Pauly the Car


Our  little car at a time of wellbeing

Our little car at a time of wellbeing

We have a little car which was nicknamed by my sister Ilse on one of her trips to Australia, “Pauly” (actually “Paulchen” in German).

We have owned the car for fifteen years now and it never caused us any problems or breakdowns. It went and went and went…

When Ilse named the car, she advised us, never to talk bad about it in its presence. She seems to think, cars have a soul and can easily be offended.

Last weekend was my 80th birthday and I had a really good time. Our son Martin had even flown in from Melbourne for the weekend. He had to fly back on Sunday and we offered to take him back to the airport and daughter Caroline home to Sydney.

The only way out from Wollongong, which is practically just a few meters above sea level, is up a steep road, Mount Ousley Road, across the Illawarra escarpment. It was only constructed during WWII by the Americans with their “can-do”  attitude.

While going up the steep hill, Caroline was driving,  the car seemed a bit sluggish. With four adult people on board, it did not seem unusual. But, we started to discuss the car’s age and Caroline suggested we could buy another car. Maybe not a new one, but at least a well preserved and reliable second-hand car.

Just seconds after discussing this, and not remembering Ilse’s advice,  the car showed severe signs of illness. It lost power and no amount of gear-shifting would help. Soon enough, belching smoke poured out everywhere and we feared the engine could blow up. Our car looked more like an old steam engine than a 21st Century automobile.  We decided to pull up at the turn-off to the Clive Bissell Drive where there is a convenient parking area. We thought of letting the car cool off and then continue.

Caroline did not trust “Pauly” anymore and rang a friend who lives in a neighbouring suburb. He came  and Martin made it, just in time, to the airport.

I set off, full of optimism, that I would be able to nurse the car home. But it was not to be. Our talk about getting another car had offended “Pauly” too much and after about a kilometer the car stopped.  We rang the automobile club and organised the tow away  to our car repair station.

While my first eighty years ended on a high note, the second eighty years started not so well. See how the next eighty years go. And next time we talk about a new car we will make sure “Pauly” will not hear us. I have the feeling it is on its last leg.

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8 thoughts on “Pauly the Car

    • YEA, IT’S NAME IS PAULCHEN! Ilse was informed today (on skype) about Paulchen’s sickness ! Is Paulchen going to recover? We’ll see. Most likely a new clutch is going to make him better. If he is lucky he may be allowed to drive us around a bit longer. 🙂

    • So what was the problem? Was it just too much for her on the hill? I remember my first car and having made the last payment. The brakes were dodgy and had to be pumped to get the master cylinder to push the brake pads. I had the inevitable accident and that was that.
      Paulchen still looks pretty good. I hope she is still worth saving. Be gentle with her!

      • The problem was probably the first sign of old age. Going to the shops or the railway station would have been okay for a bit longer. But going up the steep road, with a full load, was too much. We never had a break-down in all those years. The new clutch should keep the car and us happy for little while longer.

  1. It’s funny how we become attached to our cars. They do seem to grow personalities and souls. I have had only a few cars in my life, but when it comes time to switch one for another, I always feel like I’m abandoning the old trusted one. It always makes me feel sad. Weird, eh? Happy Birthday and good luck car shopping and/or repairing.

    • Thank you, Linda. The car is up and running again. It gives us time to look for another car not being under time pressure. We had this car now for fifteen years and you are right, one gets emotionally attached to them. Almost like a pet.

      I’m ready for the next eighty years.

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