Tuesday, 30 April 2013

My first solo spin to the mountains, T & O 15, etc.

My first ever solo spin to the mountains
Yesterday was pretty much a complete opposite of my usual day, which is often spent facebooking in the attic.

I started in the morning by driving to Ashford, to collect a second hand coffee table I'd found via Facebook. (I overtook a lorry, yay! LOL.. First time I've done that, on my own..) My second time ever reversing around a corner, went fine as well =D

My first ever solo spin to the mountains    My first ever solo spin to the mountains
I didn't even need to turn down the back seats as the table fit on the seats, legs up, and I secured it with two safety belts, just in case I'd need to make a sudden stop or something.

I paid €35 for the table, it's solid wood and very sturdy. It has some wear and tear marks, but I think it just looks better that way. I'm planning to use it as my laptop desk - it should be just the right height for that (with the low futon as my seat), although I haven't been able to try it yet as it'll take me a few more days to get this attic organised..

My first ever solo spin to the mountains
So, once I'd collected the table, I decided to go for a spin as it was a gorgeous day and I need all the driving practice I can get, before booking my driving test (and I have a few more lessons to take, before that..)

I drove from Ashford to Roundwood, really enjoying those country roads. I stopped to buy some lunch at Roundwood Centra, and then drove on to Lough Tay where I ate my lunch =)

My first ever solo spin to the mountains    My first ever solo spin to the mountains

My first ever solo spin to the mountains    My first ever solo spin to the mountains

My first ever solo spin to the mountains    My first ever solo spin to the mountains
There was such cold breeze, that I didn't go to the spot where you'd get better landscape snaps. Instead, I sheltered in Esmeralda and enjoyed my lunch =)

My first ever solo spin to the mountains
I had a ham & potato salad sambo, and a Homer style donut. In my €2 lunch box, which I've customised with scrapbooking paper.. LOL..

My first ever solo spin to the mountains    My first ever solo spin to the mountains

My first ever solo spin to the mountains
Then, I drove to Glencree, via Sally Gap. I love, love, love driving those mountain roads! I don't love the big tourist buses, which drive in the middle of the fuckin' road. I mean, if you can't stay on your lane, stay off the roads, FFS.. I hope I made those drivers crap themselves..

My first ever solo spin to the mountains    My first ever solo spin to the mountains

My first ever solo spin to the mountains
I had a cappuccino in the Armoury Cafe in Glencree, which is my favourite coffee shop. I especially like it when it's empty, like it was at that time of Monday morning =)

I was very lucky with the weather as well! Although I'd seen the rain clouds over the mountains, even before I left home, they cleared a bit, and the ONLY little bit of drizzle, came while I was having my cappuccino in Glencree! =D

Cappuccino in Glencree (first time on my own!)

I drove home through Enniskerry, and luckily there was no one ahead of me on that road from Enniskerry to N11, so I got to enjoy that bit of rally.. =D Love those curves..

Coming back to Bray dampened things, though - I was stuck behind some Dargle works vehicles, which were heavy and slow, and all that crawling on the first gear, stopping, crawling again, made me stall like a million times, and I would have hated to be behind me =/ I hate driving in Bray.

Anyway, got back home, dragged the table up to the attic, then got it in my head to do some gardening!

Before I sawed some branches off    After I sawed some branches off
These phone snaps aren't the best "before & after" pics as I couldn't really even see the screen, with that bright sun blinding me, but I sawed some big lower branches off the bay tree, so you can now see and walk underneath it again, without trouble. I dragged the branches to the back, where years of garden waste has made a bit of a compost, in a way..

Before I sawed some branches off    After I sawed some branches off

Once I was done with that, I continued reorganising the attic, boxing lots of stuff, dragged the Dyson up, hoovered one corner of the attic, etc.. Then I got totally exhausted and had to get some sleep.

Today, I'll probably be working on the attic all day. I want to get it cleaned and sorted. I'll pack away as much stuff as I have boxes for, and then there will be a lot less stuff to collect dust on it, which will make hoovering easier and leave much more room in general.

