One of those days

Grrrrrnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeechhhh!

The sound of my back brakes every time I slowed or stopped. Even I, a mechanical dunce, knew something was wrong. So the Freelander got booked in to the garage and this morning they went to work. When I collected it this afternoon, I found that they’d had to replace the back discs (as the Grrrrrnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeechhhh! was actually the sound of the brake pad bases lathing lovely symmetrical grooves in the surface of the discs). As an aside, the mechanic said I needed a new tyre as well.

Looking up tyre prices online, I found that it was highly recommended to replace all four tyres at the same time on any vehicle with full time 4 wheel drive. Something to do with the traction sensors not coping with the different diameters of worn and new tyres. Applying a bit of logic, I decided that as the rear tyres were fairly new and the front tyres were both worn (with one being right on the limit of legality and the other a tiny bit better), I’d replace both fronts and trust that the rear tyre diameter wouldn’t be that different. I guess I’d find out if the computers in the car suddenly crashed shortly before I did.

Funnily enough,  Grrrrrnnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeeechhhh! was also the noise I made as I looked back on the receipts for all the work I’d had done today.

Road Test

I picked up my new car last night. It was sad to see the Audi go but I’m looking forward to having new adventures in the Freelander.

I only drove it for a short time last night – I picked Rufus up for our lads night in and took him home – 30 minutes at the most. Even a short detour to add some driving minutes wasn’t enough. So this morning, early, we set off for Cefn Bryn and a walk in the pre-dawn gloom. The car was covered in frost, but after two minutes of faffing (trying to set the Bluetooth reciever for the phone) the windscreen was clear and we set off.

It’s great. My 7 year old’s excitement was justified. It handled differently to the Audi – as you might expect, as the Audi was a sport model. But it was firm and positive on the road, not bouncy like a tall vehicle can be. The driving position is nice and high giving a great all round view. Rufus seemed comfy in the back – another important element as he’ll be in it a lot I expect.

On Cefn Bryn, I even took it off road. Well, slightly off road, on to the car park where other people take their normal cars. Still, it was off the road and that qualifies in my mind.

We wandered off towards Penmaen along the ridge, the moon shining brightly and Jupiter and some of the brighter stars shing in the sky. All the while we were watching the sky lighten in the east as the sun neared the horizon. It was cold but not excessively so, and Rufus was happy that there were a lot of new smells to investigate. A lot of sheep and horses were nearby.

By the time we reached the high point, the deep red top edge of the sun had just popped into view and I stopped for a few minutes to watch it climb above the sea. Then it was time to turn around and head back to the car. By now a chill wind had risen blowing out to see and I was heading into it. Over Broadpool, a low ribbon of mist hung, making drivers on the nearby road turn their headlights on.

We drove home through the mist and, taking a short cut through a small village, we hit large patches of ice on the road. It gave me a chance to legitimately change the terrain response control to the slippery conditions settings. I’d like to describe the instant change in handling and grip, but to be honest, I didn’t notice anything. After a small adventure in the petrol station, where I misjudged the size of the car and had to reverse twice to get to the pump (in my defence, it was a very tight turn), we got back safely.

I’m a happy 7 year old!

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New Car Pt 3: The headlong rush

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!

One minute I’m being all sensible and looking at my future, and the savings I’ll need, and the emergency fund for the unexpected, then I just happen to catch a hint of a glimpse of the car dealer’s website and there it is. It wasn’t there on Thursday, but it was there on Friday at lunchtime. Portent number one.

I happened to be going in the direction of the dealer after work anyway (no, really) so I decided to call in. On the way, I only seemed to see the same model vehicle on the road. Portent number two.

At the dealer’s, it turned out that the vehicle had just come in that morning, and they had just updated the website at lunchtime (portent number three) and the salesman hadn’t even seen the car. I took a quick look, had an attack of the tingles and booked a test drive for the following day.

On Saturday, full of suppressed excitement (I’m too old to get all childishly giggly and restless and obsessed – ahem) I took it out for a run and immediately knew it was the car for me. I played the negotiation game with the salesman but it was a pleasure as we were on the same wavelength and very soon we had a mutually agreeable cost to change. I have to say that it was a smooth process thanks to the people at Stratstone in Swansea. It was certainly the best car buying experience I’ve gone through.

I pick the car up at the end of the month. I can’t wait. I’m 7 and it’s going to be Christmas Eve for the next two weeks!

Freelander

My Freelander (picture by Stratstone Swansea). I hope they remember the number plates.