Easter Sunday – family, food, cats, cars and ice-cream.

After a better night’s sleep – though still an early awakening by the seagulls πŸ˜‰ – we showered and dressed and went down for breakfast. We’d learned yesterday that we had to be specific in what cooked food we requested. We asked for bacon and eggs and got just that – bacon and eggs. (Perfectly cooked and delicious.) We opted for not too heavy a breakfast though, as we were going out to dinner with my brother Rick, his lovely wife Mel, and son Jay. Since we didn’t need to leave until 11.45 or so, we had time for stroll along the seafront for some fresh air and a paper – and we bought some rock to take back home.

We arrived early at the restaurant – The Halland Forge – and got ourselves a drink to sip in the garden whilst we waited for Rick and family. Just as we finished them, they arrived, and we went in for our meal which was huge, and absolutely delicious. The restaurant is a carvery and attracts people from all over, with many returning often. Mum and Rick have been a few times, but I hadn’t been before so was taken aback at the size of the servings. Rick was in front of me in the queue and he knew the chef who was carving and got chatting. As he carved Rick’s beef, he came to the end of the joint and stuck the huge slab of meat remaining on Rick’s plate along with the already large portion of sliced beef! How Rick ate it, I don’t know – there must have been half a cow there! πŸ˜€ While we ate, we had a lovely catch up and as I sat next to Jay, I enjoyed hearing what he’s up to and his plans after his (GCSE) exams. I said I’d send him the little lucky black cat previously used to get mum, me, Stephen and Nel through exams successfully, to pop in his pocket for luck. I really enjoyed just relaxing with my family, and in fact, hadn’t seen Rick and co for a long time so appreciated it all the more. (This had been a contributing factor in our decision to visit Sussex.) We decided we could just about manage a dessert (who were we kidding? We’d eyed them up as soon as we came in and knew darn well we’d keep a little room. πŸ˜‰ ) It was difficult to choose just one with so many gorgeous offerings, but we managed.

When we were so stuffed we could barely move, we waddled back to our cars and drove to Rick’s house to meet the new additions to the family. (OK, I confess! Another factor in the decision to come to Sussex πŸ˜› ) Last year, their pedigree Persian cat Harley passed away after a long and happy little life, having been with Rick for 16 years. In December Rick and Mel welcomed two Maine Coon kittens into their house after visiting the breeder’s home weekly to bond with them. Guns, the boy, is very pale in colour and quite a poser by the fireplace. Roses. the girl, is darker and quite mischievous and playful.


Mum and I fell in love straight away and enjoyed playing with them, fussing them and generally admiring them. They were utterly irresistible.

I had taken my car round to KwikFit when shortly after we’d arrived and just as Rick had made a cup of tea, they phoned to say my car was ready for collection. I finished my tea and then walked the short path to the garage and brought back my now quiet and healthy car – whilst I was sorry for the mechanics having to work over Easter, it had certainly all worked out very well for me and the location was extremely convenient to fit in with our existing plans.

We stayed another couple of hours, during which time mum took some lovely photos, including a really nice (and rare!) one of Rick and I.



We left just after 5pm, having had a wonderful afternoon with them all. I don’t see Rick and co often, but I love it when I do as they are very comfortable people with whom to spend time. I expect mum enjoyed having both her children together with her too (I know I do, when I have both of mine together) but whether Rick quite “enjoyed” having mum and sister both at once, only he will know πŸ˜‰

When we got back to our hotel we simply HAD to go for a walk along the sea front again (not only were we cramming as much sea as possible into our short stay, but with the weather being like mid-summer, it would have been criminal to waste it ) and we wanted an ice-cream before we left as it was the one sea-side thing we had not yet done. There is a wonderful Italian ice-cream shop called Fusciardi’s which has been there ever since I can remember. People come to Eastbourne specially to go there and that was where I wanted to get my ice-cream. Ice-cream doesn’t agree with me at all and I generally hate the stuff – it gives me terrible tummy ache and makes me feel sick. However, a really good ice-cream is worth suffering that for, and Fusciardi’s ice-creams are worth it. We were spoiled for choice for flavours though I already knew which I’d have – cappuccino, and mum had pistachio and vanilla. Yummy! πŸ™‚


A lovely drive and Emily came too.

As you know by now, if you know me, St George’s Day is mine and mum’s big annual event in memory of my dad. This year, it happened to fall on the Saturday of the Easter weekend so we thought we’d take advantage of the bank holidays either side to go to Eastbourne and see the sea, then visit my brother on the Sunday.

