Episode 277. Ford StreetKa. WU04 ZLV. (Part 10).

 I've been a bit busy of late, and as such I've not had too much time to play with the StreetKa Named Desire. You would think, that with a Bentley in the fleet at the moment, I wouldn't be too bothered about a scruffy little Ford StreetKa, but I am, and oddly, I do miss it. What I miss more and more about the thing is its ability to just sip gently away at the petrol, whereas the Bentley of course takes massive gulps at it.

I've been working away from home a fair bit just lately, and you would think that driving a couple of hundred miles from home, and for the most part alone the car to take would be the one that's cheapest on the Go-Go juice, and my feeling is that most normal people would do this. However, that's just not my way, I have been using the one that drinks the most. Not only does it drink more petrol than any other car on my fleet, but it drinks more petrol than any other car I've ever had, except perhaps for the Aixam, that thing was truly bad on the Go-Go juice. But with funds running at an all time low, and feeling that I've been neglecting the StreetKa a lot just lately, I decided that it was time it had a run to the secret hideout in Wales. But there was a problem, or infact several problems. Firstly, although this thing has been back on the road for a while now, and I have covered several thousand trouble free miles in it, I have not driven a long way in it in one go. I'll be honest, since breaking down at the end of last year in the Navara, the thought of driving almost anywhere does sort of start a jittery panicky feeling deep down inside of me. I'm not so sure if it's the thought of breaking down by the side of the road that bothers me so much, I think it might be the feeling of complete helplessness that sets in with the thought of having to call the RAC for assistance. I know it's crazy, but that little voice in the back of my mind doesn't shut up, and frankly does stir me up a bit. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe its not crazy, If I'm talking to myself then maybe I'm the one that's crazy, but that's probably a topic for another time. Secondly, the StreetKa isn't very big, although a lot of my tools and stuff that I might need are currently in the secret hideout in Wales, so in reality I guess I don't need to take a lot with me at the moment, but the thought of taking a bicycle with me was definitely out. I tried, but it meant breaking the bike down into almost all it's individual parts to get it in the boot. But even then I couldn't shut the boot! Perhaps I should leave a bike at the hideout. Lastly, creature comforts, outside the seats it really doesn't have any. This is ideal for blatting about the town, but a three hour drive across the country... Probably not the best. I decided, in my wisdom or otherwise that the way forward was to try and take the edge off the lack of creature comforts, and fit a stereo of some sort. But where should I fit it?

I know, I know, the obvious place would be in that slot in the dash, the slot that was actually designed with the thought of fitting a stereo in mind. But the trouble with that is that I have other plans for that little slot, and it doesn't include a stereo. At some point I'm going to fit a few gauges in there, probably a water temp, volt meter, and an oil pressure gauge. I should probably stop thinking about doing that and just order some up. As I sat there thinking that I thought that before I go any further it would probably be best if I ordered a stereo as no matter where I plan to fit it, I can't fit one if I don't have one. I hit fleabay, and looked for the cheapest new stereo I could buy, there's a good selection to choose from, and although there was one for just £9.99 I decided to splurge and splashed out a whopping £13.99 for a brand new car stereo including free three day postage. The reason for splashing out an extra four quid was that this stereo wasn't as deep as the cheaper one, it only needed to go 55mm into the dashboard whereas the cheaper one needed to go 120mm in. This, in my mind opened up another option as to where it could live... The glovebox.

I never keep my gloves in the glovebox, (if you look carefully at the picture of the dash you can seen them next to my sunnies!) So the thought of putting my stereo in there seemed like a good idea. But how to mount it? I'm guessing that nobody makes a glovebox stereo mount, and to be honest I really did give some serious thought to the idea of just zip tying the thing in there, I figured that most likely only I would see it, and it would match the way the rest of the thing has been bodged together. But I just couldn't, that was a bodge too far. So I decided that the way forwards was to have a wander around the cheap shops to see what they could deliver. Irritatingly Poundland had nothing, so this meant I had to drive to my next closest port of call, Home Bargains, just seven miles  from BelongaClint. Home Bargains did not let me down, and for just £2.49 I had a glovebox stereo mount, or as they called it, a clothes peg basket. I also stocked up on some zip ties while I was there. I then went back to fleabay and also ordered up a hidden aerial, that set me back another £4.92 as I didn't want an aerial on the outside of the bodywork despite already having a hole on the rear wing for an aerial.

