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Sunday, 27 May 2012

A long weekend 25-27 May 2012

I had to take Friday off work. On Wednesday the new car was taken back to the dealers to have a whole list of things done to it. In the process of half a days driving the indicators went wrong, the headlamps went on and off of their own accord and one or more of the engine sensors has packed up, making the engine run like a pig. As I type this the car is still there, waiting for parts to turn up. The only good thing is the dealer is sorting it all out with no quibbles. He wants us to be happy customers. I can only be happy for so long......

As it was such a nice day that after taking Arnie for a checkup at the Vets we decided to go to Herne Bay. It was lovely down there, nice and sunny with a sea breeze. We had a beer and a burger in the Wetherspoons, then walked down to the amusement arcades and spent an hour or so pumping the shove machines with 2p pieces. We rounded off the trip with a Mr Whippy 99. Well it would have been rude not to at the seaside! 
It was interesting to see that they have demolished the ugly building (a sports centre) on the pier. I always thought this stuck out like a sore thumb. Apparently the council are organising a Diamond Jubilee tea party on the pier. What a great idea. I wonder if they will ever extend the pier out to where the end building still exists, about a mile. I remember a few years ago there was a  campaign to raise funds to do this. This has seemed to have all gone quiet.


It was up early today as we had offered to help a friend move into our other friend's place. We all met at the Gorge cafe in town for a slap up breakfast, than it was round to chez chippy to unload the first of four van loads of the day. The fun bit was getting a sofa bed into the living room. There was no way it was going to fit through the door. then the bed bit sprung open and trapped the sofa in the hall. After spending time freeing that we should have listened to Steve who said it would go through the window. Guess what, it did first time and with no problems. We finished about three o'clock, then it was home for a quick watch of the Monaco GP qualifying, then a shower.

We found out that the Pug is off to the Peugeot dealer on Monday for a full diagnostic check. If they can't sort it we are thinking of getting a refund. There are plenty of Pug 206 CCs available for sale that must be better than this lemon.

I noticed that Dartford has been awarded £100,000 in the Portas Pilot Scheme, to rejuvenate the high street. If anywhere needs it, Dartford does. Ever since Bluewater opened down the road the Town centre has been hit badly, with all the main stores pulling out or closing down. Ashford also applied for this, but our town centre is nowhere near as bad as Dartford. It saddens me every time I go there and see yet another shop close down and either replaced with a 99p or pound shop, or left to rot. I hope this is an opportunity for Dartford to turn its misfortunes around. However I don't think 100 grand will touch it.

    Tonight we had Andy and Julie round for a barbeque, then we sat and watched (endured) the Eurovision Song Contest which Sweden won, and Engelbert came second to last. I did enjoy a lot of the Facebook banter tonight. Loads of wit and barbed comments. The best being from my friend DL who reckoned the Russians saved on air fare by placing the Grannies inside one another.  We had planned a Monty Python evening, but there was a clash of events. So the Monty Python evening will be re-scheduled to another Saturday night.


We had a late night so it was good to spend an extra couple of hours in bed this morning. We are off to Bethersden for a walk around the countryside. Dave and Tina picked us up about 11AM and having arrived at the meeting point was greeted by Jason, Batty and Dave's brother and nephew. The walk was 4.5 miles through some of the best Kent countryside in what seemed to be the hottest day of the year. As we neared the Reindeer farm we spotted a Wallaby. That's something you don't see every day. Back in Bethersden we sat in the pub garden and washed our sandwiches down with a well earned pint. I don't think I've ever necked a cold lager so quickly. the afternoon was spent snoozing in front of the Monaco Grand Prix.

I had a message from the Chip. Would I like his speaker stands as they don't fit in with the new furniture re-shuffle. Yesterday I had commented that I was after a pair like that for my rear surround speakers so I was very pleased to take them. It is way too hot to cook, so I reckon the Chinese Takeaway will be feeding us tonight!

Until next week then......