After working overtime the week before, I was ready for a break and drove down to mum’s on the Thursday and so we could leave for Sussex on Friday. On Friday we both wore our green ribbons in memory of my beloved Nan whose birthday it would have been. Rocky, mum’s cat, was booked into the cattery but he’d disappeared early that morning and we hadn’t a clue what to do if he didn’t return in time for us to leave. We decided to go to the crem to leave dad’s red rose and then return (instead of going on from there) to see if Rocky thought the coast was clear and returned whilst we were out.

As usual, the crem was beautiful, peaceful and welcoming and we left dad’s rose and sat on the bench for a while, before going back. Rocky was still nowhere to be seen, and then just as we despaired, he appeared! I grabbed him and mum put him in his carrier and we took him to the cattery with him protesting all the way. (It’s a lovely cattery and he was fine once we got there.)

Then we had a lovely drive down the M6 and though we’d expected lots of traffic, it all turned out to be going north, so we had no congestion at all. We stopped for our picnic lunch and a coffee which we had outside since the weather was glorious. Just north of Oxford, we noticed that the car sounded very noisy and when mum suggested that it sounded like the exhaust, I had to agree. We stopped at the nearest services, which turned out be very busy and I had a job to park. Happily, the man in the car next to where I was trying to park talked me through patiently and we got there! (The people standing around the car the other side were taking up all the room and wouldn’t move, which didn’t help!) I got down on hands and knees and had a peek under the car – sure enough, the exhaust pipe leading into the silencer had come loose. Agh! I didn’t think the AA would be able to do a lot apart from patch it up, so felt there probably wasn’t any point getting them out. We went inside for a drink and I called my brother to see if he thought it was safe enough to continue our journey and sort it out when we arrived. He said that was fine as long as the pipe wasn’t so low it was on the ground, so we continued, ignoring he fact that we sounded like a motorbike with a cough πŸ˜‰

As we drove past Uckfield (where we used to live and where my brother still does) I decided to use the petrol station there as I would then know we had enough without having to find one. (We were shocked to see petrol priced at 134.9p a litre – it was 136.9p in Chester and 138.9p in Hexham!) Then we noticed there was a KwikFit next door – and it was open! So we popped in and they took a look at the exhaust – sadly it was a different part to that replaced previously, so it was not under warranty and I’d have to pay. The man there was really friendly and helpful and said it was an easy job and would cost £45 though he’d have to order the parts. Amazingly, they would be open on Easter Sunday and said they could so it that afternoon when we’d be in Uckfield anyway – and the part should come on the Saturday. Brilliant! πŸ™‚

As a family Easter present, mum had bought us a Sat Nav, which is something we’ve been wanting for a while. Although I know the way to Sussex, and know the Eastbourne area, I did want the extra help for locating the hotel without having to hunt, though I had an idea roughly where it was. We decided, therefore, to use it from about half way so that we could get the hang of how much notice it gave for lane changes, turn-offs etc. The voice that it was set to use was “Emily UK” and before long, we were calling it Emily, or sometimes “Em” for short. This has now stuck and it is a she, called Emily. πŸ™‚ We were quite impressed with her, though once we left the M25 and were on the M23, she wanted us to drive to Brighton and then across to Eastbourne. Not the way we wanted, so we did our usual and left at East Grinstead to drive down the A22. Em didn’t like this at all and kept urging us to turn around and go to Brighton. She had a way of using intonation to imply an unhappy sigh when every time she said “Recalculating” – I swear she sounded more annoyed each time πŸ˜€ We waited for her to realise that we were nearer to our destination than to Brighton but even when we were 5 miles away, she wanted us to go to Brighton! (Sadly, this has shaken my confidence in her a bit, so I’m not yet happy she could get me wherever I need to be if I don’t know the way.) In the end, mum turned Emily off, turned her back on and asked her to find where we were and then to navigate to the the hotel. Happily she did this without a fuss and was very helpful in locating the exact turn for the hotel – we’d have missed it without her. Thanks Em! πŸ™‚

One of the things about this hotel that had particularly appealed to us was the private parking (Eastbourne can be a nightmare in holiday season) but when we pulled up, (at around 5.30 pm) the 3 spaces were taken. Mum hopped out and went to ask inside what to do, and they said we could park behind the owner’s car which would block it in. We therefore gave the owner the car keys when we checked in so she could move it if needed. (She obviously gets this a lot as she wasn’t at all concerned, and it meant we could all relax. We did warn her that the exhaust was noisy though, so she wouldn’t think she’d done anything to it.)

