Best laid plans

I woke up yesterday determined to break out of my Cocoon and go on a “non-essential” journey. My destination was Arboretum in Carlow, about an hour’s drive from my home. The plan was to have lunch there, take a walk in their very pleasant area beside the garden centre and indulge myself with a little retail therapy. Zoe (my little electric car) was fully charged up and rearing to go and I was on the road before 12 – just nice timing for lunch.

I have been to Arboretum a number of times, but each time I have gone the sat-nav has taken me a different route. I had the destination saved on the car system so I decided to go for that one. I also put it into Google Maps – but Google seemed to be having a bit of a problem with the thundery cloud cover so wasn’t much help.

So I set off, leaving my common sense at home! Zoe brought me way down into Kilkenny and at Ballyragget I was directed to Castlecomer. I had some misgivings, but Zoe seemed to know where she was going so I just carried on. Past Castlecomer and Zoe was starting to say I was getting close, so I started to relax a bit.

At somewhere called “The Ridge” disaster struck! Going through the town I hit what I thought must have been a stone on the roadway and within a hundred metres Zoe told me I had a puncture. I pulled in to a convenient gateway and got out to examine the damage. Zoe is a modern girl and doesn’t clutter up her boot with spare wheels or such like. She has a trendy aerosol that is supposed to do a temporary repair to the wheel but I have never used this feature before so it was time to get out the manual! The instructions looked a bit complicated but I had no choice but to have a go! I had got as far as removing the required equipment from the boot when a Good Samaritan arrived in the person of the local postman who quickly figured it out and we waited anxiously for the wheel to sort itself out! Alas no! It took everything the little aerosol had to offer, and with an ominous hiss released all the air again. This kind man went back to The Ridge where there is a garage to see if they could help, but they couldn’t, so he went on his way and I was once more alone on the empty road with a very sick Zoe.

The AA was my only hope. The number for the AA is on a sticker on my windscreen so I tried to call it – but the number was unobtainable! What was going on? Then I remembered there had been something on the radion about 1800 numbers! There was also instructions to download an App – so I did that, but there was the complication of passwords and by now between hunger and stress I couldn’t cope!

Then I spotted a land-line number on the window sticker for UK access – but since it was a Dublin number I reckoned it might do! Success! They logged the call and said I should be able to follow the progress of my rescue van on the App if I could get it going. Of course, I had no idea where I was! The Postman had told me I was at “Daly’s Cross, The Ridge, Oldleighlin” but this didn’t help. I managed to get Google Maps to tell me my co-ordinates so the AA was on its way! One hour seventeen minutes was the estimated arrival time. It was now almost 2 pm so my heart sank. I was also getting very hungry but there was nothing to do but wait. Sitting in the car I fiddled around with the AA App and eventually got it set up and miraculously it immediately showed my “Rescue Call” and the expected arrival time but when I looked at the map it was showing the van had not left Dublin so I had no expectation that they would arrive any time soon.

So I played a game of Sudoku to while away the time – but the map still showed the van in Dublin! There is a button that says “Call the Centre” so that was what I did! They reassured me that my Rescuer was only about 10 or 15 minutes away and miraculously he arrived! I had thought that my only option was to be towed home or to a garage but they have a much cleverer solution! Many modern cars have dispensed with the spare wheel so my situation was not unique! The AA man was able to fit a special wheel to my car, while I rang around to find the nearest Tyre Shop with the correct tyre size available! Then I just had to follow him to the tyre shop and get a new tyre fitted, while he just retrieved his special wheel and was quickly on his way! Before he left, he advised me to continue with my day’s plan. When I looked at my watch it was only a quarter past three! It had only taken a bit over an hour to sort me out! I decided to take his advice, since I was now close to my original destination and I definitely needed food and retail therapy to help me recover from the trauma!

Arriving in Arboretum I treated myself to a large slice of coffee cake and a delicious coffee and then took a stroll round the garden there before going near the plant sales! Feeling much better now I was able to recall what I had in mind when I left home a lifetime ago! My research the previous night into how I could move roses to a place where roses had been planted before had told me that lots of my own compost and some mycorrhizal fungi for the roots of the new roses would ensure their survival so that was number one on the shopping list. I also wanted to get some Sempervivum to plant up my vertical planters where the Auriculas were no longer happy! I also picked up some horticultural sand so I can divide up the sempervivum! I got 10 little pots but I need 36 to fill the planter! However, I selected plants with lots of little ones round the edges so I think I shall have plenty!

Driving home I seemed to have recovered my common sense, because I just headed the way I knew and got home safely. The glass of wine with my dinner was never so welcome!

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