Another winter’s tale?

As the above title paraphrases a legendary David Essex Christmas hit you can probably guess what this one is all about!

Here is a pic from the family home just too needlessly labour the point:

New Malden Christmas time …

Taking up the baton from my last post, I was finding this Christmas thing a bit of a struggle – I was working all the way up to day before Christmas Eve, so time was at a premium – those festive chores were eventually done by working them around the shift times of my job.

I finally banked all of the coins from my money bottle, and used the converted cash to fund a blitzkrieg shopping spree against the clock!

On the way I burned through two boxes of Christmas cards – after a couple of hours of high octane pen pushing, all of them bar one got distributed to the good folk at the Kingston Radio Station and my other friends.

A large proportion of the funds went on providing those vital Xmas staples. Cheeses, crackers, cake, meats, not to mention the vital component booze were covered by a last minute whistle stopper at the New Malden branch of a well-known supermarket chain.

The family wisely decided on roast lamb as the Christmas dinner of choice, and thankfully for me, there was not a turkey or sprout in sight!

Then there was the thorny issue of presents. Some pre-festive season planning meant that what to get each other had pretty much been decided. Those early on-line orders had been placed in advance, and the bulk of the gifts were received before the D-Day of the 25th December.

For me, most of the present acquisition shenanigans just involved exchanging funds with other family members.

By the time my Christmas leave started on the day before Christmas Eve, the pressure was off, and it was a just case of coasting towards the big day itself.

Present wise, it wasn’t a bad haul. I got a few novels featuring the ‘Nameless Detective’ by the legendary crime writer Bill Pronzini, the latest ‘Top Gun’ movie on DVD, and some much needed squash accessories.

So far the much promised kettle for my flat is yet to materialise – the plan is for me to make the purchase at a later date, so at moment, the prospects of enjoying a home brewed cuppa is still very much in the balance.

Christmas at the family home was a little different this year due to my Mums Illness, though we didn’t let it get in the way – the HRH speech (it was King Charles’s first one!) was viewed with the obligatory glass of festive cheer after a very nice Christmas meal, and the time honoured tradition of vegging out in front of the visual wonders that form Xmas TV was strictly adhered to.

Right now all I am doing is catching up with friends, and probably watching way too much of that Christmas telly.

Overall it went pretty well.

I hope the same can be said for your festive breaks – have a happy and healthy Christmas everyone, and remember, stay away from those darn sprouts!

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Present dilemma!

They do say it gets earlier every year, but I am finding the oncoming Christmas period thundering towards me like an out of control juggernaut with some seriously dodgy brakes.

A lot of it may be an age thing – in recent years, time has literally whizzed by, but it has to be said, the months of 2022 have been flashing by quicker than the UK Government can change its Prime Minister (we have had three different ones to date since the summer!).

So far I have taken some initial defensive action against the oncoming festive onslaught – the laborious process of cashing the contents of my change bottle, which I use to cover my Christmas season costs, has begun:

Big cash bottle splash …very little cash?

Most of the cold hard coins have now been converted to user friendly pound notes, but the expected cash take has been a bit lower than the bottle weight suggested – it looks like much of its heaviness was due to padding out by those irritating lower denomination coins such as the one and two pence pieces.

These and other small coinages are still to be banked, but I am expecting that the extra cash boost provided will be pretty negligible.

Still, it’s a start – funds will be needed to cover cards, Xmas food and booze, but the part of the Yuletide itinerary that I find the most perplexing is the presents.

The hackneyed old phrase usually doled out in respect of the old chrimbo pressies is that it’s the ‘thought that counts’, but as anyone who has experience of receiving rank gifts knows, it really doesn’t.

That line of reasoning leads only to the receipt of endless amounts of socks, underwear, handkerchiefs, slippers and any other permutations of mundane things you would never dream of wanting for Christmas!

My family and myself are now of an age where trying to pin down exactly what we want is a real challenge.

In my case, the usually dependable DVD box sets have been exhausted – the only thing I have been watching recently is ‘Breaking Bad’, and I am still working my way through the first two series. A spin-off series called ‘Better Call Saul’ has been earmarked for my sister.

At the moment there are no specific books I am after, but I have been dropping hints about a few novels in the ‘Nameless Detective’ series by an author called Bill Pronzini.

