Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Unhappy meal

This bank holiday Monday morning, I walked into town, as the crowds slowly began to drive in and queue for city centre shopping car parks. I needed to visit the office to retrieve a file which was meant to sync to OneDrive, but once more failed to. Microsoft puts more effort into driving people to rely on cloud based storage without being able to provide necessary total reliability. For years I carried all I needed to work on around with me on a flash drive. I've rather got out of the habit this past year, but the inconsistency of syncing operations on OneDrive, on which we rely so heavily for work, are causing me to re-think. Oddly enough, Google Drive never seems to present any problems, although it's helpful or otherwise insistence of converting everything in and out of Gdrive format for editing and sharing is rather annoying when all you want to do is work with your chosen tools in your own work setting in your own way.

Once in the office, I got drawn into entering data on recent acquisitions into our newest database, and testing a barcode scanning application that I'm hoping will ease the task at little cost. Then before I knw it, Clare was calling, wondering when I'd be back for lunch. Hours slip by very quickly in the fact of a pile of detail to be attended to.

After lunch we drove to Bristol to see Amanda and James. Her new wifi printer has failed to work since the batch of replacement inks purchased with the equipment are not recognised as present by the machine. The inks are genuine enough, but it's as if the sensor meant to recognise them isn't working. It's going to be difficult getting this sorted, as they don't have the means to get to the nearest branch of PC World to sort it out. Frustrating and very disappointing.

As we were approaching the Seven Bridge on the drive home, I suddenly noticed that the car engine was overheating, and stopped underneath the junction with the M49 to see what was wrong. I wasn't yet another leak, but apparently no fluid was passing through the radiator, suggesting either a blockage or a radiator thermostat stuck in the shut position - probably a legacy of using radiator sealant compound to cope with previous leak problems which eventually turned into a head gasket rupture. Once the engine had cooled enough, we drove over the bridge to Magor services, and called Green Flag services for help. In an hour a mechanic arrived from Abergavenny, confirming my tentative diagnosis. Then we had another hour to wait for a tow truck collect us, arriving from Stroud, on the way home to Newport,. 

We'd promised ourselves fish and chips for supper, for a change, and the only resemblance to this to be found was a McDonald's 'Happy Meal' from the one fast food outlet still open late in the service area. A little bag of over salted dry stick-like frites and another bag containing three fish fingers. Another bag contained a couple of plastic kids toys. The frites would have make a Belgian lose the will to live. Why on earth? A children's meal was the only way it was possible to obtain a few small pieces of fish. The plastic toys pulled apart into to sections, one of which was the right size for a small child to get in its mouth, swallow and choke on. Incredible! It has to rate as one of the worst and most ill conceived meals I've ever had. It may even have been the first time I've ever eaten McDonald's style and it'll certainly be the last. Next time I'll go hungry.

By just after eleven we were home safely, enjoying a little cheese and a glass of wine before bed. It's rather strange to think that on my third journey to and from Bristol in a row there have been problems with the car's cooling system. Last week we went to Monmouth without any cause for concern, plus trips around down in traffic. Let's hope that this'll be the last occurrence, or else it'll be time to say goodbye to our beloved ancient Golf.

I drove the car across town to N.G. Motors our VW service garage in Splott this morning, hoping that the car wouldn't overheat on the way. Almost every traffic light was red, so I switched off the engine while I waited. It was just up to normal temperature by the time I arrived and handed it over. Then a walk into town, during which I discovered that the Lidl store on Tyndall street which offers a handy place to shop on my way back, has been demolished, and the adjacent land cleared for new buildings, one of which will be a new improved Lidl, to open by the end of this year. I wonder what the neighbouring buildings on the site will be?

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