Stuck in Wales…

…with only the barest of creature comforts; a radio, a Hellish beefy tower, a small radiator, a few litres of spirits including gin, whisky, brandy & liquers (sounds like a French exercise, doesn’t it?*)

And all because Miriam’s broken herself. Bah. I’m very fond of Miriam; she’s got me through two sets of absolutely crazy floods, one the first day I had her, where we alternated between aquaplaning and smothering the exhaust in water in a frankly Flight-To-The-Ford-ish bid to get out of Stafford, and then again in poxy Newtown, when Matt & I were trying to make it back from Gregynog in the middle of the biggest flash flood this side of Dot and the Kangaroo, with water sloshing right over the bonnet.

The thing about Miriam is that I like her partly because she’s a lot more responsive than Mike’s little 1.2 litre Corsa what I learnt in – on at least one occasion that I’ve been in Mir, I’m pretty sure I’d have been quite badly killed if I’d not been in a machine with a decent lump of power in third gear: half way over a level crossing is a really bad time to discover that the lights and barriers have failed, especially with a Sprinter belting along the up line towards you, and it’s nice to know you can floor it without having to hang around to shift down to second – and partly because she’s a bloody good workhorse, in true VW fashion.

Last time she broke she got a hole in the exhaust which, as far as I can tell, reduced engine efficiency such that a couple of the elderly spark plugs gave up the ghost, and we nursed her the sixty miles from Porthmadog back to Aberystwyth on about two cylinders. I think the highest gear we could take was fourth, on the three miles that were all downhill. And then she managed to make it to the mechanic as well, so it could’ve been worse.

Pretty much the same thing happened this time round, although I’m not sure what’s causing the misfire, and instead of being in Porthmadog, she began to play up when Ruth was around 40 miles out of Aber, which I guess is preferable. The thing you have to remember here is the Miriam is a 1999 Skoda, so whilst she was built by VW who knew what they were doing, she is getting on a bit. As near as I can tell, she spent the first eight years of her life pottering around Wolverhampton to get to the shops and things: when we got her in September ’08, she’d done 44,000 miles. By January ’09 that was up to 51, and she’s now on 62,600. I think this is the equivilant of getting a pensioner who never left the village to run from London to Edinburgh with no training, so it’s not entirely surprising that she breaks a bone every now and then.

It was, however, particularly bad timing since it meant we couldn’t get out of town. Really sorry about that, guys; we’ll hack our way to Cardiff once she’s up and running again and take you for a meal or something. Hope it was a good ‘un!

…In the meantime, I’m also trying to get down to London, for fun and library-related games with people on my course. I’m also hoping to run a few errands whilst I’m down there – I need a job lot of leaflets from Friends House, for a start. This should still be possible, although thanks to the miracle of public transport, I shalln’t be leaving Aber until Monday morning. Happily I’m getting better and running on four or five hours sleep, thanks to inexplicably developing an inconvenient habit of handing essays in on time which rather requires me to write them beforehand.

So it’s all in a bit of a muddle, at the minute. I’m still hoping I’ll get a minute to visit the spectacular-looking Steampunk exhibition whilst I’m in the South, and then it’s back to Aber by train once more (bugger) in order to pull yet another shift at the hospital (who have nearly finished training me, thank goodness; I appreciate that it’s important everything in a hospital environment gets thoroughly cleaned, even if they refuse to make it smell clean with healthy things like carbolic [O man I want all of these things. Witchazel! I’ve not seen than in years!] but even so I have worked as a professional cleaner since 2002, I’m pretty sure I grasp at least the basics. Plus I seem to be unusual in finding burnishing awesome fun.) and then there’s another Murder Mystery, with almost everyone at it, which should be interesting.

In the meantime, everything is almost under control. I might even have a minute to reply to some email come February…

*Cite me! For bonus points!

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  1. On January 25, 2010 Sarah says:

    Wow finished training you? Yeah they finished training me, then a year later told me I had to do more ’cause I’d been trained by the wrong person.

    Then I was pretty much banned from using the burnishers, but we don’t talk about that…