Sunday Musings In The First Week In April

Hard to believe it is Spring. Despite the evenings staying lighter for longer, the weather has been dismal. We have had three times more rain than is normal for March in Norfolk, and everything feels damp and cold. The mud is back with a vengeance too, and making it very slippery on my walks with Ollie. At least we have not had the lethal tornadoes reported from America. They must be terrifying to encounter.

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Ollie has stayed perky, and been very active on his walks. He has paid for that later though, often sleeping 12-14 hours a night. He has to go to the Vet for his booster injection soon, so we will get to try out the new folding ‘Dog Stairs’ we bought. The new car is so much higher off the ground than the one that ‘died’, he would never be able to jump into the back like he used to.

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(This is why there was no serial episode on Friday)

On Friday, I experienced some very frustrating DΓ©jΓ  vu. Julie uses the newer car for her trips to work, and I use her old one to run around to the shops, or anything else that doesn’t involve Ollie. So on Friday afternoon, I drove to the supermarket to buy fresh bread, a chocolate Easter Egg for Julie, and some cakes. It’s a journey of only four miles each way, and I am usually home with my shopping within thirty minutes, including time spent at the checkout.

As it was raining incredibly hard, I ran back to the car with my one bag of shopping, and prepared to start it up ready to go home. Except it didn’t start. There was no electrical power at all. There had been no indication of any potential problems. It is a 2015 car, with below-average mileage, and had been fine on the way to the shop. But after a dozen tries, I knew I was stuck. The irony was enhanced by the fact that I was in the same supermarket car park where I broke down in my old car in February. Then doubly-enhanced when I realised I was actually in the very same parking spot.

Luckily, I had remembered to take my mobile phone, but was alarmed to discover that the battery on that was below 20%. I telephoned the breakdown service provided by our bank account, and went through the numerous repetitive questions required before they transferred me to the AA. (Not Alcoholcs Anonymous, the Automobile Association.) Then I had to turn the Internet on my phone to ‘On’, to receive updates. The update told me that a mechanic would be with me by 16:45. As it wasn’t even 15:00 yet, I knew I had a long wait. Unwilling to stand outside in torrential rain, I was stuck in the small car until I received a phone call 75 minutes later from the mechanic, who was just around the corner.

As he arrived in his yellow van, the rain stopped. He did his diagnostic tests, and we chatted. It turned out he was also a Londoner, and had moved up to Norfolk three years ago. Then another coincidence was that he had also worked for the Metropolitan Police, but in his case as a car mechanic. The battery was dead. No output, and not taking on any charge once he connected the booster battery. He said it was probably because we don’t drive very far, and not very often.

The only solution was a new battery. He said he could fit one, but it would be expensive. So he gave me the option of taking my battery to a trade dealer, and buying one slightly cheaper there. Of course, I wasn’t about to lug a heavy battery almost two miles, then return with a new one after having had to buy the tools to fit it. (Mine were in my large toolbox at home.)

So I told him to go ahead. Now we have a very nice top-quality Bosch (read very expensive) battery in Julie’s old car. A heavy-duty model, guaranteed for five years. And hopefully no more car problems in the near future.

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I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, free from any car breakdowns.

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64 thoughts on “Sunday Musings In The First Week In April

