Wednesday, November 28

It pays to be sure, to be sure ...

*** Found this in drafts from the back end of November - whoops! ***

So I got the car back from St George's Coachworks, and they had done an excellent job. I thought to myself, "Well, there's no harm in trying to see if it actually will fit into the drive. I mean, there's no chance it will actually go in without scraping the diff on the ground."

Oh well. At least it got me active building that patio, and at least I don't have to keep shifting the cars around.

The Bora's advertised on Autotrader now.

And I've got the crappiest cold ever known to man. Hoping it clears up soon.

Wednesday, November 14


I'd forgotten about LinkedIn until today, when I was googling for someone and it presented me with their profile page.

It's a fantastic idea which is based around the concept of six degrees of separation, linking you and your network of contacts to their contacts, and their contacts' contacts. It only goes to three levels, obviously, as it would be stupid to list everyone on the internet at level 6 but it opens a whole world of possible contacts to you.

Since I'm going to be looking for work in Australia, it dawned on me that it might not be a bad idea to sort my profile out and start working out who was connected :P

Busy busy

Had a very interesting weekend. Friday afternoon, Mark and I headed up to Birmingham to go to MPH '07. Basically it's a car show with exotica, classics and some motoring theatre hosted by the Top Gear guys.

Well, the theatre part was great. But sadly, the rest of it was complete rubbish. £33 for a ticket, about a tank of petrol and £8 to park (yes, eight quid), for barely half a hall of said "exotica". To top it off, by the time we had got out of the theatre, the classic exhibition had closed :(

Turns out the classic exhibition was actually a separate event in the next hall that was included in the entry price for the MPH show, but nobody bothers to tell you that the two have very different opening hours. Was it good fun? Yes, I guess it was over all, but only if you have money to burn and live close to the NEC. It's not one I'd go to again by any means.

Saturday was more long distance madness. I was intending to go and watch some of the Tempest Rally, being held all around our area, but to be honest I was still knackered from driving back the previous night so wasn't really in the mood. At lunchtime Mark and I headed off up to Wigan to watch the final Great Britain vs. New Zealand rugby league test match. Journey was very long, weather was bitterly cold and after 20 minutes of the match with GB losing 0-12, I was wondering why I'd bothered. Then GB woke up and scored 28 points with NZ adding only a further 10 and GB rounded off the series 3 matches to nil, so all in all a very satisfying end result despite the rain storm that engulfed the ground in the second half. Yay for tickets putting us back under the roof of the stand :)

Sadly the traffic management around the ground was absolutely non-existant and we sat in gridlock for about an hour. There were only about 25,000 people there, it's not like it was the FA Cup Final or something, but I've not seen more incompetent handling of the traffic since the Bon Jovi concert I went to at Milton Keynes Bowl with Si, Ade and Hannah many years ago.

Seriously, guys, if Hampshire Cricket Club can get it right when they're selling out the Rose Bowl for 20twenty, you guys who run Super League and Premier League matches at the JJB should be able to. It just requires a bit of nouse.

It's really annoying to have to whine about things, but really, if you've made the effort to do a 500 mile round trip in one day to support your country in the last ever GB home international, you really don't need to top off your day with an hour of needless chaos in the car park.

Sunday, I slept.

Thursday, November 8

What's happening?

Sorry I've not posted in a while. A lot's been going on in the last few weeks.

Firstly, and most importantly, my Working Holiday visa for Australia has been approved, so I'm starting to work out what I'm going to be doing for the next year. Lots to think about; I've been planning to take the Maserati with me and have some fun in that, but it looks like there's been a bit of a "Haynes Manual Moment" (you know, where it's only 3 steps to do a task but when you look closer: Step 2. Just remove the engine and then ...) in that I overlooked some of the pre-requisites for personal imports. Apparently, I may need to have owned the car for 12 months prior to import. Still working on that to see if it's out of the question though. If it is, then the car will have to go into storage. :(

The fan problem I mentioned turned out to be far more involved than I had imagined - basically the header tank in the car developed a tiny hairline crack, which resulted in coolant squirting out under high pressure after a long run. It was squirting onto the fusebox, and shorting out the fans that way. Sadly it took 2 weeks to locate the correct type of header tank (how difficult can that be, really...).

I was glad to get the car back, and headed off to make the most of a very nice day by going to Portsmouth, and having a wander around Gunwharf Quays and the Royal Dockyard. Very nice day, spoilt only by the fact that now the aircon doesn't work.

Just to really top things off, I left the car outside the day before taking it back in for the aircon to be looked at because there was building work going on in the garage forecourt and some $%^&* reversed into it and drove off without leaving a note. Damage is pretty minor, but it's a proper kick in the balls. Quotes have ranged from £600 (St George's Coachworks in Doman Road) up to £2700 from Bodytechnics (through Maranello in Egham). That was quite funny, apparently they think it will take them a total of 13 hours to remove and refit the bumper, grille and door trim. A whole 8 hours of paint prep too. Though, of course, "we are one of only two Ferarri approved body shops in the country". Riiiight - that's not a license to print money, then, is it ...

Anyway, no news from Fiorano on the aircon, I'm getting tired of them and I'm probably going somewhere else to get the aircon sorted.

The alarm has played up a bit still, but at the moment it's reset itself to factory defaults and isn't auto-arming, so I'm happy with that. If it goes wrong again I'm going to rip it out and fit a cobra system; even the local Clifford dealers have told me that they're crap and that I should bin it. Refreshing honesty I guess. :)

If anyone knows someone looking for a cheap, reliable motor, though, I'm getting ready to sell my VW Bora. It's a 2000 (W) 2.0 SE in Anthracite Grey, 5-speed manual, full service history, 94500 miles on the clock with a recent-ish belt change (at 72k). Electric Windows all round, alloys, 6-disc CD changer, 4 new tyres, rain-sensing wipers, trip computer, air-con, more airbags than you can shake a stick at, ABS and the rarest of accessories these days, a full-size spare wheel. It's been reliable over the 4 years I've owned it and it regularly returns over 35mpg (even up to 400 miles on a tank on longer runs), which is the first time I've ever owned a car that lived up to the manufacturers' figures.