This week, for the first time ever, I felt old. I have sciatica which swaps from one side to the other, arthritis in one hand and what I think is the beginnings of IBS. On top of that it took me 2 weeks to remember a registration number that once would take me 2 seconds, and I forgot my parent's wedding anniversary.
I'm only 32.
Shit. No I'm not. I'm 33. I forgot that too. (Genuinely)
So, it's about time I committed some of my tales to paper. Well, a shonky server... but that's the best you can do in 2016.
First up, a list of the cars I've owned (as best as I can remember) in chronological order.
1985 VW Polo Formel E. C158 TRT. This was given to me even before I passed my test.
1991 Rover Metro S. J801 TAC. Bought about 3 months after I passed my test as I was convinced the Polo was about to shit its gearbox.
1987 Volvo 360 GLT. D781 ___ Managed three months in a Metro before the small car and smaller petrol tank became a bore.
Ford Mondeo and Honda Civic Coupe by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1999 Ford Mondeo Zetec. V384 DBJ. Still the most I've ever spent on a car. It was 3 years old and cost, from memory, about Â£8,000. Just think of the Rover R8s you could buy with that now!
1987 Volkswagen Golf GTI 8v by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1987 Volkswagen Golf GTI D79 CVV. I very nearly bought a MK1 Golf 1.1 but was persuaded, by my father amusingly, to buy this one from a different friend. From memory I gave about Â£500 for it, and sold it to some racers later that year for about Â£300. Amusingly, 16 year later I'd sell the Hartge wheels that came with the car for Â£530.
1999 Toyota Avensis CDX by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1999 Toyota Avensis CDX. V781 GDP. By far the best car I've ever had. Bought in 2002 for Â£5300, it had previously been a company car at British Telecom. I ran it from 62,000 to 174,000 before it became surplus to requirements. A German chap bought it on ebay for about Â£500 and drove over to collect it. Hero.
2001 Ford Mondeo Zetec by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2001 Ford Mondeo Zetec. Y821 EEB. I should have loved this car. I gave Â£500 for it in 2008 which was stupidly cheap by anybody's standards. It needed 4 tyres (which actually was nice to pick good ones for once) and a coil spring. Sadly, it was just bill after bill after bill. I sold it and promised to never own another Ford. I nearly succeeded.
1998 Nissan Almera by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1998 Nissan Almera GX Auto. S58 NLO. My late Grandfather's car and, upon reflection, my first proper attempt at bangernomics. I bought it for Â£500 in 2008 from the estate and ran it for well over a year and 30,000 miles. It was also my first automatic which, whilst a bit dumb, did lock up into overdrive and give a good 36 mpg no matter how it was driven.
2004 Ford Fiesta 1.25 LX and 2006 Ford Focus 2.0 Ghia by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2004 Ford Fiesta Zetec. AG53 BWL. My wife's car which I ran for a couple of years when I bought her a Focus as a wedding gift.
2003 Rover 75 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2003 Rover 75 Club SE. AX53 BFA. This is where my career as a serial car buyer really began. Ignoring all of the warning signs I decided to press a K Series into a daily 100 mile commute, which it did with aplomb. This wasn't actually the car I set out to buy, the one I'd agreed to buy OVERHEATED ON THE FORECOURT whilst I was doing the paperwork. Consequently I couldn't leave fast enough and bought a different car later that day.
2004 Toyota Avensis T30-X by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
2004 Toyota Avensis T3-X. KT53 DWZ. Sensible head back on, I decided to get back into something I trusted when my 3rd son was born. This was a lovely car, but not without its problems. The VVTi oil burning issues are well documented and do frequently occur. Ironically, this was less reliable than the Rover it replaced! Despite fearing the worst and 3 months off the road, the new owner has just MOTd it.
1999 Toyota Avensis SR by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1999 Toyota Avensis SR. V263 GDP. Back into bangernomics territory again. The last MK1 Avensis I had was the best car I'd ever had, so I hoped to replicate it with another T22 Avensis. This one came up for sale in my favourite (and rare) colour with a numberplate sequential to my previous car - so it was meant to be. I still have this now, and tomorrow it will tick around to 185,000 miles having been bought by me at 100,500.
1974 Morris Mini 1000 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1974 Morris Mini 1000. GEL 517N. Well, I always wanted one - and was young, free, single and well off at the time (2003). A memorable trip to buy it when I called my new girlfriend by my ex girlfriend's name 20 miles into a 200 mile weekend away. She's never forgiven or forgotten but we're still friends. Oh - and married.
1977 Ford Capri II GL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1977 Ford Capri II 1600 GL. SMY 675R. I can't remember why I bought this, other than I thought it'd be amusing. It was bought from Norwich for Â£350 and was perfectly well behaved for the 8 months that I had it (other than a flasher unit expiring). I remember being shocked just how much the windscreen would ice up inside, and duly sold it in November to a guy who was going to drive it daily! It's still alive and now, apparently, black! (Update - it's now silver!!!)
