Sunday Musings After My Birthday

I found another gadget on the new car this week, Automatic Lights. Just turn the main light switch to Auto, and the lights come on when the sensor decides it is dark enough. For now, we have left it on that setting, but it’s good to know it can be overridden if you want to decide when to switch them on.


As predicted, my birthday was quieter than usual. I received some nice cards, and Julie bought me some new Australian Sheepskin slippers, plus a nice bottle of red wine. I also got a bottle of wine from one of my step-daughters, and a delivery of chocolate truffles from one of my cousins. The children of my blogging friend Eddy Winko sent me some more chocolates and lovely hand-made cards, all the way from Poland.
In the evening, Julie took me to the Turkish Restaurant in Dereham, and we enjoyed a delicious meal.


The weather in Beetley warmed up significantly, but that meant we lost the sunshine and blue skies, which were replaced by rain. Just as well I didn’t want to go out for the day on my birthday, as it was quite miserable. A contrast to last year at this time, when I was wearing shorts.


Ollie is still doing well, and has not flagged at all on his walks this week. His appetite is good, and he has been playing with his toys. All very positive, for his age.


Whatever you are doing today, do it with a smile.


Sunday Musings Before My Birthday

Thw weather continues to act strangely. Snow during the week, then freezing temperatures followed by heavy rain. Now we have 14C today, and there are flying insects over on Beetley Meadows. The forecast for next week is yet another return to Winter. I suspect it is going to be some weeks before things settle down.


Ollie continues to scamper around and play with other dogs. Earlier today he was chasing about with Henry, a happy little black Poodle. Then they were joined by a Yellow Labrador for a while, and were running in circles. When Ollie is fit and well, it makes me happy.


I am breaking tradition next week by having a very quiet birthday on Thursday. Just an evening meal at a restaurant, and a subdued celebration.


We are still discovering things on the new car. Yesterday I found out that it does not have an alarm, and what a mysterious switch with a red light was for. (Adjusting the door mirrors remotely) I also discovered how to have a permanent indication of the range in miles available from the existing fuel. I have always found that to be more useful than the normal fuel gauge. The user manual contains no information about the large multi-function screen that includes the radio and satellite navigation, as well as many other features. This appears to be because it is not fitted (or an option) in most countries where the model is sold. It would have been nice if they had included a user guide for those of us in the countries where it is fitted!


It is going to be busier than normal next week. Due to the ongoing strikes by school teachers, we will be looking after our 8 year-old grandson from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday evening. No doubt he will enjoy playing with Ollie for a while, until he returns to his electronic games and You Tube videos.


Most of Sunday has already gone here, but I hope you enjoy what is left of yours.


The First Sunday Musings In March

The weather got colder this week, and we had some unwelcome rain. After a long dry period, the mud is back over on Hoe Rough. Worse to come, according to the forecasters on TV. Next week it wil get even colder, and we might get snow and ice by Tuesday.
Back to Winter.
I am hoping they have got it wrong.


We picked up the used car on Wednesday, the one to replace my ‘almost dead’ Zafira. The new one was suitably shiny and clean, and they had supplied rubber mats inside free of charge. The young salesman kept his promise to run us through the extensive electrical extras, showing Julie how to pair her phone for hands-free use, and how to use the onboard satellite navigation. They had even half-filled the petrol tank, something I had not expected. We also discovered that it has cruise control, which I didn’t know beforehand. I doubt we will use that. It also has ‘Stop-start’ for more economical driving, but I switched that off as I don’t like it when the engine keeps cutting out. Too much strain on the starter motor, in my opinion.


When Julie got home from work the next day, she was worried about a clunking noise coming from the back of the car. We went out for a drive so I could hear it, and I did. Stopping the car, I examined the rear section, and discovered that the jack had nothing to retain it in the storage compartment so was moving from side to side when we turned a sharp corner. We drove to the dealer, and showed them. They replaced the retaining clip with a new item in minutes, and apologised. Good servce from them so far.


Ollie has been exceptionally lively this week, and appears to be unexpectedly rejuvenated. He has been running fast with other dogs, playing rough with them, and staying out much longer on his walks. One day he was out just 10 minutes short of 3 hours, and showed no sign of flagging. It is great to see our elderly dog enjoying life so exuberantly again.


