The Crash Computer Muslim Wedding & Adele's Birthday Piss Up Replacement Honda Prelude
Bird Rescue Japanese Performance Sunday Japanese Auto Extravaganza & March Nostalgia Japanese Performance Car Show 2005
Personalised Vehicle Registration Plate Honda Prelude Vs Ferrari 348

I suppose 2005 will not be remembered as a good year for me, mainly due to the car crash which put me through hell. Also, nothing much exciting happened anyway. I went on a diet where I ate only soup with naan bread in the evening, apart from weekends. It isn't as boring as I thought it would be and I have successfully lost weight. My weight loss is also demonstrated by my wrist watch and rings being much looser than they were. It's cheap too. To supplement the diet, I frequently went swimming too.

2005 saw the start of my eBay fest, in which I'm getting rid of lots of stuff and making money at the same time. After fees / expenses, I made a profit of over 425 from July to the end of December. It's also entertaining. This year's collection of 20 pence coins totalled 147.20.

During the year, I realised that a couple of my friends were not worthy of being classed as friends. I had a lot of respect and admiration for one girl, she was probably the best female friend I have ever had, we could tell each other just about anything. But, her sometimes curt thoughtless comments became one too many. The other girl has what I see as a chronic condition of being rude towards me, although I'm not sure if she realises it. But the circumstances in which I know them both is very different so unfortunately I have to pretend to get along with the second girl.

My friends James & Rima split up after over 5 years of being together. This was sort of shocking but not surprising, it will just take a while to get used to. Fortunately, they are still friends.

I had the slightly deranged idea of growing my hair long, although at times I quite liked it. My hair was the longest it has ever been, by the end of the year, it was approaching my shoulders. But towards the end, "bad hair days" were becoming more frequent and I was wondering if it was good advice I was getting from people when they were telling me to get a hair cut. I now realise that I did look like a tit and reverted back to my usual short hair style at the beginning of 2006.

The Crash (22nd January):

This was probably one of the worst days of my life. 3 and a half years of Honda Prelude ownership came to an abrupt end at about 16:10 on Saturday 22nd of January 2005. After finishing work, I went to Reigate before heading towards a friend's house in Langley Green, Crawley. Over the radio, it was announced that there had been a crash between Gatwick and Crawley, which was on the road I would have been taking. So I decided to take a detour to avoid the hold up. Bad mistake.

I was driving at 40 MPH along a 40 MPH limit road which I was not too familiar with. When I realised the turn off I was approaching was Bonnets Lane (where I was heading), it was too late. I braked heavily and turned in. The car understeered, crashed over the kerb at the corner of the turn, flattened a road sign before landing nose down in the ditch. When heading towards the kerb, I thought to myself - Shit, I'm gonna need a new front bumper. Wishful thinking. The car was totalled. I can remember crashing noises, bangs and feeling a sudden stop. When the car came to a halt, I realised that it was more serious than I thought it would be. The car was at a 45 degree angle, nose down in the mud resting on the brick support wall of the ditch, with the rear half of the car above ground level. Both air bags had deployed. The front end was completely smashed (including suspension) and later it was discovered that the chassis had been bent when it landed, hence why it was classified as a total loss. The boot lid flung open, distorted its supports or hinges and smashed the rear window.

The car's fantastic handling (4 wheel steering, wider Toyo Proxes T1-S tyres, ABS, upgraded brake pads & discs, anti roll bars and Formula One inspired independent double wishbone suspension all round) didn't do me any favours on this occasion.

I saw smoke coming from the engine bay and I immediately thought - Oh shit, I better get out of here quick! I quickly grabbed my wallet and phone before jumping out of the car. I had to jump from the car to the side of the ditch 'cos there was no ground immediately below the car. Instinct and adrenaline took over. I didn't land as I would have hoped. I either landed straight on to the side of my thigh or landed then fell on to my thigh. Whatever, it hurt. I quickly scrambled away from the car in fear of it going up in flames. Luckily two other drivers had stopped to help me out - a driver of a black Rover 600 and a Smart car. I was in shock, incoherent and trembling. They insisted that I should lay still, but I knew my back / spine was fine. One of the drivers let me sit in the front of their Smart car and put a blanket around me.

