Gregg: For any of my readers who know Mr Barton, you will also know that any weekend involving him – in any capacity – pretty much signals disaster, for someone! I was prepared for some form of carnage from our weekend visit to Gregg and Lucy’s lovely new home – but I wasn’t quite expecting the Saturday that we had! Regardless, I had a lovely time, and have not been dissuaded from visiting the south again!
Clamp: We’ve all done it. We’ve all pulled up somewhere we shouldn’t and asked a fellow driver to keep an eye one the car while we just bob into the post office. However, we don’t all pull up next to the clamping van with its resident evil watching as we run from the car. Gregg does. And before he could explain to anyone how to turn on his stupid car, he had disappeared. Within moments a very aggressive and very scary clamper man opens the passenger door and in his best intimidation demands the car moved. Steve tries his best but as Gregg has the most ridiculous BMW with some alien starting contraption that NO ONE can control, the car stalls. Lucy has only seconds to get the engine started – which she does – before the vilest of all human beings has started putting the chains around the wheel. Despite the engine being on and the hand break off, the clamper man is kneeling in front of the car, refusing to let her move the vehicle, but clamping it instead. He gave us less than a minute to move the car. He was Satan himself. There were all sorts of words had and tears shed and legs wobbled. The police were phoned and protests were made but despite the fact that Mr Clampy was aggressive, intimidating and a total arse, the police could do nothing. It was horrible. And I felt awful because there was nothing I could do. I was trapped in the back (again due to the brilliant design of Gregg’s car – it is pretty though), I know full well I would have not been able to start the car, not even my protests to the nasty nasty man worked. I still feel sick thinking about it – I just don’t understand how people can be just that awful. He got his quota for the day, I just ask the delicate balance of this world that some effective Karma is around the corner; maybe a gentle castration involving wild animals? Just a suggestion.
Salisbury: Once the débâcle was over – oh, and Gregg didn’t even manage to collect the parcel he stopped for originally – the post office was “too busy”! We headed off for our original destination, Salisbury. However, on route, it became quickly apparent that something was desperately wrong with the car. Suggestions were made that we should stop at the next open pub and Gregg call the AA. No, no. We were going to Salisbury – we’d wasted enough time in the day. So we stopped, had a little walk, had a quick look at the cathedral and ate chocolate muffins. I don’t think at this stage anyone really wanted to mooch about, so we decided to turn tail and go back for a bit of Barton Sausage and Mash!
Breakdown: Yeah. The car didn’t get too far. Not even out of Salisbury. After about five minutes, Gregg realised the car was well and truly knackered and pulled up, conveniently, at a BP/M&S garage and called the AA. Despite their original claims of thirty minutes, two hours we sat in the car park waiting! At least we had mozzarella balls, chocolate milkshake and sudoku to pass the time. Lucy and I even ventured as far as the alcohol aisle and the nice little BP man found us some free paper cups from which to sup our purchases! When the AA finally turned up it seemed Gregg’s car would be unfixable by him. He would also be unable to tow us the 30 miles back to Swindon as Gregg’s stupid car cannot be towed but needed a low loader! Which was in the Mendips. And which would be an estimated 3-4 hours!
Harvester: Luckily, a three minute walk brought us to the Harvester, where food and wine could be had. It turned into a very pleasant meal, but I was a little disappointed that we had yet again missed Gregg’s infamous bangers and mash. The events of the day could be digested and reviewed and thankfully, in much quicker time than expected, the phone call came that allowed us to go back to Chez Barton. We had originally tried to leave Salisbury for the 30 mile drive around 5.30. At 11.45, the kettle was finally put on and feet up! It had been something of a long traumatic day (granted not really for me) but it was finally over. As was pretty much my weekend. My week’s cold finally took complete control of me and made me feel so unbelievably rotten that the Sunday promise of Bangers and Mash had to be turned down, Steve had to drive me home and I have spent about one hour out of bed in the last 28.
Hope you had a good bank holiday, maybe less eventful than ours!