UniBlog: An Eventful Weekend In Surrey

After an 11 day break between the two first Scotland blogs, I've somehow been able to pump out about 5 blogs in the past week.


Things are certainly fast-paced around here.


We start all the way back in September - the 30th to be specific.


30/09/2021


On the 30th I pumped out two reasonably lengthed blogs - the first being the regular "UniBlog" and the second being a special article on my friend Tom Wallace who joined iRacing about 50 or so days ago and is now doing REALLY well.


I honestly can't remember all too much more of interest - especially as I stayed indoors all day.


The beauty of life (I find) is the fact that one day you can struggle to even write a whole paragraph about your day, and yet the next you're having to split your day into several parts because it was so exciting and there is so much to unpack - when you wake up that morning, you just have no idea.


No matter, enough trying to "beef up" Thursday, onto Friday...the day I have something I can write about!


1/10/2021


October. A new month. This year has honestly gone past so fast - and yet so slow at the same time it's a bit bonkers to think that in 2 months it'll be the start of advent.. that's almost 8 weeks!


Enough freaking out, Friday was a VERY good day.


After waking up at midday, I had about 3 hours and 15 minutes before I was due to see James Bond: No Time To Die at the cinema.


Following checking where to actually go, I'd leave at 2:15pm - arriving 12 minutes later.


I'll admit, at first, I did get a little lost in Bentley Bridge (leisure) park, but that was mostly because the cinema was to the left of me (which became behind me/out of view as I made a turning).


Upon finding the Cinema not all too long after, I'd park up (incredibly close actually!)


Upon entering, it would be my first time inside a cinema since December 2018 when I watched Mary Poppins Returns.


Enough of that, I won't spoil it - but it's a bloody good movie and quite the entertaining 3 hours!


























My bum was treated to royalty!


Being a brand new movie, I'm sure that my millions of readers and Blog Viewers will want to watch it - so I will swiftly by-pass the review, and jump straight back to when I returned to Uni/Campus.



Upon exiting, I saw a very nice '20 plate Porsche 911 in a stunning Midnight Blue.


I'd return back at about 6:35pm, have tea and hit the hay for a big day tomorrow.


I was meant to see Evie on the 1st, but Due to Bond being slam bang in the middle of the day, 3 hours long, and a further 3hr drive down to Surrey, it all got a bit messy and I told her I'd see her tomorrow


2/10/2021


Motorsport

Aside from the iRacing Petite Le Mans, there was no racing action to report that weekend.


Kabort Orange

On their first attempt, they got up to P16, before someone re-joined unsafely at Turn 2.


Kabort Blue

Had an absolute DREAM qualifying of P2, meaning they got to start on the front row, and 2 hours into the race they remained there.


Less than an hour later, P1 tangled with a backmarker, giving the lead to the mighty KBM car.


They would hold on to this lead before inching it out to an impressive lead of 8 laps to win yet another special event...Kabort's collection of trophies are only growing and growing - and soon we will need an entire village for them!


Kabort Purple


The first of two in the evening split was Purple - starting off in the Top 5, with those in front a couple of laps ahead - even though they had a massive accident and had 40 + minutes of repairs.


This only added salt to the wounds of a very difficult race - and the loss of a potential podium. They would eventually finish P8.


Kabort Pink


Although it had damage from roughly 4 hours in, the Pink car still continued on strongly and was set for a P2 - there was the option of taking 3 minute repairs, but the team refused and continued on - this ended up being the right call.


Team Pink couldn't win however - no matter how hard they tried, something would always get in their way, and eventually, with just over an hour to go, they had a devastating game crash, putting them down to 5th place. They would finish here.


Daytona 24 Hours is next up, and with a Young Tom Wallace in the mix and the fire for another great season after this one - Kabort are going to take a small rest first and be ready to bite some ass in January!



~


So the proper 2nd October, umm...It didn't go EXACTLY as planned, waking up at midday, realising I would get to Evie's by 3pm, and then discussing this fact in detail before eventually hitting the road and midday, stopping over at some motorway services for fuel, before continuing on - this whole journey taking 270 minutes - or 4 hours and 30 minutes (if my calculations are correct)


It was an absolutely abysmal journey - non-stop heavy rain from leaving Wolverhampton to arriving at Evie's, even witnessing the aftermath of a small car accident (small in the fact that the motorway wasn't closed, and the cars involved held up pretty well - especially as it was a front right to rear left impact - a Suzuki Swift rear ending a Jaguar XJ (2005) - how I remember this and not my house keys I will never know.


The motorway itself was also VERY wet with a countless number of large puddles forming whilst on the road.


No matter, I arrived at Evie's house at about 4:30pm (just to pick her up) had McDonald's, had a great chat and hung out - t'was nice since we haven't seen each-other in a while before I drove her home.


It was pretty darn late by the time I dropped her off back home, (7pm) and after not wanting to drive 3 hours or more back up to Wolverhampton, I thought about where I'd stay that night - I had rent coming up later in the month, so didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel or BNB for the night, and pretty much everyone I knew lived with their parents so that also put many spanners in the works.


