Friday, 4 January 2013

I Suppose It Was Inevitable Really

After driving over seventeen thousand miles since leaving Southport in July I suppose that it was inevitable that we'd eventually hit a snag with the Prius. But, excepting for the time when someone reversed into the car in  Leuchars Station car park, we have had a problem free time. Until this morning that is. As we drove out of the Chantry Park Premier Inn with the prospect of a carefree morning in the Suffolk countryside we noticed a loud grating noise. The car has been regularly serviced and only passed its MOT a couple of weeks ago but this sounded like a brake problem that we had about twenty thousand miles ago.

We phoned our Southport Toyota dealer contact and asked for details of an Ipswich agent. We keyed the post code they gave us into the SatNav and headed towards them. I phoned about a mile before we were due to arrive only to find that they were a Ford garage (thank you Johnsons Southport good to know you're keeping up to date). The Ford garage gave us the Toyota number and we headed off in their direction. Again we phoned en route only to find their service department trying to persuade us that the (by now much louder) grating was probably just a bit of corrosion that had appeared overnight - hmm. Anyway, helpful Mr Toyota Ipswich was fully booked and, my pleas for help seeing that we were due to head to St Andrews in the morning fell on stony ground and elicited scant sympathy with the best he could offer a reluctant "I suppose you could bring it in some time this afternoon and we will see if we have time to have a look."

SIngularly unimpressed I hastily rescheduled the meeting that we had with the landscape gardener in Framlingham and headed there. I drove very cautiously with as little use of the brakes as I could. While I drove, Marion looked up  garages in Framlingham and we phoned John Grose Ford. Like Toyota, they too were fully booked, but they could not have been more helpful and  offered to squeeze us in. To cut a long story short they checked over the car, found a worn brake pad and have arranged to fix it before we head back to Scotland in the morning. They also loaned us a very nice car to get back to the hotel in. So hats off and thank you to John Grose and a very big thumbs down to Lancaster Toyota of Ipswich for their lack of interest in our plight and frankly ridiculous diagnosis of the potential problem. Little things like this can have a big impact. We sold Marion's car in July with the intention of replacing it when we moved to Suffolk. Which of those two dealers is more likely to get our business?

Meanwhile, back at the house, the kitchen fitters, John and Wayne from Orwells, are making progress. We're still some time away from completion but the appliances are mostly in place and we've even got one cupboard door in. The work top has been templated and will be with us in a couple of weeks. After that we just have to have the glass splash backs made and we'll be finished.

The wardrobe fitters from Langtry Fitted Furniture in Ely arrived yesterday and just over thirty hours later, the dressing room was finished. It was great to see this job run so smoothly. The wardrobes and dressing table look good and blend in beautifully with the wallpaper. That's our bedroom almost finished now. Just the carpet to arrive on Wednesday and upstairs will be virtually complete.

The meeting with the landscape designer and landscaper went well and they are set to start on Monday. We've got a meeting with Gill from Orwells in the morning and then (car brakes permitting) it's the long slog back to St Andrews for the last time until March.  

One final word about our three days in Suffolk. Regular readers know that we love cinema. After an exciting screening of The Hobbit at Ipswich Cineworld IMAX on Wednesday, we tried The Riverside in Woodbridge yesterday. How's this for cinema food? - Yes I did take a bite out of the mini fish and chips before I decided to take the photo. It's their take on Tapas - absolutely delicious. After that we went to see Quartet. Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut is funny, but also poignantly sad and, watching it in a screen full of grey haired viewers, we both ended the afternoon reaching for the tissues and wondering if we should go for something a little further from home that won't remind us too much of our own mortality next time. Wonderful cinema though.