Saturday, 22 August 2009
It was one of those days today, I guess.
I had a meeting to go to, and just before leaving I noticed my phone was down to one bar of battery life left - "bugger, but nevermind, I won't be gone long, it's only a 30 mile round trip, what could go wrong?"
Well the cam belt could break, that's what could go wrong - and it did.
About 8 miles into the journey there's a sort of "phffisht" noise, a little jump, brief whiff of an oil smell, and then no power at all. With a BMW right up my arse (as if the speed limit wasn't good enough), the hazards went on and I sought a place to pull over - on a rural road.
I thought maybe selecting a lower gear would help - not really knowing anything about cars - so I could limp into the nearest lay-by or pub car park. Naturally this slowed me down and I decided to crap-out on the safest stretch to hand at that moment.
A quick phone call home in case the battery in my phone was about to go (it started beeping to alert me of impending shut-off after said call), and then - wait.
Testament to modern society, not a single person pulled up to lend a hand - the best I got was a semi-sympathetic look from a woman in a van, otherwise I just had to stand there looking sad and useless like all the other people I've seen in my time standing by the side of the road next to a crapped-out car.
Fortunately my Dad came to the rescue with a tow rope - just as a policeman happened by and offered to help (if only he'd come along 20 minutes earlier), but it's always the way, wait for one tow rope and two come along at once, haha.
Fortunately there was a pub car park very close, and I have to say being towed is a weird experience. It just feels wrong. Anyway - into the car park, and then on the phone to the rescue people (easier said than done what-with signal drop-outs and the typical sort of call centre phone call experience).
So finally the van came, the man tried to start it and immediately said "yep, cam belt's gone" (a potentially pricey breakage too) - towed home, and here we are.
My first ever roadside breakdown experience ... the blown tyre from earlier this year doesn't count as a breakdown really, that's in a slightly different category ... so yeah, a bit of adventure for today then.
Also, it's odd really, it feels cliched in a movie when someone's phone battery runs out - but you know what, today was a lesson in how easily that situation can arise.