Saturday, July 11, 2015

red car

hi there

there's not really any easy way to put this, look you see. those in and around my area, well, all i can say is brace yourselves, but a helmet and watch out for what is on the way. as we will get to later, and in another rather angry post, the decision was out of our hands but all the same my (considerably) better half and i made this happen during the day today, after doing the groundwork last week.

yes, indeed. we have purchased another car, or if you like a second one. a very bourgeois, opulent and extravagant indulgence, maybe, but alas pretty much the only practical choice we had.

why another car? because, as has been mentioned on this blog over the last week, the definition of what does and does not constitute as "public transport" has changed somewhat of late. the people who are responsible for buses in our area have made further service cuts and ridiculous timetable changes. as it was i was leaving home at 7am to get to work; with the new timetable i would not get home until 7pm.

more on that in a future post - the bus people have for some reason decided to engage me in a battle of wits, so let me give them fair chance to reply properly. in the mean time, then, let's focus on the new wheels.

it is one of them A Class Merc things, as you can see (if you are better than me at spotting types of car, which is extremely likely). it was sold pretty much on sight, to be honest - good make, lovely colour, seemed as far as we could tell in good condition, and had a smart looking stereo which we assumed would work.

cost? less than what 18 months of 4 weekly bus passes would have cost me, excluding the very real likelihood of less services being charged at a far higher price just now. so, by my logic, should this car survive for a year and a half - yes, a big ask with my track record with wheels - it's broke even. you can round that up to two years if you want to throw all that insurance and tax business in to the mix. 

my friends and family in South Africa, on the note of the above, might be mildly amused to know that a car here has to get an MOT test, he equivalent of a roadworthy, every year. in SA, a car only needs to be roadworthy tested when you buy it, and then it usually gets passed simply by modifying the engine to the extent of sellotaping a clear plastic bag with banknotes to it.

but hey, you want to see the car. or, to elaborate on that a bit, you want to see the car in the state that it has started off in, for my non-standard driving style invariably means that the car looks a bit different after a few days of me owning it.

that's the fancy dashboard thing. with the car being a diesel, or for some other reason, one must wait for it to warm up before one turns the ignition for it to commence its voyages. to that end, all sorts of fancy lights and sounds come on to alert you as to when it is safe to do so. nice one.

yeah, all them lights and things, and the lack of focus on being overtly circular, on the speedometer were a massive selling point for me. smart, that looks.

the arse of cars that i drive tend to not fair quite so well, although i'd like to think they do better than the sides, the doors and the front. here's a look, then, before it gets all dings, dents and scratches in my quest to prove that rear view mirrors and looking behind you is strictly for twats and nancy boys.

it has, if you are wondering, been brought to my attention - cheers Mark - that i might have been somewhat hasty in purchasing this car. when we decided to purchase it, to my retrospective shame, i must confess i was unaware of such a thing called an "Elk Test", or if you like "Moose Test". i was then also unaware of the fact that the A Class Merc, in its original design, had failed this test. well, failed depending on what your definition of success is. here is a link to one of them video things of the A Class doing the Elk Test

i appreciate the concern shown in the caution or warning above, but believe me - if i am cruising along and nine or a dozen Elk are stood in a straight line in front of me, i won't be swerving.

vibes? vibes. let's be honest about this - the vibes, the tunes and the sound in a car are the only thing i have ever been bothered about, and at age 42 (when did that happen) remains the only thing i am bothered about. quality music is important for pleasant driving, for drowning out any sounds the car is making which causes displeasure and to give you something to do whilst you wait for a mender to come and have a look at the engine, exhaust or whatever else might have, for no apparent reason, fallen off.

to that end, here's the stereo that came with the car.

quite a smart stag, as you can see. it would appear not to do all that DAB radio stuff, and nor does it do mp3 or connect to one of them iTwat devices, but it does have a serviceable radio and, as you can hear below, the CD playing capability of the stag is most splendid.

yeah, i took that video whilst i was parked, sorry. apparently i am not allowed to make videos, take pictures or do them selfie things whilst i am actually driving; something to do with contractual obligations in respect of the insurance agreement i have in place. sorry.

on the vibes front, that is indeed U2. it would be something of a tradition for me to break in a new car with The Stranglers or Frankie Goes To Hollywood, but i'm in a U2 mind these days, so Zoo Station. was the first tune to be played. and yes, it enhanced driving.

a look at the side of the car, before it gets all knacked and battered? certainly.

the shape of the car had great appeal. it's compact enough to not be too much of a disturbing presence on the road, and yet the way it uses space allows for the taller, wider driver - such as i - to control the combustion engine with a good deal of comfort. ok, fair enough, the roof could be a few millimetres higher, but then again that's what the sunroof is for.

things tend to happen to the sides of my cars, in particular the doors. like it's my fault doors and hinges were not designed to handle being rammed into a garage wall when reversing. admire the sight above, then, before something totally out of my control happens. 

how about a practical driving review, then? well, thus far i have driven it for the duration of my 80 minute U2 compilation, and indeed into a second spin of it. i might go with a bit of Quadrophenia next, but we shall see. so far, to be honest, so good.

it was a bit tricky at first, as 1st and 2nd gear are so far away as thought they seem to be in a different dialling code. that indicator thing - granted, something i rarely use - also seems to have an absolutely massive arc, and from 9 on a clock you have to virtually turn it up to 11 or down to 7 if for some reason you want to give the people in front or behind of you fair warning of your proposed journey.

as comfy as the car is for my width and height, the feet area took some getting used to. i do not believe that Mercedes, much like most car makers, ever envisioned someone with size 13 feet actually driving a car. well, i do, and it is all too easy to hit the not quite right pedal. but, somewhere after Bad or maybe it was Where The Streets Have No Name, i kind of got a balance that i felt to be agreeable.

on an even more practical note, cornering is a rather loose affair, and i can sort of see what they were getting at by crashing it into Elks and what have you.  however, as i can actually drive there was no real issue and i could turn ok.

yes, indeed i did put the car through the pinnacle of testing - the one that all formula one cars and drivers do. it is perfectly possible, i can assure you, to turn a sharp country lane corner controlling the car with your less suited hand and knees whilst lighting a cigarette and reaching the more complicated notes of Red Hill Mining Town. in fairness, yes, the sight and presumably sound of this did sh!t out oncoming traffic a little, but that's just taught them the value of selecting times for their journeys a bit better.

another look at the car, then, before the off chance of some sort of harm or damage befalling it on account of me driving it most days than not? well, i shall be doing my best to look after it, but here you go.

yes, practical testing fans, yes i did go off this afternoon and do a little bit of shopping. everything about what you have seen of the car thus far suggests "limited boot space" and that is indeed the case. it was, however, perfectly possible - with comfort - to fit four overstuff, ill packed bags of shopping into it.

and there's my findings thus far. i am very sorry and saddened that public transport is being so brutally destroyed and made impractical to use, but overall i am thrilled and delighted to be in command of my own destiny once more, at least in as far as when i travel and how i get there.

i shall be taking a ride out tomorrow to do some further experimentation, but the exciting day is Monday, when i introduce my style and approach to driving to the metropolitan, cosmopolitan town in which i work. it should be full of excitement and adventure. if it is, and i get anything interesting or unusual shouted at me, i shall be sure to let you know.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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