Week 530

Sunday, 17th February, 2019

Started this beautifully sunny and mild morning optimistically We’ve booked a trip to France in early March. Looks like we will have to be in London for the penultimate weekend of March and are planning a quick trip to Yorkshire in early April. If you keep moving, you know that you’re still alive and that’s the deal. On this day 10 years ago, I wrote: Early off because we have a very busy Half Term week ahead. Today I say, What is Half Term?

We are also setting in train plans to trade in our ‘old’ car in exchange for the latest, all-wheel-drive, petrol/electric hybrid, 2.0ltr model. We were told it would be in the showrooms by early February but only the smaller engine 1.5ltr  has arrived so far. Honda are trying to entice us with

What they don’t realise is that these things will make absolutely no difference to people like us. A good purchase price allied to a good trade-in price will be the substance of our decision. For many years we have received ‘free’ servicing with our cars as well as ‘free’ emergency cover with AA and European Green Card Insurance. We have never had an MOT on any car because we never keep them long enough. Who has to pay for interior mats these days?

Off to the Health club again. Hope everyone else is out enjoying the sunshine by the sea so we have the facilities to ourselves. Griddled tuna steaks for our meal when we get home. Who needs Half Term when you’ve got a lifetime of self-indulgence like this?

Monday, 18th February, 2019

Contacted our local Honda Dealer to ask when the CRV 2.0, Hybrid, All Wheel Drive, Automatic would be available to purchase. We were shocked to find that, although they had a lower level model available, the one we wanted would not be available until June. Just as we were absorbing that disappointment, the news began to break that what Brextremists had been dismissing as Project Fear had become Project Reality. Honda announced that it was closing its Swindon Factory where the CRV is manufactured and moving back to Japan after 35 years in UK.

Of course, Brextremist are already scrambling to deny its connection to Brexit but you only have to look at the facts. Margaret Thatcher enticed Honda to UK by promising them an easy gateway to the European market. In the past couple of months, the EU has signed a huge trading agreement with Japan which means they don’t need the UK as a gateway even if we Remain. Swindon voted Leave and now cannot feel aggrieved that they have shot themselves in the foot. We await Toyota in Derby next.

Tuesday, 19th February, 2019

Happy Birthday to my brother, Bob who catches me up today at the age of 67. Of course, I look a lot younger but he’s had a much harder life than me. He likes cold weather and snow. he likes walking in the Lake District. All of these things make one age prematurely. Let’s hope he has a few more years left in him. He really seems to be enjoying his retirement. It is certainly one scary thing to be hurtling towards announcing that we are 70.

I have searched for a new car on Carwow and already had one good offer from only 40 miles away in Bracknell. I’ve had my car priced up for trade-in at £20,200.00/€23,265.00 and the new one is offered at £37,100.00/€42,725.00. This is a fantastic deal so I will be following it up tomorrow.

Lovely time at the Health Club in spite of the fact that it is Half Term and there are a few kids let in during the afternoon. Just nice to get the exercise done in lovely weather.

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

Gorgeous, warm and sunny day with lovely, blue sky. Before PMQs, I have had some ‘stuff to do’. We want to visit our friends in the North so I booked 3 nights at a hotel we have used for years – Holiday Inn, Brighouse. We used to be members of their Health Club for a number of years and we have made the hotel our base when we return to Yorkshire over the past decade. They have a couple of Suites and, because we don’t go more than a couple of times a year, we always book a suite. It has a large bedroom with TV, a lovely bathroom, a large lounge with TV and a dining area with drinks-making facilities. It gives a feeling of home-from-home.

Now, I forgot to mention that I’ve had a heavy, head cold for a few days. When I’m like this – which is very rare nowadays – I am absolutely dozy. I usually ask my wife to drive because it’s safer. Today, I was just printing out my confirmation of the hotel booking – 3 nights with breakfast for £491.00/€565.00 – when I realised that I had booked the wrong month. I am, fortunately, an IHG member and phoned the helpline who immediately rebooked the 3 nights for me and the bill was reduced to £390.00/€448.00. Good result. No idea why the previous week was so much more in demand.

Just as that process was finished, the postman pushed a small parcel envelope through the letterbox. A couple of days ago, as the cold was at its height, I ordered a new phone cover for Pauline. Today, it arrived and … it was the wrong one. We both have Huawei P2 Pro smartphones. I ordered a cover for its smaller, sister model. I have to re-order and let Pauline drive tomorrow.

Thursday, 21st February, 2019

After yesterday’s dozy debacles, they were compounded by a phone call from my bank’s Fraud Department doing a ‘routine check’ on our credit card purchases which I didn’t notice had come through as a text on my phone and resulted in our account being ‘temporarily frozen’. By the time I noticed and had it ‘unfrozen’, the IHG booking was showing ‘Payment Declined’. When I rang them, they said they knew me well and would take payment when I arrived at the hotel, thankfully. Just as a coda to these events,  this morning I ordered another ‘wrong’ replacement case before cancelling and reordering the right one. Pauline will still be driving today. I am trying to buy a new car today so let’s hope I choose the right one……

………… Well, I didn’t even get the chance to buy the wrong one. The supplier didn’t even bother to phone me back. I have a feeling that I’ll be having a sharp word tomorrow before visiting another dealer.

Who wants wood in their new car … in 2019?

One thing I have found out is that the interior wood trim which they must think enhances the car but reminds me of the 1950s can be replaced by polished metallic finish at an additional cost of £375.00/€431.00. I think I’ll have to pay it.

Friday, 22nd February, 2019

This morning, we found that the new car is no longer made in UK but in Japan and we can’t have one until the end of July. We’ve ordered it. We’ve chosen to have the wood trim removed. We’ve ordered it from our local Honda dealer where we bought the last car because nobody has a new, hybrid model of the level we want. They will not be in the country at all until late July. The Dealer assessed our car and gave us a good trade-in price which takes in to account another 4 months of driving. We also have all the other ‘incentives’ I listed on Sunday including free servicing for the next 5 years which is useful to have banked.

It is a mild but quite foggy morning. Because we were early in our meeting at Honda, we went a little further into the Marina. It looked so different in this ghostly light.

Sunbathing at Littlehampton Marina.

The fishing boats were late in – perhaps because of the fog – and the fisherman’s shed  stood waiting for the catch to sell. It all looked a little depressing and uninviting as seaside resorts tend to in Winter. This afternoon, the fog lifted, the sun beamed out and the temperature rose markedly. We decided that we’d been to the gym a great deal in the past two weeks – only missing 2 days – so we decided to relax and plan some time away in the sunshine.

Saturday, 23rd February, 2019

Chalk & Cheese – yesterday and today. Yesterday, dark, damp and foggy. Today, bright, sunny, blue sky, Mediterranean. It really does feel like Spring is coming although it could be a false dawn. The grass is certainly growing. I will be cutting, feeding it and reseeding areas in the next few days. It’s not looking to bad but some spots are decidedly thin.

Having sold the car yesterday, I cleaned it today. Wrong way round, I know but it needed it and we won’t be exchanging it for another 4 months. Full valet including treating leather seats, steam cleaning carpets and pressure washing the outside with wax shampoo took two hours. Before that, I had unstacked the dishwasher and hoovered the house top to bottom. A ma’s work is never done. After it we did more than two hours at the Health Club by which time I was almost out on my feet.

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