A few breaths of new life

Neddy went back to the garage today for a MOT retest, following a fail last week due to a worn upper ball joint on the front near-side wheel. Billy fitted a replacement ball joint for me on Saturday, and I’m pleased to announce that the Mini passed the test this time round! They also only charged me half price for the retest, which I thought they could only offer if I had the car retested within three days of the original test, but they didn’t seem to complain, so neither did I. So I now have a fully legal car again, which is something of a relief.

To celebrate, I stopped in at Halfords and bought the car equivalent of a manicure set – some valeting cloths, Autoglym polish, and some window cleaning fluid. I’d washed the car yesterday, so it was still pretty clean, it just needed a little more care and attention to make it shine a little more vibrantly. I’m ashamed to say that this was the first time Neddy’s had a polish since I bought him, so it was a welcome treat. The window cleaning fluid works a treat, even though it’s far from the most expensive product on the shelf. The polish is apparently very good, being made by that very reputable car cleaning company, Autoglym. But because Neddy’s paint is slightly metallic anyway, it wasn’t exactly easy to see the difference in the shine. Still, it was satisfying doing it, and polishing everything I could lay my hands on. Even the mirrors and chrome bits got a wipe with the glass cleaner. My next investment will probably have to be engine degreaser, as the engine block is really mucky. I think the rocker cover gasket is leaking as well, which is frustrating because that was done over the summer – obviously not well enough!

I also discovered this morning that we have baby Collared Doves in the nest outside my bedroom window again. We had a clutch earlier in the year too, and I noticed that the adults were around the nest again recently, and when I checked this morning there were two little chicks sitting there! I just hope that we don’t have the dramas we had before, with the chicks jumping the nest too soon and finding themselves stranded in the garden…

And finally, having set up an RSS feed for the BBC technology video news gubbins, I watched a news article today about Second Life, an online community that is enjoying enormous growth at the moment. I’ve looked at the web site, and it all looks rather exciting. Anne-Marie plays Runescape a lot when she’s home, but Second Life looks less like a fantasy role-playing game and more like a complete new life, as the title suggests. There is no aim or goal, as such, you just live there (virtually) and do whatever you want (within reason). For instance, you can wander around exploring the ever-changing world, you can make friends with other people living there, go to concerts and live online recitals, or you can just have a laugh rollerskating along the beach or dancing in the clubs or skiing or swimming in the sea… the list is pretty much endless. And if you want to dabble in the monetary side of things, you can buy virtual objects in the world, you can buy land to build your house on, you can make money by designing virtual objects for other people to buy, and at the end of the day you can take your virtual money to a virtual beaureu de change and take your money out in US dollars in the real world! Very cool. And the graphics look pretty good too, considering it’s an online 3D world. I think my Mac might just about manage it, but although it looks like a lot of fun, I really don’t want to get distracted by yet another toy – my real life is busy enough, I’m not sure I could keep track of two lives at once!

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