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Tuesday 28th April 2020


In the last 5 weeks I have only left the village to go to the supermarket (or to walk into the countryside) but due to a management malfunction I had to go into Hitchin to MOT my car today. I usually MOT in April as that's when the tax comes up and had assumed that I could therefore extend my MOT for six months. But I discovered (almost by accident) yesterday that my MOT had in fact come up in January (I must have combined it with a service last year) and so I was not able to extend. Luckily Kwik Fit was open and unsurprisingly perhaps, had some spaces, so Icould get this done just in time.
If I had off street parking I would actually have registered as off road as this is my big car which I only use for touring, family trips or if my wife needs a car at the same time - but we need to keep the electric car in the garage so we can charge it, so the tour car needs to be roadworthy even if I am not touring.
The garage had the social distancing thing down pretty well and I wasn't allowed to wait in the waiting room (or even enter the garage) when I arrived, so I had to kill an hour walking around Hitchin (and picking up some groceries). A mundane activity has become like a surreal adventure in the space of a couple of months.
I hadn't been able to find a scarf to use as a face mask, though felt quite half-hearted about the idea, but I then found my running bumbag which worked pretty well as it was made of breathable material and the zip looked like a big smile. I tied it in a know round my neck and occasionally lifted it over my mouth and nose if there were people around. Unless I felt self-conscious about having a bum bag on my face. Making it a bit redundant.
But imagine, even two months ago that I had been told I would walk round Hitchin with a bumbag on my face and no one would really give me a second look…
I got back to the garage after an hour and was told my car needed new wipers and that my front tyres had technically passed the MOT but would need changing within a couple of hundred miles. I thought I might as well get them changed, so had another forty minutes to walk around in the drizzle. I found a park I didn't know about and walked around it. The playground was unused, the allotments locked up and the grass expanse empty. Which it might have been anyway in the rain, but still very odd.
I got home, with my car with new front tyres that would probably go unused until 2021 but with the MOT I needed. My insurance was coming up too and it struck me that I was not going to get anywhere near the mileage that I usually do so I rang up to check what difference 5000+ fewer miles a year would make. It was over £150, which almost paid for the tyres.
I felt pretty good about that. In times of the virus we have to take out victories where they come - but worth bearing this in mind if your insurance is coming up and you usually drive a lot.
I wasn't going to drink tonight, but everyone had had a good day and my wife opened a bottle of wine with family dinner and a glass wasn't going to hurt. For me and my wife. The kids didn't want any. The lightweights.
I ended up having two glasses and then filling my (smallish) glass for a third. I could do the baths for the kids a little bit tipsy. I sat down to watch a bit of telly with the kids before bed. My daughter was swinging her cuddly toy cat over her head on a bit of wool and knocked my full glass all over me. You know what they say, “There's no use crying over wine that has been spilled swinging a cat in a room.” It might have been for the best. I was already a bit pissed.
Did a drunken snooker match and then a tired game of Civ II. All available on the videos section of Wednesday night at 8pm is RHLSTP with Robert Webb. Tune in. It's free.
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