The Final Days In Harlow (Week 4)

I'm currently sitting on my bed, thinking back to how crazy and adventurous these last 33 days have been. (6 days, break, 27 days).


My last blog ended on the 5th July, 8 days ago, so we shall resume from there.


Firstly, however I'd like to mention the fact that I bought a bike (my dream bike/bicycle) on the 25th June and had my hair cut in roughly the same period (3rd July) just forgot to mention it in the blogs!


5/07/2021


Other than going to Tesco (or ASDA) to pick up some things, the 5th was a very lazy day with very little - to nothing - to report on.


I took no photos (other than at Tesco/ASDA), my phone didn't pick up any interesting locations and my Black Box wasn't much help either.


I did hoover my friend's house, but that was probably the most action that the house saw, other than the dog barking like mad (typical dog things, y'know)


~


One Month Ago, I went to Littlehampton with my friends because it was a seaside down I had never been to and they filmed a scene out of the inbetweeners there.


6/07/2021


I stayed up fairly late on the night of the 5th - 6th July as my friend had recently installed Wreckfest on their Xbox (via GamePass) - having never played wreckfest on anything on other than a keyboard (and once or twice on a wheel), I was keen to try it...and oh boy did it feel good!

The Black and Grellow "Kabort" car joined me on my on my Smashing Adventure

On the subject of Kabort, the 6th also saw Kabort gain a new sponsor - EPF Graphics - the strategy of the mobile advertising boards (also known as racing cars) working a treat as I liked Gaffney's car and was curious about EPF and what it was!

Not my photo - photo on "MSVR, Focus Cup" page

(One month ago I had a tyre blow out) 7/7/2021

Later that night, we'd head out to London once again. If I'm not mistaken, this was the first trip to London with the dog.


As per usual, as we arrived in London, it was nearing 1am in the morning - London was silent and the lights lit up the sky above us.


We'd walk over Jubilee bridge after encountering some local youths before heading back to the car over one of London's many bridges.

It's not until writing this that I've suddenly realised that on the 16th anniversary of the 7/7 London Terror Attacks, we were in London - it may have been just after midnight, but the fact still remains, although I wish I would have realised it at the time.


Whilst in London, I received an email from Ocado, the first company to respond back to me in regards to a job - though hoping I was successful, given my previous luck with jobs (the same with relationships!) they just kindly let me know that "they would not be continuing on with the recruitment process" - tough bollocks, but hey ho.

~


Later that same day, in the afternoon, we'd head to Welling to pick up a car for the parents of my friend.


When we got to Welling, the car was having its MOT done, so we drove to the garage where this was being done and had a look at the car.


Naturally, being an off-roader from 2003, it had some battle scars, and was showing her age slightly - William's 2001 Skoda Octavia Estate (Occy), being the only car I know to have survived 20 years of British Roads without a scratch or bodywork needing to be fixed, but alas.


Whilst here, I discovered a few hidden treasures including a left-hand-drive (Imported) Pontiac Trans Am from 1994-1995 (was an M-Plated car)


By the state of it, the late 1990's were probably the final miles the old gal did.


In addition to this, there was also a 1992 (K Plate) Pontiac Trans Sport SE. Also right hand drive, she's probably been in every single American "Summer Family Road Trip" film that there is!

In addition to this, there'd also be a nicely done up Seat Leon Cupra ('03 Model) and an '03 Fiesta sporting a large "South East Statics" on the rear window.


I'd return to the cars (Kiara and the new one) and discover that there was a small problem.


The car's tax had expired and usually, the GOV.UK website only updates a car's tax status 5 days after it has been renewed, meaning, had we driven it all the way home, it would have popped up on ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) as untaxed, and the Police would likely have pulled us over.


We were positioned between a rock and a hard place - Only recently passing their driving test, my friend wasn't a super confident driver - and had the option of the M25 (only doing a couple of motorway sessions during driving lessons), there being more cars and more chance of fitting in/not getting stopped, or taking the slower and (in theory) safer route (due to the slower average speed) through the heart of London - ANPR being littered around like cigarette butts on the pavement.