The real problem is that the things I really want cost way too much money – Arsenal Football Club, a country mansion, even the latest BMW car would be most welcome, so if anyone knows a generous, wealthy individual, please pass on my details!

Failing that, the practical approach seems to be the way forward. After lengthy negotiations with the family, a replacement for my trusty kitchen kettle is likely to be on the cards.

After about twelve years of solid service at my flat, the afore mentioned kettle has in technical terms gone south – the top now flies off when you depress the lever to add water, the on/off switch had worked loose, and it finally gave up the ghost completely last year when I was attempting to make that all important mid-morning cuppa.

At least it’s better than socks!

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Living the dream?

That’s what I think it is all about now – just living for the moment – to quote the strap line from a well-known sports shoe manufacturers, just do it!

I fully appreciate that there are limits. Unless you are a millionaire, life just doesn’t offer up the prospect of a care free hedonistic existence, but you can kind of scale down the parameters.

In my case, this involves me realising my dream of getting something that I have been meaning to buy for years, a seriously wide screen telly!

At the moment my flat is home to this monster:

Wide screen dream?

As you can tell, it is not too bad in the size stakes – it boasts an expansive forty seven inch monitor, sporting LED (Light Emitting Diode for those acronym lovers out there) technology which gives a good quality picture.

It does have some drawbacks though. The TV is about ten years old, and predates the flat screen models that came out later.

The set itself is bulky, and along with the cabinet housing takes up most of the area in front of the window, blocking the front room radiator.

There is also the competition to take care of – for years my forty seven inch telly trumped my mate from the Kingston Radio Station – his thirty two inch screen just didn’t cut the mustard! Then he turned the tables and got a fifty inch flat monitor TV that made my telly look as if it was from Jurassic Park.

So, action will need to be taken to free up my front room and return the TV size bragging rights very firmly back to the jurisdiction of New Malden!

The plan is to buy an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode – don’t ask but the contrast is supposed to be awesome) Smart TV set with a fifty five inch screen. These have a modern flat screen set up, and if it is mounted on the wall above the mantel piece, loads of room will be freed up.

Even though the funds are more or less in place, there are a few things way laying the purchase. The onerous household chore of fixing the kitchen sink taps will need to be sorted as a priority, and this could potentially cost.

Also, as I am now mostly in the family home helping care for my Mum, I just don’t get the time to organise things.

I have given myself the task of trying to sort these early next year, maybe as a New Year’s resolution.

If I can’t get these tasks done then it may well be the case of dreaming on!

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Trickle down, bounce back up?

As you’ve all guessed from the title this is yet another foray into the murky world of politics, and the pic below sums up the root cause of the current dilemma:

Climbing prices ….

The above gizmo is the control for my gas boiler, and due to prevailing conditions, my opportunity to use it to regulate the temperature in my flat over the oncoming winter months is going to be tested to the limit – my gas bill has tripled over the last few months!

Shortages of supplies accompanied by the effects of the Ukraine/Russian war have caused the international prices for oil and gas to soar, and the aftershock of this energy crisis has rippled out to engulf yours truly along with many others in the UK and across Europe.

Here in the UK Liz Truss’s government (yeah she won the leadership election as predicted) stepped in to the fray – a recent ‘Budget Event’ was hosted in Parliament where new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng outlined some of his plans to put right the cost of living and energy crisis.

Being fair, there were a few things mentioned that would be of direct help to people like me – energy bills for domestic users were not to be allowed to exceed a value of £3764, with this cap to be applied over a two year period.

A six month energy cap to cover business energy use was also pledged, though the finer details of this were yet to be decided.

Another plus to this capping is that it eases living costs – the energy bill reduction will shave a few percentage points off the UK inflation rate, which has been spiralling upwards of late.

The major fly in the ointment for me is how the energy caps are going to be funded – the potential costs could be in excess of £150 billion, and Liz Truss is pretty adamant that it is the tax payer, i.e. you and me, who will pick up the tab – she is going to be doing some maxi-government borrowing!

Some of the income tax cuts she was on about in her election campaign were also announced – the 45 % top rate tax for high earners was scrapped, and the basic rate which the rest of us pay was cut from 20% to 19%. How are these cuts going to be paid for? Yep you’ve guessed it, more government burrowing.

