D4D

Abusing fuckwits for 30 years

Archive for the category “Driving”

Suitable Vehicles

At the moment, while my general commute is pretty short, I still see a lot of drivers, cars and idiots. As regular readers know, driving makes me think, so here’s the latest one…

Why do so many people buy unsuitable cars?

For example, what’s the point of buying high-end ‘performance’ cars, if you’re then going to drive them like an arthritic granny?  It’s something I see every day, people with high-end hot-hatch and performance cars, lumped in the outside lane, and not even driving at the speed limit, let alone over it. Last night’s was a huge BMW X5 Mpower, pootling along, not making progress and generally just getting in the way.

The same applies with vehicles that are too big for the driver, or that the driver simply can’t handle/drive. When I’m at home and the school run kicks in, there’s any number of chelsea tractors that can’t fit down the road to the school itself – and if they can get down, it becomes an incredible palaver to turn the sodding things round, or park them up.

I just don’t get the point of having vehicles like that – but maybe I’m missing something.

Stars

Last year, I started a project to get used to going out for restaurant meals on my own – something that had always been a bit of a “thing” in my mind. Some people don’t like going to the cinema alone, or to pubs.

Part of it became a plan to do more “high-end” eating – if I’m going to eat solo, I might as well make it decent stuff – as well as the usual things, and as a result I ended up eating in a few Michelin-starred places which I really enjoyed. (Far more than I did my previous experience with Michelin-starred places)

I’m keeping up that aim this year, with a vague plan of trying a wide range over the year, and aiming to ‘collect’ a star a month. (Not necessarily at a place each month, but at least averaging it out to one star per month)

So far this year I’ve eaten in a one-star place and a three – with a two lined up for the coming month. From there, I’ve got a couple of others booked up already, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t only eat in Michelin places, by any stretch of the imagination. My tastes are varied – I’m still amused by the Scotland trip I did last year, where I ate in a Michelin-starred place on the Saturday, and a daggy little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place on the Sunday – and I never want to end up the kind of up-myself twerd who’ll only eat at high-end places.  This is just a silly side-project that’s also a lot of fun, and is eminently doable. I get to experience a lot of new stuff, seeing what’s good and what isn’t.

I can’t deny, I’m fascinated by the whole thing – the levels of food, the differences (or lack thereof) between places with one, two and three stars, the differences between places with stars and those that haven’t, and the whole experience of the thing. But mainly, it’s fun – and if I’m going to have a ‘sin’, a money-drain or whatever, it’s going to be this one.

Healthy Car

Following on from the car’s various issues over the last month, it now appears (touch wood) to be all sorted.

However, it means that in the last month it’s had

  • MOT (Passed with no problem)
  • Two separate broken pipes to the turbo, on different occasions – but weirdly, at the exact same location. (i.e. while driving, both times the engine management light came on at the same junction)
  • 150,000 mile service, which included a couple of other small fixes too

Thankfully, it’s not been massively expensive, and the fixes have been small ones. But still, it would’ve been a nicer/easier month without having to do them. (as well as the hire of replacement cars while it was being unreliable) Such is life.

There’s one more bit that needs doing, which is booked in for a couple of weeks time (a bit annoying, as I thought they were doing it at the same time as the service, but such is life) but for now it seems like all’s well again.

Since the main bits of work, it’s had another 1,000 miles added on, so it all feels like it’s settled in again. But as always, time will tell.

Slowing Down – Sort of

For the first time this year, I’ve got a weekend that’s being spent primarily at home. It’s about time.

As I’ve written before, it’s been a chaotic start to the year. I don’t regret a bit of it, and it’s all been my choice, but at the same time I’m definitely knackered and glad of a pause.

The last couple of weeks have involved mid-week concerts – one in Manchester, one in London – which have made for late nights (well, early mornings) so having a weekend without a lot of mileage is definitely a boon.

I’ve still got more stuff booked in, but it shouldn’t be quite as manic for the next couple of weeks, at least.

Car Health – Hopefully Sorted

Another day, another visit to the garage.

Having been repaired last week during the MOT, the same issue (or at least what appeared to be the same issue) recurred on Friday. Annoying, to say the least.

With everything else that was going on, the car didn’t get to revisit the garage again ’til yesterday (Tuesday) for them to find out what the problem was this time.

It turns out to have been *another* pipe to the turbo inlets that had perished and snapped. So – a similar issue, but not the same one, even though it presented in precisely the same way. (And bizarrely, occurred at precisely the same place)

Thankfully, both issues have been resolved quickly, easily and fairly cheaply. All the same, I’m hoping that there won’t be any more for a while.

In a ‘tempting fate’ moment, I took the hire car back today, and I’ll use the Saab for tomorrow Manchester run. If it fails me on that run, then I think I’ll be starting to look for a new vehicle before very long at all.

Low Steppage

Because of the issues with the car last week, it meant I actually got out a lot less than usual.

I’ve written before about my general aims to get out more, walk more and so on – although I do a lot of walking anyway, in comparison to most people.   As part of that, a couple of years ago now I started using the FitBit activity trackers and so on, which allowed me to keep an eye on things.

I have a 5,000-step-per-day ‘target’, which I normally blast through (although some days are closer than others) and average around 50,000 steps per week. Last week, for the first time since getting the FitBit,  I did about half that, and didn’t reach my daily target on most days.

A lot of that was simply that I was working from home, rather than in my office in Milton Keynes. That meant I didn’t go out for a walk in the morning, nor to get lunch and then take the ‘long’ way back to the office – all of which contribute to those totals.

Additionally, I wasn’t feeling great – just a bit burned out, and with this nagging cough (nothing serious, it just keeps tickling and being a twat) it meant I didn’t want to go out as much as I usually do.  And then not doing my usual weekend stuff of going to the cinema, walking round Milton Keynes etc. – it all conspired to make it my worst week in two years.

Of course, my worst week’s activity is still a lot better than that of a lot of people, but it’s annoyed me anyway.

Final High-Mileage Weekend

As per previous posts, January has been a busy month, with a fair amount of travelling every weekend. That’s not a complaint – hell, I kind of planned it that way (well, events combined to make it all into busy weekends, but I allowed it to happen, so yeah, that qualifies as planned) but it’s definitely been busy.

This weekend was the last weekend of high mileage for a couple of weeks. (The week itself is another matter, but we’ll gloss over that for now)

Yesterday, I took my dad in to London to see Billy Connolly at the Hammersmith Apollo – and it was a really good day. We got in to Hammersmith really easily (despite a large number of tosspot drivers etc.) and parked, had food, and enjoyed the show. (I’ll write more about the show itself later in the week) Once that was done, got dad back home, and drove home myself. As usual, getting back around 2am. (I don’t know how that’s been so consistent over the month, but it really has)

Today was a far dafter plan, involving a blast up to the outskirts of Manchester and back.  Basically, I’m up there on Thursday for a concert that I’m going to with two friends, and it’s been spiking my brain that the tickets are with me, and I don’t want them to miss out on the concert if there’s problems on the M1 for me on Thursday.

So I took the opportunity today to blast up there, drop their tickets off, and come back. It means that whatever happens, everyone’s happy – I’ve got my ticket, they’ve got theirs, and we don’t have to go through hordes of organisational stuff for meeting up, getting everything sorted, and that if anyone’s transport screws up, it doesn’t fuck things up for everyone.

All told, it’s been the best part of 600 miles this weekend.

I must be a complete barmpot…

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