Life Journal

Saturday 13th November 1999

Saturday 13th November 1999

Saturday 13th of November 1999

You are 11 months old today! I can’t believe it. To make it more amazing you are getting very good at walking. You have nearly walked all the way across the room (lengthways) a few times. You stand on your own, while drinking your bottle, or ‘reading’ your little books. You also ‘talk’ non stop.

On Monday your dad and I had a big argument in the morning (over something stupid, as usual). He left here at 12:45. He was supposed to have a lecture but he didn’t take his bag with him. At around 6 pm (when he should have been home) I called him but his mobile was off. That was that. His mobile was off all the time, he didn’t have the decency to even ring me to say he needed some time out, away from me… Nothing. I was really upset. How inconsiderate to abandon us in such a way. I don’t care how upset he was, I could never do that! I would never leave him looking after you for all that time and much less not even ring (unless I was in a coma at hospital). As you can imagine, I was fuming. When we woke up the next day he wasn’t back yet. I just thought the worse. He either slept with some woman or he was dead. I just stayed calm because I didn’t want to upset you.

My friend Amy showed up at around 11 (I wasn’t expecting her) and I told her that Ray had vanished. She ended up taking us out for a walk and something to eat (I hadn’t eaten for quite a while). The three of us came home and Ray opened the door. He was back! Alive… I must admit I was very relieved to see him. Amy cleared off very quickly so we could talk, but I just walked out. I had to go to the housing benefit office to hand in some documents (the mess with my rent is still going on).

On the way back (I took a different route, as I fancied a walk) I walked past this lovely Ford Fiesta that was for sale. I had a look at it for about 10 minutes. It cost 625 pounds and it had 6 months MOT but no tax. It looked in extremely good condition. I wrote the telephone number down and came home. Ray and I talked. Ray said maybe he should move out and I was so angry with him that I said it was fine by me. He then said that he had spent the night at Sue’s (a friend of his whom I met once). Anyway, as the evening progressed things settled down. It was nice to have him around again, and he was so happy to be around you again. I mentioned the car, but he wasn’t too keen on it. In any case I phoned the number and spoke to a bloke called Robert. I told him I had to find a mechanic to check the car out and that I would phone him back to make an appointment to test drive the car later. I phoned the AA and they charge 175 pounds for someone to write a report on a car. Forget that! Just too expensive. So I just slept on it.

On Wednesday morning Amy phoned to say she was coming around and was bringing her computer for me to reformat it for her, as it wasn’t working properly. When she arrived I told her about the car and she said she would come with me and test drive it for me. I phoned Robert and arranged to meet him at 4 o’clock. Shah and Ray came home (Ray had gone to a meeting at uni) and Shah has a car. We convinced him to drive us there. Ray stayed home with you and off we went. When we got there Robert was already inside the car. We had a good look at it, and the engine (pretending that we knew what we were doing) and we had a drive. The engine sounded healthy; there was only a tiny bit of rust on the door (which is all right for a 13 year old car – E reg). Robert said I would get a 3-month guarantee on engine and gearbox if I pay the full price, or a discount if I didn’t take the guarantee.

We came home. Everyone agreed that it was a very good car, and good value for money, if the engine was really sound. Amy and Shah left after a while. I went to sleep not knowing what to do, as I wanted someone professional to look at it, but it was just too expensive. I woke up the next day and after speaking to Ray decided to buy it. As it has a 3-month guarantee, we could take the risk of buying it without a mechanic looking at it. I phoned Robert to tell him I wanted, and as the car had no tax, he said he would drive it down here for me. I went to the bank to get a banker’s draft for the payment, then phoned the insurance company to get a quote. The car arrived in time, Robert gave us the papers and left. THAT WAS IT : I WAS THE PROUD OWNER OF MY FIRST EVER CAR! Brilliant. As it had no tax I didn’t want to drive it yet, but I parked it on 3 different places before Ray went to work. At around 6:30 my mum showed up and I couldn’t resist it. I took the car to the petrol station to fill it up. Problem number one: what kind of petrol should I put in? I ended up putting unleaded in, but I only put 6 litres as I didn’t want to mess up the engine in case it was the wrong petrol. I got home and phoned Shah and Amy, and according to them it was the wrong petrol. It should need leaded petrol (unless the engine had been converted, which I didn’t ask Robert as I know nothing about cars). When Ray came home from work we went for a quick drive as I wanted to use up all the petrol so I could then fill up again with the right petrol.

The next day I phoned Robert, but he was off sick (he was feeling really bad when he delivered the car) but the guy who answered the phone got in touch with him and found out what kind of petrol it took, and, as expected, it was unleaded. I spent the whole of Friday running around. I got 6 months road tax for the car, bought a car manual, anti-freeze. Went to 6 different garages to get quotes for a service on the car (the cheapest I got was 60.00). I then phoned the insurance company to make some amendments on the policy they had sent me and to extend the cover to fire and theft (I was only covered for third party). Ray also bought a lock for the wheel and a battery charger. We just spent so much money in two days! It’s crazy!

Ray went to work and my mum came around again. You, my mum and I then went for a little drive to check if your chair was safe at the back. As the car is old, and I’ve been driving a new one (with power steering, ABS, the works) I’ve been having a bit of difficulty with the gears (specially the first) and turning the wheel – which is very stiff in comparison to what I was used to. So basically I need lots of practice. When Ray came back from work at 9, the four of us got in the car for our first proper motor adventure. We were going to take my mum home! We got the road map and off we went. She doesn’t live far (Belsize Park) but we still got lost. Ray couldn’t read the map properly in the dark, the roads don’t have the name plaques on easy places to stop… We got there eventually! After stopping about 5 times to find out where we were. The way back was easy as we decided to forget about the short cut on the map and just took the long way via Camden Town.

Today I read the manual and did all the checks on the engine I could do without using any tools. I looked at the oil level, the brake fluid. Ray bought a multimeter and we checked the battery voltage (which was fine). Everything I checked was as it should be. The car seems to have been really well looked after. I had a brief look at the spark plugs, and they looked new too. I might wait to have it serviced nearer the time of the MOT (end of March 00). I have to check the brake pads and if they are ok I will definitely not have it serviced just yet.

Ah, the day before yesterday and this morning you clapped your hands! Wonderful! You did it properly as well. You are growing up too fast. Well happy 11th month birthday.

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