Monday 6 July 2015

All's well that ends well

Our drive back from the perfect wedding on Sunday was enlivened by an exciting combination of mechanical brinkmanship and domestic drama.

My new Land Rover Discovery Sport, acquired at the end of March, had lulled me into a false sense of security by not going conspicuously wrong within a few hours of exiting the showroom, as Land Rovers usually do.

So I was surprised when a red warning light and the words “Restricted Performance” flashed up on the dashboard as I was driving in the fast lane of the M25. Though, being the M25, “fast” equated to approximately 15mph. Which isn’t even fast for a pushbike.

Like this, it was. Only red.

After a while, though, the pressure of traffic eased enough for me to able to accelerate. Only I couldn’t, at any rate with my customary ease, because the car would not change gear properly. I quickly established that this could be overcome by jabbing the accelerator pedal in a way that apparently encouraged it to do so.

Meanwhile a missed call on Mrs H’s phone proved to be from the lady charged with looking after our darling boys for the weekend, asking where I keep my tools. This is never a good sign.

Specifically, she was looking for a large screwdriver to remove the door handle from our bedroom, because “it wasn’t working any more” and our younger son was stuck inside.

I suggested that this might more likely have something to do with the bolt underneath the handle, which it duly proved he had used to lock himself in.

Could he unbolt it, though?

Silly question.

After a wide-ranging discussion on whether the bedroom windows were open (possibly) and whether we had a ladder long enough to reach them (definitely not) Mrs H had the brainwave of ringing our friendly local builder, who kindly drove around to the house and released the child from the room using a traditional combination of science and targeted violence.

We were advised that the boy emerged from the room with a broad grin on his face. His older brother, meanwhile, admitted that the reason Jamie had run into the room and locked the door behind him was that he had taken it upon himself to brush the child’s hair before they set off to visit their grandparents.

“I just wanted him to look smart,” he said, knowing full well that the only thing Jamie hates more than having his hair brushed is having it washed.

Still, all’s well that ends well.

And so too with the car, which I nursed as far as Beaconsfield Services before turning off the engine and turning it back on again. At which, as I expected, the warning light disappeared.

Still having the best part of 200 miles to cover to get home I rang the experts at Land Rover who said, among other gems, “No warning light, no problem … Yes, that often happens … Good luck, Mr Hann.”

So the solution to my motoring problems has become the same as the one to all my IT issues. “Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

Untroubled by mountains, floods, blizzards ...
the M25 at 15mph, on the other hand ...

Over lunch on Monday I told the story to a colleague who owns an equally new Range Rover Sport. “Happens all the time,” he said. As though it were perfectly normal to pay around £80,000 for a luxury motor car and have to turn it off and on from time to time to keep it moving.

We wound down from our trauma by taking the boys for a short walk down the lane by our house: the younger on his “new” trike (£10 from the local swapshop on Facebook) and the elder on the shiny new scooter he had been given for his birthday. It had remained in its box until now.

While he was much excited by its shininess, and the light-up footboard, he proved to be handicapped by having no idea how to use it. This was, apparently, the scooter’s fault. So much so that he rapidly dumped it by the roadside and pronounced it “Bloody rubbish.”

“Where did he get that word from?” I asked.

“John Cleese says it in Charlotte’s Web,” Mrs H replied.

Amazingly putting me in the clear once again.

No comments: