When I was young I could cycle forty miles in three hours (including hills). We once did a hundred mile reliability trial in five and a half hours, we used a tandem. The one we rode on was two bikes welded together. One of the chain wheels was on back to front so a pedal unwound and fell off during the ride.
After I sustained an injury we got a car because my bike was damaged in the accident. It went in to be fixed and the shop lost it! I don’t drive much or very far now. In fact I travel less than I did when we cycled. Most places we go to are only a few miles away unless we go on holiday. I drove less than a thousand miles last year, so I guess my carbon footprint must be low.
No, I don’t use the train. If you go anywhere from Stoke-on-Trent on the train it’s hard to find one that comes back late in the evening so you either can’t spend a long time away or you have to come back the next day. We are also bypassed by the West Coast main line I think…. Bad for a city! Bus? Yes sometimes, but it depends again if there is a bus back and the routes keep getting changed or cancelled. And planes? Are you kidding…. Too scared.
I have got my car back! Finally after a week of waiting for it I can breathe a sigh of relief. But among all of the hassle I realise how anti public transport I am. I think it’s because I’ve used buses and taxis in the past, and I don’t know the routes or timings for the buses, and often when I’ve ordered a taxi it hasn’t turned up. One time I had to walk home from hospital because there were non available. Also since the pandemic I try to avoid groups of people, so buses worry me.
Having a car is a freedom and a curse. I walk less and don’t cycle anymore because I have one. I don’t know what to do if we have to get rid of it. The car is very old and it’s like an old pair of shoes, if it needs repairing I have to pay out because I can’t afford to replace it with another (second hand) one. But at least by keeping it we are not wasting new resources.
Plans, don’t make them! The mechanic was ill yesterday. He’s a lovely chap, and really helpful. But he can’t help being under the weather. So yesterday he said ring today and the car should be done. Unfortunately it isn’t. He fixed the problem with the earthing of the starter motor but today when he tried running it, it was very feeble. It’s worn out basically. So now he’s ordered another one for Friday but he can’t say when it will arrive. I explained ideally I need to go somewhere tomorrow, but as he said he has no control over the deliveries. I have to accept this (the world does not revolve around me). I’m just thankful it’s getting done.
We don’t need a starter motor! Our mechanic found out it was a loose connection and the motor was not earthed to the car body. We still need a gasket (ordered) some oil and a battery but hopefully it won’t be as costly as we thought. Its been a bit of a nightmare, especially since the car is so old, but it has been very reliable so I don’t mind spending a bit more money on it. Goodness knows what I will do if we have to get an electric car. I might have to buy an old, battery driven milk float! I think that’s all I can afford.
The garage we took our car to is closing down! The owner is retiring apparently. We didn’t know when we left our car on the forecourt. I’m trying to find his mobile number so I rang another business that knows him. They might be able to get his mobile number for me but apparently he will be going there later today so all I can hope is that they tell him we have been trying to contact him or that he goes to the garage and sees the car!
We tried other garages, but I would need to take the keys to the one who could help and they are seven or eight miles away, or the local garage but they can’t collect it until the third of February!
All we can do is hope the mechanic gets in touch for now. I would go and bump start the car but I don’t know if we have the strength to push it as its on the flat.
The breakdown man arrived. He asked what had happened and I explained that the battery had been going and in the end the engine would not turn over. I also pointed out there was oil around the engine rocker box gasket. He said he would check a few things.
Knock on the door. Hello, it’s your starter motor. It’s stopped working. It is no more…. I had thoughts of ‘monty pythons’ dead parrot sketch. The battery may still have a bit of life in it, but until the starter motor is replaced its not worth changing. The man had bump started the car, the problem was if he switched it off it would not start again without bump starting it again.
We sat in the car till it warmed up and the snow and ice melted off it. Then I drove it round to the garage we usually go to. Its closed till Monday but I just had to leave the car parked outside. I will ring Monday morning to explain!
The ice and cold have killed my car battery. I tried several times to start it (with gaps in between to let it rest). I turned everything off, had it in neutral, gave it a little gas to try and get the engine to turn over. Just a splutter or two, then nothing.
I left it an hour and tried again. No joy. The battery is probably four years old and has been struggling when I’ve used the car lately. I haven’t been out much and then only short distances so the alternator hasn’t had the opportunity to charge it up. Cold and damp makes electric power seep away somehow and this last few days have definitely drained it.
In hope I rang a local garage, they have the right battery in stocks, but they can’t fit it, you just need some spanners they said. Half an hour on trickle charge from the charger just brightened the lights on the dashboard a bit. No chance of getting it going.
I then remembered I have breakdown cover! We breakdown so infrequently that I don’t remember to use it. They can’t say when they will be here, but they are at least coming out. Hooray.
Hard to see, but the roof opposite has a dusting of snow. It was like that this morning, a thin, crisp crust of powder. Then it melted quickly in the low sun. Now the clouds are back, getting that orange glow off the sodium street lights. Next doors roof has a thin white layer of snowy ice. The gritting lorries are out, and we are waiting for disruptive snow showers coming from the North West through the Cheshire gap. Meanwhile the cats dip in and out of the catflap. Coming in frequently to warm their paws, then out again to do who knows what? When we go to bed they will come in and curl up to sleep. Meanwhile they pad through the thin layer of snow, silent and probably deadly!
Thursdays #bandofsketchers prompt was Car. I had drawn an abstract pattern and could make out the shape of a car in it. Not exactly inspired, but I had fun. A bit like graffiti. I could imagine it spray painted on a concrete road bridge. It does look like it’s been in an accident. Still got to do today’s prompt.. Maybe tomorrow.
I was thinking about when I used to cycle several years ago. I used to be able to ride for miles. Unfortunately I was knocked off my bike and sustained a head injury. When I recovered I carried on cycling, but I did not know the brazing on the front of the bike had been damaged. I was cycling up a hill when the headset and down tube seperated. The front wheel bent forward and the forks collapsed!
I decided to have the bike repaired as I only have short legs, I’d tried getting a new bike, but it wasn’t the right size or shape of frame. Unfortunately the bike shop I took my bike to was a little disorganised. They lost the frame for a year. I didn’t have a bike, so I took driving lessons. By the time I got the bike back I had a job that I had to commute to, so I used the bike less and less. I eventually gave up. I keep thinking I will try and get on my bike again, but my hips and back are too stiff…. Life, sometimes it really gets you down.