In addition to the scrapping of the National Insurance and Corporation tax rises, the bankers’ bonus limit, which was imposed to discourage future 2008 style financial meltdowns, was removed completely.

All the emphasis on tax cutting for the wealthy and financial deregulation all gave the Chancellor’s budget event a very retro feel – it was basically a return to the principle of ‘Trickle Down’ economics.

The theory goes that if the taxes of the wealthy are cut, they will spend the extra money returned on goods and services, causing this extra income to ‘trickle’ down into the pockets of the less well off in the economy.

My problem with this idea is that it does not have a proven track record of bearing fruit – if a millionaire gets more money through getting a tax cut, there is no real incentive to spend it. The most likely destination for any trickling extra cash will be to a bank account or an offshore tax haven.

Attempts at trickledown were made in the UK from 2010, and it was to no avail – there was no real evidence of any trickledown of funds.

Reaction to this Budget event has been decidedly cool so far – the scale of government burrowing has raised doubts in the minds of the financial and international exchanges – the pounds value has sunk to its lowest rate ever against the US dollar in the currency markets.

So far, neither Liz Trust nor Kwarsi Kwarteng are looking too bothered about this worrying feedback – they are sticking firmly to their belief that the British economy will grow to cover the increased level of government debt.

I just hope their gamble pays off.

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Leadership blues?

I can’t quite say if this phenomenon happens anywhere else, but currently here in the UK we are bang slap in the middle of what is known as the ‘Silly Season’.

Here in the UK, this starts early in June and lasts over those long summer months, when large numbers of those political and media types decide to head off on holiday.

Not a lot goes on in terms of news, and there are fewer journalistic folk around to report on anything that actually does happen!

Signs of the Silly Season include incredibly inane TV news reporting, and when those cheep’n cheerful game shows, which seemed like a very good idea at the TV executive liquid lunch, are suddenly given some air time.

Traditionally this period has not been known for quality TV broadcasting, but this year is very different, as the summer telly tedium is being mixed up by this particular media event – the Conservative Party Leadership Election contest between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak:

OK, it may not exactly be ‘the rumble in the jungle’ (that’s a reference to a legendary 1974 heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad. Ali and George Foreman just in case anyone is interested), but the election coverage is certainly livening up the summer TV schedules.

To fill in a bit of background, the whole thing was kicked off a few weeks back when fallen idol Boris Johnson was forced to step down from his role as Conservative Party leader as he became mired in allegations of political sleaze.

This was the trigger for all those latent Prime Ministerial wannabes in his party. Suddenly developing a new found sense of ethics, they all threw their metaphorical hats into the ring to vie for the prize of the Tory leadership role.

The initial starting line-up was of five contestants, who, over the course of a few weeks, were gradually whittled down – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were the last candidates standing.

That’s more or less where it’s at now – both Truss and Sunak have been spending the summer travelling up and down the country, attending the various hustings and meetings that allow them to make their case to the Tory faithful in the regions.

The candidate debates, the ones that were televised, offered up good knockabout stuff, and had the potential to be eventful – a lady reporter who was chairing one of them fainted in dramatic style! Some of the election news coverage made for very engaging viewing.

The main dividing line between the two contenders is the thorny issue of taxation.

Liz Truss has pledged to cut Income Tax, cancel the planned Corporation Tax rise, suspend the Green Fuel Levy on household energy bills, as well as reversing the planned rise in National Insurance contributions.

Her thinking is that this will free up money for the average punter to help counter the devastating effects of the rising living costs that currently beset the UK economy, and would help prevent the slide into economic recession that is predicted for next year.

Rishi Sunak believes that the way forward is to focus on fighting inflation – this is rising rampantly in the UK – the latest inflation figures show that prices went up by 10.1%, a new forty year high.

He believes that rising inflation is a clear and present danger to the UK, and that any tax cuts should only be made after UK inflation is on a dramatically downward trend. He has softened his stance slightly, as he also pledged to reduce VAT on Petrol to counter the rising fuel costs.

The bone of contention between the two candidates concerns the effects of Truss’s proposed sweeping tax cuts. She maintains that the resulting money freed up will allow extra consumer spending to see off the impending economic recession.

Sunak considers that her proposed tax cuts will fuel inflation, making it harder to squeeze it out of the economy. His other beef is that the tax cuts should be costed – reduced funds from lower tax receipts would mean that less money would be available to cover healthcare and other social spending commitments.

