Wednesday morning, May 18, 2016. Destination, Dovedale, via Ilam, in the Peak District National Park. Dovedale is about fifteen miles east of our starting point, Leek, Staffordshire. Whenever I see the road sign for "Ilam", I always think of eleven o'clock in the morning. Coincidentally, that's around the time we arrived at Ilam on our way to Dovedale.
This was going to be a three day camping adventure for my son, Tristan and his good friend, Dominic aka "Dom." Tristan had suggested I take the shorter yet, oh so narrow, winding road via Ilam, to get to Dovedale. A road so narrow that whenever a vehicle came the other way, I had to take evasive action, pull way wide to the edge and avoid upsetting the sheep. I will refrain from any sheep jokes.
Here they are, all ready to go on their camping trip. Dom is on the left and that makes Tristan on the right. The photo was taking from a very wet Dovedale car park, which you might refer to as a parking lot.
Before leaving, I told them if they needed a ride back, I would come and get them. They had planned walking the fifteen miles back to Leek.
As I headed back out of Dovedale, I decided to take the easier route back to Leek. A road somewhat wider than the one we came in on. Then I got to a crossroads. One way indicated Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the other, Buxton, Derbyshire. Knowing Buxton very well, I thought, what the heck, head towards Buxton for a different, scenic drive back.
Then it happened. My very smooth running Chevrolet, suddenly became a violent, trembling beast of a car. The car was shaking real bad and I heard a sound that made me feel like I was in the cab of a steam train. Wasn't quite sure whether to apply the accelerator or look for some coal to shovel. This went on for about five minutes. Then the car ran smoothly for the next five minutes. I was feeling somewhat panicky but I did maintain my composure.
The drive to Buxton seemed to take forever and then some. The car continued with its five minutes of smooth driving and five minutes of living in an earthquake zone. Buxton, where for art thou, Buxton. Finally after about thirty minutes, I arrived in Buxton.
I knew that the journey from Buxton to Leek would require me driving the A53, one of the steepest stretches of road in the UK. Predictably, as I headed up the steep road, my car started acting up again. Somehow, I did continue to stay calm. I visualised the end of the thirteen mile stretch that would get me to Leek and to a mechanic I trusted.
I explained the symptoms to the mechanic and I got my Chevrolet booked in for the next morning, Thursday morning.
After taking my car to the mechanics, I waited for the outcome. Of course, my car needed one part and the part wasn't going to arrive until Friday morning. The part, to bore you, was called a caliper, which is part of the braking system. How odd that such weird happenings from my car could be related to the braking system.
On Friday morning, my phone rang. It was my son asking me to come and get them. At this point, I still didn't know if my car had been fixed. I explained to my son what had happened to my car. I told him I'd phone him back. Luckily, the car was fixed. Within the hour, I had paid for the repair and got the two dudes in what was now a very smooth running car.
I know, by my standards, I rambled on in this post. To summarise, which is a good starting point for anybody who, heaven forbid, skims through my posts, all turned out well. I stayed calm. That, in itself, is a momentous step forward in my ongoing challenge of not allowing anxiety to overwhelm me.
As for Dom and Tristan, they had fun during three days of torrential rain.