Just in time too. Yesterday we had an appointment with a family aniversary gathering and only a couple of days earlier I'd have said we couldn't get there.
My sister and her husband set off early just in case of lingering flood damage, we didn't really think of that and gave ourselves the customary couple of hours.
The car has developed a strange accelerator related whining noise, giving me the choice of pushing the pedal down hard to get over it, or throttling back to avoid reaching it. As I'm sure everyone with miniscule bank balances will understand, it is always preferable to simply ignore a potential problem than to get it fixed, so I chose the laid-back approach, stuck on some Beatles, and ambled along at a nice relaxing 55 mph.
We passed an illuminated sign warning of delays caused by a traffic accident ahead, but it must have been cleared by the time we got there. No worries. Onwards, ever onwards.
About 30 miles along the way I suddenly realised that I should have 'gone before I set out'. Not really a problem, but something that, since being declared diabetic, I now notice. I drove on, and after maybe another 10-20 miles I spotted a service area. What they heck, if the facilities are there I'll use 'em. So I pulled in.
To be honest, the facilities were not in the best nick. The first two urinals were wrapped in black plastic, the third was full to the brim, the fourth was in use, and since the sixth was set at children's level, I used the fifth. Some stupid, inconsiderate, brainless toon of a human being had been dropping chewing gum down it. No wonder the others weren't working. I did my thing then went to wash my hands. The tap didn't work. I tried the one next door. That didn't work either. I knew there must be water somewhere, I could hear a hand drier singing to itself, or at least I hoped that was only tapwater that the customer had been drying. I tried the basins on the other side of the corridor and oh yes! There was water. This was quite a relief to me as I was still clutching the liquid soap that I'd squirted on my hands whilst I was over the other side.
Hands all washed I headed for the drier. It didn't work. That's right, I had to walk back over to the other side to use that drier.
Hands dried, hair flicked back, and flies checked I stepped back out into the car park and couldn't find the car. I had made the mistake of coming out of a different door to the one I came in by. I found it fairly quickly by ambling innocently around the park hoping no one would guess what I was really doing. It seemed preferential to shouting "Has anyone seen a white Rover 600 with my mother in it?" over the tannoy.
It wouldn't start. It fired for a second then died. I had forgotten about the heat. It doesn't like heat. It won't start in heat. It sits and sulks until evening when the temperature drops and then it starts up, all innocent, as if there had never been a problem. The AA couldn't diagnose it, neither could the garage they once took it to. The problem is, when it has the problem I can't start it to take it to a diagnostic garage; when it does start the garage can't find out why it wouldn't before. With all the bad weather over the last month I haven't been troubled by this exquisite little inconvenience, and had pretty much forgotten about it, what with the whiney footpedal thing to occupy my mind with. We had to wait about 15-20 minutes before it had cooled down enough to continue.
During the wait I had set up Miss Streetpilot (That'd be my GPS to you...) since the venue was in an area of countless turns and junctions and I almost invariably take at least one wrong turn along the way, and so I was guided impecably to our destination. And we were still about half an hour early. That's the downside of Miss Streetpilot. If there's a motorway, she'll take it, so that last part of our journey I was swept along at 70mph in the slow lane, whiney pedal and all.
My sister hadn't arrived.
Panic. Had she been a part of the accident? Had she been detoured by it?
She arrived bang on time. Having been so early they'd taken the time to pop into a service station to write messages for the presents and to generally relax.
It was a nice service station. The only real problem was that, to be honest, the facilities were not in the best nick...