Me and My Car: Melodie introduces us to Nigel
Melodie Robinson presents The Netball Zone on Mondays, at 9.15pm on Sky Sport 1
What do you drive?
We have three cars. One is nice, the other two are bombs. The nice one is a bit old now. It's a 2007 A3 Audi I bought in 2007 from Giltrap Audi. They always groan when I bring it in for a service because I'm a bit rough with it and, quite frankly, it's starting to cost me a fortune. We also have a Ford Territory, which is falling to bits and needs to be upgraded; plus we have ... drum roll ... Nigel the Nissan Pulsar. 1997. Pure class.
Which is your favourite?
I wouldn't say it's my favourite but "Nigel", the biggest bomb of all, is the one that I often drive. I bought it off one of my best mates, Anna Richards, when she went overseas. We paid $2000 for it, which was a bit of a rip-off when I think about it now. I bought it for our au pair but it's such a bomb I don't want her driving my kids around in it; so I drive it instead.
It's a four-door sedan, a kind of dirty silver colour. The best thing about it is the reliability. The only issues I've had in the three years I've had it have been brake pads redone and the radiator fixed. Plus it is hugely economical on the gas.
Who else is allowed to drive your cars?
Anyone. My au pair, or my nephew when he's in Auckland. Even some kid who keeps stealing it and leaving it down the road. (We've just installed an alarm to discourage whoever that is.)
What do you always have in your car?
Tissues, my boxing gloves and skipping rope. I have hay fever all the time, plus if I don't have my gym stuff in the car, I'll forget it.
Cookie, an antique Morris Minor, a lovely car.
Your dream car?
A new Audi. I've loved my Audi. Small one, coupe, A3. Leather interior, just makes you purr.
Favourite car colour?
Black, because it's easy to clean.
As a mum, how do you keep your boys happy on longer trips?
Jenson and Freddie are 5 and 6 and they are not too bad travelling. We play "I spy with my little eye", or we just chat. I have resorted to that favourite saying however, "nearly there". We also often have my mum-in-law with us and she is the master at keeping them entertained.
Who taught you to drive?
I taught myself, in Cookie the Morris Minor. Dad was living in Timaru so I bought the car, and practised down my street with no licence. Mum got sick of that so she sent me to a school. The Morris couldn't get up to any sort of speeds so she knew I was safe.
Any tips for young drivers?
Empty carparks are good for practising. And learn on a manual. Just in case. And pay for your lessons. My dad taught my sister and her first driving lesson was with the family in the car. She took this corner so fast we went up on two wheels. Dad said a few choice words but, frankly, who would let a 16-year-old drive for the first time with the family in the car?
Manual or automatic?
I love a manual. I'm a control freak so it suits my temperament.
Most memorable road trip?
Up to Taupo Bay with the family. Just nice to get away properly up to areas where there is hardly any population.
If you could go anywhere, in any car with any celebrity?
Jenson Button in a Jensen Interceptor on a wine tour of France.
Do you enjoy driving or would you rather be a passenger?
I'd rather be the passenger so I can daydream out the window. And I hate Auckland traffic.
What's a great day trip out of Auckland?
Lately we've been going to Piha. Not just for the beach; there are great walks you can do with the kids, or hard-out treks.