Episode 240. Jaguar S-type. W187 BNA. (Part 2).

 I would just like to lead off today by saying despite how this will read, actually I like Christmas. However what I don't like is that the shops seem to believe that Christmas should start in October (even September in some cases!) In my opinion doing this means that by the time it is actually Christmas, I'm usually fed up with it, and I'll be glad when it's all over. However, if the festivities began in December I think that it would feel far more special to everyone, and we would probably all enjoy it a whole lot more.

The other thing I really don't understand is why, when the shops decide it's Christmas even if it is October, or November does everyone who owns a car decide to go out and drive it? 

 Today I had some errands to run, starting with a 1 mile dash across town to collect some wheels from my Brother, who had picked them up for me on his way home from work the other night. I will often walk to my Brothers house from BelongaClint and as a rule it takes me about 22 minutes which I'll admit is some way off the four minute mile first achieved in 1954 by Roger Bannister who actually did it in 3:59. What a show off! Still I think that for a fat middle aged fella like me I'm probably averaging around 3 mph, and thats getting on for 120 calories burned off, which when you eat as many mince pies as I do is pretty good news! Anyway today, as I had four wheels with tyres to collect I elected to take the car, what a foolish fella I am, as everyone else who has a car had also decided to go out and drive today as well. By the way, I'm using the term 'drive' very losely, as there was not much driving to be done. So, the time I took me to get just one mile across town in my S-type today? 1 hour 27 minutes! That is averaging about 0.7 miles per hour! I can't help feeling that this will do the economy figures of the Jag no end of harm come the final write up at the end of the month.

One hour and twenty-seven minutes, this is a crazy length of time to get across the town. honestly I would've turned back, but the town where I live is a one way system, and once you're in it, you're in it to the end! The problem appeared to be from the car parks being full, and instead of people just carrying on to the next one, they seemed to prefer to just sit in a line and wait for a space to open up, blocking the whole one way system up in the process. Geniuses, the lot of 'em! Still, it did give me time to appreciate what a comfortable and nice place the S-type is to be. In the whole time I was sitting in the traffic, playing 'I Spy' with my two little Monsters, despite getting more and more irate at both the traffic, and the items being spied starting with a different letter than they actually start with. I was still completely comfortable, and I didn't even feel the need to adjust my seat once. The CD player happily played through the requests of my little Monsters as it tried it hardest to work out which of the six CDs loaded into the boot they actually wanted to hear. Once they had settled on a CD, after chopping and changing CDs on the head unit over and over again we finally settled on Green Days fabulous album American Idiot. Of course the CD player wasn't allowed to play the tracks in the order that Green Day decided they should appear on their album, oh no. Instead my little Monsters little fingers jabbed at the head unit flitting from track to track, and repeated several of them over and over again. I am fairly sure that I know know the lyrics to 'I Walk Alone' word perfect now, and infact the tune has become an ear worm in my head now that has been stuck pretty much all day!

I guess I should be thankful for small mercies as many of my friends tend to hum 'The Wheels On The Bus' and various other nursery rhymes that get stuck in their head from the countless times they hear their kids nursery rhymes in the car. But I feel no sympathy for them, they should've adopted the strict no nursery rhymes in the car rule that I have always employed, but they don't, so more fool them. Anyway, believe it or not, Green Day does get a bit tedious after an hour and a half, but by then I was almost at my Brothers house, picking up my wheels. Luckily for my Brother he has an estate car, and the 14" wheels fitted very well in the back of his car. I also have an estate car, but obviously I wasn't in that, that would've been too easy, and so I was in the S-type. Now it has to be said that when they were designing the S-type they probably gave more thought to putting your golf bats in the boot, and probably never imagined that there would be some idiot trying to fit four old Ford XR3i wheels with tyres into the boot, cavernous as it is. After about ten minutes of my Brother laughing at my efforts and telling me that I would need to be doing another trip... I got them all in. Just, and I was off back to BelongaClint, well, not really, my destination was my secret hideout instead as Mrs Clint has requested that I not bring any more junk home. On the way to the secret hideoout I elected not to go back through the town, and instead I took the scenic route, which is about a seven mile round trip around the outskirts of the town, taking in the Motorway for a little bit. This went fairly well, until I tried to leave the motorway, where guess what? I joined a twenty minute que towards the city center. Luckily for me I only needed to join it for about quarter of a mile before I turned off.

