D4D

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Archive for the category “Driving”

Whitstable Day-Trip

The day trip to Whitstable was thoroughly pleasant, and much needed.  Among other things, I’m coming to the conclusion that I really need to have more sea and seaside in my life – it’s something that’s been missing for way too long.

Having written last week about feeling down/flat, wondering what’s going on and so on, I found myself feeling far, far better as soon as I got out the car and heard the noise of waves on the beach. I don’t know why it works like that on me, but it does.

Anyway, as a result, I walked along a large length of the seafront. What the hell, I was there early, and most places weren’t even open, so it was pleasant – and I got to meet a huge Irish Wolfhound as well, for added bonus points.  Mainly though it was about just walking and appreciating the noise of the sea. (Such a bloody hippie)

The BeachThere’s also a load of beach huts along the front, all different – not just in paintscheme, but in style – and I ended up taking photos of a number of those, too.  Again, no-one else around, and it was a pleasant way to spend a morning.

Whitstable Beach HutsIt was just what I needed as a ‘day off’ activity, and I ended up walking 5km along the front, taking the odd picture, and just relaxing.  I stopped off at a few places as well, and also spent some time sat in wind-free areas – of which there were few – just reading amid the sounds of the waves.

More Huts at WhitstableThe weather wasn’t perfect – it was grey and blowy – but that didn’t bother me. I wasn’t going there to soak up sun, but instead to just have time out from lots of stuff. And I got that in swathes.

Groynes on the beachWhitstable’s definitely one of those places I’ll be going back to, and could easily consider as a place to live. It’s not ideal – some of the travelling would be more problematic than it is currently, for example – but at the same time it’s a place I like. It’s on the list when I finally do decide to move on, and let’s leave it at that…

Slowtime

Following on from yesterday’s notes about being a bit flat/tired, I’m taking this weekend as being a bit slower, a bit calmer – well, by my standards, anyway.

Saturday is going to be a cinema-day. There’s a couple of things I want to see, the timings gel nicely, and the weather forecast is mediocre, so sod it, that’s the plan. An afternoon of cinema.

Sunday though is likely to be a bit sillier. Because all I want to do is curl up and do nothing, I’m going to do another day-trip. I’m unsure of exactly where yet – the main options being Reading, Whitstable or Brighton – but all are within a two-hour drive.  I’m quite tempted by Whitstable, to go and sit by the sea and generally chill out a bit.  I used to work near there many moons ago, so a bit of a revisit too. I did go back there a while back – although a site search has revealed that ‘a while back’ actually means 10 and a half years – so it’ll be interesting to see what’s changed (and what’s stayed the same) in that time.

And that’s the plan for a quiet weekend…

Sick Day

Following on from yesterday’s post, last night was vile. I won’t go into details – safe just to say it was bad.

Anyway, as a result of that, I took the decision that I’d take today as a sick day, as I wanted to visit the GP (among other things) and generally Not Do Much.   Which was a mistake.

The GP – as usual – was fucking useless.  Having waited 90 minutes to see the incompetent git, I was in the room for less than five minutes. I explained that I’d spent most of the night with an insanely sore throat – to the degree that I thought it might end up being tonsilitis – , and coughing up big green lumps. He checked my throat and decided that it wasn’t tonsilitis. Fair enough – I know fuck-all, so I bow to their supposed knowledge.  But at the same time, despite being told I’d coughed up a ton of crap, he still didn’t bother to check my chest at all – something you’d think would be pretty elementary.

And the final verdict? “Nothing I can do, take some paracetamol, and maybe Neurofen if you feel the need”. That was it. Useless shyster bastards.  (And yes, there’s another complaint in with the practice manager)

After that, I went back home, still feeling like shit – only also feeling annoyed. Never a good stage in the day.

Within half an hour, there was a crunch of noise outside, the sound of plastic and so on getting splattered down the road. It didn’t sound promising – and I had a nagging feeling…

Yep, a driver had managed to smash off the door mirror of my car – which was all parked up, in the same place it usually is.  Oh fuck.

In fairness, she’d stopped, and was seeing what had happened. I know any number of people wouldn’t have even slowed down, let alone made an effort. So you know, fair play on that score.  She was a very new driver, had misjudged the width of her car while another one was coming the other way, and smack.  It could’ve been so much worse – so, so much worse – and she was properly upset.

I spoke to my Saab garage, and got a price for the replacement mirror, and we exchanged details.  I showed them where I lived, and all was well.   A bit later, her dad came round – in a good way! – and we discussed it, that she was a new driver, and if we did this through insurance, it’d hit her very hard, for something that really wasn’t worth that much money.  I’m fine with that – I’m not going to penalise the poor girl for something, when she didn’t even have to stop – and I think it’ll all work out by people dealing with it as adults.

