My difficulty loving a BMW

Due to our car troubles recently I’ve taken to hiring a car for any sort of long distance travelling we’ve got planned.

So for our Christmas trip away I booked a Skoda Octavia (or similar car in the same class) with a boot big enough for all our presents.

When I went to collect the car, they gave me a choice of a 15 plate Octavia or a 63 plate Vauxhall Insignia.

I asked which boot was bigger, they said the Insignia, I agreed and took that one. I was a little sad, I like Skodas and have never driven an Octavia. Plus it was basically brand new, but I really needed all the boot space I could get.

As I was getting in the car, I realised the Octavia was actually a Skoda Superb, which is bigger, newer, probably fancier and I’d rather have had it, but it was fine, the paper work was done and I just wanted to get going. Plus the Insignia is a good car – or so I thought.

I loaded up, drove us from Bristol to Reading and all the way there wondered what the “droning” sound was I could here. No vibrations, just a weird drone sound that changed with the speed of the car.

Got to Reading, couldn’t do anything as it was past 6pm, but I did check the boot sizes on Comcar…  turns out the Insignia only has a 530 litre boot compared to the Superb’s huge 625 litres! My frustration increased.

Anyway, I called the car hire place the next day (which was the 24th December), they told me to call the AA.

An AA guy arrived within about 30 minutes, had a look, told me the discs and pads are rubbing, best to take the car in. Car hire place agreed, apologised and managed to find me a BMW 3 series to replace it within the hour.

So off the top of my head, I was aware that this was technically an upgrade as it’s a “Premium” car in there range, but realistically the saloon style boot of the 3 series was not going to be as big as the hatch style boot of the Insignia… and certainly not the Saloon/Hatch hybrid of the Superb!

However, it was Christmas eve, and I’d called them at 8am and it was about 10am by the time they found the replacement, which I could go collect immediately.

So they’d rectified the situation pretty swiftly, and I wasn’t unhappy about being given a BMW for no extra cost. It was Enterprise rentals, I’ve switched to them from Europcar a few years ago and while I didn’t have any problems with Europcar… Enterprise just completely blow them out the water for customer service. In fact I don’t think many companies can rival Enterprise.

I collected the car, drove it back home, and all the way home was surprisingly disappointed with the car. It was a BMW 320d M-Sport, on a 64 plate so late 2014 or early 2015.

The entertainment package, the sat nav, the dashboard, buttons, key fob all that stuff was great, but sitting in the car, being in the car, and driving the car didn’t feel particularly comfortable or relaxing. It wasn’t luxurious.

The Ingisina was big, spacious, easy to drive, plenty of grunt to power along the motorway. The BMW was definitely faster, more powerful, huge amounts of torque, but the gear changes felt awkward, the car felt angry and desperate to lurch forward. The seats were low, I couldn’t get the back right – again the Insignia was easier to use, electric fully adjustable seats compared to BMW’s pull handled, spring loaded seat adjustment system that hasn’t changed much since my K Reg BMW 320i from the 90s!

It wasn’t bad, it was far nicer than my own car, but I’ve had BMWs in the past and loved them, and I just didn’t love this car. I’d rather still be in the Insignia, easier to drive, comfier, more space, more practical.

A couple of days went by, the shiny BMW sat on the drive and every time we went for a walk or just nipped outside, I admired the 3 series’ looks. It’s a very pretty car, and it had some lovely alloys on it.


Something like that… it’s a nice car to look at. Every time I did gaze at it, I started to think “Well yeah I’d have that car, it’d be a nice car for me, just not a great family car I guess”

I took the car on a little road trip on my own, from the in-laws to my parents for the day, and back again. Reading > Gatwick and back, about an hour there via the M25, fairly standard cruise. I started to get used to the car a bit more, I realised you have to sit really low in the car to be comfy. Dropping the seat even further down gave me more head room, got me away from the wind shield, and I just felt more planted in the car, there was better access to the controls. I had the music set up, the iDrive system is really easy to use and I was just enjoying the music from my USB stick.

I was getting used to the gear changes as well – it’s a really short shift, and I find the car would often go into 5th and 6th instead of 3rd and 4th, any pressure to the right on the stick at all and I was going too many gears up. The movements to change gear where much smaller than what I was used to, much more refined, tighter, sharper. I was starting to enjoy it.

