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11 March 2010

Tuesday, 9 March.

So, I'd planned for this blog entry to be all about the wonders of practice in the UK with pictures of my well stocked vehicle and perfectly organized “kit” along with the beautiful scenery, lovely clients, and sturdy horses. I should learn right off that one should never assume!

After a week of driving the Micra and riding along with the directors (bosses) of the stud (reproductive) practice, my snazzy station wagon finally arrived! OK, sexy it isn't, but it's certainly practical and functional considering the status of the roads and their car swallowing pot holes! I got my “kit” assembled, raided the random plastic drawers and containers in the storeroom, stocked my portable fridge, and was ready to rumble! I had several appointments booked in the diary (schedule) and I was free!!!

So, I managed to see a laminitc pony, a pregnant mare, a two-year old for his annual “jabs” (vaccinations), and an add-on dental, all before lunch when I met up with one of the directors to take some field radiographs (they prefer not to take field films as they have a perfectly useful clinic with radiology suite and full time radiographer). While following the director to the call, my clutch became “stuck” twice and he played round the roundabout until I managed to catch up with him as I did not know our final destination. All seemed fine, though, and we arrived at the call, took the radiographs, and I headed off to my next appointment with the radiograph machine to see a yearling filly who was sporting a swollen hind ankle.

Note to self, the best laid plans are always foiled! So, I'm cruising along, enjoying my newfound freedom, surfing the radio, and figuring out all of the dashboard controls in the Mondeo when “vrumm vrummm” was the car's response to my downshifting. “Of course”, I thought to myself, “dumb American still can't manage the silly manual transmission”; so, I tried again, “vrumm, vrumm” said the car revving to 5500 rpms and starting to smell funny.

Hmmm, doesn't seem good. So, I'm on a busy lane just outside of a village that, of course, is barely wide enough for two vehicles, much less a third one that won't move. Grr! So, I manage to coast into the lovely drive of a country cottage where the car was most definitely completely dead. I could not make it go into any gear, forward or backwards, and each time that I tried, the clutch had less and less resistance. So, now what?! Not ever having driven a manual transmission, I am not familiar with the “normal” problems that may arise, however I've certainly heard of the clutch going out and that seemed to be the issue as I couldn't get the car into any gear, and the clutch pedal weakly went to the floor without any play.

Now what?!? Should I, the new girl from America, ring the clinic for help? Ring the director I'd just left only 5 minutes prior for advice? Call every girl's favorite mechanic, Dad?

Well, of course, I did all 3!!! The clinic arranged a “rescue” for the car (yep, the Audi station wagon seen in the picture below with the rather dense teenaged looking driver, and a tow rope!! They don't have tow trucks here, apparently they just drag the disabled vehicle to the garage behind said "rescue wagon"!), the Director arranged to give my drugs and me a lift, and my Dad assured me that I couldn't have killed the clutch in less than 24 hours of driving!

So, my newfound freedom was thwarted as the Director and I continued in his overflowing car to the filly who needed radiographs and the colt who needed a microchip and his passport drawing.

Once the day was completed, we returned to the clinic where my drugs, and the rest of my kit from the dead Mondeo, went back into the storeroom for later use and I was reunited with the Micra for my journey to the barn and “home”. The periwinkle Micra and I are becoming fast friends.

Oh, and how about this for a gee whiz moment? The cottage at which I was stuck was named the “Valley View” cottage (for those of you who can't appreciate this so much, I spent my childhood summers at a camp called Valley View) in a town called Sandy Lane (quite similar to Sandy Springs where I grew up!).

The Valley View Cottage


  1. Wow, you seem to be having your share of misfortunes since you arrived. Love your little blue mini! The Valley View cottage is adorable, I have always wanted to move to England and live in a cottage just like that. Hope things will go more smoothly from now on.

  2. Valley View... no way. Small world