Monday, September 13, 2010


I really don't like Monday mornings. Start of the week, kids are hard to wake up after busy weekend and back into lunches and dinners etc.

I was up nice and early this morning and I had everything done in jig time. There were no dramas of missing books or locker keys and breakfast was eaten without any complaints.

It was all going too well really as we were in the car for 8.10am and reversing out of the driveway seconds later. As I drove round the first corner in the estate, I felt something odd about the left hand side of the car. I pulld into the kerb and got out. The left back tyre on the car was flat as a pancake. Bloody puncture and as I said that, it started to rain.

I emptied all the crap out of the boot (and there was a lot of crap - books, newpapers, clothes and jackets, scout stuff and a display banner). I lifted up the spare tyre and got the jack and the wrench. I checked the time - if I could change the tyre in ten minutes I should get the kids down to school ahead of the traffic and still make it to work in time. I can do this, I said to myself.

The car is new and I hadn't had to change a tyre on it before so I knew the nuts would be tight. I just didn't realise how impossibly tight. One of the nuts on the wheel looked odd and I had a bad feeling about it as the wrench didn't look as thought it would fit. I started to loosen the nuts and it was unbelievably hard - I was pulling and pulling and blooming thing would not move. I jumped on the wrench to see if that would move the nut but
the wrench flew off and hit me in the shin! To say the air was coloured blue is an understatement.

I loosened the first three nuts and then looked at the wrench and the last nut. It was round while the others were hexagonal. There must be something special for this one. It must be a lock to protect my alloys being stolen. Where was the attachment? had a look in the boot but there was no sign of anything else - well there was another funny looking hook thing but I have no idea what that was for. I got the instruction book for the car and it gave me all sorts of advice:
1. Don't change the car tyre on a hill - CHECK
2. Make sure the handbrake is on - CHECK
3. Make sure the wheels were straight at the front - CHECK

Then it showed me a diagram of some sort of nut that I had to attach to the wrench. Where was the nut? I searched the boot again and checked for secret compartments or loose bits on the jack. No sign of it. At this stage several cars had passed me by - two women stopped - all the men drove past - nuts!!!!. I realised I would have to 'jack' it in or the kids would be late for school. Our next door neighbour arrived and we all piled into her car.

The kids got to school on time - with seconds to spare. Then my lovely neighbour drove me down to the train station where I collected my hubby's car so I could be mobile. I drove to the garage to see what they would advise me to do - I must have breakdown assistance I thought as it's a new car. At that stage my hubby had phoned the garage. Just as I was parking outside the garage he phoned to say there was a special attachment and that it might be in the glove box. It should be in the boot, but try the glove box. If it wasn't there it would take a week or two to order it in.

I drove home muttering to myself all the way - of course it was in the glove box, sure why would it be the boot with all the other bits. The glove box is the obvious place - NOT!

The rain was coming down heavy at this stage and my shin was bleeding from where the wrench had hit it. I grabbed a jacket from the house and went back over to where I had abandoned the car. This time I searched the glove box and there was the little locknut safely tucked up in the corner hidden behind some melted chocolate! Lovely!

I loosensed the normal nuts and the special locknut with the special attachment, then jacked her up and removed the nuts. I struggled with the weight of the punctured tyre but I got it off the rim falling backwards onto my arse on the grass verge in the process. A few more cars passed and I was ignored. That's fine, I thought as the rain streamed down my eyes - they didn't stop because I obviously looked like I knew what I was doing!

I got the spare tyre on and replaced the nuts - for good measure I jumped up and down on the wrench to tighten the nuts. I put the punctured tyre in the boot and drove off.

I decided to take no chances and to get it repaired straight away so I took it down to the local tyre repair centre. They saw me straight away - I looked like an emergency. The tyre was whisked from me into A & E and I was taken into the famil room to wait!

Then I saw a familiar face through the office window and realised that I had worked with him at the Ploughing Championship in 2006 when he came to do the special balloons for us on the diocesan stand.

I waved and he waved back and I knew he didn't know recognise me - that may have been because I was wet, dirty and bedraggled or it may be because the last time he had seen me I was three stone heavier!

He came in and I told him my name and when he realised it was me he gave me a bit hug and sat me down - I managed to hold back the tears as I was fairly agitated at this stage. But we had a chat and a laugh about the locknut. Crazy things he said as no one is taking tyres that much anymore.

The tyre was repaired and they put it back on the car for me and tightened everything up so I had peace of mind that the tyre wasn't going to fall off. I took out my money to pay and it was refused by - no way, he said, sure it was only a puncture! What a lovely man!

He waved me out safely and I was off. I was two hours late to work, filthy, knees in bits from kneeling on the road and a large chunk taken out of my shin.

I learned some things today:

(i) There are still good Samaritans out there - my neighbour Therese, and the other two ladies who stopped to help, and Noel, the tyre man who would not take any money.

(ii) What a locknut is!

(iii) How to change the tyre on this particular car (not that I want to make a habit of it)

(iv) There never seems to be the right nut around when you want it!!!!

Happy Monday everyone - the week can only get better from here!!!


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