So, it’s been an interesting week here at the Chapel. As all of you who have tuned in previously know our blue shaggin’ wagon bit the dust last Sunday on a run to the train station. It’s transmission gave out and it would have cost much more to fix than it was worth. It took us a few days to figure this out as we had to have it towed from our house to the mechanic and then they decided that they don’t fix transmissions and the folks who do took a bit to tell us how much it would cost to fix it….you get the idea.
So then it became obvious that we needed a new or at least new-to-us car and that we would probably need a loan to do it. That, oddly enough, was actually pretty easy to do, it just took a day and a lot of printing and scanning of documents. We found a pretty car that we both liked on-line on a website and I went up to Birmingham on Friday to get it. Ok, so I made that sound, well, easy I guess. But it was really sort of an adventure. It was definitely the longest that I have ever traveled by train alone. It was actually kinda fun. I took my sock knitting along with me and just knit and watched the scenery go by. Of course, this caused people to watch me for some reason. I guess that a person knitting a tube with 4 short spikey looking needles sticking out of it is a bit of a……curiosity. Anyway, I get to Birmingham New Street Station and then I needed to walk to a different station that (everybody assured me) was about 5 minute walk away (it was). I got to go right through the middle of the Bull Ring and to see the famous bull statute (it looks like the Merrill Lynch logo). It was an easy, well marked out route that took about 5 minutes and then I was on my next train to where the car lot was located. Once I got to my stop, my instructions were to “walk across the street”. So, I did that, and there was absolutely nothing that looked like a car lot for several blocks. So, after mulling over the situation for a bit, I finally figured out that the train station had 2 exits. So, I head for the other exit and, well, still no car lot. Now, I need to point out that this was not in the nicest of neighborhoods. I mean, there were houses that had broken windows and were vacant shells. It was not as bad as some of the neighborhoods that I have seen in American cities (I’m thinking of some of the burnt-out shells of homes that I have seen in Detroit and Chicago with dead cars and empty lots surrounding them) but it was still not a place where you really want to be a single female walking around, even in the middle of the day. Honestly, it was one of the first times that I was nervous walking around in England. Anyway, so I go out the other exit and still, no car lot across the street. So I call the hubby freaking out needing directions and find that “across the street” is simplifying where they are a bit. The industrial park that they were part of was across the street, but the actual lot was a few blocks over and down. I get there finally and get sent to a waiting room to chill a bit where there are other folks there waiting for their new cars. I go through all of the paperwork and payments and stuff and I am given the keys to this car and told how to get to the gas station (reminded repeatedly that it is a DIESEL car, so do not put in Petrol!) and from there to the M5.
And then I nearly ruin the car getting out of the industrial park.
So, this is a 6-speed car. It is a diesel. Two things that I have never had any experience with prior to this, so to say that I was a little nervous would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I have had 5-speeds for the past 12 or so years, just never a 6-speed. I got out of the lot and had a lot of trouble getting it to engage but I thought that that was just me getting used to a new clutch and all of that. So then, there was a small hill, a stop sign, and a truck that pulled so close to my rear bumper that I am amazed that he wasn’t actually touching me already. Yeah, you can see where this is going, sort-of. But, then let me add something else to the mix. I’m still getting used to the car, I thought that 3rd gear was 1st!!!! Getting up and out of the stop sign without wrecking that stupid truck behind me nearly gave me a panic attack and well, imagine going from a complete stop to moving in 3rd gear. It was so not pretty. There was cursing, there was, uh, smoke. There was one Sarah very close to tears as she could not figure out how the hell to drive this fucking car that she had just paid a lot of money for. So I get it out of there and to the petrol station (which was a fiasco as there were semi-trucks blocking at least half of the pumps and people backing and doing all sorts of crazy shit) and get some fuel in the car and get on my way. While at the gas station I figured out where exactly 1st gear was and I am on my way. Did I mention that this baby had a built in GPS unit? Well, she (I’m not sure what her name it yet) kept trying to tell me to go back to her old home, so finally I figured out how to turn her off so that I didn’t get a total complex as to where I was going.
The drive home was pretty uneventful. The new car can go very fast without you noticing it very easily. It’s a very good thing that it has cruise control as well.
On Saturday we went into Tring to the auction that is held there every other week. It’s held in the old animal market (I think) so each of the buildings that holds stuff are named something interesting like “The Cattle Pens” of “The Pig Pens”. It is usually multiple households worth of stuff that is for sale and sometimes you may see 5 or 6 of something going on the block. This time it was pianos. There were 5 of them for sale.
Anyway, we were on a quest for a “cheap” sewing machine as the hubby’s doesn’t work here due to the whole power thing. We ended-up getting this guy:
It needed a little TLC, mostly oil and cleaning. But now it is running great. It’s got this pretty cool buttonholing feature that both of us have enjoyed playing with.
The rest of the weekend was pretty standard for The Chapel. Not a lot of excitement. A shopping foray to Milton Keynes, watching Buffy on DVD, you know how it is.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go play with the sewing machine…