Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 22, 2011

Thursday, 21st April 2011 – spoilt and changed plans

I gave myself plenty of time to find my way across the city to the south eastern suburb of Mt Waverley, where this morning’s funeral for our late ‘friend’ Jean was to be conducted at local Uniting Church. I generally pride myself on being able to competently find my way around the metropolis of Melbourne and to be quite efficient at the reading of a street directory. My mistake this morning was in placing reliance on a Google map which I had hurriedly obtained before I left the office yesterday!  Upon reflection, I’m convinced that the regular maps from the street directory is a much more reliable means of tracking where one has to go.

However, with the aid of Google, I was quite confident of my destination, and within about 15 minutes driving of my intended destination, I had plenty of time prior to the 10am starting time.  My first mistake was not interpreting the Google map accurately, which generally highlights your main route, but gives little reference to the roads, etc, in between that main route!   So eventually, the main road that I thought I was on, and off which was the church I was looking for, well put simply, I couldn’t find the relevant side streets that were so clearly marked as being just off the main road. As my frustration and annoyance grew at my obvious inability to find what I was looking for, I could see all of that spare time I had, quickly ticking away, and it was becoming obvious that I was not going to reach the church by 10am!  Ten minutes out, and I finally realised, that in the midst of this hectic mid morning traffic, I was searching along the wrong road! Off we went, this time to the correct destination. My next mistake was making one further stop to confirm my bearings, and the street I was looking for.  Mind you, the outcome would have been the same, wherever I had finally stopped, preferably at the church!  Already late, I set off again  –  or tried to.  The car would not restart! Couldn’t even get the gear stick out of the ‘park’ position!   ‘I don’t believe it’!! It appeared to be a problem with the battery, and a look under the bonnet didn’t reveal anything else as an obvious problem.

Now our motoring service organisation – the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria [RACV] –  is a very useful organisation for motorists to turn to in times of need, such as now. The downside to that is usually the time you have to wait to get that service. Thankful that before I’d left home, I’d made a point of recharging my mobile phone, my call to the RACV involved the usual discussion about exactly where I was, what the problem was etc. I must admit that the lady on the phone must have quickly recognised the frustration in my voice – she was calm and measured in her approach, and remained that way through my somewhat impatient attempts to describe where I was.  The usual story  – a service van will be with you in 20-40, but if it is going to be longer, would you like us to text you? That was a warning signal immediately!  Incidentally, by now I’d given up any idea of getting to the funeral I had been heading for!  Sure enough, right on 40 minutes, and my phone buzzes!  ‘We apologise for the delay and expect that a Patrol will arrive within 60 minutes [by 11.49am]”. I’d first called shortly after 10am!!  Well, already desperately in need of getting to a toilet, that was just not good enough, I couldn’t  ‘survive’ another hour, so I rang the RACV, and told them, I was going to have to be away from the car for 10 minutes, so if the Patrol turns up in that 10 minutes, I won’t be here. The ‘voice’ on the phone promised to ensure the delay was beyond at least 10 minutes!!  My destination was a major hotel that I knew was around the corner, but a preferable alternative was on the opposite corner – a MacDonald’s restaurant – didn’t buy anything, but was in and out, and back to the car within the specified time. Another 10 minutes and my  ‘rescuer’ arrived  – rather young, but hopefully he knew what he was doing!

Anyway, to cut a over-long boring story, it took two jump-starts [with a modern looking piece of equipment] to get the car going again, but with the warning – the battery is 4 years, normal life span, might be an idea to get a new one asap.  Oh yes, on the Thursday afternoon before Easter?  At least now, the engine was running, the car in gear, and I had no intention of switching the ignition off until I had reached Northcote [my work place]. That happened about 45 minutes later, but I drove straight to our regular service repairer first, not optimistic that he could help me at short notice!  Fifteen minutes later, I  drove away, new ‘pricey;’ battery installed, and hopefully, problem solved.

That was the spoilt plan – I didn’t get to pay my respects to an old friend!

The change of plan later was of my own doing. Bit of shopping for the Easter weekend when I reached Sunbury, and home, still in advance of Susie, originally expected Tuesday night, but had decided to stay up in Bendigo for a couple of extra days. She went out to play volleyball tonight, which I hoped was not a bad move –  most of the team was associated with her ex-boyfriend’s family, but she did not seem concerned, convinced he would not be there! Presumably he wasn’t, as she returned home later, in a reasonably mood, aided by the fact of a rare win in their match!

As with Christmas, I generally like to do a special program on the radio to acknowledge the fact of Easter, and recognise the original significance of the ‘celebrations’, but the only ‘free on air’ opportunity I would have was at midnight tonight – wanted to go in after the last Thursday presenter had \finished, and present a program of sacred music, basically for Good Friday, which the time would be by then. However, I’d not made any commitment about this, and from memory had only mentioned to one listener, that I might do a midnight shift, for that purpose. However, with doubts about whether anyone would be interested in listening to classical religious music at that time of night, and my own ability to wait until then after a tiring and frustrated day, I changed my mind. I was not expected, except by one, and I let her know through someone else, that I’d not be on air.  The little response I received back from that listener was rather heart warming –  :To Bill, the hours of pleasure you have given me, don’t you dare feel bad [about not going on air], many Sunday mornings, i could not get out of bed when my legs didn’t want to work, and then I would say, bills on air, much love, take care, your well being and health is worth more than being on air, as much as we all love you..”

So with those thoughts in mind, I gave away any plans to do a midnight shift, this time!!


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