The Police arrived in a van followed by an ambulance a few minutes later. I was taken into the ambulance and checked over. I had a few bumps, bruises and grazes, but nothing serious. The little finger on my right hand felt cold, numb and sore. My face felt sore from where it made contact with the drivers side air bag and I could still smell the air bags explosive propellant. The police arranged for the vehicle to be recovered and they breathalysed me as routine. My last alcoholic drink was 3 weeks before hand so had no worry about failing. After Police questioning, the witnesses left. I was glad that the crash was witnessed as they must have told the Police officers that I had not been driving fast or dangerously before the crash. Before the crash, there was a black Rover 600 behind me, so the driver would have witnessed everything. Even so, as expected, the Police tried to prompt me into saying things which they wanted to hear. Their attempts failed. The ambulance staff wanted to take me to hospital but I declined as attending A&E wouldn't have achieved anything. I felt a bit battered and shaken up, but there was nothing any paramedic could do about that. I just wanted to go home. But the ambulance staff were very friendly and supporting. As I also worked at East Surrey Hospital, we chatted about the current goings on in the Surrey & Sussex NHS Trust. I watched my trashed car being placed on the back of a flat bed pick up truck before my parents turned up to take me home, just in time as it was starting to rain.

I had the smell of air bags in me for a while. My left foot, left knee and right shin were hurting, probably from when the car landed nose down. The top of my chest was hurting from where the seat belt restrained me. My neck muscles at the back ached and due to a large bruise on my left thigh / hip coupled with a painful left foot, I had a slight limp. The bruise was the most painful and long lasting injury I sustained and was probably the worst bruise I had ever had. My face and nose felt sore due to the air bag and my nose seemed to have a bit more movement in it. During the evening, the numbness in my right little finger turned into pins & needles and spread across the side of my hand. The finger also developed an unexplained red rash. I attended the Crawley Hospital Minor Injuries Walk-In Clinic on the Sunday morning and was checked over by a Doctor and given the all clear, but he couldn't explain the rash. The tingling was probably caused by the explosive inflation of the air bag making contact with the inside of my forearm, banging it against the door. The suitable medical term is probably neuropraxia. It had resolved by the next day. My Dad drove me to the crash scene where we saw a few bits of my car scattered around. I collected a piece of my car's front lip. So, thanks to the structural integrity of the Honda Prelude, the most painful injury was actually acquired after the crash while jumping out from the car.

On the following Saturday, my Dad & I went to see my car and to salvage its parts, and, when possible, replaced them with alternatives or originals. I replaced my car stereo with one from Halfords, minus its front panel, which was given to my Mum while she was working there. The 17" wheels were replaced with the original 16" wheels. The NGK HT leads were replaced with a set from a Mitsubishi hastily purchased from my the local breakers yard (which didn't fit). The clear side repeaters were replaced with the original amber units. The newish rear bumper with skirt was replaced with my original slightly tatty rear bumper. The H22A8 air intake was replaced with the original H22A5 air intake. I also removed the EBC RedStuff Ceramic brake pads but replacements weren't fitted. Other miscellaneous bits were removed including car mats, fire extinguisher, air horns and bulbs.

I repeatedly tried to work out what went wrong in the crash as I am still surprised that I didn't make that corner. If I had turned in a bit more first before braking, I might have made it by unsettling the rear end. But, I reckon one contributory factor was that I had poured in 48 worth of Shell's finest 20 miles before the crash, therefore was carrying more weight. There was nothing wrong with the driving conditions and visibility wasn't impaired as it was still light outside. Before the crash, there were a few things which I wondered about - do the air bags work? Was I sitting too close to the steering wheel? If I thought my car was gonna explode, should I grab my wallet and mobile phone before departing? All three questions were instantly answered.

