With everything else that’s going on, I’ve made the decision to stay in my current house for another year, and sorted out the tenancy agreement to that effect.
I’d been seriously looking at a couple of different locations (although still in the same region as I’m in currently) that would’ve worked, and enabled some other stuff to be a lot easier. It would also have been nice to have a slightly bigger place, as I’ve said before.
However, all the places that were available were at least double the price of the one I’m currently in, and weren’t making enough other things easier. Alongside that, the way things have been with Covid, and the upcoming clusterfuck formally known as Brexit, I ended up deciding that it was likely to be better/smarter to stay here, rather than over-extend things too much.
If nothing else, I’d be properly mortified to end up being in the shit because I’d moved to a better house and then everything else had gone to crap, knowing I could’ve still be in this little cheap(er) place.
So yeah, here for another year. That’s eight-and-a-half years now – by far the longest I’ve been in any one place since I left home.
For now, it still suits me enough. I’d like to move elsewhere, and I’ll look again come summer 2021, and see what happens in the meantime. If things are properly shit, I might stay again, but we’ll see.
Last week was an expensive one (and disappointing in some ways) with regards to the car.
Firstly, on Wednesday morning it failed the MoT test – three of the four linkages on the anti-roll bars were “excessively worn” (read “fucked”) and needed replacing. Slightly annoying/disappointing, but not unexpected at 160,000 miles. (And one of the linkages had a warning last year)
What was more annoying/disappointing was the attitude of the garage about it all, who told me they had no availability until a week on Friday (i.e. October 16th) in order to do the work. And that’s just shit.
The problem is that with the “new” MoT (it’s been around for a couple of years now, so ‘new’ is a bit of a misnomer) if the car fails, it’s not really supposed to be driven at all. With the time duration, I was OK to drive it home but then wasn’t supposed to use it again ’til it’s time to be repaired. And being stuck at home like that for ten days is not my idea of fun.
Fortunately, I had a way round it – albeit a potentially expensive one. Hire a car to use while mine was unavailable – and then it occurred to me that there’s a KwikFit on the same site, so I gave them a call as well, and organised it for them to look at my car and do whatever was necessary. Because it was later in the day, they said it might take time to order the parts, so it might not be done ’til Saturday (still a week earlier than the original garage could do) but that was fine. And of course it also meant I could legally get to the car-hire place!
So that’s what happened. Over to KwikFit, drop off the car and paperwork, collect the hire car, and home. All fairly easy, and a better alternative than being stuck at home, or facing any legal issues.
The next day, KwikFit gave me a call, confirmed the work, told me what it would cost, and it was all fine. So they said I could collect it Friday morning, including having re-taken the MoT test.
So all told, it could’ve been a lot worse.
The original garage have pissed me off though – I’ve had this issue before with their other dealership, and it’s frustrating. I’m happy that they’re busy, and I know there’s less availability because of social distancing and so on. All the same, if it were my business, I’d keep at least one workshop slot per day open for same-day and urgent repairs. That way these sort of things wouldn’t be a problem – and they’d show some customer service by being able to go “Oh, yeah, we can juggle this, we’ll do it today (or tomorrow at a push)“. Which would also mean the money from said work went into their account, not that of one of their competitors.
I get that they want to keep busy and maximise things, but the simple fact is that it’s cost them money – both in not having the money for the work and replacements I needed, but also in the likelihood of me going back there for any future work. Which is what makes it so sad and short-sighted.
Anyway, from my side it’s all fine, and the car’s taxed, MoTed and fully insured again.
Back in March, I wrote about my starting to get back into archery after way too long – it’d been a decade or more since I last went, and this year I found a local(ish) club and went through their ‘beginners’ process (for insurance purposes etc.) before getting my bow checked over and slightly updated. In a spectacularly piss-awful piece of timing, I got that done on the same day that lockdown was announced. Bugger.
Fortunately, the club has its own field, so it’s been possible to use it during the lockdown. I had to sort out a first induction meeting (to establish that I knew their rules and so on) and get my membership card, and from there I’ve been able to go on a regular basis.
So far, I’ve been for eleven sessions, and enjoyed pretty much all of them – last week’s one was less good, but that was just weather and environment being a bastard, plus a healthy dose of hubris from having had a really good session the week before, and it all just clustered up into a shitfest.
As it turns out, it seems I’m generally OK at the whole thing. I’ve been taking my time, building up my strength and stamina through the sessions, rather than aiming to be super-competitive or anything.
The thing for me is that I’m good enough. As with a lot of things, I find I don’t have the obsessive side of things, so I lack that desire to do everything exactly the same way, that push for perfection and rigid routine. Indeed, the people who are like that bore and annoy me. I’m doing this primarily for fun – I like the challenge of getting things right and doing well – and it’s another way of building up my strength and stamina, which is fine with me. But no, I don’t think I’ll ever be at the high end of the club’s score table and so on, because I get to the point of “That’ll do”, and it’s enough for me.
But I’ll keep on going, and see how things go.
