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

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