A long day

Mart and I had planned a soap making day, so I set off extra early, to make the most of being in the Gers and visit my friend Maithée too. Just before I arrived, the car made a bleeping noise and a red thermometer symbol flashed on the dashboard, so I parked at Maithée’s and called the breakdown people, who sent out a dépanneur (breakdown man) and lorry.

It was embarrassing to have to admit that I didn’t know where the bonnet opening lever was, but I’m sure I’m not the first “blonde” he’s dealt with. My question about the bottle of pink liquid in the corner and the fact that the liquid didn’t reach the “min” line was dismissed – no, that wasn’t the problem, just top it up sometime. I didn’t dare ask what I should top it up with.

Several inspections of the engine, lots of revving, head scratching and a test drive later,  he still couldn’t make the warning light come on again; he concluded that it must be an electronic glitch – it’d be fine.

I went to Mart’s, where we made 2 batches of soap. Paul, a neighbour, was there for lunch too, so he had a look under the bonnet; his reaction to the low fluid level was just the same.  But I wasn’t convinced that I’d get home without a problem, so, just in case, I set off in good time; sure enough, 45 minutes into my journey, the light started flashing again. I was near a car share car park, so pulled in there and called the assistance again; they asked all sorts of technical questions this time, such as did the engine feel hotter than normal when I opened the bonnet?! I had to admit that I’d never actually opened a bonnet in my life, so I had not the faintest idea. They’d send a dépanneur ; this time it was a dépanneuse – a young woman! She took one look in the engine and said that the fluid level was too low and needed topping up. She didn’t have any “liquide de refroidissement”, but I could get some at the supermarket, which would still be open if I hurried. I just had to make sure it’s the right one for my car, probably pink. She happily showed me how to open the bonnet,  exactly how to fill the bottle and how much to put in; she didn’t even make me feel a fool for asking.

I bought the coolant, as well as a sandwich and some water and ate while waiting for the engine to cool down a bit more, then did my best to look as though I knew what I was doing, opening the bonnet, propping it up and pouring the pink liquid into the bottle.  I screwed the cap back on, shut the bonnet and set off again. Eventually I got home with no more problems, but I really must book it in for a service this week.