Cars, cricket and kaput
Thursday, May 11, 2006 at 12:54
martian77 in General

Last weekend I had to drive down to Sussex, because I was supposed to be playing in a cricket match on Sunday in a small village in Hampshire, and had no way to get there without a car. All good, you think. I filled up with petrol on the Friday, headed on my (merry isn't the word) way, snarled through various traffic jams on the way (Tunbridge Wells, forgive me, you don't need any more through traffic!), and got there in about 3 hours. Quicker than the train, but Much Less Fun. Still, 120 miles, car no problem.

Saturday, we used my car to get to the friendly match at our home ground in Wallington (Sarf London). It rained all day, not "proper", call-the-match-off-immediately rain, more mizzle, soak-you-through-without-noticing rain... We got through 29 overs of one innings before everyone realised that standing in a field dripping wet wasn't actually much fun and called it off! But again, the car got through... ummm... 120 miles without any problem.

Sunday I fully expected the match to be cancelled, but it wasn't. GG's game was, so she decided to come along with me and get a lift back later. We merrily toddled off (again, actually, I was a bit flustered and grumpy, but cheered up on the way), got about 30 miles into the trip, had just turned off the A27 onto the A283 heading towards Steyning, when the car decides it likes the area and wants to hang around.

Well, who wouldn't want to stay?

My fuel pump went. Driving along in fourth gear, suddenly car starts decelerating, and no amount of pedal pushing makes any difference. Had it happen before (on a different car!), so I knew. Called the AA, who kindly gave us priority since at this point we were half on a single carriageway A road.

Fortunately my team captain was using the same route, and they saw us and stopped. Brief conflab concluded that we'd get someone else to cover if possible, because I wasn't going anywhere fast. They headed off.

Then the AA man arrives.

Carl. He was a very nice man. A very, very nice man. A very, very, ve... etc...

He tried lots of different stuff. None of which worked. Eventually he came to the same conclusion I had, and said we'd have to be towed. This is where I started thanking my lucky stars that I hadn't actually gone ahead and cancelled the very expensive (when you aren't using it) relay cover, which means they have to get me and my car to Cambridge! Carl didn't think he'd get the job of going all the way up to Cambridge, so he towed us to a layby, told us where the nearest pub was (in Upper Beeding) and drove us over there before heading off.

I nipped in to use the facilities, and found this on the door:

Yes, that's where the phrase "Just off to spend a penny" for going to the toilet comes from! Fortunately it wasn't actually working, because I don't usually carry any old pennies...

Anyway, just as that was dealt with and we start the 10 minute walk back, I got another phonecall from Carl. He'd got the job of taking us to Cambridge after all! Strange. Anyway, GG didn't want to go all the way to Cambridge, so that further complicated things. Eventually we worked out that we could drop her at Shoreham station, and she'd take it from there. She wasn't totally thrilled, as we'd seen a load of rail replacement buses going the other way on the way over, but it was better than coming up with me and the broken car!

So eventually we got the car back up and to my normal garage. Poor thing now had a dead battery as well as a dead fuel pump... And my Dad met us at the garage to give me a lift home. Sorted. Except I have no car. And when I phoned the garage next morning to explain the dead car in their forecourt (we left a note and the key) they said they were fully booked all week but would try to fit it in. It's Thursday now, and I still haven't heard anything. Which is ok, the weather's great, but I've never done a full week of cycling before. I'll be up to 98 miles in four days by the time I get home, and my legs are a smidge tired. In fact, all of me is a smidge tired. It's good though. I could get used to being without it. Really!

(Oh, and my muffins? They froze really well. And defrost just in time to have with a cup of tea at 11...)

Article originally appeared on Life on Mars (http://www.martiandaze.net/).
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