7 for 7.30pm on Saturday, featuring Vivaldi's Gloria and shorter items by Purcell, Bach and Mozart. Viewers within range of BBC Oxford may possibly see a glimpse of me on Friday's 6.30pm news on BBC1 in the background during a report about this event, because it's of local interest, this being [the descendant of] the choir that Ivor Setterfield picked out of a "deprived" East Oxford estate to go and sing at the Albert Hall.
So last week I was having another look at Autotrader and discovered some cars at Thame Service Station that were worth looking at. This place had previously escaped my attention because it's not on Network Q (although since they seem to deal primarily in nearly-new cars, the cars perhaps don't benefit from being on Network Q). I requested a lift there at the weekend. And (in the second boggle of the week) none of the car dealers I'd previously been to rang me up to see if I was still interested in visiting them. Thame had a Corsa 1.3CDTI cheaper (but more miles) than Abingdon and a couple of pretty new Corsa 1.2 Energys (which have slightly more power and better fuel efficiency than the previous 1.2 models) so it looked promising.
They had sold the diesel by the time I got there, but I test drove the dark blue Energy and it seemed fine, so I bought it. They absolutely wouldn't budge on the price, though, which is a shame. And the salesman instead of sitting me down to negotiate about the price, tax, warranty, etc sat me down to give me a talk on GAP insurance. But when all said and done it's still not a bad price for this car; registered since 30 June 2010 with 5500 miles for £7999. And it still has a manufacturer's warranty until the third anniversary of registration. (I also get 7 days' free comprehensive insurance cover, offered in conjunction with Aviva who are clearly using it to try to sell you an annual policy.)
They wanted to service and valet the car before handing it over, so I paid a deposit and waited for a call on Monday. Monday evening I got an email from the salesman which said, not "I'm happy to tell you your car is ready", but "Im just emailing to see if you have had any further thoughts with regards to the GAP insurance we discussed at the weekend?" So Tuesday morning I replied "No, I haven't. Is my car ready yet? ;-)" And that afternoon they rang to ask me when I wanted to collect the car.
Good points: seems to drive well (so far) and promises decent fuel efficiency. Is shiny and a good colour. Spare key. Air conditioning. Looks like a decent stereo (or "infotainment system", as the manual calls it) which will no longer have alien symbols instead of the numbers on the display like my last one. Heated mirrors, apparently (but still nothing for the front windscreen when starting from cold). The interior is actually pretty similar to that of the hire car I had over Christmas.
Minor disappointments: smallclanger has got used to having a light in the back so he can read during night drives, but this car doesn't have one. (He also wanted a sunroof, for no particular reason, but none of the cars I was looking at had one.) The car radio is FM/AM, not DAB, and it has long since been known that the Government intends to turn off analogue transmissions. The glovebox is only just big enough to hold the wheelnut kit and the car documentation and nothing else (although when you open it, as well as a space for a cup it has "card holder in cheque card format; pen holder; pocket torch holder". And there's a small retractable tray under the passenger seat). The back seat doesn't split for flexible luggage conveyance. It will probably be quite hard to get smallclanger's bike in and nearly impossible to get my bike in, but that's what you get for buying a small car. :-)