Monday, 17 June 2019

Stupidity:- Yes totally guilty

A really silly tale here, something we all may have done at some time or other. I was unaware I had left a drivers door window slightly ajar just over a week ago, a neighbour remarked that it was open and unthinkingly at that stage I went out and closed the window.
Later, upon reflection I was a little more concerned as we had experienced(along with many parts of the country) much heavy rainfall. Next day I started the car, and my attention diverted by operating a powered roof that was 'playing up' and operating sluggishly, when I looked at the dashboard it was to my horror still lit up like a Christmas tree of warning lights.
So, even though the floor and seats in the car were bone-dry, rainwater had clearly got into/under the dashboard and some damage the result. The ECU, ABS lights were just 2 of the warning lights that warned me to stop the car and get to a garage or auto electrician asap. Last week was abysmal in terms of weather and this caused me to abandon all thoughts of attempting to limp to a garage, my rationale was that a damp atmosphere would exacerbate the situation.
As happens in Beard life, my thoughts turned to potentially swapping the car, but fortunately this came to nought, the car in question is relatively worthless, but a gem (27k miles 2010 Audi TT convertible, Autotrader value < £6k)
To end this tedious tale ... GOOD NEWS...

Exactly 1 week after last trying to use the car I had to move it a few yards, lo and behold NO warning lights were on the car, and after using it on a short journey stopping and starting it a few times the problem seems to have gone away.

Trivial stuff I know, nothing profound, but a very timely warning of what could have been a major expense , fuses,relays,ECU ....£Hundreds even Thousands and lingering doubts about future reliability.

This blog post is a carry on from here, for those who may not have read it!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Agggh Brexit!

No, I am far from bored or disinterested in this ever-fascinating subject. I will state from the onset I was and remain a Brexit supporter.

I don't propose to do a highly detailed account charting such things as a seeming May/Robbins betrayal of the work of Brexit Ministers David Davies and Steve Baker arriving at 'her deal' with the contentious Irish backstop.

The whole negotiating process was deeply flawed from the outset and well argued here  that the EU had outmanoeuvred the UK even before the Referendum results were announced, by contrast we had done zero preparation.

On a personal level the level of demeaning,bitterness and bile hurled towards folks who supported Brexit has been truly galling, Lorien summarises this phenomenom very well - here 

So, I have set the scene somewhat.

$64k ?  Where does this now go, with Parliament in turmoil ...a multitude of options exist BUT

I am not a defeatist by nature and do not give in readily to bullies .... the various options leave me with a measure of distaste for all . The only one that has any appeal is the EEA/EFTA option, if we are not able to manage a purpose made option that avoids the Irish border difficulties.

So ...... I think that, heaven forbid, we should simply revoke Article 50 for now, settle in with the EU again for at least 1 EU Parliamentary term of 5 years.  STRONG well supported Brexit parties  need to emerge.that learn from this whole debacle. Clear policies and negotiating positions need establishing well before any repeat of triggering. This sadly though is probably a pipe dream, the 1st past the post system ensures the domination of the 'big-two' parties.

In conclusion, it's fairly clear to this author where HMG and Parliament should be moving to, but up to date revoking Article 50 seems to not feature in any Parliamentary debate, so is an unlikely option.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Unashamedly Cars

I have been a fully paid up state pensioner for just under a year, but the love of owning and driving cars remains undimmed.
My earliest recollections of childhood all revolve around cars, some of my most memorable and pleasurable memories throughout my life revolve around road trips,journeys,whether by camper van,motorcycle,or

My love of cars has never been especially about the inner workings or self- maintenance of whatever vehicle I happened to own. This was ingrained into my psyche with my first ever car, a Mini,where I decided to strip an SU carburettor to make the vehicle run 'better' - the resultant mess of missing springs,needle-jets etc forever cured that budding mechanic. I prefer to leave the maintenance to enthusiasts and genuine experts, it's the driving that's the attraction.

I'm sure that it would be truly boring to anyone who has managed to get this far, for me to list and appraise the various vehicles I have owned over the years(assuming I could attempt to recall 45+years of ownership). Instead of that, my focus will be on the last 12-13 months in an attempt to make sense of a flurry of car activity.

December 2017 total cars owned (3) :- Toyota MR2 (Mk 3), Honda Civic Type R(new shape), 2002 Honda Accord Type R

Just over 12 months ago this was my 'stable', all very good cars and each capable of delivering much pleasure but two were sold within a few months.The first to go was the MR2 roadster that was a 2006 model with ~ 30,000 miles in excellent condition, bought following extensive research into affordable roadsters with good driving characteristics. Yes I knew it had minimal to zero storage with no boot, but it did provide many happy moments throughout its life with me, but decided it had to go for another slightly more practical vehicle opted for a 2011 Honda Civic Type R with ~10k miles in wonderful condition.

