Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Past, Present and hacked off!!

Well that is a weekend not to be repeated in a hurry - and it seems it's not over yet!

It all started off well with a trip over to QE Country Park, but it rained and was pretty cold, so the picnic was had in the cars L. Then a visit to Paul's Gt. Grandad was a nice occasion and gave him chance to meet Natty, who he has never met (we don't go down south very often). We topped this off with a quick stop at Hayling Island beach, but it was wet and wild, so really only the boys enjoyed that! On the way home from there the car started to play up - it stalled and being an automatic we thought was not a good sign! It then stalled repeatedly every time we slowed down and was VERY reluctant to restart each time - which totalled about 9 times by the time we got back up the hill to M&D's. By now there was smoke coming out from it and it smelt awful! On investigation there was NO engine coolant left (which we filled up before our last trip to the lakes) and v.little oil (which we topped up in the lakes). As P poured in the coolant it drank it up and by the time we had eaten tea it was empty again, as was the water tank. P put more water in and it disappeared instantly so he suspected a leak - and yes, as he poured water in it came out the bottom of the car! We hoped it might be just the hose, or a valve, but when the RAC man came out he thought we needed a new radiator. This meant the car was out of action for our trip to the other side of the water that evening for the reunion. Kindly Dad offered to ferry us to and fro, but it meant a rather late night for him too! So, anyway, yesterday morning our bus was towed to a garage and yes - the RAC man was right - a new radiator was needed and cost us an "ouch" amount of money! Still better (maybe) than being towed all the way home and me ferrying kids back on the train. BUT - there were also 'recommendations' - the garage heard noises in the gearbox and back axle when they did the road test - a bit worrying! Apparently the car then struggled to start when P came to leave Portsmouth, so he didn't stop until he got home (3.5 hours flat)! And guess what … this morning it clunked nastily and started NOT! Something tells me it's going to cost us a lot more money yet - which would be fine if we had some & if we didn't have two birthdays just before Christmas!! Sigh! We'll see what my friendly mechanic says in the morning…

The reunion itself, was kind of surreal. It was nice to meet up with a few people and interesting to see how others have and haven't changed. One person I had really hoped would be there hadn't arrived by the time we left at about 12.30am, so I figured she likely wouldn't after that. It was nice to find out that I was apparently a positive influence on a couple of people and also that I managed to conceal my unhappiness rather well! Odd to know too, that people you rub shoulders with day by day do not necessarily perceive you, or even themselves, in the same way you do. Generally it was a positive evening, but it had it's sadness about it. Sad to see how many people had perpetuated the cycle of a 'make-do' life and still carry their 'can't be bothered' attitude from school into adulthood. One conversation was quite enlightening. One with someone I wasn't close to at school, but chatted to a little now and then. She was saying how she saw me as clever and thought I would do a lot with my life, and how she never really thought she would because she wasn't clever enough. She was sporty and a dancer, but not clever (her words not mine). In actual fact, she was not unintelligent and her sister has done very well for herself. I chatted to her about the fact that intelligence was not always so much to do with attainment as 'drive' and 'determination' - of which I had plenty; motivated by not wanting to be stuck in the rut that was my life to that point. She chatted about emigrating and starting again in NZ, but that her eldest child did not want to and in all honesty she 'couldn't be bothered' - she was in inadvertently saying that she was content with her lot. Now, I see nothing wrong in that at all - being content is a good thing, if it is true content - but if it is underscored with a quiet discontent and longing for greater purpose and/or happiness, then that is a sad thing. I guess if you 'can't be bothered' to change things that means that it cannot bother you enough - and that is where so many of my school'mates' seemed to still be at. Others had moved on and made something of themselves to be proud of, which was lovely to see and hear about J.

Aside from the car going wrong & it being too wet for any real time on the beach (which all the kids had hoped for) a number of other things worked together to make the weekend less than lovely; Nat came down with Chickenpox, which is good in most ways, but meant he was a bit feverish, clingy and grumpy for the most part - and contagious!, M&D's back door sprung a leek, their toilet blocked twice, their electricity tripped when the roast was cooking on Sunday - delaying tea because nobody realised for a little while, Jake confused the shower and it wouldn't turn off!, and other annoying little oddities that just made the whole thing rather stressful. So much for a relaxing weekend - and then my train was almost 40mins delayed coming home last night, making my journey almost 6 hours long! I was wiped, but P and I got home within minutes of each other, so we joined forces to get the kids back to sleep (it was 10pm and they were asleep in the car), but N woke up too much on transfer and took ages to settle back off. Then I had to make up our bed as I'd washed the sheets before we left - too much energy - I crashed straight in it once it was done!

Back to school today - made more eventful by the non-starting of the car this morning and the alternative transport arrangements that quickly had to be made to get C to playgroup, i.e. re-fitting P's bike with a child seat that hasn't been on in ages and peddling there as swift as the wind so that P could carry on and get to work in time! The children were all slightly weary, but the day went OK. But to top everything off - I have started my 'monthly' a whole week early - I never do that!! Oh well - things can only get better, or so the saying goes!!

Just to cheer you up I've uploaded some piccies of the better bits on Saturday :)


Sarah said...

That does sound like quite an eventful weekend, to say the least. Hope Nat isn't being too ill with the chickenpox?
And just yuk to the car. I guess it is par for the course when you buy an older car, but doesn't make it any easier :(

Philippa said...

Oh what a weekend! I hope and pray that the car doesn't cost you much money to sort out. That is a lovely picture of you all with your grandfather. Have a great week!

Nic said...

I had in my head it was just you on your own coming down for the reunion - would have been nice to see you all as you were so close to us. Maybe next time?

Elle said...

What a busy weekend! Sorry to hear about the car. Elle