Our car, Frank, has been making a lot of noise recently. Sometimes, when we get to the top of the hill the noise is so loud, it feels like we might take off. I was under the impression that this was a problem with a bearing on the propshaft, but thought it wouldn’t cause us to break down, but would need replacing at some point. How wrong I was! 18 days ago, on the way home from Zumba on a Tuesday night, just as we were approaching the turn off on the motorway there was a clang, a scraping noise and then quiet. The engine stayed running, but we had lost drive, and we drifted slowly to halt.
Now, we didn’t panic, we have breakdown cover on our insurance policy, so we phoned the company and asked for a pickup truck to come, and take us home, and we would sort out the car in the morning. Ken, our good samaritan would come and have a look in the morning.
The man on the phone was very nice, and he arranged for a local ‘grua’ to come and collect us. After half an hour, our telephone rang and it was a Spanish man asking for directions. I really struggle with my Spanish on the phone, but I managed to explain where we were, and after another 15 minutes waiting, we saw the orange lights on the tow truck casually meandering towards us. The man got out of the truck and grunted towards us, I think maybe we disturbed him in the middle of a football match, he didn’t look happy to be there. He looked under the car to see the problem, and made me sit in the car while he winched it onto his truck.
After a few more minutes, tying the car down, he ushered us in to the cab, and he said he would take us into town, to a garage. It was by now, 10pm and if he took us in to town we had no way of getting back home, so I said to him we wanted to go home, to the campo. He was not very happy with this, and phoned his head office, to confirm with me, that we wanted to be brought home and he wasn’t going to have to come out the day after and collect us. In actual fact, the man on the phone said they would be able to organise the car to be collected and taken to town if necessary.
So, we set off, in silence, but with Lorna and I sniggering to each other over this grumpy mans demeanour. As we reached our track, he huffed, sighed and pulled the truck over to the side. He took out his mobile phone, and phoned somebody, from what I could understand, it was his boss. After a few minutes, another huff and sigh, and we set off again, it looked like we would get home. We crawled along the track (which is very good this year, and half concreted), as the man didn’t seem to want to dirty his nice truck. Another 30 minutes later, the car was lowered, outside our fence, and he grunted at his paperwork to be signed, and off he went. At least we were home…
The following morning, Ken came to look at the car to confirm the diagnosis. Yep, definitely the propshaft. Cheaper to get one from the UK and get it sent out, but we would be stuck at home for a few days. So I set to work on ebay, hunting out the correct part, and emailing the sellers to confirm it would fit. Would you believe I found one in Eastbourne, and managed to arrange courier collection and delivery to our PO Box. It meant having to cancel a couple of zumba classes, but we hoped to back on the road within a week.
The following Thursday the part had arrived, but not a seal we needed to complete the job. We had already cancelled two zumba classes, and we did not want to lose the momentum we had built up, so we called Ken, asked very nicely if he could give us a lift in to town, and we asked some other friends if they could bring us home. Ken agreed to come and meet us, so he brought the part with him, slid under the car, and guess what, it didn’t fit. Panic stations now, as it would take another week to get the part resent, not to mention the money we lost. We went into town for the Thursday zumba classes, and took the little laptop, so I could use the hotel wifi to try and find the correct part. I sent out about 8 emails, but only two people got back to me, one of whom had a part that was from the same model car, so should of course fit. I emailed to confirm on the Friday morning, asking when he could send it out, and he said if I got back to him before 12 he would send out that day, so I got immediately back, but to no avail, he never answered until Monday, when it eventually got sent. I paid for 24hour UPS delivery, but after looking on the UPS website the international delivery takes 1-5 days!
As we were still stranded we have been calling on our good friends Kev and Sue, who have been amazing, coming and collecting us, taking us to zumba, and bringing us home with some shopping. On Friday, when we were finally expecting delivery, I received an email from the tracking service to say there was problem with the address, so it had to be changed and will not be delivered until Monday now. We are so keeping our fingers and toes crossed that the part fits this time, as we cannot be stranded any longer, we need to buy food for the animals, and ourselves, and get organised as we have guests arriving next weekend for two days.
Please, everyone keep your fingers crossed for us, we will be back on the road by Tuesday 🙂
And… by the way, this weekend only, my book Seriously Mum, What’s an Alpaca? is available to download on kindle for only 77p in the UK and 99cents in the US. This offer finishes on Sunday, so get it now, it will never be cheaper.