So the plan was to get some petrol, drive up to Zouch and walk along the canal towards Sutton Bonington, charging the battery in the process. I got my gear together and went out, turned the key in the ignition and – yep, you’ve guessed it, it was already flat. The engine wheezed once or twice but despite my furious pumping of the accelerator it failed to ignite. Not to worry! I have my trusty jump leads in the boot for just such an eventuality as this. I knocked next door and they came out and got me started. So that was that problem sorted.
Zouch was unsurprisingly very muddy when I got there but I parked up and walked a couple of miles, then turned and came back. It’s a lovely walk and in the summer I went further and came back via the very picturesque village of Sutton Bonington. Nottingham University’s botanical department has a plantation of trees between the canal and the village, which is lovely especially in autumn. And back to the car; a slight anxiety about turning round without dumping it in the canal (there was never any real risk of it but even a theoretical risk is enough for my mind to present me with scenarios of doom) and so home, where a worried OH wondered where I was since, the car engine being left running, I’d had no time to say goodbye before leaving.
I don’t know if good fences make good neighbours but good jump-leads certainly help. I always remember a story I heard when I lived in Leigh about a guy who was always baiting the police (the boys in blue were not popular up there since every second person was on some kind of hallucinogen) – anyway, this guy marched into the police station and said, ‘I’d like to report a flat battery.’
‘That’s not an offence, sir,’ replied the desk sergeant.
‘No,’ explained the guy, ‘it’s flat.’
After a few irritating exchanges he took the officer outside and showed him a car that was completely squashed – with, yes, a very flat battery. The officer was not amused; whether he did the guy for wasting police time is not recorded.
And that was my afternoon.