I didn’t boot it across the country, it’s a hassle trying to sort out speeding tickets when it’s your own car, the hassle via a rental company is probably even worse… but where I found a slip road or a change in the speed limit, I made the most of the ridiculous amounts of torque the engine had to offer.

It was still a diesel, and you couldn’t stay in a gear for long without having to change gear, but the car certainly felt like it was trying to pretend to be a petrol – letting the revs go a little higher than they normally would in a diesel, a little bit more racy.

The traffic on the way home was awful, apparently. I just asked the sat nav to take me home, it found a route, all back roads, no idea where I went, didn’t touch a motorway. It was dark, I had my music on, the adaptive headlights swept around the corners ahead of me, the car somehow glided comfortably around the corners without rolling, but also without shattering my vertabrae.

It took me almost twice as long to get home as it did to go out that day, but by the time I had got home, I didn’t want to give the car back.

I had remembered what it was like to own a BMW, it’s all about driving it. I wondered, could I get away with an estate version, my old 328i Touring was the best car I ever had… maybe, it would be a viable option instead of an S-MAX… maybe.

Still, despite falling in love with the 3-Series for the week that I had it, there is still a little bit of me that regrets picking the Skoda.

I do like a good Skoda.

Vehicle Dashboards: How to just design things wrong.

I’ve been lucky/unlucky enough to have driven the following vehicles since over the course of about 4 months:

  • Audi Diesel Automatic A3 2003
  • Ford Transit Diesel Manual XLWB XHR 2015
  • Citroen C4 Grand Picasso Diesel Manual 2007
  • Ford Mondeo Petrol Automatic 2005
  • Toyota Previa Diesel Automatic 1997
  • Citroen C4 Grand Picasso Diesel Manual 2013
  • Citroen C4 Picasso Diesel Automatic 2016
  • Ford S-MAX Diesel Automatic 2016
  • Peugeot 807 Diesel Manual 2003

This wasn’t my plan.

The Van was because I moved house.

The Audi I sold, the first C4 Grand Picasso died so my parents lent me their Mondeo and then their Previa while the C4 was being fixed (many, many thanks for that) – the second C4 Grand Picasso I bought because it turned out the first one couldn’t be fixed.

The Citroen (non-Grand) C4 Picasso was a hire car because a stupid bastard torched my car – but it wasn’t grand enough (or, it didn’t have 7 seats) so I got a different hire car, the S-MAX – which I had for a couple of weeks.

Finally, very generously the family given a Peugeot 807, which shed some light on our months of motoring difficulty.

So whilst the 2 Citroen’s dying was sad, we did get given a car (woohoo!, many many thanks for that too) and I got to drive an S-MAX, which I’ve always wanted.

But the massive, totally annoying problem that I’ve only now realised having driven so many cars recently… is they are all so bloody different.

It’s not because they all look different, not the difference between the manual and auto and petrol and diesel thing, that’s kind of obvious enough to deal with. It’s all the controls for the cars.

I had to start going through a little routine when I got in a car.

  • Where is the hand brake? on the left? on the right? on the dashboard?
  • Is it a button, or a lever? Do I push it or pull it?
  • Wait, do I touch it at all, or does it turn itself off?
  • Do I put the key in? Where is the key? oh it’s in my pocket. no, wrong car, it goes in this hole. It isn’t really a key.
  • Where is the ignition? On the left, or the right? or the dashboard?
  • It’s not starting… why not. Do I have to press some pedals?
  • Headlights… do I turn them on? Wait, they are on, did I do that? Did they turn themselves on?
  • Gears. Clutch. Is there a clutch? Yes there is! How do I make it reverse? Is this a five or six speed?
  • When the reversing sensor things go constant… should I keep going, or stop. Why aren’t they sounding? *BUMP* oh, yeah. This car doesn’t have them.
  • Why the shit are there 2 beeps? Is one the front parking sensor? Or is something about to explode? Or did I just get a text?

Once I’d spent a few seconds patting blank bits of dashboard, stamping on empty carpet and waving my hands through thin air, I’d usually get the car started.

