Sunday 18th December 2005

Looking back, this is a weekend, which I hope had never happened. The omens were not good from the start. My amp installation, scheduled for Saturday morning, was moved back to Saturday afternoon. Pav had gone over to Kent with his new ‘shoes’ for his M3 ride, to get them refurbished. He got back at 12.34 exactly (according to his portable satellite navigation system, which is accurate to within minutes, apparently!) In any case, I rushed over there, looking forward to installing the amp and for a change getting my hands dirty. Things did not look good from the outset, taking out my head unit, we realised I needed a pre amp cable adapter to connect the head unit to the amp. Calling a few local car audio specialists, we had little joy. Even a trip down into Caversham, to Mar Parts proved unfruitful. It was a Blaunkpunt specialist part and would only be available to order from authorised blue spot dealers. However, not to give up so soon, there were two more ICE resellers in the Berkshire town to try. Pav firstly rang 118118, but they proved next to useless. The woman on the phone could hardly speak English and my college friend had to spell out the name of the county! We then tried 118500 and instantly got the text message with the number we were looking for. This was to be the first bombshell of the weekend, no joy. I would have to order the cable online and then come back to carry out the installation another time. Even though at first, I was hoping to wire up the amp in situation and just plug in the cable at the back of the head unit when the lead arrived. Seeking professional advice from a man that carries out in car entertainment installations everyday of his working life, we decided upon the following course of action. When the lead arrives, I take it over to a leading high street store and get the job done professionally. So, was it a wasted journey? Surely not, as Pav borrowed my Mini DV camcorder to record some family video onto this laptop. The audio can wait, your first Christmas with your nephew is priceless.

We all deal with defeat in different ways. I tend to (as much as possible) switch off. This tends to become very difficult when you spend such a vast number of hours online and connected, but I tend to get grumpy. I will spend no time on reflecting on the poor performance, there are other blogs out there much more capable. Instead let me describe my day and the build up, the anti-climax and the fear of going into work tomorrow.

If Sky had their way, every live game screened would be the next big title decider. While, I will give them credit for the lack of hype surrounding this fixture as in the past. I woke up around 9am, and tried to occupy myself to take my mind of things. First thing was to head off into the cold winter morning and check my car over and then give it a wash down the local jet wash. As expected the jet wash was frozen and out of order. I headed over to the car wash at a nearby Total petrol station (which coincidentally had no fuel!) to have a car wash. Thankfully a VW Passat was ahead of me in the queue. The driver was having a horrible time, firstly trying to get into the carwash (ice outside) and then actually get the device to work. As I paid for my car wash ticket, he came in and asked the assistance for help. Sure enough, the car wash was iced up and while trying to operate was not pushing out any water. The attendant attempt to reset the device a few times, but just left this middle aged man sitting in his car driving back and forth (a few yards) in hope it would start up. By this time I had had enough, particularly when a member of the public came up and asked me if I worked here. Please. I drove home for some breakfast. Thankfully my ticket is valid for seven days, so I can come back when the weather is slightly warmer.

Going out in the 307, I happened to have an hour spare so headed over to South Harrow to a dedicated wash centre. Basically a converted Total petrol station, which now has two jet wash stations and vacuums in place of petrol pumps. The car was in a state, but what do you expect with my mother driving. Going into to pay for my two tickets, I was shocked to discover the attendant lying back on his chair, fast asleep. Didn’t really want to disturb his beauty sleep. I gave the car, a quick clean but not to my satisfactory high standard and then checked the tyre pressures and to my surprises they were all dead on the right pressure. Then I joined the queue for the jet wash, at around 2.30pm, an hour before the Super Sunday programme started on Sky Sports One. There was three cars ahead of me, but thankfully two wash bays. An Asian man, with flowing long hair, was doing a dedicated job on his 53 plate Honda Accord. He had a chamois leather drooping out of his back pocket. He spent at least fifteen minutes cleaning the car and then a further twenty drying (thankfully away from the wash bay). I did not have the luxury of all this time on my hands. I was keen to get in, washed and out as soon as possible. I wanted to be heading back to Wycombe as soon as possible. Unlike the event earlier this morning, there was little chance of me trekking back down the A40 to South Harrow. By 3pm, my turn finally arrived and I must say I am impressed with this new, service code driven system. Basically you enter the code you have purchased and the time begins counting down. You can then select a variety of options for as long as your time will allow. For those of you unfamiliar with the use of a standard jet wash. You usually buy credit in the form of time. However, the programme will run through a standard cycle and you would always be rushing to brush the entire vehicle before the bell would sound and you have to apply the wax. In any case, the job was done, the car was much cleaner than when I arrived and I rushed back to collect my Mum and sister from Hillington and head home.

When the final whistle went I wondered how I could occupy my time for the rest of the evening. I rang, Chris, just to pre-empt his rude text message (which for the record never arrived!). In the end, I opted to load up my RnB play list in Win Amp, put the volume up and head for a long shower to forget about things. Just as I came out of the shower, I looked at my mobile. Sure enough there was a text message and I knew who it was from. Instead of his usual, ‘That’s why we’re Champions!’, I was greeted with a comment I had already had in person in the office. ‘I’ve got my binoculars out and still can’t see you!’. Already, I have the picture of their smug face, with Chelsea mug in hand for Monday morning. Perhaps the first time that I do not want to go into work. Particularly those non-football fans in the office, that just laugh to make you feel worse! For a change I’ll be keeping the conversation on helpdesk queries rather than work. Thank God that we don’t have any big boss that supports Man Utd in the office. Just a couple of Liverpool fans that will be just as bitter at our defeat. My plan for the rest of the evening? Watch a movie about erasing the memory. Such a shame we are a good few years of bringing that to reality. I would ask for 17th and 18th December 2005 to be erased from mine!

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