Z doesn’t run out of petrol

I went here today.  Very interesting and it’s been a good day.  When they built/rebuilt the house in the 1930s, they spent an astonishing amount of money on it – all the more remarkable because they didn’t actually own it, it was only leasehold.  They incorporated all sorts of features that I hadn’t realised had been invented by then, such as an elaborate under-floor (and upstairs, sometimes over-ceiling) heating system, all powered by a boiler in the cellar.  Only trouble was, it didn’t occur to the architects or anyone else that you don’t need exactly as much heating in all parts of the house at the same time, so when it was on the bedrooms tended to be far too hot as it was all on a single circuit and there was no way of controlling any individual area.  They also had the facility to pipe music into any room from the gramophone and had a  system for the vacuum cleaner, so that a hose could be plugged into an outlet in the skirting board and the motor in the basement sucked all the dust up into a central container.  Rather appealing work-saving idea for people who had plenty of household staff and never picked up a duster in their lives.

We had a really quick journey and arrived over an hour earlier than we expected, so had coffee and had a look around the gardens before the tour.  We also had no hold-ups on the way home, very lucky.  I’d had to leave home early this morning because, on my way home last night, the low fuel light came on.  I have never established quite how long I can go from that point, but occasionally have gone right down to pretty well flat-lined (usually on the way home from Mike, he seems to have the knack of returning my car to me at just that point), but I haven’t run out of petrol since I was 18 years old and my mother, my sister and I all used the same car … I don’t know who drove it home almost empty one Friday, but the car stopped less than two miles from home when I drove it the next day.  Taught me a lesson anyway, hasn’t happened again in all these years.  It was surprising to me, how many other people were filling up at 7 o’clock this morning in Norwich.  I have to admit that, whilst I used to check oil, water and tyre pressure in my car, I’ve rather let the job go over the years, because the Sage does it anyway, whether I do or not.

14 comments on “Z doesn’t run out of petrol

  1. Jane and Lance Hattatt

    We have wanted to visit Eltham Palace for many years but have never managed to get there. We should have loved to have joined your tour as we think that, from what we have read, the Palace is a true celebration of Art Deco and some wonderfully imaginative domestic developments.

    Oh the stress of driving a car with the ‘red light’ on. No, we could not do it! Still, having given up our cars some years ago now we can say that it is truly a liberating experience to be without them. Long may the buses run!

  2. Z

    Because we were in a group, we had a guided tour which was excellent and took about an hour and a half but there are also audio guides. Stephen and Virginia C. must have had a great deal of fun planning the decoration of the house – if you ever do go there, do examine everything, it’s all there for a reason! And English Heritage maintains it beautifully.

    My friends who live in and around Norwich and have free passes use the buses all the time. Out in the sticks, it’s not so good and, for me (not having reached that age yet), very expensive. Tomorrow, I’m fetching two friends to take to lunch in Norwich – they also gave up their car some years ago. To get to the lunch would take them about an hour and a half on two buses, with about half a mile of walking (one of them uses two sticks). 40 minutes by car, door to door.

  3. Blue Witch

    I keep forgetting about Eltham Palace when thinking about free days out with our EH membership cards. Must remember its open on Sundays through the winter.

    And as for petrol/diesel – can? I positively refuse to pay more than the cheapest price in an area, and often have put the can in when the fuel light comes on, rather than be forced to pay a couple of quid more on a tankful, or go out of my way to teh cheapest garage (which of course then makes it not cheap). Also good for ensuring that extra-early-morning starts are never needed.

  4. Macy

    Hi Z – I really should paste more links to the places I go to. Anyone reading my blog would think it’s one joyful chain of visits to palliative care institutions….
    And what can I say? Little Ms Sensible here makes sure never to drive on empty…she’s learned the hard way. Shit Happens.

  5. Z

    I could have put in a canful of petrol, but I’d still have to fill up today as I’m going back to Norwich. The price here (with the discount with a voucher from the Co-op) is about the same as or a penny more than it is in Norwich, so I spent no more than I would have – possibly driving half a mile extra, I took an alternative route in, but I’d have to drive out of my way to the petrol station here too, so it’s broad as it’s long. In fact, I drive about 10 or 15 miles extra to give my friends a lift, but it really helps them and I don’t mind. And the difference between leaving at 6.40 and 6.50 is negligible. I could have filled up on my way home, but I preferred to get it done at a quieter time of day.

    There can be few people to whom it hasn’t happened at some time – now there are low-fuel lights there’s less excuse, so more annoying.

    It’s not been open to the public all that time, Scarlet, there’s no reason you would have known it was worth visiting.

  6. PixieMum

    Another Londoner who has never been to Eltham Palace, but who could reach there using her Freedom Pass.

    I am terrified of running out of fuel following an incident nearly 40 years ago when I had one of the original Fiat 500s. they didn’t have a petrol gauge, just a warning light. The bulb on mine failed and I ran out of petrol on the A4 approach to Hammersmith Flyover.

    My husband had company cars on which he paid quite a bit of tax as it was considered a benefit in kind but as one who had always paid for and ran her own cars I always said the one thing they couldn’t tax was the peace of mind a company car provided. Any problems, the car lady kindly provided a temporary car and the problem was dealt with. I did once ask if the temporary car deconstructed when we returned it. When told the model of a temporary car once Ian just said ‘that’s nice’ The car lady told him that he had no idea what the model was and he agreed. He didn’t know we had been given the use of a super top of the range model. One time a car had to go back cos he couldn’t work out how to switch the alarm and all the fancy electrics off!

  7. Blue Witch

    I’m so mean, I let it go low so that I get maximum benefit from my 4p off per litre voucher!

    I can top that… when I have a voucher (Sainsbury’s were doing 10p off per litre ones recently) I empty both diesel cans in, then use them up almost to the last ml, before going in and refilling the tank and the two cans 🙂

    We once tried using one 6p off voucher to fill two cars (both diesel, both from the same pump, without replacing the nozzle), but they told us off. Said it would mess up their numberplate recognition system. They still gave us the full discount, on that occasion, though.

  8. Blue Witch

    And PixieMum – ah, those were the days, I remember them well. We once moved half a tonne of mushroom compost (in original open strips) in Mr BW’s company car, just days before it was replaced.

    But, sadly, company cars stopped working like that (at least for anyone I know) when large companies outsourced provision to lease hire companies… I don’t think that any large company now run their own transport departments (it’s just not cost-efficient).

    Where Mr BW works, they’ve even outsourced the admin of running the ‘payment in lieu of company car’ scheme. In days of old, they took it on trust that if you chose to buy your own car with the payment, you’d be sensible enough to tax and insure it. Now, every year one has to photocopy and have authorised by one’s line manager one’s documents (insurance, MOT, tax, driving licence) before sending them off to the outsourced company. Great potential for fraud/identity theft there, methinks…

  9. mig

    The car we have now not only has warning lights but also chimes at fifty and twenty five mile distances to empty. And if that weren’t enough, you can read a display telling you how many miles you can travel before running out. I still always fill up when it gets below a quarter of a tank though. I’m just not used to a car which tells me so much stuff and I’m not sure I trust it.

  10. Z

    I’ve got an elderly car now that doesn’t have that sort of refinement. My last one told you how far you could go on that tankful at that rate of driving – awfully good for petrol economy because I tried to make the counter go up rather than down. I once was down to the last eight miles, though, which really was slightly worrying!


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