The weekend before last, I drove to Cork with the boys. On the motorway outside Cashel (2 hours from Dublin, an hour from Cork, not handy for either), the car died. We pulled over to the hard shoulder and contemplated our options. The AA will let you join from the side of the road (important information) and they were very helpful but the woman said I was probably better off getting a tow truck and she gave me the number of a local. I called him and he came promptly enough. The boys and I were delighted to get off the hard shoulder.
The tow truck man suggested we go to a local motorway service station but I thought we might be better off going into Cashel and getting dinner while we waited for my saintly sister to drive up from Cork to collect us. It was a bit out of the way for the tow truck man but he was very obliging and we had a grand old chat on the way. He knew the (deceased) father of a former colleague of mine and it’s always nice to have an acquaintance in common so we discussed the extended family at length.
We got to Cashel and took out our bags. I also had four litres of milk as the boys get through a lot of milk and the shopping (14 litres) had just arrived the previous day and I thought it would be as handy to take some of the milk to Cork. This was a decision I regretted as we wandered around the town with our luggage and four litres of milk. We went to a restaurant where we have often been before (home of the bacon salad) and settled down to dinner in front of the fire while my poor sister drove up from Cork to collect us.
The problem with the car was failure of the fuel injectors and, on Monday, the tow truck man took it to the Peugeot dealer in Clonmel (still very far from Dublin) who gave us new fuel injectors, probably for less than we would have paid in Dublin but, you know, €1,600 is still €1,600. It took a while. We were carless for ten days which I thought would be fine as I maintain we never use the car during the week. It turns out we do use the car during the week. One morning it was lashing rain. Could we drive the children in? We could not, they got sodden on their bikes. I was on the baptism roster on Wednesday night but I forgot as did my partner. Could I get a lift to the church? I could not. Were 10 people including a week old baby and the parish priest (who was filling in on an emergency basis) waiting anxiously for my arrival? They were, but they were very kind about having to hang around for my arrival (except for the baby who slept throughout which I suppose was her own way of being kind). I really miss the days when there were armies of knowledgeable people with no day jobs to do this kind of thing and they didn’t have to rely on the likes of me.
Mr. Waffle signed us up to the Dublin car sharing scheme (no joining fee!) and it is quite handy but it’s €11 an hour which means that it probably would have been cheaper to have got a taxi to take Daniel to training but we felt it was a bit ludicrous. We also had a family weekend away (more of which anon) and we had to hire a car for that so all in all it ended up being a pricy adventure.
Mr. Waffle being noble said he would collect the car. He had to get the bus to Clonmel (a good two hours) and then walk a mile and a half to the Peugeot dealership. But he got it and he’s still alive.
My bike meanwhile had two punctures in rapid succession. The first, I got near home and Mr. Waffle fixed (what a man, I hear you say), the second was right beside the office. It was flat as a pancake and there was no way I was going to wheel it to the distant bike shop so I left it in the office all week until the car returned to us and I could shove it in the boot and take it to the bike shop.
I think I will be less smug about my urban car free life in future.