Tonight I was driving along the A5 on my way to Milton Keynes to collect my son and his friend from a laser quest party when the lights on the dashboard systematically began to flash
Flash: The ABS is broken
Flash: The VSA light is on (I don’t know what that is)
Flash: The yellow triangle with an exclamation mark on it is flashing. Emergency, emergency it shouted silently.
Flash: The wierd yellow jug thing is alight.
Flash: Flash: Flash: All the lights are flickering.
Excellent. Just what I needed when the mechanic husband was 500 miles away. I checked the dashboard again. The temperature read as normal and there was no smoke coming from the engine so I kept going because I was only about 5 minutes away from the party. As soon as I arrived and parked the car the battery light came on and once the engine was turned off, it would not turn back on.
I called the mechanic husband who talked me though a diagnostic electrical fault finder using an ap on my phone called Torque (Lite). “No Fault Detected” it said. Well that was no help at all. “You know nothing Norm Snow,” I said and called the RAC.
But then I had a brainwave. The party was at the Daytona go-karting track. Where there are cars, there are mechanics and sure enough there was a trainee mechanic on duty (Sam) who kindly came out to take a look. He and fellow parent Paul, quickly worked out that the alternator was failing to charge the battery. This was confirmed 45 minutes later by the RAC mechanic and his gadgets.
By this time there had been approximately 12,000 acts of kindness bestowed upon me by friends from the wonderful Deba who took my 8 year old home with her and her lovely boys; Jorge who waited with me for the RAC to arrive – and put his life at risk as I drove home with just sidelights on to keep the battery going (the RAC van was close behind); Paul who pulled out his jump leads and diagnosed the problem, and Paula who took home my son’s friend (because I was supposed to). The wonderful Wendy who kept my daughter for 18 hours longer than she originally planned to and the lovely Sam who went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that the RAC were able to sort out the car.
So despite the fact that this is the second car failure I’ve had this month I feel lucky. Lucky to have a lot of lovely friends and a car that might break sometimes but I still have one. Unfortunately I don’t have a tumble dryer and the cash that I had ready to buy a heat pump condenser dryer (more efficient, no vent required), is going to be spent on an alternator and a battery. My dreams of a laundry free living room are on hold.
It’s time for a glass of wine…….