27 January 2011

Edinburghs Hogmanay [Part III] The Breakdown

If you have not yet read my previous two posts on Hogmanay - you need to catch up! Check out part one and part two.

So at the end of part two it was about 7am. I indulged in a two hour power nap, while others decided sleep was only for the weak. When I rose at about 9am I was handed a glass of champagne. In true kiwi style, Nick and I decided to have a wee drink to celebrate the first day of the new year. The rest of the day was a bit of a write off, really. We sat around listening to music, drinking the left over cocktails and eating.

That evening we got to bed relatively early - as the following day we would be making the long drive back to London.

We were all up early and on the road by 10:30am. All went smoothly until about 10 miles before the English border. We pulled off the road to fill up at a place called Gretna. Just off the motorway there was a horrendous noise coming from one of the wheels. We quickly pulled over and had a look underneath; nothing obvious. The petrol station gave us the number for a tow truck, which we called and organised to get picked up. Lindy also called a garage in Carlisle (about 10 miles away) who said they were able to take a look.

The tow truck came and took us to the garage. He couldn't take a look right away so we decided to go for a walk and check out the Carlisle Castle. It did look quite impressive, but before we had a chance to fully appreciate it, Lindy got a call from the mechanic. I believe the call went something like this:

Mechanic: I'm calling about the Ford Ka. Yeah, it looks like the head of a bolt has sheared off. Good news though, it is an extremely simple fix, it will only take about 10 minutes.
Lindy: Oh perfect! We will head back now.
Mechanic: One problem. The bolt is a special Ford bolt. And we don't have one.
Lindy: OK, so can you get one?
Mechanic: Only from Ford. And they don't open until Tuesday.
Lindy: WTF dude? Is there nothing else we can do? Is there any way you could put another bolt in there or something?
Mechanic: No, unfortunately not. And it is not safe to drive it as is.
Lindy: OK so where else can we get one of these bolts?
Mechanic: Well the problem is that it is a Sunday. Not only that but it is a public holiday Monday, so everywhere is closed.

So at this stage we were faced with spending two days in Carlisle. Now I'm sure it is a lovely little town, but we were all quite keen to get back to London. The women in the gift shop at the castle were extremely helpful; lending us a copy of the yellow pages. Lindy and Elise rang around every mechanic they could find, as well as tow truck companies to see what it would cost to get the car back to London (£700!!), while Prue and I played with big swords and knights' armour. We also saw a guy wearing toe-shoes. You know, like gloves, but for your feet. Hilarious! Anyway, the girls got no reply from most of the mechanics, but Lindy got through to one who said he didn't think he had the bolt, but would do a bit of a ring around. 10 minutes later he called back and said he thought he had the right bolt. He was in a little town out of Carlisle, but said he would drive it over to us. Northerners eh - friendliest, most helpful people in the country.

So we made our way back to the garage. Within 10 minutes our personal saviour had shown up with the bolt. And it was THE RIGHT BOLT! A further 10 minutes and the car was back on the ground. The mechanic said he couldn't charge us because it took all of five minutes work. Everything was finally working out. So after a three hour delay we were back on the road.

The rest of the trip went by quite smoothly. Well, apart from the fact that about 200 miles out of London one of the wheels started to vibrate. I think we all lost a couple of kilos on that trip (vibration training works!).

All in all; there really is only one word. EPIC.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Thanks for the blog comment. It looks like your travels put mine to shame!

    I'll keep an eye on your blog - I'm interested in your trip home.


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