Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Day by the Wayside

Yesterday, I left Duston a little before 9:30 to be on time at Sam's stonesetting at 11. I took into account the delays due to the never-ending construction on the M1, the fact that it was morning traffic, that the M25 was always more or less jammed. I was making great time. I had to get off the M25 at junction 25 and the cemetery was just a couple of miles away. Just before arriving at junction 25, my front left tire blew out. It was 10:30.
I called emergency services and they took all the information and told me to wait. If I needed to call back, I was told to ask for the Essex police and given another number to call. I waited very patiently and finally called the Essex police a little after 11. Already 1 1/2 hours waiting outside, on the other side of the barrier, with my yellow safety vest on. Getting into the car to make the phone call was a relief if only for the quietness of it. I was told to keep waiting. I had my incident number; they knew I was still waiting....
I just wasn't thinking clearly. I should have immediately called our insurance company in France. By the time I thought of them, 2 hours had gone by. I still wasn't thinking clearly because I called Paul to ask him to do it. The emergency services finally got to me after 1:00 and the insurance company called me while they were there taking down my information at about 1:30. They told me it would be better for me to wait for the insurance company's solution and they left me there, still waiting. The GMF were very efficient. Within a few minutes, I had my incident number from them and I got a call from the rescue service they had set up. Unfortunately, the rescue service told me I'd need to wait about another hour.
At the tire shop -- the outside of the tire has this big hole
The inside rim is completely torn apart. 
My hero came in less than an hour and I was on the road again at exactly 3:00, only 4 1/2 hours after pulling over. The rain started just as he was finishing up putting the spare tire on. I got off the M25 and started searching for a tire shop because the instructions were to not drive too far on the compact spare. I continued on the route to the cemetery but I stopped to find gas stations on the GPS. The station I aimed for seems to have disappeared, so I kept on going and lo and behold found myself in a shopping center district and saw the sign for a Formula 1 place. I know that Claire and Geoff go to the Formula 1 up in Duston, so I pulled in and they sold me a pair of tires. (I had to change brands because they were out of Michelins, so I needed to change both front tires.) They checked the tire to try to figure out what happened. Still don't know. It wasn't because the tire was worn out. Old, yes, but not worn. New tires installed and aligned and set to go by 5:15. Got back on the M25 and headed back to Duston. Arrived at 6:15.
To all the family I was going to see at the stonesetting, I'm so sorry I missed you. Luckily, we had dinner the night before with the Pickars. Thanks, Ken, for the picture, to remind me.
Also, thank goodness this did not happen the previous evening when I had Aurelia in the car with me, nor on the way back to France to catch the tunnel shuttle.
3rd and 4th cousins!

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