Well, not the most prolific writer of blogs or manuscripts but as Im paying an exorbitant amount of money (not really !) to host this blog I thought that I should really keep on writing. I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to try and write something monthly – what do you mean I’m a month late – I’m never late : well hardly ever; maybe now and then ; ok well I’m trying!
Most of what I write will be absolute dribble! Any resemblance to any persons or places is totally deliberate and totally accurate .
You may or may not know, that I currently volunteer for the North West Ambulance Service and their Patient Transport Service. I’ve done it for about 2 years now and really love it. I get to take all sorts of people, young and old, both to hospital appointments and pick-up patients from hospitals and take them to their homes. Well that’s the theory and so far it’s worked well. Although I always do live in fear of dropping a patient off at the wrong house; road; town or city. I can just hear this voice from the back of the car saying, – “Err excuse me but I don’t live in Burnley I come from Leeds !” as I stop outside totally the wrong house in the wrong town ! Anyway I digress as they say.
Last Monday seemed to be pretty much a normal volunteering day, a few trips to Manchester Infirmary, ( for those of you in far flung continents this is about 40 miles away), Royal Preston Hospital, journeys back to Blackpool, Fleetwood, and Preston. At 12:15 taking a patient to Manchester Infirmary, busy talking –
“What time did you start?”
“Bit cold out today!”;
“Have you been on long?”
“When do you finish”
“Have you always lived in Lancashire?”
“Is this the entrance you go in?”
I momentarily glance across to the numerous entrances whilst going round a very small roundabout. Well I thought it was a small roundabout. I didn’t realise that small roundabouts have high kerbs !! – Patient says, “What was that ?” as the car made quite a loud noise. “Oh sorry I just went over the kerb a little, it’s fine!” I dropped said patient off right outside the doors of the hospital; cleaned and wiped interior of car ready for the next patient. As I pulled away from the entrance, I thought that the steering was a little stiff so pulled into a row of parked cars. Got out of the car and saw that my front driver’s side tyre was completely flat.
…………….. Must have burst when I just ‘nudged’ the roundabout ! It was then that I remembered 3 days earlier having a new tyre fitted at a local garage, and the mechanic giving me back my “wheel locking tool thingy” for the wheel nut.
I distinctly remember putting the wheel locking nut thingy in my coat so I wouldn’t lose it. I couldn’t put it back in its place as he was putting the tyre on. My problem was that I wasn’t wearing the same coat.
I was wearing my standard issue North West Ambulance jacket which clearly didn’t have the “special thingy” for getting the wheel nut off. However, all was not lost. As I looked around me, I noticed that right next to me was a car that was the same make and model as mine. Thoughts – ‘If I stay here, in the 30 minute drop off zone, this person will return and maybe, just maybe his ‘thingy for getting wheel nuts off’ will be the same as mine ! – Sorted ! Happy Days.
Whilst waiting I decided to just look in the boot. I lifted the floor of the boot up so I could see the spare tyre and tools. ………………………… I literally ran my hand round the empty well where the spare tyre should have been to just check that my eyes hadn’t been deceived. I did think to myself , “Why am I running my hand around this empty well where the tyre should be?” I have known for many years now that cars just don’t come with spare tyres !!!
So after much berating oneself I called the AA –
“We are very sorry but we are experiencing a high volume of calls so we may take longer to respond ” and explained where I was and the issue.
“We will be with you in the next 2 hours.”
I called home and explained the issue – “No I have no idea how it burst – it must have just been one of those things !!!”
“Would you like me to bring the ‘wheel locking nut thingy’ – “No it’ll be fine, I’m sure they can do it.”
Sat waiting in the 30 minutes drop off zone outside the hospital when the car park attendant came along and said you can’t park there and you’ve been here longer than 30 minutes. We had a pleasant conversation where I explained to the gentleman that although I would love to move I was a little restricted in my movement at the moment due to the fact that I had one tyre that was flatter than the plains of Saskatchewan – not that I’ve ever seen them but I imagine they are relatively flat!
“Well dont be too long!”
“I’ll try not to be, sir!” ………….
AA man calls, – “Where are you exactly?” I guide him in like a homing missile and manage to block the entrances to the hospital for taxis, patients, and ambulances while I am slowly winched on to the back of the wagon. I stand and watch, in between apologising profusely to all and sundry as they endeavour to get pass the AA break down truck.
“Where would you like to go?”
“Well I’d quite like to go to one of those garages that does tyres ”
After ringing around several tyre companies finally find one in Oldham, so off we go. We arrive at the ‘tyre garage’ and the car rolls off the transporter. By this time it is quite cold and of course as my family will tell you I don’t generally wrap up warm ( as my granny used to say !) Well in my defence I did think I would be sitting in the car for most of the day !
I drive slowly across to the garage; park the car in the waiting area and speak to the guy in charge:
“You couldn’t have come at a worse time. We are really busy and have a lot of cars booked in so it’ll be the end of the day before we can get to you.”
“That’s fine no worries.”
So I sit and wait. 1 hour………… 2hours………… and then as he was walking past I just happen to nonchalantly say, “I’m sure it doesnt matter but i havent got that “wheel locking thingy lock”. The response was like Hamlet discovering he had killed Polonius through the arras.
…………… Quick phone call home – “Errr you know that “wheel locking nut thingy” that’s in my coat pocket you couldn’t bring it to me could you. It’s only about an hour and a bit drive !”
Suffice it to say ‘the wheel locking nut thingy” was brought (thank you so so much – !) and given to a very frozen person sitting in the car. Another short wait and it was my turn. The obligatory response,
“You really need a new tyre on the other side as well”
“Just do it!”
After a long wait while the new tyres were put on and a long drive I finally arrived home.
Moral of the story: Wear a coat; marry someone who doesnt mind driving, and always carry your “thingy’ with you.