We chose option B - London. We got to the Blackwall Tunnel skirting ANPR cameras - before we knew our game was up.


we pulled into an opening and discussed the options - If my friend/s drove the car through the tunnel, it'd light up Police's screens like a Christmas tree - only just getting their licence meant that getting stopped would do all but endless damage to their insurance premiums.


Since I had my licence for longer, the fingers were pointed at me, but I said "awww hell to the nah" to letting anyone but myself drive Kiara - especially as I was the only one properly insured to drive her.


I won't say what our ingenious solution was, incase anyone catches on or tries to copy - but let's just say that there's always a solution, no matter the problem - and there's more than one way through London - or more specifically, a tunnel.


To end our night of adventures, we'd watch England take on Denmark in the Euros, England winning to make it to the final. I don't much care for football, but if England is playing, then I guess I'll support them - I'm not bothered to be perfectly honest!


Following the match, we'd head out to Tesco to buy some supplies, I'd remain in the car and spot a cheeky little Mustang!

(One month ago, we were sorting the tyre/car) 08/07/2021

The 8th saw the start of the 2021 Goodwood Festival Of Speed - being in Harlow, I missed it (yeah, the entire thing - was supposed to go with one of dad's mates, but that fell through) - I'm just glad I didn't buy tickets and then find out I was busy.


Unfortunately my Black Box only tracks the 30 previous-most journies, any older being lost, never to be seen again.


The only evidence I do have of the 8th was a picture of a toy plane in a shop - me joking around that I had never seen one for years - an addition to the joke being "what do one of these things even do?!"


The 8th also saw a routine trip to the flat (friend's apartment) take quite the drastic turn - after a bog standard - go in, chill out, grab what's needed and then leave I was going to do my usual routine of driving up the ramp (to some garages at the back of the property) and then doing a 3-point-turn to get out again - however...after us all getting in the car, me turning the engine on and driving onto the ramp, something was afoot...following driving through a puddle of assumedly water, the wheels started spinning and Kiara made quite tough work of the usually easy ramp.


approaching the top a voice from within the car said "that's oil..." so I stopped at the top a touch further up - I was told to stop, if it was that slippery going up, then going down would be a deathwish.


Whilst the others (my friend, her friend and his friend - and also the baby and the recently joined dog) were concerned about the fuel, I was more scared/worried about the garages...and the possibility that this was intentional and what the perpetrators intentions were. If they were after users of the ramp (myself) to commit a car-jacking, stabbing, murder, theft or weather it had just been done to cause inconvience.


There were 6 - 7 opened jerrycans/oil cans in the corner, the oil from which spilling out in front of two garages before making its way down the ramp towards the exit (And freedom) After Harlow City Council failed to help, we decided to call the fire-brigade - with the amount of oil down (And the potential of other chemicals involved) it was both a huge slip and fire risk...and I was stuck.


Whilst getting baby wipes from the flat (distracted me, and took my eyes off the mess that was the ramp) the fire engine arrived. I could only find antibacterial wipes (useless), and returned to the scene.


With a couple of firemen's guidance (there was also a kind woman there too), they guided me back down the ramp before taping off the scene for the city council to deal with.


Having sat for half an hour or so, the oil must have dried on my wheels and the drive around the garage yard must have helped also - but the fire crew gave me the confidence to go down the ramp without hitting any cars or indeed plough through a bush. Quite the eventful night - and after a puncture, adventure in London and other adventures had - it was another memory for Kiara to keep.


After the adventures of that night, we'd have a McDonalds delivered to the house and watch casualty.

~

One month ago was the beginning of Week 13. I'd return home for this on this day in June



9/07/2021


On the 9th July, Kiara was back road-tripping again.


This time she was headed up to Norwich (Norrich). The location and reason for this trip will remain confidential, but we got there and back safely and collected our load along the way.


With the exception of finding Chilli for 69p (Nice N Hot) and watching Hercules, it was quite a nice, calm evening in.


10/07/2021


Saturday was quite the exciting day - I signed up for the forth running of the Apex Racing League (ARL) Formula 3 Championship (will be its own blog).


This will be the first broadcasted league I will be a part of, and one of the most well-known Formula 3 Leagues on iRacing.


