A cold has made the past few days pretty unpleasant, but thankfully this is a motoring blog so I shall spare you the gory details. In short, I spent two days making it little further than the sofa when I actually got out of bed.
It meant that when it came to getting a new wheel bearing fitted to the new BX TZD estate, I decided to farm the job out. I know what’s involved and I know that two mechanics working together will get it sorted in no time at all, so it shouldn’t be costly.
The bearing cost £12.50 delivered via Ebay and this morning, I took the car to a local garage – enjoying a BX Convoy with my wife as she followed me there in the silver BX. Not often I get to see another BX on the road!
The job didn’t take long but they couldn’t do it straight away, so I went back later, stumped up another £50 for two hours labour (you don’t get that in your fancy London dealerships!) and drove home in a transformed car. All the harshness and grumbling was gone. Bliss.
With the heater now working as it should too, the car is much, much more pleasant to drive than it was for the journey from Manchester at the weekend. There’s still work to do – the accumulator sphere needs replacing/refreshing, a full service should take place and the exhaust seems to be knocking a bit – but I’m feeling very positive about this new purchase.
Which is more than can be said about the Mercedes. It doesn’t help that, with the fleet currently a bit over-sized, the Mercedes is blocked in on the driveway. Since it arrived just over a month ago, I’ve acquired two cars that have stolen the ‘ooh, exciting new toy!’ crown. The Mercedes has a starting issue now – cured one issue but exposed another I think – but really, it’s curtains for it as part of this fleet. I just can’t justify having a car that does zero mileage.
That’s a tricky aspect of this lifestyle. I’m a car lover, who loves driving. Yet I find myself with a commute that even the laziest person couldn’t do in a car – from my bedroom to my dining room. Don’t think I haven’t considered it – the trouble is the step out of the kitchen. I think a Peel P50 would struggle to get up it. But it means I don’t actually have to drive anywhere.
This means that I can and do go for drives just for the hell of it. Why not? I live amongst some of the best driving roads in the UK. The downside is that there aren’t actually a great many roads! Mind you, I did find a very enjoyable one only the other week. It’s the B4337 between Llanrystud and Llanybydder. Seek it out, but watch out for farm machinery, steep gradients, hidden crests and other dangers.
The problem for the Merc is that it just isn’t the right car for these roads. It’s why I sold my Citroen CX back in 2010. It was too big, too floaty and just felt out of place. I do like big, wafty cars, but not as much as I think I do.
That’s why the BX scores so well. It gives that big car, wafty feel, but remains taught in the twisties and easy enough to park in town. Sorry Mercedes. Compared to a Citroen, you just can’t cut it.