Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘Audi Q7

Car-seat Sudoku

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Think of a grid – say your average 7-seater car – 2 + 3 + 2. Put inside it one Maxi-Cosi high-back booster seat that’s fixed in place. Add two children, heat to 40˚C, pick up after school – and stir.

DS: “Can I sit in the back?”

6 passenger seats x 2 children = 12 options. Put them on a bus and get a sports car

6 passenger seats x 2 children = 12 options. My advice? Put them on the bus and get a sports car

Me: “No.”

DS: “Why not?  She’s in the back. It’s not fair.”

Me: “Your seat’s in the middle. Just sit in it.”

DS: “It’s not fair. She’s in the back.”

Me: “She’s big enough to be in the back. When you’re big enough to be in the back, you can go in the back.”

DS: “It’s not fair.”

Me: “It’s perfectly fair. When she was your age, she sat in the middle.”

DS: “Waaaaahhh… waaaah….. waaaaaaaaaahhhh!”

Me: “DD, can you come and sit in the middle please?”

DD: “I don’t want to sit in the middle….Can I sit in the front?”

Me: “No, you cannot sit in the front. It’s illegal!”

DS: “Can you put my seat in the back?”

Me: “Oh for fiddler’s sake, yes, I’ll put your seat in the back.” (Bear in mind it’s 40˚C outside and about 60˚C inside and my patience is wearing thin.) “Now get in the back. DD, can you help DS do his seatbelt please?”

<DD starts clambering forward over the divide>

Me: “DD! What are you doing?”

DD: “If he’s in the back, I’m not sitting in the back. I’m sitting in the middle. I want to sit in the middle.”

Me: “Please can you help with his seatbelt before you come forward?”

DD: “Nope.”

Me: “Okay, I’m going to get out, open the boot, collapse the other back seat, climb into the boot and put on DS’s seatbelt. Then I’m going to put the seat back up, put the headrest back up, shut the boot and get back in the front. And, for every second I spend doing this, I’m going to deduct one sweet from both your treats tonight.” <Opens door>

DD: <rolls eyes, leans back> “Okay…. done it.”

Me: “Four words, children: School. Bus. Next. Term.”

Written by mrsdubai

May 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Mummy and the car mechanic

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A couple of days ago, my car wouldn’t start. Flat battery. The insurance people sent a mechanic to jump-start the car so I could take it in to Audi for fixing (Audi, can’t think why, don’t put their car batteries in the engine compartment; they hide them under the driver’s seat so it’s impossible to nip out to El Garagio Dodgio and have them changed for a reasonable cost).

So the mechanic turns up with a battery booster and jump-starts the car with a toothy smile.

“S’fine now,” he says. “Keep on for 30 minutes, then good, like new.”

“I take to Audi?” I ask. “For new battery?”

“No. No need new battery.”

“Really? But battery finished?”

“No,” he says. “Look!” He turns off the engine, starts it again. “See. Working now. Good.”

“But needs new battery?” I persist.

He laughs. “No. S’working.” He looks at me as if I’m the type of crazy woman who flushes money down the loo for fun. Why get a new battery when this one works?

Still I didn’t believe him. There followed five minutes during which he gathered up his booster pack and his jump leads and got back in his car and I followed him around like a puppy, saying “Really? really? Are you sure? No new battery? I take it to Audi anyway?”

He just kept laughing and shaking his head. I could still hear his laughs long after his car was out of sight.

So I got in my car and took it for a LONG drive up and down Emirates Road. I hammered it until the battery was fully charged (it does at least have a battery life indicator).

I went to bed hopeful.

In the morning the children and I got into the car. “Are we feeling lucky?” I called, finger poised over the starter. “Yes!” they shouted. “Think positive, mummy!”

The car started. We went to Spinneys. We came home. Then we got into the car to go out again and… flat battery.

And it was at this point that I flung my hands in the air and cursed myself for not taking it to Audi the day before. I know that a mechanic who carries a booster pack like I carry a Coach handbag has a completely different mind-set to a mother. I know that! To him a flat battery is a five-minute inconvenience; to me it’s a week of high blood pressure, school-run favours and expensive hire cars.

Remember this next time your battery’s flat and a swarthy chap with a toothy grin tells you it’s fine. It’s not.

Farewell, dear car. Get well soon.

Farewell, dear car. Get well soon.

Written by mrsdubai

February 20, 2014 at 10:50 am

Mummy’s tiny car

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I’m currently driving a car that’s about a third the size of my Audi (don’t laugh). Mine’s in the shop getting another broken windscreen fixed. The free hire car that comes on the insurance is a Toyota Yaris. Mind you, given that you can fit at least two adults and three (small) children in it when it looks the size of a toy car from the outside, it might better be called the Toyota Tardis.

