Driving home from London last week with the two monkeys asleep in the back of the car I got a puncture – we have had plenty of punctures in the past but on this occasion I didn’t have my big strong husband with me to jump out of the car and change the tyre for me and no we do not have road-side assistance. The result obviously was that I had to change the tyre myself and although I consider myself fairly self-sufficient this is not something I have ever done before. I rang Jon at work and he had to talk me through changing the tire it went something like this…
- Get everything out of the boot and onto the hard shoulder of the M3 – overnight bags, travel cot, pram, coats, toys, blanket, shopping bags, random beach shelter and a Frisbee!
- Pull up the base of the boot and remove the spare tyre and tools.
- Return most of the contents to the boot to reduce the risk of a motorway pile-up caused by our floral picnic blanket taking flight across the motorway.
- Take the little cap off the front of the tyre that hides the nuts.
- Attach the tyre iron to the nut and un-screw – simple? No it involved me holding onto the roof of the car whilst jumping up and down on the tyre iron to release the nuts (insert swearing and cursing until complete – nothing like the image above!)
- Remove the wheel – I discovered that wheels are quite heavy especially when they are boy-racer wheels that belong to an Audi estate car!
- I must admit that by this stage I had broken into a slight perspiration and but was also feeling that I was accomplishing the task, I was just about to start putting the new wheel on when I was startled by a man saying hello. So startled in fact that I let out a little yelp and dropped my phone and experience a minor heart attack as I did not want to smash the screen – the screen was fine you will be pleased to hear. Now the man must have thought that he had frightened the poor little lady and whipped out his ID double quick – he was a member of the army and asked if I needed assistance. I told Jon (who had been on the phone to me all this time) that my knight in shining armour had arrived and hung up on him. The army man (we will call him The General) put the new wheel on, gave me a little talk about the importance of getting the bad tyre fixed, assured me that the wheel would be safe to drive even though it was only hand-tight, mentioned the possibility of roadside assistance or a warning triangle to put further up the road, wished me a safe journey home and returned to his car.
- I then set-to removing the contents of the boot once more before putting the bad wheel in the bottom and re-loading the boot once more. I was just about to close the lid when The General returned and handed to me – wait for it – a wet-wipe to clean my hands! I didn’t want to say that I literally had seven million in the car with two children under three in tow you are never more than arms reach away from a pack of wet-wipes. I took the wipe gratefully and thanked him once more for his help.
- Beau, Wyn and I then drove very slowly home (maximum speed 50 mph with a space-saver tire) – the entire journey took us 5 and 1/2 hours door to door.
Two things stuck me as I drove home, firstly as grateful as I was to The General I think I had completed the hardest part of the task and was feeling quite pleased with my progress when he arrived – I think I would have quite liked to have completed the task by myself and secondly how I reacted by saying to Jon that my knight in shining armour had arrived – like I needed to be rescued – I shouldn’t need to be rescued.
As a result of my motorway adventure I have complied an (incomplete) list of things that we should know how to do by the time we’re in our mid-thirties or in my case by now.
Things we should be able to do by now.
1. Change a tyre
2. Change a fuse in a plug and re-wire it
think back to school I sure we covered it
3. Change a washer to fix a dripping tap
very annoying the drip, drip, drip
4. Know where the fuse board is in your home and how to reset a tripped switch
this one is particularly important when the chances are it will be your hair-straighteners which will have tripped the fuse in the first place!
5. Iron a shirt
this one is especially aimed at myself because I do not iron
6. Sew a button back on
I can do it just don’t look too closely
7. Open a bottle of champagne without wasting a drop
this I can do
8. Mix a couple of great cocktails
a life skill which will take you far
9. Use chop-sticks
you just look foolish if you can’t as your noodles slide down into your lap
10. Smile for the camera
just smile for goodness sake!
sometimes it’s all you need to do – keep your mouth shut and open your ears!
12. Tell a good story or one good joke
One good story or a joke will get the conversation flowing
13. Multi-task graciously
there is a lot to do no use complaining just get on with it!
14. Keep a simple house-plant alive
we will call these orchids
15. Keep a couple of children alive
so far so good!
Like I said it is an incomplete list but a jumping off point – what have I missed?