When Having a Spare Car Might Come In Handy

March 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

ARCHIVE: To say the day went well would be well… A little bit of a lie. I’d scouted the couples venue for the wedding on Google Maps, simple enough, I even managed to find the bride’s parent’s house too, so I knew exactly where I had to be. Roughly 2 hours drive down from my Greysteel base here in County Londonderry heading for the Orchard County of Armagh. Cameras were all charged, flash batteries too, memory cards wiped and gear all centrally assembled so that I didn’t have to panic thinking I might leave something behind, as there was no way I would be able to just nip back and get the bag of memory cards, or that other lens that I knew I’d need. Everything was meticulously planned out.

The drive down was uneventful, I had my iPhone fully loaded with podcasts chosen from various stations, mainly BBC Radio 4, I have to admit I’m a ways off the Radio 1 demographic and I prefer to listen to intellectual conversations than that biennial music, unless it’s a bit of Bowie, or Blondie, but I’ve just recently updated my hardware from PC to Mac, and have yet to fully transport my music on to the new device, so I’m stuck with podcasts for now.

Anyway… I get to the brides house a few hours before the 1pm service start. All is calm in the house, the mother of the bride is in the final stages of having her hair done, all make-up was done hours ago, and an offer of tea was gratefully accepted. I don’t usually partake in offers of refreshments as I’m thinking how on earth will I get rid of the post body processing of same during what’s going to be a busy day. But, knowing I had plenty of time I thought why not… I took the time then to return to my (normally) trusty motor to retrieve my gear with a view to taking the album background images of the flowers/cards/jewellery and the like before I got down to the serious business of capturing the day in full. When I actually got back to my van I noticed a trickling pool of fluid running down hill towards the nearest drain. Power steering fluid…

I knew it was this because only the week before it was blowing this stuff out of the filler reservoir and had been booked in for a check up at the mechanics this coming Tuesday. I’d bought replacement fluid just incase because I knew I had a wedding to shoot, but this was much worse. This was just pouring out of the pipes behind the pump belt. Things had gotten a lot worse.

Darron Mark Photography BusMy Photography BusSadly sold now, but a great bus when it wasn't leaking.

I phoned my trusty RAC pals to get things sorted, I had 2 hours before I really had to worry, they would certainly be here in time, they’ve always said that somebody would be here to look at it within 2 hours in the past. Surely they wouldn’t let me down on this occasion either. Having spent 10 minutes on hold due to a high number of calls being experienced at this time – a common mantra for these sorts of organisations I was finally put through. A patrol vehicle had been tasked and I should anticipate a call from the patrol man and that I shouldn’t worry. Happy days… I didn’t need to sort out a hire car just yet. I got the call. It was a recovery only contractor, not someone coming to fix the car. Not good. I promptly rang back and again stressed the situation I was in, wedding photographer, doing a wedding, no transport stuck at the brides house! Basically as it turns out, because I’d have to wait until the recovery driver had had a chance to review the situation (me, not being able to go anywhere) I wouldn’t be able to have a hire car delivered because it was going to be after 12pm on a Saturday and they don’t deliver after that time. Not a response I was hoping for obviously. Stressed to the max I did my best to still capture the morning preparations  the flower girls, the bridal party and still maintain a conversation with the RAC muppets who were sending me round and round in circles. I was about to flex my forearms and move myself off to the chapel with a busted van when the recovery guy turned up and organised it’s return to Greysteel. I was going to have to catch a lift with the brother of the bride, or start paying out for taxis. Luckily for me, there was a spare car in the family, and the Bride’s father was kind enough to lend it to me for the weekend, which meant I was able to cover the day and get home.

Not how I wanted my first wedding of the 2013 season to kick off! I have a spare of just about everything, except a spare vehicle, which wouldn’t be much use if I was 85 miles away from home when it decided to break down. Though I might consider getting a moped now and have that sit in the back of the van, or have it written in my contract that the bride’s family must have a back up car on standby just incase.


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