On this chilly and cloudy Sunday in Beetley, I hope you have better weather to enjoy your day.


Two Photos

My friend Antony sent me this.

Make sure you view picture 1 carefully before viewing 2.

A truly remarkable incident proving again, you ain’t gonna, go until you’re actually wanted!

This is an interesting, even breathtaking couple of photos.
Be sure to read the 1st caption below the picture before going to the 2nd photo.
Look closely at the first photo take your time, then scroll down very slowly.

Look at the picture above and you can see where this driver
Broke through the guardrail, on the right side of the culvert,
Where the people are standing on the road, pointing….

The pick-up was traveling about 75 mph from right to left
When it crashed through the guardrail.

It flipped end-over-end and bounced off and across the culvert outlet,

And landed right-side up on the left side of the culvert,
Facing the opposite direction from which the driver was traveling.

The 22-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger
Were unhurt except for minor cuts and bruises.

Just outside Flagstaff, AZ, on U.S. Hwy 100.

Now, look at the second picture below…

We Did The Deal

In just over an hour on Monday, we had a test drive of a used car, and were offered a better than expected deal to trade-in my old car too. As car buying goes it was relatively painless, and we pick up the newer car on the 1st of March.

This is the actual car.

The list of extras on this car sounds impressive, but my cynical old self could not stop myself saying to the salesman, “More to go wrong”.

It has a 6-speed manual gearbox. (Stick shift to my American friends)
A reversing camera that shows you what is behind you and adds a warning beeper. (I use the mirrors)
A built-in satellite navigation system. (I use map books most of the time)
‘Intuitive’ or alternatively selectable 4-wheel drive. (A first for me)
Alloy wheels. (Easily scratched or gouged)
Various other electronics including some that you can use to talk hands-free on a phone. (Which I will not be doing, but Julie will)
Digital radio, and sockets for chargers or streaming from an ‘outside source’. (Something I will not be doing)
Some other stuff that I zoned out of… (I will read the manual once we have the car)

It does have a spare wheel, a rarity these days. So no more having to be recovered to a tyre company if you get a puncture.

Until the 1st of March, I shall avoid using my old car at all. Fate does not need any extra temptation.

Car Woes, and Blogging.

I went to the supermarket today to pick up just a few bits, like fresh bread and some milk. Unfortunately, the gear selector of my automatic car jammed solid as I parked in the car park. I eventually had to call out the breakdown service we subscribe to, and wait 90 minutes for them to come out. I couldn’t even go and get what I needed inside the supermarket, as the key could not be removed because the car ‘thought’ it was in Drive.

The repair main connected my car to a computer, and diagnosed the fault as the gear selector switch solenoid. He then fiddled around with the lever, and managed to get the car started, and into Drive. I knew better than to chance leaving it at that, and drove to the local main dealer for my model of car. They booked it in for Tuesday, said I could leave it with them, and ordered a taxi to get me home.

As a result, I am not long inside the house, have just cooked dinner and put it in the oven, and will have no time to comment on everyone’s blogs.

I may well be without my car for some time, as the dealership reported great difficulties in finding the right parts at the moment. Fortunately, Julie has a car, and it is much newer than mine. So at least we are not stranded. I have been trying to nurse my old car for some time now. It has done relatively low mileage, but is showing its age in other ways.

Just another thing to ‘happen’. On top of the heating boiler repairs, and everything else that piles on at once.

Ain’t life grand when you are old, your dog is old, and so is your car? 🙂

Musings On An August Sunday

Well, I have something positive to report. My old car passed the MOT test, and had its main annual service. The price was exactly what I had been quoted, and I should be okay for another year of driving.

Ollie is still losing fur in his big summer moult. I brushed him for almost 30 minutes the other day, and filled a large cardboard box with all the compressed fur that came out. I put the fur at the end of the garden, in case some local birds want to take it to make their nests more comfortable. Then he was booked in for a full grooming session next Thursday. Claws clipped, a good fur strip, and a refreshing double shampoo. That should make him feel better, as well as look and smell better.


After some more stifling days and uncomfortable nights, the temperatures went down considerably. We even had some significant rain one morning. But despite the temperature drop, it still feels humid and uncomfortable by the evening.


