This is a slightly different blog to normal. More a breakdown of the last few days I've had, and the chaos it involved, of which I thought I'd share with you.
You know those days where NOTHING goes right? When everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong and you end up laughing about it because you were just SO UNLUCKY? I had 2 of these days, one after the other. After the 48 hours were over, I was so frazzled. I looked just like a cartoon character that's been through hell and back. Bags and dark circles under the eyes, hair sticking out everywhere, torn clothes & grubby feet (I hope i'm painting you a pretty picture here).
So me & my boyfriend both had a week off from work and so planned to head up North to surprise his mum for her birthday & to see his little sister. Now, most of you will know that I live South West of England, and we were heading for Lincoln. It was around a 4 and a half hour car journey & we went in my little Vauxhall Corsa. I'd like to point out here that my car has always been an absolute nightmare, (I liked to nickname it the Flinstone Mobile) and so actually arriving seemed like such a miracle. We had a great few days, where nothing went wrong (besides me loosing every game of Bowling - I'd like to put this down to bad luck, but i'm sure the reality is just that everyone, including W's 9 year old sister was better at bowling than me). On the Wednesday however, my luck turned for the worst. Driving back from a day in Nottingham (an hour away from Lincoln) on our way to watch his sister perform in a show, we heard a strange noise coming from my car, a lady pulled up next to us at a roundabout junction and told us "Your tyre is MEGA flat y'anno". No. We didn't know...and there was nowhere to pull over to sort out this issue. So, we had to drive, on a flat tyre until we found somewhere to pull over. The lady was right, my tyre was as flat as a pancake, and there was a delightfully massive screw nestled deeply into it. My first thought was "Holy crapola...do I even have a spare tyre..or a car jack?". Turns out I did. THANKFULLY. Using it however, was a different matter. My boyfriend being a man, managed to figure it out in the end, with the help of some random car park patrol man with "mam" and "dad" DIY tattooed to his hands. So, new tyre firmly on, we could go on our way? Well, no. The new tyre was also flat. This was a serious dissapointment...we drove again, with a flat tyre to a garage where we pumped it up. Thankfully it was just low on pressure. After this, it was far too late to make his sister's show, which was so frustrating but at least we were back on the road and the problem was averted. Driving back after sorting the tyre, the oil light flashed up. Great. No oil. We got back and topped it up ready for the long drive home the next morning.
The next morning came, and we checked oil, water, topped up petrol, checked tyre pressure, made sure we had enough cheesy pop cd's to get us through 5 hours and a few snacks and drinks and we were on our way. I had popped on a new pair of trousers that W had ever so kindly bought me from Primark the following day in Nottingham, and there was a MASSIVE hole in them down the side seam, which I hadn't noticed at first, but got gradually worse throughout the day. I wasn't overly bothered, nobody would be seeing me, I'd only be in a car for 5 hours. I'll get home, and take them back. No biggy...yeh right. As soon as we set off, my oil light flashed up again, even though there was clearly enough oil in the engine. We got about an hour away and my car started making very odd noises. I checked the temperature..everything was normal...so we carried on. We were planning to come off the M1 at junction 19, but missed the exit, and so W turned to me and said "Oh, don't worry, we can get off at the next one"...to which I responded "Okay...slight problem though...we're slowing down". Yes, on the M1. My flinstone mobile DIED. It clattered and clanked and made an awful banging noise as it came to a stop. Luckily my gut instinct kicked in and I swung the car into the hard shoulder in the split second I had before my car stopped. There was smoke coming out of my engine, and obviously because I'm a dramatic idiot and have clearly watched too many films, I started shouting "GET OUT GET OUT THE CAR!!" I then promptly burst into tears. We called from the SOS box to let them know we'd broken down. I then spent £140 for the AA to come and get us off the motorway and take a look at my car. (I didn't have any breakdown insurance, so joined the AA there and then, which I think is actually pretty bloomin' good, I didn't know you could do this). The police turned up to check what was going on, and told us we needed to stand behind the barrier for safety reasons. I stood behind the barrier...on a red ants nest...in flipflops. My feet were absolutely bitten to buggary.