My car was insured with Equity Red Star through Adrian Flux. It took them 12 weeks to pay out (1 more week and it would have been 3 months). This is totally unacceptable. The RAC legal department advised me that claims are generally dealt with within a month for good customer service. Good customer service is not the priority of this insurance company. I was repeatedly fobbed off with excuses and blatant lies by both the insurance broker and the insurance company themselves. Frequent excuses included "it is in the hands of their engineers", "it is in the hands of their technicians", "we will be in contact to make an offer" and "we are evaluating the damage to the vehicle" even after they had declared it a total loss. They gave the impression that they didn't know what was going on and there was a lack of internal communication. On two occasions, they also misplaced the documents I sent them. After 2 months of futile telephone calls with the brain dead useless morons, I got sick of it and my Dad done the rest of the calls from there on (pretending to be me). After agreeing a settlement figure, they still persisted in messing me around. So, take heed - avoid ADRIAN FLUX & EQUITY RED STAR at all costs!

After the long delayed pay out, for the first time in six years, I was no longer a negative equity! I owned more money than I owed. I paid off all my debts and then had no debts whatsoever. Super!

Unfortunately, the experience has had a long-lasting effect on me. I no longer enjoy driving like I used to. I no longer look forward to going out in my car as much as I did before. I feel nervous behind the wheel and I dread some journeys. When my journey has finished, I feel relieved that it's over. I hope I won't stay like this forever.

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Computer (1st March):

After putting it off for about 5 years, I finally decided to build a new PC as my one was long past its sell by date. My redundant custom built PC was top of the range probably around mid to late 1997, but that was then. The PC I was putting into retirement consisted of:

After much money saving, deliberation, research and consulting friends, I settled on the following specification:

To tidy up the inside, I additionally purchased some rounded IDE & FDD cables to replace the standard ribbon cables, and also the obligatory 3.5" FDD (with silver front) to replace my old one which was a bit tired. Later in the year, the Zoom internal PCI 5506 ADSL modem was replaced by an external Netgear DG834GT Wireless ADSL Router so I could share the internet connection with my Dad's new Toshiba laptop. I also fitted an extra couple of fans inside the tower case.

The case was purchased from Dabs, RAM from Crucial Technology, PCI ADSL modem from PC World in Crawley, Netgear DG834GT Wireless ADSL Router from Overclockers UK and everything else from Scan Computers.

I sold all my old computer hardware on eBay and after fees / expenses, I made a profit of over 77.75, which I was happy with. All my faithful computer hardware worked in harmony together for many years and now they have been scattered around the country never to see each other again. Apart from the P133 CPU and motherboard which were bought by the same buyer.

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Muslim Wedding & Adele's Birthday Piss Up (7th May):

This was the first time I had been to a wedding. I had previously been to two wedding receptions, but this was the first wedding ceremony I had been to. It was the marriage of my friend Qasim's Sister Farhat to Riaz. Even though it was a Muslim wedding, it took place within a Methodist Church. I went with Afraz and met up with Anish and Kashaf. Kashaf was in the same class as Afraz & I in college years ago. There was probably about 80 people there (at least) and apart from one female photographer, I was the only white person there. I felt rather out of place. Due to a problem with the caterers, the ceremony was delayed by a couple of hours. After the wait, we went into a big hall and sat at small tables with about 4-5 people at each table. The bride, Riaz, sat on a seat along a row at the front along with family members. After we had settled down, a religious man said a religious prayer for about 5 minutes. I suppose he could be described as a priest if he was Christian. Obviously, I didn't understand a word of it, but he did come across as strong and confident. Being in a country of political correctness and equality, I should have complained and demanded an interpreter! I was confused because I couldn't see the groom, let alone any females in the room. I found out that the groom and female family members and guests have a blessing in a separate room. The bride and groom individually receive blessing in separate rooms, so don't actually get married together in the same room. Odd. After the blessing everyone had a meal. My friends there & I, were in a minority as we were using knives and forks to eat our food. It is Muslim tradition to use hands without cutlery. Afterwards, we headed into the other hall where I assume the other half of the ceremony took place. In there, there was a photography session taking place, where the bride & groom (if they are called that) sat at a table and friends and family would take turns at sitting with them having their photos taken. About 7 or 8 people at a time. It seems another tradition is for the bride & groom must not look happy when having their photos taken. They must look serious or formal instead. All this was quite odd to me, but I suppose it is normal in Muslim tradition. So, it was an interesting experience.

