Today, I had to go out to Hockley in Essex to the printers that I use for conference stands, as I have to go up to a conference in Manchester this week (boo!).
I have to go out to the printers to do this a couple of times a year, and it’s usually a fiddly but quite enjoyable day. I take the stands, drop them off at the printers, and then (to give them time to take out and replace the graphics), I go back to Battlesbridge and meet my parents for lunch (or ‘breakfast in the sky’ as we call it). I then go back to the printers, drive into the office in Camden, drop the stands off and come home and catch up with my day’s work emails.
However, today didn’t quite go as smoothly as usual. Firstly, my laptop blew up (it has been dodgy for a while, but this morning REALLY gave up the ghost). Then I got held up in traffic and it took me FOREVER to get to Hockley. I had a nice lunch with my parents, but when I went to pick up the banners, there was a problem with the tension on one of them and we had all sorts of issues trying to get it to roll back into the unit. As the conference is this week, I couldn’t take the risk of the graphic getting damaged or it not working at all if they took it apart to fix properly. So I felt a bit stressed about that – finally loaded them back into the car, left and it was CHUCKING it down – I mean really REALLY heavy.
So, I was heading back to the A127, behind a lorry and suddenly my driver’s side windscreen wiper stopped working. Just like that. There was heavy rain, and heavy surface-spray splashing up from the dual carriageway. And there was no hard shoulder. I was going 40 mph along with loads of other traffic and I COULD NOT SEE A THING. There was no way that I could pull over, but I couldn’t see the road. I was petrified!
I had to lean across to the passenger side to try to see out of that half of the windscreen (not VERY successfully).
I managed to come off at the next roundabout (probably only about 1mile away) and get into a petrol station, where I stopped and let my heart calm down a little. I wasn’t really sure what to do. I got out and waggled the wiper, and every time I did, it worked once and then stopped again. I don’t belong to the AA/RAC, I only drive about 4 times a year, and I know bollock-all about cars. I was stuck at the garage while it was pouring with rain and couldn’t work out what the bloody hell to do!
Then I spotted that across the road was an MOT and servicing garage called Jemsco. I almost cried with relief – thank God there would be someone I could pay to sort it out for me.
I walked across (getting absolutely soaked – no coat, no brolly…) and walked into their reception. There were two guys behind the counter who asked me how they could help. I explained my predicament. “We can’t fit you in for a week – we’re totally booked!”. I thought “Erm, that’s not very useful” and reiterated that my car was parked in the garage across the road, that I needed to use it to get home and whether someone could just take a quick look. “We haven’t got anyone spare for a week”. Yeah, apart from the two guys talking to me of course, who could’ve popped over and looked in the time it took me to just tell them the issue. “We don’t even know what the problem is, it could be anything – it could be your motor. or it could be your nut needs tightening”. “Erm, OK…well that doesn’t really help me very much”, I said. “Sorry love.” And that was it. I was dismissed, and I think I might’ve cried a little crossing back over, not that anyone would’ve been able to tell with the rain!
I had a look at the nut, and it did seem a little loose, but I couldn’t really tighten it much with my fingers. I searched the whole car and there was nothing at all to tighten it with.
My dad then happened to text me as they had got back and I sent a text saying I was currently waiting for the rain to stop, so he rang me up. I told him what I thought the problem was and I think he was on the verge of coming back out to me (hour and a half drive) and I was telling him not to bother when a guy pulled up for petrol with a big 4×4 and I thought he might have a spanner. He didn’t, but he said “If I’d been in my van, I’d have been able to help you love…” just as I spotted a white van filling up. Even better, the writing on the side said ‘maintenance’. TOOL KIT!!!
I knocked on the window, and frightened the life out of the driver (who was looking at a map). Yes, he had a spanner, and yes he was very happy to help me, he even tightened the nut up for me and got me on my way.
So, if you were the (rather cute) guy in the Cygnia Maintance van at the Harvest Energy petrol station on the London Road in Rayleigh at 2.30 today – I know that I said it at the time, but I do love you for helping me – you were my knight in shining white steel!!
Oh yes, and I called my dad back to tell him I was sorted “…and you lied to me dad”, I said. “About what?” “That I shouldn’t speak to strange men. I did – and it was good!”