Park on the left

ParkingI wonder how long it will be before I can park one space to the left?

We were in Heimbach today to ride round the Rursee Talsperre.  Good ride, not the best we have had for scenery but I think we have seen so many fantastic places that we didn’t do this one justice.  It’s a good ride anyway and there were plenty of others out enjoying their Sunday afternoon.

Niagara Falls

I was out in Canada for the first time a couple of weeks ago on a course at Tigercat.  As my flight was twice as expensive to come home on Friday instead of waiting until Sunday, I had the chance to visit Toronto and hired a car on Saturday to go and visit the Niagara Falls.

Of course it had to be an American muscle car so I got my hands on a Dodge Charger (300hp, rear-wheel drive and zero traction in the wet)

Now I know why you aren’t allowed to drive fast in the North America: their cars are so hopeless in the handling / roadholding department that it is a real risk to try anything other than driving in a straight line above 50mph!

Anyway, I enjoyed beating the traction control at every crossing because it was wet, in fact it rained all day!

The Niagara Falls are really worth visiting, even if you have to pay $18 for the car park and fight your way through the crowds!  I posted a few photos in the photo album.

Cold weather reaches -20°C

We were under the -20°C this morning, no water in the house as the mains were frozen behind the kitchen units.

We already had the ‘fridge open to heat the house, now we can open the freezer to heat the house as well 🙂


Passat fit for 1 more year

Passat headlight replaced

Yep, the Passat failed the first pass at the ‘Auto securité’ (MOT test in the UK, TUV in Germany) for the first time in 10 years.  A new headlamp unit was needed as the old one had gone opaque and was diffusing the beam too much.

Cost: 185€ without fitting ;( ! Still we should be OK until next December now 🙂 when we will need to replace the other one which was just good enough to pass the test.

Now the Passat can ‘hibernate’ until Spring when Veda will restart driving, once the snow has gone.


After waiting longer than necessary we were equipped with our Cinquecento and set off to meet up with Vanessa in Genoa.  Fog all the way across the Po valley so nothing to see.  The car is fine if a bit low on power: 1.2l petrol producing 51Kw is not going to win any races!

An accident just on the exit to Genoa meant that we were stuck, no problem with a Cinquecento, just squeeze between the trucks and continue to the next exit.  Vanessa was waiting for us at our guest house, Meuble Suisse (read my praise via the link) in the centre of town and just 10 minutes walk from Vanessa’s digs.  the Cinquecento is a perfect car for the narrow roads in Genoa and easy to park, it really is small.

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Center map


Just arrived in Malpensa and our cinquecento is just being prepared! They offered me an upgrade for the same price, but of course I refused unless it was a Ferrari; which surprise surprise it wasn’t
Sun is shining so things are looking good…..

Audi A4: first breakdown in 214,000km

The banana

A sad day on Saturday.  We were returning from eating with friends in Aachen when my Audi A4 broke down. Well, not really a breakdown just a puncture but I don’t have a spare tyre but Audi’s ‘Tyre mobility set’ which is some latex ‘milk’ and a compressor.  This is may be fine if you have a small hole but my puncture was big enough to put your finger in so it wouldn’t seal.

I phoned the insurance and they told me they could only help if I had had an accident.  I ended up calling a breakdown truck and being transported home!

So much for ‘tyre mobility’, the evening will probably cost me another 150€.  We had a good meal and a good laugh before, but the evening was rather spoilt by this little problem.


The Passat is back from intensive care

Following a short stay in intensive care at Berthold’s garage our Passat TDI break is back in action.

New power steering and 4 new tyres so it is now ready to do another 350,000km.  The engine is still sweet and everything works, even the air-conditioning.

Jus the scars of previous mishaps are evident in the bodywork and will stay there for the rest of its life with us.  Veda now has a useable car to get around with and after some practice he will be using it to get to and from the RWTH University.