  1. Thank goodness it was only a battery. Good news on the Ollie front. Yes, the tornadoes here are devastating and terrifying. Worse, they often happen in the middle of the night. Places at risk have a blaring siren that goes off to alert people. The siren alone must be horrible. I think of WWII and the similar air raid sirens. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am pleased that we don’t live in a country that has tornadoes and volcanoes, Jennie. I shouldn’t really complain about our weather, but of course I still do! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) It’s warming up here in Southern Nevada. It was bright and sunny today as I was out driving around town.
    (2) If Ollie is so ramp-unctious, whey not try something other than dogs stairs?
    (3a) Stuck in the same car park, same parking spot. Reminds me of: “Tune in tomorrowβ€”same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!”
    (3b) Car batteries never die in the driveway.
    (4) On this Sunday, I bought myself a pair of Crocs at the Fashion Show Mall’s Crocs store, and ordered an Arena bathing suit from Simply Swim UK. Summer is just around the corner!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 3b) I was actually glad it didn’t happen in the driveway, as the breakdown service doesn’t attend at home. I would have had to push the car out onto the street so it wasn’t ‘technically’ at my home address. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had an older Renault at one time and it was nothing but expense. Older cars tend to be somewhat expensive to own. I was told once that when you buy an older car you are just buying someone else’s troubles. I am glad you got the battery replaced. Be careful to change oil inyour engine often. That is how we burned our Renault out.. my wife never ever had the oil changed and I had a Volkswagon at the time so I never paid much attention to her car. I am so glad that Ollie is still able to enjoy his walks. I have to admit that these days I, myself, manage to get as much sleep as Ollie is getting because I take naps throughout the day. Have yourself a wonderful weekend as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife bought that car brand new, John, and it has always been regularly serviced. Hyundai cars are generally reliable, but it had never had a new battery, and is 8 years old this summer. I suppose it was about time it finally broke down. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  4. What an odd coincidence to be in the exact spot twice when you broke down. Though I don’t believe that had anything to do with your bad timing, that would probably be enough to get me to park in a different spot in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How very strange. Maybe you should make a point of not parking in that spot ever again! Interesting that the mechanic had so much in common with you. When these things happen I feel the Universe at work in its mysterious ways. I hope Ollie likes his steps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ollie hasn’t seen the steps yet. I sense a ‘training period’ might be necessary. πŸ™‚
      I will never park in that same spot again, that’s for sure.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. Oh dear Pete that sounds really eerie, the same thing happened to us recently though at least it happened on our drive. We too now have a spanking new battery though the car is going in a few months time and we are getting a Peugeot xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had just got a newer car after my old one died, and my wife used that newer one for work. So I broke down in her older car. Typical. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  7. I can sympathize my friend we had to buy a new car last week…hope all is better with the car….Ollie is like all us old farts….good to hear he is usual self….have a good day chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  8. oh, what a flashback that must have been, and not a good one. at least you now will feel secure in that car once again and good you weren’t somewhere far away when it happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We were also told on TV that March this year was much wetter than usual. However, since the last few summers have been very dry, it is probably good that the soil is able to store a lot of moisture again.

    What a strange coincidence with the parking lot. Very annoying that the battery stopped working. But it’s good that everything is fine again.

    We have beautiful blue skies and sunshine today, but only 7 degrees – felt like 3 degrees. There may be frost again at night. That means I still have to cover my car.

    I wish you a nice Sunday too.
    Best wishes, Irene

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah, yes, those batteries don’t give you any warning – they just die at the most inopportune times!!
    Good to hear Ollie is still active. Like all of us old folks, he of course sleeps longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What serendipity!! The same parking lot and same parking space. There is a story there I think. I’ve had my share of battery problems over the years. They always die at the most inconvenient places for me. On the ferry, in the middle of a busy intersection or in a remote spot! I now have a 23-year-old SMART car that I just use for short runs to the grocery store etc. It’s very hard on batteries.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We got this one for a very good price 8 years ago. So it doesn’t owe us anything. It is just for me to do small errands and I don’t take anyone with me. We have a “proper” car for everything else. I especially like that I can park in spaces no one else can. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  12. What a nuisance, compounded [or leavened?] by that parking space coincidence. I think there’s a good chance that the new battery I had bought for my Fiat a couple of months before I sold it had a positive influence on the potential buyer’s impression of the car [especially with it being somewhat venerable]. Like all technology, when it works, it’s great, but it can & does go wrong, and makes life harder because we depend on it. Fingers crossed for plenty of trouble-free motoring to come, Pete πŸ˜‰ Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Glad you got your battery problem sorted. We had a similar experience after packing our stuff back into the car after a boot fair. All the cars left the field except ours, and we had to wait in the rain for the AA.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. 8 years is a very long time for a car battery! A decade ago you would get 2 years but new ones can be 4. As i explained earlier, frequently starting a car will shorten its life – rather than people describing that as short trips.
          Using heaters & lights should not affect a battery – as when your car runs the alternator takes over – unless as i said earlier, you are one of these drivers that switches car off with your lights wipers & heaters still going. That puts the battery into a boxing ring.
          Your alternator is not a battery charger so the old driving around to charge a battery is a handed down myth even believed by mechanics. It would take one very long drive to help a battery.
          And generally batteries do give a warning, noticed when your car is harder to start.
          Remember a battery has to be over half full to do its job = start your car. So if its dying, a jump start won’t keep you going a few more months.
          There is much info on the internet about the myths of car batteries.

          Liked by 2 people

  14. Is this a car that been in the workshop recently??
    Something to watch out folks is mechanics are brilliant at leaving all doors open, key left on & leave you a few days later with a flat battery.
    Another thing many don’t know is your battery is only for starting, so always turn lights off before your ignition otherwise your battery will take a hammering.
    The not using your car much is a bit a of a mechanics cop out as also the take it for a run & charge your battery up. Any battery needs to be half “full” to work. So when you get to that low level, you are risking its ability to function & a new battery the only answer. A battery gives of a jolt – it can’t do that half empty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It hasn’t been in a workshop recently, Gavin. I suspect some electrical issue was perhaps causing it to discharge, but that didn’t show up on the diagnostic computer. I will find out the hard way, if the new one fails soon. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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