For someone who has two vehicles parked in her driveway it’s quite shameful how little I know about how to maintain a certain vehicular standard. It is possible that this is because I haven’t been particularly interested, so I felt it was time to delve a little deeper!

I am fortunate enough to rely on a wonderful group of mechanics. They never judge me (to my face); commendable considering the layers of clothes, rotten food, and general filth left behind by my three spawn and me. I leave my husband out of this because he would rather walk than get in! Dropping my car off to Hawke’s Bay Auto Electrical is always a bright spot in my day. A nicer bunch of men would be hard to find. My loyalty to these gentlemen was cemented by the response to my request to be allowed to perform a supervised oil change at their premises. No hesitation at all.

Unsure of how filthy I might get – and as we know, I don’t mind a bit of grubby – I wasn’t too concerned, a little excited, in fact. Black is the dominant colour in my wardrobe so I just got dressed normally, including sandals (which I wear all year round unless I have to approach a stage in heels, shortly after which I am barefoot!)

My delight at donning matching gloves was quickly replaced by some doubt as Andy walked underneath a huge four-wheel- drive on the hoist in the workshop. I don’t trust machinery, so it was hard to believe it wouldn’t just fall on me, I suppose that would make for a good story!

I was led to a shiny new VW Golf with the hood up. Even better it matched! First of all, I was to remove the filter, a job much easier than it sounds. A little unscrewing, not too fast mind, and off she came, to be replaced with a brand spanking new one. A big red button to hoist the car up and I was feeling braver, a spanner in one hand and a cloth in the other feeling like a pro – mechanic that is!

As I used my powerful, child-carrying arms to unscrew a bolt to empty the old oil out I imagined just packing in everything and becoming an apprentice mechanic, such was my enjoyment and comfort in the setting. However, I must have already made an unfortunate impression of my abilities, because when voiced this idea I was swiftly shut down by a laughing Andy, “Oh no, you don’t want to do that, it’s a horrible job!”

I know for a fact that Andy loves his job, and now I also know that his favourite cake is chocolate … interesting.

The lack of mess was a bit disappointing but obviously there were very useful systems in place to ensure this was the case. It wouldn’t be very safe to have an oil slick, not to mention sticky between the toes. I took particular care with the silicone spray and the tyres looked gorgeous when I was finished.

I found that it is disgustingly easy to change an oil filter and give a car an oil change, although everything else is far better left to the professionals! Luckily for them it is disgustingly easy for some to make really impressive chocolate cakes!

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