MoT Day

Well, today’s the day of the new (to me) car’s MoT, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.  Let’s hope it just cruises through.

[Updated : It passed, no problems and one minor advisory]

Literal vs Lateral

One thing I’ve found fascinating with people – both where I live now, and previous places – is how literal they are, even when it means they take longer to do things.

For example, where I now live there are several junctions where turning right onto a busy road can mean significant delays for people.  But most of those junctions also have roundabouts a short distance up the road if people instead turned left.

So here, for example – the scenario is that I’m pulling out of the Stephenson industrial estate, wanting to turn right.

If I turn left, it’s 400m to the roundabout. It’s a simple thing, an 800m round-trip, and far faster than the delay when waiting to turn right. But no-one does it. They’re so locked into “I’m turning right” that they somehow don’t even think about turning left instead.

On another regular drive, in the run-up to another roundabout, the left-hand lane gets utterly jammed, waiting for a safe gap in which to get out and turn left.  But if one takes the right-hand lane, it’s all too easy to get up to the front, go all the way round the roundabout and then come off to that same route – well before the equivalent drivers in the left-hand lane have caught up.  Yes, it’s effectively a 450° turn, but it’s *so* much quicker.  And again, people are locked into “I’m turning left” and seem to not see the alternative at all.

It’s all very odd.  I mean, I’m glad I can look at it and see those lateral decisions that make life easier, but I do find it fascinating that so many people simply can’t/don’t do so.

Car Progress

Somehow I’ve already had the new (to me) car for three full months, and thankfully it’s turned out to be a good buy.

I had my concerns – for a car registered in 2016, a mileage of 18,000 is gobsmackingly low, so I did wonder if it had spent a lot of its time in garages or whatever, but it seems that the previous owner just didn’t get out much.  Obviously that is not the case with me, so that mileage has already increased by a third. (6,000 miles in three months – yeah, that’s about standard for me)

It’s proved to be an absolute beast on the motorway, and just handles all the miles I’ve thrown at it so far.  It’s weirdly quiet in general – which isn’t a complaint, just an observation that a diesel vehicle still doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be that quiet! It’s also sitting happily at an indicated 49Mpg. I’d be happy if that were slightly better, but it’s a decent enough figure for my purposes.

It’s also meant that I’ll be able to split the costs of MOT / Servicing and Tax / Insurance Renewal – I got it with about six months MOT left, so that’ll be due in April, and Insurance etc. isn’t til November/December, which is definitely nicer than having Everything Due All At Once.

There are niggles – primarily it turns out that what I’ve got is a 2015 model that was registered at the start of 2016, so it’s just missed out on having better tech integration (no Apple CarPlay, for example) although I can – and will – fix that with some form of aftermarket sortout.  On the positives though, it means I also don’t have driver “aids” like auto start/stop , or the lane-change-warning stuff (that tried to kill me last time I had it on an Insignia) which is all fine with me.

All told, it’s worked out well.

Finally Finished

*Ages* ago (well before I moved) I bought a load of laundry pods because they were on a very good offer. (Reduced price and increased loyalty/rewards points, I think – might’ve been a multipack deal in there too)  I might even have taken advantage of that offer twice – although that was mainly through forgetting I’d done it once already. Regardless, I then didn’t get round to using them.

When I moved, I realised I still had them, so decided to use them up before going back to the methods I prefer (liquid/gel rather than pods or powder)  Somewhere along the line I also discovered I’d been using the pods incorrectly – turns out they’re supposed to go into the washing machine *first*, then the laundry on top , whereas I’d been using them in the same way as the liquid/gel methods.  Live and learn, and all that.

Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of acknowledging that I’ve finally – *finally!* – just used the last of those sodding pods.

The next couple of laundry loads will be a comparison exercise – do I really notice the difference?

But for now I can’t deny, I’m just happy to be at the end of the pods.

Key Information

When I got the new (to me) car it only had one key – although it had two fobs, it was just that the actual keyblade on one of them was missing. (Which is quite an achievement in the first place!)

I like having two working keys for the car – it means, among other things, that I can leave it with people (valets, MoT/Servicing etc.) without leaving my full bunch of house keys as well.

So I asked at the local dealership what the price would be for a replacement, and they quoted an OK-but-high price for it, saying it might take a couple of days from ordering in order to get the right one – oh, and have the V5 registration certificate as proof of ownership. And then didn’t get round to it.

This week though, I did a quick trip to my local(ish) Tesco that I know has a Timpson concession/branch at it. And (being organised, for once) I remembered to take the spare key fob with me.  Nothing to lose by asking, and all that jazz.

So I asked, and got it done for £50 (less than a sixth of what the dealership had quoted) in less than fifteen minutes.

I’ve always been impressed by Timpsons (among other things, I like that they are open to employing ex-convicts and so on, opening doors that many places close) and I’m glad that I took the time to use them for this one.


Every year, I do the GoodReads reading challenge – setting myself a target of number of books to read, and then keeping track of it through GoodReads.  I usually blast through the target – for example 2023’s target was 100, and I ended up with 153 – but I’d rather aim low(ish) and succeed rather than shoot for the moon and fail.

It’s worth pointing out that there are lots of things I don’t like about GoodReads – their controversies this year about fake reviews and so on in particular – but for this kind of basic usage, they’re fine and I’m yet to find a similarly comprehensive setup to manage it. So… it’ll do.

I also rarely bother writing reviews etc. (unless it’s a particularly awful thing I’ve just read)

Anyway. This year I’ve decided that I’m going to try and reduce the number of new book purchases, and instead to carve through a decent swathe of my stuff that’s bought-but-still-unread. (Which is a huge pile, and I daren’t actually count how many things are in it)  I’m not going to say “I’m not going to buy any new books” – mainly because that would be a) ridiculous, and b) unachievable (plus I’d have already failed on that score) – but I’m going to try and reduce that count a bit and get through older stuff instead.

As a result, I’m setting my target this year to be 120 books. (It was originally 100, but I changed it up a bit) I know there are some I re-read that I can race through because they’re familiar, but I think if I make new ones the majority this year, that might slow me down a bit, so 120 is realistic. (Ish. I’ll almost certainly exceed it, but it’s a number I’m happy with)

Now it just remains to see how I do with it!

Over and Done

Bah Humbug Welcome to 2024

Back to the normal intermittent rubbish, as and when I think “I haven’t written anything there for a while!”

I’ve got a bundle of things bouncing round my head that I should jot down – thoughts and plans for the coming year that are emphatically not resolutions , that kind of thing.

But in the meantime, it’s really just a sigh of relief to get to the end of another Festering Season.