The two candidates also differ on how to tackle the rising energy prices. Sunak has pledged more government aid to households, whilst Truss considers that these ‘handouts’ are not required due to the extra cash freed up from her tax cutting endeavours.

What is interesting is the nature of the target audience they are pitching to.

Initially, in the part of the election process where five candidates were whittled down to two, the voters consisted of Conservative Members of Parliament.

At this stage, Sunak was cruising, and was consistently the front runner – Truss had more of a struggle, but made it to the remaining place in the top two.

The target voters then switched to the membership of the wider Conservative Party itself, and from this point the roles were reversed.

Liz Truss surged into the lead in respect of party support, with Rishi Sunak trailing way behind her, allegedly being perceived by many of the Party faithful as the political assassin of Boris Johnson.

As it stands currently, the opinion polls are predicting a comfortable majority for Liz Truss, and she is the bookies favourite to take over from Boris Johnson as Prime Minister after the votes have been counted on the 5th of September 2022 – the feeling generally is that the election is hers to lose.

However, there are just over three weeks to go, which, paraphrasing a very old saying, is an incredibly long time in politics – to coin anther old adage, it is a case of wait and see on the 5th September.

In TV terms, it is the only game in town!

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Tropical squash?

It’s been about two years since I signed up to this place:

Scenic view of the New Malden Sports Club

The mighty New Malden Sports Club is my current venue for getting in those all-important squash games, but it has to be said, my attendance over this time has been decidedly patchy.

The blame for this can be laid squarely at the door of COVID19 – I had literally just joined back in early 2020 when the pandemic kicked in, forcing the club to close its doors.

A stuttering re-start in the summer of that year lasted a couple of months until a resurgent COVID variant halted any prospect of getting any squash game time at all.

A friend, who I played a regular game with for years, felt compelled to hang up her squash racquet for good, racking up a yet another cost of the Corona virus spread.

It was about another year before the sports club eventually threw off its Lock Down chains, and its re-opening was the moment when my situation was pushed into stark relief.

A years’ worth of downtime had taken its toll – my fitness was non-existent, any squash skills I possessed had gone firmly south – in terms of squash ability I had literally hit those metaphorical buffers!

As you can tell, a rebuild was the order of the day, and that’s basically where I am now – desperately trying to reset my squash playing prowess.

I would say things are progressing, but it’s going very, very slowly.

I am back playing a regular game with another friend who I know from the legendary King Fisher Leisure Centre who was in pretty much in the same predicament.

In order to increase the number of my weekly games I joined the Squash Leagues early this year with varying degrees of success – I have been promoted, demoted, and have just managed to cling on to my league place – it’s been a bit of a roller coaster!

My recent attempts to play regularly have fallen foul of another unstoppable natural force, the weather.

In the past, when those summer temperatures climbed, my approach was to play on through the muggy heat – even though it can be like playing in a sauna, you do get acclimatised to it eventually.

Here in the UK the weather has been going tropical over the last couple of weeks – temperatures have been in the late 30s, and one fateful Tuesday (which is the day I usually play squash), the mercury hit a scorching record level of 40.3 degrees!

The friend who I played regularly with declined to play on that Tuesday, deciding to heed the Hot Weather Warning issued from the Met Office.

High temperature forecasts for the rest of that week also deterred other players from having a game.

Even though I could see where they were coming from, I did feel a bit disappointed.

On the day of the 40.3 degree sizzler, I took a break from my work at the family home – I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I headed into the garden.

I was instantly enveloped by a wall of heat which seemed to flatten me as I stepped outside – after a very few steps I was drenched in sweat, and felt a burning sensation on my exposed face, arms and neck. It was time to go back inside.

Although it pains me to say it, I just had to concede. The other players were right. There was no way you could play in this – it would be like having a squash match in a furnace!

The good news for me is that the weather predictions for the coming weeks are for much cooler weather – hopefully this will allow me to continue my quest of getting those squash games back on track.

Wish me luck!

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Rising Radio Phoenix?

Much has been said about the saga that enveloped Kingston Radio Station as outlined in my post ‘Broadcast Blues’, quite a bit of it coming from my good self.

As mentioned on the 27th November 2021, the outlook was looking pretty bleak for the venerated Kingston broadcaster.

