The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Mrs Carmichael Reflects on Her Sunday…So Far)

This Friday just gone, Mr Carmichael and I patted ourselves on our ever broadening backs. We had finally worked out the secret to weekend entertaining and thus the secret to having a good weekend.

The secret is, da da daaa drum roll, entertain on Friday evening (leaving Saturday for yourselves) and (this bit’s important) don’t tell the guests they’re invited until they arrive for drinks.

All the pressure is removed and they, so grateful to be wined and dined as opposed to just wined and thrown in a taxi, accept any foodage offering as unadulterated manna from Heaven.

Case closed and a full weekend to do whatever we bloody want awaits.

Saturday we did whatever we bloody wanted which among other things involved Mr C shouting at the TV (cricket, golf, more cricket) and Yours Truly spending way too long on my pc. But at least we chose to do those things so that is a good thing.

Because we were too busy yesterday shouting and typing to go out, my present husband and I agreed we would have an outing to the movies and see North Norfolk’s answer to Rambo (aka Alan Partridge) in his new production Alpha Papa which got very good Simon Mayo reviews on Five Live this week.

Mr P graffitied (
Mr P graffitied (

We wanted a laugh, it is a proper length for a film (90 minutes) and when we checked, just to be uber organised, it was on at a great time, 11.50, so we would have the whole rest of the day to shout at the TV and get back onto WordPress.

We still agreed to go this morning. You may think that’s not worth the mention but oh so many times we flake out at the last moment so this was another good thing. 

“Do you want the 2.20 showing?” we were asked by the popcorn/ticket sales girl.

Quizzical look, “No, the 11.50, please.” Sinking stomach.

Well, you’ve guessed it. Either their website was wrong (it wasn’t) or I’d not refreshed from Saturday (I hadn’t) or Mr Carmichael hadn’t checked as he said he had (he hadn’t).

Remind me to tell you about the time he bought tickets for us to go to James Bond but got them for a Glasgow viewing. We live on the outskirts of London. Bad things have been known to happen so we did not argue with the staff who offered us The Lone Ranger (please God, no), Monsters University or The Smurfs.

Now I’m laughing but I wasn’t at the time.

“All I’ve got to look forward to today is the food shopping.”

“Tesco’s got a new concept store opening this weekend. Shall we go there?” Mr Carmichael asked me.


“Is there another Waitrose you’d like to try then?”

What planet??????

“No.” (ever so slightly louder)” I would like, in the broadest sense of the word, to go to the store that I happen to know where everything is,” I responded. “What do you want for dinner?”

Well (and this is a rare occurrence) he mentioned something I had in the freezer. No trip to the supermarket needed. My mood improved.

loo brushes and meatballs, please (
loo brushes and meatballs, please (

I decided I would carpe diem and make an long overdue trip to IKEA on the North Circular for bits and bobs and a jolly good mooch.

And this is where the ugly hoves into sight.

I took the Mini. The last time I drove the Mini I did ask Daughter #2 to remind me to ask Mr C to fill up the radiator because it has a crack and the fan wasn’t turning off.

I remembered I hadn’t remembered to ask him when I was on the M25.

I started to glance at the temperature gauge with some trepidation and much regularity.

It was fine.

Until I reached a jam at the bottom of the M1. The queue went onto the North Circular in the westerly direction I wanted.

Here is a map of the round about where the Mini’s temperature hit critical:

Please believe me when I say there were a million cars in the jam (waitrosememorystore
Please believe me when I say there were a million cars in the jam (

I had seconds to do something.

How do I know it was seconds, you ask.

Because it has happened before.

Only knocking two orange cones over and careering in front of a London cab (they’re good drivers so I hoped his breaking reaction would be good)I managed to veer into Brent Cross’ car park.

I was hyperventilating but the needle came down as I drove at speed.

So I continued to drive at speed until I got to some available parking.

There was no scalding steam bubbling from the bonnet which was a good thing so, making the best of a bad job, I decided to spend some money in the shops, wait for the engine to cool, buy a six pack of Evian water and load up the radiator in an hour or two.

The afternoon was salvageable. Or so I thought.

The first clothes emporium I entered was displaying winter dresses. I rushed out covering my eyes.

The second, the same. All summer goodies relegated to sale rails.


I decided to skip the clothes shopping and head straight for the make-up. I also decided I should alert Mr C to the potential barrage of phone calls he could expect from me momentarily when I was struggling to 1) open the bonnet, 2) locate the water container and/or 3) return home safely.

Digging round in my handbag I discovered I had left my wallet at home.

Here it is:

 wallet reclining  (mrscarmichael)
wallet reclining (mrscarmichael)

Pause for you to digest this and its ramifications.

“This day, ” I said to Mr C, “is going from bad to worse.”

“For all of us,” he replied.

How so, Sir?

But you know what I didn’t rise to that and told him I was off to make some friends in the guise of car cleaners, some of whom do speak a good level of English.

They had no water but directed me to a pushy button that I pushed to call Security.

“Hi there,” I shouted at the wall, “my car’s overheated and I was going to buy bottled water from Waitrose but I’ve left my wallet at home. Can you help me, please?”

They sent Natalie up. She was ever so nice but knew little about cars and arrived without water.

