YOUR HOLIDAY DISASTER

Rain, motor woes and an obsessive daughter taught Simon Tennant 'Hakana Matata'

IT SHOULD have been a quiet fortnight in the pine forests South of Bordeaux, with the bonus of long golden beaches nearby, the first long holiday together for some time. What followed was not exactly as anticipated. When we arrived at the cottage the blue skies of the North had changed to cloud and drizzle.

It rained all night, and continued the next day so we decided to visit a town further down the coast. But when we pulled into the seafront car park the car stopped working. The Green Flag man, with trailer, responded to our phone call after two hours. We didn't need the trailer, but did need a new battery which, fortunately, he had. We then had to follow him to his garage, an hour away, to pay by credit card.

The rain continued, night and day, so we went to see the countryside and local historic towns. The countryside consisted of millions of pine trees, the nearest historic town was 90 minutes away. Lost new contact lens.

The skies cleared in the afternoon and we visited the beach, returning after an enjoyable two hours to find the car had been broken into, the video camera stolen and the door broken.

A Citroen dealer in the nearest large town repaired the lock. That was when we discovered the credit card had been left at the garage where we bought the battery. We decided to collect this next day and returned to the cottage.

On entering the village, the car ceased to work completely and we had to push it into a nearby garage where we discovered it didn't need petrol. The Green Flag man returned with his trailer. This time we did need it. The cam belt had broken and the pistons were probably ruined. Conservative estimate pounds 700 approx and three days. As our ferry was in three days, we arranged an emergency loan and hired a car.

In the morning, in the rain, we cycled twelve miles to the next village to collect the hire car. We then drove two hours to the first garage to collect the credit card then back to the latest garage where we learned that we were lucky (!) because neither pistons nor cylinders were damaged. The garage had not only replaced the cam belt but all other belts. We took the hire car back.

The banshee wail from under the bonnet began when we got our own car to the cottage. We returned to the garage in the morning to discover that the new fan belt was defective. Another was fitted.

As this was the last day, we decided to visit a local patisserie for French cakes, after going back to the cottage to take the washing in out of the rain. A car pulled up, its passengers suspiciously eyeing our cottage. They turned out to be the next occupants, who had arrived a day early. We didn't feel we could send them to a hotel, so we re-arranged the cottage to accommodate an extra couple and two (separate) elderly parents.

Finally we left, driving for seven hours in scorching heat to friends in the North where the weather had been glorious for two weeks.

During all that time our daughter would only let us play two cassettes, one of which was the Lion King. From it we learned the very valuable philosophy of 'Hakana Matata', i.e. "no worries" or "when bad things happen - there is nothing you can do about it!"

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there