Driving Home For Christmas

Updated: Jan 10

Good afternoon!

I hope you are all well, it's been a quite a while and A LOT has happened - so, without further ado...let's go forth.

Monday 13th December, 2021 - Advent Day 13: The Final Week

Whilst I was studying hard at University, my parents got the keys to our new home for the first time - the 13th would be their final night at the rented property.

Looking back, it's crazy to think that this house was all but empty - my parents only getting the house-key on the 13th, and here I am 10 days later as happy as Larry planted on my rig. (I do need to get on with wrapping presents though!)

Meanwhile, far up north, in Wolverhampton, I had an online meeting with my lecturer about the second assignment - this meeting making everything SO much clearer - and indeed boosted my confidence slightly - that I hadn't "messed up" my first assignment, I simply "went into too much detail" and did what I was supposed to do on the second assignment early - and even went to the extent to say that (as long as it didn't look like a bibliography) I could use it (or parts of it) when I come to write my second assignment.

Tuesday, 14th December, 2021 - Advent Day 14: Presenting And Presentations

Tuesday saw me have my final Media, Law and Ethics lecture where I had to present a presentation (on defamation) I had been working on for the past few weeks.

I've been told many things about presenting presentations - not to read the screen, not to write an essay per slide, but the most difficult thing is to just stand up there and present confidently.

I went last (as I had some finishing up to do) - and noticed where the others could improve - and worked especially hard to improve on that in my presentation.

In the beginning, I was pretty confident, but as time went on - and I saw the look on my lecturers face (confusion...or interest or concern) my confidence dipped slightly - was I speaking Japanese accidently? Did I make sense? Did I ramble? Did I talk too long? Was it interesting? Relevant? Too Short? Off-Topic? Did I tick the markers I needed to in order to pass?

Still to this day I don't know...maybe when I return from the Christmas holidays...or if...

Whilst I may have completed the Presentation itself - my Bibliography still had to be finished off - this I did once on the Isle Of Wight (22nd December) - my lecturer was just happy that it was complete, and as I did the proper "presenting" bit on the deadline day - and the "bibliography" slide wasn't something I had to "present" par-se.

Down south, on the Isle Of Wight, the first lorry full of furniture had arrived - the unpacking and "homing" of a house had begun. It was also the first week of the new, Season 1, 2022 iRacing season - new year new me? Maybe - but I'd have to wait to find out.

It was also the final 1,000,000 seconds before Christmas.

Wednesday 15th December, 2021 - Advent Day 15: A Big Finish!

The last day at University in 2021 was a biggy: a full-on News Day where each of us took on a role and story and would come back together at the end of the day to wrap it up into one big package.

Initially, I was going to do the "Sport" story - and a story about the new screen-school that the Uni had installed, but through foolish volunteering, I ended up as the presenter. Not everything in life goes to plan, and unfortunately, after playing around with my sport-story a little bit, I had quite some trouble exporting my package - so in the end it was canned/scrapped/not used in the final package-combination - this was me going off to Wales and reporting on the University Of Wolverhampton Racing Team, which ehhh, could have gone worse (if I'm honest)

As the presenter, I was required to read off a teleprompter saying "in other news, a cow jumped over the moon" etc. etc. and although I stumbled a few times - and so did the teleprompting operator/s, I made it through to the end, I survived.

After presenting, I'd return to my accommodation, pack my things and eventually set off at about 7:30pm (had A LOT of boxes to sort - from both my room, Scotland and Uni and since I was going to Essex, I had to hide the most valuable of them so the car would not look suspicious or attractive to thieves - I know Essex isn't the worst county for car theft, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

I'd eventually arrive in Essex at about 10:58pm/11pm. I had a triple cheese toasty for tea

The reason for this 6th and latest trip to Harlow was because my proper bed (along with the remainder of the furniture) was only coming in on the 20th December - meaning that had I gone straight home/to the Isle Of Wight I'd have to spend 5 days on a small, spare bed.

This day was also supposed to be my race-day for the week, but due to being at uni and then going straight to my friend's second property (where the rig wasn't) and spending the night there, I skipped week 1 - annoyingly when the new TCR cars were at Spa Francorchamps (a circuit that I actually have) and the GT3's were at Knockhill (a circuit I didn't have - and couldn't afford at the time).

From here, I remember very little about the 16th December No matter, I not long after fell asleep. From what I could gather, the reason for sleeping in the other location was because my friend and co. had moved the sofa bed from the place we usually stay, up to the new location, installing a new, smaller sofa in place of it.