Yesterday was also Thatsit and Oimouttahere's 15th birthday. They had duck =)

Sunday dindins at The Beehive

Turkey & ham at The Beehive (there wasn't much ham, though!)
I like The Beehive as there's lots of space around it, and although the N11 runs right beside it, it's somehow even nice to look at the traffic going by. Also, even when the place is packed, people just eat and move on - so usually you don't have to wait for ages to find a table.

I'd been awake from the early morning, on Sunday (having gone to the NCT place to show the new bulb and get that thing sorted), so I was really tired and not really ready for a heavy meal.. So, I didn't want to have any of the mega meaty options. Sunday dinner at home is usually chicken, so I thought I'd have something else.. The cajun salmon looked gorgeous, and I would really have fancied salmon, but I'm not loving the combo of cajun and salmon - I love the taste of salmon itself, and whenever I cook some for myself, I don't add anything to it, not even salt. So, I ended up having turkey and ham, which was a bit disappointing as the turkey was a bit bland, and at first, I thought there was no ham at all, but then I found two TINY strips, underneath the stuffing. And I do mean tiny - just enough ham for one mouthful, which includes spuds & veg.. However, there was enough food to make me stuffed (and I even had to leave some mash), and I didn't have to pay for it, so it's all good =P Coffee was gorgeous, though.

Thatsit, two days before her (/their) 15th birthday

Thatsit, two days before her 15th birthday
I just feel like I haven't blogged a picture of Thatsit, recently, so here she is, on the futon =)

Oimo eats pasta..

Penne dish with no meat    Oimo even likes it with no meat
Oimo really loves the egg & milk mix from my penne dish, but he also eats the actual penne, and even vegetables! =D

Oimo even likes it with no meat

Oimo even likes it with no meat    Oimo at my penne dish again

Loving the non-slip dashboard tray

Non-slip dashboard tray
I bought this thing in one of the cheapo shops, for €2, and it's brilliant! Esmeralda didn't really have a good spot for a phone - I'd usually keep it in the little "pocket" on the door (just below the window), but it was awkward, and it was easy to forget it there.. But the new cheapo tray is perfect! The phone won't move anywhere while I'm driving, and when I leave the car, I will see the phone and remember to actually take it with me =D

(I would never ever actually use the phone while driving! Just wanted to make that very clear.. Not even hands free. I don't actually even use the phone when someone else is driving - for phone calls, anyway - because I can't really hear much when there's background noise.)

Non-slip dashboard tray


I probably haven't yet blogged a proper picture of Ringo - not that these are very 'proper' as the camera settings were all wrong, but Ringo was assisting me when I changed that side indicator bulb.. =)

Ringo has people in the neighbourhood, but he's been hanging out here a lot, maybe for the last year or so. Tries to come in a lot, but I can't allow that =)


Sunday, 28 April 2013

The shopping list of a serial killer?

Getting Esmeralda organised
I've had a shopping list for Esmeralda (my car), ever since I bought her, but haven't really had the money for much of the stuff yet.. Well, not that I have any more money now (although, I did win the Lotto and Euromillions, last week - €1 and €3, all spent already..), but I decided to go wild in the cheapo shops =D

I got five plastic boxes, €2 each, to get my car stuff all organised.. I got a €2 non-slip dashboard tray, which is brilliant for the phone! I got €1 roll of vanilla scented bin bags, €3 air manual spray air freshener, €2 latex & vinyl gloves, €2 dusters, €1.19 baby wipes, and Nature Valley sweet & nutty peanut bars (€2.99 for a 5-pack). I already had a set of screwdrivers, some toiletries, packets of tissue, etc.

When I put the latest shopping on the table, to take some pictures, it kinda looked a bit dodgy, like I'm secretly a serial killer or such =D (Not to worry, though.. I haven't bought an axe, or a spade - yet..)

Free high vis stuff from RSA
I got some free high vis stuff from the RSA - assumed it'd be a vest, but it actually turned out to be a yoke that goes over a rucksack, and another bag-sorta-yoke, which could be worn over a coat, though. As it could be handy someday, I put it in Esmeralda.

Free high vis stuff from RSA    Free high vis stuff from RSA

Getting Esmeralda organised    Getting Esmeralda organised
Back to those plastic boxes..

