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w/e 2021-10-10

I realise it’s been a trying week, with the suspense hanging over the world, waiting for the big reveal of our new car, but you’ve coped very well. Now it’s time to put aside the stress balls and wipe away the tears of frustration because I can reveal our new car is…

A photo of a small silver Fiat Panda 4x4 on a brick-paved driveway with green hedges in the background

A 2013 Fiat Panda 4x4! Only eight-or-so years old, replacing the 2009 Nissan Note that we bought in a hurry within days of moving here at the start of last year. That did us well – it was pretty roomy for a small car, which was handy when taking many, many boxes to the local charity shop warehouse. But it was getting on a bit and wasn’t ideal.

We considered an electric car but we’d have stretched our four-figure budget buying something like a 2013-ish Nissan Leaf with decent battery condition and a realistic range of 80ish miles. That would have been brilliant for all the shopping and local journeys but would have been a pain in the arse for longer trips, given the current state of charging infrastructure. Not ideal for our only car.

We also wanted a four-wheel drive car, mainly for some of the hills round here – particularly the steep one leading up to our house that gets icy in winter – and partly for the shocking state of some of the country roads. Something like a similar age Land Rover Freelander 2 with a high mileage would have fit the budget, and been kind of fun, and been useful for carrying big stuff, and also been right at home with so many similar cars round here. But it’s more car than the two of us need.

So a Fiat Panda 4x4 was the answer, a car I’ve fancied since learning of its existence in this article on Not Two Grand. It feels much newer than its eight years compared to the only-four-years-older Note – no frayed seat covers, no loose stitching on the steering wheel, no stains on the seats, and a nice new-car-smell. It’s also fun to drive, which kind of surprised me, not being a Car Person. It has a fair bit of oomph (which makes me realise how un-oomphy the Note was), the steering is light, and it bounces and rolls on these terrible roads like I feel a 4x4 should.

Maybe it’ll be our last non-electric car. Who knows. For now I’m quite enjoying it. But also enjoying not spending any more brain time thinking and reading about what car to buy.

§ This week I finally got round to doing the last editing tweaks on my acting showreel:

I needed to update my showreel to add some footage from things shot in the year or so before we left London, and before Covid. It’s OK. I wish I’d had more speaking roles to include. I left out one of my spooky-bald-man-in-a-suit roles entirely because it added nothing, and only included a clip of one other because it was very short and looked odd. I do like that first one though.

I have no idea how/if I’ll manage to do any more acting given our distance from London now.

§ A photo looking straight down at a patterned carpet. Its background is green with various floral patterns in dark green and pink.

After all my decorating last week, this week two guys spent a busy day taking up the green and pink carpet (pictured here) in our lounge/dining/hall area and replacing it with engineered wood planks. It looks very nice now, what with the newly white walls and skirting boards. The only downside is that, given the thickness of the planks and underlay, the top of my head now overlaps the height of the low beam across the middle of the room by at least an additional centimetre. Hopefully my already cautious level of ducking will accommodate this…

§ We don’t have broadband here, relying on a 4G modem that can reach speeds of 30Mbps or so but might drop to 1Mbps if the wind blows the wrong way. There was a plan to get fibre-to-the-premises rolled out to rural areas including ours – Fastershire! – which was due to start here in late 2019. Around the time we moved this was put back to the second quarter of 2021, which came and went.

Today we learned that – surprise! – it’s actually quite tricky and expensive to get fibre to sparsely-populated areas and so Gigaclear has decided it probably won’t bother, if it’s all the same to us. But they are “grateful to the local authority for giving us the opportunity to be part of their broadband programme,” so that’s nice.

§ I’m feeling both very sad and very fortunate this week. I hope all is OK with you. If there’s a good friend you haven’t seen or spoken to for some time, drop them a line and say hello.

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