When I got home we had to unload the car straight away, to reload it with Harry's University stuff, because we were heading off to Salford, first thing Sunday morning. You may be aware of my fear of driving long distances, it has been recorded on this very blog, so my little sis was kindly doing the honours.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny (thankfully!) and we made our way to Helen's, where we swapped seats and the trip began. There were four of us, me, Helen, Steve and of course the studious one, Harry. Plus all his worldly goods. (It's amazing what you can get in a Micra).
|courtesy of Google - thank you!|
We had been travelling along for about an hour and a half and Helen remarked how well the car was doing (it was a big day out for Minnie Micra, she only ever travels ten miles away at the most) when suddenly she said, "your oil light's just come on", Steve said "I put oil in this morning", next moment she said that it was losing power, and pulled onto the hard shoulder. Smoke started to come from the bonnet and I had a bit of a flap. I think I'm calm in a crisis if I'm the only one there to deal with the situation, but if there are more grown-up people around, I crumble a bit and hope they'll deal with it ... I panicked again when Helen asked me if I had breakdown cover ... I couldn't for the life of me remember if I had, but fumbled around with my phone looking for a likely number. I found one, but when I rang it was an obsolete number.
To cut a long story a bit shorter, I then rang my insurance company to ask if I was covered, and they put me through to the RAC. I was explaining what happened when my phone went dead. Helen wasn't impressed with my lack of organisation (I have had a lot on, and didn't think to charge my phone, as I didn't think I'd need it) so we used hers. Luckily I did have cover (there is a God, after all!) and the RAC duly arrived.
I only had cover to take us to one destination so we had to decide whether to go to Salford, where I would have to then dispose of the car as it was dead, (RIP Minnie, you've been a good and faithful friend, but you certainly chose your moment) or have it taken back to a depot and arrange its disposal afterwards. Harry said that he'd get a taxi to Salford on his own, and we could just go home. Of course Mammy wasn't having any of that so it was arranged that me, Steve and Harry would get a taxi to Salford and Helen would go back with the RAC man who had very kindly made arrangements to take the car (and Helen) all the way home.
A taxi was then called ... we had to unload all Harry's stuff onto the hard shoulder to await collection by the lunatic who picked us up. We loaded his taxi, got in and waved goodbye to Helen and Mr RAC, and then began the nightmare journey ...
Mr Taximan pretended he didn't know the area ... he told us this fabulous news after just driving straight into the line of traffic on the motorway, whilst fiddling with his satnav. I had a scrap of paper with directions, which I relayed to him, but he still wanted the satnav on. I put the postcode in and the voice began. We were approaching a crucial part of the directions on the post it note, and I told him where to go (in the nicest possible way) but he said he was going via the satnav now. We totally missed the turning and then went on a round trip around Salford, so by the time we did arrive, Harry had had a whistle stop tour of his new city.
We experienced a hairy u-turn on a busy dual carriageway ... we went through a red light ... the explanation given that he didn't have time to stop! We eventually got there, miraculously in one piece, but not until after he shot past the building which was our destination, so he did another dramatic emergency stop, with a loud screech of brakes and rapid change of gears into reverse ... and so our arrival was announced.
He unceremoniously turfed us out (we felt like the Clampetts, surrounded by boxes of Coco Pops and tins of beans, rolling onto the road), charged us £48 for his service, then kindly reduced it to £40, as he had made a couple of mistakes and taken wrong turnings. Yeah, right ...
Some lovely ladies from the University listened to my tale of woe and sprang into action. Harry and his Dad went to register, which only took moments, and then a man arrived with a van and loaded Harry's stuff in and delivered it to his new room.
We unpacked, made his room a little more homely and then took him for something to eat. As it was Sunday, we weren't sure about train times, so thought we had better leave sooner rather than later and with a heavy heart, had to say goodbye to Harry in his lonely student rooms of which at that time, he was the sole occupant.
We walked to Salford station and forked out another £60 for 2 single tickets back home, and arrived home at about 6pm. The end of a very eventful day. I felt drained, and very emotional ... I had worried about this day for a long time, but never envisioned that it would turn out this way.
Before bedtime I rang Harry ... he was in the pub with two of his new flatmates and sounded very settled, so I went to bed, and slept for a long, long time.
The next day when I awoke I expected to feel quite down and depressed but instead just made myself think that the situation could have been much, much worse. We were all safe and well, the car was back home and I did have breakdown cover, otherwise I dread to think what the cost would have been! We had a bit of an adventure that will be talked about for years to come, but despite all that, I couldn't help thinking "Thank God it wasn't raining"!
Have a lovely week
Love, Claire xxx
PS: I have not been sponsored by the RAC, or received anything from them, apart from excellent service! Thank you so much ...
PPS: Helen has the only photographic evidence of this adventure ... don't even want to imagine the grim images!