Goodbye Sheldon….

Also known as workhorse number three.

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In the last 11 years I have owned 9 Renault vehicles. Of those some have been bought for the sheer enjoyment of owning a real drivers car. Others because I have needed cheap(ish) and highly reliable transport due to a daily 106 mile round trip commute.

I’ve loved every one of them, whether cheap and cheerful, or fast and fun,  every single one has left its mark.  None more so than those I have called my ‘workhorses,’ those cars I have run too and from work, and known well for every single mile.

In 2004 I bought Dizzy, who in 2 years 11 months never once faltered in the 70,697 miles I drove her.

Then, in 2007, came Maggie. Maggie gave me a 3 year 3 week stint, and another faultless 65,000+ mile service before she went back to the ‘shelter’ and I picked up Sheldon.

Sheldon is 2 years, 11 months & 1 week old. He’s been a typical male, with a couple of ‘man flu’ issues, like my £800 bill to fix the air conditioning at 6 months old, which was fortunately reduced to £130 after many arguments with Renault. Then there’s the fact that Sheldon was a ‘tweaked by RenaultSport’ version, as opposed to a ‘standard’ version, at every turn he’s cost me a fortune in the usual consumables, even down to tyres which, had I chosen to replace with the same factory fit versions, cost £160 each.

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Aside from all that though, he’s been the best car I’ve owned for a long time. With the previous two I changed them when they genuinely felt ‘worn out,’ like they’d given me enough service and it was time to retire, so some granny could abuse their clutches, and pootle them round town at 12 miles an hour. Sheldon still wants to give me his best. He’s still going at it like he’s had enough speed to last a lifetime and I’m a little sad. I didn’t really want to change my car right now. It’s not the best of times, and I love the damn thing to bits, but the man flu is back.

The MOT is due in 9 days time. The FIRST one. I’ve owned enough cars from new to know that any car should sail through its first MOT. Sadly Sheldon is going to cost me £500+ to do that. Thanks to a £370+ bill just to fix the windscreen wipers, which gave up the ghost last week just as the weather changed, and the rain hit, rendering my car undriveable. It was time for Sheldon to go, even though I didn’t want to change yet, but after 74,965 miles of faithful service a replacement has had, sadly and reluctantly, to be sourced.

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With a tear in my eye at saying goodbye, Workhorse number 4 arrived today with just 6 miles under his/her belt, and no, I don’t have a name yet, that will come when I’ve worked out his/her personality, because all cars have one. Just go and watch Herbie The Love Bug, if you don’t believe me.

Now is the turn of workhorse number 4, he/she who is yet to be named….

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Superstitious Much?

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We all have odd superstitions and tendencies, like the way both The Boyfriend and his sister can’t have the TV or car stereo volume on an odd number, it has to be even, but it can’t be 14.

For me it’s palindromes. I drive 100+ miles a day when I’m working and have a superstitious tendency to judge whether the forthcoming day will be ‘good’, or ‘bad’, dependant on if I see the palindromic numbers on my dashboard.

It’s irrational and has no real foundation in truth, other than to repeat something I learnt in the courses I attended for work last year. That’s all about the self-fulfilling prophecy, if you think it will be bad, it will be and vice versa…

Acknowledging this, hasn’t stopped me from looking for the numbers, but it has made me less apprehensive about the day ahead, if I don’t happen to see them whenever I know that they are due to go by. I’m just taking another little step at fighting and letting go of my demons, and learning to deal with the day as it comes instead of pre-conceiving how the day will go before I get there.

What’s your superstition, and how do you let it affect your day?

I don’t think it’s supposed to do that.

A little less than two weeks ago I noticed a strange knocking noise coming from the front of my car.  Over the course of the first week, when I had no choice but to use it to drive to and from work and had no time to get it into the garage it got increasingly worse.

I have avoided using it since Friday last week as it is booked into the garage this Friday, which was the soonest I could get it in.  In the meantime, this morning I risked a trip down to my local tyre fitters as my rear tyres were borderline illegal and needed changing.

I mentioned my issue to a good friend there and got him to drive it into the ‘slot’ for changing tyre so he could gauge the depth of my problem, which he did quite quickly.

With the car up in the air and all the weight off the wheel…. this is what happened.

Turns out, that out of the four bolts that are supposed to hold my wheel on, only one was connected.  I’ve driven a thousand miles since those wheels were last taken off and replaced.  I think someone is watching over me.

La Vie En Bleu

Back at Prescott Speed Hill Climb, home of the Bugatti Owners Club for their annual Life in Blue weekend, where they celebrate all things French (or expensive).

There were new cars….

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Old cars….

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New cars made to look like old cars….

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There were stereotypical people….

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And their jobs….

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There was fine weather, an atmosphere filled with the smell of racing fuel and burning rubber, and there was a picnic. There were can can dancers, mime artists, street artists and men on stilts. There were accidents, and incidents, beer, shopping and as always much fun. Can’t wait til next year.