Tag Archives: Car

Car Troubles

I burst a tyre. Heading back to our village after dropping husband at the station for him to return to London, skirting round the moor and then suddenly. The strangest noise. I’m such a girl; I thought it was engine failure but knew I couldn’t stop at the top of a hill on a blind corner. I coasted to the bottom and pulled over, shaking. I turned off the engine. The noise stopped. Funny, that. My mind went blank. It’s amazing how quiet it is out in the middle of nowhere at twilight. About as quiet as my brain.

Thankfully, in all of the places to break down I at least had mobile signal. I fumbled with the phone, all thoughts of how it worked out of mind and I struggled to make a call. Husband’s phone was off as no signal; parents in a boat somewhere in the channel. Faux-Bro didn’t answer. Thankfully, my father-in-law did.

By that point I’d got out of the car, frightened it was engine failure and the car might explode. Something smelt bad too. By the time father-in-law answered I’d realised it was just a flat tyre. My panicked self told him I’d last been taught to change a tyre by my father when I was a girl guide, aged 13. I didn’t think I could manage it in the gathering dust on the side of a road. Thank goodness for mother-in-law’s who buy their sons roadside cover for Easter presents. And thank goodness for Minehead MOT who were with me within 15 minutes of my call for help.

A charming young lad changed the wheel and informed me it wasn’t just punctured it had burst. He seemed surprised I’d kept control of the car. I was more worried that I hadn’t noticed a bang. He took the old wheel away and I arranged to give him £150 in the morning for a new set of front tyres.

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…the gateway to Exmoor…

I love these old railway posters and when looking for this one online I discovered that I could buy them as prints. Sadly this one for Minehead, soon to become our nearest ‘town’, is a little out of date in more ways than one.

Aside from the distinct lack of retro swimming costumes when I visited (although considering it was November it was hardly surprising) the beach has far less sand than the poster suggests. And the railway poster itself is also somewhat misleading: the only train line which serves Minehead these days is the West Somerset Railway, heritage steam line and the perfect place to play out your Polar Express fantasies with a trip to visit Father Christmas.

Which means we will need a car. As pretty as steam is, it is not the most time effective way of reaching one’s destination. So a car it is.

I passed my driving test the day after I received my A Level results in August 2000. Quite why I chose to schedule a driving test the day after results remains lost in my history, but take it that day I did. And, to my surprise, passed first time. I had no car to drive and was unable to be insured on my parents’ Volvo as the engine was too large and I was too young. And shortly thereafter I went down to Exeter to university where there was no need for a car for it was small, permits were expensive, my hallmate had one (and conveniently lived very close to my parents, so it turned out we could share lifts) and you could get a taxi from one end of Exeter to the other for about a fiver. Oh, student days. Occasionally I borrowed an (ex) boyfriend’s car. Occasionally Husband would borrow his parent’s Astra when we wanted to go surfing. But by and large, we managed.

And then we moved to London. Where parking was even more expensive and, mostly, the buses and tubes are more than adequate. And when they aren’t, there are taxis. But now, we need one. And had no idea where to start. We began by looking at auto trader but the idea of being conned into paying cash for something I couldn’t return, couldn’t wear, or couldn’t sell again on e-bay struck the fear of something into me. And so I pretended that the problem would go away.

And then one day last week, it did. We are to inherit Husband’s Dad’s car as he has bought a new one. It may have driven a million miles up and down the motorway but it has only had one owner and it is the first car we drove after we got married as we borrowed it for our honeymoon.

Now all we need to do is find somewhere to park it…

Image by BR from here.