6th September 2009
The Indolent Blogger that’s me…sorry, but everything has been whizzing along at a rate of knots and I have been JUST ABOUT keeping up. No time for frivolousness here. No blogging. But as I am now ensconced in my apartment in Portugal after two days lying about in the sun on the beach I am feeling both scorched and frivolous. Sunday nights alone in foreign climes with a sunburned forehead tend to do that to one’s head. It also makes you feel like spending fortunes on shoes. Blogging is the cheaper option…
Right, where to start – ah, I know, the trip to Portugal last Tuesday. Hi ho hi ho and off to work I go and all that. All very well planned out as usual. I am meticulous with my travel plans. I check everything 6 million times, allow lots of time to get to where I am going and also allow for the insanity that is chemo brain [I detest being late – especially if it’s a plane that other people are paying for that I might be late for] and I try to plan for every contingency. Ha!! Plan away, it doesn’t help! I merrily set off for Heathrow, with plenty of time in hand. It’s a three and a half hour drive on the best of days, so I usually allow myself more time than that for the odd traffic jam, car crash, the police car holding everyone up just by dithering about sarcastically in the inside lane below the speed limit etc etc. [will YOU overtake him? Er...I think not…].
Lo and behold, I suddenly noticed as I was blithely speeding up the carriageway, that I was travelling at 0 miles per hour. What? Aaargh no dashboard. At all. I had brief [and suicidal] contemplations of carrying on [time being a huge issue here], but visions of trying to change lanes at speed on the M25 with no indicators brought those thoughts to a grinding halt. Pull over, call Jones. Advised to check the fuses – did that, no luck. Next instruction, drive directly back to the BMW service centre. Good plan! In the meantime, better plan if Jones comes home RIGHT NOW in the face of imminent hysteria. Right, on the way. I slapped the emergency flashers on [at least they worked] and zoomed back to Exeter. Waving out the windows to indicate and braking VERY carefully at every stop. Finally arrive at the service centre in a major panic. Race inside and do the ‘eek eek I am a damsel in distress’ manoeuvre.
The man on the desk was a total blockhead. Actually he has a face that just needs slapping before one even addresses him [he has a permanent insouciant sneer], so his nonchalance in the face of my dilemma made me feel like beating him around the ear with one of the insanely overpriced BMW coffee cups on sale in a tacky glass cabinet...but I digress. He suggested [to my ire], that I “book it in this afternoon”. Obviously the expression “I have to be at Heathrow by 5.30 [and it’s now 2.00!!]” didn’t QUITE sink in. It did the second time round, as it was rather more pointedly delivered. His reply was ‘well everyone is on lunch, so ‘sorry’ but no luck’. Luck…hmm, rhymes with…anyway, I pressed him, and he suggested I speak to another chap who was in the showroom – long and the short of it, this man was GREAT! He may have noticed that by now I was shaking like a leaf and really NEEDED some help. Probably in the form of A: Time Travel and B: Valium.
Anyway, to cut a long [and probably boring] tale short, he got the lads off lunch, jumped the queue, and checked the car into the workshop. No idea. Needs to go onto a diagnostic machine to find out what’s wrong. Take it home and rent a car. Sorry about that. Ah, the LUCK [LUCK?? fffftttt] word again…no chance of a quick fix.
OK. Home again [permanent hot flash has now taken control – I am like a crazy woman at this point], rip The Luggage out of the boot, throw it on the patio, [kick the car as hard as possible for good measure – not a good idea wearing heels, so swear loudly at it as a pain free alternative] race into the house and start calling first the coach companies…yes, a coach goes to Heathrow – at 7.30. Ah good. Slam. Yes, a train goes near there, whenever…SLAM. Car rentals...have you a car? No...SLAM…hello? Car? No…SLAM. The fifth rental agency I rang was Avis. I LOVE AVIS!!! LOVE THEM!! Yes we have a car, when do you want it, no don’t pay one way, it’s cheaper to pay return, righto the car is ready at Exeter airport, see you soon.
OMG!! Amazing. Jones was in the meantime rushing home from Paignton in his little lorry. He was also trying to find a rental car, but unlike me, Mrs Impatient, he expected people to call him back. They didn’t. Bastards. So, he arrives, I race up the road, jump in with The Luggage and off we go. Jones promptly gets lost on the way to a place that we go to all the time. He never gets lost. I immediately realise he is more stressed than I am, and remain very calm. Finally, after what amounts to a handbrake turn at high speed, we get there. The Avis woman was fabulous. She filled the form out at lightning speed, and I was off.
In a lime green, diesel Cleo? Oh my…With exactly 3 hours before my gate closes. By now it’s 3.30 and my flight is a 7.20. The gate closes at 6.50. Tight. Miraculously to say the least, I made it [thanks to AVIS again, as I literally threw the car at the airport man and ran away onto the bus – where the driver left the stop early to help me…nice man!]. I imagine a lot of speeding fines await my return. But at least I made it!
Why is it that the more technologically advanced we become, the more difficult and complicated it is to get anywhere?? Grr. Travel? Bah.