Friday, 30 October 2015

That Damned Car!

We had a lovely couple  of days staying with DD2 in Gloucestershire. Their flat is in quite a posh area, lots of huge Georgian mansions around about that have been transformed into flats. It was all very clean and bright...both the flat and the area. Their new kitten is so sweet and tiny, and when we arrived home yesterday our 2 cats looked gigantic in comparison. 

DD's kitten, Pumpkin, helping with the laundry

My big boy, Shadow, helping find the car's paperwork

While we were away we managed to get DH a new pair of Doc Marten shoes for £72 (originally £90) in Cheltenham after being handed a 20% discount voucher outside the shop. As a pair lasts DH for at least 2 years and he finds them so comfortable we were both pleased with the purchase. I got a cordouroy pinafore dress for £29 (half price) from White Stuff, and a proper white and blue enamelled pie dish from a great cookware shop (I could have spent hours - and lots of money - in there) so we'll be having pie some day soon.

Neptune's Fountain in Cheltenham
DD and SIL treated us to a meal out on one night, and we bought take away the night before we came home. We also found a couple of lovely tea rooms and indulged in cake and coffee.

Our trip home was memorable to say the least. You've guessed, the car broke down again. It conked out on the dual carriageway just outside Bracknall. It could have been really dangerous but luckily for us one lane was cordoned off while the council did work on the central reservation and DH just managed to coast the car behind the cones so we were safe and out of the way of traffic. But, we had to wait over an hour and a half in the rain for a mechanic and once he'd pronounced it too dangerous to drive all the way back to Kent (another 100 miles) it was another hour until the recovery vehicle turned up. The recovery driver's shift was due to end so he had to take us back to the yard in Slough to change drivers (which was lucky for us as we were both dying to use the loo). It then took hours to get through London traffic before we were finally on the road home. We left DD's place around 9.30am and arrived home about 7.30pm...a ten hour journey that should only have taken about 4-5 hours. Everyone who helped was wonderful, including the council guys who kept checking up on us and left the cones there until we'd been picked up. The car is at the garage now and quite honestly we were tempted to scrap her as we've lost all confidence in her, but our mechanic says he'll see what he can do and if we still want rid then he'll help us find a buyer.

So, for now we're back to public transport and honestly wondering whether we really need a car since DH can now get to work on the bus for less than he'd pay out in petrol and, as I don't drive, the car sits outside for most of the week and only gets used occasionally at weekends and holidays. DH only passed his test 4 years ago and before that we'd managed quite well with 5 kids and no car. We're certainly not prepared to spend much more on repairs as our poor little car isn't worth much now.

Now we're safely home and have had a good night's sleep we can look back on yesterday as an adventure. After all, we got to ride home in the back of the recovery truck! Mind you, it was a bit of a boneshaker and I ached rather this morning. Also, standing around in the rain on the central reservation of the dual  carriageway for hours was unnerving to say the least...thank goodness for those traffic cones that made it safer for us.

Taking advantage of the fine weather here today, we've been for a nice long walk via Kearsney Abbey grounds, a reminder that Dover isn't all litter and dog poo strewn streets and boarded up shops. We do have some beautiful areas around here; it's such a pity the town centre lets the residents down so badly.

The grounds of Kearsney Abbey, River Village, Nr. Dover

I was right back into  my usual routine this morning, doing laundry etc. but dinner will be quick and easy oven-baked fish and chips with peas (mushy peas for me, frozen for the others).

DH doesn't go back to work until Tuesday and as the weather is supposed to be fairly fine for the next few days we're planning on buying a bus Explorer ticket tomorrow and heading off for the day...not sure where yet.

That's all for now folks. I hope the weather is keeping fine where you are.  

Love, Helen xx


  1. The kitten is too cute for its paws! And what an adventure you had on the way home! We have only had our car for five years and we too managed with the kids when they were small on public transport. But I do love the extra easy freedom it gives us. Having said that, the extra freedom usually involves going shopping somewhere so is def costing us more!! If I win the lottery tonight, I'll buy you a new little car X

    1. I have to admit I will miss being able to just get up and go if we get rid of the car, and there are places we love to visit that would be hard to get to by public transport. We'll have to see, maybe Minty is fixable and we'll hang on to her for a bit longer. Thanks for the offer...everything crossed here for your lottery win!!! LOL!!!!