I’m famous!

Well, I got my picture in the newspaper, anyway. We had a protest yesterday about the redundancies in the College of Arts, and I somehow ended up in the photo that got in the paper (I was trying my best to hide whenever I saw the photographer, but he was popping up all over the place).

There’s a small version of the photo (and the story, which gives our cause really good coverage) here. I’m in a white shirt and black trousers, holding a placard, on the right of the photo. Not that you can make out much in such a small picture anyway…

You’re not going to believe this

When we got up this morning and looked across the street, we saw another crashed car, sitting in the remains of a tree!

I’d been woken up several times in the night by squealing brakes, but squealing brakes aren’t an unusual sound in our street (there’s a few boy racer types who live in the area, and seem to enjoy driving around at high speeds in the middle of the night, making a point of squealing their way around corners), so I just thought I was suffering from natural paranoia at every loud noise I heard outside. But it seems that some of the bumps and crashes I’d heard in my sleep were more than my imagination – according to one of the other neighbours, who stopped to share the gossip (it’s funny -we’ve talked to our neighbours more in the last few days than in all the time we’ve lived here – all these accidents seem to be doing a better job of turning our suburb into a community than any number of city council sponsored ‘community days’!), a couple of teenagers, drunk and driving without a license, in an uninsured vehicle, had crashed during the night, not once, but twice! The first time they had missed the turn and driven up into the garden of the house of the corner, knocking over some large bushes. They’d managed to reverse out (leaving destruction in their wake), and carried on hooning round the streets, only to miss the corner again not long afterwards, this time ending up wrapping their car around a more substantial tree. Amazingly (though I’m tempted this time to say “unfortunately”), yet again nobody was hurt.

We’ve lived in this house nearly six years, and in all that time although we’ve seen and heard a lot of near misses there’s only been three major accidents on that intersection – two of them in the space of one day!

Anyway, back to “our” accident: the insurance assessor came and had a look at the damage this morning, and was totally amazed, both at how far the car that hit our house had managed to travel, and at the fact the wrecked car across the road was from a totally independent incident (he was a bit puzzled at first, trying to figure out how one car could have done so much damage on two sides of the street, until we explained), but more importantly said that our claim should be pretty straightforward. The only thing that will slow it down is the boundary fence with our neighbours, because our insurance company and their insurance company will have to negotiate the repairs on that, which he said sometimes can drag out a bit because each company will want to get their own quotes etc, but the repairs on the house and on the other fence (which borders on to the alleyway, so doesn’t have to be negotiated with anyone) should be started within a week or two once the paperwork goes through. He said they’ll try and source old bricks to match the colour of our house as closely as possible (shouldn’t be a problem, given that every second state house in New Zealand used the same red bricks), so by the time they’ve finished it’ll look just like it was before. He didn’t think there was any structural damage, but did say he wouldn’t know for sure until the builders removed the bricks so he could see the framework inside (although he seemed pretty confident he wouldn’t find any more damage – apparently you can tell by the noise it makes when you tap the wall or something). He asked if we wanted to claim for landscaping, but given that the car somehow missed most of the garden (except for two old and very ugly shrubs that we’d been meaning to rip out anyway), and the lawn was never bowling-green material in the first place so the not-very-deep tyre marks don’t exactly stand out, we decided it wouldn’t be all that honest to try and claim anything for them (yeah, I know nobody else is honest when they deal with insurance companies, but I was obviously brought up badly or something!)

I’m still stunned by the fact that nobody was hurt in the crash, especially when you think that it was just after 8 am, so the middle of the school rush, just at the time when the street (and the alleyway!) is normally full of kids walking and biking to school. It was sheer luck that none of them got in the way.