In the evening, me, Sarah, Adele, Josey, Linda and her Daughter Vicky met up in Redhill to celebrate Adele's imminent birthday (the following day). So, once again, for the second time that day, I was the odd one out. I was the only male in the group, but that was OK with me. We graced the classy Italian restaurant with our fabulous presence. Needless to say, we all got drunk, expect for Vicky as she is still a school student amidst her GCSE exams. We drank Chardonay again, but not as much as last time. This time, I enjoyed a Pollo Carbonara meal, which was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately for me, I was unable to eat it all as I was full up due to the wedding meal earlier in the day. After the 110 bill, we went to The Sun pub and had a drink in there. When I entered the pub, I was standing up talking when I noticed a feminine pair of arms wrapping around me from behind. I was surprised to see Debbie from work. It was quite funny. While drinking my Smirnoff Ice, I chatted with Josey. She went to the same school as me, but we didn't know each other at the time as she is 4 years younger than me. We discussed the teachers at Thomas Bennett who we knew. Josey is quite a nice girl. After The Sun, we ended up in Colours which is a pool / snooker club. I played a few games of pool, Linda beat me 2-1. I called my friend to come and collect me (arranged earlier) and we dropped off Josey in Tilgate on the way. When home, I was still pissed so went to see a local ex-girlfriend for an hour who was also a bit drunk.

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Replacement Honda Prelude (29th May):

There were quite a few cars which I considered as a Prelude replacement. Most of them were pretty much of the same class as the Prelude, but some of them were completely different to the Prelude and in a totally different class altogether. Cars I considered were - BMW 8 Series, BMW M3 (E36), BMW 328, Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo, Ford Puma 1.7, Hyundai Coupe, Lexus GS300, Lotus Elise S1, Mazda MX-3, Mazda MX-6, Mitsubishi 3000GT, Nissan 200SX S14A, Nissan 300ZX, Subaru SVX, Toyota Celica T-Sport 190, Toyota MR2 Mk 2 Rev 5, Toyota Supra Mk 3, Toyota Supra Mk 4 and Volvo C70 T5. I went to the extremes with two cars - Lotus Elise S1 and Lexus GS300 which are worlds apart, but I still did consider them. I researched the cars and even joined and to seek advice about their respective cars. In the end, I realised that getting another Prelude was inevitable.

The first car I test drove was a silver 1999 S reg Honda Prelude 2.2VTi Motegi being sold by Performance Direct in Bristol on 23/04/2005. As I hadn't drove a car for 3 months, I drove my Dad's car to Reigate to get used to driving again. The car was advertised for 7,000 and apparently had had 1 lady owner which had done less than 40,000 miles.

It was described as "Stunning order throughout" and "Presented to the highest standard". I phoned the trader in the morning and he said something like it was in excellent condition. Fucking bollocks. It looked marvellous when standing back, but there were quite a few scratches on the car when examined close up and small paint chips on both bumpers. Some of the scratches would not be described as superficial. Half of the Motegi badge had been broken off, so it was an "OTEGI". Both bumpers were not 100% straight. Both electric windows weren't too enthusiastic about going down, but maybe they just needed lubricating. The driver's side wing mirror didn't move left and right with the interior controller, but was OK up an down. My Dad reckons that he could see that there was a slight paint difference at the front end so has probably been in a crash. I saw a patch of white primer at the back of the front lip so does seem like it has been resprayed at some point and its bolts seemed quite new. My Prelude which I recently crashed was 2 years older and had done 30,000 miles more, was in much better condition.

During the test drive my Dad said he could hear some sort of whirring noise which wasn't normal. And it was a shit test drive. It lasted less than 10 minutes and never got out of a 40 MPH zone, which is really stupid. The scruffy sales man seemed sinister and I could tell he was clueless too regarding cars. He didn't seem open and seemed to be hiding something. I asked him to compare the Prelude with the Toyota Celica 190, and he didn't know what to say. The funny thing which made me smirk was that when I first arrived and was looking at the car, a sales man was outside near by when his mobile phone rang. He was speaking to someone about the Prelude saying things like "Yes, it's a 99 S reg" and "There is someone looking at it right now, come and have a look in an hours time". That is such an obvious trick they were trying to pull over me. During the test drive the sales man kept on about the amount of phone calls they had received about the car. Oh, they're so funny. I decided not to buy the car.