Depending on the car, I’d enjoy or hate the drive. It would range from “Holy crap how much power does a 7 seater need! This S-MAX really is genuine fun to drive” to “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE CITROEN DOING WITH THIS GEARBOX…IT’S A BRAND NEW CAR AND I THINK IT’S TRYING TO KILL ME! CHANGE! FUCKING! GEA… oh fine now you’ll change, well it’s too late, change back. I’m braking. CHANGE DOWN!”.

Regardless of the pleasure of the drive, there was an equally confusing process when I stopped.

  • OH SHIT, STALLING, CLUTCH DOWN! Right, this one is NOT an automatic.
  • Is the hand brake on? Am I supposed to do it? Which side was it on again?
  • How do I stop the engine? I took the key out, why wont the car lock? Why is the ignition still on… I’m not even in the car
  • Are the headlights on, or is it some weird “get me home lighting”. Will they turn off if they lock it?
  • Why are the interior lights still on? Was that the kids or is it supposed to do that. Is my battery going to go flat?

My biggest fears were I’d forget the hand brake and the car would wonder off (because I’d assumed it would turn itself on or hadn’t seen it because it’s on the wrong side).

Or one of the many lights would drain the battery because again, I’d thought it was some kind of fancy automatic light that should turn itself off.

So my problem is all these controls move, and work differently, or some do stuff themselves so you don’t have to touch them. Others will do things for you, maybe, as long as it’s a Tuesday and you’re not wearing shorts.

No one moves the steering wheel, or the pedals. Why move the handbrake?! Manufacturers should be forced to all agree on the same thing – forced to by law, the EU or something, the W3C, someone global and important.

Basically, the controls should always be in the same place. It’s dangerous moving them all around. It’s distracting, confusing, and it’s probably the cause of global warming or the bees disappearing.

Oh one good point… no handbrake on the floor on the left does mean I can keep even more crap on the floor where the handbrake should be (or used to be on normal cars).

So all manufacturers should do that. Move the handbrake. So I can put stuff there. All of you. Do it. Do it now.

Oh and Citroen, ask Ford how to make an automatic Gearbox. Don’t look at their old ones though, they were bad, I drove a Galaxy that was almost as bad as the C4.

Actually ask Audi. They are good at it. The 2003 Audi A3 worked a treat. Until it broke. Which is why I sold it…

Cars are great.


Ford Eco Boost 1.0 hits the Nürburgring!

I blogged about this engine a while ago:

Ford have made a little 1.0 engine with a turbo, that can produce 123 hp. They’re planning on putting it into the Fiesta and the Focus, and I think the Mondeo too, although they’ll be making bigger versions as well, including versions to replace the big V6s that they make:

Image taken from:

Anyway, the most exciting thing to happen to that engine is it’s been sent around the Nürburgring! They’ve tuned the engine to get 202hp out of it and stuck it in a Formula Ford race car, and it’s managed to lap the ‘ring in 7.22s!

That’s a crazy fast speed, beating a Maserati MC12, Dodge Viper, Ferrari 458.

You can read more about it here:

Life goes on

I have had one hell of a busy month.

I’ve moved house, from Stoke Bishop to Southmead… some might say that’s a downgrading… well you’re right. The road I’ve moved onto is not as nice as the one I’ve just left, but it’s not too bad really… just the pub is a bit noisy on saturday night.

Holly, Issy and myself are now living in a 3 bed house with lots of space for all my “junk” or “crap”, or as I like to call it, memorabilia.

The house is still full of piles of boxes, it took us about 2 weeks to move. We didn’t get the keys to our house till 3 days after the original date. Haart, our estate agent, have pretty much done everything wrong.

We signed for the house on May 12th and gave payment details for a £350 agency fee. When we went to move in on 11am Monday 18th June, the following list of problems began to arise:

Monday 18th, 10:30am : Haart call to say they haven’t collected the gas safety certificate yet, can we come in half an hour later at 11:30am.

Monday 18th, 11:30am: We arrive at Haart’s fishponds office to find out, there is no gas safety certificate, and they probably can’t get one today. Haart say “SOrry, but it’s the landlords fault not ours”.

Tuesday 19th, 4:30pm: Holly and I finally arrive at the house to sign for the contract, but on arrival we find the house is dirty, mud on the carpets, sink covered in grime, and none of the painting and decorating has been done. I get very angry and ask for a full refund.

