WE had an unexpected visit from an English lady we have known for some years. In fact we house swapped with her some years ago.
She came bearing gifts – a box of delicious chocolates.
We sat down to some polite conversation until it suddenly dawned on me that she had actually come for dinner.
Now I know I had certainly not invited her for that evening as we were only back from several days away.
Our English friend had a far greater problem to deal with, which she eventually confessed.
She had driven up our old driveway, now part of an empty block, and in the process of parking she had managed to drive straight over the top of a rather large boulder, on which the car was now rather precariously perched.
She was utterly unable to move in any direction.
As this good friend does yearly house swaps this car was not actually her car, but the car of the house owner with whom she had swapped.
My husband, being the gentleman he is, offered to check it all out as our friend was in a terrible tizz, first because of the car and secondly because it was now obvious that we weren’t expecting her for dinner after all.
By then she was probably rather hungry.
We were about to eat leftovers from the previous night as we were off again the next day.
To console her and make her feel welcome despite her confusion, I divvied up the leftover chicken to make it go the extra mile, a little bit of chicken from here, a slice of potato from there, and fortunately if quite accidentally, was able to offer her a reasonably respectable salad.
Our guest was so traumatised she was quite unable to eat any of it.
All of this was going on as my husband tried desperately to work out what to do about a rather large car sitting on top of a rather large boulder. Eventually he rang the RACV as we’re members and have been for almost 50 years.
There was much confusion on all fronts as the car owner, who was overseas, had not updated her particulars for some years and the car, which was clearly a Renault, was listed as a Holden... not quite the same shape or size and certainly not the same number.
The RACV said that our friend could have an emergency membership, costing more than $400, payable on the spot in cash or by debit card.
She blanched, gasped, and I thought I might have to scoop her up from the floor. She recovered swiftly following a few sips of the Xmas cooking brandy... clearly nothing decent, I regret to say!
My husband eventually sorted the mess out by agreeing to put all costs in his name. The RACV agreed to come to aid of the party (and elderly ladies) for the sake of relations between England and Australia, and the fact that Australia had beaten England in all the test matches played anyway.
Our hero in the shape of the RACV mechanic simply jacked up the car, hauled out the boulder, checked for damage underneath, all OK, and drove off into the night. No cost to anyone!
Our friend came in after checking out the car and what did I offer her for dessert? Her delicious box of chocolates, of course.
We had a glass of wine to settle the nerves, and sent her off into the night in her house swapper’s car.
You can’t even see the scratch on the bumper.
She’ll be back for dinner properly another night.