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Lancs & Cornwall 06
Day 2 - 16 Sep. 2006


Saturday
� I sort of dreaded Saturday morning as this would be the first time Andy actually saw what I was like when I first woke up, despite us talking together early in the mornings, he really didn�t know what he was getting into. I�m not exactly a morning person by nature and I didn�t want to scare him too much. When I woke up around 7:30 am that morning I tried to put on my friendliest morning face before going out for breakfast. I personally thought I did well since I wasn�t grumpy and didn�t snap at anyone, but I did notice that Andy was unusually quiet when I sat down with him. I think he went into self-preservation mode, but have no proof of that, oh well we both survived.

We were both really excited that morning because our car was due to be delivered between 10am and 12pm so we had a bit of time to kill. We constantly watched the front street anytime we saw a car moving or heard voices coming up the street. Of course when you are that excited for something time tends to creep by very slowly.

We spent the morning talking about anything we could think of to pass the time. We watched his aquariums for a while and discussed his fish and plants and plans for the tank. Andy mentioned that he wanted to get a Madagascar Lace Leaf plant as centre piece and thought about going to Topica in Huddersfield. We made sure that his laptop was up-to-date with camera software because we were going to take it to Cornwall with us. It almost seemed like we had already talked the day away when a nice bright silver sports car pulled up in front of his house along with a second car that parked just across the street. We figured that at least one of those cars would be the rental car for us, but didn�t dare believe that the nice sports car would be the one. Much to our delight, we quickly found out that indeed the sports car, Honda Coupe, was indeed ours for the next two weeks. We quickly went filled out the required rental forms and were finally handed the keys. We could barely wait until the people from the rental company left so we could take a spin in the new car.

At this point I was overcome with a bought of nervousness because it would be the first time I was able to drive for any distance in the UK, my previous experience was limited to 20 minutes in a manual car on one of the unpopulated back roads on the Isle of Skye the year before with my mom. When I sat in the drivers seat and realized that the first thing I would have to do is back the car up I quickly realized that trying to back the car up while sitting in what I would normally consider the passenger seat makes a big difference when judging distance. However I finally was able to back the car up far enough to be able to drive out the lane and we were finally off to test the car out. Andy didn�t want to take me too far that first trip to allow me to used to the car and hopefully build a little confidence with my left and right hand turns. I was very pleased every time I turned into the proper lane, even if it took a lot of concentration. However I wasn�t all that impressed with the handling of the car. I noticed almost immediately that it felt sluggish and the engine seemed to rev much higher then I was used to, but since Andy nor I ever drove a sports car before I thought that it must be something to do with the type of transmission it had or some such thing, I couldn�t have been more wrong!

We hadn�t driven for very long when we came to a stop and Andy was alarmed to see some smoke coming from the back end of the car. We were both very alarmed by this and decided to return to his place to see if we could figure out what was going on. Andy called up his friend Pete to come and take a look at the car and so Pete and I could finally meet. Since Pete just lived a few doors down Pete and his wife, Joan, didn�t take long to arrive. The four of us chatted for a while and finally Pete exclaimed that he would like to see the car. At this point Andy and I hadn�t mentioned anything about the smoke coming from back of the car, so I used this opportunity to get Pete alone in the car to take things over with him. I went over all the features and asked Pete about the H-matic transmission that I thought was the reason for the cars sluggish behavior and possibly (hopefully) for the smoke coming from the back of the car. During this conversation, Pete placed his hand on the lever for the parking brake and everything clicked into place for me. I felt so foolish for having forgotten to release the parking break. (In my defense, none of the vehicles I drove previously had a working parking brake so I should be given a little bit of leeway in forgetting right?) I was so glad that neither Andy nor I mentioned the smoke coming from the back of the car, and thankfully I didn�t have to ask Pete what could have caused it. I quickly wrapped up our conversation and Pete and I went back inside to continue the visit with Andy and Joan. I saw that Andy was about to ask if we figured out what happened so I quickly spoke up to let him know that I found out what went wrong before Andy could get a word in. Thankfully he took the hint and patiently waited until Pete and Joan left before saying anything. With that problem solved, we both relaxed and had a little laugh about it. I can assure you that I wont forget that one again any time soon though!

Since it was nearly noon, Andy and I decided to have lunch before heading out again. Andy decided to warm us up pre-made sandwiches in the oven. While he was getting things ready, I glanced into the kitchen and saw that he was putting the entire package, wrapping and all, into the over. I was a little confused so asked him if he was certain that was how they were suppose to be heated or shouldn�t the sandwiches be removed from the packaging first. He reassured me that this was how he made them in the past and that everything would be OK. I was very dubious about this point but I figured he has probably had them before that he should surely know what he�s doing right? I know that he had warned me that he wasn�t one to do much cooking but I didn�t realize exactly how little he really knew about it, but I didn�t find that out after the holiday was over. Much to my surprise the sandwiches came out of the oven nice and warm and the plastic wrapping hadn�t melted to the sandwich or the oven. Andy unwrapped his without any hesitation or reservation; I was a little more reluctant but eventually started eating. It tasted surprisingly good and I actually enjoyed the sandwich. As a side note, he found out later that indeed he is supposed to remove the wrapping before putting it in the oven to be heated.

Shortly after we finished lunch, we decided to head out again. I guess that Andy didn�t want me forgetting about the parking brake because he quickly took over that feature of the car and ensured that it was disengaged before I was allowed to move. I guess he gets a little nervous when it�s in a car while the back end is smoking. This ride went a lot smoother and the car showed it�s true potential. It had very nice and smooth acceleration and the engine was a lot quieter, in general it acted more like I originally expected it to. We drove around some back lanes for a while to get me used to the narrow lanes without worrying too much about traffic. After we drove round the back lanes it was time to try a few round-a-bouts since those were what I was really uncertain about. Much to my delight they weren�t as bad as I had feared and I felt that I would be able to handle them, and if not at least Andy was there to help me decide on an exit to take.

After driving around for while, Andy called his dad, Fred, to see if it would be all right to stop in for a while.  While at Fred and Jean's place we talked about Canada a lot as Fred reminisced about when he used to live on Manitoulin Island many years ago.  We showed off our car and talked about our plans for the week, which at this point weren't too clear, and talked about Andy's adventures down in Cornwall when he was growing up.  Afterwards we headed over to Susan's (Andy's sister) house for another cuppa and spent an evening listening to the two of them trying to out do each other with tales of the past.  Overall it was a nice pleasant evening.  As we were about to leave and Andy had just gotten out the door, Susan pulled me aside to tell me not to let Andy bully me around and to make sure that we go to places that I want to see as well since Andy is notorious for conning people into going to places that only he likes. 

The only thing that unnerved me a little is that as we were leaving everyone came outside to watch us drive away.  Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I was still nervous driving the car, as it still felt very awkward driving from what I would normally consider the passenger seat. especially when backing up.  I would have felt much more comfortable without crowds of people watching me. However I believe that I did fairly well both times.  After visiting with Susan, we decided it was time to head back to Andy's and relaxed for the rest of the evening so we could get an early start the next morning.

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