You never know, when you get up in the morning, exactly what the day may hold in store for you. Today was a case in point.
The plan for the day was this: we would enjoy
our first choir session of the New Year, before setting off for the Choir's Post-Christmas Lunch at a local college. After which, suitably replenished in body and soul, I would catch the train to Wimbledon in the happy anticipation of a long weekend with Faris
and The Twins (now there's a name for a new pop group, don't you reckon?)
So happy was I with the thought of the day ahead that you could probably have heard me right down the end of the road, trilling "Viva,
viva La Musica" in the shower this morning. However life is nothing if not an adventure - so a mile from home, just as we started to pull up at the traffic lights at a major junction on our way to the community centre, the car cut out completely, flashing
warning lights all across the dashboard, like it thought it was taking part in a disco / karaoke session.
This was, once again, one of the places nobody wants to break down. It reminded me of the day, as a
child, when our car (registration number MUP 157 - isn't it strange how the memory retains such information?) broke down on Rochester Bridge. Or when my not-so-trusty old Volvo came to a shuddering halt on the Windmill Bridge at Rustington circa 1986. What
is it about me, and cars, and bridges? Today, to be fair, we had managed to negotiate the railway bridge - though it was a near thing - but were completely stuck at the traffic lights, thus preventing all the cars behind us from travelling on their merry way.
Fortunately a couple of Good Samaritans stopped to help push our car round the corner. One of them was our new window cleaner: "What a good thing we paid him this week!" was Mr B's heart-felt comment.
I then went into Super Efficient Mode, remembering that I had added BMW Emergency Services onto my mobile phone. Mr B was not as impressed as I thought he would be. When I finally reached the beginning of a long telephone queue
it was to speak to the Lovely Gina who took down all my details with admirable concern for our plight. She could not, however, lovely as she was, promise that we would be rescued quickly. We would have to wait at least an hour and a half, which sounded like
a lifetime. There were, however, a few things I thought of to pass away the time. Remember, life is an adventure, even on the side of the A259 with cars and lorries whistling past you as if to say: "Look at us! We're OK!"
First of all I decided to look for the warning triangle which I have never had cause to use before. Mr B said he thought it was under the front passenger seat so I went exploring and found a hidden compartment which I had never seen before (I have only
owned my car for 12 years after all). How exciting! Except that it didn't house the warning triangle at all but was stuffed full of bandages of all shapes and sizes plus a rather useful looking pair of scissors. Had I ever needed to administer First Aid I
would have been extremely well equipped - had I only known that I had an entire A &E department stowed under my front seat. Getting all the bandages back into their secret compartment proved to be well nigh impossible so I have had to leave them for the
time being, until I am feeling stronger and more able to deal with them.
Meanwhile Mr B finally found the warning triangle, tucked underneath the Superman car seat bought for Young James last summer, and we
erected it in the road where hopefully it would alert vehicles whizzing round the corner to our plight and the need to give us a very wide berth. Also in the boot, a red tartan car rug which we wrapped round Mr B's shoulders (his chesty cold making his need
greater than mine) while I set off along the road in search of sustenance. Even in the direst of circumstances, you will note, I was Still Thinking About My Stomach, which is something of which to be proud.
a mile along the road was the Mad Hatter's Tea Shop. I've passed it so many times, but never ventured within. I didn't know what I was missing! As tea shops go it was quite, quite mad in the best possible way. Splendid
indeed! I shall make a point of taking assorted grandchildren there when next they visit. The sweet woman behind the counter made me cups of coffee and hot bacon sandwiches which I bore back to Mr B in triumph. "Isn't this an adventure?" I carolled, handing
him the sandwich bag marked "ketchup". Mr B's response was unprintable. His idea of adventure does not tally with mine.
Two hours and ten minutes after my first phone call to the Lovely Gina and our Knight
in Shining Armour (better known as the fella from Westbourne Motors) arrived. We were very, very pleased to see him. It must be good to be a breakdown mechanic, knowing people will always be glad to see you when you turn up with your spanners and battery chargers.
So now our Sweet Chariot is in the garage and we are at home awaiting news of a diagnosis. We have missed choir and the choir lunch - but I will still be able to catch the train at 3 p.m. Even if I do have to walk to
the railway station, which will do me good.
"And I was thinking, it's all excellent material for the Daily Blog," I had consoled Mr B during our long, long wait.
Like Queen Victoria and Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, he wasn't the least bit amused.