Tuesday, 2 May 2017

April 2017 Review

Maintenance month.

I watched a number of car maintenance and driving channels in April, and prompted by Scotty Kilmer telling us that he changed his oil every 6,000 miles and that anyone who didn’t was storing up troubles, I checked the service frequency on the Punto. Uh-huh. I was around 37,500 miles and should be having services every 12,000 miles. So I booked it in a local Fiat dealer and got a full service, with oil changes and other good stuff. This requires driving there at 06:30, leaving the car on the street, taking the slow train to work, and then taking the slow train back, and driving home in the evening. It makes a change, and if you look along the track at the station you could be in the country. My regular station is much less domestic and friendly.

The garage found a bunch of other things - leaking gearbox seal, worn rear shock bushes, a hole in the exhaust and thin front break pads - that I drive away, thought about, called them and said YES to. I’m passing on the new set of tyres for a few more months. I can’t tell you how many pounds lighter I am for all that.

The back porch acquired a vivid green sheen, which I killed with mosskiller. I tackled cleaning the path to my front door, which has been looking grungier as the years have gone by. This is not rocket science: wet the path, pour on diluted cleaner from a watering can with sprinkler head, scrub in with stiff bristle broom, count to a hundred, water again and scrub clean. However, it’s a lot more effort on muscles I don’t use in the gym. Lower back. Gardening is hell on the lower back.

My brown garden waste bin from Hounslow Council arrived within days of me applying for it at the start of the month - I was expecting it in mid-May - and I spent the first two shots getting rid of lawn cuttings and other stuff from months ago. This week they are taking away some plant trimmings and more grass cuttings. I’m far more motivated to do an hour’s hard labour with shears and trimmers when I can dump it all in the bin and not have to drive to the Tip. This is as big a result as buying your own washing machine and never going to the launderette ever again.

Talking of launderettes, I read a book about sleeping, and it prompted me to try cleaning my duvet and pillows. These are always washed, even if you take them to a Dry Cleaner. I took one of my duvet+pillow sets to the local launderette for a service wash, and while they got the duvet right, I had to air out wone of the pillows and dry out the other one with heaters and radiators. Not going back again, but the idea is a good one. Except, it isn’t cheap. Unless you have expensive Siberian goose-down pillows, it may be cheaper simply to replace them. In cost terms, two washes = one new feather duvet.

And yes, I did the thing with the mattress and a vacuum cleaner - I have a Dyson V6 with an animal-hair brush head - and it didn’t pick up a darn thing. But then I use a mattress cover. I washed the newer one and replaced the worn one, requiring a trip into John Lewis in Kingston, something I usually try to avoid as much as possible.

And as described elsewhere, I got my little Asus back working well again. Curse Windows Update.

So that was all the exciting stuff.

Sis and I just squeezed in a supper, at Native in Neal’s Yard. The food was good, but the atmosphere was a little too casual. Quite where they found carrots that small I have no idea. I had a trip to Gulu Gulu after the gym on Payday Friday. Oh yes. I know how to live it up!

No movies. None. I finished off Angel S4.

I read Nick Littlehale’s Sleep: The Myth of 8 Hours, and I thought it had a lot of good ideas. I have definitely switched over to thinking of sleep in 90-minute (ish) cycles. Also David Ley’s The Myth of Sex Addiction, Alex Reinhart’s Statistics Done Wrong, Juan Pablo Villalobos’ I’ll Sell You A Dog, and Thomas Oliveri’s anthology Geek Art, and I finally finished Michael Rush’s textbook on Video Art.

Maintenance. Does anybody really budget for it?

But I like getting maintenance done. And I don’t mind paying for it. Which doesn’t mean I rush about finding stuff to do, but I don’t grudge it when I have to do it. It’s a form of looking after myself. It lets me know I’m not letting everything slide.

And over Easter, I ate my way through a Tre Marie Columba from Lina Stores.

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