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We could do with a hand here!

I was driving to France for the mid-term break with my normal car load of ski gear, humans, dogs and even a rabbit. We normally plough straight on, only stopping for fuel or a quick coffee, preferring to get the ten hour journey over as soon as possible. But this day we had time on our hands and thought that a little detour into St Quentin, a town we hadn’t visited before, would be a treat.

We were running low on fuel and, concerned that the car probably wouldn’t make the 36 kms to St Quentin, decided to stop off at the next service station. The only problem was that there wasn’t one. We freewheeled down hills, eking out the fuel, and 35 kms later, as we cruised towards the outskirts of St Quentin, the car sputtered to a halt in the middle of the carriageway. Struggling to get the large bulk of the car moving at all, we heaved and pushed and manoeuvred it into the side of the road.

As luck would have it, there was a service station just the other side of a large roundabout. I walked across expecting to return with a can of fuel. At the station, Madame informed me that they had no such thing as a petrol can and I would have to go to the garage five minutes away.  “On foot?” I asked. “By car,” she replied. Not a lot of use to me then. I returned to the car where my daughter had sat stoically ignoring the irritated hoots of drivers irked at having been held up by our broken down car. There was only one thing for it. We would have to push the car to the service station.

Suppressing my fear for my teenage daughter at the rear of the car, as soon as there was a break in the traffic whistling around the roundabout, we pushed the car gingerly out. Far from leaping to our aid, a driver, eager not to get stuck behind our snail-paced vehicle, lurched out right in front of us. I wrenched on the handbrake, hitting the windscreen wiper lever in the process, sending showers of windscreen washer flying exactly where my daughter at the back and I at the front were perfectly placed to receive it full in the face. That was it. We launched into uncontrollable giggles.

Heaving and pushing, and giggling like idiots, we moved the car slowly off the roundabout and towards the service station. But there was another hurdle, the station was up a slight hill and, at the first hint of an incline, the car stopped dead. It was too much for us. We just couldn’t do it. We laughed at the idiocy of it all: running out of fuel; two women trying to push a lump of a vehicle round a manic roundabout, through bustling, intolerant traffic and now uphill, with not a hint of help in sight. We must have looked crazy. Just then a smart, cool, gorgeous new Beetle pulled up behind us and out jumped an equally smart, cool and gorgeous young man who immediately offered to help. Suddenly it was easy. The car cruised smoothly up the hill to the fuel pump where we filled up.

It had been absolutely impossible for us to succeed on our own. We had been defeated. We could not go any further. But then it was amazingly easy once we got the help of the gorgeous Beetle driver. I’m sure it would have been just as easy had he not been quite so handsome, that was just a bonus.

That’s what Climates is all about, getting help when we need it. We may want to do something to help limit climate change but just can’t manage it. We may be faced with having to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate but just don’t know how best to go about it.  We come up against hurdles. We find that the uphill struggle is just too much for us, we hit a barrier and run out of steam. That’s where your mates in Climates come in, lending a hand, helping out from their own experience, sharing their knowledge to get you over that barrier, across that hurdle to achieve what you want. We can’t promise that they’ll all be as gorgeous as the guy in the blue and orange Beetle, but they’ll certainly be smart and cool.

By Biba Hartigan

Biba Hartigan 18.02.2016 0 407
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