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Car, Curry and Craft Fair 19-20 May 2012

Today is the day we pick up the second car. So after going into town to draw the money we set off to the garage. I don't think they were expecting us until later because they reckoned we said we would be there at 4pm. Er no. Anyway everything had been sorted and the car was ready to go. We decided to give it a little shakedown so after lunch we took it down the M20 to Junction 11 with the roof up then back up the A20 with the roof down. Everything seemed OK but we have found a few issues which need sorting. 
The newly fitted indicator stalk is intermittent. The wheels need balancing, there is vibration through the steering wheel at speeds of 70mph. We had a brief warning display about the 'Antipollution System' That could be a dodgy connection to the one of the sensors. Oh and the aerosol tyre inflators are missing. We need them because there is no room for a spare wheel in this car.

I was awake early this morning which always seems the case at weekends so when we got home I felt tired and nodded off for half an hour in front of the TV. Tonight we have some friends from the hospital radio coming down for a curry and a catch-up. We are staying local, the restaurant is within walking distance. I must admit the food hasn't really improved since the last time we went there, about four years a go. If you want no nonsense average curry then this is what they do. If you want something a bit special, there are better restaurants in the area. Anyway the service was good, the price was reasonable and they had the Champions league final on in the restaurant, much to the disappointment of my Spurs loving friend. We rounded off the evening with tea whilst watching the  penalty shoot-out and a chinwag back at our place.


Sarah started the Pug this morning and the engine was sounding and feeling very lumpy. Another light appeared, this time the engine management one. So it was off the the garage after shopping, where it was tested it on his diagnostics box. It came up as a faulty Crank Position Sensor. Obviously us giving the car a shakedown after it had been in storage for so long has shown up a few niggles. The sensor is being replaced on Wednesday, along with a list of other things. It is only a minor fault but cars are too complicated these days and it only takes a rogue sensor to make the engine run like a pig. He reset the lights, mainly because the car was going 'ping' every few seconds and it was rather annoying. The car is still driveable, but it it does stall occasionally.

On the way back from the dealers we popped in to the local craft fair, where our friends were helping to run it as well as selling some of their wares. I collected an engraved glass I had ordered, and generally mooched about and had a chat. Then we stayed for the raffle which had a huge amount of prizes, none of which we won. This afternoon was spent nodding off and a bit of gardening, clearing the weeds out of the raised bed. The weather is nice its just a pity we can't take full advantage of the Pug until it gets sorted on Wednesday.

Until next week then....

Sunday, 13 May 2012

I Like Driving in my Car... 12-13 May 2012


To coin a phrase from a well known 80's TV show, I love it when a plan comes together. Today I had arranged to collect a load of decorative slate from my parent's place. Trouble was my car would not handle that much weight, over 200 kilos I reckon. So my Brother arranged for me to borrow a Hi-Lux Pickup. Saturday morning started with a quick trip into town, then home, arranged some finance for the second car (more to come on that). Then Batty arrived bang on time, having offered his services a week before. We set off to Maidstone to collect the vehicle and then on to Barnehurst. We made quick work of loading the slate and after saying our goodbyes I treated everyone to a slap up lunch at Bubble and Squeak in Crayford, a very good cafe. After dropping off the slate at home and saying farewell to Batty, we took the Hilux back. As we got about half a mile from the dealer, the engine management light and traction control light came on. I was waiting for the thing to splutter to a halt...Anyway nothing happened so I reckon it was a electronic glitch. The Hi-Lux was a great vehicle though, I could have driven it all day long!

Tonight we went out to a friends 40th Birthday party at the Inn on The Lake. A place I hadn't set foot in since 1984, when I spent my wedding night there. Funny thing was it hasn't really changed that much! Think Crossroads Motel styling from that era. Anyhow a good time was had by all and it was good to meet up with the Valley Park Radio crew. It was a pity the chocolate fountain didn't work, but Jelly babies covered in chocolate were great, they are definitely on the menu for Sarah's Birthday BBQ.  I was really impressed with the disco. My friend Dave has a superb set-up and I can thoroughly recommend him. If any of my readers need a disco, PA or Karaoke you can contact him at DnP Events 


