October 17th, 2003



It happened to be J's mother's birthday one week ago and mine five days ago, so on the 11th J and I and her parents congregated at a local branch of the Beefeater chain for a late lunch. It was good, though the things which were in batter were overdone, and I have had better meals from there. T was awake for much of the time and had to be picked up and walked around between courses. Later (quite a bit later, as we were stuffed) we had a take-home Indian meal from Tesco, which I think I was still digesting the next morning.

I also had half an official birthday on Saturday (because the 12th was otherwise occupied), so I opened a couple of presents and some cards, and in the evening we watched series 3 of Coupling, which happened to be one of my presents. :-)

We were up moderately early (though not insanely so) on Sunday for a drive up to Wolves to visit buzzy_bee and her hubby and father-in-law. Officially we were there to help them move, although in the end we didn't do that much because they seemed to have things under control (either that or they hadn't got round to transporting the rest of the stuff from the flat). Anyway, I helped them to assemble a double bed and J helped them to arrange the books and CDs on shelves in some sort of order, and then we went out for a(nother) late pub lunch, which was pretty good (and despite protesting that I couldn't manage a dessert, I did have one in the end, so that's two consecutive days of overeating).

After we got back we watched series 3 of Father Ted, which had been another of my presents.

Random meanderings along the M40

October is the start of a new academic year - and (more importantly) of the leave year, so I took the day off work yesterday, for various reasons:
  • I was originally going to take Monday off so I could have a bit more of a proper birthday (for instance, I couldn't have a lie-in on Sunday - or Saturday, for that matter, because T was awake and wanted attention), but was asked not to because it was the first day of Full Term, so I semi-arbitrarily chose Thursday instead;
  • bopeepsheep wanted to see Kenny Young and the Eggplants, who are in Oxford tomorrow, the only trouble being that we have already accepted a wedding invitation and the wedding happens to be in Hampshire - so instead, she planned to see them in London last night;
  • we need general catching-up-on-sleep and tidying-up to be done.
In the end, though, none of these things happened.

smallclanger has the sniffles and had a fairly bad night on Wednesday, so at about 8:30am J rang the doctor's office to try to get an appointment. Luckily, she had warned me in advance that she was doing this and told me to get dressed, because they said she could see the doctor in 15 minutes - so off we went.

Fortunately the doctor pronounced him free of any bacterial infection and said we were doing the right things. So it was back via the pharmacy to pick up some saline nose drops and on to Tesco for a rather more elaborate than usual breakfast, which was jolly nice.

Then straight back out to the health centre where they were running a resuscitation class (what to do if your baby chokes, etc), and eventually back home for a bit of lunch.

Since we are going on a long drive tomorrow we thought it might be good to get the radio fixed. So we looked up the dealership on the web, printed out some directions from MapQuest and set off down the M40 to High Wycombe. This trip was mainly characterised by taking the wrong exits off roundabouts (and reminded me somewhat of gnimmel's adventure in Bedford, except that one was somewhat more deliberate). Anyway, actually getting to High Wycombe wasn't too much trouble, and although the directions let us down once we were there it wasn't too long before we spotted the dealership in question (and followed an arrow pointing to the middle of nowhere, which was probably a mistake, so we turned back and just parked on the street instead). The chap there without any hesitation fed the details into his computer and wrote a four-digit number on the back of a business card, and I thanked him and left. This number bore no resemblance at all to the one that Citroën UK had posted to us, but unfortunately we couldn't try it out immediately because the blasted thing was still in its error-lockout mode despite having been turned on for the last 45 minutes (the doc says it should be 22 minutes).

So, since it is apparently one of J's ambitions to go round Asda in High Wycombe, we set off toward that establishment. Which would have been fine, if J had remembered where it was. As it was, she informed me that it was one exit further along the M40, but on arriving at junction 3 we found an entrance but no exit. Consequently we had to continue on to junction 2 in the hope of turning round.

This is where roundabouts began to get the better of me. Seeing a sign pointing to the `M40' I began to exit the roundabout at junction 2 of the M40, and by the time I read the word `London' it was too late to back out and we ended up back on the same side of the motorway that we had just left. But the good news was that the error indicator on the radio went away.

It was at this point that J said we were nearly at Ealing, where she has an aunt and uncle (and a couple of cousins, one of whom is her godson) and so it might be nice to keep on going and see them (which, to skip to the end of this story, it was). Unfortunately we missed the exit on the A40 which would have taken us there, so we carried on in heavy traffic to the next one and turned round - after, of course, a short tour of the area owing to the fact that I left a roundabout one exit too early.

Not long before we actually got where we were going, while we were stopped at some particularly slow traffic lights, I entered the number I had been given and miraculously the radio burst into life. Hooray!

And what's more, we did eventually get to the right house, and they were in, and T got to meet some more of his relatives.

Another wrong turning later, we made it back to the A40 and it was plain sailing from there on.

Since Saturday morning we have driven 340 miles. Long trips are good for the MPG figures (48 over that distance compared with 38 over the previous four months).