We went to find Sheila who knew less about cars than either me or Natalie but had the kind of ‘can do’ spirit that I like and respect in a security guard.

She led us firstly to the Ladies’ loos for a clean bucket and the Burger King for a large paper cup for pouring. Clever.

The three of us headed back to the Mini via the car washers for a rag to prevent scalding burns.

We couldn’t get the bonnet open. But then I found not only the Owners Handbook but my reading glasses as well. These finds were very good things.

We got the bonnet open and felt pretty positive we had located the radiator cap.

All three of us were too scared to open the cap, even with the car cleaner’s rag.

Sheila called for backup.

“Come in 41, assistance required on level 3.”

Hutch came in, flicked the cap off, filled the rad, explained to the three of us how my car worked, cautioned me to stay out of jams (easier said than) and sent me on my nervous way back up the M1.

 Mr Carmichael's problem now (mrscarmichael)
Sir Husband’s problem now (mrscarmichael)

Did I mention the wasp’s nest I’ve just discovered over the front door?

46 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Mrs Carmichael Reflects on Her Sunday…So Far)

  1. Oh, Mrs C, and there was I fulminating over a mere (horribly) sprained ankle… It is at times like these when I remember the Great Guru exhorting us to smile, things could be worse (I’m sure you know the rest). Your posts do wonders for my endorphin levels, oops, I’ve said that before.. 🙂

    1. No a sprained ankle is ghastly. I slipped over in the vets a couple of years ago and did myself a right turn! Two yrs later ive just spent £200 at the osteo because it was affecting my back AND big toe!
      Make sure you get it treated properly.

  2. So sorry about the troubles. I am having a bit of a snap moment–I just bought a mini. I hope they don’t all have cracked radiators. Mine is dark blue and a convertible, so quite pleased. Will try to avoid Ikea, probably won’t be able to. This is what returning to the UZ does.

    1. Oh you’re back? How’s that?

      You lucky thing. No, this is daughter #1’s and a basic 2005 model. Its rad wasn’t always this way.
      I had a convertible BMW a while back. Love, love, loved it.

  3. I shouldn’t laugh, but you tell a good story. I had a Peugeot like that once – whenever I was stuck in a jam the temperature gauge would rise so I had to switch the engine off. Damn inconvenient in -7 degrees.
    🙂 Jude

  4. I notice you’ve got the word “good” in bold no less than five times in this post, so I’d say on balance, it was not such a “bad” day.

    1. Eda, me thinks you are a cup half full person. I’m not sure I am but I did manage not to utterly lose my temper although I achieved nothing yesterday except not having to go to the supermarket (I’m off there in a moment).
      I guess it could have been so much worse.

      1. Exactly. When things go truly wrong, I try to think of all the other things that could have gone wrong but didn’t.

        And then I have a very large glass of wine. Won’t you join me?

      1. Oh no…never mind. It will be worth it when you finally get to meet JB. You know, you will be able to go on his list of famous people who have met him then. Sunday will be a distant memory…

  5. Oh my gosh, how could things have become such a disaster, mrs. carmichael? I like how at the end, the car becomes mr. carmichael’s problem! Haha; I can’t believe you didn’t have your wallet on top of all that! I think we need a drink after that day! Cheers to laughing over a ridiculous situation! 🙂

    1. Chin chin back. The wallet catastrophe was all down to The Eternal Traveller whom I’m meeting up the Shard in September with Mr ET tagging along 🙂

      I bought my ticket the evening before, multitasking at the time (watching TV and drinking a glass of wine) and there, in the Tv room, I left it snoozing………

  6. No wonder you have elevated bloop pressure!
    Anyone would, after all that.
    But you made so many people happy, all your rescuers, people LOVE to rescue other people. That is possibly another GOOD thing.
    (I don’t know about Mr. C, of course, he didn’t seem to be present at the rescues.)

  7. Oh I shouldn’t laugh, but I used to own a Mini way back in the Dark Ages (1980s). I remember driving with a large bottle of water and an oven glove in the back seat. And a bit of dowling to check the fuel level because the gauge didn’t work. Plus a sleeping bag and packet of biscuits in case I broke down somewhere remote (pre-mobile phones). I loved that car. It was a victim of the 1984 Queen Street riots in Auckland; got stolen, and then re-stolen after the police had found it, but before I managed to go and collect it (even though the cops had taken the rotor arm out). It was finally written off when a truck full of tofu hit it.

      1. I should have been a boy scout. Oh wait, I’m not a boy. And I got chucked out of the Brownies.

      2. You didn’t miss much! I think the key is in the name!

        I don’t know about the UK but here Brownies have morphed into Pippins (little ones) and Brownies are a very brief stage before Guides. They’ve also dumped the brown uniform – which is probably the main reason the organisation still exists.

        And I only know this because my lovely neighbour with three daughters ended up being a Brown Owl or whatever they call them because she’s too nice to say no.

        Luckily the boy-child has never shown an interest in organised activities (or the outdoors particularly) so we have never had to actually say “no” to the idea of him joining Cubs/Scouts.

    1. Yes, but I must tell you that his burst of activity on my return has petered into nothing and the Mini sits avec cracked rad on out drive.

      He has closed the bonnet 🙂

now it's your turn

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s