The job is still a little hush, hush (but most people who know me will be able to guess) so I'll tell you about the car saga.
Well, my little Punto proved to be a bad investment but I'm trying to see it as a positive impact on my life because it focused my attention on what was important. Without getting all deep and meaningful (I'll leave that for later on when I reflect on my mid-life-crisis), driving an unreliable car made me feel frustrated. I found that I chose not to drive to places because I wasn't sure if the car would make it - so it also had an impact on my social life. Everything came to a head when the engine kept over-heating...this came to light last week on my mission to the SSPCA - on the way home, the warning light came on. From this point onwards I decided that I HAD to get a reliable car if I was considering going back to work.
And this time, I wanted to take the plunge and get the most reliable car for country life - a diesel 4x4. So the hunt was on. My shortlist contained Honda, Toyota, Kia and Skoda. I am please to report that I test drove one of each rather than buying the first car I drove (lesson learnt from Punto experience). The Honda kept coming up on top. Toyota was a bit noisy, Kia was too high for Skye to jump into and the Skoda Octavia was too long and too rare. Having chosen a Honda - the hunt was on for the right car at the right price. After a bad experience at Arnold Clark (talk about slimy car-sales-man) my choices were limited. A general rule for buying cars in the North East of Scotland is to go south for cheaper cars so I found 3 Hondas in Edinburgh to test drive. It all happened so quickly...
Thursday - up early, pack an overnight bag (just in case) drive to mum's to drop Skye, top up Punto coolant, drive to nearest train station, get train to Edinburgh, on train text my good friend to line up crash pad if car sale came off. My first stop in Edinburgh was purely determined by the fact that one garage offered to collect me from the station. My train arrived at lunchtime and after a smooth drive and umpteen negotiations - 4 hours later I did the deal. The clincher was that they would fast track the car through the MOT and service and would allow me to drive the car home the very next day. Result.
Luckily, my friend, Ray, put me up for the night and we enjoyed an impromptu girls night in with a bottle of pink Prosecco and Cadbury's cream eggs. Ray literally lives round the corner from the garage so it worked out quite well. I spent the Friday morning watching Andy Murray get beat in the Australian Open semi-finals before the garage called to say my car was ready. Woo hoo.
A smooth drive home (with a stop at mum's to pick up Skye) got me back home just in time for a quick turnaround to join my friends for a pre-arranged meal. The food was absolutely fabulous so I need to give a bit of publicity to Cafe Boheme.
Saturday was another busy day because I had abandoned my little in Punto at the train station so I had the tense situation of driving it to my dad's for a safety check. What a difference driving the Honda v's the Fiat. Fortunately my dad has agreed to try and sell the Punto for me - my saviour.
The end of the busy week was a sad one because I said goodbye to the Guide Dogs that I've been working with for the last 6 months. They are amazing dogs and I've learnt so much from the people who work there.
One of the guide dog activities involves stimulating the dog's mind with interactive games. I was impressed at how quickly the dogs grasped the concept of hidden treats and sliding hatches...so I thought Skye would enjoy them too. Skye's boredom intensified due to lack of walking and playing (I was scared of over-stretching her legs if she played hide and seek in the house)...so I invested in a couple of interactive games for Skye and she loves them.
And to end on a high note another bonus for Skye:
Skyebird and Dougal - get ready to hit Europe!!!
9 weeks to go...