This is just narrative. Just saying.
My drive home from ASDA did not go as planned. The clutch was being weird. Kind of stuck to the floor, a bit. Then it just stopped working.
This was as I pulled up to a fairly popular T junction, at about quarter to 5… with the vain hope of going right. I couldn’t get into gear. Not a sausage. Sudden visions of traffic backing up from behind me, all the way back to ASDA; a memory triggered of a previous breakdown in an equally unhandy location, being told by a driver-by: “You can’t park here.” Eh, yuh.
Hazards on, I popped out on to a tiny island thing, abandoning ship. I whipped out my phone to inform the family that the ASDA snacks would be somewhat delayed.
A split second later, a very helpful man offered to help me get it out of the way of the rush hour traffic, so I got back in, and steered as he pushed and I bumped it up on the pavement out of harm’s way and off he went. Thanks, Helpful Man!
Next on the to-do list was to call the AA. I rang them up and the automaton on the other end of the line suggested that the best thing to do was to request help online. I googled it, put in all my details, got to the SUBMIT page, and… nothing.
So, I rang them up again and pressed 1 repeatedly until I got a human, who texted me a link… to the webpage with the broken SUBMIT button, so that was hopeless – but happily, the AA person was still on the line. He seemed surprised that I could know where I was without knowing the postcode. But I did, and he found me on the map. Happy days.
The advice is not to sit in the car while you wait for the AA. Happily, I had a deck chair, a good book and a bootful of ASDA snacks to keep me going. So, I had a wee seat, a banana and a read at “The Pilgrim” in the sunshine.
The AA man then phoned me up to say he would not be long. Seconds later, a friend happened upon me, wondering why I had decided to take a break at such a random location, then figured I must be in some kind of problematic situation. This was all very fortuitous. When she appeared, I had been on the phone, negotiating with my mother to come and rescue the ASDA shopping, so that I didn’t have to carry a whole load of shopping home from a hypothetical garage on a series of buses – but my friend then offered to ferry the groceries. Very kind.
Within a few minutes, the AA man appeared. It was like I was in Mr Ben’s shop. “As if by magic…” and all cheerful and yellow was the van. So, he did his mechanic thing – intermittently muttering “hydraulics”, rummaging about and removing, then putting back lots of large bits of plastic – concurred that the clutch was indeed broken and a patch up job was not possible. He explained that since COVID, you were not allowed to just pitch up at a garage hopefully; he would have to tow me home, then we would have to book it in somewhere then call them out again to get it there. This would be less than ideal.
This time Husband stepped in and found me a garage willing to accept me. So, my friend took off in her car, with my shopping, to rendezvous with us at the garage. The AA man hitched my car up to his van and gave me the necessary training to be towed, and off we went. It was something like a very, very dull rollercoaster ride. The garage accepted the car, and off I went, me and my ASDA shopping getting a lift all the way home.
As rescues go, this was a great one. Such a happy, sunshiny bubble of helpfulness in which to break down. Helped by Helpful Man, located by the call-centre man at the AA, encouraged by my mother, booked in by Husband, accepted by the garage, towed by the AA and delivered safely home by my friend.
All this, of course, means that I am now reliant on the orange buses again. And, as we know, they are a rich seam of blogging material – staggeringly unreliable, gaily disregarding such details as routes and timetables. But I made it to work on time today, so that was good. And, eventually, I got home.
That’s the narrative… I must justify the narrative with some kind of reflection… Here it is: people are great. People are helpful. No one wants anyone to bung up a key T-junction at 5pm. The AA membership was worth it. I am very thankful.