July 9th, 2008


What a night ...

*yawn* Last night didn't quite go according to plan. The plan involved driving to Edinburgh, fencing at Edinburgh Fencing Club, driving home, then getting to bed in decent time to catch up on sleep (tournament coming up this weekend, should be well-rested).

The plan got derailed on the way home, when the car's engine cut out. Fortunately, it did so just after turning off the M8 and onto the Clydeside Expressway, and I managed to put on the hazard lights and roll over to the left-hand side (no breakdown lane there, unfortunately).
It wouldn't start again, and all sorts of warning lights were coming on, so I figured it was probably going to need towing. (The car was serviced last week, battery level was good, oil was topped up, all the obvious stuff that I could think of was ok, but it just wasn't starting)

The next hitch was that I didn't have a phone with me. Fortunately, a car sitting with hazard lights on and bonnet up gets noticed, and a police car pulled up after 10 minutes or so. They let me use their phone to call Lisa (since I don't know who our breakdown cover is with) - unfortunately, the police got another call and had to take the phone back and drive off before I could finish explaining the situation to Lisa. So, I waited a while, and a while longer.
I didn't want to leave the car there and go searching for a phone, because that would guarantee that someone would come to look at the car while I was gone and/or tow it away or something.

Fortunately, someone who had driven past that intersection a couple of times and noticed my car there both times stopped and let me use his phone, and another 20 or so minutes after that, the tow truck arrived. A bit of fiddling around later, the car and I were on the way to the local garage (same one as last week's service), and after unloading there, I finally got home around 1:30, and to bed by 2. Not quite what I was aiming for, with a 6am start today !

The tow truck driver tried boosting the battery with jumper leads and watching the engine as I attempted to start it - his verdict was that it could be an issue with the timing belt, which is apparently buried deep in the engine somewhere and requires a couple of hours of work to get at.
Well, that's not going to be cheap then ... (and when Lisa dropped off the keys (because I had to run off to work just after 7, before the garage opened), they said that if it was the timing belt, it could be up to £600 ! Ouch.)

Still, it could have been worse - e.g. breaking down somewhere on the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, especially in the areas where the rain was bucketing down ... Or it could have waited until Friday night, when we're driving down to Sheffield for the British Fencing Championships, and really can't afford delays. So, could be worse ... but could be better.

  • Current Mood
    tired tired