I am dead good at fixing cars – and less good at other stuff

I am paddling the choppy waters of existence in my canoe of wonder.

Sometimes I take in a great deal of water. Sometimes I am buoyant. This week, with all its ups and downs, and dearest of readers, there have been many – I have been forced to consider the possibility of an eskimo roll as the only dignified escape route. The only thing stopping me is worrying about my contact lenses being washed away, which would leave me in a worse predicament than ever.

I am still here. Wet, bedraggled and bemused, but paddling on gamely.

Friday was a game of two halves.

Flamenco, for example, did not happen. I did not know it was not happening and moved heaven and earth and called in favours from Uncle Robber so that Tilly and I could arrive on the doorstep ready to flamenk.

Nil by flamenking came the reply.


I consoled myself that we would be home at a reasonable hour.

Then my adopted son Lee called to say that he was supposed to be visiting his sister oop north, only to realise he had left his car lights on all day and did I have some jump leads?

I didn’t, but I had a mum and dad who did. I dropped in, picked up the leads and we hied to the rescue in the dented Granny McGoo mobile.

We got there only to find that battery in a Volvo S60 is not under the bonnet – but in the boot, which only opens with the electrical central locking – which was of course dead due to the battery being flat.

It was like an episode of the Crystal Maze and I cannot praise Google highly enough when you are stuck in a car park off Saffron Lane at half past four on a cold spring afternoon trying to cram a small child through the back arm rest section of a Volvo’s moulded and impenetrable boot space to no avail, only to find that there is a widdly bit under the bonnet you can use instead of the battery.

I now know far more about the inner workings of a Volvo S60 than I will ever need to again. Do not mention the emergency key by the rear bumper to me, oh car buffs, because when you buy your S60 second hand it isn’t always there… OK?

I am going to a pub quiz only to see if there are any questions about the S60. I will kill it.

I left the car park feeling like not only had I been an excellent adopted mother, but also a total car expert and a bit like Ray Mears but wearing very unsuitable shoes unless Ray Mears indulges in a bit of Spanish dancing on weekends.

I got home at about the same time as I get home from Flamenco – which was a bit pants. Fed the children, and then got down to dealing with a couple of deeply unpleasant tasks that cropped up and which on the whole reduced me to tears with one thing and another and meant that the home coming of Jason was not achieved with the usual celebratory fanfare, but more of a snotty weeping despair and a bit of draping over of crumpled wife.

Jason was rather excellent under the circumstances. The only good things I can ascertain about Germany so far is that:

    They do an amazing smushed potato thing in a box.

    He had a terrific hamburger.

    The cutlery is adequate.

    The shirt cleaner has a wonder mannequin that inflates the arms of shirts and presses the entire shirt all at the same time.

Otherwise he is somewhat droopy of feather and prone to spitting out his cuttlefish. He really didn’t need a distraught wife on re-entry, but that is what he got.

He listened to my incoherent ramblings, told me he didn’t know why I was being so rubbish when I was clearly a very brave person indeed, and then gave me some tissues to blow my nose on.

Much better.

And even though there were no fatted calves in the shape of beans on toast, there was tea and cereal, which apparently is almost as good.

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