The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday 21 April 2011

Things Breaking

During the week of Wet Highland Washout trip in October 2008 we went through an unprecedented (and, thankfully, thus far unrepeated) spate of things springing leaks (Mick’s trousers, all of our dry bags, a flysheet seam, the entire tent floor).

During this trip we’ve gone through an equally surprising spate of things breaking.

I didn’t think that spate would continue once we got home. However, when we got in the car this morning to go on a new-kit-collection-mission, we found that something was quite noticeably wrong. At first I thought that one of the front brakes was jammed (which was odd, because my sister reports that all was fine when she used it just five days ago, and a front brake shouldn’t jam on when not in use), so off came the tyre and I worked to free it. The disk was spinning freely, so back on went the tyre. It wouldn’t move. Back off came the tyre* and then I noticed the blazingly obvious – the suspension spring had snapped, had dropped down, and was pressed against the tyre. Oh dear. And coming into a Bank Holiday weekend when places are likely to be closed. And with me needing a lift to the station in the morning so I can return to Market Rasen to walk the missing three days, not to mention needing a lift home from Shiptonthorpe on Sunday night.

My usual garage couldn’t fix it until next Thursday. The Ford garage couldn’t fix it till next Thursday and wanted a price that would have required us to mortgage at least three of the tents. Kwik Fit wouldn’t quote a price unless I took it in (I still don’t understand why, particularly as I’d explained that the car wasn’t driveable*). ATS said ‘we can do it now’ and with the added benefit of charging a quarter of what the Ford Garage wanted. Three hours later and the car was fixed.

Can that please be the end of things breaking?!

(*top tip: when you need to start crawling around under your car and taking bits off it, first go and change out of your just-laundered clothes and into some scruffs. That’s really what I should have done…

**it turned out that the car was driveable, albeit only gently; it was Mick’s genius that suggested putting the space-saver spare tyre on, which just gave enough clearance, and fortunately it’s a pretty straight route from here to ATS!)



  1. Thank goodness for a solution, could have been a bit pants! That's one of my biggest concerns now David will be 'darn sarf' (apart from staying in charge of our teenage son who's now taller than me, help!) the car misbehaving. It's a long time since I had to deal with garages myself, and my previous experiences were not always positive, being a woman and all.

  2. That was hilarious to read thanks in addition to that I had admire your technical competencies as always.hope your eastereggs won't be teak as well unless you want them to :)Maike

  3. Well done, Mick, on completing the section to Edinburgh, and good luck, Gayle on your efforts to complete the Missing Link during the intermission.