In other news, Robyn and I had a great adventure going to Somerset and collecting dad's Nissan Pixo for Sian. He's now given up driving and has given the Pixo (just under three years old and 1300 miles on the clock) to Siany for her 17th birthday - lucky girl
Robyn and I scored a cheap set of train tickets to take us from Bedford to Taunton via St. Pancras and Paddington. The first leg was on an East Midlands 'Meridian' train, which is basically a Virgin Super Voyager. Bloody excellent trains
Fast, comfy and quiet with just a pleasant hint of diesel throb
The Paddington to Taunton leg was on a First Great Western (aka Worst Late Western) HST and haven't they stood the test of time well? Still superb trains despite being 30 years old now. Sadly they've all been re-engined and have now lost the characteristic turbo howl of the old Paxman Valentas
I could listen to a Paxman-engined HST taking off from a station all day - pure music
HSTs are real survivors and are going to be in main-line service for a good few years yet. No replacements for them are planned until 2016 at the earliest.
Both St. Pancras and Paddington are impressive stations now they've been restored a bit and given they are the two most often first seen by visitors to the UK they do the job a treat. Johnny Foreigner can't help but be awestruck.
The drive back in the Pixo was purgatory
Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic little city runabout but for a journey it just can't cut the mustard at all. You feel every stone in the road. It didn't help the tyres only had about 20psi in them. Pumping them up (at the cost of 20p) made the car feel marginally better but I'll never be chopping any of the Xantias in for one, that's for sure...
Still, Siany's delighted with it and has already started driving lessons
I've now got to get the Pixo MOT'd and serviced. It's not been touched in three years and 1300 miles, not even an oil change
And then I've got to find Siany some insurance cover on it