Back at my secret lair I extracted the wheels from the Jag, and just slung them into the back of the Carlton until I've got some spare time to deal with them and get the tyres removed. With that little mission completed it was then time for my favourite pastime of all... Shopping! Mrs Clint was at work, and had requested that I get a small number of groceries if we wanted to eat tonight, I checked with my two little Monsters who both confirmed that they did indeed want to eat tonight, and that we should go to the Supermarket, and stock up. Despite it being a very small amount of groceries that I was asked to collect there was no way I was up for another crawl through the town, and so I elected to go to the ASDA in Havant, 22.7 twisty country road type miles away! 

Bliss... Unlike in the summer when there seemed to be every Tom, Dick, and Harriet out on the twisty roads on their motorsickles the roads were empty, and to be honest there wasn't much traffic of any sort on the twisty country back roads. My guess was most of them were still queing through the middle of Winchester, but where ever they all were I sure was glad to have the road to myself a little bit. Even though the track erm, road was mildly moist the big Jaguar wafted around the corners effortlessly, and although to be fair I wasn't exactly going for it I never felt like the Jag was grappling for grip, infact I believe that it would've been fine even if I was pressing on a bit. For such a big luxury car it is pretty well balanced and does inspire confidence as you drive it. It has to be said that through the corners it feel like a much smaller, and more agile car than it actually is, I'm not sure that you would get bored of driving this thing very easily, it really is rather good.

Pretty soon we were trying to find a parking space away from the other ten million people who had decided to come to Asda this afternoon, and we were off to do battle um, the shopping. Inside I gathered my groceries in a basket and got shunted from pillar to post by it has to be said, some very rude people. The girls were trying to find themselves some cool HotWheels cars, and while they were rooting through the big basket of cars they were quite rudely shoved out of the way by some woman who litterally pushed them out of the way. Being stood a few feet away from them to keep out of the way of the jostling crowd I saw this, and calmly came and knelt down beside the woman as if looking for cars myself. I then gently eased her to one side so that my kids could finish looking for what they wanted. 

She looked pretty surprise, and then she asked me what I thought I was doing. So I told her that I was doing exactly what I had just watched her do to my kids, and that there would be plenty of time for her to have a look after my girls had finished. She wasn't happy and this at all, and replied that she was in a hurry! I just looked at her and said, yep, well you don't push people around, especially not little kids, and definately not my little kids! It was then that she then looked at her husband... Oh dear, I didn't see him! She said to him that they were in a hurry, and he just looked at her and said, well, you shouldn't have tried to push in, you got what you deserved! Phew, well done fella, I thought it was all about to go pear shaped, but he told her that she needed to be patient, and wait until there was space for her to get in! I can't hellp feeling that that poor fella probably had his ears chewed off on the way home.

 Before long I had gathered my little basket of groceries, and it was time to que... and que... and que... I really don't understand this, why is it, when it starts getting a bit close to Christmas people start buying massive amounts of food, and acting like the supermarkets will never open again? I mean, they're closed for just TWO DAYS PEOPLE!! Stop acting like it's the last shopping day on Earth! A few years back at this time of year I was lucky enough to be in Germany, in Köln which as some of you may know is a fairly big city, but it wasn't busy like it gets here in the UK. There wasn't the rudeness either! I genuinely wonder if this (almost) panic buying state of mind is something that is just done uniquely by the British (and possibly the Americans)? But what is the point of it all? It's just madness.

With the groceries loaded into the boot, and my two little Monsters loaded into the cockpit I started to head for home, and we were off for a lovely, gentle, wafty, and quite frankly relaxing cruise back along the empty, windy country roads to home as the sky began to grow dark. By now Green Day was also beginning to fade from my memory as Tom Pettys voice filled the car, and I'm passing sleeping cities fading by degrees not believing all I see to be so. I'm flyin' over backyards country homes and ranches watching life between the branches below...

The trouble with this time of year is that the days are so short, which to be honest I hate, and by the time we arrived back at BelongaClint it was well and truly cold and dark. Dammit, I really wanted to wash the Jaguar today, even thought I only washed it last week, but to look at it you'd say it hasn't been washed in months. This is another of the problems of this time of year, the roads are damp and dirty, and they pretty soon make a mess of the clean bodywork, especially if you find yourself driving along the fun, twsty, dirty, country ones.