Buddy news and the accidental car?

Further to a post back in the summer, after a terrible delay caused by having the forms in my briefcase and not posting them off, I have now been invited to attend one of the Lymphoma Association’s “Buddy Training Days”. This will be in Aylesbury in early March. Fortunately and by coincidence, I will be in that part of the country in any case, so the time and venue are ideal.

A day is all it takes, apparently, and I assume that the training involves telephone technique and how to be a good “listener”. We will see.

Now, a quick post-post Christmas and New Year catch-up…

Despite not having any offspring at home over Christmas, for the first time in 26 years, we had a great couple of days. I cooked the dinner on Christmas Eve, which we enjoyed with a bottle of Léoville Barton that I had bought during the summer. It was the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever had, but it was delicious. The memory of the taste stays longer than the memory of the cost – honest.

On Christmas Day we went to Arneside, just south of the Lake District. We had a nice walk along the Kent estuary and across the viaduct between there and the north bank. It seems that Network Rail turn a blind eye to people walking across on Christmas and Boxing Days, when the network is closed. There were dozens of people out there and obviously there is a unique perspective to be had both of Arneside and the hills.

There weren’t many people around and the roads were clear so, with our turkey sandwiches and mince pies, we had a great day out.

My current car has now got 93,500 miles on it, despite being only 2 1/2 years old. When I got an invitation to test drive a new VW Golf Mk VII, I decided that it would be an interesting experience to see how the car had improved since my Mark VI. Well, it has improved, but unfortunately, the cost of the car means that I am not prepared to pay what VW want as a rental. On driving away, I went next door to the BMW dealer, to see what they had in the used 3-Series Touring department… Handy that lots of car dealers seem to gather on certain arterial roads, no doubt for just this reason.

Subject to what VW finance can tell me on Monday, I appear to have bought a new shape 3-Series Touring, with 5 miles on the clock, for about £10k less than the asking price. Why anyone buys a NEW BMW, I don’t know – if you are prepared to compromise only slightly on your ideal spec, and don’t mind being the second owner, then there are some serious discounts to be had. End of December / end of June are the best times as they are BMW UK’s half and full years and they pre-register a LOT of cars to make up the numbers.

So, within half an hour of walking into the BMW showroom, the salesman had a holding deposit from me, pending a settlement figure from VW. Scary that you can do this and not even break out into a sweat.

As in some previous years, we had planned to have a weekend (well, Saturday night) in London at the end of January. I was looking at hotels and somewhat baulking at the price of them. Then another idea came to mind… more in February…

Finally, we need to find some time to get to Edinburgh in the next couple of months – maybe a good place to test the new car (if it works out) on a long trip?