A week full of emulsion.

It has been a while since I have commented on our viewing habits, courtesy of our Tesco DVD Rental deliveries.

This week, we were pretty happy to get two titles that looked promising.  We usually like our weekend DVDs to be of a blockbuster style, nothing too challenging (subtitles are a no go), and sit back and let them entertain us.

The Expendables
The Unwatchables

With this in mind, Knight and Day and The Expendables seemed likely to tick all those boxes.  Both had a decent star quota and had been advertised to death upon release.

They were both atrocious!!

Knight & Day was slightly better, and we did manage to get all the way through it.  The Expendables however was absolutely shockingly bad.  It takes a lot for me to abandon a film before the end, but I simply had to.  Louise had long since fallen asleep, as we watched it on our new TV in our new bedroom (I’ll come to this shortly), and I waded through about an hour before realising that my mind was wandering, and I really could not give a toss what happened next.

The script was so cringingly crass and hackneyed I was almost predicting the next line, and the story was cheesy, predictable and had been done a million times before.  The cinematography was of the type where everything is dark, so you can never really tell what is going on, and with Sly Stallone in the lead role, most of the audio was so unintelligible that you had to have the volume at max, only then to be blown away by the next explosion or gun shot.

Knight & Day was OK.  Again, a premise that had been done a million times.  An agent who is indestructible, amazing at fighting, shooting and stuff, with a good-looking blonde tagging along.  It had all the ingredients for a decent action/romcom, but something about it just didn’t work for me.  The story was weak, and of course some of the action was so far-fetched it rivalled Con Air!!

These few hours being my only break from the paint brush since Wednesday made their crapness a real bugger!!  I have a right arm like Popeye’s, but not for the reasons you may think.  No, I have been painting stuff for so long, my arm keeps moving whilst I sleep.  I have glossed the equivalent of a football pitch.  We have more wood in our house than the Playboy mansion on party night!

My estimate of the decorating taking two days, leaving me Friday to relax was so off the mark, it made Andy Gray’s views look accurate.

Anyway, I get ahead of myself.  This was the week when the garage officially became our bedroom.

My brain has been wrecked with the best part of five days of intense paint fumes, so the final stages of the project have become a little hazy, but last night, for the first time we slept in our new bedroom.  It all felt a bit odd to be honest, and after what seems like forever from when we kicked this off, to be finally in did not quite sink in.

I had christened th’en suite shower earlier (not like that!!), and what great pleasure I took from it (I said not like that!).  Washing away days of engrained gloss and emotion, I mean emulsion, and with them the aches and pains of painting ceilings and all sorts of nooks and crannies at weird angles, felt very good.

The one slight pain point in our new bedroom is that we do not as yet have anything to cover the windows!!  Our custom-made blinds are two weeks away yet, and so getting in and out of bed requires a very impressive commando roll on to the floor, where I quickly assume my dressing gown.  Don’t get me wrong, if the neighbours want to see me in all my glory then they are welcome.  I am only thinking of them believe me!!  Our new window is so HUUGGEE that we cannot buy mere mortal window coverings, no, we have to drop a massive wad on custom made blinds.

Room 1
Size isn't everything

Room 2
I commando roll from here

Room 3
Twinkly lights

Room 4
Where the magic happens!

Anyway, in my decorating marathon, I have realised there are a set of rules for it –

1.  You will never buy enough paint and have to go to the shop covered in paint with just a little bit left to do

2. No matter whether you think glossing or emulsioning first is the right thing to do, you will think you made the wrong decision when you have to cut in the latter application to the former.

3. No matter how many times you stand back to check your work, before packing everything away, it is only when you have cleaned all the brushes, put them away and had a shower that you will see that bit you missed

4. Your partner coming home from work and criticising a small element of your eight hours of painting is likely to result in divorce at best, and cold-blooded murder at worst.

5. You will find gloss under your fingernails for the next three weeks.

6. You will somehow end up with more paint on your clothes than on the walls.

Anyway, I am finally done, and all we need now is a set of wardrobes to complete the room, and this will allow us to move all our stuff downstairs.  Rebecca has moved in to our old room upstairs and is loving the extra room.  She is as I type painting stuff on her walls.  I think it is getting a Hello Kitty treatment, but to be honest if I see another paint brush this side of Christmas I will not be responsible for my actions.

So a landmark week in the Williams household.  I must say that if you fancy something else where your garage currently is, and you live near me then you should consider the chaps who did ours, Nuspace.  They were excellent!

But, something that tops all these events, something that should be recorded in history.  Emily is out tonight at a gig at the Apollo in Manchester.  She is watching A Day to Remember. Who??

That is not the event to which I refer.  No, after said gig, someone else is picking her up and bringing her home.  I know!!  I could not quite believe it myself.  I shall still have to wait up for her, but I think I shall embarrass her by waiting in bed and then jumping up as she arrives and waving frantically at the window.  I may even wave my hands too.

So it is back to work tomorrow after three days off last week, and my Inbox looks horrific.  I looked at it earlier but did not have the heart to actually do anything about it.  For now, I have realxing to do.

Till the next time…..

A tale of two convertibles…..

Work has been inconveniently busy and stressful this week.  It isn’t enough that I turn up every (most) days whether I want to or not.  It seems in exchange for the money that arrives in my bank each month, they need to me to actually do stuff.  Stuff this week, seems to have been in the form of an endless conveyor belt of problems and panics, that to me don’t really sit with me to fix, but no bugger else seems to be having a go at, and so it has fallen into my lap.

This has severely restricted my ability to monitor the football transfer window via Tweetdeck, and all this having to attend, and pay attention in meetings is nothing short of just downright inconvenient.

Still without work, I would not be able to fund the runaway budget of our new bedroom.  See how I did not use the word garage there?  It can no longer be described as anything close to a garage, as it has electric, a window, and an ensuite that is all but ready to oblute all over.  I enjoy a good oblute.

A week ago the chaps working on it were telling me that it would all come together very quickly and they expected to be done in a week.  I laughed at this suggestion (not to their faces of course, they are big builder types), as it still looked like four walls and a lot of dirt.  True to their word, we have been drawing up snag lists for their last day on site tomorrow.  It did appear that every workman in the North West was at our house towards the end of last week, with electricians, joiners and plumbers falling over each other.

So the journey is almost complete…



Half Garage Half Bedroom


Nearly done..


En Suite
Th'En Suite

This positive news is however tinged with sadness, as it inevitably follows that now, the decorating must begin.  A choice between decorating and sitting on a hot poker would be a tricky choice for me, so to make sure I get on with it, yesterday we went out and ordered the carpet.  We have asked for it to be fitted on Friday of next week so that I have no option but to struggle on through the horror of turps and stiff brushes.  Not wanting to waste the next four weekends, I have booked three days off from work, so I can just get it done.

For those three days I can wear pants that display a spectacular builder’s arse, a T-shirt that is far too tight for wearing outside, but is fine for getting full of paint, and pretend that I am a manual worker, and not the office based, soft handed, namby pamby wuss that I really am.  I shall drink strong tea with six sugars, listen to the radio all day, eat steak pudding chips and peas for lunch and then present Louise with an extortionate bill.

To get a head start the work began today, and I have –

  • Hoovered (or should I say Dysoned) the room, trying to suck up weeks worth of dust and stuff
  • Put paste all over the newly plastered walls.  This was a tip from the builder, so either it will make the painting easier, or it is just something he tells idiots like me who work in an office to cheer up his working day
  • Glossed all the skirting boards and doors.

So with a decent effort on Wednesday and Thursday I can have it done, and then give the Xbox some hammer on Friday whilst awaiting the carpet delivery.

Speaking of delivery, finally, after a ridiculous wait for the new insurance documents, Louise got to pick up her new car on Thursday evening.  Here we sit in the 21st Century, and still Tesco Insurance tell me they cannot email, or would you believe even fax the new documents to me, and I had to wait for first class post to take four days to get to us.  I then scanned it in, emailed it to the garage, and picked the car up on the same day!!

Louise's convertible....the cat converts into a nuisance very easily

Thursday night was a stinker weather wise, and the final journey in the Mini was pretty horrible, and it seemed to take forever to get to the garage.  Half way there, Rebecca started to feel very unwell, with a lot of stomach pain based around that regular female event.  This added nicely to the pleasure of the journey, and upon arriving at the garage she was surrounded by every female member of staff in the building, offering hot drinks, seats and lots of advice.  Two strong pain killers and a hot drink helped, whilst I cracked on with the signature marathon that is the purchase of a new car.

How can it be so complex?  I must have signed a dozen documents, and been there the best part of an hour.  Daft!

Finally, Louise was let loose on the new car, and we set off for home.  After the marathon journey and signature fest, we decided to call in at Nandos near the Reebok Stadium for tea.  That helped.  I’m not good without food.

Upon leaving, we needed “some bits” from Asda around the corner, so Louise gave in to the girl’s pleadings to drop the roof.  Now, it was a very, very cold night, and by the time Louise hit second gear, the girls were pleading with her to stop and put the top back up again!!  The two minute journey resulted in frozen snot candles on them both, and a lesson learned that the top stays up until Easter at the earliest.

So here I sit, aching and sore from all my painting efforts, the girls are out a party somewhere, and Louise is starting the tea.  Tomorrow, I am in that there London for a meeting I could well do without to be honest.  I’m off to see a major sports brand in London, a brand that have sports bars, and I am more interested really in the fact that they are based in a Disney building, and all of the meeting rooms are themed.  I’m hoping for the Lion King room personally!!

Before all that, I have to be up at some silly hour to get the train from Manchester at 7.30.  The joy!!  I think I’d rather be decorating.

Till the next time….

Genius by appointment

Many of you who read this rubbish have come to do so through the common interest of Florida holidays and more specifically Walt Disney World.

For me, when it all boils down, one of THE most important factors for my enjoyment of the happiest place on earth is the customer service.  Calling it that seems to be a bit of an understatement really, as it goes beyond that, and I suppose, it is their ability to make their customers feel special that sets them apart even from their similar neighbours at Universal.

What I have found though is that now I have been spoiled by this experience, you tend to find yourself having to lower your bar of expectations when you are anywhere but on Disney property.  Certainly in the UK, service that makes you remember it is so infrequent, you can’t remember it!!

This week, I experienced such customer service, but first some back story.

Previous blogs here have outlined my chagrin with my mobile phone.  I say my mobile phone, but they aren’t really.  They are supplied by work, as you know I would be far too tight to throw around hundreds of pounds on such devices.  My HTC Desire was lovely, but it fell out with my Mondeo’s bluetooth, so I had to say goodbye to that, and the only other model in the dusty cupboard was an old HTC 2 (Windows not Android alas), with a screen like an iMax, and the speed of Anne Widdicombe.

I have endured it for a few weeks now, and was beginning to really fall out with it, when all of a sudden, fortunately, someone at work left, leaving a vacant iPhone.  I expressed my disgust one last time at my current handset, and outlined the upcoming availability of said iPhone.  Luckily it was all agreed, and last Friday one the Helpdesk boys brought it it over to my desk.

“It just need activating with iTunes” he says.

Sounds easy thought I, and I proceeded to abandon all work for the next few hours (as it turned out) in an attempt to make it work.  It didn’t so I returned to the IT folk and became lost in meetings for most of the day.  On my return, it was very broken indeed, and the real prospect of being stuck with my current phone filled me with dread.

Genius Bar
I want to take you to a Genius Bar!

“I can send it away to get fixed” he says, ” or you could just take it to an Apple store and see if the Genius Bar can fix it”.

Here’s me thinking that the IT chap’s job was to supply working kit to employees.  I did run an IT department for a while with my last employer, and if only I had known I could have abdicated fixing stuff to the staff.

“Yeh, the server’s gone down, but there’s a couple of screwdrivers and a manual in that drawer.  Let me know how you get on”.

Spurred on by my abhorrence for the HTC, I left work early (I wasn’t going in my own time!) and made the short journey from Salford Quays to the Trafford Centre.  I Dad walked to the Apple store, and joined the disciples of shiny in the shop.  The Genius Bar at the back looked nice and empty, so I approached.  Before I get anywhere near my tales of iPhone woe I am told I need an appointment. Oh!

I had visions of being booked in three weeks on Wednesday, but no there was a free one in twenty minutes.  So I spent that time playing with shiny things in the shop, and funnily enough googling the specific error code my iPhone kept throwing at me, 1015.

There were lots of fixes offered, but they are all aimed at people who actually know what they are doing.  Folk that have Jail broke it or something, and as I only understood about one word in four, I told myself I was in the right place for sure.  My appointment time rolled around, and I was greeted by my Genius, and I outlined the issue.

I was hoping he’d say, “Oh yes, error 1015, we know that one, I just have to jigger this pokery and you are all set”.  Alas no, he set the iPhone up, linking it to a laptop that probably cost as much as my car, and slowly and deliberately kept me abreast of everything he was doing.  Having scanned my iPhone’s serial number he assured me it was within warranty, and they would sort it out whatever the issue was.

Within about two minutes he two was confronted with 1015, and confirmed that indeed, something was wrong.

So what was his fix?  Simple, he walked to a drawer, pulled out a brand new iPhone, and gave it to me!

Now as Genius goes, I’m not saying this fix needs the brain the size of a planet, but in terms of customer satisfaction it is a gem.  Not only did I walk away with a shiny new product, that works, the chap even apologised to me for having to come all the way to the shop to get it fixed!!

As I walked out of the shop, I closed my eyes and imagine I would emerge onto Main Street.  Instead, I joined the hoards of Mancs getting in each other’s way on their way to New Look and Schuh, but still, it took all my will not to turn my warm glow of customer satisfaction into a mass spending spree between the rear of the shop and the exit.

It wasn’t just the quick replacement of something faulty, it was the way in which it was dealt with.  With courtesy, speed, and an absolute determination to make sure the customer was not put out, or disappointed in any way.

As we encounter service like this so seldom, we tend to forget what impact it can have on a brand.  I am not one of the Apple addicts that I have encountered, but I like their stuff.  However, if this is the way they treat their customers, I may just hand over my salary every month and cut out the middle man.

So Friday evening was spent getting to know the iPhone again, and reveling in the ease of use, plethora of apps, and all round goodiness of it.  Setting stuff like email up is simple, it is intuitive to get anywhere, and I remembered why it is the standard to which all other such devices aspire.  I like it!  The Desire was pretty much equal, but the lack of the handsfree funtioning was it’s down fall for me.

The week just gone doesn’t have much else to report other than this.  The garage is more bedroom than garage now, which is good.  We have four walls, and most of them are plastered.  They even started tiling the en suite this week so we must be getting somewhere close to finished now.  We’re at the stage now where we need to go and look at carpets, wardrobes, paint, and we did a bit of this on Saturday.  The net result of that was to be astonished at the price of the paint that goes into the Dulux Paint Pod machine!!

Rebecca Party
Can we stop time please?

Saturday evening, Rebecca went off to a “proper” party in a function room and everything.  This required a dress, shoes destined to cripple her and her looking about 23.  It also required us to drop off and pick up her and her friend, again!!  Anyway, by half nine she was ready to come home as those shoes were causing her long-term mobility issues.

Emily’s news this week were her Mock GCSE results.  They were OK, enough to get her into the sixth form college, were they to be the same in the summer, but she was a little disappointed to be honest, and hopefully now she will realise that she can’t just turn up and get the grades she is capable of.

I live in  hope anyway.  “I have been revising” roughly translates into, I had my books out on the bed whilst conducting seven facebook chats, and listening to my iPod.

The summer of my O levels cruelly coincided with the World Cup, so I know all about distractions for revision.  I remember vividly watching some crucial match whilst trying to understand truncated spurs (Geography) and how to ask for Black Forest Gateaux in German.

