We were heading down to Melbourne, The Builder, Emily and I. Emily and I were discussing cups of tea and tropical humidity and various other things. All was going well - until we got to Bacchus Marsh and the radio failed.
I think we all assumed it was a problem with the radio, which is elderly and has been behaving erratically. Until, that is, the clock failed. And then the indicators. And then the lights. Not good!
We emphatically didn't want to break down on the freeway, and absolutely not while going over the Westgate Bridge. So we pulled off at Melton. Someone has put a shopping complex by the exit from the freeway at Melton. It has supermarkets and a Kmart and various other things. And food outlets like Macdonalds and KFC and loads and loads of other fast food outlets.
The car failed as we pulled into a parking bay outside Nando's
We called the break down service and took ourselves into Nando's for a small spot of lunch. I wasn't expecting fine dining but was pleasantly pleased to find nicely cooked chicken and not too bad chips. I have only been into a Nando's once before and hadn't been in any hurry to repeat the experience but it seemed only reasonable that we should go in, given that it's car park was providing shelter for the car. I might not have taken is attitude had we been in the Macdonald's car park!
Anyway. The breakdown man arrived within the hour, as promised and diagnosed a dead alternator. I think we had more or less surmised that that would be the problem. A taxi came and took us to Sunshine. Jess borrowed Ian's car and drove to Sunshine to collect us. We could have taken the train, of course, but Emily had quite a bit of baggage for she is returning to Townsville from Melbourne next week and had brought all her stuff down with her. A big thank you to Jess for coming to get us, to Ian for offering the use of his car - and to Julia who also offered to come and pick us up when I put the whole story on Facebook.
But no! As we were heading from Sunshine towards the city, the car beeped loudly and the sat nav display changed to a warning display. Sudden loss of tyre pressure :-s. We pulled over and had a look but the tyres *looked* ok. So we drove on into the city, slowly and cautiously, waiting for a tyre to go flat. Fortunately none of them did, but that was two out of three available cars now out of action. Emily's Hyundai is in car hospital in Melton and Ian's BMW needs a pedicure.
Just as well then that our friend Rod had offered to pick us up and take us out to our dinner date. I had been planning to go in Emily's car, but that was no longer available and Rod had offered to collect us when I had spoken to him on Skype a day or so earlier. And so we headed out to leafy North Balwyn for a lovely meal with Robert and Susan, who I have been friends with since before Tabitha was born. Come to that, I have been friends with Rod for even longer. The last couple of times we've been in Melbourne we've met Rod and Robert for lunch on Lygon Street and hadn't seen Susan, so it was a pleasure to be invited to dinner and to catch up with her too. And they did us proud with lovely wine, fabulous food, and a post prandial liqueur. There was much chat and catching up, and the cats came to talk to us and to make a fuss of us. Then Rod brought us back to East Melbourne, where the flat was empty.
The family is beginning to gather for Sunday's festivities. Ant and Jess are over from Perth, Emily was here anyway for the summer vacation. But it was the first opportunity that they had had for a family dinner for over six months. So they took themselves off for a Japanese meal in Richmond and then kicked on to a cocktail bar before coming home, where we were waiting.
Lindsey has rented a holiday apartment in the same complex as their flat. It's on the top floor and has a fabulous view (not that the view from their flat is particularly shabby, but from the holiday flat you can saw the bay without hanging over the balcony in a suicidal manner)
I am hoping that we can get through the next few days without breaking any more cars. But I don't think I'll be doing much walking this weekend. My hurty finger is all but better. My hurty ankle is not ;-(