The next car I went to see was a 2000 V reg Honda Prelude 2.2VTi being sold by private seller over 130 miles away in Stratford-upon-Avon on 22/05/2005. It was advertised on Auto Trader for 7,000, had done less than 42,000 miles and had a full Honda service history. The test drive lasted half hour and I could of kept on going for longer if I wanted. The bodywork was in excellent condition, the only negative point was that two of the alloy wheel plastic centre caps were discoloured, probably due to harsh wheel cleaners. Other than that, it was all fine. After a bit of haggling, we agreed on a price of 6,600 and I paid a deposit there and then. I collected the car the following Sunday (29/05/2005) and paid the rest in the form of a banker's draft.

From here on, I set about the task of getting it to the standard I wanted it in:

02/06 Clifford Concept 650 fitted.
04/06 Fitted 2 new Toyo T1-S tyres (225/45/17) and fitted 2 from my old car.
05/06 Spent 4 hours cleaning the engine bay.
07/06 Full wash & wax.
08/06 Oil change and clean up under the engine.
09/06 Clean interior and windows, waxed around door frames and lubricated hinges & sunroof.
10/06 Vacuum inside.
17/06 Removed the Prelude lettering off the rear bumper.
19/06 Cleaned up the exhaust tail pipes (they were black).
26/06 Fitted optional front fog lights (great fun, not).
27/06 Fitted front lip.
10/07 Fitted rear and side skirts.
20/07 Fitted additional rear fog light.
20/08 Removed brakes and spent over 2 days cleaning the callipers.
22/08 Spray painted the brake callipers silver and took the body kit to The Painstshop in Horley to get the parts professionally sprayed.
23/08 Refitted the brakes with my the EBC RedStuff Ceramic brake pads from my previous Prelude.
24/08 Bleed brake system (in rain).
25/08 45,000 miles service in Hove. Collected and fitted the body kit afterwards.
29/08 Painted the edges of the brake discs and cleaned inside the wheels.
01/09 Fitted side window deflectors.
02/09 Spray painted the horns black.
18/09 Fitted Green Cotton panel air filter.
30/09 Engine started to make a nasty noise. Expected bad news. Suspected knackered engine.
01/10 Wired up the additional rear fog light.
12/10 Took car to Honda Specialist in Hove (Frank G Wickenden) regarding the nasty noise issue which was getting worse.
13/10 Diagnosis was a faulty PAS pump! Breathed a sigh of relief.
18/10 Collected car, cost 615.87 (parts, labour and additionally check valve clearances).
19/10 Squeal / screech noise from engine bay when parking on or near full steering lock.
23/10 Diagnosed that the squeal / screech was the PAS pump.
24/10 Honda Specialist tightened PAS pump belt. Sorted.
12/11 Fitted personalised number plates.
13/11 Replaced PAS fluid (prophylactic) and fitted yellow fog light bulbs.

Some stuff was transferred from my original Prelude to my new one, including the rear skirt, additional identical rear fog light, brake pads, 2 tyres, HT leads, stereo and headlight bulbs.

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Bird Rescue (17th June):

On the night of 16/06/2005, Ashley, one of my cats, brought in 3 baby birds into our garden. They were brought in separately over the period of about an hour. They were quite young as they were pretty much bald and their wings hadn't fully developed and their eyes were still shut. They also had specks of blood on them too. We decided to lock the cat in after the third as she probably discovered a nest.

None of them were moving much and they felt quite cold. I thought they probably wouldn't survive the night. I lined a lunch box with tissue and put them in it over night with a towel wrapped around it on my desk (with a little gap for air). I didn't really have much choice. I couldn't throw them back out in the garden and let the cats get them. Or put them outside somewhere cold where they would die cold and hungry. I wouldn't have been able to kill them either.

