October 2009 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Cycle Ride with New Tyres (25th October 2009)

Did 2 test laps around the block at a low pressure to bed the new tyres in, which my dad had fitted some time earlier. Inflated to the 50psi and went riding. They worked great!

More happened after this but I didn’t write it down or type it up. Sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the experience as it happens.

Tasty Family Lunch (24th October 2009)

We drove to a Toby Carvery. The carpark was packed and it was pretty busy inside. Noise levels were fine as we got a neat little alcove quite out of the way. So glad nobody can smoke in these places, btw.

I noticed a little Xmas tree in a mock fireplace opposite the main entrance. You wait here to get a table. Here’s the meal I picked, in the order I picked them:

  1. Several generous slices of turkey.
  2. 1 Yorkshire Pudding. (These aren’t actually puddings.)
  3. 2 helpings of peas.
  4. 2 New Potatoes.
  5. 1 helping of broccoli.
  6. 1 helping of carrots.
  7. 1 ladle of beef gravy.

It was delicious, especially the turkey and New Potatoes! Definitely worth getting the gravy, really completed the meal. Mum gave me one of her roast potatoes at the end of the meal, which was also rather tasty.

Had a large orange juice to drink, which easily lasted the whole way through. By the end the ice cubes had melted down to a couple of little ice pellets.

Cracking and crunching them between my teeth was quite fun and nostalgic. I can’t place the exact memories it was resurfacing but they were some good times from my childhood, most likely.

Fretting, Cycling & Chores (12th October 2009)

Towards the end of my parents’ holiday I really started to feel their absence.

Much Ado About A Puncture

Was thinking of going for a cycle ride. Decided to do so but started worrying about what to wear, where to go and so on. Eventually went down to dad’s workshop to get my bike.

The above kept looping round and round in my head. I was feeling quite overwhelmed. Considered calling my parents (who are on holiday until Tudesday 13th October 2009) for their advice. But this seemed like such a trivial issue. I’ve repaired a few punctures by myself in recent times but buying new tyres has always been done with them.

When they are here I often ask them about these things, as a quick sense check. This gives me a feeling of security and confidence. As I don’t have any close friends, my parents and my sister are the only people who can help me in this way. It’s one of the many reasons they are so valuable to me.

Eventually I decided to leave it and make lunch.

There was a beautiful blue sky, with white fluffy clouds. Felt sad to be missing it due to my indecisive confusion.

Clothes Washing

Long-Awaited Delivery

Called My Parents

Walk It Off

Phone Archived

Using the terrible PC software for my phone, I saved all 170 sent messages and 32 received messages. It was nearing its limit, IIRC.

Now I have a performant and spacious phone again. Yay!

Zoe Visited (10th October 2009)

A mixture of practical errands, recreational activities and that hard-to-describe feeling of family.

Initial Errands

Drove to the Tesco in Aldershot to meet her. Nosed into the parking space just like I do at Fleet Station. Tesco’s spaces are much more generously sized!

We did some shopping for me. Then I drove Zoe to Ash Vale, so she could pick up her prescription.

Recreational Activities

We got home and I set up my Playstation 2 so we could play some Gran Turismo 4.

Soon got back into the rhythm of it and had some very close races. We were trading places with clean moves and opportunistic moves when the other made a mistake.

After that I think we had some dinner but I don’t quite remember. Later on we watched The Matrix: Reloaded on ITV4.

Heading Home

At around midday I drove Zoe back to Bordon to meet her girlfriend. They invited me in and we chatted over a cup of tea. Talked about:

Having spent several days alone whilst my parents are on holiday this was some very welcome human interaction. Especially since it wasn’t about work!

Other Stuff

Perhaps making time for people is more important than making time for projects? Well, I suppose that’s obviously the case but for me it’s been a source of tension.

This website’s name (Project Cerbera) and it’s content (several sections of stuff I’ve made with a couple of sections partly about life) sort of illustrates that.

Either way, people are certainly becoming more important to me. Feels like I’m rediscovering a past life, although I’m also proud of what I’ve accomplished during the interim.

Refuelled my Car (5th October 2009)

For the first time ever, I drove my car to a petrol station. I made two rookie errors, nearly got lost on the way and was rather nervous throughout. But my car is now fully refuelled.

Nearly Got Lost

Decided to take a somewhat scenic route and turn right when exiting Fleet Railway Station. Drove to the 2nd roundabout and turned left, onto the long road which winds its way through the labyrinthine Elvatham Heath.

This road has numerous roundabouts. In fact, it feels like the road has unnumerable roundabouts. At some of these, you have to make either a right or left turn rather than going straight on. Therefore I assert a successful navigation through this estate is non-trivial.

Having said that, I did manage to guess my way through the whole lot. So maybe there is some sort of visionary logic. Some sort of subtle affordance which directs one towards the common routes. Maybe the trees in the roundabaout are trained to lean a certain way. Or the side roads have an minutely different width or kerb style to the main road.

Or maybe I just got lucky, of course.

Error 1: Fuel Pump Must be on Left

The rear fuel pump on the left side of the right bank had just become available, so I:

  1. idled up to it;
  2. stopped the car;
  3. turned off the engine;
  4. opened the fuel flap;
  5. got out;
  6. took the pump from its holder;
  7. walked towards the rear of the car;
  8. and quickly realised the opening was on the other side of the car.


So I returned the pump to its holder, got into my car and carefully reversed back to the queue. Whilst feeling very self-concious about how visible all this was.

There was a car pulling away from the front fuel pump on the right side of the left bank. When that car left I rolled forwards to the front set of pumps. This permitted another car to pull in behind me.

Feeling proud of my cleverly courteous correction, I got out and approached the fuel pump with a modicum of confidence. After realising I had to press a button to reset the previous refueller’s activity, the process was quite straightforwards and entirely clean.

Precisely £40 of fuel resulted on my car being completely full. The pump had not cut out. The fuel guage was in the final quarter before this, IIRC.

Error 2: Keys Must Not be Dropped While Paying

Replacing the pump into its holder was a little fiddly as this hose had a strong effect on how the pump moves. After accounting for this I got it in on the 2nd try.

  1. Screwed the fuel pipe lid back on.
  2. Closed and locked the fuel hatch.
  3. Returned to the car and grabbed my wallet.
  4. Locked my car as I walked towards the garage building.
  5. Entered and joined the short queue by the tills.

Whilst retrieving my card from the reader, I dropped my keys. Being unfamiliar with the payment process I’d be entering, I left them there several seconds whilst waiting for the receipt to finish printing.

In retrospect, picking them up was probably a higher priority and more efficient than this. Keeping hold of them in the first would have been optimal, of course!

Exit Right

Returned to my car and made sure to exit swiftly, having remembered a stand-up comedy routine which complained about people dithering about during this final phase of the activity.

Whilst stopped at junctions and then on the driveway at home, I could hear the fuel sloshing around the tank. Hadn’t noticed this sound for many years, possibly in a Ford Escort of my dad’s.

Mission Complete!

All in all, another rite of passage passed quite satisfactorily first time. Yay me!