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Blog Archive 2013
PLEASE NOTE: The entries below represent my personal thoughts and reflections. Unless otherwise stated, all views are my own and should not be infered to represent those of any other organisations or individuals with whom I might be linked.



Wednesday 23 October 2013 - Astra Meltdown


Driving home from work last night my car began to behave a bit strangely! Firstly the alternator light came on, then went out. Shortly after the ABS warning light illuminated - as I was already on the M5 I decided a brake test would be unwise and simply moderated my speed with intelligent accelerator use. This light also then went out - to be replaced by the airbag warning light.


I then noticed my dashboard illumination fading. But no other problems so I continued to my friends' house for tea.


When it was time to head home, I could only illuminate my side lights - the headlights were gone. I drove carefully, but by the time I was halfway home the power steering had failed.


On arriving at my house the sidelights failed completely and it very nearly refused to close the windows (which had been opened to demist the windscreen due to the fan no longer running). I managed to lock the car (with the remote) and then went to bed.


Today I drove the Landrover (funny how you can always trust Solihull engineering!).


I phoned my garage and after describing the faults they told me the alternator has failed. The bad news is it is a £250 part, the good news they could take the car in and fix it tomorrow (excellent garage - recommended - Filton Central Garage The fascinating thing is that they tell me the system actually has 'intelligent failure' gradually shutting down less vital systems (not sure how brakes fit this agenda) in order to keep the engine running as long as possible.




Watch this space for news on the repair.


(PS - costed how much to change the Astra (2004 model) for something a bit newer. Anyone got £10k spare???)


PPS - after a brief search I found a 2010 model Astra Diesel Estate (which Coco loves) and traded the 2004 Astra in against it on 31/10/13. So far so good - a really lovely car! Being the 'Design' variant it's a bit posh - very nice.





Thursday 4 April 2013 - Thank You to Avast AntiVirus


I am really impressed with Avast AntiVirus ( Not only do they produce excellent anitvirus software, free of charge, but they are really decent in their dealings with their paid customers.


Let me explain. My father has dementia and mistakenly responded to one of the Avast sales alerts in their product. He purchased the product even though I have his machine 'locked down' so that he cannot install software. I contacted them, explained the situation and they promptly refunded the payment. That's what I call good service - and another good reason to recommend them!


Following this, I have tightened Dad's security by installing a 'net nanny' system that will prevent his internet connection allowing future conection to sites that might cause him problems. Again I have sourced a free product from seems like a really good, simple to use product that actually does the job.