Broken down, if not by age and sex

I was looking forward to a cheering lunch of very delicious local salami and salad after getting my duties done this morning.  Alas and alack and all that.  Intending to take the car a few miles down the road to make sure the battery was charging ok, friend with jump leads following in his car in case there was a problem.  It didn’t get as far as that.  The car started all right but stopped within ten seconds, before I’d even put it in gear.  The warning light had not been showing.  The electrics were quite dead.  Mike put the jump leads on his battery and I started it again – all seemed fine until he removed them, then zero.

Now, as you know I’m a sensible and provident Z, rarely caught without my belt, braces and a length of bailer twine just in case, and my insurance policy breakdown cover included a home start.  In addition, I’ve only had this car since July and I’m covered by a 6-month warranty.  So I phoned about that first.  I knew that, if it’s just the battery, I’d not be covered, but I wanted to establish the right procedure.  And the woman was very helpful, agreed that it could be taken to my local garage not their designated one in Norwich and suggested I phone my breakdown people, though I would be covered for up to £50 call-out if it was needed.  The other call centre woman was equally helpful and I’m waiting for the breakdown people to come now.  I assured them there was no hurry, not at the side of the road in a distressed damsel situation.  Russell took me to my garage and I’ve explained there and I’ve just had another phone call to say the breakdown chappie is on the way now.

A bit of a nuisance in that I’m going to Aldeburgh tomorrow for lunch and a lecture on Britten’s operas, but I’ll have to borrow R’s van, little as I like driving it (and little as he wants to be without it) because he’s got an engagement on in the afternoon, otherwise I’d see if he could come for lunch too.  He’d be bored silly by the lecture, he has no interest in music at all and less knowledge.

I’m taking it as a very lucky occurrence – that it happened here and now, that is.  What a pain that would have been if it had happened on the way to Aldeburgh.  And the dear car gave me a little warning, so it wasn’t completely out of the blue.

Just had another call – breakdown van here in a minute.

8 comments on “Broken down, if not by age and sex

  1. nick

    Cars are generally so reliable nowadays it comes as a bit of a shock when they suddenly conk out. I hope the problem is something simple and not something colossally expensive.

    I’m surprised your warranty doesn’t cover the battery; mine did. Batteries should last for many years.

  2. Z Post author

    It is second hand, that’s why the battery isn’t covered. Most things are though. The problem is the alternator, which is covered. the mechanic had to disconnect the alternator to be able to let off the electric handbrake, it was discharging the power so quickly that, even charging the battery, he couldn’t release the brake.

    My cars know better than to mess me about. I don’t take well to mechanical hypochondria. But yes, I’m very lucky, even when they break down.

  3. 63mago

    Electrical handbrake – ta! It’s difficult to find a (more or less) mechanical only car nowadays. Most of the modern ones are rolling computers. I hope it’s fixed and your journey tomorrow will go without disturbances. Britten’s operas is surely worth a little travel.

  4. Blue Witch

    Electric gadgets are annoying – and can be dangerous.

    13 years ago next Thursday I was trapped in a burning car in very fast rising flood water, and the electrics went – I then couldn’t get out of the door due to the water pressure on the outside of the doors and the electric windows weren’t operational.

    Had the firemen not arrived when they did I’d probably be dead now. Burnt alive in a car trapped in flood water due to electrical failure.

    is it any wonder I seek out new cars with as few toys as possible now?

    Hope you get it fixed – and how lucky that it fell within the 6 months warranty period.

  5. Z Post author

    BW, what a horrifying story. Useful as electric windows are, I much prefer to have at least the driver’s window with a winder as well. My Mercedes didn’t have a keyhole. so if the battery had gone in the fob, I’d not have been able to open the car.


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