June 2018 total cars owned(4) Honda Civic Type R (old +new shapes), Accord Type R,  Skoda Octavia Scout 4x4 

My experience with the new shape 316bhp Civic Type R was very mixed throughout my short ownership of 6 months. The car is immensely capable and far exceeds my capabilities to explore its true potential, however what I could state is that the cornering ability, acceleration and braking were outstanding BUT my car was beset with silly niggling issues that spoiled my ownership experience. The fuel filler neck was frozen up with a 3'' block of ice,just as we were about to go on a long journey, another troubling non-Honda issue was that rodents loved to chew upon the battery and associated cables. Trivial, but sufficient to leave me slightly dissatisfied, enough though to make me look at a Skoda to replace it!
The UK Winter of 2017-18 was harsh including a number of 'beast from the East' episodes, the second of which left us without hot or cold water due to frozen water pipes and the consequent inability to use our gas boiler, to compound this our roads were blocked with snow. Following this episode I decided that a cheap 4x4 runabout was needed, after much deliberation a petrol Skoda Octavia Scout 160 bhp was acquired and immediately was impressed by its ability,quality and sturdiness.
This Octavia purchase led to me replacing the Type R mentioned above from a dealership that had both Honda and Skoda in its group, so after test driving a Skoda Superb DSG 280 4x4 petrol I did a swap.
Car fever had clearly taken hold of me at this stage as I was also a little dissatisfied with the hard riding older Type R and managed to swap for a nearly new Hyundai i30N

July 2018 total cars owned (4) Skoda Superb 4x4, Skoda Octavia Scout 4x4, Hyundai i30N, Honda Accord Type R 

So now I have 4 cars! and nagging doubts start creeping in, why on earth do you need 4 cars ffs!, why are all of them of a similar ilk (the Skoda Scout was remapped from its stock 160 bhp to 210bhp)? I tried to donate the Scout to my daughter, the Accord to my son, but alas .....this failed to happen. As is usual in Beard life, events then happened suddenly,rapidly but just maybe for the better! roll on now to the end of 2018

January 2019 total cars owned(4) VW Polo Gti (1.8), Audi TT roadster 1.8, Skoda Fabia 1.0 (110), Honda Accord Type R 

Virtually a complete overhaul of my 'garage' and my son is going to take the Accord this weekend. All of the 3 other cars have been remapped as all feature turbochargers, the expert who did this has done all of my vehicles for the past 10 years and I am always delighted at the result. All are exceedingly pleasant to drive, the humble Fabia is the workhorse, but it's a little gem.


I must be mad! Car dealers around the UK rub their hands with glee whenever I make contact, but its both my hobby and passion,however this constant tinkering does come at a price so a period of stability must now be the regime.

***** barely finished writing this, when AAAAAAAGGGHHHH a dealer contacted me to see if I want to swap my recently purchased 2010 32k mile Audi TT for a 2018 Fiat 124 Spider 3k miles! The madness never ceases it seems.

24 hours on, 2 Fiats later, I am back to a previous deal from 2 weeks ago :- a newer TT, a Mk3 circa 2016.

Beard nonsense continued, the newer Audi mentioned has been traded in along with the Polo for a 17 reg Audi TTs

So by early Feb. maybe, just maybe sanity has returned and now this 2 person 'family' has returned to just 2 cars, especially as only one of us drives.

Early April arrived and the recently purchased Skoda Fabia traded in for a Honda Civic Sport (1.5 Turbo)......yes exactly like the one I traded in at the end of 2017.....gone full circle in 18 months

Mid- April - even more nonsense, the newly acquired Honda Civic has been found to be giving me way too much back pain so has been swapped for a new Hyundai i30N, to finance that I have once again shuffled the Audi TT stable, selling a very expensive TTs for a lesser and much older 1.8 Tfsi.

Owned the Hyundai i30N for a month < 1k miles , sold it for a 2016 Audi TT Coupe (230 bhp, but now 300 bhp) - reasoning? I liked the driving experience of the TT cabriolet that much I reasoned the Coupe would do as my 'transporter' having a largish boot and nominally 4 seats. My 'tuner' Fahad had his usual go at the car ......simply Wow!

But at least only 2 cars in total!

Definitely the last post on this subject, my mind needs to focus on other needs in my life :-)