Monthly Archives: August 2020

BMW, Trouser legs & Wedding blues – Week 31 : 2020

After my dash through France it’s been back to Acaster Malbis hoping to repel that restless feeling for a little while. As I put away my cycle touring kit and noted how the stairs were making my aching muscles complain I mentally noted that it would be a while before the road beckoned. Now after the discomfort has eased I’ll be peering at Google Maps thinking about the next trip in the near future! My addiction.

However, all the focus was on the wedding of Katrina and Matt. Clearly these are difficult times for mixing and movement of people with the pandemic. Despite a few casualties on the guest list we were looking forward to August 8th. And then Boris stepped in and made the wedding breakfast verboten in Manchester. As you can imagine such a decision means numerous communications from the couple to let folk know about the cancellation as well as the venue, flowers etc. The bride seems to be stoic and maybe when we reschedule some of the ‘casualties’ can join us. The marriage will proceed but even that has limits on the numbers who can attend. Poor Katrina and Matt.

I used to be a vision of sartorial elegance about 30 years ago. The work place was a venue to attend in expensive suits and crisply ironed cotton shirts. The thought of having stubble would have affected my health. Today I am forever in Levis and some form of T shirt and Craghopper. In fact I have several colours of the latter but haute couture they ain’t. I have a couple of suits in the wardrobe but I cannot remember when I last wore them: the daughter’s graduations? As the wedding countdown commenced the ‘outfit’ needed pulling together. The good news was that the suit fitted but the trousers were so wide, at the leg, that I contemplated using them as an awning for my tent.

A trip into town to a tailor saw him suggesting taking an inch off. It was agreed. I also bought another suit. There was 25% off at M&S and with another daughter likely to pledge her troth I thought this reckless outlay may get some further wear. Another feature of my current daily uniform are trainers. I don’t wear proper leather shoes. In fact I had two old pairs in my drawer where the soles of rubber perished! I kid you not. Anyway that was another investment!

I’ve been quite successful with the hair clippers and it looked tolerable. As you might pointedly observe then I don’t have a lot to manage. Anyway I thought for the wedding I should have someone who knows what they’re doing tidy my barnet up. Wonderfully it was Jessica behind the clippers. Her cutting is good but her banter is world class – I wrote a blog on one sitting that may engage you. The word ‘blog’ is a link. Anyway her ‘news’ from the lockdown included the story of the unfortunate man who staggered in with half a haircut. His wife had set about the project but abandoned the cut halfway through after being disappointed with her work.

Another was about a close relative who’s a hairdresser. Despite the lockdown he’d set up a hairdressing salon in his garage for the local ladies to surreptitiously attend. One older woman did express some anxiety that her daughter was unhappy she was having her hairdressing appointments in lockdown and would report her. The hairdresser shrugged this off laughing and told her not to worry until she added that she was a police officer! So as I stopped laughing and we moved onto other topics she calmly advised that she now had an allotment and was growing strawberries and carrots. You have never met a young millennial who seems less likely to be living the ‘good life’. How she doesn’t have a Channel 4 slot is beyond me.

Time to get out all those old Leeds United Premiership shirts

I feel that as you get older then little surprises you. You clearly identify all challenges ahead. My car is nearly 6 years old. It’s fine, however, if I don’t replace it then the car will depreciate to be worth pennies and the next car will cost a fortune as we’re starting from scratch. (Yes, there are many way to finance a car but part-ex and cash works for me). So I girded my loins to visit the BMW dealership. I had a gloomy feeling that despite the plush surroundings and supposed professionalism I wouldn’t buy a car: the deal wouldn’t be right. Some backroom operative who operates the salesman like a puppet would scupper things. Also I felt that the market hasn’t got a lot of product floating around to make them anxious to move cars.

A man looking pathetically happy with a home grown courgette/zucchini

Needless to say lots of attentive care by the salesman was evident. We looked at his group’s database and found a couple of cars that worked as the correct spec and price. I was looking at ‘nearly new’ as the difference over the new price was nearly 30%. The next task was to test drive the models. I later returned to do this. All was good and I found a car I liked, a 3 series. So we went back to the database. The car from yesterday mysteriously had another 5,000 miles on it? We found another, all good.

In my research on the part-ex I’d checked a guide and also we’d posted the car into the ‘We Buy Any Car’ website. It said £11,610, which was lower than the guide but fair enough. This is the least best way to dispose of a car in terms of return but I was reconciled. The dealership managed to offer £10,500. There was no review of their offer or particular interest. I walked. Of course I could cash the car at ‘We Buy Any Car’ and return laden with money but I doubt I will. They’ve had their chance. No doubt I’ll regroup and eventually sort something out.

There are events when you receive information where afterwards you can recollect where you heard the news. This came to pass on my bike ride in France. Tragically a family friend and lifelong close friend of my wife’s reported some frightening developments as regards her health. In a short number of weeks she’d died of cancer. When this happens to someone quite young you prospect around for explanations of genes, weight, lifestyle or an unfortunate life changing event. There was no such comforting explanation for such an honest, energetic, hard working, bright and cheerful lady. We’re dealing with quite a shocking hole suddenly appearing in our lives.

Life’s not a rehearsal, dust off that bucket list and start ticking them off.