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Mustn't Grumble - Wednesday 22/12/10

A day of departures. A night of disturbances. Emma has a cough. Trouble is, she likes to snuggle into me during the night for warmth. This meant me suffering being kneed in the back for most of the night, then when I could take it no more and eventually turned over, I got coughed at in the face.
As I wasn't sleeping, I got up at 04:00 in the belief lying there was wasting valuable packing time.
06:00 Car was loaded, warmed up and all ready to go.
Dropped Kit off at Clunderwyn station at 06:30, no problem.
Then our luck turned. For a while now the electrics and batteries haven't been right, with the heater noticeably draining charge. As long as it wasn't on for too long, we were normally ok.
Now we were in trouble. There was no charge going to the batteries and they were nearly dead. What was also worrying was if I sped up, the voltage decreased. It wasn't long before I was forced to stop. The dashboard was dim, the lights draining more charge, the windscreen blurred with ice inside and out. Things were looking grim. By stopping to allow what little charge there was to get to the batteries and clearing the windscreen, we made nervous progress, but were running out of fuel.
This was getting even more grim. I knew we'd be better off if we could make it to Carmarthen Tescos to fuel up. we'd also be better off again once the sun rose. We'd no longer need the heater or the lights. With this in mind, I risked the last few dual carriageway miles on sidelights and half gave a sigh of relief when we limped into the filling station. Half, because I was pretty sure the car wouldn't start if I followed the rules and turned the engine off. I was right. The two new batteries were as dead as two large and expensive electrical Dodos.
A really nice chap in a red Daihatsu 4x4 jump started us and we were back on our way, despite the indicators nearly killing the engine whenever we turned off.
At Cardiff services I made some calls. One to Lawrence, our mechanic, another to my Dad. Lawrence told me a new alternator would be £300-£400. My Dad advised we turn back home.
Emma was having none of it, so onwards we ploughed.
Arrived at Emma's mums just gone 11:30. After unloading, I took the truck to the garage and walked home. On my way, I bumped into Dianne, Em's Mum. She gave me a lift back as she was going home herself.
She parked her car on the main drag as she couldn't get into their road.
This prompted me to start shovelling snow off the road at 14:14.
Made good progress with a couple of passers by expressing their gratitude. Wasn't really a selfless act. Felt it was rather sensible.
The council weren't going to clear it. I could have been British and just grumbled. But if clearing the road myself meant Dianne would have to park on the main road and add to the congestion, all the better. It did cross my mind I could be cheeky enough to bill the council for my time hehe.
Whilst I was out clearing, a Fed-ex van got stuck just beyond where I'd got to. A colleague of his turned up and two hours later he was on his way. Again, I tried my luck. When the chap thanked me I told him if Fed-Ex felt generous my names Mike Jones from number 18... We'll see what happens eh.
Hung around to try and finish off a bit. Was dark now.
Two women passed and were dumb founded, a) at how much I'd done on my own and b) that I wasn't even a resident. Both thanked me which was kind.
Couldn't resist a "You're welcome" to some lads who used my clearing without a word, in fairness they then said thanks, hehe.

Partway through. By clearing I revealed loads of grit underneath.

M Jones

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