It's been making funny noises for some time. And it's been handling oddly. We knew the hand brake cable needed replacing, but that couldn't possibly have been causing the grinding and rattling and other odd noises.
It got worse.
Then the brakes began to squeal.
I began to worry that a wheel might fall off while we were driving along.
Eventually, we decided it had got so bad that the poor Vixen needed to see a consultant. So we consulted Nick the local Mechanic. The Vixen was carted off to hospital and put into intensive care. Her paws were all broken ;-(
This meant that she wasn't available to come to the station and pick me up on Friday after work. So my colleague Julia drove me from the station towards her gym, where she was going to indulge in extreme exercise, and I walked home from there. It was about 5 km to our place from where Julia dropped me off, and it's rather a nice walk. You go through the town of Chesterfield itself, then out into the more rural outskirts. You walk along a bit of countryside, a bit of housing, a bit of countryside, a bit more housing, past a small woodland and then into Tupton. I have walked it before, two or three times. But on all the previous occasions it's been because there has been so much snow lying about that the buses weren't running and it would have been too difficult for the Builder to get the car to the station. On those occasions I have had my gum boots with me, or my walking boots. On this occasion I was wearing a pair of sandals that I wouldn't normally walk any huge distance in. Even so, it was considerably easier that trying to stomp through several centimetres of snow, even if not quite so much of an adventure!
We didn't walk into town on Saturday. We took the bus. And went to the central market (given that we couldn't get to any of the farm shops that we usually go to). And we went to the Rutland Arms for lunch. a bit of an extravagance, given that we didn't know how much the car repairs would be, although we knew for certain that they would be expensive. But the Rutland isn't all that expensive and the food is good, home-cooked food and it didn't seem unreasonable to indulge in a hamburger for me and a piece of gammon for The Builder
Then we went home on the bus.
And just pottered about for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday.
The Vixen was released from hospital on Sunday afternoon. It cost us upward of £600 to ransom her. It is fortunate that we have been getting a good harvest from the garden. If nothing else we have a freezer full of fruit and vegetables, a store shelf full of preserves in the larder and a cupboard full of sauces that I bought the last time I was in London or which we got at the BBC Good Food Show. We are not going to starve. But the Extreme Austerity that I was going to impose to augment the savings for the GWT II has been imposed upon us - by the car!!
I suppose that *might* help The Builder's blood sugar levels :-D
Evening over Tupton: