Thursday, March 02, 2017

Signs of Spring, MoT and Crazy Cyclists

We've had the car booked in for it's MoT. At the O.K. Garage at Peartree Bridge, the grid square just over the other side of Marlborough Street. It was supposed to be there at 8.30. No problem with that, as the sooner the car is done the better as far as I'm concerned. I have to drive out of Eaglestone by going round the circular route and leave next to the shops. I then have to turn left onto Chaffron Way, as I have met with a queue of traffic going right (which is the route I have to take) and then round the roundabout and return onto Chaffron Way and then meet more traffic queuing to get onto the roundabout on Marlborough Street. I just wish most drivers would respect other road-users, and not insist on driving right up my rear bumper, in an attempt to get me to speed up or just get out of their way. It's quite nerve-wracking. Other drivers are under the impression that they don't have to stop when they meet a roundabout and merely continue on without any need to stop and wait for other road-users to go through the roundabout. Anyway, I continue on and come off Marlborough Street where there's a sign for 'Marina' and the OK Garage is a short way off the road. I can't drive straight into the carpark as there are several cars in the way, so I wait until they've moved. When I do eventually drive in I have to leave the car in a position which is obviously blocking other vehicles but then, once I've been in to tell the reception that I've arrived with the car, they have the car keys so they can drive it so that they can do the MoT. I'm told it might be ready by 10, which is fine by me. I don't see the point of waiting, as it's only a relatively short walk along the Redway back home to Eaglestone. I had the presence of mind to bring my G.T.N. spray with me, concealed in one of the very convenient pockets in the sleeve of my fleece hoodie. It's quite a cold and windy morning and the cold brings on a mild angina attack, but a couple of sprays under my tongue and a few minutes pause in my walk relieves the slight pain in my chest.

There are definite signs of spring as I walk along the Redway. Quite a bit of blossom beginning to come out. It's white and I think it's probably may. Also, buds coming out on a lot of the trees and buses and the grass looks a good deal greener.

I have to move out of the way as a couple of cyclists come straight at me. They might not be intentionally aiming themselves at me as I walk, but it seems like it. One, dressed in the brightest and most gariest green imaginable, with a blinking light-thing on his helmet. You wouldn't miss him in a fog and very easy to see, but to me he just looks very amusing, Lycra, the full bit, helmet and gloves. It must cost a fortune, and he looks so serious. EVEN got this little camera on his brightly coloured helmet to take a lovely video to show his friends on Facebook or whatever. But be keeping the shareholders of Halfords well and truly happy and living in the style they rather enjoy. Must have spend several hundred pounds on all this gear. These people don't seem to realise how crazy they look. You wouldn't get me into Lycra at any price. When we were at Salcey Forest on Sunday morning, as we sat and drank our hot chocolate outside the café, a group of middle aged men turned up with their bicycles, clad in Lycra, helmets on heads (although some did carry them). So, this is what they do on the average Sunday morning? "Where are you off to, dear?" one wife to her husband. "A long ride out into the Northamptonshire countryside. Be a couple of hours. Have the lunch on ready for when I get home." Or words to that effect. No likelihood of them actually going more than a couple of miles up the road. Just sitting and eating a sausage roll or two, together with a nicely-filled baguette or bread roll, with a cup of coffee and a few bags of crisps and then off to a pub to drink a couple of pints of best bitter. No actual time-trials on their beloved bicycles at all, just an excuse to get out of the way of the children who are charging around the house making all sorts of noises which wifey spends her time in the kitchen preparing the potatoes for roasting with Yorkshire Pudding and roast beef etc etc. Mind you, I don't expect any of that lot had a little camera on their helmets to show the wives at home where they've  REALLY been. But no doubt they'd have a satnav which might conveniently give a trace of the route they've cycled.

A little later in the day . . .

I had expected to hear back from the garage regarding the MoT. I had been told that they would ring me around 10 o'clock. I hadn't heard by 11.30, so I decided to ring them. I had to find their phone number on their website so I had to go on line. I was told, when I got through, that the car had failed. Something called the 'coil spring' which is part of the suspension system. It was going to cost around £150. They had to find the part to fit in the car. The car was no use having back if it had to have work done on it and, without it's MoT certificate we couldn't legally drive it, so I told them they had better get the part and then fit it. So, once that was done, it was legal to drive with it's MoT certificate in place. Then there was the problem of the car's door. It has sliding doors. The passenger side door is fine. It works, using the remote, but the driver's side door has been faulty for some time now. We've just put up with it, but it's annoying, it doesn't work using the remote, or the controls within the car. We asked if the garage could give us a quote for parts and labour. As I write this they haven't come back on any of this, although Carol found something called an 'actuator' on Amazon for around £50. Don't ask me how this works as I have no idea. No doubt it's got something to do with the remote control system which opens and closes the door. I will come back and write up further on this matter as and when I have it. They may be able to fix the car this afternoon but it all depends on whether they can get the parts, but it may have to stay at the garage until tomorrow when they can complete the job. It really doesn't matter as we don't need the car immediately and it's only a ten-minute walk down to O.K Garage.

Later still . . .

I hadn't heard a thing from O.K. Garage. until around 4.50. Once Carol had come home I decided to ring them again. They were having problems with the car door. Something to do with some electrical device in the dashboard. I'm not sure exactly what it was or even what it does, but it's the thing that has been causing all the problems with the wretched sliding door. They would need to take off the dashboard cover. They would have it ready by 5.30, which I imagine was when they shut up shop. Carol suggested we walk down, taking Alfie with us. It seemed a good idea. After we'd had a drink of tea we set off down the Redway. Alfie was released from being on his lead and seemed in his element, running ahead as he always does. We came into contact with cyclists, two of whom I'd encountered earlier that morning. The bright green of one of their outfits making him stand out. Why is it that cyclists on the Redway can never slow down when they come to pedestrians? Nearly ran into us and one almost ran over poor Alfie.

We arrived at O.K. Garage and they had got the car ready for us. It has to go back tomorrow morning for around half-an-hour so they can find the correct part number for the electronic piece inside the dashboard and then the car can go back in a few week's time after I get my pension money to have the part put into the car.  We paid for the work the garage had done. £183 which included the MoT and the spring coil (still never heard of it.) So at least we had the car back and the overall cost wasn't as much as I had anticipated, fortunately.

We drove out of the garage carpark and then we discovered the car was low on petrol. By now the traffic was building up, as it was home time for most people. We had to fill up at the Shell station in Grafton Street. Carol drove the car and I had Alfie perched on my lap. A new experience for him, as usually when we take him out in the car, as we did last Sunday when we went to Salcey Forest, he has to travel in the cage in the back of the car. It was worthwhile as he sat still (up to a point) with me holding him tight with his collar. When we got to the Shell petrol station I handed him over to Carol to hold whilst I filled the car with petrol. Then we drove to the Brother's fish and chip shop in Eaglestone. I went in to order our food and Carol walked home with Alfie through Eaglestone Park. By the time I'd got the order and drove home, they had arrived at the house and had the plates and cutlery ready so we could eat immediately I got back.

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