Colchester Beer Festival and car trouble

This weekend was the 3rd Annual Colchester Winter Beer Festival, held at Colchester Arts Centre. We went along on Saturday afternoon, and met up wtih Alex, Matt, Tom and Alison. In general it was a very good afternoon, as always! Afterwards we headed to the Ashiana for a curry, which I managed most of even after having a few slices of the Pie of Awesomeness from Proctor’s. (The Pie of Awesomeness is a very nice pork pie which we first tried at the Fat Cat. I don’t usually like pork pies but those are … well, awesome).

Anyway. So Saturday was very enjoyable 🙂 On Sunday we went to church in the morning (getting a lift with someone, as I shall explain in a moment), and then in the afternoon we went for a nice walk around Highwoods (through the mud!), then went round to see Jo and Evie for a bit, then watched Lark Rise to Candleford and Rhod Gilbert’s Award-Winning Mince Pie. On our new HDTV. I shall review the HDTV at a later date, suffice it to say at the moment that I am impressed with it! We haven’t yet watched any proper HD content on it (some Blu-Ray discs are coming via LoveFilm so hopefully soon…) and I will give it some more time then.

Aaaaanyway. Back to Rhod Gilbert: he has got to be one of the funniest guys I’ve seen in a long time. Absolutely hilarious. The show itself was very clever, the way he drew out one story into all the different strands, and they came together quite cleverly at the end. I would recommend anyone who’s a fan of comedy to see it – you can get a good idea of what it will be like by looking up his Live at the Apollo gig from a year or two ago.

I mentioned the car. We’ve been having a few problems: on Tuesday morning I was driving into work, and noticed the car losing power. It turns out that the car hadn’t just lost power, it was basically dead (the engine pretty much cut out). Fortunately, thank God, I wasn’t going very fast at the time and was just able to coast off the A12 and pull up at the side of the road. (The fortunately is because I’d been spending the previous 20 minutes doing about 2mph, average, crawling along the A12 – I wouldn’t have had enough speed to get off the road! And if I’d been going much faster, it would have been very difficult to stop: the Saab is a heavy car and the brakes didn’t do much without being servo-assisted)

So, I pulled over and called up the AA, who arrived fairly promptly. After doing some tests the AA man decided he couldn’t fix it on the road, and so towed me to Wivenhoe. Being towed was an interesting experience – it was a fixed bar, the van in front of me did all the accelerating / braking. I just had to steer and indicate. It was strange not actually having to use any of the pedals! Anyway, we eventually got the car to the mechanic, and I worked from home that day.

The rest of the week I have been getting the bus into work (not nice – there are limited buses to Chelmsford from Colchester and it takes over an hour… although I guess I should be lucky I can get the bus at all).

It took a couple of days to diagnose exactly what was wrong with the car, but it’s apparently the ignition coil pack. That is … well, suffice it to say it’s a fairly expensive part to replace (in the order of about £400). But again, I should be grateful it wasn’t the ECU – modern ECUs are quite expensive (£1800 or so), so it could have been much worse. The part should have been delivered on Friday or Saturday, so I’m hoping that the car will be fixed today! I think the part is fairly easy to replace from what the mechanic has told me, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be back with me later today (or tomorrow).

So, anyway, that’s why I didn’t mention going to 21 on Friday night: I wasn’t able to (the bus doesn’t get back to Colchester until too late), and why we didn’t go to Sunday@6 yesterday. Still, these things do happen! One of the perils of running a car – even newer cars aren’t immune from these kind of issues.

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