The hotel – Our room was the at the right hand side, with the open window:


View from our window, looking towards the sea: Photobucket

Our hostess was very friendly and welcoming and showed us to our room. It was small but bright and comfortable – though the loo/shower room was tiny with a badly fitting sliding door which left quite a gap when closed. It’s a good job we are mum and daughter!


We quickly unpacked and changed our tops since the drive had been pretty hot and sticky, and went for a walk along the seafront – an unexpected bonus made possible by the fantastic weather and our proximity to the beach. Afterwards, we had a picnic tea and bottle of wine in our room and felt realxed and ready for St George’s Day.

Hints of Spring

At last, there are definitely signs of spring creeping in – that indefinable “something” in the air that is neither smell, temperature nor look; the cats perking up and being slightly more active; birds singing in the mornings; bits of greenery appearing; and for me, the urge to DO things. πŸ™‚

This week I’ve been really productive generally, and then on Thursday I suddenly decided to get the garden tidied up in readiness for whatever summer we might get this year. As with most people, the early snow last winter stopped me giving the garden its winter tidy (in fact the chrysanthemums had only just fully bloomed when the snow killed them off!) so it was badly in need. Added to the usual dead foliage, autumn leaves and general mud and muck splattered by the rain, was all the stuff that had been blocking the gutter – lumps of moss, earth, grit, broken tiles, and even the odd sapling! I threw the rubbish (and Stephen helped me to take it all to the tip along with the latest accumulation of house rubbish and glass for recycling), refreshed the compost in the pots, sowed some seeds and rearranged the pots. Finally, I gave the concrete an initial rough going over with the jet washer as there were 2 years worth of moss and muck to shift. It made quite a lot of difference but it needs doing another couple of times I think. Billy has said he will do this, which would be nice, as I do find it quite hard work.

The sunshine continued on Friday so I did something else I haven’t done for a couple of years – washed my car! I also gave it a hoover inside which I haven’t actually done before. I tend to keep the car generally tidy but other than that, I don’t worry. I then scrubbed the bathroom, went and retrieved a few bits from the loft, which took some hunting down and rummaging in the dust.

My nails, by the end of all these activities, were filthy and have had to be soaked in the bath to clean them up, and will require some attention tonight to make them respectable for work tomorrow.

I absolutely love this time of year and am starting to come alive again. I think this year, it’s been helped along by the blissful warmth of my new office, so I’ve shed the layers and am wearing lighter clothing, which adds to the springy feeling.

Petrol prices are no joke!

Gven the situation with petrol prices lately, I thought I’d share with you these cartoons I was sent by e-mail. Many a true word spoken in jest…..

Naturally these cartoons are not my work! I was going to list the credits but I can’t actually read some of them – suffice to say that the artists own the rights and hvae marked the pics accordingly.

Postcode lottery – petrol!

With the ever increasing cost of petrol, I’ve started to look at prices during my travels and can’t believe how much it varies! (I don’t understand why it should do – anyone know?)

At home, it’s 129.9p per litre, though in Chester/Manchester it’s 127.9 so I’ve started putting in just enough to get me there and then I fill up before coming back home. Last weekend I noticed that in Wigan (the setting for my mystery tour) it is 126.9 which is the cheapest I’ve seen.

At the other end of the scale, the petrol station near the end of the M56 in Chester is charging 130.9 and one of the motorway service stations a whopping 137.9!

In real terms, this means that the cost of me driving to a match or to mum’s and back has risen from about £35 when I first moved here 7 years ago, to almost £70 now! (Same car, same route, same conditions.)

And yet we live in a society where use of a car is pretty much assumed – out of town supermarkets and retail parks, and a lack of inexpensive, efficient an reliable public transport. Good job I don’t smoke, gamble or go pubbing/clubbing as it looks like my car is my indulgence.

Petrol Price finder here if you want to shop around.

A Perfect Family Christmas.

We had a lovely quiet, calm, family Christmas and I really enjoyed it. It’s one of the least stressful Christmas times I’ve ever had, I think. Not because we have any of the stereotypical family arguments at this time, but just because there are normally so many things to organise and places to be, things to do. This year, everything just fell into place somehow and even the Christmas dinner almost seemed to cook itself with no hassles.