Wednesday 20th, 11am: Holly and I sign the contract after getting a 50% refund on our agency fee. Haart say it’s the landlords fault it’s not cleaned, and they’ll do some of the painting – Holly and I start cleaning.

Wednesday 20th, 2pm: I find out that the decorators have painted the outside of the house when we asked them to paint the inside, and also the washing machine door seal has rotted and is covered in fungus.

Thursday 21st, 1:30pm: I finish painting and decorating in the house, the Latvian cleaners finish cleaning the rest of the house.

Thursday 21st, 2pm: Holly and I move in the first load of boxes…

So we didn’t start moving stuff in for 3 days. I’d taken 3 days off work so I was bloody angry at Haart for mucking us about. I spoke to a few different people from Haart and they all said sorry, but none of them admitted any fault. It wasn’t till I spoke to the manager, Simon, that he finally gave a meaningful apology by accepting the fault was theirs. He also got us a refund of 50% of the agency fee, £175.

A few days later, when we’d nearly finished moving in, Simon called again to say they’d forgotten to charge the £420 agency fee, and because of this they couldn’t pay the landlord, and couldn’t give us a refund. So they had all our deposit and all our rent, but basically refused to pay the (now angry) landlord until they had the agency fee. And instead of taking the difference on the refund, they “had” to take the full amount again before giving a refund.

The other problem, was we’d paid the VAT on the agenct fee when we paid the rent… so turns out we were due a £210 refund not £175.

So I paid it and got everyhting sorted out, and we’ve now had our refund of… £175.
They still owe us £35 pounds… plus the £25 for the skanky washing machine seal.

The moral of the story, Haart are the worst estate agents I’ve ever dealt with. Kingsley Thomas are very awful… Haart are 10 times worse. They are incompetent, unproffessional and I will be leaving them as soon as possible.

Anyway, we’re moved in now… but I’ve just got back from a weeks camping holiday… Holly and Issy are visiting Reading for the week so I’m just going to be unpacking boxes on my own for a week! But as we’ve no internet installed it’ll give me something to do at least.

In amongst all the troubles with moving, I’ve also started playing World of Warcraft… a bit late to the party, but I can see why people can get so addicted to it… I may have played a bit too much to relieve stress, instead of packing boxes and cleaning the old property. I’ve also replaced many bits of the car that have fallen off/apart this month, and been training for my next Taekwon-Do grading next week! And finally, I’ve had to recruit a replacement developer for the excellent Tom Riley, who is sadly leaving us at Comcar.

Anyways, this blog has mostly been a rant about how RUBBISH HAART ESTATE AGENTS ARE. Also, if you google them (which I should have done before I took the property with them) you will find lots of other tenants and landlords who say they are awful, they are only interested in sales. They don’t care about rented properties.


Either way, I’m going rally driving with my brother tomorrow, and next week (hopefully) I’ll be a Yellow belt, or 8th Kup, my first fully coloured belt (currently I’m yellow tag, which is still white, but with a yellow stripe on it).

I’ll be back soon with a less whiny and more interesting post, possibly with some drawings in it.

Econuts should give car makers a break

While testing something at work today, as usual I choose a car I rather like to use as my test subject. Today I picked the Skoda Fabia 2.0 TFSI vRS, about 200 horsepower, front wheel drive, cost a little over £20,000.

I like Skoda’s and that vRS isn’t a terrible target to set myself. I could probably just about cope with one on finance… but I won’t get one just yet.

Whilst testing the tool I was working on, I realised that the speed and power figures are not that disimilar to those of my old 1995 BMW 328i, yet the emissions/economy figures are much better.

I then wondered what the stats would be on a modern equivalent BMW to my old 328i and the current Octavia vRS.

Car BMW 328i Skoda 2.0 TFSI vRS 200PS BMW 325i M Sport BMW 320i M Sport
Year 1995 2012
Power (bhp) 193 200 218 172
0 – 60 (s) 7.2 7.0 6.9 8.4
CO2 (g/km) 221 175 170 149
Fuel consumption (mpg) 30 37.7 38.7 44.1
Price (£) 500 – 3000 21,480 32,590 29,085

So in 15 years time, Skoda have built a car that is similar in performance to a fairly top end BMW, yet got it to eat less trees and fart out less poison – most likely because of the use of a turbo on a smaller engine, but it’s not just that.

