Saturday was dominated by cars.
On the way back from Belfast to Lisburn to pick up Littl’un, I noticed that my car’s fuel gauge had suddenly gone from saying 2/8 to showing an empty fuel tank. It’s not a big car, so the tank isn’t particularly large – you tend to get about 200 miles out of it. Yet the hard-to-rely on range display was saying I could go for another 71 miles on what was left in my tank. Umm.
Suspecting a software fault, I decided to pull off the Malone Road, turn off, turn back on (though since it’s not a Microsoft Car there’d be no need to actually get out and slam the doors before it would reboot – like the old joke that used to circulate by email) and see if that fixed the problem. Coming down the hill, I indicated, pulled into the quiet side street, stopped at the kerb and turned the key to cut the engine.
The noise of cars hitting each other out of view.
Switched the ignition back on, and the proper low fuel warning came on this time - so definitely down to the last few litres of petrol. Quick U-turn, and back at the give way onto the Malone Road.
The two cars that had been in front of me, had run into each other, just seconds after I’d pulled off the road and into the side street. Both drivers were out of their cars and seemed ok – other than a certain about of finger wagging and surveying the wreckage. A rather bent bonnet and . I’m not sure what had happened – hopefully not the distraction of a Smart Roadster disappearing from their rear-view windows.
But I was certainly glad that I’d randomly pulled off the road, and didn’t add a third car to the carnage. I’ve no wish to test out the Smart’s air bags or safety features. It nearly feels bad to want to thank God for removing me from the possibility of careering into the two cars in front of me – after all, he didn’t exactly stop the Dublin reg car banging into the rear end of the silver grey car in front of it – but I was particularly thankful to be able to get to Lisburn on time in one piece.
Friday had been dominated by Armagh.
It was a bit crazy. I spent the best part of the day in Armagh – in the well-equipped Market Place Theatre.
Note to Armagh Council – you need a lot more brown signs up to direct people to the theatre to catch the drivers who misinterpret the first confusing sign on the way from Portadown into Armagh.
Oh, and can you fix the ticket machines in the multi-storey car park adjoining the theatre. Only the one on the ground floor is working.
I arrived home from Armagh, just as my wife set off to spend Friday night and Saturday in an Armagh Hotel at a conference. Pity I hadn’t stayed and taken her place!
So back to Saturday.
The phone call came through as I was starting story time and the wind down towards Littl’un’s bedtime. The Polo had overheated and was parked up at the side of the road outside Portadown. One of those cases of offering every support short of actual help. So I supplied the number for the AA – a wonderful organisation that allows you to join and request their help all in the one phone call – and went back to the latest batch of library books, helpless to physically rescue the situation.
The AA truck towed the Polo to Lisburn and Cheryl got a lift home. (Expect a blog post soon about how stressful that is over at Cheryl Wonders.
But it’s at times like these that you really regret driving a two seater! It’ll be the bus for me in and out of work this week, and a taxi to the airport on Tuesday.
It also meant that the plans to pop across to Fitzroy in the morning to meet up with mapgirl followed by a trip up to the north coast and the Giant’s Causeway with our house guests boiled away – much like the water that’s meant to cool the Polo’s engine.
So we walked the few hundred yards down to Kirkpatrick in time for their 11am service. A vibrant congregation of young and old, bucking the trend of shrinking churches. Fun to recognise a school friend sitting behind the sound desk at the end of the service. Since he’ll be reading, I better say a big Hi! to Keith. (Thinking about our conversation earlier, you might enjoy Jim & Casper Go To Church ... a good book available in Christian Bookshops – Supersimbo liked it first! Think we still have a not-yet-given-away copy in the house if you want a read.)
(The post started with the two pictures coming up. Only the build up and explanation took longer than expected!)
And since the weather was good, and travel was impossible, we wandered down to The Point and gorged out on their lunch menu. The Cottage Pie had no slates or bricks, but I’d still recommend it. Dessert was hard to say no to. And the service is very quick and very friendly, even allowing for the eating habits of a three year old.