On my way to book group a few weeks ago, I walked through a gate and found myself in front of a villa which housed two canary yellow sports cars. I beat a hasty retreat, realising that this was not the villa of my friend and walked in the gate next door.

‘You’ll never believe,’ I said to my friend. ‘They’ve got matching Ferraris!’

She laughed and said, as if this were some kind of failing, ‘You really don’t know your cars, do you? One’s a Ferrari and one’s a Porsche.’

I know a sports car from a four wheel drive, but just as I left New Zealand not knowing my league from my union, so shall I leave the Middle East unable to distinguish between a Ferrari and a Porsche.