Brian – so much more than a girl could hope for . . .

Racvan Had a great day with my business mentor and colleagues following the steamy events of the morning.  Tell mentor I have water in boot and she kindly offers to augment supply.  Look for 1.5L of water husband said was in boot.  Realise it’s that new imaginary brand . . . quite expensive, I believe!!

We fill the radiator by donations from mentor and off I trundle, confident that I’ll be past Slough before the witching hour of 5.00pm when life on the M4 comes to a standstill . . .

Am making good progress and thinking about the day, our lovely lunch and the promise of future development when I thought I saw a puff of something in my peripheral vision.  Nah, everything in my world’s OK.  Traffic flowing and making good progress.    Have to stop at traffic lights.  I can’t deny just a weeny bit of steam.  Keep moving.  Motion sends babies to sleep in their pushchairs and seems to keep steam at bay, too.  Getting busier now.  Definite repeat performance of this morning building.  Have gone less than five miles of my 115 mile journey.  Heading for Hammersmith flyover now.  Take executive decision.  Pull off into slip road leading to garage avec M&S shop and Wild Bean Cafe.  Well, a girl may as well wait in comfort.  Ring husband who suggests perhaps he could collect car and nurse it back to Gloucester when he is in London next week.  Ask why it should make the slightest difference who is behind the wheel when there is a mechanical malfunction manifestation of immense proportion.    He takes the point and agrees to call out RAC.  He rings back to tell me man will be 45 minutes.  He suggests I put up the bonnet.  Decline as I won’t be able to see anything.  (What is it with him and putting up the bonnet.  Think he’s been watching too much telly.  Is that what damsels in distress are supposed to do?)

Is there time to fit in a quick latte?  No, have voicemail.  It’s a very Scottish Brian asking me to ring, which I do.  I’m the other side of Park Royal and will be 20 minutes, he tells me.  "Why do you think it’s the head gasket?", he asks.  "I don’t", I reply.  This perplexes Brian who has a report of a woman with a blown head gasket.  Mine went years ago but I think the car’s OK.  Decide latte’s out for the moment.  Notice posh looking sports job parked next to mine, then see a tall, blonde, tanned, well dressed man in his mid-thirties approaching.  Oh, a knight, perhaps?  Look nonchalant as I chat on the ‘phone.  He doesn’t know it’s to the RAC man, Brian.  He approaches the car.  Hope he doesn’t see steam rising . . . and walks on by to the posh job.  Gets in and drives off.  SO much for knights!  Not a word did he utter.  All that glitters and all that . . .

Just moments later the bright orange van arrives, not exactly a white charger but sometimes a girl can’t be fussy!  Brian alights.  He has piercingly blue eyes and is in his forties.  Initially have difficulty understanding him through the Scottish accent.  Told him about the Rad Weld.  I pre-empt his request by releasing the bonnet catch under the dashboard and like the fact that when he goes to do it, I tell him the job is done.  Like the fact that he says I’m obviously a step ahead of him.  A modicum of pride restored.  Who cares if the Posh Job didn’t help, not everyone has a Brian.  It’s my thermostat housing that’s completely come adrift.  Not a radiator problem although Brian severely cautions against Rad Weld.  It seals the leak but also can seal up the whole radiator!  Not a good look. 

Brian delivers a devastating blow.  "You’ll no be going anywhere, hen", he says.  I feel the low loader coming on.  Brian obviously decides I’m not a low loader sort of lass (and there was me thinking gravity had done it’s worst!) and says he’ll do a mod, if possible.  With no drill it’s difficult to make holes in the rubber housing but, manfully (yes, he’s quite manly!), he tries.  His screws aren’t long enough.  Ever resourceful (see ‘Reef Knot Rescue’), I volunteer to go into the garage to ask for longer screws . . . resist the bigger buns joke!  Brian says "In Ayr (from whence he comes) people speak to you but remember you’re in London now, hen.  You could drop dead and they’d step over you."  Saying I’ll try anyway, I head off for the garage.  Am faced with a bank of tills and four Asian gentlemen.  Ask for said screws.  Anxious and suspicious looks pass between assistants.  (I’ve now swapped to an Indian accent as I write this.)  "Oh no, we don’t have anything like that, we have engine oil only, near the bread".  Feel like asking if one is free to dip one’s bread.  I have the distinct feeling they don’t want to assist.  I plough manfully on, "Do you have a took kit out the back".  "Oh no, we don’t have these things."  I ask how they manage to put up their shelves without basic equipment.  No reply.

Purposefully, I set off back to Brian (who’s only about 50 yards away) to inform him he was correct.  Thought I saw him puff up a bit, but can’t be sure.  That man has the hands of an angel or was a boy scout, or both.  He has found some putty-like stuff and had put it inside the housing and is just sealing the outside.  "Have you fixed it", I shout like an excited child (image of low loader receding slightly).  "Yes, hen, we’ll have you on your way".  Told him he was a legend in his own life time, which seemed to please him.  We waited a few minutes for the paste to ‘go off’.  He said he’d follow me but after some serious questioning about how I’d get back on to the Flyover, he said "Do you want to follow me?"  I did (well, had packed away the SatNav expect to be low loaded and there’s no harm in making a chap feel important).  Followed him for about a mile when he indicated and pulled into a garage.  Thinking he was re-fuelling, I gave him a cheery wave and carried on.  Thirty seconds later, my mobile rang.  (Officer, I had to answer, it was Brian).  He told me he expected me to follow him so he could check my water.  Oops!  He was four vehicles behind and could I pull in, which I did when safe.  (You see, officer, I’m not irresponsible!)  Brian checked my water and decreed that it was sitting nicely.  He would continue to follow me.    We were in a small cul-de-sac with cars parked on both sides and no room for a three (or more) point turn.  Some nifty reversing was required.  Eventually, we rejoin the relentless three lanes of traffic.  Thought I’d still be sitting there next week unless I took positive action.  Opened window and began eyeballing each passing driver as they moved past.  Eventually, one weakened and let me out.  I managed to get into the middle lane and Brian held up the oncoming traffic in a very protective manoeuvre. 

Fifteen miles later, when the traffic had eased and I was winding the baby up to a decent speed, Brian waved goodbye but still followed me from a discreet distance.  Some miles further on, Brian rang again, saying he was turning off.  Again, I repeated how wonderful he was and that he had done so much more than could possibly have been expected.  Could feel him blushing from a good few hundred yards ahead.  But he really was a Godsend.

Do you think it was all because I told him my maternal grandfather was also a Scot?

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