Car Trouble

Last night we had a trauma; today we can call it an adventure, but at the time, it was a real crisis. So we had changed our plans and instead of heading home after lunch, we enjoyed a lovely family afternoon together, with a great time down by the river playing with the dogs followed by an ice cream. Joshua had made a real fuss in the ice cream parlour as it was closing in the next half hour, so they had already cleaned the barriered off the café seating. We had agreed that we would eat our ice creams, and Joshua his carrot cake, at the table on the edge so that we did not mess up their cleaning too much. But Joshua was furious, he wanted to sit on the leather settee in the corner where he always sits, and he would not sit down and had a tantrum, shouting ‘no..no’ until the owner, who knows us, relented and offered to let him sit where he wanted. We were mortified that we had brought our spoilt son in there and that he was so stubborn. He lay on the settee ,and closed his eyes, exhausted, while we enjoyed our ice creams in peace and chatted to the owner. I was impressed that she remembered that we had been about to go to the cinema last time we were there, so she asked us how ‘movie night’ was? Joshua calmed down after ten minutes and slinked back to the table, rather apologetically, where he consumed his carrot cake and drank some juice.

We got home to pack up and finish cleaning the cottage, so we were finally ready to leave at 7pm. Joshua and the 4 dogs were all packed in the car. At the last minute, I decided to double check that the spare key was still safely in situ, so I threw the car key into the car for my husband to turn the car around and went round the back of the house. When I returned 2 minutes later, my husband told me that the car had locked itself, with Joshua and the dogs trapped inside. Of course I did not believe him and I tried every door, including the boot, but unsuccessfully. Joshua grinned at me from inside as I shouted at him to pull the handle and open the door, something that I know he knows how to do. But he smiled an dflashed his belly at me at first. Eventually, he pulled the handle – brilliant job Joshua! – but the car was dead-locked and nothing happened. It was then I began to panic, then I remembered that his Motability car had RAC recovery so I googled their number and rang for help indoors. But our cottage is in the middle of nowhere – which if course is its appeal – so although we were a priority case, they estimated a recovery vehicle would be with us in an hour, at 8.15pm! They had asked if there were any medical needs that they should be aware of and I told him that Joshua was epileptic and I explained that I would be breaking the car window to get to him, if the stress should cause him to begin having seizures .

When I went back outside, Joshua was still happy enough, and far from stressed, and my husband was trying to squeeze a wire through the door seal to push the lock/unlock button. He had asked our neighbour if she had anything suitable for the job in her shed, having exhausted our long, thin, strong wire possibilities, and she had come to watch the excitement saying that it was more interesting than Emmerdale! The phone rang again from inside the house and it was RAC again, who began the call with their standard ‘Hi, how are you today?’ question. I exploded that I had a 21 year old epileptic trapped in a locked car, with 4 dogs and no windows open, how did he think I was!! He was calling to repeat that they were sending a contractor and that he was coming as fast as he could but it would be within the hour. I replied that I already knew that so he asked ‘Is there anything else that I can do for you today?’ as he script will have told him to say, and I replied ‘Just hurry!’ and went back outside where my husband was still wriggling wires. Joshua was still in good humour, telling us not to mess and flashing us his bare belly.

As promised the recovery man arrived at 8.15pm and confidently told us that he could fix this problem without breaking a window, getting all of his tools out of his truck. By this time, Joshua had worked out what was happening and he too was relieved to see the expert and gave him a thumbs up! The RAC man had a clever inflatable tool to prise open the door seal that my husband had been working on, to widen the gap. He then tried to poke the unlock button without success, then he tried to turn on the ignition to open the windows but no joy. So finally he resorted to hooking the key fob, which was lying on the central console where I had thrown it. It was like a ‘hook a duck’ fairground ride and we shouted encouragement, as he hooked the keys but then, as often happens at the fair, they slide off and he dropped them onto the floor, into a much more inaccessible position. But he persevered with another hook arrangement and my husband had to help to wedge a larger gap on the door seal to get the bulky key out, but finally he succeeded, to a rapturous cheer.

He pushed the button on the key fob and the doors magically unlocked! Ruby the cocker spaniel who had been sitting on Joshua’s knee once the car alarm started going off, leapt out and I helped Joshua out to stretch his long legs. He had been in the car for almost two hours, and we had not yet moved and now had a 2.5 hour drive home to make. I gave him the biggest hug and told him how proud I was of him. He had remained calm and cheerful throughout the rescue operation, he was unusually patient too. And he had tried the door handle when asked too. He had done more than I would expect of him and I was so proud of him and of my husband’s ingenuity too, as he had basically done the same as the recovery man but without the ideal tools. We thanked him, locked up the cottage and set off for home. Joshua stayed awake all of the journey home but kept asking for ‘Giant’, he was exhausted. We finally got home at 11.45pm, with an unscheduled reward stop at Donald’s, and he went straight upstairs to his bed, where he curled up to sleep and has not moved since after his car adventure and his river walk, what a day!

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