Friday, 27 February 2009

car update

Well now....I am quite sure that you all agog to know whether I got my car back and went to work today. The short answer is "yes".

The longer answer is that I got my car back yesterday when I was told that I could get the bill today as he hadn't had time to do the paperwork. So, as soon as I got home yesterday I popped the bonnet (hood for the benefit of Sam I Am!!) just to make sure that everything was as it should be after my disastrous trip home last week when I discovered that the garage had left the cap off the coolant tank.

Everything looked as though it was in it's rightful place - I even gave the previously loose hose a quick tug to see if was now firmly in place! However, the now fixed handbrake was tighter than a.....perhaps I'd better not go there!! That's a good however, but I felt as though I needed two hands to put the brake on and then I was worried about pulling it too hard and snapping it!! (probably not very likely, but that's what it felt like).

So....when I went back to the garage today to see if they had the paperwork ready and of course, I had my fingers crossed behind my back that the bill wouldn't be too horrendous. Anyway, the mechanic first sent someone to check on the fluid levels and to loosen the brake a bit when I said it was too tight. Then he gave me the good news....they were only going to charge me for parts and not labour!! Which came to £50 instead of the probable two hundred it could have been.

I didn't even push for a discount or complain about the problem, but I do think that they were feeling guilty because they left the tank cap off and of course, they had failed to spot the two potential problems (wearing brake cable and loose heating pipe) during the service of the car (and MOT). And, of course, they wanted to make sure that they kept my custom.

Nevertheless, the very low price certainly compensates for all the hassle I have had over the last week, even if my ankle is still swollen!!

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Well, it looks as though I am stuck at home today! The car broke down again last night. Remember last week? I thought that that was the end of it and didn't expect to have trouble again - how naive could I get!? ;-)

As I was driving home I noticed that the engine was overheating again, so I stopped with the intention of getting the AA out somehow. Only, when I went to put the handbrake on, there was absolutely no tension in the handle, so that wasn't working either - good grief - it's never just one thing is it?

Anyway, I knocked on the door of a house nearby and asked if they had anything that I could use to wedge the car safely so that it doesn't roll away. The elderly gent said that he had some bricks and of course, that's perfect. I then had to ask if they would telephone the AA for me as I cannot use the telephone without help. The gentlemen and his wife were so kind to me, they called the AA for me and and made me a cup of tea while we waited.

Fortunately we didn't have to wait that long (about an hour or so!) before a local tow truck came - apparently the AA were busy last night so they contracted the job out!! In any case it looks as though the car is leaking fluid in quite a big way, which means that there is nothing in the engine to keep it cool. So I presume that it is rather dangerous to drive!!

The car was towed home and is now sitting in my parking space waiting for the garage to come and pick it up so that they can have a look at it. I flatly refuse to drive it down to the garage myself as I just don't know what additional damage I may be causing by driving it when it is clearly malfunctioning. How long it will take to fix (or how much it will cost) I do not know.

I don't mind having a couple of unexpected days off, but it is annual leave that I wasn't expecting to have to take off work and it is just very very annoying. The garage have yet to pick the car up so I may just have to give them a call via typetalk and see what is going on.

In any case, it just makes me realise how reliant on the car I am. I could certainly get the bus to work, but that takes about an hour and a half instead of the usual twenty minutes by car. I am certainly glad that I live in a small town where there are shops nearby, so I will never need to worry about running out of milk and bread!!

Monday, 23 February 2009


I think that I previously mentioned that I had seen Giselle at the local theatre. Well, this evening I went to see something quite utterly different - Twelfth Floor - an interpretive dance that attempts to show the feelings and creative outlets of those in institutional confinement.

It was only an hour long with just five dancers; and while it was not quite what I had expected, it was certainly a dynamic set with the dancers either bouncing all over the place or moving quietly across the stage.

I don't think that I really know what I think or feel about the whole performance. I suppose that interpretive dance is an acquired taste. I was certainly impressed by the dance but it didn't leave me feeling uplifted or inspired, just a bit perplexed at just what they were trying to tell us!

