Like most leaders of the household I'm sure, I am definitely the boss when it comes to the family car.

While Mrs P and the offspring may claim the big seat on occasion, it is my domain alone when it comes to taking a lengthy trip. Like last weekend when we went to Napier.

I like to think it's because I'm a good driver. My dependants feel safe with me at the wheel.

Safe enough that they can escape the real world and busily tap away on the variety of technological hardware they carry while I negotiate the complexities of the New Zealand roading system. Even my beloved is happy for me to take control and get her safely to her destination, just as long as there's a bit of wrinkly old Rod Stewart on the CD.


So here we are in the car on the way to Napier. Happily singing away to Hot Legs and Sailing, slurping back takeaway coffee and discussing that exciting (ahem) vegetarian restaurant we're going to try and find for tea.

I'm confident we will find it.

I have a vague recollection of seeing it last time I was in Napier so I'll just figure it out when we get there. Besides, I'm a man. I never get lost or take a wrong turn. I always know where I am.

Well mostly always. I reckon most of us guys are the same. Besides we'd never admit we had gone wrong anyway. We're not allowed to. It's Male Law (section 1 paragraph 3, sub section 11, appendix A. Look it up).

I mean it's not really our fault if the council brings in a one way street or that pub we turned left at on the corner in 1978 when we last came through this way has gone.

And that, dear reader, is why we ended up sitting in a car park at the back of a church hall in downtown Napier when we should have been somewhere else completely.

Luckily, I have found myself in similar situations before and I have a stack of ready-made excuses.

"I saw the most amazing rose garden here last time I was in Napier" is a good one, as long as you add, "I thought I could get you some".


That tends to seal the deal.

You could accidentally drive into the sewage treatment plant and use that one. Your directional abilities still wouldn't be questioned.

Or you could say something like "I'm sure I just saw a kitten limping down here".

Anything to divert attention from the fact you have just driven up the wrong driveway as it were.

It would be fair to say that over the years Mrs P has become wise to some of my excuses but she's pretty tolerant.

Unfortunately that tolerance was severely tested when I took another wrong turn and ended up behind the back of one of Napier's apartment buildings.

The expression on Mrs Ps face said it all.

I knew I'd have to bring out something special. Something that would buy me time to figure out my next move.

In such situations it is best to continue driving like you know exactly what you are doing, even if it is a three-point turn to avoid a row of rubbish bins and a clothes line in someone's back yard.

And while doing so I find throwing out a controversial comment can evoke a response which will take their mind off your ineptitude.

"What about that North Korean dictator who's decreed that everyone has to have the same haircut," I said as I busily scanned the horizon for a main road. Any road, just as long as there's a sign on it and traffic I can follow.

The comment turned out to be a winner. I recommend you write it down guys.

Mrs P was aghast, and completely forgot she was going to give me a bollocking, especially when I told her women had the choice of only three state-sanctioned hairdo's.

To be honest I don't know if that's true but it did the trick.

For the next 20 minutes Mrs P was indignant and completely occupied with supportive comments for the downtrodden sisterhood in Pyongyang.

Her outburst gave me time to zig-zag my way to our accommodation while trying to look like I'd known where I was going all the time.

So we made it. We never did find that vegetarian restaurant (sob) but Mrs P has decreed we will invest in one of those things with an Asian voice you attach to the car and it tells you which direction to take.

She says it might also ease any possible tension arising in the vehicle if at least someone knows where we are going.

I'm adamant we don't need to go to the expense.

I find lobbing in a controversial comment from a North Korean dictator provides just the same result.

Kevin Page has been a journalist for 34 years. He hasn't made enough money to retire after writing about serious topics for years so he's giving humour a shot instead.