Well, I had a marvellous weekend visiting Penfold by the seaside – missing out on the snow but definitely not missing out on an excellent selection of gin, conversation, food and shopping.
However, on setting out for London last night, I realised that one of my headlights wasn't working. It was not yet dark. I had one hour of daylight left. The journey was more than one hour.
This put me on edge. Not least because driving with one headlight in the rain and twilight is less than fun, but also because it brought one of my biggest 'Things I can't hear' worries to the forefront of my mind.
Yep, my car has always been something that I can't hear. Sure I can hear the engine, but I can't hear the revs that well, which has resulted in me driving on the motorway for considerable distances in fourth gear, before my rapidly decreasing petrol gauge alerts me to this.
And I can't hear beeps or any of the strange noises that people say they hear their cars making shortly before they break down. I have never been privy to the sound that a tyre makes when it's going down or flat and the only thing I did hear in my old car was when the exhaust fell off, in the middle and started grinding along the road until I could pull over.
So last night, I was on edge. And, I decided that rather than just driving straight into London on the road I was coming up from the seaside on, I took the M25 to drive around to the road I wanted. I don't often do this. In fact, I don't think I have ever driven on this stretch of M25 in my car.
It's that weird orange/brown colour instead of black tarmac, which I know can be noisier than traditional road surfaces but as I pulled on and accelerated, my ears almost had a heart attack.
'Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang,' came the noise from my tyres.
'What the heck is that?' I panicked, slowing and pulling over in to the slow lane. The banging continued. It echoed through my little car. I opened the window, it didn't get worse. I checked the balance of my steering (as much as you can on a largely straight section of road with cars whizzing past in all directions) and whether the breaks worked evenly – hoping that all this would indicate whether I had a flat tyre.
But nothing except the banging seemed to indicate anything was wrong.
For the next 8 miles I barely breathed. I gripped the steering wheel. I considered pulling over to check everything – but I didn't want to die and the hard shoulder on the M25 is not exactly a safe haven. So instead, I muted my 'volume 58 on the car stereo' music and I strained my ears to try and decipher this sound I had never heard before.
And then the road went back to black. And the noise vanished. And as my ears searched in vain to hear any clue of something being wrong with car, there was nothing.
It was simply the road surface. A road surface that made my car so unbelievably noisy that I thought it was broken.
In complete disbelief I checked my car on arriving home and found all four tyres alive and well.
Still, at least now I know what this road surface sounds like in my little car. At least next time I find myself on an orange road, I won't panic and wonder if my car is about to fall apart like the ones in the cartoons.
Happy Monday peeps
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