By the time the morning came, two of them were more active and much warmer, but one of them still wasn't doing much. Luckily, I was working at Crawley Hospital on that day so took them to work with me so I could look after them in the office throughout the day. I was giving them water using a syringe and feeding them tiny chunks of cat food. It was like the sort of thing you see on TV where tiny baby birds point there head upwards with their mouths wide open while their Mum feeds them worms. My Dad suggested I should cut up some worms to feed them, but I decided to not go that route. They needed quite a lot of attention during the day and at times they were quite insistent on food / drink. Unfortunately, one of them was very weak and was reluctant to eat. It could hardly lift its head up. It was colder than the rest and its breathing was slower and shallower. A few times, I managed to open its beak to feed it 'cos I was worried it would die.

I phoned a few animal rescue places including the RSPB, RSCPA and some local ones. I didn't get any results with any of them. After work, I took them to a local veterinary surgery in Faygate where they said they would look after them. They confirmed what I already suspected that there isn't much hope for them 'cos they're so young. I knew that treating the weak one was just about futile. I grew quite attached to them as they were quite cute, especially when they had their mouths wide open insisting on food / drink. The lady said she would give me a ring sometime, but I was planning on phoning back in a weeks time anyway. She never phoned me and I never phoned back 'cos it would most of likely had been bad news.

I wouldn't have minded looking after them until they got better (if they would), but they needed more specialist attention and more constant attention than I could give them. I wouldn't have been able to take them with me to East Surrey Hospital the following week (if they survived until then).

Interesting experience and that was my good deed of the year.

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Japanese Performance Sunday (17th July):

I spent most of Saturday 16/07/2005 washing and waxing my car in preparation for the annual Japanese Performance Sunday car show held at Hickstead Showground, West Sussex. Unfortunately, the car developed some sort of spots overnight, possibly light rain or sap from trees, so I had to get it a wipe over with a damp chamois leather to get it looking good once more. I arrived there at about 10:30 and left about 15:15. It was a very hot and sunny day. Here are some photos of my car on show. Unsurprisingly, my car was the only 5th generation Honda Prelude there. There weren't many Hondas there, there were a few Civics, an Accord Type-R and two fourth generation Preludes. One of which has a sticker / badge on proclaiming "Type-R v-tech". Some people disgust me - there is no such thing as a Honda Prelude Type-R and it is spelt VTEC, not v-tech. Obviously, the owner is a complete dick and is an embarrassment to Prelude owners across the world. The show is divided into two, the main field assigned to Japanese cars and another field for American cars. Amongst the Yank Tanks on show was a Ferrari Daytona. On the Thursday before the show, my Mum received a telephone call at home from an old friend James Callaghan. He was my best mate when I lived in March, Cambridgeshire between 1989 - 1992. When I left March, I was 13 years old and now it is 13 years after I left, so in a way, I could say that a whole lifetime has passed since I last spoke to him. It was good talking to him after all those years.

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Japanese Auto Extravaganza & March Nostalgia (23rd - 24th July):

This was probably the best weekend all year. I left the Pease Pottage Shell petrol station near my home at 07:10 and arrived at the East of England Showground in Peterborough at 09:20. The place was huge, their was hundreds of cars on show, absolutely loads of 'em. Enthusiasts travel miles and miles to attend this annual event, including visitors from other countries too. It is an all weekend event where people camp there over night. I parked my car on the Honda Revolutions plot with the rest of the club members. I chatted with a few of them and received questions and complements on my car. While there, I took loads of photos, here are some photos of my car on show.

The clouds did look very threatening, but fortunately the rain stayed away on the Saturday (but not on Sunday). Out of the hundreds of cars on show (figures of between 3500 to 4500 have been stated in the media), there were a few 5th generation Honda Preludes there. There was a black 2.0 litre Prelude from Czechoslovakia, a Ruby Red Sequential Sport Shift Prelude 2.2VTi owned by a lady, a rather tatty looking red Prelude with black wheels and a silver JDM Prelude which seemed to be owned by a trader.

