Safely home...psst..look at the number plates: elle est francaise!!

Safely home… psst… look at the number plates: elle est française!

Owning a 2CV has always been a dream of mine, but now I am the proud owner of this little red beauty, I realise the drawbacks of what is now considered to be a vintage car: it has developed an interesting problem.

It starts as good as gold, but when she is warm she doesn’t start. After being stranded several times and having to wait by the roadside until the engine cooled, we called Dave the Mechanic.

Mark also decided that now was the time I should have a mobile phone.

I have never had a mobile phone and have resisted any suggestions that I should have one.

Now, Mark is getting quite insistent. Annoying, even.

I like to leave the house feeling free… I am on my own and no one can contact me.

BUT, as Mark points out, ONE day I may need to contact someone. I am not convinced. However, I am overruled and a small grey phone arrives. I press ‘2’ for home and ‘8’ for Mark’s mobile. That is all I need to know.

Dave the Mechanic arrived this morning. He changed various bits and leads.

“I’m going to another job in Malestroit”, he said.

“Take her out for twenty minutes, come home, and see if she restarts. I’ll pop in on my way home.”

“I’ll put your mobile on your car seat,” Mark said.

Great! An excuse to take the 2CV for a spin!

Iona and Joe put the roof down and we were off… As we had nowhere to go and we couldn’t stop anywhere in case she didn’t restart, we decided to go on an adventure… Iona and Joe were in charge of our destiny.

“Take the next left,” Iona shouted.

“Then the next right”, Joe added.

Soon we were hopelessly lost and down a dead-end road.

In reverse, we shuddered back up the single-track lane. Suddenly, the little 2CV shook and stopped.

“We’ve been driving for exactly 20 minutes.” Iona pointed out.

The test. Would she restart?

There we were, in the middle of nowhere, on a single-track dead-end road.

“Fingers crossed everyone.”

YES… She started but I couldn’t get her out of reverse. She was stuck in reverse. I tried to reverse but she wouldn’t budge. She wasn’t going ANYWHERE.

What to do? I felt the small grey mobile phone in my pocket. I pressed ‘2’.

Within 30 minutes, Dave the Mechanic and Mark had come to our rescue, and Dave was dismantling the gearbox. The poor 2CV was stuck in 2 gears and Dave could not ‘unjam’ them without totally dismantling the engine.

What to do? It was now 11.55. Five minutes before the lunchtime shutdown.

We had to get her home. She couldn’t be towed. We needed a trailer.

Thankfully, we have breakdown insurance…

Whilst Mark was on the phone, the impossible happened… a great big yellow JCB and 2 cars turned down this single-track dead-end road. Three grumpy men approached. Not wanting to be kept from their lunch, they looked inside the engine, muttered something to each other, and literally picked up my poor little car and carried her into the ditch.

Dave the Mechanic and I couldn’t believe our eyes… I scurried around on the road collating the screws from the gearbox cover.

Mark returned. Assistance was on its way, so Mark went home with Iona, and Joe and I settled down to wait for the breakdown lorry.

By 1.30 pm, I could see yellow flashing lights and soon my sad little 2CV was home and being bounced off the back of the breakdown truck…

“Convinced about the merits of a mobile phone?” Mark muttered, a little too smugly.

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