On Thursday (23rd) Nel and I were due to drive to Chester to collect mum but with the weather having been so bad we were trying to decide whether to call it off. In the end I made the decision to drive, with the proviso that if the roads seemed too dangerous, I’d turn back. Happily, the A69, M6 and M56 were all completely clear and smooth running and the only difficulty we encountered was that it was so cold that the screen wash didn’t defrost until 3 hours into the journey despite the addition of neat winter screen wash then near boiling water! Since the salt sprayed up from the road was so thick, I had to stop at every services to clean the windows – but then they iced over almost immediately. In the end, I was using neat de-icer to clean them which was slightly better, though the lack of clear vision did cause me to drive pretty slowly so that it took much longer to do the journey than usual. Happily, the return trip was trouble free since I could now wash the windscreen and so Mum was with us for Christmas. I was so pleased as I’d have been devastated if it had been otherwise. Billy had titivated his den so that it was a warm and welcoming bedroom for her – and he’d even bought flowers and arranged them on her bedside table, which earned him Brownie points with both wife and M-I-L πŸ™‚

On Christmas Eve we had a wander into Hexham, and had a coffee break in Café Nero for which Nel joined us after her dog-walking. We cooked the two turkey crowns, the gammon joint, as well as a goulash for dinner that evening. I also made the stuffing for Christmas dinner, using the homegrown sage harvested earlier in the year. During the week or so before Christmas, the whole family had been asking me when they could start the Christmas food and drink and I’d replied “When Mum/Granny is here” (you’ve never seen a family so keen for her to arrive! πŸ˜‰ ) We therefore started on the goodies that evening πŸ™‚

On Christmas morning, Mum and I were up first and had breakfast, showered and dressed before anyone else appeared. Raji was next, having got up early to wrap his presents πŸ˜‰ Eventually, by about 10.30, everyone was up and we were ready to open all our presents – and there were lots of them despite promises to keep it all low key this year. We all did very well, and for Billy and I the theme was books. I now have loads of unread books which is treasure beyond compare – I love the anticipation almost as much as the read. πŸ™‚ The cats all enjoyed the paper as well as their stocking which Nel had bought for them – she had bought one for her hamsters too so the pets all got to enjoy the day as well. After we’d tidied up, I told everyone they could do as they pleased until dinner and that I wanted them to present themselves at 12.55 ready for a 1pm dinner and they were to be prepared to have a fun, festive, family meal. And they did. The “children” don’t normally like to eat with us but they know how much Christmas dinner means and we had a really lovely time with everyone relaxed, laughing, and clearing their plates. After the Queen’s Speech, Mum insisted on washing up and Raji dried, and then Mum, Nel and I played Cluedo which was fun. Next, the Wii, which we’d bought last Christmas,came out and the men and Nel demonstrated Bowling, Golf and Boxing for mum. Still full after dinner, we all just nibbled as we wanted rather than having a proper tea, and I had a play with the present mum had given us as a family – a wooden Sudoku board. I’ve never been able to do Sudoku and just not got the knack, but I started dabbling and Raji gave me some pointers and that was it – HOOKED! All over Christmas I was playing with it and it’s now permanently placed on the chest in the living room ready to be played. In the evening, Nel and Mum watched Coronation Street and the day drew to a pleasantly chilled close.

On Boxing Day Stephen, Billy and I went to our Newcastle v City football match, Mum and Nel had a girls’ day together and Raji went to work.

On Bank Holiday Monday, we girls all went to the Metrocentre and though it was busy, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. We found a parking spot without too much trouble, and we managed to get round the shops we wanted as well as being able to have lunch in our favourite coffee shop. We all bought something in the sales and were pleased with our bargains – Nel definitely came out tops though and seemed to get a lot for her money πŸ™‚ She and I then trekked over to Pets at Home to get some hamster bits she wanted, leaving mum in the car, and then we drove home. We had roast beef for dinner, but just as I was dishing up, there was a power cut! It’s a good job I like candles and have some strategically placed battery operated LED lights for just such eventualities because the power was out for two hours! (It was a widespread one too, affecting a large part of Hexham, and my only guess is that some snow and ice may have thawed and flooded something causing the outage.) So we ate by candlelight, mum packed by candlelight, and just as we settled down to amuse ourselves (by candelight) for the evening, with a saucepan of water boiling on the (gas) hob for a cuppa – the power returned πŸ™‚

Mum and I left after breakfast on Tuesday to go to the City v Villa match and then on to her house where I was staying for the night. Lee had been house and cat sitting which was a last minute arrangement and one that suited both he and mum admirably, and Rocky was pleased to have his Mummy back and enjoyed lots of fuss. We had an easy egg and chips dinner, a few drinks, and then an early night. I must have fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow as I woke up in exactly the same position as I landed on going to bed πŸ™‚

On the Wednesday, we mooched round her nearest shops and had lunch in Pizza Hut (where we were very dissatisfied with the service, though the food was perfect) and then I had a very smooth drive home in the afternoon.

