Pauly's Soapbox


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Harry has a school disco today

What on earth will a school disco at a primary school be like? I can't remember anything like this really. The cliche from other people seems to be all the boys lined up on one side of the room and girls on the other, but I'm not so sure. It's not a big room for a start, but also Harry did sort of get into the dancing at a party last weekend.

Not sure yet if Clare is going to have to stay and supervise, she might have been talked into it by our friend we were out with at the weekend...

There's bird poo on our new car already :-(

UPDATE: Harry has gone to the school disco in his Superman outfit. Now what on earth is he going to wear for BIBLE THEMED TAG DAY at school on Wednesday? YEAH you heard that right. Tag day (where your own clothes) except don't wear your own clothes dress up as a thing out of the bible... what now?
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Rare night out

After using and abusing Grandpa all day long looking after our boys while we shopped for a car, we then asked him to babysit in the evening too so we could go OUT! We'd been trying to line up a night out for a while with some friends Sam and Gary. So we did!
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Rare night out part three - The Pullman

Headed to The Pullman after dinner for one before heading home and it was a revelation. I thought it was nice last time we went, but just too quiet to be worth going to, but now it's still nice but also busy. Recommended. We were supposed to have a look at the menu while we were there, as the food is meant to be good. But we forgot.
:: 30 Mar :: Comment / reply

Rare night out part two - Blooms

Dinner was at Blooms and it was lovely. I only ever have pizza there as there's not a lot in the menu for me but it was really good. Clare said her chicken was particularly tasty too, and the wine was also great.

It's a bit expensive in there really, more of an "occasion" sort of place, but hey. We were celebrating the fact that we'd spent a TONNE of money that day on a new car, by spending a tonne more money on dinner.
:: 30 Mar :: Comment / reply

Rare night out part one - RockSalt

We started in RockSalt - not my ideal spot really, particularly when it's too cold to enjoy their terrace. But it's popular, especially with the ladies I think, it's where Clare and Sam wanted to go. We did try and sit outside, but it was a bit chilly. Inside very crowded, slow service, and the promised beer pump was off so I had a cold beer from the fridge. The ladies enjoyed their cocktails though.

Bumped into a neighbour there too, next door but one, and another of the dads from school. Probably spoke more to them in five minutes there than I ever have before, so nice.
:: 30 Mar :: Comment / reply

New car wasn't as much of a compromise as I thought

Our new Peugeot 207 does have bluetooth after all. It looked like it did but the guy at the garage thought not, how odd. Hope there's nothing bad that he's got wrong about it. I've paired up both of my phones and can happily stream music on it. Haven't tried making or receiving a call yet...
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We bought a Peugeot 207

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Actually a 2011 Peugeot 207 1.6 HDi Active SW. Totally not what we went in for, it was over our budget but it just came down to within it. Paid a deposit today, got to go back and settle up over the next couple of days.

It has just about none of the features that we said we wanted but it has one that we definitely needed but weren't looking for - more room. It's an estate; not an estate as I remember them, but a lot more room in the back than all the other cars we'd been looking at. Think of how many boxes of comics I can bring back from Mum and Dad's next weekend!

Also it has a tow bar, so we'll probably get a caravan now. Almost certainly. Won't we?

It doesn't have bluetooth on the stereo that's on there at the moment, though it looks like it has all the fittings. The stereo that's there looks ok, has ipod connection and things, but importantly it's basic ISO fitting shape so I can pull it out and get a fancy one in there when I have the money. Or I could probably make do and try my raspberry pi car stereo idea again, now I have the audio connections.

We test drove four cars today, and each of them in turn had one of the features we were looking for, parking sensors, bluetooth integration, remote control stereo, built in sat nav, all sorts of fancy things, but none of them drove as well as this one. That's the main thing really this one is a lot more like the hire car we have right now, to drive.

Speaking of the hire car, I sent off the log book for our car to the insurance company today, officially transferring it to them, so I guess when they get that they will pay us for it, and from that point we have four working days to return the hire car. So we might well have it over the bank holiday weekend, nice. If that's the case not sure which one I'd take to Mum and Dad's, probably the new car still anyway.