There are four identical 7L boxes, with a handle on the lid. I tried to remove the big sticker, but it was impossible.. So, I cut some scrapbooking paper, and taped it over the sticker =)

Getting Esmeralda organised
I now have customised storage boxes =D

The slightly different, longer box is for tools. So far, it only has a €2 set of screwdrivers, but I'll be buying more tools.. I like tools.. I don't like stuff clonking around, so I've wrapped my tools in dusters, and the car wash mitt is in the tool box as well. There's one box for cleaning stuff (LOL), one for toiletries, one for snacks, and one for misc. things.

I still don't have a proper car bin. I did buy one, before, but the rubbery window yoke won't work and there's nowhere else to hang it, so I'm now using a paper bag on the floor, behind the front passenger seat, with a plastic bag inside, in case there's anything damp or such.

I need to do an IKEA trip, someday, to get a cheapo blanket, and some other stuff.. (And to eat meatballs, mmm..)

Replacing a side indicator bulb - 2003 Daewoo Kalos

Driving me nuts.. (Impossible to pull out! Grrrr..)
As I mentioned before, Esmeralda failed NCT only by one side indicator bulb, so I only needed to replace it and go show it at the NCT place - no booking or fee needed, which was great.

I'd bought the new bulbs (two, since I was thinking I might as well replace them both, like I did with the back indicator bulbs) on the way home, but had trouble getting the lamp assembly pulled out. I left it for a while as I had until 8th May to do it, but then eventually decided to replace the feckin' bulb..

Daewoo Kalos side indicator
I got the lamp assembly out, and if anyone else has a 2003 Daewoo Kalos, and needs to replace the side indicator bulb, here's a tip for getting that lamp assembly out: use a damp dish cloth / tea towel, and a screwdriver. First, work the cloth between the lamp assembly and the body - it'll protect the paint, and it'll give you grip.. Then, force the back part of the lamp assembly out first, using the screwdriver, and the rest will follow. (It would have helped a lot, to have a better picture of the part, in the manual..)

Btw, I did not make the scratches you can see, in the above photo. Obviously, someone had replaced the bulb before, without a cloth..

I will never again buy car parts from a woman.. - Daewoo Kalos side indicator
Imagine my "joy", when I discovered that the girl at the car part shop, had given me the wrong type of bulbs! I showed her the NCT report sheet, pointed at the PICTURE of the particular side indicator for which I wanted a bulb, and she checked my car model in a parts manual - she still got it wrong. I learned an important lesson: I will never again buy any type of a car part from a woman. (I'd had my doubts as the bulbs were the same size than the ones I got before, for the back indicators, and the side indicator lamp assembly is a lot smaller.. However, not having pulled it out at the time, I thought maybe they could take such big bulbs, trusting that a person who works in a car parts shop, would get it right. But no..)

oDaewoo Kalos side indicator
I took a reminder picture for myself, if I need to replace those bulbs again, when I'll have forgotten how I did it, lol.. So, when you pop it out, pop the back part of it out first - when you put it back in, put the front part of it in first.

Little Emily gave me a dandelion =)    Little Emily gave me a dandelion =)
Once I'd discovered the wrong bulb size, it was too late to get new bulbs again, on that day, so I was rather pissed off.. Then I saw a certain little Emily, who cheered me up by giving me a dandelion! =D I had it in a vase for a couple of days =)

Replacing the side indicator bulb
On the following day, I went to return the bulbs and get the correct size - there was a man in the shop, that time, thank God.. So, I got the right bulbs. Came home, had no trouble pulling out the lamp assembly, now that I knew how to do it.

Old side indicator bulb    New side indicator bulb
Old & new bulb..

Side indicator bulb replaced
One side indicator bulb replaced! =) (I haven't done the other one yet, I just wanted to get my NCT sorted first..)

The old side indicator bulb
I forgot to mention, that I actually had a terrible time trying to pull the old bulb out! It was really supposed to be easy, but when I finally got it out (which required me to wear a latex glove for extra grip), I could see why it had been so difficult - and you can see it, too, in the above picture. See that twisted metal bit.. It was locking the bulb in place, when I tried to pull it out. Pushing the new bulb in, was totally easy.