My history with the AA is not very good. But I have to say due to recent events it’s improving. I was a member some 8 years ago when H’Boo was a baby and at this time, when I needed them the most, she was as babies often do, soundly sleeping in my car. She was still sleeping as I arrived at my Auntie’s house. I knocked on the door to check she was in before bundling her out of the car when, my central locking kicked in and stayed kicked in, not letting me back into the car (fabulous!). Well my Auntie was in but I wasn’t thinking about a cup of tea or even biscuits at this point and naturally a call to the so called 4th emergency service was made. I didn’t have my membership details to hand and my reg. No is usually all that is needed anyway (not on this day). No membership number – no service! So my Auntie tried ‘her’ membership details (all singing all dancing membership she had) – couldn’t find her! So her visiting Brother (who lived round the corner tried) but he was less than a quarter of a mile from home, so although they could find his membership details – he couldn’t have any service today either!
So with a 3 month old baby locked in my car and no way of getting her out but to smash a window (not a good idea with a baby in the car) I called the ‘real’ emergency services - 10 mins later local PC turns up and tweeks his way into my car – voila!
After complaining to the AA, I got an apology and a refund of my membership – not very reassuring as this also cancelled my membership!
My other half convinced me to return to them a year later, saying “It’s not a good idea to have a little one in car and get caught out”. I’m not saying how well that conversation went down considering the above – but I did re-join!
It was about a year later when my car broke down late at night while returning home. So, I was stuck on a motorway bridge approx. 15 miles from home at just after midnight, when I called the AA. Mmmh, put together the words ‘about a year later and just after midnight’ to work out the response of the AA when I did call. Yes, you guessed it – 1 years membership expired literally minutes before and so, sorry – no service! This resulted in calling a friend to jumpstart my car to get me home.
I have got by since then (H’Boo is now 11 years) in the knowledge that if I’m really stuck, I know someone who can tow me or jumpstart my car – but if going away on hols (we get the short term cover).
Today (Monday), I did something really stupid, but it didn’t seem like it was obvious at the time. I have never needed to lift the bonnet of my 4×4 (given that Daddy Boo owned it before me and he regularly serviced it). Today, there was salt on the road and my water supply ran out for screen washing, so today I needed to go under the bonnet. On filling up with petrol at Sainsbury’s, I pulled over from the petrol pumps (wise choice) and when asked was handed a bottle of water (the usual water supply had frozen up in the pipes). On opening the bonnet I was faced with lots of different capped holes to fill (that’s a 4×4 for you)
and Daddy Boo said it was a yellow cap. So, I looked for the yellow cap and plastic cylinder to fill, which was in same place as my previous car – easy! Well I thought so until I put water in and golden fluid spilled out. Oh crap! That was never water. Oh No – that turned out, in fact to be brake fluid. Note to anyones diary that feels they need to add this (everyone I would suggest) – water does not boil at the same temperature as brake fluid. Translated – if you put water in your brake fluid, you are screwed!
Well, you can imagine the fluster, the language and the drama that followed. No AA membership, Daddy Boo in meetings and stopping overnight in London (which is not very North) and Honie’s Daddy about an hour away, Sainsbury’s giving me grief that the petrol tanker was due and they would get a £300 fine if it could not drop it’s petrol load with them and me blocking its path (although not the petrol forecourt) – I was not willing to start my vehicle to move it thus using it’s brakes and for some reason they did not want to push a 2.5 tonne vehicle and use themselves as brakes (really!).
I started to ring anybody and everybody (inc, @kateab) to see who had AA membership that allowed them to be a passenger and get assistance. My luck was not in and neither were some of those I rang! One very nearby friend had been at Sainsbury’s only 5 mins earlier and got called away, as her son was ill at school – not a good idea to come to ‘my’ rescue. Eventually, my Sister was to be the heroine of the hour, but was about half an hour away. So I sat tight, Dad en-route just in case and K’boo (3 years) playing in the car pretending to drive (having the time of her life, though disgruntled that HonieMummy would not leave her bouncy cd’s playing).
An hour and a half had passed since the saga began, Dad had already arrived (my Sister fashionably late, something about bunny rabbits) when an AA driver pulled onto the forecourt.
“Great” I toddled over and asked “Are you my man” – “No, I’m just here to finish my paperwork – there’s a 3-6 hour wait for assistance”. My cries of “Great” became “Grrrrrreat”.
I explained that my Sister was a member and had made a call (my Sister being nearby) and that I had a wee one with me. I think it was more to do with luck than my fluttering eyelashes that he stopped me midstream and said “I’m gonna help you. Even if you wanted to join today – you can’t, this is our busiest day and the computers are jammed.” And he did!
Brake fluid supply pumped out, new fluid put in, he convinced me it
was OK to drive back home and explained to Honie’s Daddy that the rest could be done back at home (draining brake fluid) which made sense to an engineer and time served mechanic of the olden days ) and pleased me as that was a killer of a saving in garage fees.
So, despite him saying “I’m not allowed to” I tipped the AA guy and gave my Sis a box of chocs and made my way (rather cautiously home).
The nice man – very, very nice man from the AA, gave me card with his name on suggesting I join them.
You know what – I might!
P.S. Tuesday morning after walking K’Boo to nursery (taking half an hour) Honies Daddy rang me to say he was poorly and what with the snow on the ground could not drain my brake fluid today (which is understandable and I would not have let him do it) – so local garage called and it’s £50 inc VAT.
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