For instance, we had two of the men dancing in competition with each other to see who was the best man, we had the custodian of the other four dancing in a very erratic manner - perhaps we didn't really know who was truly mad! We had the other man and woman dancing around each other, the man following the footsteps of the woman with a piece of chalk - quite moving really.

Let's just put it this way - I am glad I went, but I don't think that I would have missed anything if I'd decided not to go. Mind you, it was rather a spur of the moment thing anyway as someone else said that they were going and so I decided to tag along too!!

Friday, 20 February 2009


So...I was going to tell you about my trip to the House of Commons on Wednesday wasn't I?

This was actually a visit to the Commons library as they have an open day every year, and this was an opportunity for any library staff to hear about the library services provided to our MPs and see what the library looked like and stuff like that.

Although London is actually all that far away, due to the rush hour it was decided that we had a early start which meant setting the alarm for 5:30am. Let's just say that I am very glad that I don't get up at that time every day. Anyway, we got to London in plenty of time and was dropped off outside Westminster Palace (for those that don't know - this is where the British parliament resides) and then walked to Portcullis House.

Portcullis House is a modern building and has some serious security too - we all had our photos taken and printed out to wear as our visitors passes. We were walked up to the conference room where the presentations were taking place and on the way we saw that the halls were filled with paintings of various MPs, my favourite one was of Tony Benn (a long serving Labour MP) - it was just full of detail; there's a mars bar in the corner, a broken button on Benn's cardigan, and his shoelaces don't match! I could have stood there all day getting all the details of the painting.

But, I had to go and listen to a few people (some interesting and some not so!) tell us about the library services of the House of Commons before getting a tour of the libraries and the Commons Chambers in the afternoon. I wont bore you with the details of the presentations, but the main library was just how you might picture a gentlemans club - all green chairs, and table lamps with stacks of paper for writing notes on. Of course, there were shelves stretching from floor to ceiling all laden with books on all sorts of subjects, I would have loved to browse amongst the shelves but we had no time at all and I am sure that we wouldn't have been left alone in the library to wander at our leisure.

There was a bit of a surprise at the end of the day - before we left, we were asked to complete an evaluation form and in return we were given bags of loot...

*post it notes
*ID Lanyard
*memory stick (all with library logo and details on them)

All of which was very nice to receive, but I can't help wondering just how much public money gets spent on promotional items like this!


Will write a proper post later. But right sorry for that spam that keeps appearing on my blog - as quickly as I am deleting them they keep appearing!!

From now on all posts older than a few days will be moderated. If the problem persists when I may have to move to all comments being moderated and I will ruthlessly chuck out anything that looks like spam.

So, Ed, whoever you are - cease and desist!!!

Incidentally, does anyone know how to block particular commentors or stop this kind of thing from happening?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Police Questioning!!!

Shocked you didn't I!? Don't worry I didn't do anything bad!

I came home today and as I was walking from the car to the house (just across the road) two smartly dressed women came up to me and showed me their police identification and asked if I wouldn't mind helping with their enquiries.

Of course, I said I would help. So they asked whether I had seen a silver Mercedes in the area or a tall black man. I replied that I wouldn't know what a Mercedes looked like if I saw one!! I know, I know - I am not very interested in cars really. And if I saw a tall black man I wouldn't have made a mental note to remember him, I mean, why would I - he's just going about his business. The only reason I might have remembered anything was if he was behaving strangely.

What was even more interesting was that when I opened my door there was a little note on the doormat saying that the police were asking questions about a silver Mercedes seen at number 9 'my street' and would people call this number if they had seen anything!!!!

And why are the police interested in this Mercedes? Well, it was apparently involved (or at least seen at the time) in an armed robbery of a local Tesco Metro - eeek - I thought that I lived in a fairly sleepy little place. The good news that is two men have been arrested in connection with this.