I really loved having mum stay with us (her first visit to us for a couple of years, what with our various other commitments and her hip operation) and everyone else had too – even the pussy cats who were quick to spot a cat lover! (Zeb was particularly taken with mum’s lap whenever she was trying to read her newspaper, which was funny.) Everyone had entered into the spirit to give me a perfect family Christmas with those I love most in this world, and Billy in particular had done a lot to help make it happen.

2010 was not an easy year, but it did have a perfect Christmas to round it off πŸ™‚

Reunited with my car.

After almost two weeks of my car being in the garage, I finally got it back at lunchtime on Wednesday. The hold up had been due to the new crossmember getting stuck in Scotland due to the snow.

I walked down to get it as soon as I knew it was ready and expected to pay around £200 for the MOT and service so was rather taken aback at the bill of £380! And there was still the other bill for the bodywork to pay – which I later found out was £359!

Still, they had been pretty thorough and the car had had a full service including the usual oil change, and front brake pads & discs replaced, the bonnet catch fixed (it had seized up which was somewhat problematic when it came to topping up levels!), replacement wiper blades, and the fuel cap flap repaired. They had also refixed the back door rubber seal which was nice as this has been a minor irritation for some time. However, there were still some advisory notices so there will be work to be done sooner rather than later.

According to the weather forecast more bad weather was due in the next couple of days so I was really pleased to have the car back so I could get as much done as possible before it arrived.

First I went to Tesco and did the usual grocery shop plus the Christmas food shop which took me 3 hours or so. Then that evening Billy and I went to my clinic to bring home one car-load of furniture and herbs. The clinic is in a pedestrianised area so vehicle access is only during non-business hours which limits our options for doing this job. We also managed one car-load the next evening, but so far that’s all we’ve done. I’ve been walking into town and bringing home what I can in a large rucksack but there are at least 2 car-loads still to collect even if we managed everything else on foot. It’s my last niggling job to complete as soon as possible and it’s slightly annoying that we lost the one good weekend of thaw due to not having the car.

Still, I have it now, it’s purring rather than growling and the brakes are so sharp it feels like I’ve crashed into something every time I lightly touch them. Hopefully the weather will behave so I can go and get mum next week and return her later.

I don’t really drive my car all that much – once a week for grocery shopping and once a fortnight for a good long motorway drive to football and/or mum – but I did miss it being there for when I wanted it. Welcome back car πŸ™‚

Car troubles.

Snowed in car

The car was booked in to Kwik Fit for its M.O.T and a service on Thursday, so Billy dug it out of its snowy little igloo and cleared enough snow to allow the wheels on to the road which had been partially cleared of snow. We had a bit of a panic when it wouldn’t start, but after a little coaxing it got going and we cautiously drove to the end of the road before we got stuck in snow. Billy got out to push and another man who was passing, helped too – but the car really didn’t want to go the way we’d planned. In the end, with the men pushing and guiding, we managed to turn the car round and go the wrong way down the short one way road as that was the only way the car was prepared to travel!

After lunch, the garage called to say that the car needed work – and the tone of voice warned me I wasn’t going to like the news. Aside from the brake pads and discs (which I’d expected), the front crossmember was completely corroded and needed welding or replacing. (A web search came up with this thread on a discussion board and I found the photos helpful, so thanks to the OP for that πŸ™‚ )

I was told that they didn’t do this type of work so I asked if they knew of anyone local who did and was given a number for someone who said he was happy to do it. I then bravely asked for an idea of costs, albeit that he hadn’t seen the car yet, and was told around £400! AGH!

Since I can’t be without my car and having this work done isn’t optional, I authorised he and Kwik Fit to liaise and do everything that needed doing as best suited themselves. The spent the rest of the day feeling really fed up and crunching numbers. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time what with our finances being very stretched already and Billy having no work at all during December πŸ™ We don’t feel we can get rid of the car and buy a cheap runaround as there is no way we’d get a car as reliable as this one for less than the cost of the repairs – and the repair should last a good long time (presumably around 8 years anyway as the car is currently 8 years old and it’s taken this long for the original crossmember to corrode in spite of repeated motorway trips on wet and gritted/salted roads.) The engine is excellent so worth hanging on to.