It even fits sideways in my garage


Generally, I’m very grateful to have it because it’s a hundred times better than nothing. It’s quite a nippy and smooth little thing, but I do notice some differences from driving my Audi. If you ever find yourself in a position to be driving a 1.2-litre Yaris after a 4.2-litre Q7, here are some pointers to watch out for:

  • You have to stop in front of automatic barriers. I never do in the Audi – it has such a long bonnet that the sensors trigger before the windscreen actually gets there, but this doesn’t work with the snub-nosed Yaris. As I discovered today.
  • There’s nothing to be gained from standing around by a locked Yaris, waiting for the remote key to work. It doesn’t have one, you’ll get hot, and everyone will laugh at you.
  • Gently caressing the steering wheel with your thumb doesn’t set the cruise control, neither does it increase the radio volume. It just looks like you have a nervous twitch.
  • Staring at the radio doesn’t tell you what’s behind the car when you’re reversing. You do actually have to turn your head to see out the back.
  • You have to slow down for speed bumps. They’re about half the height of the car and each one feels like you’re summiting Mount Everest.
  • You may have to start shopping every other day. You’ll be hard-pressed to fit a grocery shop for four into the glove compartment of a boot. And heaven forbid you need the pushchair.
  • You’ll have to drive defensively. Not only is a Yaris bottom of the road’s pecking order, falling below even the microscopically larger Nissan Tiida, it’s got the road presence of an ant. Don’t expect people to see you, even if it’s red.
  • You’ll have to prioritise between air-conditioning and speed. If you need to accelerate faster than 0-60 in half a day, you’ll have to turn off the a/c to feel the speed. Giggle-giggle.

Audi’s back on Wednesday. Inshallah.


I even drove it through a storm drain today... just for fun


Written by mrsdubai

June 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm

The Soggy Tyre

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The gas-guzzler – my much-beloved Audi – has a slow puncture. I know this, but DH hasn’t quite realised it yet. I think he thinks it was a one-off that the tyre pressure sank over the last couple of weeks from 35psi to 13psi.

What ind of crazy woman would bump this beauty into the kerb? Hmm?

‘The tyre looks a bit flat,’ I’d said.

He’d pumped it up and handed it back to me.

‘There you go,’ he said. ‘It’s fine now.’

I suspected not.

‘Didn’t you get the tyre replaced?’ I asked.

‘No,’ he said. ‘Why? It doesn’t seem to have a puncture. Tyres lose pressure from time to time. It’s probably nothing.’

Further probing from me revealed that, with no evidence of a puncture per se, if the tyre sinks again, it could be caused by the rim being a little bent out of shape. How on earth would that happen? *Blushes*

‘If the pressure gets that low again,’ said DH, ‘you must fill it up at once, otherwise the tyre could come off the wheel.’  Given that most of my driving is spent bombing up and down a 12-lane highway at high speed with a car full of children, this is a potential disaster.

So today I was at the petrol station again, blasting air into my tyre. The tyre had looked a little, umm, squidgy, and, while I didn’t see what pressure it was at when I started pumping, let’s just say it took some time to reach 35psi (you would think that men in this country had seen a blonde get out of a car and pump up the tyres in 40˚C before, but apparently not – I almost got a round of applause and a bunch of roses at the end of it).

‘Darling, I think you need to take the wheel in to the tyre place to get checked,’ I told DH tonight. ‘It keeps losing air.’

‘Shouldn’t be necessary,’ he said. ‘Unless someone’s bashed the tyre into the kerb and dented the alloy?’

Crumbs, I thought. Who would be so careless?

Written by mrsdubai

June 14, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Guzzlers – Gas Vs Meat

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If I felt any ‘eco-guilt’ at taking delivery of my new super-powerful and extra-large gas-guzzler today, it was assuaged by the news story I read this morning that said that owning a medium-sized dog is more harmful to the environment than driving a four-wheel-drive. This is because of, among other things, the amount of meat that dogs consume.

The Q7 S-Line - better for my emotional well-being than a dog.

I was most amused to read the quotes from all the ‘eco-aware’ dog owners, who were desperate to explain that owning seven dogs was worth the damage they caused to the planet because the dogs were beneficial to their emotional well-being. Aw.

Can I claim that owning a nice car is beneficial to my emotional well-being?

Anyway, given I run a vegetarian house, haven’t been on a plane for what seems like 25 years, and can use the gas-guzzler to pick up as many as five children at a time (hence taking four other high-powered 4WDs off the roads on any one school run), I bet the environmental damage I’m causing actually equates to less than owning a goldfish.

So, I go to get the keys from the showroom this morning with a tremor of excitement. The salesman hands the keys to DH, gets a metaphorical kick in the shins, and hands them to me. I sign the papers that make it mine, all mine.

Then we’re walking towards the gleaming pinnacle of automotive technology that is the new car, when the salesman asks me, ‘You need me to show you how to work it?’

Okay, I admit, it’s kind that he offers.

‘Don’t worry. I’ll figure it out,’ I say, (kindly I hope).

‘No. Let me show you the most important things,’ he insists. It’s like he can’t bear to hand the baby over to the incompetent nanny. ‘Bloo-toot-eye-pod?’

What do I need to be shown? I’m thinking child-locks? Isofix latches? Safety systems? Rear-view camera? It’s like he’s talking a foreign language. I have to ask him to repeat himself twice before I realise he’s talking about the Bluetooth phone connection and the i-Pod docking station. Clearly, these are the most important functions of the car. Damn. I bought it for all the wrong reasons.

Audi really need to get their marketing people onto that.

Here’s a link to the article about the environmental impact of 4WDs vs dogs: news&title=Paws for thought

Written by mrsdubai

December 21, 2009 at 7:10 pm

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