April 2010

DSC01203_4bcb800d26efc-lightboxThat was up until earlier this month, when I extracted the car from its air-chamber, as we wanted to use it for a trip to Durham for a wedding. All was going well on the drive back to Oxford the evening before our departure, until I drove over a speed-bump just outside our place and was greeted by a groaning from the front suspension. A dry, metallic sound, suggestive perhaps of either a worn bush or tired shock-absorber. The car itself drove well though, further proof (not that it’s needed) that these Mercedes are built to last. Pressing down on the front o/s wing produced a slight noise but only one bounce and after a quick ‘phone call with the mechanic, we elected to take the car anyway and there were no issues. But it is booked in for early next month for a thorough check-over because something is obviously amiss (despite the even wear on the tyres and the car pulling-up square and true under braking).

On the run back from Durham, we elected to try the A19 and this turned out to be an inspired choice. Free-flowing and relatively open, we stuck with the A19 all the way past York, finally joining the A1 just to the north of Doncaster. It really made a change to be able to maintain a steady 79mph average on a British dual-carriageway, and cruising through north Yorkshire was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning.

Earlier, we’d actually travelled further north to Bedlington, to collect some more back-issues of ‘evo’ magazine, much to the wife’s consternation. Having recently had a bit of a clear-out, where I’d sent a load of mags for recycling, I am now busily engaged in filling the empty space in the shelving with the entire collection. Sounds a good idea in theory but the downside is that I now have over 80 features to read…

Finally this month, a brief mention of our overnight accomodation in Chester-Le-Street for the aforementioned wedding. We’d elected to stay in Lumley Castle off the back of some fairly positive reports, and I’m pleased to report that it really lived up to expectations. Full of character and with friendly and welcoming staff, it was the ideal location and we’d heartily recommend it to anybody. I was also quite pleased with the parking arrangements, as the residents essentially had their own private courtyard with the gates locked at either ends at 10pm. A reassuringly secure location for this rare occasion when my CL wasn’t sleeping in its bubble…




Mark Williams