£140 later, after being bitten by hundreds of red ants, standing in my ripped trousers, after being towed off the motorway, I was then told I had so much wrong with my car, it may not even be worth fixing. I've fixed my Flinstone Mobile, around 3 times now, and when it gets to the point where you're spending just about as much fixing it as you did paying for it in the first place, it's just not worth it. We were 100+ miles from home, I had hardly any money left in my bank (payday was the following day), I literally had no idea what to do. The garages were all closed so it looked like we'd be spending the night/weekend in a Travelodge. Eventually, I decided it was probably best to scrap my car. W got on the case, using google to find numbers for car scrappers near where we had ended up (by Leicester/Rugby). The AA man kindly dropped us off at a Travelodge so we could scrap the car either tonight, or tomorrow morning. Because it was my "lucky" day, OBVIOUSLY the Travelodge had absolutely NO rooms available. Yes. FACEPALM GALORE. We walked to a local pub and had something to eat as we were both starving then went back to the car and packed up everything in it (including my car mats and my cd player) into black bags. Thankfully some local car scrappers (who were the chuckle brothers of the car scrapping world. One had a big beer belly spilling over his joggers and peeping out underneath his too-small t shirt and the other had "orgasmic" something or other on the front of his t shirt and "camp dave" on the back) popped over to take a look at it and took it away. I must say, shamefully I felt very teary watching my first little car being taken off for absolute peanuts.
So there we were, a suitcase, a big pink bag, my handbag, 2 bin bags and 2 umbrellas, no car and we didn't know where we were or how to get home. We decided that getting a train was our best bet. We got a taxi to Rugby and caught the 22.12 train to London Euston. Once at London we caught a tube to the nearest station possible (most tube lines were closed as it was so late). So we decided to catch a taxi the rest of the way. Now, I did start to think (surely this day couldn't get ANY worse) turns out it can when you get into a taxi with what can only be described as the scariest driver in the world. Either that or he was quite literally drunk. He was driving like an absolute maniac. We were being flung around in the back of the taxi and I really did start to think "That's it..we're going to die".
Thankfully, we didn't die...It just left me feeling extremely sick. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was to lie down at the end of what I can only describe the "worst-luck-i've-ever-had" day. It will definitely be a day I will always remember and one that will always make me laugh. At the time, it really wasn't funny, and anything that could have gone wrong, went wrong, but I'm home and I'm safe.
Things I have learnt over the last 2 days:
-Don't travel with things in your car that you don't actually need - I had to carry random crap home in bin bags, all because I was too lazy to remove things from my boot.
-Travel with as many of your car documents as you can at all times, you will need them if you ever need to "spontaneously scrap your car". It means they give you more money for it.
- You don't need 2 umbrellas in your car
- Always check you have a fully inflated spare tyre, and PLEASE get someone to show you how to change a tyre, then once changed, get the flat replaced to store as another spare.
- I need to practice driving round cities & large roundabouts. (I was a nightmare)
- Red ants like to nest alongside the motorway, so don't wear flipflops, just in case you break down.
-Just because there is smoke coming from your engine, doesn't mean it's going to catch fire and kill you. You aren't in an action film.
- Primark is cheap for a reason.
- Always get breakdown cover for your car, especially if it's a Flinstone Mobile. Saying to yourself "Naaah, that won't happen to me" unfortunately does not mean it won't.
-Rugby has a lovely train station.
-When a taxi driver winds down his window and you get a face full of cigar smoke and a load of mumble jumble, do not get in his taxi, he will most probably be drunk, or a maniac & will also overcharge you.
-I'm never buying a Vauxhall car again.
-I need to scrub up on my bowling skills.