1989 Volvo 340 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1989 Volvo 340 DL. G67 AVN. I bought this for Â£80. Unbelievable. It was utterly bloody perfect. I wanted to do a banger rally which is why the guy gave it to me so cheap. I'm still yet to do that rally, but no longer have the car. I sold it for about Â£300 to a family who were clearly down on their luck who, I hope, still have the car.
1996 Toyota Granvia by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1996 Toyota Granvia. N775 JEV. My wife and I decided to increase our numbers further and, with our 4th son on the way, larger transport was required. We quickly realised you can either have 4 children and no apparel, or apparel and no children. After trying a very tired Mercedes Viano, the Granvia was found for 1/4 of the price and it's still here 2 years later. I can safely say that we'll never sell it - it really is another member of the family.
1993 Mercedes 190e by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1993 Mercedes 190e. L795 COJ. I've admired these cars since I was a child. In fact, one of the very few toy cars I still have from my childhood is a Mercedes 190e. Regular readers of "Memoirs from the Hard Shoulder" will know what a PITA this car has been since day 1, but I get the feeling it's a keeper. We'll see!
1983 Ford Sierra Base 1.6 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1983 Ford Sierra Base. GVG 510Y. Not explicitly my car, but it should be documented here for reference. Oh - and the V5 is in my name. The story is online for all to read as to how five of us acquired what is believed to be the only remaining Ford Sierra Base. Make a brew and read it, it's a fantastic story.
1982 Ford Sierra L by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1982 Ford Sierra L. LCR 503Y. I accidentally won this on ebay for Â£520. Upon reflection, I shouldn't have sold it - but short stop of saying I regret it. I could never get truly comfortable driving it and, in fairness, I could scratch my Sierra itch with the base if I wanted. Sold it at a stupid profit of Â£1250. It is believed to be the oldest remaining Ford Sierra in the UK.
1979 Volvo 343 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
1979 Volvo 343 DL. DBY 466T As you'll see above, I'd had a 360GLT as a younger lad and fancied one of these earlier cars. The variomatic is, frankly, terrible but amusing. This car has just 8000 miles on the clock and inside was absolutely timewarp. Sadly, the huge bill for the Mercedes 190e cylinder head rebuild meant I had to sell this car shortly after acquiring it. Since then I've had a bit of money luck, and now realise I didn't need to sell it after all. Typical.
I think that's it. My arthritis is playing up even more now. I've left out a few cars that were actually my wife's, but if I find pictures will add them in at a later date. I'll run this as an ongoing thread on cars and what's happening.
Purple Avensis: Just about to click over 185,000. Minor drama this week when an HT lead split but otherwise utterly fantastic, fantastically boring and boringly reliable.
Granvia: Just done 1000 miles in a month around Norfolk, 6 up with suitcases. 31mpg achieved on the way up which is good for an old tub with a 3.0 Turbo Diesel on board. ODO displaying 175,000 which is a mix of miles and kilometers. Say 130,000 miles for argument's sake.
Mercedes: Being a PITA. It's had the top end completely rebuilt after the chain came off. Now needs welding to pass another MOT and the gearbox bearings are on strike. It's about to go into the garage for winter until I can stomach it again. 151,000 miles on the clock.
Sierra bASE: Still on sabbatical with AngryDicky who only took it bloody camping in cornwall! Legend.
Just about an hour ago I went to start my car up, had Mrs Dustman with me, to go and pick Miss Dustman up from work. Turned over fine but took a while to fire up.
Steering felt heavy. Thought maybe as it's currently -5 + wind chill it's just cold & the fluid is thick.
Started reversing out my bay then I was greeted with:
"DING DONG" - ABS fault.
"DING DONG" - ESP fault
"DING DONG" - headlamp auto levelling not working, contact service.
I shut the car down straight away and we went in Mrs D's Corolla.
Alternator is less than 2 months old, it's a recon unit from Alternator Man in Portsmouth. Hoping the cold isn't killing the battery and it's taking the 'nator out with it (battery passed the drop test last time the no-charge warning came up). Looks like a session with the multimeter after work tomorrow.....
Mrs Dustman has a dash cam she wants me to fit to her '99 frog face Corolla. It came with a hard wire kit as opposed to the usual fag lighter lead, so I might as well make a decent* job of it and hide the wiring completely. Trouble is I can't remember how I got the radio pod out when I fitted the DAB unit she now has. I've also got a few dash illumination bulbs to change so I might as well do it all in one hit while it's a sunny afternoon.
A bit of googling comes up with the US spec dash which appears to be different from the European model, or the 2002-on model. I seem to remember spudging out the dash vents to access some bolts/rivets.
Failing that, is there an easier place to get a switched live from (besides the radio) that doesn't involve destroying the car's interior?