I just didn't expect to come quite so close to me or even get asked to help the police with their enquiries! It really has been a rather interesting (or unusual!) week - tomorrow I will tell you about yesterday's trip to the House of Commons!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Where to start?!

I really don't quite know where to start with this.  I suppose it all started this morning when I thought that the black plastic bag that I drove over on the motorway this morning might have got stuck to the car.

I did check the undercarriage of the car as soon as I got to work but it didn't appear to be there.  This, of course, is a perfect red herring  but it makes sense if you bear with me.

The day at work was fine - even had lunch down the pub with colleagues to celebrate someone's 40th birthday and no it wasn't mine, goodness me I am not 40 for years and years yet!

Anyway...on the way home I suddenly noticed that the engine temperature gauge was shooting waaaaay over into the red and in the four years that I have the car is  has never gone over half way.  Uh-Oh is my immediate thought and I am on the motorway.  My first thought is that it's that plastic bag.  I slow down to 50 mph but it still hovers right over in the red.

By now I am  panicking of course.  So you can imagine my relief when I spot the flashing lights of an AA van ahead - already dealing with another car.  So, rather than continue driving the few miles home and potentially ruining the engine I pull in behind the AA van and ask very politely if the man would look at my car.

He agrees and, after a bit of manoeuvring to make the car safer, he pops the bonnet and would you believe plastic bag.  Instead the problem was far more serious.  The cap of the engine coolant tank was off.  Yes, you read that right.  The STUPID garage that I had the car serviced and MOT'ed about two weeks ago had forgotten to replace the cap properly.  Which meant that every time the engine heated the coolant escaped the tank leaving me with a little bit less every day.  I cannot believe how angry I am - it's a very simple thing that needn't have happened and yet, I could have ruined my engine completely.  You can be sure that I will be writing a letter to the garage.

Fortunately the AA man replaced the coolant and put the cap back on.  The remainder of the drive home was completely ordinary with no other problems. Grrrrr.

But.  What you don't know is that as I got out of the car and went to hop over the barrier I didn't spot the  shallow gully and my ankle turned (in my high heeled boots no less) and so I am now on the sofa with a fat ankle wrapped in a support and elevated.  Arrrgh!  So you see...I didn't know where to start!!!

How has YOUR day been?

Saturday, 14 February 2009


If you have a cat I have a strong recommendation to make.

Do not, under any circumstances, inadvertently startle your cat when she is sitting in the vee of your legs and you're both nice and comfortable!!

I do not know what the heck I did, all I knew that was Phoebe was leaping and spinning off my lap claws out and eyes startled!! I have two scratches on my hand so I must have been just about to stroke her when I must have touched her in the wrong way or she was so deeply asleep and dreaming that anything was going to set her off - I simply do not know!!

What I do know is that we were both very startled, although quite who was more startled I don't know!! And then I started laughing!!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

OWOH winners

Well, that's it now, One World One Heart is now over for another year!

I am so very pleased cos my expectations were quite surpassed as last year I had 77 comments and this year I had 211 in total!!

However, some were duplicates - not many but just one or two that had been through the entire OWOH list too many times and had quite forgotten which blogs they had commented on already!!

Anyway, as I had over 200 comments, as promised, I chose 5 winners. One for the original OWOH giveaway and the other four for every block of 50 comments that I had. Those winners have been contacted and I await snail mail addresses for them all.

Congratulations to everybody that took part, it was fun seeing the sheer amount of bloggy creativity that is out there - don't forget to go back and look at the blogs that interested you, and of course...don't forget to keep an eye out for OWOH next year!!

One World One Heart

** All comments now closed - the winners have been picked! **

I've mentioned One World One Heart before, so I really should get involved in it now!! There are currently 409 participants (updated again - the final total is 911!!), all giving away something (whether handmade or not) and so I am now going to add my name to that gypsy caravan - as everyone seems to be calling it this year!!

