With the re-test tomorrow, I'm not doing anything very exciting today - just little things. DH2 comes round and helps out a bit
May 2 - I've had better days
I woke up this morning at 5h30 in order to drive up to Derby for the SVA re-test at 10h00, stopping at Ian's on the way to borrow some wheels that aren't so badly offset as the Barnby's
Looking out of the window, I notice that it's raining, and grey.
I make myself a flask of coffee - but the milk curdles when I add it, so I have to make it again.
I set off - all seems well, and the weather has cleared up. I stop at Tesco for some petrol. When I turn the ignition off, I hear the starter motor running - I must have hit the starter button by mistake. I flick the battery master switch off, and fill up. When I'm ready to go, I twist the master switch, and the starter starts itself. "That's weird", I think.
I stall at the Milton roundabout - but the car magically starts itself. "That's handy" I think. (I use the work 'think' loosely)
As I make my way down the A14, I notice that I haven't got any power at all above 8000rpm. "Must be the cat kit" I think. The rear bodywork isn't flapping around like it was last time, so I'm happy.
A light comes on - the ECU is reporting a fault. Thinks. "Ahhhh! Maybe I forgot to reconnect the Inlet Air Pressure Sensor - maybe that's why I'm not getting power above 8000rpm. I'll stop somewhere and check"
Brampton Hut services appear, so I pull in. IAPS is plugged in. Everything is plugged in. I wonder what the ECU is whining about?
I try and leave - but I've got no power. At all. The starter gives a feeble half turn. Nothing works. My battery is completely drained! On top of that, the entire switched supply is dead - if I bypass the primary relay that normally feeds it, then everything powers up OK. If I could just figure out a way to divert secondary power through the main warp conduit, and align the plasma coils with my sonic screwdriver. Where's Sam Carter when you need her?
I'm going to have to return home. I just need a battery to get me there. What luck - I'm in a service station! However, the employees there look completely blank when I ask if I could buy a battery. Seems that anything more powerful than a Duracell is out of the question.
So I call Alex, my useless housemate - he usually works from home and will be able to bring me a spare battery. But he's on a train! He's chosen this day, of all days, to go to work at the office. I ask him to do some surfing when he gets there to find me a garage that can deliver me a battery.
I call SteveW and Tim, fountains of all useful knowledge. Neither can help, but Steve posts a request for help on the main se7ens list.
I call my insurance company, MSM, to see if they've managed to sort out breakdown cover on my policy. They have - but it's only valid once I've got registered. Which is what I'm unable to to because I'm broken down. The irony is palpable.
I call the RAC and explain the situation. "Join us, and we'll come and get you" they say. I join. "What is the registration of the vehicle that needs to be rescued today, Mr Seymour?" I explain that it doesn't have one, and mutter something about trade plates in an attempt to ease the explanation. "Trade plates, sir? Is this your car? We can't collect you if you've got trade plates - needs a special licence." I then tried to explain that I didn't actually have trade plates - it was just an attempt to explain why I didn't have a real registration mark. "I've checked, Sir, and we can't collect any vehicle that is not taxed." I un-joined the RAC only 6 minutes after joining.
Orange Directory enquiries next - "Garages with a breakdown service near Brampton please". "Shall I connect you, Sir?" "Yes please". "Connecting you to 01332 xxxxxxx at a cost of mumble mumble ". No answer.
I'm starting to get annoyed now. At least I've got that flask of coffee. Oh. Hmmm. It seems I may have left it on the kitchen table. Was that a spot of rain?
Text from Alex "How's progress?". How's PROGRESS? How would I know - you're the one tracking down a battey for me! I'll get right on it, he says.
He sends me the number for ATS. I ring them. They do deliver batteries! But can't just now, as the van is out of action.
It's now 3.5 hours since I got here. I've cancelled the re-test. I've cancelled the van I'd booked for tomorrow to take the body work to the body shop. I decide that enough is enough. I push the car over to the nearby Premier Travel Inn, chat nicely to the girl at the desk, and she calls a taxi for me and says that it's OK to leave the car in the car park as long as I need to. The taxi takes me to Huntingdon bus station. The bus takes me to Cambridge via a lot of small villages. Each village has at least one garage in it. I realise that I should have brought my battery with me, as i could have charged it and returned to get the car without having to fork out for a new battery. In Cambridge, I realise that it's a long long way to walk home - so I go to work. I've missed a call from Ian - he wants his cat kit back for another customer...
A bright moment. Steve W emails that he is willing and able to go with me to Brampton with his van and trailer to collect the car.
5 o'clock, I get a lift home from Anne-Laure, to find that I've left my house keys in the Phoenix in Brampton. Alex, whilst heading home, is still some distance away. The spare keys are missing. I have a fleeting and painful thought - Anne-Laure has a set of keys for my house, but is now many many miles away on the way to pick up her son (late) from nursery.
I wait. As I wait, I remember that my bike has a puncture, so even if I had been able to get in, I'd have had to fix the puncture before I could cycle to Steve's. I can see the coffee flask on the table.
I ring Matthew down the road, who has a set of keys too. No answer.
Alex arrives, and offers me a lift to Steve's. Cool!
At Steve's place, it starts raining.
Half way along the A14, Steve realises that he didn't bring any ratchet straps with him, so if we pick up the Phoenix, it's likely to just bounce off the trailer. Fortunately, they're in the back of the can from last time they were used.
We get the car, and return home. We push the car in the garage, and I make sure that as I walk out of the garage that I shut the door. It self-locks with its usual satisfying thump. Steve leaves.
I realise that my keys are still in the Phoenix, which is safely locked in the garage. The spare keys are still missing. Anne-Laure is even further away. Matthew is still out. Alex is meeting an old friend in town for a few drinks...
DH2, thank goodness, is in. He gives me beer and food, and we watch The League of Gentlemen.
Alex texts to say that he is home. I thank Dave, and head home, drink a large whisky, put earplugs in, and go to sleep.
Tomorrow will be better...
This page last updated on: Sunday, Jul 16 2006