The site owners had closed down the system that let our audience access our shows without letting us know, and to compound the management political blitzkrieg, a stark ultimatum was issued – Kingston Radio Station had to clear the site by the end of March 2022.

They were basically annexing the Kingston Radio studios!

For me and the other Radio Station members this proved to be a very bitter pill to swallow.

The current Kingston Radio Studios were all I had ever known since joining all those years ago. The Kingston Radio Station itself had been a presence on the site for over sixty years.

Over this time the Radio Station had worked very hard to foster a good working relationship with the Site Management team, and it became painfully obvious that it had all been for nothing.

The Site Management actions seemed totally unnecessary and underhand, not to mention downright disrespectful – they gave us no options, and made it plain there was to be no room for manoeuvre – we were being thrown under that mythical bus.

Without wanting to sound like one of those cheesy motivational videos, the Kingston Radio members were down, but we were definitely not out – there was nothing for it but to pull together and work through our predicament over the months that followed:

Back live …soon.

The meetings and discussions that took place eventually bore fruit. Some hard work by the Station Manger secured a new method of reaching our audience using wireless technology accessed from our listener’s phones and tablets.

A new Radio Station Member solved the ‘what no Studio’ problem with another nearby site in very close proximity to the original one. The lease for a room to house the studios was negotiated, and has just been recently signed off.

There were a few twists and turns along the way – the day of our eviction from our old studios was extended a couple of times due to the Site Mangers cunningly messing up the planning permission application!

The lease application process for the new venue was drawn out by a few weeks due to lawyer’s questions.

To all intents and purposes the lease for the new studios is now over the line.

I would love to think that this will lead to Kingston Radio Station rising Phoenix like from the ashes, elegantly raising a virtual two fingered salute to the former Site Management Team, but I am a realist – there is a way to go still.

We have still to set up the new studios, and we are currently broadcasting recorded shows on a sustaining service.

What I can say though is that Kingston Radio Station looks to have survived its toughest test yet!

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Rose in bloom?

It had been quite a while since I last filled a seat at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames. It was even further back in the mists of time that I experienced live music.

A recent night out killed those two birds with that one legendary stone, and, as you’ve probably guessed, it was at this place:

Where its at?

Through a very resourceful friend, I got hold of a ticket to see a live gig by the David Bowie tribute band ‘Absolute Bowie’.

The friend in question was a huge Bowie fan, and, as she had roped in a few more of her likeminded mates, it turned out that there was quite a crowd of us going along.

It was nice being back at the Rose, but one fly in the ointment was the drinks prices.

After meeting up as agreed in the bar, the purchase of the first round revealed that those booze prices had been hiked up – they were charging £6.50 for just under a pint of beer!

My friend was philosophical about it (her glass of wine cost even more!), saying that the bar earnings were helping fund the charity that runs the theatre.

With our overpriced drinks transferred safely into plastic glasses, we made our way to our seats.

The gig literally burst into life dead on the start time in a blast of sound and flashing lights.

There is no doubt about Absolute Bowie’s status as devout David Bowie fans – they replicated the look, the sound and the mannerisms of the man perfectly.

The level of detail was strictly adhered to and required frontman John O’Neil to make several costume changes, some of which were shown below:

Is it a bird, is it a plane …

Yeah I don’t know what he’s wearing either! All I can tell you is that it’s from the 70s.

The one below is from the same era and is a portrayal of the Bowie alter ego Aladdin Sane:

Kaftan Alert!

The costumes changes continued as they followed the Bowie songs through the decades – here is one from the 80s:


‘Diamond Dogs’, ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Changes’, ‘Modern Love’ … all the classics were sung, sounding eerily like the man himself – the only favourite of mine that was left out was ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ which was a bit of a shame.

The audience was definitely loving it – more and more people took to the aisles, enticed to dance by the beat.

By the end of the act, the whole audience were on their feet, moving and grooving away – the only exception was my good self. Feeling a bit self-conscious of my innate lack of dance ability, I stayed firmly in my seat. It did feel a bit lonely!

Despite not being the biggest Bowie fan, the energy of the performance and the audience rapport made for a very engaging evening, where the bulk of my Bowie favourites were sung.

I would advise anyone to go to an Absolute Bowie gig – its well worth a look in.

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Cornerhouse stone?

