Going batty on the long Christmas drive south

Congratulations to you all. You got through it and have come out the other side unscathed Well done, I knew you had it in you.

I was going to take an isolationist policy against Christmas this year and persuade a dodgy doctor to perform a Michael Jackson anaesthetic procedure and put me under for the entire season, but decided that would be taking anti-Yuletide sentiment too far.

Nothing for it then but to motor down to Dunedin to inflict myself on the padre brother, whom I imagined having a hard day slaving his tits off at the communion rail.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic is no fun so I decided to avoid Christmas Eve and got behind the wheel on the day itself.

There was hardly a car on the road as I sped along my merry way, till the penny dropped that obtaining a decent cup of coffee would be a tall order and kicked myself for failing to fill a thermos with the alert beverage before I left.

More kicks were administered when I realised I'd emptied the glove box out of CDs suitable for long drives and had to content myself with crackling radio stations polluted with wall-to-wall mutations of carols, every switch of the channel producing blasts of Snoopy's Christmas and the bloody Red Baron, or renditions of I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas making me wonder how poor old Higella, as her foul old husband calls her, was spending hers.

All I could find from the back seat was a compilation disc of Gilbert and Sullivan and I sang Poor Little Buttercup and Three Little Maids tunelessly till I was blue in the proverbial.

Relief was found at a gas station when an Oasis compilation was plucked from the racks of a dismal selection of indifferent C&W.

I've managed to avoid listening to this much-touted band so far and wished I'd continued to do so, finding many of the numbers bore the unmistakable whiff of ripoffs of Beatles songs.

Then there was the tiresome bizzo of being only allowed to go four points over a hundie as I spent far too much time peering dangerously down at the gauge trying to keep the speed at precisely 104.

Thank God there was no-one on the road except Miss Magoo, I said out loud, switching off the radio to indulge in the first sign of madness - talking to myself - holding imaginary conversations where I was both witty and erudite, till a car passed me, the two young bogan occupants laughing and jeering at the mad old bat they were leaving in the dust.

I'm sorry to bore you with my solo Thelma and Louise road trip but suffice to say that on arrival a good time was had by all and I returned in one piece, five wonderful novels the better for it.

Unfortunately I'd completely forgotten I'd promised to take Ren and Stimpy from the Garage People out to visit one of their colourful pals in prison and had to set out the next day to Rolleston.

While waiting virtuously in the car for a couple of hours I watched a prison dog sniff the perimeters of the fence and a guard walk up and down the car park as he closed off one nostril and blew snot out the other one on to the ground. Lucky it was raining to wash it away.

I wound down the window and yelled out, "A Merry Mucus to you too".

The Press