Monthly Archives: December 2017

Volkswagens Ain’t What They Used To Be…

I had a Passat once before. It was a year old and had 104,000 miles on the clock. It had been used by a rep in Scotland and had been serviced roughly every six weeks. I had it six more years and added 143,000 miles, much of it full with either stock or tools. Apart from regular servicing, the engine was trouble free with only a leaking water pump to report in all that time, though we did have to replace the brake pipes and fix the central locking with a piece of insulating tape (a basic bodge).

Apart from that, the window opening mechanisms were the main source of trouble and were, in the end, the reason I got rid of the car. When you are using it for work there are only so many times you can put up with losing a day because the windows need attention.

The new one I bought a couple of years ago has not impressed me. It doesn’t pull as well as the old one, it has too many electrical fripperies and it has just cost me money for engine parts. I was shocked. In thirty years of running diesels I’ve only ever had to replace one set of glowplugs before and I’ve never had to replace engine parts at 50,000 miles. I’ve always believed that each car should be an improvement on the last, but this seems not to be the case.

I’ve also always believed that Volkswagens rate highly for reliability and longevity, but looking at the internet these days seems to suggest differently.

Modern life can be quite a let-down.

The Snow Arrives

Finally, it arrived.

It wasn’t impressive.

We have some snow left in the street, where it will be a patchy nuisance until it melts, but all the main roads are clear. Driving into town to pick up Julia at 4.00 pm it was quite clear that the centre of town was warmer than Sherwood as there was nothing on the floor at all, not even the narrow road at the back of the leisure centre.

The bad news is that we’re meant to be down to minus 12 degrees C tomorrow. That’s minus 10.4 degrees F. We will be as cold as northern Scotland, which, the news tells me, is colder than Everest.

Based on the accuracy of previous forecasts that will probably be a few degrees under freezing.

Number Two son has just been out for a walk and says it isn’t too bad. He arrived home by train this afternoon and says Sheffield has even less snow than Nottingham.

All in all, it’s a very unsnowy day round here, though news reports do show that there is plenty of snow locally. Looks like we dodged the bullet.

Though it may be a bit early, as their is time for snow yet, I will permit myself a small smile. 🙂

Waiting for the Snow

As I sat and wrote about my new job and Peter Rabbit (two separate posts, in no way linked, even in my imagination) I was expecting snow. It didn’t happen.

We were then supposed to wake up to find we had between four and seven inches of snow this morning. Now that we’re awake, and snowless, the forecast has been modified to show it starting at 7 am. As I sit and type, having dropped Julia off at work, there is still 37 minutes for this prediction to come true.

According to one on-line map we are already under snow. Other sites predict an almost 100% chance of some snow (between two and ten inches) between now and 8 pm with the possibility of disruption, the likelihood of travel problems and the chance of some rural areas being cut off. They further qualify it with “in some places”. Am I alone in finding that a little vague?

Much of the vagueness, of course, comes from journalists trying to sell newspapers. The Met Office is generally quite good at this sort of thing. It is, after all, what they do.

If you live in a country that has proper snow and are wondering what all the fuss is about, look at it this way. If you live in a small town somewhere snowy you probably have more snowploughs, more winter tyres and more snow shoes in town than we have the whole of England. In fact you probably have more snow shoes in your garage than we have in the whole of England. Scotland and Wales, having mountains, take it a bit more seriously and I’m not sure about Northern Ireland. I never think of it as overly snowy, but then again, I do think of it as rainy, and if it’s cold I suppose the rain has to come down as something.

If I was in charge I’d keep us in the European Union and close the country down from December to March while we all went on holiday somewhere warm.

 

 

A Rabbit Comes to Call

Here are some pictures from the MENCAP Open Day.  The painted stones sold well, as did the nest boxes and various other items. I say “various” because I’ve forgotten what Julia said.

I know it came to around £100 and is going to make a useful contribution to the garden running costs. One of the volunteers who helps with the garden brought Peter Rabbit to form the centrepiece of the garden display. Ironically, when you consider what he did in Mr McGregor’s garden, Peter is a scarecrow.The group all helped out and everyone had a good day.

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The group took a number of photos of Julia with the visiting rabbit

Even the photograph album (which was back-to-front after my late night glueing session) was judged to be successful.

A New Job and Work/Life Balance

It’s now official – I have a new job. For the first time in 25 years I’m going to be employed instead of self-employed, so it’s a time of mixed emotions.

It’s true to say that it’s close to being a job in a million. For one thing, you don’t get too many job offers when you’re my age and have no proper qualifications. For another, there aren’t too many jobs going in the antiques trade. And finally, a job that allows you Wednesdays off (that’s Julia’s main day off) and regular time off for blood tests is also hard to find.

I’ve also been offered a job as a consultant with the jerk seasoning project. There’s no money attached to that yet but I’ve always wanted to be a consultant so I accepted.

In one way it’s a failure, as my original self-employment plan was to make a lot of money, become a well-respected figure in the trade and go into semi-retirement around the age of sixty.

The reality is that I scraped a living, enjoyed myself and have just accepted a job as a shop assistant in a collectors’ shop. However, I spent plenty of time with my kids and will be in the fortunate position of making a job out of my hobby, it’s hard to see it as a failure. Let’s call it a flawed success.

Watch this space…

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Past Mayoress’s Jewel – Collectors’ World, Nottingham

 

Some Pictures of Slaidburn

There were plenty of sheep about, as you would guess, plus a nice car park with toilets (because it’s a great centre for walkers. There was also a large gathering of Starlings and crows – mainly Jackdaws and a Blue Tit flitting about.

 

It’s a lovely village in the right weather, though I’d hate to live here on a miserable grey day. I often think about that when thinking of my family working on farms round here, with rain and woollen clothing. They must have hated Autumn and Winter.

The pub in the pictures is the Hark to Bounty. In the late 19th century it was run by William Stead – blacksmith and innkeeper. He was there in 1871, married to my great-grandmother’s aunt, and died in 1893, leaving £808, which was good money in those days. In 1871 my grandmother was working for them, having come from Leyburn, about50 miles away. That’s presumably how she met my great-grandfather.

 

 

 

 

Clitheroe and Family History

We went to Slaidburn on Monday, taking the tree picture on the way. It’s a fascinating old village, which wouldn’t look out of place in a Harry Potter film (or a Hammer House of Horror film for those of us who remember them).

I’ll be writing about that visit in a couple of days.

Then we went to Clitheroe. It’s a pleasant small town not far from Pendle Hill, and it has cropped up a few times in recent posts, mainly as a residence for various members of my family. I used to enjoy visiting it when I was a child, though I have to say that I never noticed how hilly it was when I was younger.

It was a dullish day so I had a go with the effects on my computer – not sure if it’s worked or not. One of my early memories is of visiting the war memorial with my grandmother and being shown her father’s name on the side.

 

Like so many others he’s just a name on a memorial now, I doubt if anyone who knew him is alive now.

These are various homes of the Carus family over the years. The one with the red car is where my grandmother was living with her widowed mother in 1917, and may be the one where the family photo was taken. The view of the castle is the one they would have seen when they stepped outside.

Harry Carus and family. Clitheroe 1915.

Harry Carus and family -1915

The house with the silver car outside is the one where all the family lived in the late 19th century – all nine of them!

The other one, with the box balls in the front garden, is where Isaac Newton Carus lived, before handing it on to one of his sons.

I have a lot more to do, so this is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a strange feeling, seeing all these places where family used to live, particularly as I must have passed within 100 yards of one of them dozens of times without realising.