Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bolt from the blue...

OK, it may be a challenge getting hold of him sometimes but I turned up at the garage tonight, confessed to some serious twattery in the field of DIY car maintenance and walked out moments later with a selection of bolts and the advice from my mate "one of those should do the trick".

And at long last, I'm pleased to report it did...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On reflection...

I think it's fairly safe to assume that the feathered critter that decided to tweet it's last before launching at my wing mirror a few weeks ago has gone to the big aviary in the sky by now. If not, I would probably be on my way to the same spot now with a size 10 in hand preparing to secure a similar fate for it.

In fact, I actually quite like birds (yes, the feathered kind too) and could probably never have gone through with the aforementioned threat, but equally could never have forseen the trouble that resulted from that morning's incident.

The day it happened
, I rang the dealership as soon as I got to the office and my mate told me he would see what he could do. You may have read on here that a few weeks later I gave up on un-answered messages, ordered a replacement on ebay and fitted it myself, which only left me with having to get the outer shell sprayed to match the rest of the car.

Apparently, up until a couple of years ago Ford colours were easy to track down but recently they decided to get cryptic and whatever references I could find could have been for one of a dozen different colours. Back on to my mate at the dealership when he suggested "well why don't you drop it in and I'll get one of the lads to spray it the right colour for you".

Very gratefully, I dropped the shell off agreeing to leave it a couple of days. Two days later, I called in and apparently they hadn't yet had a chance to spray it. The following Monday still nothing. The following Friday I called in to pick it up (whether painted or not), we went to the paintshop to be told "Oh good, I've been waiting for you to come in so I could match the colour to your car". Shame I didn't know this earlier really. Anyhoo, it was being done on the cheap as a favour so I swallowed my pride and agreed to leave it for a couple more days.

Tonight I collected it and to be fair, it looked great but apparently needed another hour or so to finish drying properly. Having got the thing home and patiently waited until after tea before fitting it, I noticed that a small wire had become trapped beneath the fitting plate so as I had a little time to spare this evening, I might as well put it right. When will I learn?

All came apart again very easily until I dropped the mounting bolt inside the door. Oh bollocks. Another 10 minutes unscrewing , fiddling, shoving and generally pissing about with the door interior, only to discover that the easiest way of getting it out was probably to take the entire door off and turn it upside down. Even if I was going to seriously entertain that idea, it had started to get dark so the only thing to do was replace the door interior, disconnect the mirror wiring and removing it again.

So tomorrow I begin the quest to find a replacement bolt to secure the wing mirror again - I wonder how many weeks that's going to take...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And did those feet in ancient times...

I was accompanied on the running machine this morning by the Winchester Cathedral Choir with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem. Quite amazing how we all managed to get on there really. OK, it was on the radio but I guess you'd already worked that out for yourselves.

Every year I bleat about this on here and yet this year, it's even passed me by. Yes folks, today should have marked the celebration of our national Patron Saint but there were no flags to be seen, barely a mention in the media and certainly no sign of a national holiday in sight.

Probably some PC brigade somewhere has decreed that it's no longer appropriate to display any sense of national pride. Well I'm certainly not out to offend anyone so for what it's worth, Happy St George's Day...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let's be careful out there...

Well I've had a quick scan through the local newspaper's website tonight and can't see any stories about riots breaking out, or in fact anything for that matter that may have kept the police majorly preoccupied this weekend.

I was always brought up to respect the police and I'll openly admit that I'm quite happy that there are so many people prepared to do a job that I wouldn't. That said, we don't get to see much return for our exorbitant council tax and as a substantial wedge of it contributes towards providing a police presence, I think it's reasonable to expect one when needed.

Saturday night we had a [thankfully] rare occurrence of trouble outside the pub which Dave capably managed to bring under control although I'm sure he had better things to be doing on what was supposed to have been an evening off. I'm afraid it was the all too frequent story of a handful of spotty little booze and drug addled oiks who were so far removed from reality to believe they were invincible, although I'm pleased to report that it seemed to be more noise coming from their general direction rather than physical activity. Apart from when they started fighting amongst themselves that is. Hmmm.

While things were looking less comfortable, several people had already reached for their mobiles and called the police requesting assistance but whether non-emergency number or 999 was called, they were all told the same that nobody was available. I shudder to think that if things had turned ugly, there could have been several staff and regulars all at personal risk and no sign of any "official" back up from anywhere.

So I guess if nothing else newsworthy was going on, we can probably assume that the roads on the outskirts of town were free of speeding motorists...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fun and mystery...

Friday night I took a drive to Clay Cross, just outside Chesterfield, for a long overdue visit to catch up with Andy, Sharon and little Laura. As some of the pubs there come with a bit of a reputation, we'd previously agreed that it was probably best just to stick to a couple of local ones and that we probably shouldn't have too much to drink in unfamiliar territory. Anyone who has ever been out with me and Andy will appreciate how incredibly improbable that scenario ever was.

