Friday 27th April 2007

As long as I can remember, I have always wanted a great stereo system in the car that I drive. It all goes back some seven years ago, when I changed the factory fitted Philips cassette player in my Mum’s 1990 Mini Mayfair to a Pioneer cassette radio with a bit more “oomph” and a digital radio receiver. I have a quick search online but cannot find any history of the model (it seems tape really is the format of yesteryear). I also got speakers as a birthday present, so had the factory fitted ones replaced. Even though the Pioneer head unit was cassette, I had a Portable Mini Disc player with car kit, so this enabled me to listen to my small (6 disc) collection in the car. When I got my Punto in June 2002, it was some time before any changes were made to the factory unit. I got a new Blaukpunkt head unit, named after a famous city! The Acapulco MP52 was capable of reading MP3 CDs, quite a new concept at the time. Then in March of the following year I had all the speakers replaced and an acoustic parcel shelf with some Kenwood 6×9 installed by Chameleon. Then, three years later, I completed the system by installing an amp. You can read up about that experience and look at some photos. The journey to this moment in time starts almost exactly thirteen months ago. I was at Gallions Reach DLR station, having just come out from a meeting at a client site. Matt called me, it was regarding the company web site. We had briefly spoken about this when I had my amp installed three weeks earlier but I thought they had someone else lined up. I offered to do the web site at straight cost in exchange for a fantastic system installed in my ‘next’ car for nothing. The deal was done. It took a while for the site go live, but eventually we got there. So here we are, late April, over a year since I first thought up the idea of having a grade ‘A’ sound system fitted to my car. Well I had to make certain of the one thing, get the car. The plan had been to replace the Punto in the summer but as you know. I proposed and God disposed, as you would expect. With the Punto gone I upgraded to an A3. I let Matt know and a week or so after getting the car, I drove it over to the garage for them to look at it. It was on Wednesday 17th January. Then, the e-mails started going back and forth with quotes and ideas on specifications for the system. I was keen to get the stereo installed as soon as possible. As things would pan out, I would keep adjusting and readjusting the specification. With friends recommending certain components, experts on forums suggesting something different and Matt giving additional advice. My first choice had been the Sony Bluetooth head unit but this was soon changed to Alpine with some gentle persuasion from Matt. I also went down to The Sound Gallery on London Road for a second opinion. The main reason behind my visit was to take a look a bluetooth car kit from French manufacturer Parrot. My former manager, Nic had looked at the spec in the office the day before and told me measured it out to be slightly smaller than a business card. I was intrigued to see if this would be the case for the device when I got to see it in the box. I was taken outside by one of the technician and shown an green S3, with the basic text display version in situ next to the headlight switch. He then came over to check my A3 and recommended the gap underneath the console. I got a quote, for what it was worth and sent it over to Matt to check over. After several months and some 25 e-mails, I settled for the parts. Matt then delivered the bad news that he was off on holiday to Australia for a month from late March until late April. Although I was gutted that I would have to wait another couple of weeks, it actually gave me a chance to get my house in order. The week before he got to England, I ordered all the parts I needed and they now sit neatly downstairs on the side, ready to be taken for fitting. For once, I was able to ensure that everything needed was ready. Cabling, wiring and even sound proofing. Matt called me just after 2pm on Sunday. I was in a piano lesson but picked up the message on the drive home and gave him a call. He was back and ready to order the parts. The plan, finally began coming together. The parts would be ordered this week, they could fit everything this weekend but I am off to Leicester so postponed until next weekend. I am dropping my car off on Thursday evening, then getting a lift back from Pav. They will have my car the entire Bank Holiday weekend if they need to, as I will down in Cornwall with the rest of the gang. So in just over a week, I will have my new stereo system fitted, I cannot wait! Can you imagine a high street chain, such as Halfords carrying out a fitting over the holiday weekend and at such short notice? I don not think so, and even if they did, I do not expect it to be cheap. Photography has long been a passion of mine but I have not really got involved much, particularly with FlickR. Even though I have held a pro account since January 2005. Well I have an opportunity to redeem myself next weekend. With their 24 hours of FlickR they have asked user to submit photographs taken on 5th May 2007. An ideal time for me to recapture the creative eye, I have so been lacking of the past few months. Not much else to report really, heading up to Leicester tomorrow evening for Sachin’s religious wedding celebration. Looking forward to it, booked into the Stage Hotel. I am sure I will have plenty of to report and photographs to upload when I get back on Sunday. The Arsenal match against Fulham is at 4pm, followed by Doctor Who on BBC Three at 8pm. What more do I need to find to make my weekend complete?

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