4 April 2011 (Monday) - A Day Off

I took the day off work today. My excuse was that I was getting the car serviced, but to be honest I fancied a lazy day. With the car dropped of at Renault at 8 am, I made my way home via the burger van. Yesterday I mocked a hotel’s website. Today, carrying on the website theme, I noticed that the burger van has got its own website. However this website is quite good as websites go. As was the hot dog I had for my breakfast from that van. I scoffed it as I made my way home along the side of the river as I walked home through the park. I watched the chub and the trout in the river, and the chaffinches in the trees, and the high-speed train hurtling past. For all that a lot of people run Ashford down; it’s not a bad place to live.

Once home I made a start on the ironing. There was loads of it, and whilst I ironed I watched “2001” on the TCM channel. Billed as a classic move, I’ve watched “2001” several times. Whilst I like it, in my mind it’s in a special category of film along with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Avatar. All these films were made with leading-edge (at the time) visual effects and are all therefore about an hour longer than they need to be *because* of the leading-edge visual effects. They also all seem to have used leading-edge visual effects in place of a plot, to their detriment.
I had the ironing sorted long before the end of the film, and scoffed black cherry ice cream whilst HAL went loopy. I turned off the film about half an hour from the end – realistically the line “My God – It’s full of stars” marks the end of the film anyway.

And then it was mid day, and the lawn had dried out enough to be mowed. Lawn mowing really needs to be done weekly – I’d not done it for three weeks, and it was hard work. I then hacked back the clematis and roses which pour over the fence from next door. Whilst trimming I saw that one of the fence panels was disintegrating. It would be the fence on the side on which relations are strained. I’ll see if I can’t affect a bodge over the next week or so.
I then stripped all of the clutter out of the shed and re-packed it in an effort to reclaim some space in the shed. The trouble with a shed is that it is somewhere where people throw stuff and then forget about it. Like “My Boy TMs sleeping bag. He’d forgotten about the sleeping bag he’d left in the shed: he’s since bought another. Likewise the canister of petrol for his mini-moto. His mini-moto has been gone for at least five years, but the fuel is still in the shed, unwanted by all.
After some nagging, and some nailing rakes to the shed roof I eventually got the shed half-way tidy.

I settled down for a spot of lunch over another classic film “Robinson Crusoe on Mars”. Featuring Adam (Batman) West and a monkey in a space suit, I gave up after twenty minutes. The film was utter rubbish and the garage had phoned to say my car was ready.
My car had passed the MOT – there were three advisories though. There was a nail in one of the tyres, but I’d told them about that tyre and they’d fixed the puncture for me. There was a small chip in the windscreen. I can’t see it, but it was probably from when a stone hit it yesterday. And (perhaps more importantly) the offside steering rack ball joint has some slight play (!). I’m told this isn’t serious yet.
The service, MOT, air conditioning overhaul and tyre fixing came to just over two hundred quid, and they washed and valeted the car too. I don’t think that price is too unreasonable. I have in the past been criticised for taking my car to the Renault garage, and have been told that the local back street garage is much cheaper. It’s been my experience of back street garages that they don’t have the equipment to fix today’s modern computer-controlled cars. Certainly the last time I took a car to a local back street garage, the garage admitted defeat, told me they couldn’t fix it, and told me to go to the Renault specialist. So I went there, and have stayed with them ever since.

Home again, where I fiddled about with my phone. I can now play all the music stored on my phone through my car radio. Which is good news for me, but to be honest I don’t think anyone else would be that impressed with my music selection. I suppose I’d better get a car charger for my phone. Now my phone is doubling up as the entertainment centre and the sat-nav, the battery isn’t going to last very long.
I then spent half an hour (or so) sorting out the music on my phone: phone music isn’t something I’ve ever spent much time with, and it was all something of a shambles. I had duplicate songs, songs as ringtones, ringtones as songs… it all needed some attention. Now it’s a bit tidier. I shall see how long it lasts until the novelty of playing my phone through the car radio wears off…

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