Thursday, 16th December, 2021 - Advent Day 16: Forgetfulness The 16th was a pretty chilled out day - I got to test the Honda Civic TCR Car, however, as I left my headset at the other place, I couldn't use any audio so I had to rely on my shifter lights to know - or even guess - when I was meant to be shifting - but it was a good first experience of the TCR - it had a nice interior and handled pretty well.

Had I known that we'd spend quite a while with my rig, I'd probably nip out and quickly get it.

Looking through my statements, it also appears I went to Tesco for fuel.

Friday, 17th December, 2021 - Advent Day 17: Productivity!

(17th - 19th Written whilst onboard a boat from the IOW to the mainland)

Friday was a very busy day - starting off by going to a relative of a friend's (who surprisingly - and really wholesomely) gave me a Christmas present! (Deodrant and Shower Gel XD)

After this, later in the evening, we'd return to Harlow and go shopping at the local town centre.

Here, I'd buy my family christmas gifts for the year, do some general shopping before finishing with an ice-cream at a parlour called "Royalshakes" (which allowed you to make your own custom milkshake with your own chocolate of choice) - before finally heading off to a friend's house, arriving at 11 past midnight on the 17th, and arriving back just after 3am on the 18th.

Whilst I was busy on this night, the latest series of Grand Tour ("Carnage A Trois") was released. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this episode would be about reviewing French cars.

The night ended in annoyance as on the way home I originally thought I had left my phone, turned around, realised I had my phone, turned BACK around and then realised the friend we spent the evening/morning with meant my coat. Having already turned around once, I couldn't be asked to turn around AGAIN, so I headed back to Harlow for the night - knowing I'd have to nip back before going to Evie's. The 17th was also a year since the start of my Formula 3 season - certainly one of the best seasons I've ever had!

Saturday 18th December, 2021 - Advent Day 18: Surreybound

After booking - (or making my dad book) my Isle Of Wight crossing for the 19th, I pre-organised to see Evie on the day before - Surrey being south of Harlow, it was considerably closer and more convenient for my onward journey.

I eventually convinced her to let me stay over. In the beginning, I found out that she was available from 5pm - finishing work at 4, and then having a clear schedule from 5.

Whilst Evie was waiting for me, I was still in Essex/Harlow - first going through Smyth's without a wallet (there were some nice models, including a Defender!) before nipping back to where my coat was.

Whilst we didn't stay as long as we did previously, with Evie waiting (or the ETA after 5pm) I was keen on getting moving.

Eventually at about 9pm, all my Essex Errands were done and I was "free" to head back to Surrey.

After a nice chat and McDonalds, we'd head back to her house and I'd retire to the spare bed they had ever so kindly set up for me, and Evie returned to her room.

Sunday, 19th December, 2021 - Advent Day 19: Arriving Home!

The following morning, I awoke early, said "Good Morning" to Evie, had breakfast, and then watched her open my Christmas Present to her (a "Friends" 2022 Calendar").

Whilst her parents were perfectly fine with staying over (and mum was very chatty/offered me toast), her dad was slightly less of a morning person, and I ensured that I was out of the house relatively promptly.

As he went out to walk the dogs, I said my goodbyes and headed off in my own direction. (at about 11am)

I didn't immediately head south as I left Evie's.

I took a route I had taken many times before - and it bought back quite the sense of nostalgia.

The trip was from Ewhurst To Woking. The Woking I used to know and love.

I headed back to my house, just to see if they had done anything major with it (like knock any bits down) - and other than a re-surfaced road (St. Marthas Avenue) it all looked as it did.

Being before 11am, I thought it best to not knock on the door as early as it was - if the Kitchen light wasn't even on, it was safe to assume that they'd likely be asleep.

From my old house, I drove to Lymington Port (just East of Bournemouth) - after asking on the Isle Of Wight Facebook Group, I was pretty confident in knowing what to do.

Despite my parents putting me on an earlier Ferry (2pm from the 4pm ferry previously) - I still arrived with more than ample time to spare - arriving at about quarter to 1 (12:45). After a little nosey-around of the port and visitor centre, the Ferry eventually came.

Surprisingly, I was one of the first to be allowed to board - my car only being the second in line in the right hand lane on the Ferry.

After boarding, the drivers all went upstairs to the passenger area.

As per usual, I'd sit down and my laptop would run out of charge within moments.

After a quick search, I did find one, single, solitary outlet on a comfy armchair behind an elderly couple.

Sweet, a chance to blog for the first tim- "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE WILL BE ARRIVING IN YARMOUTH SHORTLY, PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR VEHICLES AND HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE ONWARD JOURNEY" Nevermind then. Following this announcement, I'd unplug my laptop and return to my car.