I don’t know about you, but I have found that amateur dramatics, or am-dram, is a pretty hit and miss affair. You basically just don’t know what you are getting.

Many years ago at college, a production by the in-house university drama group promised a night of pretty eclectic budget entertainment.

Whilst not trying to disparage the efforts of the budding freshman thespians, it was fair to say that my low expectation levels of the production were pretty much met.

Unlike some of my unkinder contemporaries who resorted to a bit of heckling, I just accepted it as part of the deal – it wasn’t as if we were paying West End prices.

My latest am-dram experiences have manifested themselves in recent times by visits to this place:

The am-dram hub?

The Cornerhouse Community Arts Centre is based in a town called Tolworth, deep in the heart of sunny south west London. I got to know it through a mate who lives just a couple of streets away.

There is more to the Cornerhouse than just the Amateur Dramatics. It has hosted stand-up comedy, provided a showcase for the work of local artists, as well as offering the local community a choice of workshops covering creative arts such as poetry and writing.

Their comedy nights have proved to be a hit with me – the comedians featured were ones I knew well from TV and other comedy circuits – Phil Wang, Sarah Pascoe, Greg Davis and Ed Gamble have all gigged there, including the legend that is Geoff Innocent!

My mate’s poetry group hosted an evening where a couple of pints and a very agreeable selection of cheeses were as much part of the evening’s itinerary as those obligatory ode recitals.

I really can’t claim to have seen much in the way of work from the local artists though.

For me, the prospects of Cornerhouse amateur dramatics are once more on the cards.

I have purchased a ticket for a production of ‘one act’ plays taking place this weekend. That’s all I know about it really – I am assuming that there will be two one act plays showing, but I may be wrong.

The Cornerhouse’s record in terms of am-dram has proven to be a bit variable over the years.

Howlers have included a production of the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (pardon the pun) that was a classic example of a show going badly wrong!

Misfiring props, collapsing scenery, fluffed lines, all conspired to cause proceedings to descend into a Bennie Hill type of farce! Both the audience and the cast ended up in fits of laughter for all the wrong reasons!

Very much on the plus side, a thumbs up goes to the annual Cornerhouse pantomime, which takes place every year in late January.

This is a topical re-working of a classic pantomime tale, and has to date ticked all of the boxes in terms of writing and production values, making for a very entertaining show.

What awaits me for this weekend’s am-dram offering is anyone’s guess.

Triumph or turkey, all will be confirmed when the final curtain goes down.

Place your bets now!

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Bills a go go!

If you thought I’ve blogged about this before you’d be right! Confirmation can be found in my post of 20th March 2018 titled ‘Pay-out time!’

As at the time of the aforementioned post, those big household bills have been piling up in true ‘Groundhog Day’ style, but this year’s cash sinkers are coming in at a more frenzied rate.

No sooner had I paid the water rates, the house insurance charge dropped through my letter box, followed on closely by the fearsome Council Tax Bill.

This is usually by far the biggest of the house hold bills (north of a grand!) but there is a chance that this may be dwarfed by the new bill on the block, the MOT.

For those who don’t know, the MOT is a mandatory test applied to all British vehicles to insure that they are road worthy – the resulting certificate proves that your motor has passed the required health check to be considered for taxation and insurance – it is basically a must for anyone intending to run a car in the UK.

My need for the MOT certification stemmed from the purchase of this bad boy a couple of years back:

Mean Machine? The mask on the floor is not mine by the way …

My new motor required this to be carried out towards the end of March each year, and as at the time of writing, this date is getting perilously close, I arranged for a trusted mechanic to take my car in for a service and MOT test.

Experience has taught me that even though my car has up to now been driving and handling well, it does not necessarily follow that there is no lurking motor issue that will cost a small fortune to correct!

Failing Clutches, ageing cam belts, blown head gaskets, not to mention balding tyres – all are past problems that have conspired to bump up the cost of getting my motor past that all important MOT test.

A friend of mine who had also bought a second hand car recently put it in for it’s MOT. He was expecting a couple of hundred quid to be charged to cover wear and tear – the reality turned out to be much more expensive – some failing suspension springs and worn out tyres meant that the final bill was north of £1,200!

My car goes in to the garage tomorrow. From the above, the cost of the MOT is anyone’s guess, so I could be significantly poorer by the time of my next post.

Wish me luck!

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