Friday, 16 November 2007

Time for a change

The trick to running a banger is to judge the point at which it is about to expire and find a replacement before you are left stranded at the roadside. My own judgement is not quite perfected; I underestimated by between 24 and 48 hours the amount of life left in my old Citroën BX.

For some time the cooling system has been leaking slowly. My solution was to keep topping it up as required and since the rate of topping up was modest I thought it was a fix that would keep me going until January. I would then have taken advantage of the post-Christmas lull in the secondhand car market to find something to keep me going for another couple of years. But some instinct told me that I didn’t have that much time and when it turned out that a friend of a friend had an old car they no longer needed, I was able to do a deal and I pick the car up tomorrow.

In the meantime my car appeared to soldier on without fault or complaint. I was looking forward to maybe even selling the car and recovering some of the cost of the new one. What a great plan it was; until yesterday evening when the low coolant light came on when I wanted to drive home. I was able to top up the radiator from supplies I was carrying and thought that would be the end of the matter. Five minutes later the light came on again and I stopped to top the radiator up, after all it was probably only an air lock in the system caused by filling too quickly the first time. Resuming my journey, barely 5 more minutes passed before the same thing happened again and as I had exhausted my supply of coolant I had no choice but to try and get home. By avoiding traffic and avoiding the need to go very quickly I made it home but it was a stressful business, listening for any sign of impending disaster, not something I want to experience again. If only the fault had appeared today I would have been able to keep all my work commitments, had it manifested itself tomorrow it would have barely registered as an inconvenience.

It was a very sad ending to a day that had been thoroughly pleasant. The morning had been crisp with a low-lying fog over Warwick. My mid day journey took me up the Fosse Way from Wellesbourne to the roundabout where it crosses the A425 Leamington to Southam road. I had the window open to admit cool, fresh air, I had the heater directed to keep my feet warm, I had a respectable turn of speed and I had one of the best drives that old BX has ever given me.