Before I go off on a tangent about the iRacing Le Mans 24 Hours* (I know, it's a series), I also went to KIA on this day, to source myself a spare wheel - I soon found out (after going to KIA in Harlow, and phoning my local Kia), that the 2011 Kia Venga (or the Venga in general) doesn't actually come with a spare wheel - just an air compressor kit...very useful when you've got a gaping hole in your tyre! Fortunately, Will sourced me a wheel being sold (the right size) and I bought it - just because I was done of his reminding me (to get a spare) and the constant anxiety of going over bumps on the motorway.


In the world of iRacing, it was Round 2 of the VRS Global Endurance Series - a 24 hour race every two weeks - iRacing's way of getting around the loophole of ACO's "Ya can't have a virtual Le Mans 24 Hours, That's ours"


- Round one was Hockenheim on 22nd June, this round is the one everyone's been waiting for: Circuit De La Sarthe, Le Mans.


In a shock turn of events, the Kabort Green car piloted by Dante Reynoso (MEX), Sam Thurtell (AUS), Emmanuel Ijere (USA) and Niels Ykema (NDL) came home to steal Kabort's first ever 24 Hour race win!


Whilst the other car (Yellow, LMP2) retired - the entire Kabort team celebrated late, late into the night.


For me however, I was still in Harlow and my mother was beginning to get concerned - especially as I had a pile of things to sort - including important paperwork. I was swiftly "demanded" home ("You need to come home on Monday as discussed").


Since I had heard no news of the wedding or when it may take place, this fit in very nicely with my mum wanting to have me home.


After some sub-15 minute "bumbles" around Harlow, on on the remainder of Saturday (it being 6pm) and Sunday, I packed up my car - (finding my wallet and house keys in the process) and headed back home to Surrey.

11/07/2021

Firstly Sunday though - on Sunday, I had my car cleaned by my friends, which was a hugely kind gesture. Also on this day, whilst driving, I hit 76969 miles, marking 7,900 miles since I hit 69069 in early May.


That's quite some darn distance - in 64 days, I travelled almost 8,000 miles - to put that into perspective - here's a 7.9K road-trip from Norway to Portugal via North Macedonia

Yes, I know plenty do daily commutes to and from work, but for a student in his summer holiday? In just 3 months that's putting some serious miles on!


(Yes, I know the UK's summer is milder than that of the countries here, and that I've been starting and stopping the engine and it's not this flat out, but hey, just as a visual representation of the miles I've put on Kiara since first properly checking her mileage.


12/07/2021


Monday was a pretty short day, the standard Mannying (Manny - Male Nanny) in the morning, followed by breakfast at mid-day or so, a bit of hoovering (downstairs, on the stairs and the upstairs landing), loading up the car with my bags and then leaving the bike until last (or second to last if you include the tyre that went pop as memorabilia) before finishing the cake I started yesterday (ordered food yesterday) and finding out that Primark didn't want to hire me before saying my goodbyes and hitting the road.



During this day, Boris Johnson also confirmed that quite a few restrictions would end on the 19th July - mask wearing included.


Me personally? I believe the more normality we can have, the better.


~

I'd arrive home at just after 4pm, have a discussion about my adventures in Harlow, before I'd boot up the rig for the first time in almost a month! (June 14th was the last race I did)


I'd start off with a bit of AI Racing, before switching over to BeamNG, and then quickly back to iRacing to test the livery I had made for the ARL F3 Championship


Following a 2am bath, I'd return to my room and hit the hay.


13/07/2021


Right. Today. I woke up at 8am or so, considered unpacking the car, decided against it, laid in bed until about midday, just texting, laptop-ing, the good stuff, had breakfast and pretty much blogged all day (and of course had lunch) - it's been pretty lazy (the way I like it) but tomorrow, Imma get my ass into gear, sort the documents I need to and even make my return to the GT3 Challenge - The last official race I did was W11, Cota last season (same series) so that might be nice just to get me into the swing of things once more before the big weekend of the 16th July where I'm going to be on the live stage, embarrassing myself in front of everybody.


Onward from the F3 will be the iRacing Spa 24 Hours, so plenty to look forward to!



Sorry it's been a long blog, hope you've enjoyed


Robin



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