As I said in an earlier post, I now have new glasses again. I had been due to get my eyes checked back in March, but as I was getting to the time when it was due, of course Coronavirus did its thing, and we all got locked down.
I’d known that my eyes had changed, that things weren’t as clear as they had been. It wasn’t anything major, but definitely something that needed to be sorted.
So when I finally got an email from Specsavers saying “You can book again for an eye test“, that’s what I did. The process was a pig – I haven’t seen browser-specific stuff in a long while, but it took a change of browser before things got sorted. But it got sorted, I got booked in, and on we go.
The actual eye test was smooth as usual – although there were fewer people in the store at any time, no drop-ins, and everyone wearing PPE – but it all went fine. Somehow my left eye had improved, and my right had got worse. I’ve no idea how that’s possible or makes any sense at all, but there we go. Anyway, I chose the frames I wanted, paid a metric sod-load (even with one set of frames being free, the lenses I need are still cocking expensive) and waited two weeks.
The collection of them was the only thing that was a pain – because of current situation, they weren’t doing the usual proper fitting appointment, so collection was “we’ve adjusted them to how we think they’ll work for you” and off you go.
Safe to say, those adjustments weren’t right for me. For whatever reason, the initial fittings never do – I assume my head/face just doesn’t fit in with the standard fitting algorithms and so on – so I made an appointment to go back and get them redone. That also didn’t work, so I called them back again and pushed for a proper “no, we need to re-measure this” appointment, got that, and got it all sorted.
All told, it took a couple of weeks longer than usual (just because each re-fitting took a week to organise – they’re ridiculously busy, with the reduced number of customers allowed in at any time) but I’m now happy with the new glasses. Hopefully it’ll be another couple of years before I need to get anything else sorted!
While my weekends have been a lot quieter, I’ve done some maintenance stuff that I hadn’t got round to before.
Absolutely nothing glamorous, mind you – but I’ve cleaned out and deiced both my freezer and fridge. It’s been a long time since I’d done either, but neither job was a high priority either. However, might as well let the warm weather help out and speed up the defrosting process…
The freezer had slowly iced over – it’s an odd design with freezing elements on each shelf, so it had slowly become that opening any of the drawers was more and more problematic. I don’t actually use the freezer much though, so again it wasn’t overly important.
As it was, over a couple of hours I emptied it out – which was easily the toughest job, because of those iced-over shelves – and then let it all thaw a bit, carved out all the ice, cleaned it up, and then turned it back on and re-filled it. There was, as expected, a *lot* of ice, but that was about it.
The fridge, on the other hand, was a much mankier job. I’d noticed that there appeared to be a leak, or an overflow, and finally decided to have a look into what was going on. A quick clear out allowed me to see that at some point the back of the fridge had frozen solid, blocking the drain hole, and that was what was causing the problem. Of course, that ice was pretty vile, but again, it’s a job that’s been done now, so hopefully won’t need doing again for a while.
I’ll also keep more of an eye on both things, and (in theory at least) deal with them earlier on next time so they don’t become such big problems again. Only time will tell whether that’ll actually happen or not, though.
Hopefully, both items will now run better and more efficiently. It’s either that, or they’ll go into shock, break, and need replacing…
A while ago, I ordered a vertical blind from Tuiss (Edited on 23/05 : who now sell as Blinds2Go – sorry, forgot to add this before) to replace the shitty curtain in the front room, and got it fitted. I’ve been really pleased with it since, and it’s generally handled life pretty well.
However, two heavy-footed felines stomping in and out of it had meant that some of the clips to hold it all together (plastic chain with connectors onto each slat of the blind) had snapped, so it was beginning to look a bit ropy. (Additionally, the fabric I chose is slightly rough, so grabs cat fur like an absolute bastard, but that’s a different issue)
Anyway, the number of snapped connectors was getting close to outnumbering the ones still intact, so I got in touch with Tuiss to find out whether I could get some replacement weights and chains.
As it turns out, when I say it was bought and installed “a while ago”, it turns out I meant “nearly six years ago”. All things considered, that means they’ve lasted pretty well.
Tuiss found my order, and we discussed what bits I needed – and at each point I was clear and said I was happy to pay for the pieces, it seemed only fair after six years. But they’ve kept on insisting that they’ll just send them out – and they’ve done so.
The bits arrived yesterday, and are now all in place on the blind. I’m really pleased with it, and impressed with Tuiss. Depending on how things go, if I decide to replace the blind then I’ll go back to them and do so, and see what they’ll charge me for a replacement blind without needing the infrastructure (the actual holding frame/mechanism and so on)
Turns out, it’s eight years today since I moved to the current house.
A lot’s happened in that time, and I’m still here. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I left home, which still feels very weird.
I keep on thinking about moving on (and, as I said in a previous post, right now I’m glad it hasn’t happened) and being somewhere new, but so far I haven’t found anywhere I really feel right about moving to.
I don’t know what the future will bring, or where it’ll find me, but for now well, eight years. Wow.