18 August 2006

ordered chaos

I'm back in Scotland. It's raining. I'm hungover. Last night was very, very silly. Don't sing karaoke, shout it. In unison. Well, almost unison.

My bank cancelled my current account and didn't tell me about it.

Fulham Palace Road at rush hour is a scary place to stall your car 9 times.

Polo, bbqs, car auctions, books and interviews are in my immediate future. I need another coffee first though.

16 August 2006

once more - with feeling

Moving back to Scotland first thing tomorrow morning. Tried writing loads about packing and the circle of life but failed. Miserably.

Must pack.

Please note that while I failed miserably, I am not miserable. I'm quite excited. About all sorts of stuff.

15 August 2006

car rant

North London is a long way from West London. Believe me. It's easier to drive to Cornwall. There are more buses than people. Every 100 metres is road works. There are no decent coffee shops. Coffee's important when the person you're supposed to be meeting to sell you a car is going to be late. And you've got a mild hangover. But there was no coffee. There was a bag of Thorntons toffee that had melted into one gigantic toffee globule, requiring a swiss army knife to carve nourishing chunks off, but no coffee.

But there was a car. The car would make everything ok. I would drive home in it and love it and it would be mine. As it was French, her name would be Isabel. She would keep me safe in her chassis and I would treat her well. She would take me back to Scotland.

I shouldn't get my hopes up. Ever.

Isabel, sadly, was a two-bit crack whore. And the lady selling her to me was an elevated Chav. Yeah, she drove a shiny new X5 beamer and was laden with gold, but she was chav through and through, down to her core and piercing voice. Her stilletos were white on the inside, her black top couldn't hide the shell suit of her soul. And she was 40 minutes late. Which would have been fine if the car had matched even half my expectations.

It did not.

A sound warning came when she knocked £200 off before I even sat down in it. £650... not bad for a decent bit of kit. Bit over priced for a two-bit crack whore though. There was a dent - no worries, and the bonnet was faded out from the rest of the paint job - again, no worries. The aesthetics were not an issue for me. But the little things kept adding up. The elevated chav told me the power locks worked. Except for the driver's door. Which didn't lock at all. A windscreen wiper was missing. The other looked like it would rather be elsewhere. Unmentioned, but noticed, was the driver's side mirror was held on with black electrical tape. Sitting in it I could feel its agony - a longing to be properly done up or dragged behind the garage and shot. I was assured the engine was in great shape. But turning the keys showed the battery to be dead. Jumper cables were brought out, and the engine growled like a diesel should. The e.c. told me they'd throw in a new battery and the wiper and everything for £650. I asked about a service history. Her face went blank. She said there might be some papers in the glove box. Might be.

I made several excuses and ran away as fast as possible.

Poor Isabel.

So I'll be renting a vehicle for the trip north, and buying something when I get there. And she will not be a North London crack-whore, I assure you.

fingers & toes

Crossed. Found a car that hasn't been sold. It's the longest 7 miles in the world to get there. I hope it's not shit. Please don't let it be shit.

14 August 2006

car hunt (updated)

Did you know that if you're registered blind you get a 50% discount on your TV License? It's true. Ridiculous. If you're deaf as well, is it free?

Today I'm hunting for cars. At the moment it's down to Golfs and Peugeot 306s & 205s. The former are prettier but diesels are proving hard to find. And there's something about dumping a bunch of rape seed oil and booze into the tank and driving 500 miles that appeals to me. I've looked at a few estates (that's station wagons for my American fans) but can't quite bring myself to drive like a soccer mom. Which is a shame, because I've got to cart a lot of shit up north.

Listening to Tom Cochrane's Life is a Highway and surfing Auto Trader.

It appears I have a nemesis. Someone is going around buying all the decent diesel hatchbacks priced under a grand within a 40 mile radius. The last guy I phoned actually said the caller before had bought the car. I don't want to hear that. If I hadn't made my cup of tea before picking up the phone I would have had it. Curse my tea. And curse my nemesis. It's now less a matter of which car I want than which car is still bloody available. Curse the internet.

13 August 2006

communal garden

Today's been like walking through cotton wool while someone hammered a spike into the back my head. Well, that's what the start of it was like. The hammering stopped and I went to see Cars - not terrible, but not Pixar's best either. I think I'll watch Finding Nemo tonight to remind myself how awesome they can be.

Back to the spike - well, it was my fault. It usually is. You see, hammering a spike into the back of your own head is difficult, so to replicate the effect I drank copious quantities of beer, champagne, red wine and calvados until 4 in the morning with some old friends and colleagues. It was an excellent evening. Only one person chundered and it wasn't me. One person crashing on the floor turned into three people crashing on the floor, midnight scrambled eggs and toast and the first party in the new garden. At one point in a panic I hurled a shotgun shell in the river, fearing for our safety should we get drunker and still have it in our possession. Harry wondered if there was a bar where they feature 'chapless thighs' - we wondered if he meant 'arseless chaps' and he said that too. There was gingerbread. It tastes good with beer. I think Harry baked it himself - if so, ginger may not have been the only secret ingredient. I worked out the timer feature on my little Canon for a group shot. For posterity. Or evidence.

Harry, Ben, Yours Truly & Rob on a bench in the garden

Blurry Rob and focused Harry in The Chandos - the cheapest pub near Trafalgar Sq.
Focussed Rob and blurry Harry still in The Chandos - still the cheapest pub near Trafalgar Sq