President's Report - February 2007

Greetings All,

Welcome back after what was, I trust, an enjoyable Christmas/New year break. With some 98 per cent of NSW and ACT drought-declared, rain may be on many people's wish-list for Christmas. Needless to say, when Sue and I nipped down to Broulee for two days, just after Christmas, it did rain - just when surf, sand and sun were required! For the past few weeks, Sue and I have been driving a Honda Jazz instead of our 306 HDi. The car swap, with a relative from Sydney, is part of an annual ritual to ensure that a certain number of kilometres are driven to gain the maximum fringe-benefits tax advantage on our leased cars. We have no trouble clocking up the required 15,000 km annually on the 306, but the Honda is usually well short. Anyway, the outcome of the car swap will be that by 31 March, both vehicles will have reached their required mileage.

Driving the Honda is interesting, but the 306 is way better in most respects - better fuel economy, less road noise and more comfortable seats, for a start. Alas, the Honda also suffers from what I call "sudden death steering". This unsettling characteristic means that it is overly sensitive to small, sudden movements of the steering wheel, resulting in a jerky over-steer that can have nasty consequences when cornering, particularly in the wet. Basically it means that the steering in the Honda can be unpredictable, whereas in the 306, or my 505 GTI, the steering is both precise and predictable. The Honda is not the first car I have driven with this defect - a Mitsubishi Magna that I hired a few years ago, also had the same limitation. I'm pleased I drive Pugs!

This year, we will be trying to make the club more "event-oriented" - rather than make the monthly evening meeting our focus, we will offer a range of weekend activities, including runs to local wineries and other places of interest that will allow club members and their families to get together in a less formal setting than the traditional monthly meeting.

Our first event for the year will be a short drive to Mount Majura Vineyard, on Sunday 4 March. The vineyard is easy to find, being about 2 km from the northern end of Majura Road, and about 9 km north of Canberra Airport. Plan to arrive at 2 pm, try some of their interesting wines, and do their "Gumboot Tour" which is a self-guided "nature-trail" through the vineyard.

Our big event for March is the annual Shannons Wheels exhibition on the lawns of Old Parliament House on Sunday 11 March. We will have a display of vehicles, and a marquee at site 13, and I invite club members interested in displaying their vehicles to contact me as soon as possible, as space is limited. The exhibition is from 10 am to 3 pm, and display vehicles will need to be on site by 9.30 am. Even if you are not planning to display a vehicle, I strongly recommend that you come along to see not only our Pugs, but also the wonderful array of vehicles of diverse marques. Entry is free, and if you tire of drooling over the cars, the Parliamentary Triangle has many other great attractions. Why not bring a picnic lunch, and join us at site 13?

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

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