Tough Call


Life can be tough and unforgiving. Moments come along which demand hard decisions. I have just had a 'moment.' One when I have had to strip emotion and irrational thinking out of the process and do the right thing. We all face such calls but knowing it is a common experience makes it no easier on the soul or the conscience. 

There is a time when young sparky things grow and mature into older girls with their creaks, strange noises and need for constant attention. They, in fact, reach a point where they go beyond economic sustainability. That is, they cost more to maintain than the value they give. Saying goodbye is hard though. So many good times, so many memories, so many shared experiences. Going for a younger model is not a decision taken lightly, by anyone, but sometimes you know it is the right thing to do. 

A fond farewell then to HG55 WWV. I've never owned a car for so long or done so much with one. 205,000 miles and a huge chunk of shared family time. Who could forget the glorious fishing road trips, the hundreds and hundreds of school runs on Sunday nights, the hell that was the Paris ring road, the voice from the back seat on the M 25 saying, "Dad, there's a policeman driving up beside you and he's waving at you." The truth is, I'm saying goodbye to a big part of our little lives and that kind of hits home. 

I was actually going to authorise the service work until the nice gentleman from probably the best Land Rover specialists in the south called me and said, "I'm so sorry Mr Crumble, in my haste I embarrassingly neglected to forward page 2." Page 2 wasn't good. The first of sixteen items was "Front suspension lower arms worn; £795.52." Cumulatively, the decision was made for me, no matter how much I railed against the injustice of engineering wear and tear. 

So, for the first time in probably twenty-two years, I am without a Land Rover Discovery, having owned several. With the replacement cost knocking on the door of £70k for the new model, (with bits), it may be some time before I have another. The other old girl is though, hanging on. Not so easily replaced.                                             

Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall

Yesterday was an interesting day but actually, the fun actually started the evening before on the train to Waterloo.

Whilst on my way to a dinner in aid of the fantastic Children's Trust I received a call from the Coastguard saying the US Coastguard had received a distress signal from the Golden Arc Expedition. That was interesting because the expedition finished 8 weeks ago and one of the boys is now in Barcelona and the other is in New Zealand. After a flurry of calls to locations east and south we established that the signal must have come from the VHF radio which was stolen in Puerto Rico back in November. Whilst no one would wish ill on anyone at sea there is a certain karma there. Mrs Flashbang relaxed and we went to dinner.

During dinner I discovered that my imaginative and audacious plan for Mrs Flashbang's birthday present the next day had one minor flaw. I didn't have the winning raffle ticket. I wondered if I would still have a wife the next morning.

The next morning I was relieved to find I still had a wife and lucky me, a flat tyre. It was raining very hard. I called recovery and a jolly man appeared an hour later. It was still raining. The jolly man stopped being the life and soul when he split the locking nut when trying to remove it, 'it's very common on Land Rovers sir.' I've been driving them for 30 years but you learn something new every day. With the wheel stuck he called the recovery truck and I wait for two hours. It was raining just a bit harder when they came and took my car away to the garage for repair. I was left to ponder just what the cost of 'well, its a very tricky and niggly job sir,' will be.

I had a quick lunch with a friend and we laughed about it all.

I stopped laughing when I returned home. I could hear the dogs were distressed. That would be because of the water pouring out of the front door. There was a lot of water. Burst pipes will do that. Four hours later, I finished the initial clean up and waited for the plumber. Happy Birthday plans were amended somewhat.

Still we said, 'no one got hurt.'

Just then daughter called. Daughter has always wanted to fly in a helicopter. She had just ticked that box being medevaced off a Swiss mountain with a suspected broken arm. 

Poured an agricultural sized gin and Mrs Flashbang said, 'What else could possibly go wrong?' 'Well,' I thought to myself quietly, 'it is only quarter past eight.'