It was 4.40 when I woke this morning and for the next two and a half hours I lay alternately awake and dozing lightly until I decided I had had quite enough of that, thank you very much, and what I really, really wanted was a soothing, long, hot shower. Then, after breakfast, washing up and loading the washing machine, it was time to take the car to the garage for servicing. On those occasions I take the dog with me and walk home through the park, a total distance of rather more than a mile so an adequate walk for both of us - especially as it's uphill most of the way.
At this point I should explain that our drive rises steeply to the road, a gradient of at least 1 in 5, maybe even nearer to 1 in 4. If the car is well laden, it is not unusual for the bottom to scrape as we go over the top. It happened yesterday when there was only the Old Bat and me in the car and I simply assumed that I had managed to find the spot where the ridge is highest and/or the rear tyres needed a little air. It scraped again this morning with just the dog and me in the car but I carried on, reasoning that the garage would check the inflation of the tyre as part of the service. A little way down the road I could feel that not all was as it should be. On checking, I realised that the rear nearside tyre was only half inflated - but I thought it should be enough to get me to the garage.
Wrong. A little further on, just at the steepest point of the road, I had to stop. The tyre was very nearly flat.
To get to the spare wheel and the jack and other necessary implements, one has to lift the floor of the boot. Which is where the dog travels. She is not so well trained that I can tell her to sit at the side of the road and be confident that she will stay there so I put her on the lead and struggled to use one hand to remove the spare wheel and all the accoutrements, after which the dog was returned to the boot.
The dog does tend to panic at things out of the ordinary - like when I get the steps out to change a light bulb - so I decided to leave the car where it was while I took her back home. The wheel nuts had, of course, been tightened with an airgun so were extremely difficult to loosen and I was just a tad anxious as I released the parking brake and hoped that by engaging reverse gear the car would stay in place and not roll down the hill into a nearby car. I had to stamp on the wheelbrace to get the nuts shifted - but the car didn't roll away and I have now left it at the garage and walked home by myself.
I wonder if they will get the tyre mended for me? I didn't think to ask them to do that although they know why I was late getting there.
Oh well, if it's not one thing it's another, as my old granny used to say.
Just for a bit of fun, spot the difference. This, by the way, is the River Havre at Oudon, close to its confluence with the Loire.