Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Last Weekend

Just wanted to share with you all my most recent adventure, but first I think I should tell you about Brianna's first. Some of you know the story a bit already, but two weekends ago Bri decided to go up north, near Newcastle, to visit a host family she knows well from when she studied up there a few years ago. Her little Rover that she paid a whole 450GBP for had a tendency to overheat unless she put water in it now and then and her heater was not working. On her way back that Sunday, she forgot to put water in before taking off and somewhere around Carlisle (about 190 miles from here) she overheated and broke down. She waited a bit for it to cool off but the car would not start. Eventually she called breakdown coverage and it took them forever to find her as she stood on the side of the motorway, watching the sun go down. They eventually got to her and told her she had blown her head gasket and was told it would be around 500 GBP to fix. I was going to drive up and get her but once we realized how far away she really was and that it would take about three hours for me to get there, only to have to turn round and drive back another three, she decided to get a room for the night. The room she ended up in had no heat and she had to get up around 4:30 the next morning to walk to the train station and catch the earliest train back. Her car was proclaimed dead and left in Carlisle. Who knows what would have happened to us if I would have driven up there in 16 year old Rusty!

So, being without a car, I have been driving her partially to work, which has been no trouble at all since it is on my usual route. She was not happy about the fact that she is now carless, though and her friend Maggie was coming into town Saturday. I had planned to go to Wessex but decided not to after her experience and said I could drive to pick Maggie up at the airport in Birmingham. That Friday afternoon, my car started making some funny grumbling noises. Unfortunately, I had just cancelled my phone contract and had to buy a new phone to have pay-as-you-go with a different company. Those money issues like to crop up on me all at once, don't they! Since the noise had just started I wasn't too worried. I looked at it in the daylight Saturday and thought it looked okay to drive to the airport and back, and then I would take it in somewhere Monday. Well, on our drive to the airport, it seemed to get louder and louder. We got Maggie safe and sound, but on the way back, I went the wrong way on the motorway and headed toward Manchester on the M6 Toll instead of going through Birmingham. As we were discussing the best way to get in the right direction, the exhaust hit the ground! I pulled over and made a call to Stacy, who gave me a few numbers. I called the breakdown coverage but they said they could help me until I had the exact junctions I was between. "I don't know! We were lost when this happened." Meanwhile Maggie was enjoying the sights of the English countryside for the first time from the side of the M6 Motorway with cars whizzing by. I walked down to the closest SOS (emergency telephone box) and picked up the receiver to find out my location. The gentleman on the line told me to "stay on the opposite side of my car from the lanes- it's dangerous out there" and to make sure I "bundle up because it's getting cold." I phoned my breakdown cover back and we waited for an hour or so for the tow truck. We got lucky and got a very nice guy who took my muffler fully off and offered to tow us to a locale that we could get home from. He towed us to about twenty minutes from Dudley and we were on our way, car growling at the top of it's lungs. Sounded a bit like a loud prop plane struggling to come in for a landing.

We made it out Saturday night- the usual Wolverhampton crap that I am starting to get very tired of, but managed to have a fun time, regardless of the scary 20-21 year old males there. Sunday was a day of rest and back to work this week for the chaos! Fortunately, the only visit I had Monday was with the police and they usually drive so I was able to get my car in and fixed that day for a mere 75GBP! It's sounding much better now!


Emily said...

Ahh, Keep the "bad car vibes" in the UK! Glad Rusty is healthy again. We had tornadoes and 70-degree weather in Indy on Tuesday. 30-degrees and snowing yesterday and today. Miss you!

Julia said...

Oh god. I love the name "Rusty" for a car.

I always thought that if we moved to the "YUK" (that's what I call the U.K.) that it would be SO MUCH easier to find a good car because they don't put salt on the roads and therefore the cars don't rust out. I think you are from a snowy part of the U.S.A.? We have snow where I am and my car is truly RUSTY.

Maybe you can lease a little car while you are there, give you more peace of mind.

Sorry for lurking on your blog again -- I am the social work student thinking of working in the YUK when I am done -- the one with the Brit husband. Anyway -- sorry for long comments but I find your blog so interesting. For instance...

Those emergency phoneboxes on the sides of the highways -- I always thought they were such a good idea. Why can't they do that in North America? Turns out you use them, too.

The description of Briana's day sounds horrible. I would throw a complete hissy fit if I was faced with that much bad luck. I have low patience. You guys seem to be doing really well with all that bad car karma.

Better luck next car (get a VW).

Julia (bsw student)

Lisa said...

Hi Julia! I am from Indiana, so yeah we can get some big snows, when Indy decides it wants to have that kind of weather- it's very unpredictable there.

Brianna has a "new" car and mine is still hanging in there. . .so we'll see how long it lasts this time! :-)