I was left with three options


1) Drive up to Harlow (didn't want to drive that far, especially as I had quite the busy day of driving and being busy)


2) Stay in a hotel (as mentioned before, pretty darn expensive)

3) Agree to the deal my friend made and go clubbing with him, in return he'd let me stay over - or sort a solution to my conundrum


Obviously, during my first "clubbing" session I didn't drink, (Designated Driver Obviously) but it was an interesting experience - granted I sat quite far back from the dancing area/music, but it was still nice and they played some nice tunes, found out some things, like the name of a song I kept on hearing, and why it sounded familiar.


In short - I had a nice night out with a couple of my friends, enjoyed some good music, and whilst I wouldn't go off on my own accord, it was a fun new experience and something to try - I think the slow "jazz" of Spoons is a little more up my street.


After failing to find an open petrol station (none seemed to be 24hr or operational - obvious during this petrol crisis) I decided to head back to my friend's house and camp out on his drive-way.


This would be my very first night sleeping in my car.

My friend provided me a duvet and pillow and then pretty much left me to it (my request)


I was in a safe and secure driveway which wasn't on the high-street, main street - or indeed private road - It was one of the most rural, yet secure places Woking had to offer


Put it this way - If I had to choose anywhere in Woking to sleep in a car (or park a car and sleep in it), I would choose nowhere else other than where I had it on that night.


I'll admit, yes, it was uncomfortable, and turning over was a struggle, and yes, had I done it again, I would have laid on more than just my coat, but I didn't wake up in Austria or France, I wasn't kidnapped, or find myself in the back of a van and I didn't wake up with any missing or painful limbs, so I think it went pretty well - just obviously PLAN everything before you just park up and take a snooze - I was in a driveway with security gates and the key was in my pocket, so firstly, the keys weren't visible, and second of all, had someone got in (via a window or anything) the keys wouldn't just be easily accessible to take and use - If someone had smashed a window, I had such a poor sleep, that I would have immidately noticed, got out of the car and ran into the nearby woods with the key - but I'd make sure I was out of the vehicle before he had any chance of making off - or even trying to make off.


Alas. Tangent.


3/10/2021


I cannot believe FOR A SECOND that a whole MONTH ago, I left Surrey for my Scotland trip with Charis...like HOW?!!? WHERE ON EARTH HAS THE TIME GONE!? Like, it felt like yesterday that I was in and amongst the sheep on the incredibly rural and peaceful Isle Of Skye.


It's so weird, it feels like a whole different world - like after you come home from a holiday, and a few weeks later you are like "Mannnnn, I was in Spain, that was such a good time, shame it's so far away and so long ago"


It was also a YEAR ago that I had a rather interesting experience of racing a V8 Supercar and Le Mans...alone.


I signed up to it the same way I'd sign up to any old official race...but nobody showed up....

Anyway, onto today.


It started rather early - 8:26am sort of early.


I'd quickly return my bedding before nipping to Morrisons before the hoards did - onward from here, I'd hit the M25 and take a trip to Harlow.


My friend (other friend - not the same as the one earlier in the day) said she wanted to "get out of the house/town" for the day, so I said words to the effect of "sure, since I haven't seen you in a little while, It'd be nice to hang out"


I don't quite know what I was expecting - but I've taught myself to expect the unexpected - one minute I'm racing through the Scottish Countryside in my Subaru Impreza WRX on Forza Horizon and the next I'm on the road to my next adventure in a corner of the UK I haven't quite touched yet...but today something happened that none of us could have expected.


For the first four hours, it was just a regular trip down to Harlow - bumbling around town, chilling at the house - even doing a bit of tidying up.


No, the rig wasn't out, but I was alright with that - unbelievably I was there for my friend, and not the rig (I know! Shock Horror!)


We'd eventually head out at 4pm to a relative of my friend's house.


All started well and normally - as it often does, but upon driving on the M25, I noticed that after getting to 70mph, it wouldn't stay there, it'd fall back down to the 50's.


At first I thought this was normal for the Land Rover - my Kia being newer automatically staying at 70mph either with cruise control or with my foot gently resting on the gas pedal, the Land Rover being a bit heavier may've needed a bit more "motivation"


Soon this turned into more of an issue - as I put my foot down (to get back up to 70mph) it'd revv and on every attempt to get up to 70 - it'd take more and more effort/slower speed to get up to 70mph.


Eventually I was going with max throttle at 50mph. I alerted the car (those in the car) of this issue and promptly pulled over.


From the engine bay, my other friend couldn't see anything wrong - although I could see a small "whisp" of steam - or I thought it was steam - from the back of the engine (nearest me).



The engine was still running and we had almost a full tank of fuel, so I restarted the engine, saw that lane 1 was empty and drove down the hard-shoulder...even for a couple thousand KG car, it should pick up speed fairly quickly - but it didn't. By the time I gained courage to pull off again and pull into lane 1, it was doing not more than 30mph, before gently jolting and then pushing me up to 50mph - just for a precautionary reason, I had my hazards on.


