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Posts Tagged ‘roadside assistance’

It all started because my husband woke up in my mother’s house out in the country with a hankering for curry. 

“Maybe…” he said. “Just maybe, an Indian family will have moved into Blinkton over night and have opened a roadside stall, selling curry and rice.”

I laughed at him, knowing full well that the closest he’d find to a beef vindaloo ’round those parts was a curry-flavoured pie and even then, he’d have to soak it over night in Tabasco sauce to get any kick out of it. 

However, later that morning, we happened upon a neighbouring town’s monthly farmer’s market and there, tucked in between the “Devonshire Tea” and “Sausage-in-a-bun” stalls, was a Sri Lankan woman dishing out large plates of home-made curry and rice. 

“I should buy a lottery ticket. This is going to be my lucky day!” my husband said. And, as he tucked into his food and the sun shone and the kids played merrily in park and behind us a band struck up a swing version of “Sesame Street”, I was inclined to believe him. Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away, indeed. 

A mere three hours later on our way home, of course, the Love Bus’s engine overheated Big Time. Almost like someone had soaked it in Tabasco sauce over night and then set it on fire. 

“You should have bought that lottery ticket while you still could!” I shouted out to him as he risked life and limb opening the car’s engine hood and I referreed rock’n’wrestling matches between the children on a picnic blanket with semi-trailers roaring past. 

After forty minutes, the Love Bus was still blowing steam out all of its orifices so we piled back in and limped the last few kilometres to the next small town. There, I proceeded to encroach on the kind hospitality of the local shop owners by letting my children paint their booth seats with ice-cream, while my husband rang the Roadside Assistance people and tried to get the stuff from the trailer into the back of the Love Bus. Because OF COURSE we were traveling with the trailer full of stuff when we broke down. 

An hour later, it became apparent I’d have to select some dinner for the kids from the shop’s bain marie, where the closest thing to vegetable matter was a Steak and Onion Pie (no curry, unfortunately, because that would at least have contained peas). It’s meals like those where I take much comfort from the inclusion of the word “tomato” in “tomato sauce”. 

Finally, two hours after we first broke down, the Roadside Assistance guy arrived to give us his professional opinion on the engine and it was: “It’s totally fucked!”. He then gave us a lift back to the nearest big town to catch the train home, where our underfed, overtired and hyper-hyped children amused fellow passengers during the 90 minute trip with antics such as spitting on the windows and then licking it. 

“I’m blaming the Maltezers,” my husband said, referring to the bag of chocolates I had bought – while he was chugging a last-minute middy of Victorian Bitter in the train station buffet, no less. 

“Actually, Curry Boy,” I retorted. “I’m blaming the fact that our ninety minute trip home has turned all Gilligan Island-like and yes, all the kids have eaten is fat, sugar and more fat” followed by something insightful along the lines of “Lucky day, my arse.

But I shouldn’t have spoken so harshly to him. Because, when we arrived home almost six hours after we’d set out, he still had to drive back to the scene of the crime with our friend The Sculptor to get our unlocked trailer, which was now worth far more to us than the car. They also had to make the Love Bus scrapyard-ready by stripping out all of our belongings. And of course, in his tiredness, my husband didn’t quite tie down the load on the trailer down as well as he should have and somewhere along the highway, three of our four childseats blew off into the dark void behind them . And then, although the carseats would have been write-offs the minute they hit the ground at 110km/hour, he and The Sculptor ended up running up and down the side of the highway in the black of night trying to find them, while wild dogs barked at them from the bushes. True story. He finally got home, unpacked the trailer, and crawled into bed some 3 and a half luxurious hours before he had to get up for work.

Still, the final joke was on me. Of course, because we didn’t have the Love Bus and nobody could lend me a car big enough to take me and the five children under my care, I had to do the school pick up the following afternoon with five kids on foot in surprisingly warm weather. And my husband had the nerve to drive past in the airconditioned comfort of a taxi, stopping only to pick up Mr Justice – the one child who could travel with just a seatbelt, but also the one child who was capable of walking the long journey home by himself. 

I personally hope my husband never wakes up and wants curry for breakfast again.

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This post appears as part of the Car Sick Carnival over on “It’s A Small World After All”. I suggest you swing by there for more tales of travel horror, some of which contain vomit. Imagine! Vomit!

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It’s probably worth remembering this: never wear an op-shop top that you haven’t properly road-tested when you embark on a long car journey. Why? Well, your less-than-reliable vehicle might suddenly break down and you’ll end up having to hang out with three children at a country pub for hours and hours amidst the Friday Arvo drinking crowd with your breasts on the verge of popping out to join the revelry at any given minute. 

And yes, that’s what happened to me. Honestly, the hotted-up utes were pulling up thick and fast, as if one of the guys had sent a text around that said “Get your arse here. City housewife flashing tits at pub.”

My husband was, in the mean time, wrestling with his own demons. “Bacchus is testing me,” he said, referring to the God of Wine and All Alcohol-Related Fun whom he had foresaken for an entire month in the name of “Dry January”.  (For the record: my “Dry January” ended up being “Dry January Day” as I took much pleasure in star-jumping off that boring old wagon at my earliest convenience). It turns out that the pub we’d ultimately broken down in front of had its own micro-brewery and the roadside assistance company was on the phone was offering us free accommodation at the B&B next door.

“Be strong!” I urged, whilst secretly planning to order myself some tequila shooters at the earliest opportunity. After all, I’d been wrangling the kids in various locations (the car, a paddock, the pub) for many hours while he tried to fix the problem and sort things out with the roadside assistance people. And, let’s face it, there were more than a few men in the front bar who’d be willing to buy me and my potential wardrobe malfunction a drink or two. 

Anyway, in the end, nobody drank anything except water and I played “What’s the time Mr Wolf” with the kids on the verandah of the pub while those utes kept rolling in. And then the Mother of All Towtrucks came to take all five of us and our Love Bus those final 104 kilometres home. At over eight hours door to door, our original three hour tour had almost ventured into Gilligan Island territory – though, arguably, a coconut bra might have helped me out some.

As the tow-truck pulled up outside the house, some of our neighbours, upon hearing the commotion, came out to enjoy the show (the Love Bus being taken off the tow truck and not my breasts, apparently). “Yes, we’re home!” we announced to the neighbourhood at large. One neighbour was notable in his absence, however. The Mason across the road, who had sold us the Love Bus in gleaming new condition just three years ago, was no doubt watching from behind his lace curtains, looking at his beloved Tarago and saying “Oh, Mojo!! What have they done to you???” And if you didn’t get that reference, kindly take your eyes off my cleavage and go watch yourself some more Simpsons, please.

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