Posts Tagged ‘hire car’

SNOW!

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

On my trip to England I learnt a very valuable lesson – the more you complain about not getting something, the more likely it will come when you least expect it. For example, snow.

I missed out on the snow in Paris this year due to French visa requirements and was a TEENY BIT disappointed. Ok, I cried. But it really was very unfair as all I wanted was a little bit of fluffy white stuff to start tumbling from the sky sometime around the Christmas period. Not a big ask, in my opinion, but clearly too hard to manage for the French Weather Gods.

I had given up all hope for seeing snow this winter as Paris has now moved into Spring with the flowers and the birds and the babies, but then I went to England. Good old England and its crummy weather. The day I arrived it was beautiful and sunny (and apparently hot but I’m not convinced that 19 degrees can be classified as hot), the day after it rained, the day after that was sun again. On Tuesday morning, when Ben and I drove to Manchester, it was sprinkling and by the time we arrived it was definitely raining. We spent the morning dodging rain drops walking through Manchester but in the afternoon it cleared up. However, there was clearly something brewing in the sky as very dark patches of clouds loomed in the distance and the winds picked up. As we left Lesley’s house at 9pm, it was cold, dark, windy and threatening.

The drive home required us to go up into some hills and the higher we climbed the colder our car’s temperature gauge told us it was outside. It was raining and soon that rain turned into icy rain and then suddenly I was able to scream out in delight, “IT’S SNOWING!!!”

England snow

Yikes.

I think Ben, as driver, was slightly less pleased by the snow as he was having to tackle slippery roads and very strong winds pushing torrents of snow flakes into our car as we zoomed along the motor way. It was like driving into an asteroid belt and going through a time warp. I suspect Doctor Who would have experienced similar things. It was pretty scary as rain + wind + snow + not really knowing the roads = not so good, but Ben’s good driving skills, the iPad GPS and some awesome 80s, 90s, and 00s hits as our driving music helped us get home safely.

The next morning it was snowing in Creswell but not pretty white fluffy snow – soggy, wet, melt-on-impact snow. Apparently other areas not far away had been snowed in so technically we were lucky, but it would have been nice to see some decent snow that wasn’t just gross. Anyway, I was still happy and did scream with joy like a child on occasion.

Creswell Snow

It looks like Christmas!

I am heading to the Alps this weekend with some friends where I will get to see some REAL snow – but I kind of like this random, unexpected non-mountain snow that just happens because it is cold.

Cars Make Me Anxious

Friday, April 6th, 2012

This week I realised that I am really quite happy to not have a car as they can cause a high level of anxiety as they start failing on you. We hired a car which we picked up from a town about six miles away and Ben took me on a small tour of the local area. After he had shown me the Welbeck Estate where he does his baking course, the car decided to tell us that we needed to check the coolant level. The temperature of the car hadn’t increased and after a small about of concern and discussion we decided to keep going and we’d check the coolant when we got home.

Ben took us on a scenic drive home, showing me where he rides his bike with a local cycle group and as we pulled into a side road between two farms the car then informed us that it was going to turn off the air conditioner because the car was getting too hot. That’s when the temperature gauge shot up and Ben quickly pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the car. No more coolant.

English countryside

At least we had a nice view.

Luckily for us, the car hire office was still open with 15 minutes to spare, so we called them and the AA (that’s British for RAC) to organise for someone to come and look at the car. This was a feat in itself as Ben had to use his phone, iPad and Skype in order to find a good enough signal to call the AA. Thank goodness for technology.

An hour later and the AA guy arrived, checked the car and informed us that the water pump wasn’t working. We’d need to be towed. By this time the sun was almost set and the relatively warm day was becoming rapidly cold and Ben and I wished we had decided to bring jumpers “just in case”. As I cursed Vauxhall for their poor craftsmanship and prepared for another long way for the tow truck, the AA guy simply turned his van around, popped the boot et voila! – a very neat winch and pulley system that after 20 minutes was attached to our car and we were on our way to the car yard. Brilliant! I declared England the home of ingenious car service people and wished Australia was a bit more like the Mother Country.

AA car rescue

The sun sets on our broken-down car

So that was fun. It meant that our planned pub meal couldn’t happen as the kitchens had closed by the time we’d finished dealing with the car. Wonderfully, Enterprise, the car hire place, waited for us at the office and gave us a new car with a free tank of petrol. It was another Vauxhall and this time a bit of a family wagon so we spent the rest of our holiday driving around trying to find children to put in the back seats.