Friday, March 11, 2005

A moment of silence

Shall we all bow our heads and remember the £170 car that is no more. It is in a better place now... out of my sight and into the junkyard (scrap yard). This is how its demise came about:

On Wednesday afternoon we decided to take a little trip into Wales just to say we'd been there. I bought £9 worth of gas and managed to find third gear as we departed. Shifting from third to fourth was easy, but finding first was impossible. So anytime we came to a stop I faced a dilemma - pop it into second and take off rather quickly (knowing it was remain stuck in second for an indeterminable amount of time) or leave it in third and take off very slowly, riding the clutch hard until I reached 20mph or so. I discovered that leaving it in third was not that bad, so that is where it remained. We opted to go south and west to get to Wales, not the most direct route, but one that avoided the major highways (in case we got stuck in second again!). We drove about 15 miles to a town called Kidderminster and decided that the car was doing fine. Thus, we were ready to do the next 40 miles or so into Wales. On occasion, I'd have to stop while the car was pointing up hill which made it difficult to start off in third, but the little car managed it alright. However, Mary and I did notice a not-so-comforting burning smell whenever we had to do this. I figured it was the clutch and that it had plenty of miles left in it. Oops.

We got about 10 miles outside of Kidderminster (we went 60mph for a while!) and started up a hill. The countryside around was fantastic. About half-way up the hill, I pushed the clutch in to shift down, and the clutch went in.... way in... all the way to the floorboard. I made a split second decision to turn into a long driveway and stop, knowing starting again would be impossible. Mary and I looked at each other wondering aloud, "What are we going to do now?". Thankfully, it was the warmest day we'd had in a long time. I got out of the car and walked toward a nice, large estate on this huge farm. The driveway was about 1/4 mile long. It took a minute, but I found the owner. To make an already-too-long story shorter, after a few calls on his cell phone and two hours of waiting a tow truck showed up. The farmer's name was Ron, and he was incredibly nice to us, letting Mary and Helen stay in the house until the tow truck came. Helen even got to see color TV for the first time since leaving the states.

The guy who drove the truck was really nice, too. He'd been all over Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia back in 1996. His parents are huge Elvis fans (there are an inordinate number of those here, BTW) so they had to see Graceland. Anyway, he dropped us off at the Kidderminster train station and took our car to the scrap yard. We all agreed that the car was not worth fixing. It cost £90 to have the thing towed, and £8 for two train tickets back home. If I'd spent that money plus the £170... I'd of still had a piece-of-junk car. However, I must admit that I had this warm feeling as we boarded the train. I'll never see that car again. It will frustrate me no more. We will have to take the bus to church again, but only twice before we return to the states for a while. When Mary's parents come, we'll rent a car and use it for transportation.

So we've only been half-way to Wales.

I do apologize for those of you who took great delight in laughing at me because of my car. You'll have to find some other stupid decision I've made to mock.

In other news, BK is stirring up trouble in North Alabama again, and the Auburn men actually won a post-season basketball game. Why is it that we dominate Tennessee teams so?

And one more thing about Elvis... his greatest hits CD was released here in January, and Love Me Tender went to #1 here, making him the first artist to ever have a #1 hit for 100 weeks in the UK. So, Elvis is bigger than the Beatles, even in England!!


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