The journey to Reading was eventful, in the wrong way. In short, Tim’s car broke down on the motorway. Luckily it wasn’t the misnamed “smart” motorway with no hard shoulder and he was able to pull over safely. But it took a long time for a low-loader to arrive and take us on to Reading. We were just approaching the A1(M)/M25 junction at South Mimms services – 100 yards short of the slip road, in fact, when Tim said he couldn’t get the car in gear. He’s fairly sure that it’s the clutch that’s gone west.
Anyway, we duly got out and climbed over the barrier but Tim soon realised he had to get back in the car as the traffic noise was such that he couldn’t talk to the breakdown people when outside. So he stayed in the passenger seat and I hauled the coolbox out of the boot and made sandwiches. Luckily, we’d brought plenty of provisions and I asked him if he’d like a bottle of beer? “Well, it’s not as if I’m driving anywhere. What sort of cap does it have, though?” I was already ahead of him there and produced a corkscrew/bottle opener from my handbag. So we sat, eating Norfolk salami sandwiches on homemade bread and drinking bottles of Adnams. It was two and a half hours before Gary appeared, a really nice and very capable guy, who loaded the car up and drove us home. He deposited the car with impressive skill in the convenient parking space outside Tim’s back gate.
I’d started to regret the bottle of water and half litre of beer an hour earlier. I’d had a mug of tea and a cup of coffee before we left Yagnub and it was all rather telling on me. Tim couldn’t get at the house key until the car was at ground level. So I used his front garden, tucking myself nicely between a thick hedge and the garden wall.
Tim luckily had his driving licence with him, so has rented a car and we duly appointed a gardener and he made a few phone calls about his car. It’s old, he’s had it from new and it’s the best car he’s ever had. He’s been considering a replacement for a while – you know you’re on borrowed time after a decade or so, before something goes badly awry – but he never had a pressing reason for a change. Now, he has to decide whether to get the repair done, which will cost nearly as much as the car is worth, and reckon on scrapping it eventually, or whether to bite the bullet and scrap it now.
For my part, though I haven’t felt ill, I’ve had a headache and tinnitus ever since my second vaccination. Not badly but for most of the time, though hanging around on the motorway surely didn’t help. So it’s not been a great week, all told. However, no actual harm done and we’re back in Norfolk now.