Me and My Car: Bold to the bone
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Paul Metcalf is the national manager of guide dogs for the Blind Foundation
What do you drive?
A white 2012 Hyundai Sante Fe, seven-door automatic. We have a variety of vehicles within the Guide Dogs' fleet to meet the service's needs. We were looking for something reliable and flexible for our specifications -- from special caging to solar-tinted windows -- all to keep our pups, dogs and clients safe and comfortable. The vehicle also had to be affordable as our funds come from the generosity of the public and the charitable dollar. Having a seven-seater has enabled us to transport extra people from time to time.
What do you always have in your car?
My iPod, which has more than 6000 tracks, and usually poo bags when taking one of the dogs for a walk.
Who else is allowed to drive it?
Like all of our fleet, it's available for all staff to drive.
Mazda 323 -- I later found out it was two cars joined as one.
Who taught you to drive?
I learned to drive in the northeast of England and passed my test when I was 17, many years ago. My instructor was a funny little man who used to forget routes and had to keep getting his map out.
Manual or automatic?
I learned to drive in a manual and, apart from holidays abroad, that was all I drove until I came to New Zealand in 2009. Having an automatic for rush hour in Auckland does make life easier.
Most memorable road trip?
My first visit to New Zealand about 11 years ago. It was a family holiday in a large motor home. We got to see many amazing sights and I even got to bungy from the Kawarau Bridge.
If you could go anywhere, with any celebrity?
I would love to have joined Billy Connolly on one of his road trips. Him on his trike, me on my Triumph Bonneville America.
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger?
I do enjoy driving. One job I had in the UK meant that I drove more than a million kilometres in five years.
How often do you clean your car?
I like to keep the car relatively clean as it does represent an excellent cause.
And what do you listen to in your car?
It depends on what mood I'm in -- my iPod has everything from The Script to Pink Floyd. One thing is for certain, though, when Laura (one of my three kids) gets into the car, I lose all control of what we're listening to.
What irritates you most about other drivers?
There is a roundabout, near where I work, where people stop to drop off/pick up people from the train. If only they would use the lay-by about 20m away.
Do you have a special number plate?
Yes: REDPUP. It was kindly donated to us. Our pups wear special red coats that help identify them as future guide dogs and so they're known as red pups. It goes well with the attractive artwork on our vehicles and makes us visible to the public. This isn't always a bad thing. I was once caught in a traffic jam and someone tapped on the window to offer a donation.
Your take on Auckland's traffic?
I'm not sure there will ever be a simple solution. The only thing I would say is that we don't look for an answer to today's problem -- we need to consider what is going to be needed 20-plus years from now and work towards that.