I’ve not been around much recently as you may have noticed. It’s down to a cocktail of reasons made up of a few shots of work, a drizzle of laziness, a of dash of ooh la la, and a pint of pure bad luck.

It started a couple of weeks ago when my iMac decided to crash and then consume vast quantities of my already allocated time on what turned out to be a problem that had even the cleverest of Mac people perplexed. In the end it turned out to be a errant cron job running at the very unix heart of the Macs soul, and believe me, i probably know about as much about what the heck that is as you do!

The following weekend I decided to go ‘down south’ to see my Yogi (family nickname for my grandma) and my mate Darryl. On the way I was due to make an overnight stop at my friend James’s place whereupon we would celebrate his sons 17th birthday party with the extended family and friends.

The following morning I was struck down by the most hideous hang over I have had in years. Red wine and James’s sister were the culprits, though I was now paying the price for the things we had gotten up to the night before. By 2pm I was about ready to get off the couch and drive the 50 something miles to Essex (outside London) to see Yogi. This time, unlike quite a few previous attempts, I was successful.

I reached Essex without incident or excitement and spent a good hour or so talking with Yogi. Actually she did most of the talking, I just nodded and tried desperately to conceal the heavy cost of the previous nights activities. Eventually the need for some fresh air forced my departure. The weather was beautiful though, so I decided to put the roof down and take it some clean air while I headed to Chelmsford to spend the evening with one of my oldest friends, Darryl.

It was his Birthday the weekend before so I had told him that I would take him anywhere he wished to go and the entire nights fun would be on me. I was pretty sure this wouldn’t involve strippers and beer because as wild as Darryl has been in his days, he’s just coming out of a pit of depression so he isn’t yet ready to have some half naked lovely wave her wobbles in his face. And besides I wasn’t feeling like I could handle another drink… ever again! and true enough, we ended up in fairly low key place not far from his house. Chalk up £60 ($105) to my tab for the meal and a couple of drinks.

The next day I headed down to the mouth of the River Thames that winds its way through the capital city. My brother and his wife have an apartment down there and I was talking Pete out for a slap up dinner as it was his birthday too. His wife was laid up in bed sick, so we got some brother time, which was actually really fun. Chalk up another £68 ($119) to the tab for the meal and a couple of drinks.

I dropped Pete, made a little off schedule visit to an old familiar place (I’ll write about that later), then headed for the London Orbital Motorway, the M25. The plan at this point was to head North, stopping in the midlands overnight at my friend Will’s house, then back ‘up North’ and home on the Monday. However just after junction 21 on the M25 those plans came to an unexpected halt.

The car had been making a strange noise, like something was rubbing. But several inspections revealed nothing so I decided, wrong it now turns out, to soldier on and get back home then take the car to the shop. However, as I drove at a steady (very slow by London standards) 60mph along the M25, the water pump failed and somehow this in turn made the timing belt fail which in turn did something bloody terrible to the engine which made it stop by the side of the busy highway at exactly six o’clock.

After calling Green Flag (a AAA like service) I discovered that my cover did not cover a rescue of this type. Green Flag would only tow me to a nearby garage. So once there I called Will and asked him to drive the 100 miles to come and rescue me. Our original plan was to tow the car back that night, but after a failed attempt at that we decided to simply abandon the car and return a couple of days later after I join a different roadside rescue company and then fake the breakdown after a day or so. Doing this cost me another £70 ($122). Plus I then paid for Will and I to go out and eat the next day, £35 ($61) along with buying him a tank of diesel for his kindness, £50 ($87).

The repair to the car is a big one. I did a real good job of effectively blowing the engine so such a degree that it will have to be rebuild and much of it replaced. Bang goes another £800 ($1,405)!!

Then to cap it all, my mobile phone goes wrong. No problem, I order another one and this afternoon the courier delivers it. A shiny new Sony Ericsson K750i. Only it didn’t look like it had had a trouble free journey. As I opened the packaging I began to wonder if maybe I’d been cursed.

Oh, and to cap it all off nicely. I have a stinker of a cold and a sore throat too! :-P