Sharon prepared a delicious chicken dinner to set us up for the night, then off we wandered to the Park House Hotel where I got to sample a couple of ales from a new brewery to me - Copper Dragon IPA and 1816. The beer was good, bar staff and locals friendly and with promise of a live rock n roll band at 9:00pm, it didn't look as though we would stray much further.

Four pints later, we decided that it was a shame for me to have travelled this far and only tried one pub so we headed off to The Cannon which has a good reputation and we were told was only 10 minutes away. It was actually 10 minutes up and down hill and in the freezing cold but well worth the walk for a nice pint of Milestone All Rye Paddy.

The aforementioned premises actually sit at a cross roads; well it shares the cross roads with The George and Dragon and The Shoulder of Mutton so we had to call in and check them out too while we were there. Two more very nice pubs as it turned out so after sampling some of their fine ales we decided to go back where we started and catch the last hour of the band.

So up to this point it had been a pretty regular night out and we both set off for home, but somehow on this five-minute journey we got separated and we've no idea how. I suddenly found myself alone, wandering down a dark country lane with no idea where I was. If I hadn't had my TomTom with me, I'd probably still be wandering now. When I got back, I obviously couldn't get in the house without Andy and didn't want to disturb Sharon so I let myself into the car, set the seat right back and prepared for an uncomfortable nights sleep.

Moments later Andy appeared, in obvious discomfort and with cuts on his face that he couldn't explain. It turned out he also had two large grazes across his chest but as his wallet and phone were still intact we can only assume he took a fall somewhere and hadn't been mugged.

So, exactly what happened or how the pair of us got separated in the first place will just have to remain a mystery. Perhaps next time, we'd be better off staying in...

Monday, April 14, 2008

All change again...

So yesterday everything was "business as usual"; that is until mid afternoon when I started feeling a bit chilly. No problem, a quick nip around the house to close the windows and turn the central heating back on.

Within minutes I was suddenly feeling too hot. Then too cold, then too hot, then very tired, but too uncomfortable to sleep. Rounded off nicely with... ahem... rather too many urges to pay sudden visits to the bathroom. Oh-oh, man flu alert.

Cue a day off work today then to sleep loads, cough and sneeze loads, drink loads of hot drinks and generally not feel like eating much at all.

Seems to have paid off so far which is just as well as tomorrow morning I know there will be a a stack of things to get done at the office. Ahh there we go - back to business as usual...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Business as usual...

I was pleased to be able to save myself a bit of cash this week after having heard nothing about a replacement wing mirror, I took matters into my own hands and ventured forth onto e-bay. The last replacement I needed cost in the region of a hundred quid after fitting and re-spraying, but this time I've done it for less than forty by sourcing and fitting it myself.

Other than that the weekend hasn't brought much out of the ordinary. Friday night came with it's usual excess of ale and included another welcome return to the County for some fine ale and live music. I'm not about to desert the Tap any time soon, but it is refreshing to have a bit of a change of surroundings on my weekly night out.

Yesterday got off to an appropriately delicate start, but that quickly passed as soon as the bathroom scales revealed that I've now passed my two stone weight loss milestone. Of course the only way to celebrate had to be in the form of seafood pizza for tea.

This morning started early as I need to put the bread maker through it's paces today and having fitted the mirror unit in next to no time, I took advantage of having the car at the top end of the drive and gave it a good clean - for the first time in longer than I care to remember.

Of course now I've finished cleaning the car, the sky has shown every sign that it's about to sling it down with rain, as usual...

Monday, April 07, 2008

New toy alert...

After another impromptu cross country mystery tour driving home last Thursday and with the pending trip to visit Little Sis and family over the weekend, I decided it was time to indulge another one of my overdue wish list acquisitions and get my hands on one of them there sat navs.

Cue some last minute research and a little while later I was the proud owner of a TomTom Go 520, although I'm undecided as to whether it's a keeper just yet. I can't deny that it's a neat little gadget which aside from getting me very efficiently from A to B, it also got bluetooth connectivity and provides a much more efficient means of hands free telephony than poking and yelling into the little flashing blue thingy in my left ear.

The problem is that it's a relatively new model, yet I've already had to upgrade the accompanying software and re-install the device software on advice from the helpdesk when the map kept disappearing and being replaced with the menu screen mid-journey. Added to which, the touch screen appears to be somewhat temperamental. When it works, it's great but I'm concerned that sometimes it seems not to want to. I've spent two hours tinkering with it this evening, but if tomorrow's journey to work doesn't demonstrate any improvement, then the little box is going back.

It did give us the opportunity to take scenic detour on our trip to see Little Sis on Friday (where we had an excellent time incidentally) and we somehow stumbled across an Eddie Stobart depot at Daventry. Not a major event for most, but Mum and I usually pass the journey with some competitive Eddie spotting, so for several miles afterwards, there was a definite air of concern within the car that I'd pre-programmed it on purpose. Truth is, if you get to read this Mum, I was beating you by miles anyway so why would I want to cheat?

And you never know when you're going to see the next one, but they never seem to be too far away...