Once again, my car has been a complete and utter pain in the arse.
I went to visit my lovely Mum earlier this week. Just for a day, more or less on a whim, off out for lunch somewhere nice and a chance to chat and catch up. We were both looking forward to it very much.
She has a camellia in full flower in her front garden, incredibly early. Look:
I left home bright and early, driving carefully through a thick frost and threatened (but not actual) snow flurries, and hit the motorway in fine time. The radio was on, the weather was improving with every mile, and all was well with the world.
Until I got to the outskirts of Southampton. The Salisbury side, not the Portsmouth side. That's approximately the halfway point on the the journey, in terms of time, if not mileage.
At that point, me chugging along in the middle lane of the motorway, the needle on my car's speedometer started acting oddly. First it bounced up and down, as if in time to the music. I watched it with cold foreboding, wondering if I was perhaps kangarooing along without noticing. Nope, still cruising along at about 75.
The it dropped to 0. No miles per hour. I knew this was wrong, as I was overtaking a slower-moving lorry at the time, and he was doing at least 45.
My heart rate compensated though, and climbed steadily as I continued to drive along the motorway, now without the benefit of speed indication.
Every now and again the needle flickered, bouncing up to 10 or 20mph, then gave up and sank back to 0. The remainder of the drive was stressful.
Unfortunately, I was so stressed by this that I ended up cutting my visit shorter than I had planned so as to drive home in daylight, which I felt would be safer. A few miles into the return trip I had to brake sharply at a roundabout (thanks, insensate old man in the silver Audi, you know who you are) at which point the needle jerked back into life for the remainder of the journey home.
Rather than travel all the way back to the Toyota garage which recently replaced the turbo - £1500 thank you very much indeed - I took it to the local 4x4 garage in town. They diagnosed and repaired the problem within an hour, all for less than £50. Apparently there was "dirt on the speedo sensor" and once they'd taken it apart and cleaned it, everything was fine.
It made a refreshing change from "Aaaaah yes, we know about this. It's a known fault...Toyota did offer a free repair for this but you missed it by a month/100 miles/a roll of the random Dice of Fate. Sorry about that. That'll be four billion pounds please."
I have had speedo issues before, but that time they were much less straightforward to fix.
All's well that ends well. I have a car that tells me how fast it's going, and I am still able to afford the thin gruel and dry bread that Mr WithaY and I are subsisting on now that we're both unemployed.
Actually, I was wondering about this. Am I technically "unemployed" when I am not registered as such, or actively seeking work, or claiming unemployment money?
I did apply for a job recently. It didn't go well.
I mentioned it a while ago - a local, part-time job. Only a couple of days a week,and not even full days. Low money, but really easy to fit in around other stuff, and the opportunity to meet people on a regular basis. It sounded quite handy, so I filled in an online application form and waited to hear from them. The next day I had a phone call from their HR department, inviting me for an interview.
Readers, the next time I am at an interview for what is basically a part-time cleaning job, I won't mention developing and delivering secondary legislation to a tight timescale when asked "Can you give me an example of when you were under pressure at work?" Or managing a billion pound contract replacement project, when asked to give an example of working in a team. Or talk about briefing hostile high-profile stakeholders when asked to give an example of dealing with people I didn't get on with.
I was told that I would hear from them within seven to ten days. I think they'd sent the rejection email before I actually left the premises.