Sleepless night for me, I am afraid. Usually this was the time of day I wrote my best stuff but back then my creative juices were fortified with Scottish whisky and not the Ceylon tea I am drinking now. Alex has a chest cold, a pretty miserable affliction at the best of times but awful in the tropics. Marcia is desperately tired so I am doing the night shift as duty nurse so that she can sleep and I can keep Alex propped up on his pillows to help him breathe.
The internet connection has been pretty much useless since I returned from England. While I was there I bought myself a wireless router, a device marketed as a ‘MiFi’ which promised to improve my connection and also allow me to set up a personal hot spot. The hot spot would allow Marcia to connect as well. Sounded wonderful except that the local internet service provider refused to configure it (or give me the configuration settings) as they had not sold it to me. It took me a while to work out but I am now linked to you and the rest of the world through the device, as is Marcia, so up yours Movinet. Much to my dismay though, as I have to pay for the gigabytes used, I notice that the connection has improved so markedly that Marcia was able to watch her favourite soap channel as a streaming video this afternoon. Having extolled both the virtues of the device and my own technical prowess, I can now hardly complain if she enjoys its benefits to the full. Alex is only five but he has already worked out how to stream Ben 10 cartoons onto his Samsung Tablet. Until the novelty wears off (or the monthly quota of internet wiggly amps is exceeded) the TV appears largely redundant.
For want of tools, I was unable to finish off the installation of the FrankenPump, the working water pump I created out of the dead bodies of two other pumps, so with spit running backwards have had to accept the need to call in a local plumber. Naturally, he did not turn up so we passed another day of lugging water in buckets from the well to the cottage.
The Jeep is looking years younger now that I have bent my finger joints backwards giving the coachwork a good going over with cutting polish. Sadly, I can see through its makeover and know that beneath its buffed skin lies a heap of trouble. It is about time I replaced it with a new car. Marcia sportingly suggested I buy something small such as a little Corolla. I put my foot down. There was no way I was going to allow her and little Alex to travel backwards and forwards to town in a car notable only for its origami like qualities when involved in a collision and I told her this. So she asked for a Range Rover instead. I hate Range Rovers. Sure, they are good looking and very capable 4x4’s but they are so bloody unreliable and outrageously expensive to repair. I suggested a Volvo XC90. They’re brilliant. Comfortable, reliable and understated, everything I could wish for in a car. No dice, she might stoop to a VW Touareg.
It is hard to buy a decent car here at a decent price. I generally do not buy cars new, people who do lose a quarter of the value of their investment as soon as they drive it out of the showroom. I prefer to let someone else take the hit and buy a low mileage year or two old example. Finding such a car here is, as I have said, tough. It will either be knackered or overpriced so the only course left is to import. I have imported a few cars, all of them bought unseen, the decision to buy having been based on photos and the declarations of sellers, a highly risky strategy you will undoubtedly agree but I have been lucky. I do try to mitigate the risk. For a start, I will only import used cars from Germany. Of all the nations in the world, they, along with perhaps the Swiss, have draconian roadworthiness directives and, with a genetically programmed need to keep things neat and tidy, tend to look after their cars.
Import duties for vehicles are not simple. They are anything from 2% to 50% and depend on the use to which the vehicle will be put (making it cheapest to ride around in an ambulance), the age of the vehicle (the older it is the more expensive the duty), the type of fuel and the cubic capacity of the engine. A low mileage Range Rover is cheaper to buy in Dubai than in Germany. But all Dubai RR’s have hot snot turbo charged large capacity V8 petrol engines so attract 50% duty whereas the smaller capacity diesel engined version in Germany may cost more but only attracts 20% duty if it is less than three years old.
I am too tired to think about cars tonight, it will have to remain a niggling anxiety until I work something out.
Well, it is six in the morning, Alex and Marcia are sleeping peacefully and my laptop battery is about dead so I shall try and snatch a few myself. Germany won the world cup as we all know and I am sure you picked up on the fact that it is the first world cup a united Germany has won. Well, with the ex DDR mob involved, it isn’t so hard to believe that Germany cheated. This new, brash young team were bred from birth to win…
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