I walked around a couple of times, as the place was huge, it felt like I had walked miles and miles. I was pleased to see a dedicated Subaru SVX stand, I adore those cars. The owner of a yellow SVX had came all the way from America to show off his / hers supercharged SVX (I don't think yellow was a standard factory colour and superchargers were never fitted). There was also a stadium there where there were shows / competitions / displays being held regularly throughout the day. I didn't bother checking it out but I did see a bit of the "flame out" session where a limited amount of participants wooed onlookers with flames coming out of their car's exhaust pipes. I found it boring. I left shortly afterwards at 19:20.

I spent the night in a nice bed & breakfast named Fenview Lodge in a village called Doddington a few miles away from March, Cambridgeshire. The accommodation was pleasant and the owners quite friendly. As it was out in the Fens, it was very dark and peaceful at night. The stay cost a very reasonable 32.50 and I would not hesitate to stay there again. After breakfast, I drove to March to have a wander down memory lane. First of all, I went to my old school, Neale-Wade Community College, but couldn't walk around the premises due to security fencing. From there, I parked in town and had a slow wander around the town and streets I used to grace my presence with when I lived there. While walking down Nene Parade, a man walking in the opposite direction said "Good Morning" to me. This sort of thing doesn't happen in Crawley. The rain came luckily as I was returning to the car. It took 3 hours to get home (I missed my turn off on the A1) and it rained heavily. I had my windscreen wipers on constant for 2 hours of the journey. I felt sorry for the people at the final day of JAE.

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Japanese Performance Car Show 2005 (24th September):

I was a bit nervous before the event due to its location. This event was held at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey. I had never been to Esher before and wasn't looking forward to driving on unfamiliar roads inside of the M25. But, the 31 mile, 45 minute journey passed without incident (many thanks to Microsoft AutoRoute). The Japanese Performance Car Show was no way as good as the other shows I attend, there just wasn't enough cars. There was an underground section which was full of bling. While there, I didn't see any 5th generation Honda Preludes on show, but there were a few 4th generation models. Just before I left, I started drooling when I spotted an orange Honda NSX and couldn't resist getting some photos of the car with mine parked next to it. Here are some photos of my car on show. Overall, I would say the event was a disappointment.

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Personalised Vehicle Registration Plate (21st October):

For years and years, I have yearned for a personalised / cherished registration plate. As I had a bit of money saved up, I thought now was the perfect time. I originally planned to spend 250 which is the minimum price a registration costs from the DVLA, but I then got my heart set on a registration listed by the DVLA. I just had to have it, even though it was 599. The same registration was listed on sites of other companies which deal in vehicle registrations, but they were charging more than the DVLA. How odd. Why would I wanna buy that registration off them when I can get it direct from the DVLA much cheaper?

As the registration that I wanted was 350 more than I originally planned to spend, I had to save up money for a bit longer. In October, I had approximately 600 saved up allocated to the registration which I wanted, but unfortunately, my car's PAS pump failed and needed replacing which cost me 615 (including parts, labour and requested incidental valve clearance inspection). This left me with no savings left. As I was determined to purchase the registration, I would have been VERY unhappy if someone else purchased it before me, especially as the DVLA were currently running a television advertisement campaign. So, the best thing for me to do was to purchase it on my credit card, which I did do on 21/10/2005 and I received the documents from the DVLA on 25/10/2005. I purchased the actual physical plates from a seller on eBay for a bargain 16.50 including P&P. I finally fitted the plates on 12/11/2005.

I am very happy with the purchase and I don't believe that the 599 I spent was excessive due to the fact that I will be keeping that registration forever, and not just on my current car.

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Honda Prelude Vs Ferrari 348 (22nd October):

I was probably on my way to Tescos at the time when I saw a red Ferrari 348 behind me at the Tushmoore gyratory (roundabout) in Crawley. Fortunately, he was heading for the same exit as I was heading. When I joined the Crawley Avenue dual carriageway (A2011), I floored it, and the Ferrari driver did too. Luckily, there were no cars on the road ahead of us at that time. As expected, it did fly past me, probably as I reached about 70 MPH, but I really did think that it would have passed me a bit sooner and quicker. As soon as he passed me, I lifted off as it was game over. Oh, and the noise it made was fantastic as I watched it rocket into the distance. Ferrari 1, Honda 0.

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