So, the past few months have been fairly disasterous on the car front. It was, therefore with some trepidation that I began to contemplate the possibility that we should obtain a different car. I eventually admitted to myself, after much contemplation that in reality, Kathryn would probably be more comfortable driving something at least faintly modern – and that my funds were not really sufficient (either in terms of time or finances) to get the two DAFs into good enough order that I’d be happy abandoning Kathryn to her fate in them.
It was this train of thought that led to the dispatch of Vixy to her new home, and which has, somewhat scarily led me to be sat on a very slow stopping train exploring the delights of Suffolk before collecting what I am hoping will be a hideously practical and sensible car.
I’ve never bought a car sight unseen before and it’s not a habit I plan to develop. And I’m praying that the uber practical Volvo will carry me uneventfully back to Slough. Only another 52,375 stations to go and I’ll be there.
Of course this would be the day after the weekend everyone I know decided to simultaneously organise everything. We started the weekend heading to my mum’s Friday; her wedding blessing was at 9:00… In Devon. Somewhat painfully we clambered into the Hideous garage loan car; a car sporting a rather strong desire to both sta ll and gas the inhabitants; a better advert for EVs there could not be.
Anyhow after topping up the clearly much abused Micra (who knew mark one Micras handled so badly?) with yet more oil we commenced a long drive which started at the ungodly hour of 5am. The Monastry in Devon is essentially an old converted cottage in the midst of some very pretty countryside – and the abbot is a monk that I met way back doing my community service for DofE. I spent an inordinate amount of time repairing electrical equipment (Hoovers and heaters and such) and painting sheds and cutting grass. It was very nice, if odd, to see him again; but his family friend service allowed some levity and humour into the blessing which was beautiful. My mum then sent Kathryn and I off to enjoy the very pretty countryside – and we sat watching some delightfully uninhibited birds fluttering around a fallen tree, seemingly oblivious to our presence. It was such an incredibly peaceful spot. We headed back and my mum had cooked the dhana which was, frankly, delicious.
After a little sit and a cup of tea, more oil for the Micra and we headed to Bristol to visit friends. The traffic was hideous and we ended up abandoning the motorway for Bristols back streets – sadly losing a lot of visiting time to the Traffic. The pleasant company of friends delayed our departure somewhat and we made our way back somewhat late to a friend-from-work’s wedding.
She seemed very impressed to see us there at all – and we then had a fab evening shaking our booties, and potentially strutting our funky stuff.
It did, however, mean that the night before we went to London to meet up with some of Kathryn’s friends we crawled into bed after midnight. We staggered out of bed at 8:30 the next day, and ever so slowly made our way into the TUBE_CHAOS that was London. At least 2/3rds of the Underground was shut for planned works, and it made every journey much longer. We managed to make it to meet with Kathryn’s friends fairly close to on-time, and headed out around Victoria – first to John Sandoe books – which remains as fabulous as it was previously – and where Kathryn found an excellent (or, it seems excellent so far) book for Kids – called “A Little History of the World“.
We then found ourselves a little sandwich place in which to consume Sandwiches – despite the chill in the air we sat outside like good Europeans*. Then we did our usual London haunting trick – and found a Museum to hide in for a bit. After a goodly period looking at fabulous 16th and 17th century art we headed to the gift shop where I bought… a reprint of… the first modern tube map.
Yes, I am a geek. But Kathryn said “That’d look nice framed” and all my carefully applied restraint disappeared and it was purchased on the spot. We then had a traditional cream tea (I love scones!), meandered up to Covent Garden (which seems to be devoid of the Chiropodist, I presume she’s gone to the Under the Pier show, which we must go to), and then wended, or whatevered, our way to Islington.
This time we went to a Curry place which is, apparently, some kind of London chain, and they claim to do more authentic curries. To be fair they looked less vivid and the tastes are more complex and subtle. And they’re very nice, and we managed a dinner for 8 quid each, in London, which made us very happy (including non-alcoholic drinks).
And then we headed home…
* There was no space inside.