There are ever more distractions now, so I’ve threatened to bin her laptop should I not see suitable evidence of learning stuff.  Victorian Dad, that’s me.

Right, I’m off to play with my phone for a bit.

Till the next time……


Premature Declaration

What’s this?  A mid week bloggage??  Fear not, it is a brief one, just to update and correct weekend bloggage, where events have now moved on a little.

It would appear that my last post, declaring the new addition to the Williams household to be a Hyundai Coupe, did not take into consideration the ever true concept of a woman having the perogative to change her mind.

After sleeping on our decision (or not in Louise’s case) in truth neither of us felt 100% right about the choice of car, and I found Louise glued to the laptop on Sunday morning, pining over photos of other types of cars, and regretting our haste in plumping for the Hyundai.

This pondering continued over Sunday and into Monday, and I can’t explain the not feeling quite right-i-ness, but it was there.  It just did not feel like our car.

Absolutely not on work’s time, I googled a little to see if the sort of car Louise had been salivating over was anywhere near our budget, half hoping it would not be.  Alas, but then again, happily, it did seem to be.  A text and a call to Louise confirmed my suspicions that she wasn’t convinced at all on the Hyundai and her willingness to make the journey to Wigan on a horrible cold rainy night seemed to suggest she was definitely having second thoughts.

With such a car identified as available at another branch of the same dealer which we had paid our deposit too, I made the call to our sales chap for the Hyundai and explained the situation, blaming Louise for the fickle indecisive nature of our dither.

I called the other branch, and arranged to go over straight after work to take a look, reasoning to ourselves that we may still stick with our original choice, but had to get this out of our system to make sure it was the right choice.  After a long, dark, wet drive to Wigan (side note: there is no simple and/or quick trip to Wigan from North Bolton), we got well and truly lost, despite Louise having lived in Wigan for some years.

We of course fell out over the course of driving around aimlessly, until we called the garage for help and were eventually “talked down” by the receptionist.  “Yes, SCS is on my right…..no, I can’t see a Chinese…oh wait there it is…etc etc”

All I can say is that, we knew immediately and this new (as in different, not new) car just felt right as soon as we saw it and sat in it.  Louise was very impressed by the whole foldy roof thing, (despite the fact that the bloke showing us did it wrong and it got stuck halfway on his first go) and the fact that the wing mirrors also fold in and out, all automatic like.  Add to this, that it looks a little less Starsky and Hutch than the Hyundai, has much better mpg, and is several insurance groups lower too, then it makes perfect sense.

The negotiation process was a whole lot easier too, and this particular branch made the whole thing nice and simple, and we all got to the figures we were happy with very quickly.  We had to really as I hadn’t had my tea and I was starving!!

As an added bonus I managed to negotiate the inclusion of a two-year warranty, and two years servicing and MOTs in the price too.  Result.  The idea of two years worry free motoring really appeals after paying out for a new windscreen and front tyre for the mini in recent weeks….of course these perishable items will not be covered, but if we are to have a big end fail on us then we all know how crucial that can be!!

So with both Louise and I feeling a lot better about the whole thing, in about a week’s time Louise will be taking ownership of one of these, well in fact, this very one….

You should see her with her top off!!

The fact that it ticks few of the criteria Louise laid out to the sales chappie at the weekend should be ignored of course!!

Knowing the girls (and Louise), next week you should be on the look out for a silver convertible with the roof off, inhabited by three females in bobble hats, gloves, scarfs and frozen smiles, determined to make most use of the foldy roof despite the complete absence of anything like suitable weather.

Apologies for this unusual mid-week update in blog land, and as we don’t buy cars every week, thank goodness, normal service should be resumed shortly.

Till the next time…..

Beep Beep, Beep Beep….Yeah??

It’s been a funny old week.  What with it being only four days at work, but feeling like forty, and all those awkward new year greetings and hand shakes from the folks at work, make it one of my least favourite times of the year.

