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France, Languedoc Roussillon, Aude

Carcassonne to Beccles - 0 km - Sunday 31st October 2010

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A routine journey until a flat car battery caused problems. Had to rejoin the AA after forgetting to renew 11 months earlier.

Diary - Top

The journey home was routine until reaching the Mid-Term parking at London, Stansted airport.

Like an idiot, Neil had left the car courtesy light on so the battery was as dead as a door nail. The jump leads had corroded so a normal jump start also failed. The Mid-Term parking people have an arrangement with the AA to jump start fools and after 10 to 20 minutes the van arrived and within minutes all seemed well. The very nice man from the AA warned Neil that the engine management computer might play up and indeed it did.

All seemed well until the slip road onto the A120 when the engine power failed at 30 mph limiting the car to that speed. The previous approach roads were all short and slow so there was no prior warning. The A120 is a high speed dual carriage way and 30 mph is not a safe speed so Neil stopped on the slip road, more or less out of the way of the traffic. Foolishly he turned off the engine to reboot the management computer but there was not yet sufficient battery charge to restart it. Indeed the hazard warning lights failed after a few minutes. This is an example of high tech information technology systems being a damned nuisance. The car was limited to 30 mph for no good reason but the car management systen did not have sufficient clue to turn off the courtesy light. Hate - rage - software developers. (Neil also develops software).

After another call to the AA (thankfully the mobile phone worked), finding out that Neil had forgotten to renew his membership and taking out a new and much more expensive menbership, the same nice man came and repeated the earlier procedure. This time the engine management computer forgot the battery had been flat and worked just fine. The AA service was really good at this point. Neil was escorted to the next layby twice to check that all was well before being sent on his way.

The rest of the journey was uneventful and the car started just fine the next morning.

Unexpected extra costs this holiday: EUR 100 for a taxi because of the French rail strike plus GBP 100 for being an idiot and forgetting to renew the AA membership.

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