I have another hobby besides my blogging, and that is card-making. (indeed, I even manage to combine the two hobbies by having a card making blog called Yet Another Card Blog!) So, I would like to offer up a set of six handmade greetings cards to all and sundry out there.

The above photo is one that I took today and is a selection of what I make when I have a moment or two, you can also see other cards I make on my card blog. The winners of this giveaway may get some of those cards, but the creative muse may well strike and so I will make some different kinds. Besides, as well as offering up up the first set of cards, I am also offering a set of cards every time I hit 50 comments, i.e. if I get 51 comments, I will pick another name at random, if I get 101 cards - another name, and then 151 and so on and so on.

Of course, this all assumes that I even get more than 50, ha ha! Do rest assured though, that one lucky person will indeed get some greeting cards to send to friends and family. So, without further ado...whether or not you are a blogger...please leave ONE comment on THIS post and make sure that I have some way of getting in touch with you if I happen to draw your name. The draw will end along with the other OWOH blogs on the 12th February, so do make sure that you have left a comment here before 5pm British Time on the 12th February as by that time I will have arrived home from work and be ready to pick your names!

And please, do not forget to visit One World, One Heart and meet all the other fabulous bloggers out there.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Double Whammy

Yes, I've been dealt a double whammy today! I start back at work this morning after a lovely week off work and last night my youngest brother left after a month of staying with me.

Let's take the latter first...Matt was staying with me for a little while with a view to possibly staying here in the longer term while he saves up to do a bit more travelling. It didn't take long for him to decide that my local area wasn't for him, which does make sense because his friends are in his university town, and if he moves back with Mum and Dad then he knows the area far better with regards job hunting.

The upshot of that was that he only stayed a month and while I would have liked his company for longer, it has been a lovely month. Especially with a cup of tea waiting for me when I got home from work! As someone who primarily lives alone, it has been great having someone else in the house. It's not merely about the conversation or the hogging of the bathroom, just the fact that there is another person there makes the house feel different.

Of course, added to that IS the conversation, the laughter and the working together (I was the designated dryer-upper!!) and I have thoroughly enjoyed his company. As much as I wont miss the teasing, I will miss my youngest brother (until I see him again!!). don't know anyone who enjoys that first day back at work after a few days off, and I most definitely am not one of them! There's usually a billion emails waiting to be read as well as a pile 0f paperwork on the desk that's accumulated although I am hoping that with the recent snow there wont be the volume that there usually is.

But hey-ho, going to work is what pays the bills and lets me have a nice holiday every now and then, so I gotta go do it!!

Sunday, 8 February 2009


I know that we don't get quite the volume of snow that appears in North America, Canada and other parts of Europe. But for us, the recent snow has been a LOT of snow.


As you can see, my back garden is rather small, but I still managed to create a respectable snowman, complete with carroty nose that keeps falling out!


I just wish that we could cope with snowfall better than we do. People drive unsafely, councils run out of gritting for the road, or....people take snow-days when they could really get to work if they drove carefully and planned ahead a bit. Of course, I am lucky because this snow fall coincided with my week off work so I didn't have to worry about getting in to work at all this week!

P.S. The cat doesn't much like snow!!


And if you're looking for more show and tell bloggers, just go and visit Lollipop Goldstein, our very stern teacher!

P.S. Don't forget to visit my One World One Heart Post before the 12th February to win some of my greeting cards!!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Ten things I like

starting with the letter M...  (thanks to my At My Own Pace for this!)

Memories.  There is nothing quite like looking back at old photographs and laughing about what happened or simply just remembering a good holiday.

M-People - I  just love their music - when I am driving too and from work I regularly listen to "Open up your heart" or "How can I love you more" - you'll even catch me singing along with the chorus!

Macomber, Debbie - one of my favourite romance authors along with Nora Roberts.  Debbie writes books with good sub-protagonists so that you don't feel as though the story is just about one couple and no-one else exists!!  Try the Cedar Cove series or the Blossom Street series, you can see more on her website.

Merlot.  I would have simply put wine, but that doesn't start with an M, so this will have to do.

