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?

London part one, The Journey

It was an early start this morning. That wasn’t the problem, neither were the several degrees below zero temeperatures, as my boyfriend and I left the cosy warmth of our first floor flat, and descended the stairs to a darkened car park and an ice covered van.

Black and depressing, it fitted my mood, and seemed an appropriate start to the day I was facing.

“and if you want to get rubbed all over with goose fat”

You hear the strangest things on the radio when you are flicking through the channels looking for something to listen to in order to try and lift your mood.

I don’t think I’d ever want to be covered in goose fat, would you? They don’t even do it for cross channel swimmers now, because rescuers cannot get hold of them to lift them out of the water if they get into difficulties, although that said, swimsuit technology is brilliant nowadays, and I doubt that I would ever be undertaking a cross channel swim. I doubt if I could even swim the 50m length of an olympic sized swimming pool.

But I digress as I’m nervous. Fortunately for me the few miles to the train station was easy and quiet with all thr traffic lights on green, as we left later than I had planned and I didn’t want to miss the train as my tickets were for specific trains only. I made it though, to a startlingly changed train station, which I had last seen in the midst of it’s rennovations.

“you didn’t set that off did you?”

It’s the simple things that help you relax in life isn’t it. I’ve been worked up over this trip for weeks, and sometimes when you get to things actually happening you wonder what all that fuss was about.

I’ve been scared of catching the train, not because of it being something I’ve never done before, becuase I have hundreds of times, but because I’ve never done it on my own, and because I do have a habit of throwing myself in at the deep end my choosing that the first time I do ‘go it alone’, I pick a commuter train into London.

I have a reserved seat, will it still be there? How will I find the right carriage? Will it be marked? Will the train be packed? Standing room only? I’m in a quiet coach, will it be quiet? Will I be left alone? Will people want to talk to me?

These were all the worries going round my head. A hundred times over and more.

As I approached the barriers with a nervous look on my face trying to decide which of the two tickets was the right one to use to open the gate, I saw one of the station guards approach, friendly and polite I asked, “This may seem a stupid question, but coach A is at the front of the train right?”

Not so stupid at all it seemed, for Coach A is actually at the back of the train, since I am going backwards, but the guard simply said, “move out to the left of the platform, and Coach A will stop roughly around that sign over there.”

It was simple, and as I stood there, with just one or two people milling around where I needed to be, I relaxed a little. Only a little however as right around then the alarm went off in the British Transport Police offices and didn’t stop blaring for over five minutes. Apparently the key pad on the door to shut the alarm off wasn’t working properly. Probably the cold I thought. It was then when friendly guard chose to come out, be nosy and giving me an amused look asking “you didn’t set that off did you?”

The simpleness of a little banter, wore another little edge off my coat of wariness. This is normal, I can do this.

It is quiet on my coach. It should be, I picked a ‘quiet coach’ on purpose. I like the stillness of the quiet, people reading, working, dozing.

Fifty minutes into my two hour journey and no one has sat in the reserved seat next to me yet, although we are about to stop at the biggest station on route so I expect that will change here. There’s not much movement otherwise though, just one or two people migrating into my coach from the next along, as two of the carriages have no heating, and it’s a cold old day out there.

I wonder what I look like to other people. I am sat with just write room open typing this as I travel, it is a form of therapy, it is helping me realise all of this is normal.

I am wondering if the random shifting of tenses as I write is annoying my reader, I am wanting to go back and put it all right. I am not going to. I am going to sit here for a while soaking up the quiet, indulging in the sounds of the train on it’s tracks, and not thinking about how I am going to make it from Paddington station to Tottenham Court Road during rush hour.

I am going to enjoy the rest of my journey on this train. I am going to arrive at Paddington, find a coffee shop, and get a drink. Then, and only then will I allow myself to worry about the next part of my trip.

For now, I am just going to hit publish.

Tweet you later.

Love, The Fairy.

xx