Monday, 22 April 2013

The other car

How many people do you know who have broken two vehicles within four days?  None?
You do now!!

As my poorly car was still in hospital with no release date and I had to attend a meeting in Ludham (26.3 miles from door to door - why is Norfolk so big?) I looked at bus timetables as I had traveled this way before. It had been a fascinating journey, through all the villages and, sitting upstairs on the bus, being able to see over the hedges and into peoples' gardens.

I realised that things had changed and there was no longer one route for this journey, but I would have to take two buses, with a change in Wroxham, which was no problem except that the one from Norwich arrived at 9.18 and the one from Wroxham departed at 9.20.  Two minutes to find the bus I needed and what would happen if the first one was late - did they wait?  All seemed a bit dodgy to me, especially as the next one from Wroxham was 11.30, the time my meeting started!

This was when the skipper came to my rescue and suggested that if I rode into Norwich with him, I could then borrow his vehicle to go on to Ludham.  Great idea!

This was achieved smoothly and coming out of the meeting/bbq (Hunters Yard AGM) around 1.30 I confidently set off for Norwich to collect the skipper and then head over to Lady Louise for the weekend.  As I pulled away from a junction in Ludham there was a horrendous clanking from beneath the vehicle, but the noise almost immediately stopped. My first thought was that I'd run over something metal but could see nothing in the road and as I had traffic behind me couldn't stop suddenly.  I drove about 500 yards up the road, hearing the occasional 'clank and scrape' and pulled into a layby.  Getting down on hands and knees I could see that the front part of the exhaust system (the big oval bit) had broken away from the pipe and was dangling down on a flexible hose - not actually touching the ground but enough to cause the noise when I drove over a bump and setting up a swinging clank when I cornered.

My conversation with the skipper started "you're not going to believe this ...."  and he did find it difficult!

After explaining the problem to him, he thought that I could probably get back to Norwich but to call him again if it got much worse or anything fell off.  I drove no faster than 40 mph all the 20 odd miles and felt like one of those tractor drivers who hold up the traffic, with a stream of cars building up behind me.  I felt obliged to pull over two or three times to let the queue clear and was quite relieved when I reached the city traffic which was traveling around my speed.  I did attract the puzzled attention of pedestrians at the occasional series of clanks and scrapes .....

Luckily the skipper has a mate who owns a business SCA Performance Centre and he got one of his mechanics to patch up the system - thanks Alan, not many places who would be so obliging on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon.

I was being picked up by a couple of friends on Sunday for coffee and a chat and kept my fingers crossed as we drove to Ranworth.  When I told them what had happened, they had to think hard about whether they drove me back to LL or left me to walk!

NB  A friend at the meeting told me that I wouldn't have had to change buses, as the bus just changed its number and continued on the route!!  Why didn't someone tell me earlier?

View from LL

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

My car

My car ‘broke down’ today!  Well, I say broke down but it didn’t actually stop – it just started going slowly.  I was in a 40mpg limit but the car didn’t know that and even if it had, I wasn’t exceeding the speed limit.  I went down a gear and the car momentarily speeded up but then started going even slower, at which stage the adrenaline kicked in and I thought ‘I’ve got to get home’ which was only about half a mile away.  It was then I noticed the nasty little orange light on the instrument panel and a slight smell of burning and realised that I should probably be stopping very soon.

With traffic disappearing off into the distance in front of me and gaining very fast behind me, I had a sudden revelation … about 200 yards further on was Coopers Peugeot garage and although my car is a Fiat, there were a number of things which convinced me they were my salvation.  My car had been serviced and MOT’d there last year, I knew the owners well and best of all they were close!  I crept on to their forecourt, switched off and abandoned!

After being gently ribbed by lovely Diane, Ivan and son Ben for breaking my car, the mechanic plugged in his little box and pronounced an ignition coil had burned out.  Phew, not terminal then!

I left my car in their very capable hands and lovely Diane even gave me a lift home.  I am just so grateful that this didn’t happen on the by-pass!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Barking mad!

A programme on local radio today, discussing the annoyance of constantly barking dogs, reminded me of an incident which happened last year.

It was a Bank Holiday and we had been away for the weekend, returning on the Monday evening. Within a couple of minutes of arriving home, one of our neighbours knocked on the door to ask if we knew where the dog lived, which had been barking, whining and howling all dayAs we spoke, the next door neighbour to the dog owners came out and said that the owner had sent her a text earlier saying they were out all day and the dog was in the garden, with access to the conservatory.  Apparently she had had words with the dog owner before about the dog being distressed when on his own.

As things were getting a bit heated, with a lot of concern for the poor dog, I volunteered to talk to the owners when they returned.  I felt that as I hadn't been subjected to the noise all day I would perhaps have a different perspective on things.

The owners returned a while later but as it was then quite late, I decided to leave it until the next day.  I duly went and knocked on their front door, with no result - I couldn't even hear the dog barking.  I did this two or three times during the day; I believed they were at home as their car was in the drive.  By evening time I decided to telephone them - again two or three times over that evening and the next day, with no reply.

So I wrote them a letter, I quote a piece of it "I hope you won’t mind me writing this to you but I think it’s best that everyone is upfront and honest about these incidents, especially on a small estate like this; "

The entire letter was quite mild and, in my view, placatory.  I heard absolutely nothing for a week or so, not even the dog barking!  However, on a trip back from the local shop, I passed the neighbour walking the dog and spoke to him, as usual - 'morning, how are you'.  His response was to blank me, cross the road to the other side and carry on walking!!

I was very surprised and told him he was rude and then, as I continued walking home, became angry so knocked on his front door and when his wife appeared I asked what I had done to upset her husband.  She was obviously quite embarrassed and said she would speak to him.  I told her not to upset her neighbours as she might need them one day (I should add that her husband has heart problems and has been 'terminal' for about 11 years).

He hasn't spoken since, to any of the neighbours, but she waves to me from her car when we pass.  People are strange ......

BTW the dog disappeared for a while and when he came back didn't bark anymore, so I can only hope he had some anxiety training.   

Thursday, 4 April 2013

My shoes

My shoes won a prize this week!

I have had a pair of Cotton Traders suede slip-on shoes for a number of years and just happened to notice that they were offering a prize for one of their items "which had stood the test of time" so, on impulse, I snapped my old shoes and sent them the photo.

I was quite surprised to learn that my shoes had won and today I received a leather holdall and some "travel accessories" (a luggage weighing thingie, a suitcase locking thingie and one of those neck shaped blow up cushion thingies).

What a shame that I hardly ever travel anywhere, but I doubt Cotton Traders knew that.