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Friday, January 04, 2008

Caught in the headlights.Headlights. If they're not being smashed up by hopping mad marsupials, they're busy turning themselves off in the fast lane of the M23. The photo on the right shows a genuine piece of kangaroo fur welded to the front bumper of Big Sis's car by the white heat of high speed impact combined with the adhesive qualities of blood. As for my headlights, you can't see them because it's dark.

So anyway, there we were, driving down the M23 at 8pm on Wednesday night, commenting on how quiet the roads were, how well the journey was going, and how we'd definitely be home for 'Half Ton Mum' on Channel 4 at 9pm, when my headlights suddenly went out. As it transpires, driving down the fast lane of an unlit motorway at 70mph in complete darkness isn't quite as exciting as you might think, so having tried it for about ten seconds, I decided to pull over onto the hard shoulder, which I presumed would be somewhere to the left, though it was hard to tell because obviously I couldn't see anything.

Fortunately the sight of a car veering across three lanes of a motorway with no lights on, was enough to catch the attention of a nearby Highways Agency patrol, who stopped long enough to give our exact location to the AA, advise us on roadside survival, and ask the question "Would you like a space blanket?". I assumed it was a euphemism for drugs, said yes, and was presented with two of these...

Doesn't everything burn if ignited..?Apparently they burn well, which is presumably how they keep you warm. So having wrapped Lisa up in tin foil, we stood on a muddy bank looking like a couple of Christmas turkeys for fifteen minutes until the AA arrived. The man refused to look at my lights on the hard shoulder, so we climbed into the cab and he gave us a lift to Pease Pottage services. It wasn't until my car had been loaded up onto the back of the lorry that I remembered my cat was in the back, but you can't worry about livestock at times like these, so I decided to keep my mouth shut and just assume she'd live.

Once at the service station, the AA man dumped us in the car park and Lisa headed off to Burger King while I sat in the car with the heater on, trying to defrost Chloe. She's never been such a Blue Persian. We were told an AA mechanic would be along within twenty minutes, so a mere forty minutes later our saviour arrived and started dismantling my dashboard. I commented that it was just my luck to have broken down on the coldest night of the year, and he was polite enough not to point out that it was only January 2nd.

Unlike the AA man I met in August who could find no reson wy my car had malfunctioned, this one correctly identified that a switch had burnt out, and having had a bright idea about how to fix it, a light came on above his head (he was under the dashboard at the time), and armed with nothing but a pair of wire strippers and a woolly hat, he was able to sellotape my car back together again and send us on our way. We eventually got back to my flat at 11pm, where we planned to unpack our stuff, have something to eat, and retire to bed for a relaxing, restful and well-deserved night's sleep.

Unfortunately things never go according to plan...