Thursday, 5 April 2012

Error Reporting Error

 ‘Caravan Diaries Part something or other’ is what this was supposed to be called.  The site opens at Easter, or April, whichever comes first (so I could, should, probably, have gone down a week ago).  The first visit’s always a bit of a chore: plumbing to be reinstalled, grass cut, hedge strimmed, patio furniture recovered from wherever the winter has redistributed it; not to mention tracking Joseph down and persuading him to reveal this year’s rent increase and accept a cheque after the customary discussion (something like “What, again?”  “It’s the landlord, see?”  “Yes, but – ”  “And there’s the VAT, see?”  “Yes, but – ” and so on).  But I thought Easter, caravan buddies’ll be down, catch up, wish each other happy new year, nip down the Wiseman’s for a snifter or three after tea…  And stare at the sea, pop seaweed bubbles, kick sand and start to ease back into that special brand of sanity.

The car thought otherwise.  Tuesday morning, halfway back home down the M4, there was a loud bleep.   “What’s that?” said my passenger.  Once upon a time I’d have said something like “read the fucking display, you silly cow,” but she’s 89 and old Yorkshire, and that wouldn’t do.  So I just said “seems to be an engine fault, power reduced”, because that’s what the fucking display said, and drove on.

The garage wanted to know if the display was amber or red.  I was pretty sure it was amber.  “Probably nothing serious, then.”  I thought eh?  Engine fault?  “But you’d better bring it in.”  Well, that had been my plan.  “Next Thursday?”  “Day after tomorrow?  That’s fine.”  “No, next Thursday, not this Thursday.”  Ah.  Of course, when I’d restarted the engine, the engine fault had somehow gone away and the power had come back.  “Probably a computer glitch.”  (That’s where the title of this post comes in, uncapping a gusher of philosophical speculation.)  “What about long journeys, then?”    “Probably best not.”

So here I am in a warm house in Reading, rather than a freezing caravan in Wales, regretting it.  The wonders of modern technology.


  1. I'd have gone for the long drive to Wales on the basis that I've never met an AA man I didn't like....

  2. I hate it when cars don't work. I'd stay put. But then, I'm not adventurous.

  3. A similar thing happened in the coach on my way to Heathrow. An amber warning brake light. They had a look at it at Stansted, decided it was probably fine and carried on.

  4. How come these things only ever happen when you're planning a long journey rather than just nipping to the shops? Frustrating!

  5. I had one of those recently. When we got completely fed up with resetting the display we took it to be inspected. Something to do with fuel additive.
    I hope you get another chance at the Caravan Diaries soon.

  6. Macy, I'm so not into AA men. I'm in the RAC.
    Roses, does anyone like it when cars don't work?? Apart from AA/RAC men, obviously.
    Caravan opening will be in a fortnight. Probably.

  7. Do what the professionals do, ignore it.
    Seriously, it is no good idea to throw more and more computer technology into cars. There are very few "mechanical" cars left.

  8. Did you read your horoscope that morning? Or read the tea-leaves? I believe there is a form of divination from the pattern corn-flakes form as they fall into the bowl. Might this have given you due warning?

  9. The computer got it right! I needed a new high pressure fuel pump! The car got it wrong - are HPFPs supposed to conk out after 30K miles? Goodwill claim methinks.
    BMW got it right - £700.