16 May 2013

Songs of distant earth

Last night was already late after a meeting in London relegated me to the 1045 train. I arrived at Didcot, already in a bad mood because of the dreadful contract I had been reviewing during the journey, got into the car and turned the key ...

Nothing. The lights on the instrument panel went out, and the car stood there in silence and darkness. The battery is  new, I did not leave the lights on, there was no door ajar to cause the interior light to remain on all day. I opened the boot and then the bonnet (the release lever for the latter being in the former, for some reason known only to MG designers) and wiggled the battery leads about a bit. Instrument panel warning lights appeared, but when I tried to crank it there was nothing. I set the horns off a couple of times wiggling those battery leads, and tried several more times to get it to turn over, but eventually admitted defeat. I walked back to the station, in search of the first of a phone box to call the RAC (my Blackberry smartphone having died earlier) or a Pryor's taxi. Basil Pryor beat British Telecom.

This morning I set off to run into Didcot to get the RAC to sort out the problem. I thought I might speed the process by calling them en route, but the operator to whom I spoke thwarted that idea by asking for the registration number. I could give her the letters, but she was not satisfied when I told there were three digits between the first letter and the final three. So I ran on, and called when I reached the car.

The second operator, male, asked me the type of car. "MGF". "What model?" Good grief. "Petrol or diesel?" I explained patiently about the extreme rarity of diesel MGFs. "I don't know much about cars" giggled my interlocutor. Evidently. I refrained, with no little difficulty, from suggesting that the RAC might not be the right employer for him.

The patrolman was with me very quickly, and soon diagnosed a faulty contact at the end of the earth cable (not before he had tried the classic fix for any starter motor problem, a few whacks with a blunt instrument). Emery paper was applied and the lead refastened, and the car started on the first turn of the key. It might be my imagination, but it seems even to run better now.

4.11 miles on my GPS watch, which didn't find a satellite until I had already run half a mile or so, but the Garmin distance is the one to add to my cumulative total. Still way off track for 1,000 miles this year, but heading in the right direction. And a beautiful morning for a run. Pace not bad either: I used Vivobarefoot Evos rather than Breathos - but the first third of the route is on farm tracks, which were a bit rocky and might have been more comfortable if I had used the trail shoe.

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