I have no idea if Highways England put signs up saying "move over out of Lane 1" or I was just lucky with a gap, but there wasn't a single car in Lane 1 - even the HGV's had moved over out of the Lane.


No matter, we came off at the very next exit - which was FORTUNATELY just over a mile away - hell, had we just passed a junction and it played up, I wouldn't have forgiven myself.


No matter, I'd pull off the M25 at Junction 20 - Ironically the very next junction after the place where I had my puncture.


Junction 20 spat me out on a dual carriage-way - this not being appropriate to stop and inspect the engine either - so I took the first left that didn't look like a housing estate, which turned out to be Hamilton Road.



By this time it was about rush hour - 5:30pm to be exact, so those who were at work were either coming home or already at home - so Hamilton road was rather busy.


Nearer the top of Hamilton road, I found a free piece of kerb. Yes, it was in front of someone's house, but right now that wasn't the most important issue.


I had finally found somewhere which wasn't a motorway (or indeed dual-carriageway), wasn't a private road/housing estate, and wasn't in front of a dropped kerb.


Upon opening the hood, quite a lot of steam poured out.


I'll be honest, I was pretty out of it - between tending to my friend's baby, looking at the engine and seeing if Will could help (literally the only mechanical friend I knew) I didn't properly hear what was going on.


From what I gathered, other than the coolant pipe, which previously burst and was holding up, it could have been literally any named part or pipe in the engine - the gearbox was even bought up at one point.


No matter, point was that it was broke and we (all 7 of us) needed some way of getting back to Harlow.


Whilst Will (my friend) could get to Watford quicker, there was a mountain of issues to solve - the fact that there was 6 people and a dog, one of the people being a wheelchair user meant that even if there was enough seats - the Land Rover had space in the rear seats to load and unload the person in the wheelchair - a 2001 Skoda Octavia...didn't have this luxury.


The second issue was that Will didn't know a single soul in that vehicle other than myself - I could have literally been in the car with 5 assassins and he wouldn't know until it was too late - not only was the "danger" of not knowing who I was in the car with present, but also the fact that Will didn't know the COVID history of any of my friends or the guys my friends hang out with.


Obviously I wouldn't hang out with assassins, although if I said over the phone to Will "these guys aren't assassins" that of course makes it very suspicious.


Same with the COVID issue - "none of the guys these guys hang out with have or had COVID" - how can I prove that?


The ride home would also be pretty awkward - and as Will put perfectly himself "I may drive a Minicabbers car, but Occy (his Octavia) isn't a minicab" - which is fair enough and brings me onto the final problem: Fuel.


Even if Will was at half a tank - to find an open petrol station which took diesel down in where Watford was would be much more effort than the worth - especially as we (originally) arranged for the tow-truck plus two taxi cabs to come and pick us up.


Eventually the tow-truck and one large taxi came to pick us up - the Taxi having enough room (somehow) to pick us all up and drive us back to Harlow.


The car would arrive not all too long after, and after shuffling Kiara (my Kia) around and getting the Land Rover back where it was parked before we left, all (but the engine and some rear-end damage on the Landie) was sorted.


I was going to call it a night, (since I had a headache and was feely generally meh-y) but then I remembered I hadn't had food - so we all ordered KFC.


I managed my food (popcorn chicken and chips) but was kindly offered half a dozen other chip-bags...which I started but couldn't finish.


I'd shortly later hit the hay.


4/10/2021


The plan was to wake up INCREDIBLY early and drive up to Wolverhampton before my lecture started, and this worked an absolute treat, right until I arrived at Wolverhampton.


The drive was fine (except the M1 being closed from Junction 18 - me having to exit the motorway one junction earlier and wiggle through Coventry.


The thought here was that if Junction 18 itself was closed (i.e the accident was before Junction 18) - or everyone was coming off at 18, it would be carnage either way, so I took the exit (where I could, and where there wasn't all too much traffic) and resumed on my journey.


I also found my uni key in my coat pocket (which was in the rear footwell) - I was very anxious that I had left it in Harlow - so this solved another issue...


The issue I had was timing.


After quite a short sleep/early start and a 2hr 50 minute journey, I was absolutely shattered, and quite honestly feeling shit - especially after not eating that morning.


After arriving at about 6:50am, I consciously decided to miss out on that morning's lecture - had I walked and taken a seat in the theatre - one of two things could have happened:


1) I'd fall asleep 2) I'd be in such pain/discomfort that I don't know how much I would have taken in.


But no, I "fixed myself up" (had enough sleep - and slept in comfortable bed - probably the first time I had a good 7 or so hours sleep that whole weekend) before tackling Tuesday.


Since I had no food in the fridge, and wasn't particularly in the mood for a late night trip out to ASDA, I'd quickly and sneakily head out to Maccies.

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