A stream about 5 miles from our little bungalow. Near the boundary of my current world.
It’s funny as a kid I always thought that my world was a small place. We didn’t have much money so holidays would tend to be just day trips on the train to places like Whitby and Scarborough. If we we’re lucky a school trip would take us maybe 50 miles in land. Dad had a car but it was only used sparingly – just for getting him to work. I remember watching exotic places on the TV and thinking one day I want to see them. I looked at books about mountains and so wanted to see The Eiger, The Matterhorn, K2 and Everest. I always thought that as I got older I would travel more. My world would grow and the world would shrink.
For a time it did workout that way and yes I did get to see The Eiger and The Matterhorn. I visited parts of Europe. I even got to see South Africa.
Then the world shifted again. Autism. Bereavement. Money concerns.
Now I find my world rapidly shrinking again and the world growing ever larger. Increasingly son sees comfort in his own little world. Our house, garden and the landscapes that immediately surround him. Longer travel is so difficult for him. It has to be mapped out and carefully controlled. That’s before we factor in the limiting factors of travel as a single parent and money constraints. My world is shrinking again. Even work has to operate within these constraints. My world has shrunk. One of the few bridges into the wider world is the occasional concert. These still work for our son.
We are due to travel to see The Who play in a couple of weeks. We will have to travel by car as public transport here is minimal and stops by evening. Regardless of its availability son struggles with buses, trains and planes. These are likely to induce panic attacks. So we travel everywhere on foot or by car.
Two weeks ago the car was in for a service. They found problems with the brakes which needed some parts to be replaced. The garage said I was ok to drive it for a couple of weeks until the garage could fix it. So this Monday was supposed to be the repair day. The garage phoned today to apologise. They we’re going to have to cancel the repair for a few weeks. They just can’t get the parts. The Parts Suppliers are out of stock and are waiting for new items to arrive from China. The garage is a national chain and all the branches are out of these parts. Apparently all the other rival garages in the area are in the same boat. So the repair is on hold. The suppliers are hoping to have new stock arrive soon but that may not be until April. So I’ve been told to try and really limit the car use until the parts turn up. My world shrinks further.
So in a mirror image of my childhood – the car will only be used sparingly. Just for the occasional short distance work trip and the school runs. A long distance concert trip is probably not a practical option.
My world has shrunk again but as ever we will make the best of it. Think our carbon footprint. Think more fun at home. Enjoy what we have on our doorstep.
There is a run I do all too frequently. It’s a lovely run. It’s particularly lovely as it’s flat. But it’s a few miles away from my usual haunts. The run starts and ends at the garage. You see it’s a run which happens when my car is poorly. Today it was the tyres. So off the car went to the garage. So off I went on my Poorly Car Run. Nothing was than sitting in a garage waiting area reading about cars I can’t afford.
The run closely follows one of our larger and most beautiful rivers. The Ouse. As it’s a river that regularly floods you can see the river depth marker. Today it is quite high but thankfully below flooding levels. It did flood a few weeks ago and in the woods you can see the remnants of those high waters.
If I wasn’t about to be hammered financially by the Garage this run would be a truly stunning experience.
The run crosses the flood plains. Today it’s dry but when it floods here can be under 3ft of water. Cold Dark Yorkshire water.
It’s sad that it takes a Poorly Car to bring me here.
So the car has been returned. Monopoly money has been handed over to the Garage. It was a shorts run so my legs got well and truly muddy. Can’t imagine what a dry run feels like. So it was back to work but this muppet had forgotten a change of clothing. Work, autumn, shorts and dirty legs is not a great combo. Luckily it was a solo office stint today.
Few hours later it’s back to the latest school soap story. Another subject test sat without any reading help, no reading pen and no additional time. Even the questions are worded in such a way to make it harder for kids with Aspergers. Set up to fail. Set up to justify the schools assessment of low attainment. I really need another run to release the anger. Anger at the School. Anger at the Council. Anger at me. Anger at the Government. Above all anger at those who will flock in their millions to vote for this Government. A Government for the few.
Maybe tomorrow I will return to the Poorly Car Run. But hopefully it will be the ‘Nothing to do with the car, here out of choice to heal my soul Run’.
Why is it that when you take the car in to a garage the words you never never hear are
Don’t Worry it’s nothing
It’s a cheap fix
It’s sorted and there is no charge
So today the car misbehaved. Took it into the garage and within minutes was told it needs a new ……. and it’s going to cost £XXX
One of the benefits of a spectacularly unreliable and expensive to maintain car is that they seem to have allocated it its own dedicated service team. We can look at it straight away. It will be ready in a couple of hours.
So we had a couple of hours to pass and luckily we were in walking distance of a castle. A fine ruin of a castle.
Pickering Castle was originally built around 1070. It is reasonably well preserved as it missed out on the carnage which was the War of the Roses and the English Civil War. I hoped that this unplanned visit would count against our sons target of 12 new places to visit. Sadly he pointed out the exact date and time of his school visit here 4 years ago.
I always think castles look better in black and white. Brings out their hidden Hammer Horror character.
It was a fun couple of hours as son explained in great detail the history of the castle. It’s linkages to wider English History and the various different structural improvements which have occurred over the years. I added important stuff like cool places for ghosts to hide.
Unfortunately the hours flew by and all too soon it was time to return to the garage. Luckily they still take cheques. That buys a couple of days to keep the bank manager happy. Son helpfully pointed out that a few hundred years ago I could just have raised taxes to pay for it – probably a Poll Tax. That assumes my role would have been Lord and not Peasant. In my all to likely Peasant role I had better start shovelling that muck quicker.
A vintage car rally passed through the village. Neither of us are that bothered with cars but we don’t get many things happening here. So might as well enjoy it. So we sat on the garden wall and watched car after car pass through. Son enjoyed the feel of an event to himself…….
Funnily enough I have owned a couple of these cars (in a lot worse condition often unrecognisable under the rust)
I have also had quite a few of these cars as little corgi toys.
“Dad some of these cars sound very odd, not very healthy.”
Strangely Son those are the British built cars. I suspect some of these cars are eating themselves from the inside.
“Dad these very old cars look better than your last car. I bet they are quicker than that car as well”
Yes son our Ford was a funny car. It did manage to do 250000 miles (that’s a trip to the moon). Yes at the end our hoover had more power. It was that knackered it struggled to overcome the earths gravitational pull so it tended to not move.
Worlds worst telephone answer phone…..
It’s was the dreaded MOT. The annual test of the car to see if it is safe and roadworthy. It should be renamed the ‘your rust bucket is going to cost you big time’ test.
The garage phoned with the results. As our phone is not working properly (I blame the cat) it only works in hands free mode. So our son listened intently to the conversation.
After the call had finished our son shook his head.
“Dad you need to work on what you are saying. It wasn’t appropriate to the situation”
“When the garage told you it had passed first time. You said in a high pitched shocked tone ARE YOU SURE. Clearly if you are wanting the car to pass then why didn’t you just say something like I WAS EXPECTING THAT. Why put doubt in the examiners mind. Then you made things worse.”
This is really funny as I have been sitting down with our son and trying to explain that you sometimes have to think about the situation before saying the honest comment.
“When the garage confirmed that it had passed without any issues you said WOW I can’t believe that it passed, so even the brakes and the emissions were ok. I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had retested the car. You should have just said I WILL PICK IT UP SOON.”
Yes he is right and it’s a perfect case of role reversal. In my defence…. How on earth did my heap of metal money pit pass…. That’s a result. It’s a definite role reversal for the car.