a lot litres didn’t seem too bad. Job done and time for a coffee, (remember I gave up alcohol earlier), and natter with the others. The collecting of the feather provided the most entertaining parts of the run for most people by all accounts.
Once again Gary and Catherine have excelled and produced an event that dared to be different. The use of ‘tulip diagrams’, the questions not ‘part of’ the route so care and good eyes were needed, the treasure hunt and the glass of water. Rumour has it that one person held onto their full cup the whole way round. To that person Respect! We are fortunate to have people in the Club who are able to run events like this as they are truly memorable. I can’t wait for the ‘Triathlon’ event.
“Holy Timepiece Batman, that took over 2 hours”. 100 kilometres in over 2 hours making average speed less that 50 kph so it truly was a…….genteel cruise in the country.