Week 203

November 4th, 2012

A slothful day of laziness and indulgence. Aren’t they all? This one was worse. Breakfast, newspapers, football, lunch with wine, football, dinner with wine.

Tomorrow will be better!

November 5th, 2012

Up early. Went down to the garage to prepare the car for its trip to Yorkshire tomorrow and its exchange for the new car. Check oil, windscreen bottle and tyre pressures. Empty the car of everything that doesn’t belong to it. The most important thing was cleaning the sat. nav. of saved destinations. It is just getting ready for its 24 month service. (£250.00) I won’t need to do that. It probably would be expecting a new set of tyres (£1000.00+) so I won’t need to do that. The Road Tax is due in three weeks. ( £250.00) I won’t need to pay that. All in all, I’ve saved money by buying a new car.

We went on to the Health Club and had a wonderful, first session. Swimming, Jacuzzi, Steamroom. We had it almost entirely to ourselves. We do know that they must be struggling for clients. As soon as we showed any interest, they wouldn’t leave us alone, phoning with new offers. Even in the affluent commuter belt of Surrey, people are having to make savings. One of the first things that goes is the Health Club membership.

November 6th, 2012

Up at 4.30 am and out by 5.30 am on the M25 before full rush hour. It is incredible how many people are on the road at this time in the morning. Sat. Nav. told me that it was a journey of 202 miles. and, leaving at 5.30 am, I should get to Huddersfield Honda Dealership by 9.20 am. In spite of a coffee stop in Leicester Forrest, we managed to shave 30 mins. off that time. It was lovely to see Chris, our salesman of 25 years relationship. He confirmed that it was the 20th new car that he was handing over to us. He also told us that we would receive a cheque for £500.00 from Honda for being such long-standing customers. We were with Chris for an hour while he tried to explain all the computer aids of a car that is so new, he hasn’t been able to master them himself. I told him I would spend some days on the car and then send him some notes of guidance.

We drove away and on to Netherton – a village on the edge of Huddersfield – where there is a farm shop that we have used for years. We bought half a dozen pheasants for £4.00 each plus lots of quality meat which will tide us over until we go to France.

We drove on to Repton to visit Mum’s grave. It depicted a quintessential English Autumn day. A Keatsian Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. The light soft, the trees colourful, the ground carpeted with the bronze fire of fallen beech leaves. To complement the scene, light rain had begun to fall. I found myself weeping in empathy as I concentrated on the thought of my dead Mother.

grave1.jpg  grave2.jpg

If I analyse it, I am weeping for the idea of a lost Mother and, probably, for myself rather than for her but, in memory, she lives.

Life has to go on and so did we. The new car was a delight to drive even though I had to fight to access the new, DAB radio. It had 400 stations but it took me ages to find Radio 4. I did it but, at 120 mph, put the rest of M1 users at great danger. Pauline shouted at me. I will need the rest of the week to get to know all the innovations in this model. You need to be retired for this car. You need the free time.

We were home by 3.00 pm and, after driving 550 miles, I sank into a large, leather sofa with a huge cup of tea. I woke in time to watch a mediocre Man. City. scrape a poor draw against Ajax.


I love elections. Whether I can stay up to watch in the US Presidential contest tonight, I don’t know.

November 7th, 2012

I didn’t make it through the night but the radio woke me this morning at 6.00 am with the pleasing news that Obama had been re-elected. Sanity, at least in part, has returned to the US.

I rarely read instruction books for new gadgets. One of the tests of quality is the level of intuitiveness they are endowed with. Today, I spent one hour working through the Audio system in my new car. It shouldn’t be difficult. It is a combined unit of satellite navigation (no longer DVD-based but constantly ‘live’), a DVD player, a radio with DAB/FM/LW, a CD player with a hard drive storage. It is integrated with a trip computer which reports mileage (switchable for kilometres) fuel consumption/fuel remaining/road temperature. The whole thing is controlled by touch screen, controls on the steering wheel or voice commands. I’m pleased to report that after an hour of play, I can get Radio 4.

The other innovations I have had to get to grips with urgently are the ‘keyless entry’ system. You don’t need to use your key to open the doors. As long as it is in one’s pocket, the car doors will open and the engine will start at the push of a button. Similarly, when leaving the car, one merely closes the door and everything locks automatically. At the same time, the key fob in one’s pocket tells the car from a couple of metres before one enters it to set the driver’s seat to the previously chosen position. It holds two separate settings programmed to two separate fobs. Dream on!

November 8th, 2012

Up at 6.00 and at the Walk-in Hospital for my blood tests by 7.00 am. Unfortunately, there was a huge queue. I had an appointment elsewhere for a ‘flu jab at 7.40 am but I didn’t make it in time. By the time I left the Walk-in Centre, it was standing room only. It was so busy, a lady from the office came out to take my blood. “Don’t worry, I’ve been trained.”, she said and that really worried me. She did a good job and by about 8.00 am, I was having my flu’ jab.

Home for breakfast – Shreddies & coffee – with the digital newspaper and then a couple of hours writing before setting off to the Health Club.

Wonderful couple of hours at the Health Club this afternoon. We swam just half a kilometre but I was tired when I’d finished. We haven’t swum for nearly three months and I’ve got to get back in to the routine.

November 9th, 2012

A bright but slightly chilly morning. The temperature was forecast to reach 10C/50F outside but it felt quite chilly as we left for the Health Club. We managed an extra six lengths today. My body says, ‘Thank goodness I don’t go at the weekend.’

In spite of the temperatures outside being half of those currently in Greece, we haven’t felt the need to put the heating on at all. The insulation of this new apartment is phenomenal.

Today I learnt that my new car has warning sounds if I set speed boundaries. Experimenting, I set 30 mph and 80 mph as the boundaries it would warn me of breaking. I’d only gone a couple of miles before I took this parameter off because it shouted at me every time I went over 30 mph. I also found that, as soon as I play a CD in the unit, it rips it into MP3 format and saves it to the hard disk just as one might do on a computer. The CD then becomes redundant as far as the car is concerned so it can be played elsewhere instead. As long as the car is in ‘park’, it will play a DVD where the Sat. Nav. screen is and, although the cars transmission is automatic, the steering wheel includes gear change paddles that will over ride the automatic gear selection.

November 10th, 2012

We are off to France next week so I am desperately trying to get up to speed with the new car. Sorry to bore you. Today, I’ve been learning some of the switches. The tailgate rises and falls electronically. It can be switched internally from the control panel or externally from the key fob which will also open and close the electric windows. I have a (VSA) vehicles stability assist button which is on be default and prevents over and under steering. Actually, the power steering is much lighter on this model. I have a deflation warning indicator that I have to set when the tyres are inflated correctly and sounds if one falls below standard. I have a Hill Descent Control button which I have to set for the obvious. I have ABS which is standard in most cars now but mine is topped up with an Emergency Stop Signal which is really useful particularly as I do a lot of motorway driving on the Continent. ESS switches on the hazard flashers automatically if you brake hard at 60 or above. I also have (CMBS) collision mitigation braking system which is a radar sensor which detects if the vehicle in front cuts its speed and automatically cuts mine to match. This is particularly helpful with cruise control which I use all the time on the motorway. There will be a test next week to see how much you remember. I certainly won’t pass it.

Bacon sandwiches for lunch today as we watch the Rugby. Life could be worse.

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