And so I’ve ended up, on my day at home and feeling crap, going over to the Saab garage, getting things sorted – and as it turned out, actually getting a replacement mirror far, far cheaper than I expected. Basically, they’d got a silver car that they were stripping for parts, and I got the mirror. The colour isn’t a precise match, but I don’t give a shit about that.

The full replacement should’ve cost £300, with labour etc. on top of that. The swapped part has cost me £100 including labour, and took less than an hour from start to finish.  I can’t deny, I’m pleased with that, and well chuffed with the garage – they’ve always been good with me, as has been shown by what they’ve done today.

 

It’s all worked out OK – but for a day doing nothing, it really hasn’t been all that successful…

 

Snow Day

Last night it snowed in the area I live in. I’d been in the cinema for the evening, and came out to find the car covered in snow.  Not lots – maybe a maximum of two inches all told. But it meant slower driving (well, except for BMW drivers, who were still their usual dickwhistle selves) and just generally being sensible.

Of course, at this point I know that various friends in different areas of the country/world are pissing themselves laughing (as usual) at Britain’s shitness with snow and inclement conditions.  The only excuse is that we don’t have enough dodgy weather to invest in the infrastructure to deal with it. Canada, US and Scandinavia are all used to feet of snow, and have the machinery and infrastructure to deal with it.  Here? Not so much.

Anyway, it made driving home a bit more cautious – although still not bad at all – and also made me thankful I was driving at midnight, rather than in peak hours. Even at midnight there were still plenty of idiots driving too fast for the conditions, and making things interesting.

And I’m very glad I was working from home today, rather than travelling on the M1 in either direction…

Service Reward

As I said last week, the Slab passed its MOT with flying colours. So I decided to give it a treat – as well as the service it was due for, I sorted out a couple of things that’ve been annoying, and all is good.

Since I got it – and obviously before that too – one of the information displays has been pretty dodgy. It’s an old-type thing with a dot-matrix screen, and there were obviously some borked connections, so it never displayed the entire screen at all.  Depending on any number of random factors, it could be 75% working or 25%.  It didn’t affect the functionality of the car, but it got annoying on occasion.

Anyway, with having had to spend Not Much (actually, nigh-on Sod All) for the MOT, I asked about getting a replacement (or in this case, reconditioned) display module. I’d thought about it before, but didn’t bother at the time.

The service was done yesterday, along with the new display module, and replacement of various fluids that were OK-ish, but got flagged up as “could do with being replaced”. (Brake fluid and the like)

The display now is ace – indeed, it’s taking me some time to get used to it being as bright and clear as it is. The service had a couple of small bits that also needed doing, but it’s been worthwhile, and still Not Much for a car as comparatively old as the Slab.

Of course, with new bits and now it’s all sorted and taxed for the next year, something major is sure to go wrong with it in the coming month or so. That’s just the way these things go…

Jammed

At the moment, I’m doing regular drives on the Northbound M1, which is currently subject to no less than 15 miles (Fifteen Miles! For fuck’s sake!) of roadworks in one stretch replacing the central barrier, and another stretch installing ‘smart motorways’, in a similar way to how the Southbound M1 was screwed over a couple of years back.

Through both of these stretches, we’ve got the 50mph speed limit and ‘average speed cameras’, which seem to also contain some kind of mind-control that turns the majority of drivers into zombies who can’t see an empty lane, but can see a speed camera and slow down for it. (The phrase ‘average speed’ is utterly beyond them, of course)

It amazes me how bad the driving standards are in these roadworks zones – it’s as though people stick to the lane they were in when they entered the roadworks, and aren’t able to move from it. They don’t move in (or even pull out to overtake) despite any available space, or someone else driving even slower ahead.

I don’t know what can be done to change it – it’s just a human nature thing, I guess – but dear God, it’s bloody annoying to be surrounded by that many dickwhistles.

Connected

This weekend I’m off seeing friends Oop Norf, and because of working from home, opted for the easier option, leaving home early, stopping off at a services most of the way to where I’ll be, and working from there for a few hours.

It actually worked out pretty well – surprisingly so, in some ways – and meant I didn’t get stuck in tons of shitty traffic.

The surprising bit was that where I stopped, up at Hartshead Moor services, my phone had a full 4G data service – surprising, because Hartshead is pretty much the bum-end of nowhere. But still, 4G.   That meant I could connect from laptop to iPhone using WiFi, which then gave me data via 4G, without having to pay a penny to the on-site extortionists of BTOpenzone et al.

That, to me, is a complete win. I’ve got unlimited 4G data through my phone contract (I know, it’ll still have a ‘fair-use’ limitation or whatever, but I’m well within that anyway) so it’s saved me the money of a connection through BTOpenzone, and won’t even hit my phone bill.

There are some bits of this modern life that I really quite like…

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