A drop of blood in a sea of piss

Archive for the category “Driving”

Ker-Fut5 – The Return

As of this morning, Saab is back in my possession.

While I was at the garage paying for the work (Car, you owe me big time. Any further breakdowns this year and you’re likely to go to the great scrapyard in the sky) they showed me the old turbo.

Wow.   When they said it had exploded, they really weren’t far wrong.

Somehow – and I don’t know at all – some of the blades within the turbo itself had shattered. Bits of metal every-sodding-where.

All now seems well. They’ve warned me there may be some smoke from the exhaust due to the amount of oil that went through the entire system, although it’s been fully cleaned out.

So we’ll see how we go. I hope all will be well for a while from now.

(And now I’ve just got to do one more run with the hire car, then return that tomorrow and get in to work. Fun)

Ker-Fut 4 – Organising The Return

Things like hire-cars and the like are the only time I can currently think of where it would be more useful to be in a relationship, to have a partner who could help out.

The logistics of collecting the hire-car were easy enough – taxi to hire place, drive home.

However, the whole thing for getting Saab back, returning hire-car, and having Saab accessible for other things that need doing (while also reducing the cost of taxis etc) has turned into something a little more mind-melting, to the point I actually had to write it down to figure the best way of doing things in a timely fashion.

All things going well, I’ll sort it all out tomorrow (Thursday) and then it’ll be dealt with.

Mind you, if that’s the only time I really think it would be more useful to be with someone – that’s not a good sign for my relationship prospects, is it?

Ker-Fut 3 – The verdict

So – as expected from Friday, the turbo had basically exploded. It doesn’t appear to have damaged anything else, and although I’ve had some other options, I’m getting it repaired/replaced. (In fairness, the garage has offered me a decent deal on the work, as I’m a regular customer etc.)

It’s been right on the edge of whether it’s worth doing or not – the car is now definitely in the “it’s cost me money” field, although in fairness it’s taken ’til now to do so, 2½ years since I bought it.

I think I detailed that at the time – and it turns out I didn’t ’til more than a year later – but I basically got an excellent price for it anyway, and then managed to get back far more than expected for Mondeo, refunded car tax etc., so all told the Saab actually cost me £300. Since then, it’s had small bits done to improve things, and we were back to just about break-even, maybe a bit over what I’d paid, but less than the Saab garage would give me for it.

With this latest development, we’re now to the point of being on a par with what they’d give me, so if it has any further significant issues, it’ll be going to the great shitheap in the sky.

I just hope Saab knows how close it’s come to being scrapped this week – and appreciates the fact I have saved that occurrence for another day…

Ker-Fut 2 – Getting to the Garage

F0llowing on from Friday’s car issues, it’s been a semi-eventful weekend.

When I got home on Friday, my first job was sorting out a hire car for the coming week (possibly two) as I’m all over the place. That got sorted relatively easily – one place was closed, and I’d have had to call their Glasgow office to try and find out what was available (a ridiculous state of affairs, and frankly, fuck that) and the second one, while closed, enabled me to book a car to be collected the following morning, in a dead easy process.

And then it was a small case of hunting for the necessary identity documents. Driving licence (and the new necessary code from DVLA for the online driving record – needed since the paper part of the licence is now outdated) was OK, as was passport – but finding documents to prove address were somewhat more difficult, as I now do all my bills online, so rarely get anything “official” through the post. (As an aside, I wonder how that will change things over the next couple of years, as more and more paper-based stuff is removed/reduced/made into a cost) I did find the necessary bits in the end, but it’s getting to be more hassle than it should be.

Collecting the car (a new Vauxhall Insignia, which is not at all bad, as Vauxhall’s go) was an absolute doddle. The place is quite new, but was really a case of walk in, do the paperwork, check the car, bugger off. All told it was less than 30 minutes – fairly impressive. Because I’d used the same company before (when the Mondeo died on me) I had a lot less ID-checking to do – which seemed odd, as that was two-and-a-half years ago, and lots could’ve changed since then – but it was a nicely painless experience all round.

I’ve plonked about with it a fair bit over the weekend, and yeah, not bad at all.

