The lovely fella who brings my Grand Old Lady back to me, inching her carefully into the drive, tells me that my first port of call must be the garage as there are only 20 miles worth of petrol left in the tank. He does
not realise, of course, that this will present me with a new challenge, though one which - the more I think about it - the more determined I am to meet.
now over three months since I last set off to drive anywhere at all. I have been waiting to feel completely confident behind the steering wheel following my shoulder surgery though some might say I have been putting it off. In my defence (I am always quick
to jump to my own defence) I point out that everybody is different in terms of their recovery. Mr B would retort, darkly, that he has never known anybody more “different” than I.
My tardy approach to getting back on the road has led me into a series of Major Problems. My Grand Old Lady was last driven by My Boy on his last visit, at the end of December and I have signally failed to start her up ever
since. As a result, when the guy from the garage came to collect her (she was over due her MOT - another problem which I nearly forgot to mention) she simply refused to start. I don’t blame her, honestly I don’t - she must have been feeling sadly
neglected, poor thing.
My breakdown service, unhelpfully, wouldn’t recover her, on account of the lapsed MOT (even though she would be travelling to
the garage for that very purpose) so I had no alternative but to pay out for a local recovery service - which arrived in the shape of Mark, another fine and understanding fella. I suppose if your business is all about recovering motor cars, it is essential
to adopt a “no blame attached” approach. As in, well it could happen to anyone couldn’t it, failing to get their car MOTd and leaving it unattended for weeks on end so that it sulked big time when it came to being expected to perform again?
Or is it, possibly, only me? Mark loved my Grand Old Lady, admiring her shape, her condition, her ageless charm. I couldn’t help thinking that it has been a very long time since I was so admired...
Mark’s breakdown vehicle was decorated with a banner proclaiming “Welcome Aboard” - which made me smile and (almost) overcame the ignominy of seeing the Grand Old Lady unceremoniously loaded onto the back
of the lorry for its transportation to the garage.
Anyway, that was then and this is now. The Grand Old Lady, now back home again, deserves better treatment
from her owner - and I need to start driving again. Cautiously, carefully, I drive her round to the garage to put some petrol in the tank. It feels, well, okay. I decide to take her to the shops. Still okay. I’m not sure I’d want to drive a long
distance at the moment but it’s surprisingly easy, now my shoulder and I have accepted the challenge.
Maybe I have been a bit of a wimp, putting off for
so long getting back behind the wheel? What’s new? Mr B would ask. He knows me so well. Nevertheless, I’m feeling ridiculously pleased with myself. I will be able to drive myself to choir on Friday morning, instead of taking the bus and keeping
every finger crossed that I won’t arrive after the start. I won’t need a lift to cribbage next week, or to craft the week after. I will be able to drive to KFC whenever Mr B requests it - oh, dear, there had to be a downside, I suppose.
Never mind, taken all round this is real progress. I - and my Grand Old Lady - are Back On The Road!