Unloading was incredibly quick and eventually me and the Audi were allowed onto the Island - the first time stepping foot (or should I say wheel) on the island since going to The Isle Of Wight in Year 6. (2011 - 2012).

From the boat, it was a short 10 minute or so drive to my parent's home-town.

Surprisingly, I found the house on my first attempt (of using the Sat-Nav).

Back then, things were still very chaotic.

Dec. 13th: New House Key

Dec. 14th: First Lorry Of Furniture

Dec. 19th: I arrive

Dec. 20th: Remainder of furniture and boxes arrive

After a tour of the (rather large!) house, our attention turned to the KIA which was full to the brim with things and boxes.

Initially, I stored a few extra items in my Kia (that I wouldn't normally take) to ease the stress of my parents whilst moving.

In early September, I'd add two-weeks worth of clothes and itinerary (from my Scotland Holiday) to this pile off stuff.

December 19th saw 3/4 of my uni stuff/stuff from my uni room/accomodation, plus the stuff already mentioned...so quite a lot leaving the car and entering the house.

After the car was unpacked, we wanted to "celebrate" my arrival (to the house), so the offer of takeaway was thrown onto the metaphorical table.

After everyone agreed, me and my dad drove down to the local town and got some Pizza as well as some other food/drink items we were missing.

Despite getting a little lost on the way home, it was a very productive trip and the pizza was very enjoyable.

That evening, there was still quite a few boxes to be ticked - there was no WiFi to be had (BT Man came on the 20th), the boiler was suffering some problems - resulting in not hot water (the water being at about 40 degrees celcius as opposed to a usual boiling being at 60c.

That evening, I'd have a hot chocolate before retiring to bed (which was the spare bed as mine hadn't arrived yet).

On top of this, as the room was a considerably different shape to the one I had at my previous house, we had to do a bit of head-scratching about where everything (cupboards and desks) would go - as I had only arrived a few hours prior (and a little bit tired from the journey) I wasn't sure of EXACTLY what I wanted - but we made a rough plan and decided to test it out and if it worked, we'd stick with it.

The day had been so chaotic in fact, that looking back on my search history - it jumps straight from the 18th of December to the 20th!

Monday 20th December - Advent Day 20: FURNITURRRRRRRE!

On Sunday Evening, I was told that the "removal" people (moving us in) would be arriving rather early - at roughly 9am/10am or so. Put simply - the day was pure chaos. Boxes left, right and centre, everybody rushing around the place, it was madness.

The final truck of furniture at 09:50am

For the most part, I was stationed in my room - whilst I had my monitor, computer, desk and rig from Essex/Harlow - none of it had been set up or put out - mostly because with the rig folded up and everything else in boxes, there was plenty of room for the furniture and other cardboard boxes of stuff (from home) to be put in my (new) room.

One of the last things to go in my room after everything was my bed from my old house - the spare bed, whilst comfortable - wasn't exactly the wide bed I had been using since I was a toddler (and indeed in itself is over one hundred years old.)

With the bed in it's place, slats laid and bedding in - it was finally time to open the boxes up and start making a room...my room - the bedroom of our new house, into my bedroom in my house.

I'll be the first to admit that my bedroom in my old house was pretty big - and whilst the house itself is bigger - it's more "long" than big - like a rectangle has more surface area than a square, whilst being longer, yet not bigger.

My room is quite the down-size, so I certainly had to get inventive with the displays - and sitting here, writing this on the 29th, I like it - it's certainly unique and (in a good way) not like my old home.

One of the last things to be set up was my computer and rig - and as an incredibly inept person at pretty much everything (maths, cooking, remembering stuff, art, racing, anything else skilful) - I'm incredibly proud to say that I set my computer up all by myself!

Okay, still to this day cable management may be...non-existent, but still - isn't everyone's cable management appalling?

Anyway, with the rig set up, WiFi all up and running - was able to get iRacing fired up and took two screenshots - one of me levitating in AI Racing (tested AI Racing first, then went to officials) and the other of my brand spanking new Honda Civic TCR car.

By the end of the day, everything was put in it's place, cars and other display models put on the shelves, clothes in their drawers and everything else in it's place.

By the time everything had been sorted and it was looking like my home/room, it was pretty late - and I wasn't the only one who was shattered! The whole family was!

Tuesday December 21st, 2021 - Advent Day 21: The Winter Solstice.

I honestly cannot remember what happened on this day other than it being the shortest day of the year.

What I can also say about this day is that it marked less than 100 hours to Christmas wooooo!

The more exciting side of Christmas began on the 22nd December...but as this blog is long enough, I'll leave that until the next blog! (I forgot to mention, I watched The Grand Tour on this day)


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