Poor old Jesamine’s lost her spark. You’d think it would gradually fade away, perhaps with a gentle putter, like a candle’s wick burning to the end. Or she’d be slow to start, as if she needed to warm up her aching bones. It all sounds quite romantic. With just a little rest and the right tweaking she might find it again.
Ha! When it comes to Jesamine you can forget romantic notions. What actually happened is that after I spent nearly £60 to quench her thirst, twenty miles later she decided to judder and jerk. She switched off and struggled to start (thankfully this was at 7.30am this morning and the roads were quiet). I kept talking nicely to her, cajoling her on. But just as were almost home she let out a humongous BANG! which must’ve woken up the whole village. Thankfully I managed to coast into a layby.
Lovely AA man arrived just 45 minutes later and explained to me that yes, Jesamine had lost her spark. He taught me about coils and spark plugs, the distributor and its cap. It was all very educational. But the end result was he couldn’t fix it. But he could tow me to the next village where there’s a car mechanic.
‘There are a couple of problems,’ he said.
I smiled and nodded my head. I was feeling chilled. I had the campervan vibe.
‘We’re facing in the wrong direction and can’t turn around here as the road’s too narrow. We’ll have to go on to the next village where there’s a roundabout.’
I smiled and nodded. No problem.
‘Have you been attached to a pole before?’ he asked.
Well! I wasn’t sure how to take that. My smile a dropped a bit. He beckoned me over and whipped his pole out from the van (and if any of you are smirking at this point then I am lost for words!).
‘You’ll have no power steering,’ he said.
No problem. Jesamine hasn’t got it anyway (yes, I have fabulously toned upper arms!).
‘Handbrake off. Only look at my van. Follow my steer. Indicate when I do and break gently when I do. Just so the people behind can see what we’re doing.’
I gulped. His van looked awfully close.
‘Will it be scary?’ I asked.
He pursed his lips. ‘Well you look quite brave. Just follow the van and don’t try to look around it.’
I gulped again.
As kind as the lovely AA man was, I can honestly say that this was one of the scariest driving experiences of my life. I had no control and we were driving along country lanes – passing cyclists and parked cars. He was only a couple of feet in front of me and there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t see anything, or know why he was indicating and driving on the wrong side of the road has he overtook. I know these roads, I know the bends and the potholes. I drive in my own way, brake in my own way but now I had to put all my trust in the van in front. Logically I knew that I wouldn’t crash into him, but instinct is a powerful thing to overcome.
Well, that’s all there is to it really. We arrived at the garage. I’ll go back tomorrow to explain and hope they fix her soon.
‘Because of Covid,’ I’m really sorry but I can’t give you a lift home,’ lovely AA man said.
I didn’t mind. It’s only a couple of miles and I really needed to try and stop my heart thumping and get some feeling back in my legs (they were doing a great impersonation of Elvis). The walk home through the Common was lovely. I stopped and watched some mountain bikers doing very scary stuff and I realised what I’d just done wasn’t very scary at all. A couple of them stopped to chat, which was lovely. I got lost on the Common, which is a usual problem for me as I have no sense of direction. I ended up walking through a farm and having a chat with a lady there.
Finally I arrived home. I’d left at 5.30am to take Molly for a walk and to fill Jesamine with petrol. Just a quick jaunt. Five hours later I walked back through my front door. But you know what? I’ve had the best time. I’ve met some truly lovely people. My heart rate’s returned to normal, I’ve got feeling back in my legs.
Jesamine may have lost her spark, but I’ve got my campervan vibe back.