I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday 23 August 2013

Willington (Trent & Mersey Canal) - Wednesday 21st August

A disastrous day :-(

I mentioned the other day that I had a funeral to go to – well today was the day.  We moved Mary H back down to Willington from outside Mercia Marina as Enterprise Car Hire were coming to pick me up and take me into Burton-on-Trent to collect my car.  It’s a long and sorry tale but I’m going to tell you the whole thing!

I had booked the car for 10am on the internet but when I rang the Enterprise office they said that they would pick me up at 10am, not quite what I had expected but the office was only 10 minutes away.  At 10.10am I rang the office to enquire as to where my driver was and was told that he had gone to Mercia Marina to drop some people off.  He arrived about 10 minutes later.  He said he was late as he was supposed to be picking some people up at the marina too but they weren’t ready, however he still went back to Mercia where we waited until the people were ready.  We didn’t get to the office until 10.40am and I didn’t get away until 11am – an hour later than I had wanted to leave.  I was given a very nice Vauxhall Astra with all mod cons which included an automatic hand brake thingy!  I knew I had to press the accelerator to release it but wasn’t too sure about how to put the brake on – I looked down to where the hand brake usually is and noticed a button with a “P” on it and thought that that must be how to put the brake on.  Oh, I nearly forgot to say that no-one explained how anything on the car worked and the chap had gone back inside and as I was now an hour late I decided to go and trust my judgement!!

The parking brake button - I think!
I had a very good journey down to Cheltenham and found the Crematorium with 10 minutes to spare.  The car parking was horrendous so I parked at the end of a row of cars with the nearside wheels on the verge and the other two on the roadway and walked to the chapel.  The service was very moving but at the end one of the undertakers stood up and asked if the owner of a silver Astra could make themselves known to her which I duly did only to be told that my car had rolled into the Crematorium gates!  I was already emotional and this finished me off and I burst into tears – no hanky of course, I mean to say who goes to a funeral without a hanky??!  The undertaker lady, Laura, and I walked down to the gates and found one almighty mess.  The car had rolled quite a way, on the road, but where the roadway went to the left the car had gone straight on, through a flower bed and into the gate.  You can see from the photo just what a mess it was.

Laura and I went into the Crematorium office and I left my details or at least the details of Enterprise.  It appears that someone was following the car as it made its way to the gate – he wondered what on earth was happening as the alarm was going and the hazard lights flashing!!  He had such a shock when the car left the road and hit the gate!  Laura and I then abandoned the car and make our way to the reception.  On our way I phoned Enterprise and told them what had happened and also their rescue service who, I understand, recovered the car!  The reception was held at Dumbledon Hall, a wonderful old stately home that is now a hotel.  The staff there were very helpful and allowed me to make numerous phone calls to Enterprise to find out how I was going to get back to Willington!  I won’t bore you with the number of phone calls and promises of “we will get back to you” I experienced.  Eventually at 4pm I discovered that Dumbledon comes under the Stratford-upon-Avon branch but, of course, they didn’t have a car to lend me!!  Finally I was told that I could have a van but that was all they had – I couldn’t really refuse could I?  Eventually I was picked up and take to Stratford where they had managed to locate a little Peugeot 107 which got me home about 7pm.

The hinge hanging out of the gate post
I was welcomed back on the boat by a big hug from Richard which is just what I needed – well and a glass of wine but as we didn’t have any cold we walked back to the Dragon where I sunk two large glasses and finally began to feel better though extremely emotionally tired.


  1. Linda what a sorry tale. I really hope that you paid the exorbitant extra insurance cover or things are going to look even bleaker...
    We hire from Enterprise and although paying £12 per day, which is frankly a B ripoff, is painful things like this can happen to anyone.

  2. What can I say... but 'Whoops!' But I know enough about self preservation to avoid references to women drivers. You will be able to dine out on this 'enterprising' story for years, but the main thing is no one is hurt.

    Take care