Snowy morning
The snowy barren wastelands of suburbia

So last Monday night was the mother of all Sunday nights if you know what I mean.  Full of all those horrid back to school feelings suffered at school, with your post bath glow on, in your freshly ironed pajamas.  Oh, this is just me then?  Sleep was not good, and when Louise greeted me in the morning with those immortal words…

“It’s been bloody snowing again, and the roads look like sh..” well you get the picture, I was not best pleased.

The ritual of checking the school website began, and they seemed very bullish about everyone being able to get there.  They obviously don’t live on our hill.  Already I could see the main road was bumper to bumper which meant that I was in for a two hour commute and the girls were walking to school, as that would be quicker than the car!

With girls off on their way, I made the very wise choice to work from home, saving myself four hours of driving, well sitting still in a car anyway.

As the snow seemed to have been localised to a mile radius of my house, work colleagues were a little dubious about my plight!!  Being stuck at home saw me surrounded in the kitchen by a fridge and cupboards groaning in their own contradictions.  Their was plenty of the new year, mandatory healthy stuff, but alongside it was the last of the rich decadent goo that was left over from Christmas.  So I compromised and had a wholemeal bread sandwich…of After Eight mints!

So the week started badly.  It trundled on as they tend to do, and was punctuated with an evening at school with Rebecca on Thursday night, for her options open evening.  This is where all the teachers pitch their subjects to pupils and parents alike, hoping to entice enough pupils on their rostas to avoid having to teach remedial English in their free periods.

Rebecca seems fairly settled in her choices, with the only variable being whether to take History or Child Development!!

Friday then came along at last, and I had a full day of meetings which played havoc with my stomach.  Having not been without food for longer than the time it takes to walk from the couch to the kitchen for weeks, the discipline of only eating at mealtimes was a stretch.  So after a breakfast at 7.30am on Friday, I next saw food at 2pm, once all these meetings were done.  I have no idea what the last half hour of the meetings were about as I was feeling faint and hallucinating that the conference call phone on the desk was a huge sandwich!!

Full again, I attacked the Inbox in the afternoon, only to get a call from Louise who was in a bit of a state.

“(Insert a few swear words here) my bloody wheel has just fallen off my car!!”

Immediately, large recovery and car repair bills appear before my eyes.  After understanding that she had managed to get the car off the road, and that everyone was safe, I called our recovery people.  Not that I have such people, but I have one of these special bank accounts with all these benefits that you never use.  I only ever use the free travel insurance, but thankfully, the free roadside recovery came in very handy, and a man with a Green Flag and a tow truck was with Louise within half an hour.

I had spoken to recovery man whilst he was on his way, and he told me that as the wheel had come off he had set off in his special “when wheels fall off I need this truck” truck, which was significantly different from his “when wheels don’t fall off I need this truck” truck.

Imagine his delight when he arrived to find that there was no axle snapping disaster to greet him, just a flat tyre that had run off the wheel rim!!  Oh how we laughed.  Anyway, he took the car to the garage, they fitted a new tyre the next day, and relieved me of £77.  It could all have been a lot worse!!

As you may have gathered from the above, cars are not my specialist subject.  I am the furthest away from a petrol head you can imagine.  So when Louise declared (not for the first time in recent months) that she was sick of her bloody car going wrong, and wanted a change, it seemed the little thing had had it’s day.

The Mini has been good fun, and was indeed my best ever Christmas surprise two years ago, when I somehow managed to trade in Louise’s old car and have the mini on the drive on xmas morning, without her suspecting a thing, but we have had a catalogue of errors with it recently, from non working heating, a coolant tank that empties within minutes, and an ugly bump all down the offside where Louise fell out with an Audi in last year’s snow.

So it was time to either bite the bullet and get all these things fixed, or throw it in and see what we could get instead.

So yesterday, we set off on that quest.  I HATE buying cars.  No matter how well I negotiate, and even if I left a garage with a car, and them giving me money, I would still have the nagging doubt that I had been shafted, and they are all high fiving and laughing at me in the showroom as I pull away in my rusting pile of crap.

