Time for a drink. And a smoke.

My car has been making an odd noise for the last couple of weeks.  We first noticed it on the way back from my cousin's wedding (congratulations Mel and Lal!), when we stopped at some traffic lights in Castle Cary and heard a faint ticking noise coming from the engine.  My wife described it as being like a leaf caught in a bicycle wheel.  My keenly trained ears quickly assessed it to be in sync with the rotational speed of the engine, and experience told me it was probably something running dry.  Obviously the engine could do with a top up of oil, and I mentally scolded myself for not checking the level before we left.And then, well, things got in the way.  It was raining.  We were ill.  I was busy.  There just wasn't an ideal time to pop out and top up the oil, so I just carried on driving to work and back with that ticking noise in the background, a constant reminder that actually the engine wasn't all that happy, and that I really should do something about it.  Finally, this morning, just as we were about to head off to Tesco for the weekly shop, I remembered and checked the oil level.  It was indeed low.  It wasn't even registering on the dipstick.  My bad.  So I hunted around in the garage and found the oil, but realised too late that it wasn't nearly enough.  So I put what we had into the car and drove to Tesco, where I parked up and walked round the corner to the garage to buy some more.(more…)

By Matthew, ago

Where three to five are gathered

Image courtesy of wedgienet @ flickrAt the weekend, which for some reason began on Thursday, we had visitors.  Not just any run-of-the-mill, common or garden, everyday type visitors.  Oh no.  These were special.  Anne-Marie and Sarah are our best friends from Colchester.  I lived with one of them for two years, Ellie lived with the other for two years, and they're now living together in what used to be my house.  It's all rather confusion really.  We've been through a great deal, the four of us, the good and the bad, the ordinary and the random, the practical and the spontaneous.  So close is our relationship that they no longer fit into the category of 'friends' - they have managed to transcend that definition and become more like family.  They are the sisters I never had.  And I love them both very much.Anyway, enough of this mushy stuff, back to the story.AM and Sarah came to visit on Thursday, having made the journey in Sarah's little blue Fiesta all the way from Colchester (a good 4 hour drive, not including loo stops), and arrived on our doorstep laden with hugs and presents for Samuel.  Both their presence and their presents were very much appreciated (see what I did there?).(more…)

By Matthew, ago