So in the same amount of time, BMW has got it’s equivalent cars to do the same, they’re more environmentally friendly and the performance figures are much higher. A current 325i M Sport has 25 more horsepower than my old 328i and produces 41 less grams co2/km, and the MPG is up from 30 to 38.

Even the 320i, which is about 20 bhp less powerful, still gets to 60 in 8.4 seconds which isn’t slow, and that has a much lower CO2 and a higher mpg of 44 which is about 50% better than my 328i.

Obviously you get what you pay for, and the BMWs are much more expensive than the Octavia, and I imagine the handling of the BMW is way better than the Skoda – having said that I drove a sporty Fabia recently and I was pretty impressed.
But BMW do make pretty awesome cars, so my money would be on a BMW in a race.

But the point being, these days, even cheaper performance cars have pretty impressive numbers in terms of entertainment value and saving the planet/money.

I don’t think most of the electric cars that are around today are going to work (Tesla, REVA, Lexus and Prius) but things like the GM Ampera/Volt which use an efficient petrol generator to power an electric motor, and the battery pack replacement vehicles and hydrogen cars that are coming will probably take off (maybe even literally).

So until electric cars have been worked out properly, and the Prius (although possibly not the new plug-in hybrid version), Leaf and iOn types have been phased out, I think manufacturers are doing pretty well to make cars better for our wallets and the air we breath, whilst still making them faster and more fun to drive! Even with the bad electrics, at least they’re trying. The model T ford sucks by todays standard but it was popular once.

Final point (not mine but well made) is that it doesn’t matter what happens to cars, the environment and us, the Earth will keep lapping the sun dodging big rocks regardless.

Ford’s 1.0 100 bhp “green” engine

The latest trend for car manufacturers is to use a tiny engine with a hefty turbo on it, to keep CO2 emissions down.

The VW family have the 1.2 and 1.4 litre petrol turbo engines, and even BMW use a 3.0 litre twin-turbo to replace their 3.5 litre engine.

In fact BMW are the clear winners with this technology, they’ve got a 2.0 diesel that only produces 109 grams of CO2, which means your road tax is £20, but it still does 0-60 in about 7 seconds, which is pretty quick – about the same as a MINI Cooper S.

I’ve driven the Skoda 1.2 turbo in a Roomster, I was quite impressed, nippy enough at low speeds and quick enough on the motorway. It kind of felt like a 1.8 petrol, and did around 40 mpg across a mixture of motorways and country lanes. It’s supposed to do around 50, but it’s hard to hit the manufacturers claimed figures unless you live on the motorway.

Ford’s next addition to this turbo charged frenzy is a three cylinder 1.0 turbo engine, expected to produce a choice of 98 or 123 bhp and return over 55 mpg! These are silly numbers from such a little engine.

The only 3 cylinder engine I’ve driven is the one in the 1.0 Corsa, and I’d describe that one as practically dangerous. It launches you onto the road and then runs out of power, deciding not to accelerate you up to any reasonable speed.

The Skoda engine is better, but that still has problems accelerating when you’re already moving. Without the turbo or the bottom end torque, the Skoda engine struggles to do anything – mid range power is lacking.

So it will be interesting to see how this new Ford engine drives. In the end if you’re getting the 55mpg from it, you wont be going quickly. If you are using 123 horse power your consumption will be rubbish, but maybe it’s all about having then choice… And keeping the manufacturers name “green”.

There’s more about the new Ford engine here: Auto express review

V8 face punching antics

I had a dream sometime last week, and it’s taken me a while to get around to writing it up, but it was really rather entertaining so I thought I’d better still post it.

I can’t remember how it all started, as is often the case with a dream, but I remember I was lucky enough to have been stupid enough to just go ahead and get myself a Vauxhall VXR8 on finance. Which was excellent.

It was a shiny Bathhurst S edition, in white with the black, off-center go faster stripes. It was a lovely sunny day, and I was picking up Alex Long to go down to Brighton with him, for Mark and Marie’s flat warming.

I decided to share my good fortune and give Alex the first drive, after all I’d get to drive it loads. In reality, I wouldn’t let anyone else drive it, that would be stupid.