Ukraine seems to be out of the news again. The BBC has been concentrating on the Conservative leadership election, and the drop in exam pass rates for prospective university entrants. As only 160,000 members of the Conservative party can vote to choose who wil be the next Prime Minister, I see it as excessive publicity for Truss and Sunak, the two candidates. Whichever one wins, it will make no difference to me. Situation normal, make life easier for the rich.


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful Sunday.


Sunday Musings In August

Tomorrow should be the last day of the current heatwave. High temperatures since Thursday have meant going out much earlier with Ollie. Despite that, he is still feeling the heat, and his fur is moulting like mad. Other than his walk and a break to eat his dinner, he is sleeping away the rest of the days, too hot to be bothered to do anything.


Not unlike my dog, I have also had no energy to do anything in the excessive heat and bright sunshine. It has been too hot to contemplate gardening outside, or to do much housework inside.


Regular readers will know that I finally received my renewed driving licence, which is now valid until 2025. I should have been jumping for joy after the 7-month ordeal of trying to renew it. But the DVLA put me through so much stress, I doubt I will ever forgive them for it.


Next week on Wednesday, my fingers will be crossed yet again, as my 15 year-old car has to get through the annual government roadworthiness check, and have a full service. Every year I get the sinking feeling that they will find something (expensively) wrong with it, and we need it for our short holiday coming up in September.


I will also be watching the live-stream of my Aunt’s funeral on Monday. I am unable to attend, as it is being held in West London. That is too far for a comfortable day trip in potentially heavy traffic, and it would mean leaving Ollie for too long on his own. (Julie will be at work.)


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful Sunday.


Not Driving

My driving licence expired at 00:01 on the 15th of March, when I was offically 70 years old. Regular readers will know that my online application to renew it, submitted on the 8th of February, has stalled. No new licence has arrived, and a recent enquiry with the authorities returned the answer that they will not investigate anything until 10 weeks have passed.

A friend sent me a link that you can use to check your licence status, and mine showed as ‘Expired’. I could carry on driving on the basis that my renewal has been applied for, but that would mean taking the chance of not being stopped by the police, or being involved in an accident. Sticking to the letter of the law, an expired licence means I would not be driving legally, so my car insurance would be invalid too. That would potentially allow the police to seize my car and impound it.

Not worth the risk.

After 53 years, it feels strange. Strange not to be able to say something like “Just popping down to the shops for some bread”. Strange not to be able to take Ollie to the Vet unless Julie is at home to drive the car.

Just completely strange.

I am lucky. Julie can drive either car, and she only works part-time. But what of single people, or widows and widowers? Anyone reliant on a car in a small place like Beetley who falls victim to the administrative delays of the driving licence authority is sure to be stuck. A four-mile walk to the nearest town on country roads? No thank you. The buses that only run three times a day might be an option, but make sure you don’t miss the last one back in the afternoon.

A taxi each way? At £10 pounds per trip, paying £20 to go into town to buy a £1.60 loaf of bread seems harsh.

Many people live happily without never driving. But in a country village not having access to a car makes life difficult, especially in bad weather.

Looks like I am going to have to completely readjust my thinking for a while.

Some Sunday Musings

Life has finally returned to normal after Christmas and New Year. I couldn’t be more pleased about that, as I find comfort in routine these days.


What hasn’t returned to normal is the weather. After three days of bright sunshine, we got eighteen hours of torrential rain. With only one day below freezing, the mud hasn’t hardened, and dog-walking with Ollie is still unpleasant. The strange winter weather continues next week apparently, with temperatures climbing back up to over 10C, before falling again.


After five days on his new tablet medication, Ollie has stopped shaking his head, and is a lot calmer and more relaxed. His fur has yet to grow back, but on the plus side it does seem to have stopped falling out. Becuse he cannot have his arthritis tablets in conjunction with the steroids and antibiotics, his front legs have become stiff again, and he is not even contemplating chasing any deer or rabbits.


I still haven’t got around to having my car checked out, but I am encouraged by the fact it is running well, and there is no squeaky noise at all.
Now I have typed that, I am sure I have pushed my luck, and anticipate ‘The return of the squeak’ forthwith!


Not much else has happened worth reporting. I see that as a very good thing.