I’m pretty optimistic in life generally, and usually find the positives, but this was so upsetting because I thought I’d been pretty realistic and expected to pay around £250 to get the car through its M.O.T and service. To have another £400 on top was a heck of a blow.

It’s now Saturday and the car is still at the garage and until I get it back, I won’t know the final cost – which is rather unsettling. I just hope we can find whatever it takes. πŸ™

The only slight good news is that I don’t actually need the car until 23rd December and in this snow, Billy and I have been trudging to get shopping on foot anyway. (He has had the big back pack whislt I’ve had my small one – I don’t know how he’s managed to carry the weight that he has, but I would have struggled without him and had to make a further 3 or 4 trips.) See – trying to find the positives…… :S

My Family.

I was telling a friend that our dysfunctional family should be a sit-com (though actually, I don’t think there’s any such thing these days as a “normal” family so we’re probably not that unusual!):

We have five people in our house.

2 work but hate their jobs.
2 are unemployed and can’t get jobs.
2 do two jobs.
1 does two part-time jobs but also runs the home – everything from accounts/admin, laundry, shopping and cleaning to DIY and decorating.

There is one car in the family.
1 person is qualified and insured to drive it, and pays its upkeep and costs.
1 person is qualified but not insured.
1 person is insured but not qualified.

2 people have health issues and require check ups and medication, and a lot of support at home.
1 person is healthy – with the occasional aid of herbs to help provide the support to the others.
1 person is pretty healthy.
1 person is mainly OK though should take better care of themselves.

2 people have exceptional hearing and hate loud or constant noise, and are considerate of others when playing music, TV or DVD’s.
2 people are deaf as posts and have the volume up very loud on all things without a thought for others.
1 person is selectively deaf, likes a fairly loud volume but happy to turn it down when asked.

1 person is a morning person and likes to be up early but is in bed by 9pm most nights.
1 person has to burn the candle at both ends but sleeps a lot when opportunity allows.
2 people are very much nocturnal but manage to struggle up in the mornings when they have to, then still stay up late at night.
1 person is very much nocturnal and sleeps most of the day and is up most of the night.
(All of which means that the house is active pretty much 24/7!)

1 person is a hoarder and won’t part with ANYthing.
2 people are hoarders but every now and then have a clear out.
3 people are extremely untidy and don’t even notice mess.
1 person notices and can cope with a little.
1 person hates mess and clutter and cannot relax unless everything’s in its place.

1 person sees a job that needs doing and does it.
1 person sees it and usually leaves it but will do it if asked.
2 people don’t see it but agree to do it if asked – but somehow “forget” or don’t get round to it
1 person doesn’t see it at all.

And don’t get me started on the varying eating habits! πŸ˜›

Kwik Fit Cavalry

Ever since I had my first car, I’ve been really disciplined at making sure I check the levels and keep everything topped up. Sadly, my car is now a bit scruffy and getting a bit rough around the edges, but still performs well for me.

Amongst other little imperfections, it’s bonnet has become more and more reluctant to open and when I recently thought the engine sounded a little rough, I suspected it might want some oil – but couldn’t open the bonnet to check. So next time I was at Mum’s, I asked if she’d help (sometimes someone applying a bit of pressure over the catch can help) – but it still wouldn’t open. Then I got Billy to have a go – same result. By now I was convinced it was desperate for oil and that I really had to get that bonnet open.

On my way to Tesco last week, it occurred to me to pop in to Kwik-Fit who had done a good job with my exhaust before, so off I went and asked if they could help. The man on reception took my keys and he and a mechanic went off to my car whilst I had a seat in the waiting area. When he returned, he said they’d got it open and had topped up all the fluids, including oil – and that I didn’t owe them a penny! WOW! What great service! πŸ™‚

He said that the oil had been very low and that the car could probably so with a service. I replied that I thought so too, but that I was hoping it could wait until my MOT in December so it could be done in one hit – and he proceeded to tell me about their offer price of £99 for MOT and mini-service or £165 for MOT and service. That sounds a good deal to me, and I think I’ve pretty much decided to go for that! Better yet, I can apparently take the car in any time after the 2nd November and still maintain the anniversary of the MOT.

Thanks Kwik-Fit for such great service, such friendliness and good advice. Not only am I pleased, but I will be back πŸ™‚ 10/10!

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