I have always thought it to be entirely sensible, when your car inexplicably breaks down, that it should do so outside a Significant Building. Like a Town Hall, for instance.
Which is why when the Grand Old Lady came over all difficult yesterday afternoon - flashing all the lights on the dashboard (including, mysteriously, the one that indicated my air bag had discharged) in a petulant rage - I
was incredibly grateful that she did so outside Worthing Town Hall. At least, I consoled myself, I would be able to report, with perfect accuracy, my location when I contacted Green Flag. So many times in the past I have been flummoxed by this request for
information on my whereabouts, which only goes to prove that most of the time I haven’t the faintest idea where I actually am.
myself, I then discovered I didn’t need to know where I was anyway. Green Flag had immediately tracked me, told me help was in its way in the shape of “Barry”, and estimated his arrival within an hour. It was slightly spooky but enormously
Usually, given up to an hour with nothing to do except watch out for a breakdown vehicle, I would have taken to social media. I would have informed
all my family and every one of my 513 Facebook friends (okay, okay, you may have more than me, but my friends are very special) of my unfortunate plight. I would do this, not because any of them would have been able to do anything about it (unless one of them
was Barry) but because the flood of sympathy coming my way would make me feel better, maybe even stop me shivering with the warmth of its concern for me.
I only had 34% battery left on my mobile phone and I couldn’t chance running out of juice in case I needed to phone somebody urgently. No, I couldn't imagine what that urgent call might be, but it’s best to play safe when you are stranded. Even
outside a Significant Building. All I felt able to do was a quick message to the Youngest of the Darling Daughters. I just needed to tell someone of my plight...
I had been on my way to the hospital to take my daily letter into reception for Mr B when everything went wrong, vehicle-wise. It would have been my last trip there as he is being transferred to a local nursing home for further recuperation before he
is allowed home. I had to console myself with the thought that he never seems to receive anything I send him anyway so why would today have been any different?
my Knight in Shining Armour, turned up almost exactly on time. His workload was, he told me, “manic”. So much for Stay At Home - though I can hardly protest too much, having broken down on my trip to the hospital...
Barry remembered me from the last time I called Green Flag out which must have been a couple of years ago. He even remembered the garage where he took us. It would be rather gratifying to think that
I was that memorable but, to be honest, I think it was the Grand Old Lady he recognised, rather than me. He started the car for me but couldn’t work out why she had misbehaved so badly - there was nothing wrong with her that he could see. He drove behind
me all the way home to make sure I arrived safely, bless him. What a gentleman!
So, what do I do? I have a car who clearly isn’t to be trusted when the mood
takes her. She will be 18 years old next month, which means she will be Coming of Age, no longer a child, though still, I suppose, enough of a teenager to get the hump occasionally. Maybe Lockdown is getting to her? Maybe she feels safer if I Stay At Home?
On Barry’s suggestion, I left her running (on the spot) for another half an hour in the driveway after we arrived home. When I turned off the engine, I told her - in
my brightest, most forgiving voice - that tomorrow would be a good day.
If Captain Tom can’t inspire her to be better behaved in future, then who can?