So after a drive round and about three garages, we came to one that had something fitting Louise’s exacting technical specifications.

  • Fast
  • Black
  • Looks good
  • Sporty

Now with a budget as tight as ours, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them offer Louise a night out with Linford Christie, (which she may have indeed been happy with) but no, they did tick all those boxes.

It was a car I would never have though of looking for, and I had been trying to steer Louise to some sort of sensible, second car run around, along the lines of a Fiesta, Focus or some such.  Louise laughed in my face, and the contenders during yesterday were a Saab convertible (too old, too expensive, and shocking maintenance costs) a black Audi TT (too old, too many miles, the kids would have to walk everywhere) and now, a sporty looking Hyundai Coupe SE.


Couldn't afford a front number plate

So we had a test drive, and then the bit that always strikes me as strange kicked in, the negotiations!!

What drives me mad, is that the bloke who has been dealing with you has no power whatsoever in these negotiations.  There is some all-seeing power somewhere out back who controls everything like some car related Wizard of Oz.  After going through the usual hackneyed sales tactics that were invented in the early 70s, we played the game and said OK, let’s look at some figures.

He wandered off to speak to the all powerful Oz, and returned with a set of figures so silly that I very nearly got up and walked out.  So then we go through the painful and slow process of whittling away at the numbers until they are somewhere close to realistic, and with the amount of time he had invested in us, he was by now keen to close a deal.

We talk of nipping next door to look at what they have to offer (it was a car showroom, don’t worry we weren’t telling him we’d be looking at kitchens!), and this resulted in the Wizard lumping some more from the numbers.  I thanked them, looked at my watch and said we had to go as our daughter need to be picked up.  Not strictly true, but we did have to be home soon to get the kids fed and ready for a party they were off to.

This induced panic in the showroom, and he went away again behind the curtain, and returned with a deal that was “only available today” and if we came back tomorrow would not be on the table.  Of course it would, but I had no intention of wasting more petrol to find out.

Did we get a good deal?  Who knows.  The car may be a rusting tub of problems, but one of the things I insisted on in the price was a two-year warranty, so we should be OK.  Did I get them to give me their best deal, who can ever tell, but I do know that the figure we shook hands on was 30% less than the first one put in front of me.  So yes, they start high have lots of fat in their figures etc, but we shook hands anyway.

Again, I imagined wild parties and celebrations as the whole showroom celebrate hitting their annual target purely from the massively over egged price I have agreed to, but what can you do?  On the plus side they are getting a mini with a running dint all down one side, a heater that doesn’t work and some sort of leak in the radiator which causes the coolant to empty quicker than Michael Barrymore’s swimming pool!

I shall let you know how the car goes once we pick it up!!  If you have had one and know they are rubbish, then having put a deposit on it, I’m not sure if I want to know or not…I suppose I do.

The Garage/bedroom rumbles on as ever.  It has been stuttering progress for weeks now due to snow, Christmas and builder illness, but at least we are at last water tight now.  Next week should see a large surge in progress as they intend to finish boarding out and then plaster everything.  This should then lead on to exciting stuff like the en suite stuff going in, and it starting to look and feel like a room at last.

I am off now to make tea for us all, which if you are interested is Chicken Fajitas.  The good intentioned diet hasn’t been stuck too as rigidly as my post xmas bulge had incentivised me too, but a return to something like normal eating has seen a couple of pounds fall away all by themselves.  So only about another 28 to go!!!

Till the next time….


2010 in review…could do better!

WordPress sent me this summary of my bloggage in 2010.  Well, I found it interesting anyway…….

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 51 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 62 posts. There were 146 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 54mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 2nd with 328 views. The most popular post that day was About mkingdon.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were thedibb.co.uk, twitter.com, mail.yahoo.com, facebook.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for mkingdon, mkingdon.com, paramore, mkingdon blog, and http://www.mkingdon.com.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


About mkingdon November 2009


Trip Reports December 2009


My Dog’s Anal Glands are Expensive. (No really!) August 2010


Euston, we have a problem. November 2010


It’s the little things, the incidentals… October 2010