That was lucky

I was driving home last night – a trip that is about 35 miles and uses the M25 and the A2. The traffic was awful between the two roads, there was a crash and a sign said caution animals in road. I was stuck there for some time. However it was as I came down the hill into Strood that I ran out of petrol!

I was sitting at the traffic lights which were controlling traffic around some roadworks. As I went to pull away the engine just died. By this time I was in the contraflow system – luckily for me it was downhill so I let the car roll and took the first turn off, which happened to be a petrol station and I rolled right up to the pumps!

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Ker-Ching!!!

As if it wasn’t bad enough that I have to pay to park outside my own house!

As if it wasn’t bad enough that in order to purchase a permit to do so I have to travel to the other side of Medway.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the permit cost has almost doubled in 2 years.

You now have to pay to park for the 5 minutes you spend in the parking services department to get the bloody thing!!!

Is there nothing Medway Council will try and make money out of?

A Picture that touched the world

This picture taken during the Vietnam war was seen all over the world. I seem to remember seeing it on the news at the time in 1972 – it shows a family running from a napalm attack. the girl at the centre was running naked because the 1200° C heat caused by the napalm burnt the clothes from her back.

Today on Radio 4 there was an interview with the girl, Kim Phuc, who now lives in Canada. She was interviewed by former ITN reporter Christopher Wain who was there with a film crew on that day and who along with Nick Ut, the photographer who took the iconic picture, helped to save her life that day and in the days that followed. She was taken to a Vietnamese hospital but she wasn’t expected to live and the men from the international press who witnessed the event organised getting her transferred to a better hospital.

In Loco Parentis!

So it was a funny old week last week what with the car and everything but then there was a parent and grandparent factor as well. My Gran, bless her, celebrated her 99th birthday in hospital due to a fall after a dizzy spell resulting in a broken wrist. The plan is to move her to a care home while she recovers enough to go back to her own home but that seems to keep getting put back while they monitor her general health.

In the meantime my dad has had to have tests on his heart as he came over all peculiar while out walking. thankfully after a day of tests he was given the all clear and this meant that their plan to go to Spain, which was postponed due to the Volcanic ash no flight ban a few weeks ago could go ahead.

Then on Saturday, while we were at the car lot buying the car, I got a message on my mobile from my dad. The asked me to call him as soon as possible and he sounded quite upset so I panicked assuming that something had happened to my Gran. Sarah suggested that we finish off getting the paperwork for the car done and I call as soon as we get home. We dashed off in such a hurry that I left the manual and the service history documents behind! When I called him it turned out that he only wanted to tell me that they were going to Spain the following day and that my Gran was going to be moved on the Monday!

Then the following morning I got a text off him saying they had decided not to go to Spain. When I spoke to him he told me that my Gran’s blood pressure had dropped and the hospital were worried about her. So he had had a sleepless night wondering what to do and finally decided that they wouldn’t go even though it meant that they would lose the money they had spent on the air fares.

An hour later they got a call to say that their flight had been cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud that had returned to european airspace – so that was a waste of a sleepless night! My Gran had picked up by the time they went to see her in the afternoon.

New Car

After the Citroen Xantia died on Wednesday I spent Thursday desperately looking for another car at a price we could afford (hah!) – I’d been looking on the web and had found some local garages that had some suitable cars for sale. While we were looking Sarah spotted a Suzuki Wagan R for sale in a local place and she got all excited about it! It was purple with purple tinted windows – nice!

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She spent all morning texting me to see if I had been to see it yet but the first two times I went the car lot was closed. I had noticed that they also had a couple of Ford Mondeo’s as well so when I went back the third time I had a look at all three of them. Sadly the Suzuki, which wasn’t actually a bad car despite the colour, only had two seat belts in the back seat meaning it was no good to us. It was a shame really as I’d already came up with the name “The Purple Pimp Machine” for it!!!!!

I looked at the two Fords which were both nice, one was an automatic diesel which would have been great but sadly it was out of my range price wise and the guy had already said he couldn’t go any lower. The other one which was manual and petrol was nice too but was a bit scruffy but nothing that couldn’t be cleaned. As I was talking to the man I explained how we had previously had an MPV and he suggested I look at a Citroen Synergie which he had. I’d seen it on the website but hadn’t considered it because of it’s age. However when he told me it had only 94,000 miles on it and had been well looked after I gave it some thought.

After phoning Sarah with the bad news about the Suzuki I went back to look at the Citroen which, apart from a distinct canine whiff, was a really nice car. I asked it if could test drive both the Citroen and the Mondeo. After some manoeuvring of vehicles they took me a for spin in the MPV. It run really well and once behind the drivers seat I felt that it was a distinct possibility. The mondeo was also nice, very comfortable and plush inside with a CD player and also ran really well. So it seemed to be a choice between the two.

My head said the MPV, it was more useful to us given what we do. The only downside was that it was petrol which given the 2.0i engine could mean it was quite heavy on fuel. There were 7 seats and the fact that the gearstick was on the dash and the handbrake between the door and the drivers seat made for what felt like a very roomy interior. One downside was that it only had a radio cassette but given that we mainly listen to the stuff on out MP3 players in the car (well once I’d got another adaptor as the old one was stuck in the cassette player of the Seat and wouldn’t come out as the eject was electronic!)  meant it wasn’t the end of the world.

On the other hand my heart was saying Mondeo! It was a really nice, shiny sleek looking car, black upholstery and very sporty feeling. It had 102,000 miles on the clock but was newer that the Citroen. It had a good amount of bootspace but obviously not as much as the Citroen had the capacity for. Finally it had a CD player but the downside was that there was no way for us to plug in an MP3 player.

Price wise the Mondeo was £200 cheaper but it had no tax so we would have had to pull out for that and that made the prices the same. So after some thought (and knocking them down by £100) we went for the Citroen and picked it up on Saturday morning.

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So hopefully we now have a car that will last us for a few more years. It does drive really well and has some nice features including Air Conditioning which was a bonus as it wasn’t mentioned in the sales details. The side doors slide which is handy for when I’m strapping Ben in while parked in the street as I won’t have to worry about cars trying to get past the open door, it also means an end to the kids flinging the doors open and hitting the car next to us in carparks!!!!!

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To add insult to injury, when we went to pick up the car there was another couple there and they were buying the purple pimp machine! Sarah was gutted! Never mind at least we have the “Mean Green Geraghty-Shewan Machine”.

We buy any car dot con?

So I needed to get rid of my old Seat Alhambra as it was no longer worth repairing it. It couldn’t be driven due to a scary brake failure as I was driving back down the street last time I took it out. It had been parked up gathering dust and the MOT was about to expire so it had to go.

I had gone onto the we buy any car website and it had valued the car at £150 but said that I would need to get it to Strood as they didn’t collect. It also said that the price was subject to a £49.99 admin fee and included a contribution from the Road tax so after I had paid to get it towed to the garage and paid the admin fee it would have meant I would have come away with virtually nothing.

The another disaster happened, the big end went on the car my friend had given me in January. After being towed back to the garage in Gillingham by a very nice AA man the man who owns the garage gave me a card of someone who would buy the car off me. I phoned around and eventually got £300 for the two cars plus they came and collected them and I should get about £45 back from the road tax.car

So the moral of the story is avoid those who have snappy jingles – they have to pay for them somehow!