Just two days later my stereo had arrived. It was completely different to look at to the one that was in the photo on the fleabay listing, but it was the same specifications, brand new, and just 55mm deep, so it was good enough for me. I whipped the glovebox out from the StreetKa and set about modifying both it, and the clothes peg basket with my Dremel type tool. Half an hour or so later and with the dining room table covered in plastic shavings my glovebox stereo mount was done. I carefully zip tied it into the glovebox, and slid my new stereo into the slot I'd cut into the bottom of the clothes peg basket, umm, stereo mount! It looked pretty good, and so I headed out to the StreetKa Named Desire to fit it all. Then there was another problem, the Ford Stereo harness was about 300mm short of where my stereo was. I checked my wire collection, and unsurprisingly in only contained household type flex, mostly old vacuum cleaner and mower cables. But I figured that would probably do the trick, I'd just have to label them rather than go on the colour to identify what they did. Another hour or so later I had it all cobbled in there with some lego style wire connectors. I know it's a bit of a bodge, but it'll do for now, and it works... Almost! I can't get the drivers side door speaker to work, it doesn't appear to be my dodgy wiring, but I'll have a better look at it at some point... Maybe.

With the stereo in I loaded up some tunes on to a flash drive, loaded some supplies and clean clothes into the boot, and headed off west.

I tend not to be the fastest driver out there on the roads these days as with the price of fuel I have become more into seeing just how many miles to the gallon I can eek out of each tank full rather than how fast I can get somewhere. I don't know why I am worried about MPG in this thing, whatever it does it's going to put the Bentley to shame! But with the radio blasting I headed along the M4 toward Wales with my littlest youngest Monster sat beside me. She'd been having some trouble with a lad in school who seems to be bullying her, so I figured that she could come with me for the week, as the school appears to be doing nothing about it. Anyway, the highlight of the drive for me (apart from having my daughter with me) was a fella waving at me as he passed me in his ever so slightly playworn red StreetKa. I think had it not have been red it would have probably looked very tidy, but you know how red paint on cars goes. Anyhoo, I have waved at other StreetKa drivers since having this back on the road, and none of them have waved back, for people driving such a fun little car they all seem like a miserable lot! So if that was you in the red StreetKa waving at me as we drove along the M4, you kinda made my day, HI!! As for the rest of you StreetKa drivers... Flippin' wave back, and wave at each other ya miserable sods! 

Three hours or so later we were pulling up outside Monnies fish n chip shop in Swansea to get our dinner. We sat down near the beach to eat our food and watched as the waves lapped at the shore. I'll be honest, when I moved here twenty years or so ago I really didn't like it, and I wondered if infact I wanted to stay at all. But I pretty quickly found that living by the sea really works for me. I love living by the sea, I've always loved the beach in general, but to have it on your doorstep in my mind is just the best.

A week or so later, and with the StreetKa loaded up again it was time to head for home, but not before we had our dinner over looking the beach again. With our little picnic over we headed for home. It always seems such a faff in my mind when I have to go into Wales, but then once I'm there I hate to have to leave it again. I really should look into trying to move nearer the sea.

The drive home was pretty un-eventful, and thankfully I had no need to call the RAC, like I said, just the thought of having to call them out fills me with dread! The best part of the drive home though must've been just as I came over the Severn bridge. Just as I came off it a Traffic Officer slowly pulled up alongside me while looking at me, then he dropped back in behind me. Even though I was just driving along at 60mph, I thought to myself, oh, here we go. It was starting to get dark and so I wondered if perhaps my tail lights were out. But he followed me for a mile or so before pulling up alongside me again, sticking his thumb up to me, and then heading off on his way along the motorway. My guess is that he was just running some checks, and when the StreetKa came back all good he was happy! But probably not as happy as I was when I finally got home. Another 600 or so trouble free miles added to the odometer of the StreetKa Named Desire, and I couldn't be happier with the little thing. It's just fantastic, and hopefully it always will be!

 TOTAL SO FAR... £1266.77.