On Thursday my friend told me of an MX-5 for sale at a garage just outside of Ashford. So on the way home from work on Friday we went down there to take a look. Well the MX-5 was a rust bucket. But parked  next to it was a nice looking Peugeot 206 Coupe Cabriolet for sale and it was within our price range. So we arranged for a test drive today. We gave much thought to getting an MX-5 and decided that it was too low down for us to get in and out of, as Sarah suffers from a dodgy back, and we are both not exactly small. Plus the boot space is non existent. This car ticks more of our boxes. It has below average mileage for its age and service documents plus the bonus of an electric roof. It's is a 2.0 litre so has enough grunt and has a decent size boot, even enough room with the roof down. There is also room for two littl'uns in the back, or more storage. The guy took us out for a quick spin, and although I was very cramped in the back I could tell that it was OK. The only things that need doing are a new indicator stalk, rear number plate, plus a service, valet and tax. We collect next Saturday. Lets hope the weather holds so we can indulge in some top-down fun! 

This afternoon was spent watching the Spanish Grand Prix, then de-foresting the front garden and mowing the back garden lawn. It makes a change to have two days in a row without rain. I bet now we have bought a cabriolet it will chuck it down for the rest of the summer!

Until next week then...

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Little Walk, A Little Music Quiz 5-6 May 2012

It was up and at 'em this morning as we had planned to go for a walk with MB and crew. Setting off  from Appledore to Stone Cum Ebony. I didn't realise there was a village in Kent with the word 'Cum' in the title. The only one I know of is a place on the  Suffolk/Norfolk borders called Hockwold Cum Wilton. Sarah decided not to go as she was suffering from a touch of the Lurgey. The weather could have been better, so on the way I made a pit stop at the garden centre and bought myself a waterproof hat. As I arrived at the start point the rain eased off and actually it stopped for the duration of the walk. First off we had to move our cars from the spaces outside the pub after they moaned. (Pity because we were going to round off the walk with a drink there...not now though). So twelve of us plus assorted dogs set off following the path along the military canal, then crossed the road and followed a small road uphill, past the church and a few fields of sheep, and soon we were at Stone Cum Ebony. We found the Ferry Inn, and had a swift half or two whilst we ate our packed lunches. It was nice of them to allow us to eat our sarnies in the beer garden. I took note that the food being served there looked really good, so we must give it a go sometime.  The walk back to Appledore was quick, although the footpath across the field was heavy going, very squelchy. We got back about 1:45pm so MB's estimate of 2pm wasn't too far out. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the end of Back to the Future pt 2, then a quick trip to Asda followed by cleaning the Aquarium, and scraping the sheep poo off my walking boots. 

The evening was spent round at Chris' place, at the invite of MB where we ate loads of snacks, drank pop and watched the latest Mission Impossible film (good) and a British movie called The Decoy Bride, which was ok. A romantic comedy (or chick flick) which I had never heard of before but had a raft full of British actors and was written by Sally Phillips. She was part of the 'Smack the Pony' team and has appeared in countless comedies including 'I'm Alan Partridge' and 'Miranda'.


I slept right the way through to 8:30. All that fresh air and exercise yesterday plus a late night must have tired me out.
After our weekly trip to Asda we decided to have dinner at lunchtime. I saw an ad in the paper this week for Aldi. They were selling cheap cycling bits n bobs. So we set off for the nearest store, which was in Hythe. I came away with a pair of gloves and we grabbed the last two walking poles. Not bad for a fiver each. They didn't have any cycling shorts in my size though so I will have to get some on eBay. Talking of which I blagged myself a Type 37 Diesel loco and three 1970's inter-city carriages for 16 quid on eBay today. Not bad considering the loco alone sells secondhand for about 48 quid. We are pop quizzing tonight in aid of the Find A Voice charity. It has taken me a while to get a team together but I think we have a winning formula!

The quiz night went well. The compare, John 'Webbo' Webster did a great job, as did the organisers. The team played their part, they did offer up some of the answers. The questions were just right, not too easy, nor too difficult. although I must say some of the answers we gave were pure guess work. Anyway we won, by quite a margin. I can't help it when it comes to music type stuff my head is full of useless facts and figures and I have a tendency to hog the quiz, sorry guys.
There is talk of a music quiz night down at the Rare Breeds Centre later this month. However we need a team of ten to take part. Blimey it took me enough hassle to get four!
Tomorrow is a bank holiday. No early start for me then. Woo Hoo!

Until next weekend then