Life has indeed stood up, nodded sagely at the catcher and tossed me a wicked curve ball.
Imagine the scene… I am childless (a blessing indeed so it turned out) as a dear friend was minding them whilst I popped into Kyneton to do a little shopping. The trailer too is left behind, ready to be reattached and loaded full of produce to bring home but for now it’s just me. There’s some Smashing Pumpkins on the radio and the volume is
cranking at mummy-level (as opposed to kid friendly level) and I’m lost back in the years of my late teens and early adulthood. It’s a magical moment. 😀
Yes, pwohp! That’s my best description of the sound I felt (kinda hard to hear over Smashing Pumpkins). Then as I’m cruising along doing 100km/h I realise I can no longer accelerate and I’m about to head into an area with questionable phone coverage and lots of double lines on the road. My brain registers that it’s illegal and dangerous to park opposite them so I find the first available spot and pull over in a hurry. Safety… And a dead car. 6.6kms out of Kyneton. 15kms away from my friend’s place and my kids. Just under 50kms from hour house. 😦
Calling RACV (Royal Automobile Club Victoria) was amusing too.
RACV representative: “What’s the street name”
Me: “I’m in the country on a country road. I wouldn’t have a clue. Can you help me out with a map?”
RACV representative: “Well they can’t come out to you without an address. What was the last cross street?”
Me: *laugh* “There are none! I’m on a country road between towns. I’m about 5 minutes out of Kyneton towards Trentham.”
I’m not sure country road computed too well with her, although she was helpful in looking up a map and helping me out finding the road name. Fortunately the depot was only in Kyneton and as such the service man I’m sure understood country road. Once we had the actual road name a landmark was largely unnecessary. “Just tell him to keep driving after the 2nd bend and I’m the only car pulled over on the side of the road with hazard lights on”. I did kind of stand out. 😦
To cut a long story short the timing belt has gone and when they ‘go’ they usually destroy the engine in the process. I know almost nothing about cars but I do understand words like ‘bent’ in conjunction with ‘engine’ is not a good thing. The engine is dead and will cost more to fix or replace than the car is worth. 😦
So, we are back on the hunt for a car. We are shopping second-hand (of course) but even so I am still not loving shopping like once I did. And of course car shopping whilst car-less is an episode in lots of public transport and shanks pony if indeed the car yards are in the vicinity of either a train or a bus. Add 3 young children into the mix and you can read car shopping as torture! 😦
Fortunately, the discussion over larger cars (3 car-seats crammed in the back is a nightmare and so upsizing is really the only option sadly) has already been had recently so we have a fair idea of what we plan to get and it’s a common enough car too so we’ve been hitting the online shopping already and things are moving quickly. Being without transport with 3 young children is no joke I can tell you. I did briefly entertain the idea of being without a car but the reality is, if we want to have animals and live in the country and harvest our own wood, we require some form of transport and horse-drawn isn’t at this stage in the peak oil game a practical idea for us. Maybe we might upgrade to a 1-2 horsepower unit next time. 😉
I think what has most astounded me about the whole experience has been the response of both strangers and friends. Where I had broken down was next to where a man was splitting wood. He packed up his tractor, drove his use down and towed my car into his driveway where it will stay until we empty it and have it towed to its final resting place. A complete stranger! And of course my wonderful friend and her family. They are busy working hard to build their house and could ill afford the time to drive 10 minutes to pick me up, help me load our stuff into hers and then back to her place (at least 30 minutes there) where we were given dinner before she drove us the 30 minute trip home and then 30 minutes back to her place again afterwards on dark and windy roads with many kangaroos. Not to mention offering to mind my kids in the first place for the duration of the 60 minute round trip then it blowing out to include the whole afternoon. All unaffordable time! And other friends have offered us the loan of on of their cars too! That is HUGE! We can now contemplate emptying the remainder of our possessions out of the Renault. We are blessed to know some incredibly generous people and to have met these wonderful strangers A and R. How does one say thank you for that? Well, we will find a way. And my dear friend, if you are reading this as I know you most likely will be, I thank you once again from the bottom of my heart. You really are all life savers for my family.