Anyway, so Alex jumped in, put his foot to the floor, made loads of smoke from the back tyres and immediately started trying to do hand brake turns.

I become instantaneously furious and begin punching him right in the face from the passenger seat. Alex told me to stop punching him, I told him to stop driving my car so badly – that was my job.

After quite a lot of punching, I told him to pull over and get out. He exited the car, I climbed over to the driver’s seat, and Alex got in the passenger seat.

We set off again for Brighton, but after a couple of minutes I decided it was necessary to continue punching Alex in the face, so he decided to do the same back to me. With all the punching, I’d forgotten to pay attention to driving.

We were now doing 140 MPH going down Langshot Lane in Horley towards the Farmhouse Pub.

Alex and I decided to make our own way to Brighton separately. I parked up my car, and started walking to work (apparently I was no longer going to Brighton). After I’d taken a few steps away, I turned and looked at the car, pleased that I finally owned one, but one though rang through my head. “Shit. Holly’s going to kill me”.

I walked to work, got to my desk, and sitting on the desk was a scale model, about 2 feet long, of my car. Except it wasn’t a model, it was my actual car. That was my car, it was just only 2 feet long.

My colleague Alex Kenny came in the room, looked at the model and said “Have you finally bought one!”. To which I replied yes, and then asked for a lift back up the road to collect it, because I’d accidentally parked it somewhere that wasn’t at work.

So, mainly this dream doesn’t make sense, apart from the fact that I want a VXR8. And sorry Alex Long, for dream punching you. You punched me back too! So maybe you deserved it!

Vauxhall VXR8: The most environmentally friendly car

So I’ve been after a VXR8 for many years now. In fact I think for the last 3 or 4 years, my mother has asked me what I’ve wanted for christmas, and I give her a list that always ends with “Vauxhall VXR8”. Every year, she fails to by me one.

I’ve also failed to convince Holly that we should be buying one as a family car. I’ve also failed to convince my bank account that I actually have enough money to buy one.

Fair enough, they’ve jumped up from £35,000 to between £45,000 and £49,000, but I think that’s a bargain for an enourmous boot which can easily fit a buggy, spacious and comfy front and back seats for the family to sit in, a heck of a lot of extra features such as sat nav and electric seats, over 430 PS and a 0 – 60 time of less than 5 seconds!

It’s what every family car is supposed to be. And it’s made by Vauxhall, a respectable, well priced car manufacturer.

Anyway, as if my argument wasn’t good enough already, look at how amazing the Vauxhall is at smashing it’s manufacturers fuel consumption figures!

That’s a 50% increase in figures. Everyone should get one. And one person should give it to me*

*and then pay for the massive insurance bill, and set up a direct debit to contribute towards the ridiculous running costs. I’ll need 2 new back tyres a month.

Johnny English 2: Apple, apple, apple

Ok, I’m supposed to be going to bed ‘coz I is well tired m8.

But I just wanted to have a quick rant about Johnny English Reborn before I go.

I’ve just been to see the aforementioned film in the cinema with the right hon. Lady Skeater, and we both very much enjoyed it. We both like Rowan Atkinson, and we both like cars. Holly especially likes Aston Martins, so she was very pleased.

Anyway, you may notice when you watch it a slight bit of Apple branding. There’s a lot of iPhone 4 (or was it a 4s!), quite a few Mac books, AND ABOUT 18 MILLION BLOODY IPADS!

Seriously, there are a lot of iPads in the film. There’s a heart rate monitor at the end of the film… on an iPad! So you got many close up shots of just the iPad showing the heart rate. There’s a control room with like 50 massive screens and computers in it, however one guy is peering down at his FUCKING IPAD IN HIS LAP!

My favourite iPad plug was one just standing up on a table in the back ground, sort of facing towards the camera a bit, just behind Rosamund Pike when she’s analyzing Rowan Atkinson (I should probably use character names, but anyway). I like this one most, or hate it most, because they’re not even using it. It’s just there.

Anyway, there’s a lot of Apple plugs, and a lot lot lot of iPad plugs. I think it was always the iPad 1 as well, not even the 2. The silliest thing is, it’s supposed to be a cool high tech spy film, and most of the film is great IMO, the car has a laser cutter on it, there’s a rocket launcher umbrella, a very versatile dyson and a minigun/golf bag in it.

