Unsurprisingly as I hadn’t driven the beast for a month, when I jumped in and turned the key Bertie refused to start: he coughed and spluttered and generally exhibited all the signs of a flat battery. OH and I proceeded to wheel him out onto the road but got stuck at the kerb; fortunately a helpful pair of passers-by helped out and pushed me at alarming speed back down the road and then up again, enabling Bertie to splutter into life. Pausing only to give a jolly thumbs-up I took him for a long drive to charge him up and then to B&Q to stock up on seeds and compost for the impending growing season.
It was very heartening to see people stop and offer to help us, and the incident also reminded me of an incident years ago. In the small town of Leigh, Lancashire I knew a guy known as Billy Keys, so called because he could get in anywhere. Opinion was divided on Billy – to most people he was a character; to the police he was a serial offender. Billy liked winding the police up and one day he went to the station and told the desk sergeant, ‘I’d like to report a flat battery.’
‘That’s not an offence, sir,’ replied the sergeant.
‘No,’ said Billy. ‘It’s flat.’ And he to show them a car which had been completely flattened (I forget how.) They were not amused.
In case anyone’s interested I bought tomatoes (Gardener’s Delight) red peppers, chilli peppers, spinach, butter beans, runner beans and Maris Piper potatoes. And three very heavy bags of compost which a very nice young man helped me to put into the boot.
Oo, young maaaaaaan!