Unfolding plans 201 – Proving a point

‘You have to prove a point’, that’s what my wife said to me as I made my way out of the door to go to work.  It wasn’t a general statement, though that may be true but was more to do with the fact that I wasn’t taking my car to work but that of my eldest daughter.  You see she had been having some problems with it.

It wasn’t a new car.  We’d bought it a few months ago to help her get from home to work and it had been suffering from some sporadic problem.  Needless to say we didn’t find out about this until a few weeks after purchase.  Buyers beware as I am often told.  She’d been struggling along with it until it finally gave up the ghost on the A1.  For once the queues on the western bypass were caused by someone I know.

Sporadic problems are a nightmare.  Until you know the cause then you can’t know how to fix it.  You end up with wild guesses and stabs in the dark.  You should only try and solve one thing at a time though otherwise you get into a great mess.

When I was young, all of the lads (it was the seventies) would tinker on with their cars.  I was never far from the smell of burnt oil.  Every weekend our heads would be under the bonnet fixing one thing or another.  We knew how cars functioned yet then they were much simpler.  Now you have to be both a contortionist and an electronics engineer.  Even changing a light bulb requires you to dismantle the front end.  Anyway, I remembered that there are only three things you need to make an engine run: fuel, oxygen and electrics.

I suspected the electrics but my daughter suspected the fuel.

Eventually we got it to the garage which put it through the diagnostics only to find that the coli packs weren’t working on cylinders one and four.  Electrics then!  Two days later and it was fixed – apparently.

Now I could have said to her here you go, the problem has been fixed but you can imagine that she had lost a lot of confidence in the car. How could I ask her to drive something that I wasn’t prepared to drive myself?   So I made the possibly foolish decision to take it to work.  It wasn’t to prove the point that it was fixed but rather to eat my own dog food.  I was due to drive around a hundred miles today and surely that would be a good test.

That’s the point of my tale.  Don’t ask others to do what you wouldn’t do yourself.

So how did I get on?  Well enough to start off with.  I got to the Metro Centre fine and was chugging my way through the roadworks towards Lobley Hill, which is probably the busiest section of the road at that time.  I was in the outside lane doing about three miles an hour when the car lost all power and stalled.  There could not have been a worse place or time to break down.  My whole body went to jelly thinking what I was going to do yet when I turned the key again everything started and I managed the next twenty miles without a problem.

Perhaps there is more than one sporadic problem.  I’ll cross my fingers and hope I get home.

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