But the iPad? They’re not high tech! I mean I do love my iPad, it’s awesome, but it’s no V16 Rolls Royce super car. Issy can use the iPad, and she’s not even 2 yet.

So any way, if you like the first film, this one was better. It wasn’t too cheesy, just the right amount of cheese/Rowan/spying/hot girls/silliness I reckon.

But there is a lot of Apple sponsorship in there. A lot.

Oh and Gillian Anderson is still hot. And that wheel chair is amazing.

If an update was a thing, and I was doing it now, then this would be an update

And while we’re on the subject of “updates” as you choose to call them, I may as well date you’re up while we’re here.

Me ladies

So first of all it’s probably worth mentioning some where in here that I’m now bringing up a baby and about to move in with my girlfriend somewhere in Bristol… assuming Kingsley Thomas pull through and prove that not all estate agents are complete morons… so far though they’ve all proven to be some type of moron, even if they started off well. So Kingsley Thomas, please, please prove me wrong.

Anyway, Lady Skeater, as she’d like to be known on the site, will now be blogging along side me at so pay attention to that, she’s very clever and funny and has a wonderful way with words.

The little baby will not be blogging, currently she has trouble sitting up on her own, and if I do manage to get her balanced up right it’s likely that she’ll squeak with joy and topple her self over.

And my other lady…

Moving on now to Sabine. My BMW 320i SE. To many people, she may appear to be nothing special. To my mother she’s known as Bob, but Sabine is not Bob any more. She is Sabine, named after Sabine Scmitz, she’s a fast german lady so it seems appropriate. I’ve got a bit of a thing for cars as many people know, and Sabine is the quickest car I’ve had to date. She’s my first BMW. But over the last 18 months she’s started to fall apart on me.

The electric windows failed, the suspension was squeaking, clunking and rattling, the alternator died, and on top of all this there was no room in the boot for the buggy for the baby. I was sad, despite recently fitting my 2m kayak in the car (from parcel shelf to dashboard) it seemed like I was going to have to get rid of her or part ex her for something cheaper to run and with a bigger boot.

But within the last month or so, things started to look up! The incredible Matt Leach managed to find the problem with the electric windows and sort those out with a tiny bit of solder. This week I got the suspension sorted out at the garage next to my work, they said “the left side is squeaking, the right side is clunking, and it sounds like the heat shield is rattling”. So they fixed the squeak and the clunk and now Sabine is a smooth and pleasant drive and I don’t have to grit my teeth when reverse parking! There is still some rattling, but I’ll find it. There’s a bit of rust, and it needs a polish, but I’m good at sorting that stuff out.

So my current theory is… make Sabine all shiny and new, and then see what inspiration I can take from here…


I’ve been trying to work out how I can get my hands on a Nokia n900. I used my faithful n95 as a satnav, for browsing the web, checking my email, taking notes, listening to music, I used it all day long for lots of tasks as well as the usual phone calls and SMS stuff. Oh and it had an awesome camera. I don’t like iphones… or apple at all for that matter, and I don’t like the stupid little ball on the Nexus One and the Desire.

I really really liked my n95, and the n900 has awesome reviews, plus it’s running on linux and I’m a techie… so I did a quick bit of maths and decided if I get £70 for my n95 from envirophone, and £200 for my laptop on ebay then there’s little difference between those 2 and the n900 at £330 on ebay. So I bought it!

I’m yet to get the money for the other 2 items I told myself I’d trade in… but I’ll get there!

The n900 is bloody awesome though, I’m pretty much glued to it all the time… it’s really bad I’m constantly communicating via the internet in some way now, and I have to resist the temptation at work to pick it up and play with it, but it does everything for me. I should probably write a proper review of it on instead of just ranting generically about it. I’ll try to do that soon…

Where are my dreams?

Anyways, it’s getting quite late and I’m rambling quite a lot. Something I’d like to point out is that I’m not having as many random crazy dreams as I used to, I think becuase I’m too tired from commuting to reading and back and trying to sort my life out at the moment, but hopefully in a month or so when I settle to my new home… where ever that may be… and stop traveling so much I’m hoping the cruise ships, aliens, monsters, battles and adventures all return.