Mars Planets - I know that is not strictly what this tasty chocolate is called, but it works!! This is a yummy chocolate based on mars bars and it is meant to the the mars bar broken down into three different bits and wrapped in chocolate - think of revels but like mars bars!

Melbourne.  This is a great city - cosmopolitan yet laidback. I love it when I visited last March and would love to visit again - I've got several years to save up for another mega holiday budget!!

Marmite!  I just love marmite on toast, it is perfect with a steaming hot cup of tea.

Money.  I can't deny this  - it helps my world go round!  Where would I be without the means to buy my books, chocolate, feed the cat, go on holiday!

My books - totally cheating I know, but I really do love my books.  I'd buy loads every week if I could but my budget just wouldn't stand up to it!!

Marshmallows - most especially on top of hot chocolate!

This was fun (although it took me a while to think of anything beginning with M.  It was tempting to go minternet or mtelevision or mchocolate!), and it's something that's been making the rounds these last few weeks, so if you fancy your own letter to work with, just let me know and I will send you your very own letter of the alphabet!!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Fifty Greatest TV Shows.

I found this on View from the Hill a little while ago and have only just gotten around to doing it!

Empire Magazine has revealed its list of the 50 Greatest TV Shows ever, so the idea is to show just how much of a telly addict you are by doing the following.... (I am quite sure that my youngest brother will have seen all of them at some point!!)

A. Bold the shows you watch/used to watch.
B. Italic the shows you’ve seen at least one episode of.
C. Post your answers.

50. Quantum Leap
49. Prison Break
48. Veronica Mars
47. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
46. Sex & The City
45. Farscape
44. Cracker
43. Star Trek
42. Only Fools and Horses
41. Band of Brothers
40. Life on Mars
39. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
38. Curb Your Enthusiasm
37. Star Trek: The Next Generation
36. Father Ted
35. Alias
34. Frasier
33. CSI: Las Vegas
32. Babylon 5
31. Deadwood
30. Dexter
29. ER
28. Fawlty Towers
27. Six Feet Under
26. Red Dwarf
25. Futurama
24. Twin Peaks
23. The Office
22. The Shield
21. Angel
20. Blackadder
19. Scrubs
18. Arrested Development
17. South Park
16. Doctor Who
15. Heroes
14. Firefly
13. Battlestar Galactica
12. Family Guy- thanks to male student friends
11. Seinfeld
10. Spaced
09. The X-Files
08. The Wire
07. Friends
06. 24
05. Lost
04. The West Wing
03. The Sopranos
02. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
01. The Simpsons

Interestingly enough, that does show quite well how I feel about telly - there are a few things that I will sit down to watch nearly every time it's on, but mostly I am not all that interested. Hence all the shows that I have seen just one or two episodes but never really got drawn in!!

Go on - show us what you have watched - you know you want to!!

Monday, 2 February 2009


There is something supremely satisfying in going to the bank and saying "I want to pay off a loan".

It wasn't all that big (relatively speaking), but over the last few weeks I have been seeing the interest rates on my savings going down whilst still paying the same interest on my loan!! It was about time I got rid of the loan and began saving again!

It's a bit annoying to have to start saving again, but I thought that it was worth it just to get rid of the loan so that I can stop shelling out about £200 a month to the bank and stop having the whole thing hanging over my head.

So, as of's gone. And that really is very very satisfying indeed. Why should the bank have my money when it's not giving me a good rate on my savings. Ok, ok, I agreed to the loan (which I did need at the time) and I knew that my savings weren't on a fixed rate - are there any that are? But it still felt like a raw deal to see the savings rate go down and the loan rate stick fast.

But...yayyyy!! It's really really gone. I don't think I actually realised how much of a weight it was on my shoulders. Like I said, it wasn't a massive loan, but it was obviously just enough to have it niggle at me, and now that it is gone, it feels great!!

P.S. I am now (finally) on twitter!! See my side bar if you fancy following...(or not!!)