It’s as I’m sitting inside the house of my childhood, surrounded by a large number of my immediate family, squawking in amazement at the fact that we just drove the three hour trip from Melbourne in a Ford Territory – given to us because I’m a blogger  – that I realise I know nothing about cars except for how to drive them. I feel under real pressure to offer a reasonable review.

Should Have Read The Manual!

‘So is it the new Titanium?’ Uncle Ron – who knows lots about expensive cars and how shiny they can be – asks.

‘It probably is!’ I say, enthusiastically, making a mental note to include that fact in my review.

‘Let’s go have a look at it then,’ Uncle Ron says.

Nana and Pop head out first, followed by Mum, Dad, Aunty Karen, Uncle Ron, my sister Cally and brother in-law Rohan, Reservoir Mum and me. I’m expecting some car-ish type questions and so put on my serious car-face and run through some car terms I can throw at people to seem knowledgeable. By the time we get to the car I have come up with gear stick, crank shaft and wheels.

‘Yep, it’s the Titanium,’ Mum says, pointing to the shiny label on the back of the car.

‘Wow,’ I say, before I can stop myself.

‘You haven’t read that bag of manuals they gave you, have you?’ Reservoir Mum says.

‘I’ve added it to my to read list,’ I tell her, as I open all the doors and turn the ignition on.

‘Oh, it’s diesel,’ Rohan says.

I make my second mental note: Refuel with diesel, and then say, ‘Yes, it is diesel.’

I conclude from Rohan’s much more believable car-face – and the fact that he’s nodding his approval – that diesel is good and make my third mental note to say so in the review post.

‘Wowie,’ Aunty Karen says, touching one of the seats. ‘It’s very swish.’

‘It is swish,’ I say, making my fourth mental note to use the word swish at least three times.

I am suddenly gripped by enthusiasm when it occurs to me that the Ford Territory is a family car and that I have a lot of family around me right now. Ford would absolutely love it if I included a photo or two of my family strategically placed around the Territory, but in a natural and unrehearsed kind of way.

It takes two full 360 turns on the spot before I am able to announce my brilliant idea to everybody. ‘Quick! We have to do a family photo around the car. Cally, run in and grab the kids…’

‘No, it’s too much trouble,’ RM says, destroying my enthusiasm, as she takes a few snaps of everyone ambling about lamely and sticking their heads in and out of the open doors, like overfed emus pecking at an empty picnic basket.


‘Hey, check out the entertainment system,’ I say, leaning in the passenger side and pulling down the TV screen, in an attempt to encourage more discussion and more content for my review. ‘It kept the kids occupied the entire trip down. They watched Hop and Cars 2… it comes with headphones and everything. Tania and I were thinking about having date night in the Territory one Friday night and watching some porn…’

Thankfully Uncle Ron is looking over at the dashboard and appears to have missed my over-reveal.

‘It’s got all the mod-cons,’ he says.

‘Yeah,’ I say. ‘Couldn’t ask for anything more… really. It has all the… fandangles… one needs.’

‘Is it a four by two?’ he asks.

‘What? Meters?’ I ask, stepping back and doing a visual calculation. ‘Looks about that…’

‘No, I mean is it a four wheel drive?’

Without looking at the car again I know it has four wheels but I have no idea if they all do the driving or not and so I just stare at him without saying anything. Thankfully, he looks up at the sky, makes a whistle-shape with his lips, walks around to the other side of the car, and then says, ‘Ahh, nope. It’s two wheel drive.’

‘They should give this to you for keeps,’ Aunty Karen says. ‘I mean, why don’t they just give it to you?’

‘Don’t worry,’ I say. ‘I’ll be dropping a subtle hint to that effect in a blog post very soon.’

For some reason, immediately after saying that, I remember the lyrics of George Michael’s I Want Your Sex and I make yet another mental note to attach the video clip of the song to the end of the post – and to play around with the lyrics a little – as another way of hinting to Ford that they should just give me the car to keep forever. My mind rushes to the task immediately:

I’ve waited so long Ford, now that we’re friends / A man’s got his patience and here’s a-where mine ends / I want your….

‘Hey!’ Mum interrupts.

‘… Territory,’ I whisper-sing.

Kids-Ford-TerritoryShe comes up and rubs my shoulder. ‘I’m so proud of you,’ she says, before semi-shouting, ‘My son’s a blogger!’

I can hear RM laughing, out of sight somewhere. ‘Yes,’ I say.  ‘And to think in Grade One I told my teacher that when I grew up I wanted to be a Fire Truck!’

‘Yep,’ she nods.

‘Way off!’ I say.

She stares back at me with adoration in her eyes.

RM puts the lens back on the camera, shuts one of the doors and signals for us to get inside out of the cold. When she comes to me I whisper, ‘I’ve made so many mental notes for the fricken review that I can’t remember any of them.’

‘Just read the manual,’ she says.

‘As soon as I’ve finished War and Peace,’ I say. ‘There has to be a simple and effective way to review it…’

As we’re walking up the steps Aunty Karen takes another glance over he shoulder and says, ‘It really is a nice car.’

And there it is.