On your marks, get set… Go!

Today I decided not to do any work. At least, not the paid kind. I’ve actually been pretty busy, just not in front of my computer, which has been a pleasant change. Admittedly this morning I did faff around on my computer, but not quite productively. I recently bought Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 for my PC, only to get it home and remember than neither of my CD drives currently work!! I’ve tried various things to bypass the problem, like copying the CD onto my hard disk across the network (using the working CD drive in my Mac), and even mounting the copied folder as a network drive to try to fool the game into thinking that the CD was indeed inserted. But I just couldn’t persuade it to work. The game is just too clever. Or too stupid, depending on how you look at it. So I shall have to invest in a new drive sometime soon so that I can play that game.

After that distraction I headed into the garage to give my Mini a service. I’m going to be doing a lot of driving over the next few days, so I thought it would be a good idea to check the car over beforehand! The brake fluid warning light had come on a few times recently, so I had a look at that. The level wasn’t actually too low, but of course when you go round a corner sharply (as often happens with Minis) the fluid sloshes around and confuses the sensor. Anyway, I topped that up anyway just to be on the safe side, and did the same with the engine oil while I was at it. The water was fine (though it’s looking a little dirty, I’ll have to drain it and put some fresh water in before too long). I also checked the spark plugs while I was under the bonnet – the performance hasn’t been quite as smooth as I had been expecting (a lot better since putting the RC40 exhaust on, but still not perfect) and I wondered if perhaps the mixture was slightly out. However, none of the plugs looked at all discoloured or damaged, so that rules that out. Unfortunately I couldn’t have a look at the air filter, because I still can’t get one of the bolts undone. I’ve sprayed it with WD40, but it still refuses to budge. The head is all rounded off, so it looks like the previous owner had difficulty with it too. Not quite sure what to do with that, but I’ll have to find a solution fairly soon, I reckon that might be the source of my performance lag. I’d really like to put a nice K&N replacement filter in there, or maybe even a K&N SPI filter kit, but I’d settle for a normal one if only I could get the thing out first!!

Other than that, there are a few other bits and pieces that’ll need doing soon, though not immediately. It looks suspiciously like the rocker cover gasket is dead, and is leaking a little oil out. There is some oil around the head gasket too, but it’s hard to tell if that’s coming out of the head gasket or has dripped down from the rocker cover. Still, now that summer is nearly here I reckon it won’t be too difficult to get out there and sort it out. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a wuss still when it comes to car maintenance – I’d prefer to do it when it’s warm so that my fingers don’t freeze off!

I also mowed the lawn this afternoon, first time this year. It’ll need tidying up again before too long, but at least it’s a more manageable length now. Ellie and I are thinking of maybe having our engagement party in the garden with a BBQ, so I figured it might be good to get the garden looking half-decent while the sun was out! I also did some ironing – I haven’t done any in ages, but since I’m going to a wedding at the weekend I thought I ought to make the effort and iron a shirt for once! Incidentally, I’m not going to be around much over the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow afternoon I’m off to the Eastern edge of Kent, ready for a wedding on Saturday afternoon (I’m doing the wedding photos, very scary), then Ellie and I are heading straight off to Torquay to stay with my parents for a couple of days, before going up to Minehead for Spring Harvest. Then after that we’ll be off to Gloucester to see Ellie’s folks and have the first of our engagement parties, and then eventually coming back to Colchester. So pretty busy. And lots of travelling for Neddy too.

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