I stayed at the Premier Inn on the south side of Tonbridge for the two days I was in Kent and to my surprise I managed the drive from Ipswich without a hitch, despite having to cross from Essex to Kent via the dreaded Dartford Crossing. There were no delays and I did not get lost. If only the return trip today had been so smooth...
There were severe delays on the Dartford Crossing Driving north, and the busy traffic slowed to a standstill. As happens sometimes when traffic goes fast and then slows, my car stalled. And then it wouldn't start again. Nothing. I was in the middle lane and the traffic started moving again, and soon was going very fast. Juggernauts wizzed either side of me but my little Hyundai i10 stayed put. Someone stopped behind me and I explained the position. We rang the police and before driving off he told me to get out of the car or I would be killed. The trouble was, I would also be killed if I stepped out of the car. The police told me the motorway patrol had been called and would be along shortly, though shortly was twenty minutes. Eventually they arrived and the traffic behind me was halted. I had brought the M25 to a standstill. The two helpful ladies towed me to the hard shoulder and I was left there to wait for the AA roadside rescue, though I was told they might take an hour. At least they could open the motorway again! In the event two very nice lads arrived after forty minutes and managed to start the car, but suggested I might like them to take me to get a new battery. So they loaded my car onto their pick-up and took me to a Halfords in Dartford.
I was pleasantly surprised at how helpful everyone was. The motorway patrol ladies, the roadside rescue lads and Halfords people were all absolutely charming, though I suspect there were a few chuckles once they left me. There must have been some fuming delayed drivers too, and who can blame them? For those unfamiliar with the Dartford Crossing here's a photo. It's the most important crossing over the Thames east of London. Southbound is by bridge, northbound by tunnel.
Still, I did manage to have a lovely cup of tea and some excellent granola cheesecake in a café next to Halfords while they were sorting out my car, so the day was not all doom and gloom.