Saturday, 3 September 2016

Breakdowns and beyond.

I keep thinking I've got it all worked out. Obviously the reason I bashed my ribs was so that I'd do less running and more cycling. With this in mind, we set off last Sunday with the bikes in the back of the car. The plan was to park at the far end of Penicuik and go for a bike ride in the Meldons. There's a 30 mile loop which includes a stop at a cafe in West Linton for hot chocolate and cake. Sounds like a plan doesn't it?
It was a nice day. It took us a while to get started but it seemed like a good idea. There was very little wind.
As we were loading the bikes in the back of the van we were realising how much unnecessary "stuff" we have in there. We have a big yellow battery thing that can give the car a jump start if the battery is low. That kind of got us through last winter. Peter said we should put that back in the flat as we won't be needing it. We've got a new battery now and it's summer. We both laughed when the car didn't start first time. Hoho. It was because you said that. We didn't think much more about it. It was "One of those things" - a phrase which means damn all and is a way of not thinking.

WE got to Penicuik, and I parked up and then wasn't quite happy with where I'd parked. "Well park somewhere else then!" says Peter. Your average couple mildly grumbling at each other. I went to start the car and the battery sounded lively but the engine wasn't for starting. We tried it once, twice, three times. We went and looked helplessly under the hood. Unless the engine was actually missing it was unlikely that this would tell us much. We got back in the car and this time it started.
"What do you think we should do?" quoth Buchanan.
I couldn't stand the thought of going a 30 mile cycle not knowing whether we'd have a drama with the car at the end of it or not. Too much uncertainty. Peter agreed. We headed home.

It was a warm day and the drive out there had been unpleasant. Why everyone wants to go to Ikea on a Sunday is beyond me but it's always the case. The A701 is boring and slow and usually crowded. It had taken us ages to get there.
I was thinking on the way back we would take the bypass to get back to Leith. It's further but it would be less sticky. But, it was not to be. Just past Bilston, approaching some lights, the engine cut out, and we were at a standstill. Right on the busy road. We put our emergency lights on but the amount of people who nearly drove straight into the back of us was alarming. It was alarming Peter. I was in that frame of mind where I didn't care. Whatever. Let whatever do whatever. I wasn't for caring.
Of more immediate concern....did I have the details of our car rescue? A hunt ensued. I'd stuffed the letter in the pocket behind my seat - and it wasn't there. We found another letter in the glove compartment, but it was over a year old. Then I found some other details written on the back of an envelope. Were they current? I had no idea. I phoned anyway. They didn't argue. Pherewww!!! They gave us priority because we were right on a busy road. But still it was a long wait. After an age a friendly, chubby chap arrived in a Green Flag van. The tiny optimist in me was still hoping he'd find something obvious that he could fix. He played around with a balloon thing and sprayed that starting spray stuff that's meant to be bad for your engine in. But no dice.No dice. No joy. No way Jose. The lady is not for starting.
A tow truck was called. We were 'in luck' apparently as the chap was just coming back from Peebles. Should be there in no time.

I can't believe I'm giving you a blow by blow account. It wasn't my intention. But here it is, all flooding back.

It was maybe another hour. A friendly enough guy loaded the Berlingo on the back of his wagon. We tried chatting to him but then we noticed his hearing aid. You had to make yourself pretty clear to communicate. We bonded by generally agreeing that Edinburgh was a nightmare with the festival on and streets awash with tourists. That it was full of restaurants and antique shops and no good to anyone.

We did find a free parking space just near our garage though. That was a piece of luck. It's a busy little street.

And on Monday morning I opened negotiations with the garage again.

I've been doing some training in CBT so I tried to sort my own thinking out.
"I hate taking the car to the garage" "Yeah but why?" "Because I don't know the words for things, and the guys won't look at me and I always feel like I'm bothering them, even though it's a garage and their thing is fixing cars. You wouldn't think a car that wasn't working would be that much of a surprise, but it always feels like it is." I couldn't argue with that.
"You'll just have to do it anyway." was the response. Those in the know know that this is a behavioural approach to the problem, and works pretty well too.
I'm not that far into my course. I'll get better with time. The idea is to change your thinking so that the whole thing doesn't feel like a fucking nightmare.

I didn't stress myself all that much about it anyway. I had other things to do and I was still in the frame of mind where everything was whatever so whatever. Maybe I had a car and maybe I didn't and whatever. WHAT EVER!!!

That was a long story, wasn't it?

Back in the land of ribs, my ribs are still really sore at night. One night I found that if I slept on my sore rib side but with my arm up above my head that was kind of comfortable. The next day my shoulder was agony. Peter wasn't even remotely surprised to discover I had a new injury. Bed injury. Whatever.

ON Wednesday I got the car back. Glad I never bothered stressing. Crank sensor. I've googled it and that kind of makes sense.

Today we took the car to Gullane for a run, for us to run and maybe even go in for a swim. I wasn't sure if I could pull a wetsuit on but I managed with help. I couldn't swim much either but it was good to get in the sea.

It was meant to pour with rain, but that never happened. Instead we got a calm, warmish day and the sun even came out for a while in the afternoon.

Time to get on and do stuff I guess. Wetsuits to rinse out, showers to be had. I had no idea I wanted to tell that story so much until now. If you made it all the way down to here, well done.

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