Monday, April 13, 2015

From O. Reader or the trials and tribulations of ...


Many years ago when I was young and sweet and innocent I spent some time in the Royal County of Berkshire working with a group of like-minded people and attended gatherings three times a week. The man who presided over the group used to have a special ritual each week – he would always conclude one particular meeting by relating what he called an “experience”. This was basically an anecdote about the work that had been done that past week with a good encouraging result. But this night the meeting ran late. It wasn’t my fault, but I had the misfortune to have started late and been on just before he rose to conclude. He scowled at me and the audience in general and in sonorous tones (and broad Berkshire accent) announced: “I was going to have an EXPERIENCE to-night – pause – but there isn’t time so I’ll have an EXPERIENCE on Sunday...”  I can still see people stuffing handkerchiefs into their faces to conceal their merriment.  

Which is nothing to do with this post really – it just came back to me through the mists of times – except that you could say that I had AN EXPERIENCE this week – involving my automobile – what we Brits always call a “car”. (So do we Americans – ed.) 

Finally Out of the Car.

I am rushing out to get to two patients and am already late. I quickly press the button to open the central locking on the vehicle and clamber inside. But somehow, in fumbling with the key in the steering lock I inadvertently press the same button again. The central locking system promptly goes CLUNK and locks up the car. DRAT I think, how on earth did I manage to do that? So I press the button again to unlock it, so I can drive away as planned. Total silence. Nothing happens. Huh? What? I press it again, and again. Zilch. I am now locked in my car. I can’t manually open it from the inside. The door won’t budge.  It could be opened with the key in my driver’s door of course, but – er- the key is with me – locked inside the car. We never got round to getting a spare. 

This cannot be happening I think. But it is. It has.  

How do I make my escape? A cellphone call to my local service garage yields, along with general hilarity, the thought that the rear doors can be opened by hand, as long as you can manually deal with the child safety lock inside. So I phone Mrs O who comes out to the car and we conduct a conversation by semaphore through the window. I then clamber from the front of the vehicle, headfirst with bottom in the air, to get onto the back seats. I tug the child lock handle and Mrs O tugs the outside handle – and eureka – I am free.

I am also about an hour late for two patients. Somehow in jiggling the vehicle around, things have started working again because the alarm now goes off big time and summons half the village to see what vehicle we are stealing. Fiddling around with the key finally stops the alarm and starts the car.

All seems well. I nervously visit my clients, do unspeakable things to their feet, and come back to the car. I press the button to unlock the car. Silence. Nothing happens. Aaaagh! I am now OUTSIDE the car. It starts to rain. I forget for a moment of extreme distressed dampness that I can at least get into the beast with the key in the door. I manage this, and give up – and call my rescue service which here in the UK is called the RAC (Royal Automobile Club). An hour later a nice man in a patrol car comes and makes an extreme effort to not sound like he is talking to a five year old.

And what was it dear reader? A clasp on the battery had come loose, and so power to work everything was intermittent. As in – working when you didn’t want it to, and not working at all when it was essential. One quick turn of a spanner – my no claims bonus for not calling them out this year is now shot to pieces – but I am mobile again.

 Cars, cars.

Still it used to be worse. It made me think of other vehicles our little family owned in the past – now all safely gone to that great scrap heap in the sky.  

But that’s perhaps another story.


  1. Griffin12:20 AM

    Having seen your latest banger (which was rescued from the 'Scrappie') I'm just amazed you use any sort of locking device on it!

    That is until I remembered what your neighbourhood village is like. Inbred is such a coarse word, isn't it? They'd 'adopt' anything on four wheels (assuming they knew what a wheel was).

    Have you ever claimed your one-year no-claims bonus?

  2. An occasional reader4:18 AM

    I will have you know that the days of my turning up at clients' homes with white coat, medical bag - and taking off my bicycle clips - have long gone!

  3. Anonymous11:28 AM

    I seem to remember a box on a moped though! Probably best not to go down that road again...

  4. An occasional reader8:41 AM

    That's gotta be Griffin's alter ego...

    Definitely best not to go down that road again!

    But I may one day do a post "Accidents I have had..."

  5. Griffin12:47 PM

    Someone has just been paid the ultimate of ultimate compliments!