Tub on the Run


The Curse of the Bank Holiday Weekend

Okay, that might be a little extreme, as I enjoyed chilling out on Monday after a busy weekend, but it definitely turned in to one of those weekends…

Last Friday night, Matt and I travelled up to Silverstone and stayed in the Travelodge ready for the following day’s marshalling.  It was the 750MC meeting, which is always a fantastic day of racing.  The day didn’t start off amazingly well, having forgotten my hair bobble.  For those who have been to Silverstone for racing (motorsport or running), you will know just how windy the track is and how essential a hair bobble is.  Thankfully, one of the ladies who I came across had a spare she could lend me which saved me having to use one of the proffered cable ties…  Then, after much rooting around my belongings, it turned out that I didn’t have a cap to wear.  Groan…  Cue sunburnt parting.  Sadly, I wasn’t on the best post in terms of teams either, so despite some really good racing, I didn’t feel that I had the best day.

We were at Thruxton for the BTCC meeting on Sunday (no television appearances for me this time though!), so off we trundled down the A34 to Winchester where we were staying.  My sister lives in Winchester, so we had planned to go out for tea.  As we were sat in traffic on the M3 waiting to turn off, my car had started making funny noises.  And not funny-ha-ha noises either.  Mind you, it had been warm and we had driven a reasonable distance by that point, so I reasoned that it could just be hot.  We checked in at the hotel a short time later and then hopped back into the car to my sister’s house.  Abandoning ship into her car, we were chauffeured to the pub for tea.

As I munched through my (disappointing) pulled pork burger, I could feel my face getting progressively tighter where my sunscreen had failed me.  My nose had become the glowing red beacon of ineffective sunscreen, casting a soft red hue in the cellar of The Royal Oak.  After some tiramisu and a cup of tea back at my sister’s, I felt a bit chirpier.  Alas the feeling did not last long, for as soon as I got back in the car to drive back to the hotel, an amber light of doom appeared on the dash.  Much gnashing of teeth and grumbling occurred while I flicked through my handbook to identify the malevolent amber glow, which turned out to be the power steering light.

Let me say now, I am a child born into the world of power steering.  The only vehicle that I own and have owned that doesn’t have power steering is my motorbike.  I have never driven a car that hasn’t had power steering.  As I reversed out of the space, it became apparent that yes, the power steering had gone and my car, usually light as feather, was now a full blown tank and had the manoeuvrability of a freightliner.  After cussing my way through the bends and praying for straight bits of road, eventually the light went off and the power steering returned.  Ahh… bliss.  Except for the nagging paranoia of “OH GOD WHAT IF IT FAILS MID-CORNER?!?!”.  From the comfort of the hotel, I called my parents.  Dad is a mechanic, and he would know what to do.  Except unfortunately, he was 120 miles away.  By the time I’d finished regaling my parents with my automotive woes, it had gone midnight and I was already grumping at having to get back in the thing that betrayed me (yes, I take it personally).  I was also internally berating myself for not belonging to the RAC or AA this year (“Oh no… my car never goes wrong, why would I need that!”).

Sunday morning came and I was up without too much issue, checking the car for any leaky patches and trying to work out where the power steering fluid reservoir and pump were*.  Mission failed, we hopped in and made our way to Thruxton where we were helping out on the marshal recruitment stand.  No warning light glowed and the power steering was fine.  A nice warm day followed, and we chatted to some friends and explained the role of a marshal to anyone who was interested.  We beat the crowds and started the journey home.  I could hear a pump thudding, knowing it was something power steering related, but unable to do anything about it.  We made it home okay, and as I parked the car, turning it to full lock obviously irritated it and lo – the power steering stopped and I had to park in a relatively tight space, sans assistance.

On Monday, I drove to my parents’ so Dad could take a look.  It turns out that the power steering fluid had run almost dry, and I need to check back whether this has ever been a service item.  Unfortunately, topping it up has not helped and so my car is left, wounded and sad, on my parents’ drive until next pay day when I can take it in.  Of course, it all comes in threes, and my tax and MOT are due this month too!

That has been quite enough excitement for one week, and I have been left wondering “is this what driving in the olden days was like?” (much to my parents’ dismay!).

* Just in case you too suffer the misfortune of having no power steering in a Volkswagon Fox, the reservoir is under the battery, down on the right hand side, near the headlamp unit.


Spotted – Tub on the run!

A terrible thing has happened.  I have been recognised whilst out on the run.  I wouldn’t have minded if the sighting had happened early in my run, but it was 5 minutes from the end.  I’d like to think that I looked gazelle-like and graceful, but suspect I looked more like a scarlet faced, lumbering hippopotamus (can hippopotami turn a shade of beetroot red?).  I still lapped everyone sat on the sofa though, so I don’t feel too bad. 

It was a tough run last night.  I had to kick myself out the door pretty hard.  It had been a really long, and pretty deflating day.  M and I had rushed up to mother-in-law’s on Saturday, as it was future-stepfather-in-law’s birthday.  It was a bit hectic on Saturday, with chores etc, then we had to head up to mother-in-law’s (she lives about an hour and a bit away).  She wanted us to come up for the Wales-England rugby match – we arrived late, and had a frosty reception.  I personally didn’t see too much of an issue – the match was still on, she hadn’t put food on, and we weren’t going to the pub to watch it.  Instead, we sat in a different living room, on an uncomfortable sofa, and watched it on a smaller TV than our own.  After the game, we headed out with the grandparents-in law too for an Indian.  It was a nice enough meal, though the restaurant was really noisy and it was difficult to hold a conversation.  We were late to bed on Saturday, and had to be up early yesterday morning for the marshals’ training day at Castle Combe.  The training didn’t go so well, and I felt very flat, which is unusual for me as I’m a real fan of Combe.  The training involved a scenario for a major incident, but there were so many of us, we couldn’t all be involved, so some of us (including me) were “spectators”.  That basically meant stand around, freezing in the snow and sleet, watching the others do stuff for nearly 3 hours.  Not pleasant.

Disclaimer - no dummies were hurt in this scenario exerciseFrom the "spectator's"  point of view

Disclaimer – no dummies were hurt in this scenario exercise
From the “spectator’s” point of view

I digress… Combined with the lasting cold from the morning, plus a busy weekend, I really wasn’t fancying a 28 minute slog.  I promised myself that if I got to 20 minutes, then I could come home.  Needless to say, I reached 20 minutes, then 28 minutes and decided to stop about 30 seconds later than Laura said to stop (I WAS going to make it to that next lamppost).  I walked home, ran a very hot bath, and let my muscles soak.  I’m finding that this penultimate week is really beginning to make my thigh muscles sore – outer thigh muscles specifically.  I suspect a foam roller will be an imminent purchase.

Thankfully it is pay day next Monday, and I have run out of bath bombs, so I will be heading to Lush on the Easter weekend to buy some more treats.