I’ve also been looking at replacement vehicles – I suspect the Saab has blown up significantly, and will be more to repair than it’s worth, so I’m sounding out alternatives – and there’s a couple I’m going to check out this week, once I know more about the state of the Saab.

And then we come to getting the Saab to the garage. I’d thought a lot about this, and decided that the best plan would be to drive it (slowly, and along backroads) to the garage on Sunday, avoiding all the heavy traffic and any potential issues.  If it died, well, I’ve got recovery as part of my car insurance. I left it ’til later in the Sunday, rather than trying to do it while people were still going shopping and so on.    I did have my doubts about the plan – but figured it was infinitely better than trying to do it on Monday evening, let alone Tuesday morning!

Anyway, set off lateish on Sunday afternoon (about 5.30) and it was all fairly successful.  I got most of the way fine, but then it did die out properly, so I had to do the recovery thing. In fairness, even that ended up going really smoothly – the recovery vehicle turned up within half an hour, and took me to drop the car off at the garage. (I was actually really lucky, because one thing I hadn’t taken into consideration was the fact it was the Grand Prix at Silverstone, so traffic and breakdowns were greatly increased later on!)

Then it was just a case of dropping off the keys, and getting a cab home – all told, I was home by 8pm, which wasn’t bad, when everything was taken into consideration.



Yesterday nearly got very interesting indeed.

I’d had to drive over to Chesham for a day in the proper office, and on the way the car had started making some very dodgy noises, although it was all running OK.  From the noises, and when they happened, I was fairly sure it was an issue with the turbo.

As a result, I rang up the Saab garage, and booked it in for a checkup on Tuesday, which was the first day they had available.

On the way home, the noises were worse, so I was driving more carefully (and a bit slower) than usual.

I got to the Leighton Buzzard bypass (having avoided the M1 on a Friday evening – can’t think why I might’ve wanted to that) and whatever had been weakening let go, dumping a shitload of smoke and gunk over the road – which must’ve been interesting for the poor bugger behind me, to say the least.

I’ve managed to nurse it home – taking it slowly, accelerating without hitting the turbo ranges etc. – so it’s parked up outside the house, and I’ll be somehow getting it to the garage over the weekend (when the traffic is quieter, in case things go horribly wrong) in order to get it sorted on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve also reserved a hire car for next week, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t yet know whether I’ll get it repaired/replaced, or look for something new – a lot of it will depend on what the costs are for fixing it, really. So I’ll know more later in the week, and work from there.

In honesty, I could’ve done without the hassle – but it’s something I can deal with without crippling me, and that’s no bad thing.

Staying Still

This coming weekend is my first one fully ‘at home’ in about three months. As such, I’m looking forward to it for downtime and some peace and quiet.

However, I feel almost guilty about staying home, and doing Not Much.

My brain keeps on saying “Oh, but you could do a day-trip to [x], [y] or [z]“.  And it’s right, I could. But I don’t really want to – except my brain doesn’t believe it.

It’s odd. One part of me wants to just have a down-weekend, a time of not doing a lot, and most emphatically not driving any significant distances. But the other part obviously does want me to do all of those things.

It’s a bit schizoid, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see which side wins out in the end. All very strange.


[Note : There may be some sweeping generalisations in this, but at the same time I’m trying to avoid them]

As has been noted many times over the years, I drive way too much, way too many miles (in comparison to pretty much anyone sane) and get to see an awful lot of crappy driving.  I’m not claiming my own driving is perfect – but with that number of miles I cover, nor is it bloody awful.

Anyway, as always there seem to be certain categories of drivers who are worse than others.

Invariably, the worst of all tend to be the drivers of BMWs and Audis, but there’s another class I’m seeing more of on the roads – the people-carrier vehicles, the MPVs and their ilk. In particular, there’s something about drivers of Citroen Picassos (I’ve always suspected that people only buy those because BMW don’t make a people-carrier – if they did, that’s what the fuckknuckles would buy) but it’s actually most of that vehicle type.

I don’t know why it is that certain types of vehicle seem to attract crap drivers, but it keeps on appearing to be so.

[I had a theme in there, but it’s now gone. Grrr]

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