Out tonight! Seem to be out a lot at the moment. Going to Blooms with some friends, but starting in RockSalt and then also hopefully going to Kipps Ale House.


raspberry pi: cheap low powered computer
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Test drove a Hyundai i20

Instead of taking Harry swimming last night I went off to Ashford to test drive a car. It seemed OK to me, it's a Hyundai, three years old a bit of a dull beige colour. I'm a bit of a dull beige kind of guy really, so we might well end up going for this one. Main features (apart from the colour) are that yes it has bluetooth integration, and the road tax will only be £30 a year. What is there not to like?
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Went to the Rotary Club quiz

Hmm, went to the rotary club quiz this week, it's a major affair for them, bigger than most quizzes we have done. There were 42 teams, we were table number 42. The meaning of life, and also my age, a good omen, yes? Six rounds of ten questions, plus a picture round, which were actually Hollywood themed dingbats / catchphrase type things. They were quite hard for a start. We played our joker on the third round out of six, that meant double points for that round, so at that stage we were in the lead, first out of 42. Then as the other teams played their jokers on the other rounds, and we continued to perform quite mediocrely we slipped and slipped. We came about eighth in the end, not bad, but not commendable. I think last time we did this giant quiz we came fourth, though then the team was Clare, Pauline, Dean and me. This time it was Uncle Frank, Chris from the Ship, Mike the judge, and me.

A fun night out (out on a Wednesday, imagine) but it would have been nice to come back with a prize.
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Russell Brand presents Top Gear


I hate top gear. I'm annoyed that we even have to be buying a new car.

Heard from the car rental people who our current car is from, they called to say they have been informed our car has been written off, and so we have four working days from receiving payment for our write off to return their car. We've not had payment yet so that's good. My insurance company are meant to be passing me on to a car buying service first who would help find a new car. Don't think we're going to use them but as the write off money would go direct to them (if we used them) then that might delay sending out actual payment. Still, I have at least four working days from today which takes me up to Tuesday, even if they transferred my write off £850 to me right now.

If they spin it out to Monday somehow then we get into bank holiday territory. I can see me getting to mum and dad's in record time if I still have the hire car then.

I'm test driving a couple of cars after work today, and then we're going to look at more on Saturday too. We should have a new car by Sunday... We'll be a two car family for a few days at this rate, maybe I am top gear audience after all.
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A full weekend then

As well as The Ship on Friday night we had both had a night out on Sunday. Unheard of! First I had two parties to take Harry to, one at the cinema in Ashford in the morning, and then another at Hythe sports pavilion after lunch. He loved both of them, and we stayed at the second one with him and Tommy, they had a great entertainer / magician called Mr Wand.

Then we went to @acrusteaten's supper club at Follies in Folkestone. This was amazing! It was an all vegan menu, everything was great, five courses and we had some lovely wine from Follies too. The idea of the supper club is that someone takes over the venue, not a pro chef, just an enthusiast organising a dinner party. We didn't know anyone at the event before we went, but being sat with them on the same table we soon got to know them. I had such a good time, and would love to go to another, though the food is not normally suitable for me. We'll see.

Then Monday feeling a bit hungover and working from home I got the call from the insurance company, the car is a [[write off] :-(

They have offered £850 and won't entertain returning any money I just spent getting it through the mot recently. I've paid out more than £850 on it this year, but that's the book price so that's that. We're going to cash in the premium bonds and get something as new as we can, aiming for something less than five years old with all the modern features. Mainly bluetooth so I can connect my phone up with it like we can with the hire car we still have.

So, thoroughly fed up really. If I have to spend that sort of money I'd like it to be on something I actually want but there's no way we can do it - I don't want a car, but a) I can't afford a van or anything interesting and b) it wouldn't do for getting Clare to work, which is the main reason we need it. So I just have to splash out and suck it up. Clare has some savings to chip in and we do have gthe £850 from the insurance but it's still a load of money to lay out that I then can't spend on TVs and things. This is why I'm after a bit of tech in the car, so I can kid myself that I've bought something fun with my money.
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Paul Clarke's - I work and live in Hythe near Folkestone, Kent. married to Clare and father to Harry and Tommy, I am a web dev, and I do javascript, nodejs, php, and ruby. I like Folkestone Gerald, pubs, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, and time travel...