Here we are still on "Holiday" in the UK for Christmas. Seen all the family and some of the friends. The friends we have not yet seen will be seen before we leave. We've got a suitcase with an exhaust pipe in it. Yes, you got that correctly. We've cut it up into two halfs and its been retrofitted with a coupler so I can connect it together without welding it. I am an Engineer you know....albeit a network engineer.....
We didn't get time due to laptop problem to say Merry Christmas to all the Americas contacts. So sorry about that. You might get something later !
We've put on a bit of weight over Christmas. Mainly, we think, due to alcohol. Maybe its food. Maybe its religion.
We've had a few messages back from my Christmas Email and even one back from a guy we me in Ethiopia back in Jan 2012. He's mentioned us in his book !
Seasons Greetings Everyone....
Happy Holidays to your all. Avoiding the Christian messages and wishing all our friends, no matter what their faith, a Happy Holiday. Its not like the non-chiristians don't get the same holidays, you lucky people ! We've been on holiday for over two years now and its soon coming to a financial end.....Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings.....
Over the Hedge...
The laptop is on good behaviour although when the engineer changed the motherboard he didn't move over the CD card reader. So they are coming back on Friday. Muppet...
Last few days we've been working hard. Trying to get the house back in order. Spent 2 days cutting the hedge. I'm knackered. Four trips to the dump to get rid of the cuttings. Wheres the Defender when you need it. Most of the paperwork is done although we are still waiting for the Carnet deposit back and our money from the post office bank (who managed to piss me off so much I told them to stick there 1.9% account) I'll put it somewhere else where people work who can read. Their customer service is shocking (the bank part).
We are skint. Well almost. The expense of coming home is measured in £1000's so far. There was a lot of outstanding things to do and thats not yet counting the travel insurance for the next 6 months.
@#*$ &% and @#*$ &% and @#*$ &%.....
I could swear....I just did...
Just to top off all the stress and what my life is now were are back at home temporarily. To top it ALL off. My laptop has ALSO JUST GONE BANG !!!!!!!
This is the same laptop repaired only yesterday with a new motherboard. As a good will gesture ! So its broken again. This is a nightmare !
In the process of backing up the drives from my PC and trying to recover the lost files from my portable drive the laptop goes off. Nothing on screen and will not boot. @#*$ &% @#*$ &%@#*$ &%
Henning thinks and Apple would be better. I say, everything breaks. When it heppens all together its a nightmare....2 PCs or 2 Apples same issue. Good look trying to get goodwill out of Apple.....
I'm not freaking out yet....
So coming home has been a fest of broken failing devices. Shower and cooker being noteworthy....
On a more positive note the car passed its MOT so we are now mobile and don't need to borrow Mums car. Actually its Dads car and he put up with the flowers on the side......me not so much.....How about some bear paws....hehe. Thanks Mum.
So the reason for the post. My portable hard drive was accidentially partially deleted....my fault. We copied (recovered!) off all the data to my main PC at home (7 hours work). This is the one that contains ALL photos and backups on multiple redundant drives. This has failed. Completely failed. I supect motherboard or PSU (power) and I do not know whats happened to any of the data. I'm currently creating another backup of the photos since Africa (that would be the 6000 of the America's). The Africa ones are in a state of limbo until I can get another PC or buy a USB to SATA adapter to see if they still exist on any of the drives. I think I have 3 copies of them but its a long time since I did the backups. Recovery, if possible, will need to be done via the laptop they repaired today in my home (Argh !). Problem is copying many GBs of files around means lots of blank storage. I've just got another 1TB of storage. This is enough for maybe 15% of my stuff.....and thats only the recent stuff.
So i'm freaking out and have maybe 48 hours of copying to do onto blank drives I cannot afford. Worse case is we get a new PC in another lifetime.....this may have to wait until we get jobs next year.....
The Paperwork Explosion....
You know that little piece of paper that you need for the car. You know, the Carnet de Passages En Douane. Well you don't really need one but it makes it easier in some counties (and much harder in some).
Yet again we come back to get it refunded and they've changed the rules. Now they want additional proof that the car left the last country we used it in. I mean the stamp from the last country isn't good enough to proove it left. So whats the point of the document then ? You only have it so it can be stamped in and out but they don't consider the last stamp out as enough proof in case the last country come back and says its not left......strange that. The very country that stamps it out might claim and say their own stamp isn't good enough. How can that be ?
And don't get me started on the nightmare that is now the RAC Carnet process. If we do any travelling again, I'm getting a fake because its just not worth the hassle of dealing with them now. Its easier and cheaper to pay people bribes and get one printed. Its cheaper in every other country in the world to get one than in the UK via the RAC. If you've looked at their current pricing you will know what I mean. To be perfectly honest its crimal what they are doing. Almost certainly illegal under EU law.
Anyhoo. Tomorrow sees the end of another long and annoying process. HP have finally agreed to change my motherboard in my laptop. The motherboard that was delivered to Argentina 6 weeks after we ordered it is being fitted in my home tomorrow. Its only been faulty since Kenya....the day we purchased it.
Still loads of admin to do and stress. They even want me to buy a TV licence for 7 weeks which they then won't refund when we leave as we arn't leaving permanently. So we have no live TV and we are watching catch up internet services.
The Defender is parked up with some generous Americans and were are in the UK for all of 7 weeks. We've missed the family and we are back for Xmas.
A few updates on the gearbox. We've sold the damaged one to a guy in the states and will get back some of the core charge. Its only one bearing that needs replacing so it might make him a good amount of money if he's selling it on.
We managed to find a shower in town where we parked the car meaning we didn't need to travel back to the UK all smelly. Thanks to some local teens and a guy called Bob in the coffee shop (we were drinking Tea!). Bob suggested we try the Liberty Corner Church and they really looked after us ! We even got a "doggy bag" of toiletries. Thanks to them. We hope to go back to see them when we return.
Our friends at Kiwipanamerica are seeing some of the sights we went to and they are covered in snow. What a difference a month makes.....
We are now trying to get our house in order here and have about a million administration duties to perform. Dentist, Bank, Cars, Insurance, Doctors and all other sorts of things to do. We need some parts for the Land Rover and I have an exhaust pipe to cut up so we can get it back to the UK.
Its December the first and Christmas is starting in NYC. The residents in the apartment we are camping outside have been very interested in the car. Theres been speculation to what we are doing and why we are here. Ranging from "Making a film" and "selling Christmas trees". We can hear every word outside the car when they are discussing it/us. The doorman seems to be the main peddler of information and talks to all the residents but we're not sure if he's the one peddling miss-information. He seems to be looking after us. Anyhow we've now talked to a few of them and they've even donated some food ! More importantly some wine ! We've been give a pumpkin pie and some soups. Thanks to all. We must remember to give them the knife and fork back.....strangely they lent us a knife which Americans don't seem to use at all favoring the fork for anything and everything.
We managed to get a shower after 4 days. We managed to find a nice girl on a hostel desk that let us have one in the dorm showers. Excellent as we really needed one. The only other place is the rec center which although its only $50usd for a year was too expensive for the time we are here. You can use any rec center in NYC so its good value if you are here a while.
We've wandered around central park for a bit in the cold. It would be nicer in summer.
Grand Central station where we've been before was on my list as last time I didn't see the front you see in all the films. Think, I am Legend with Will Smith hanging upside down. The Empire State is just too expensive now to go to the top. They have a two level price. You can go to the 86th for something expensive and then even more to the top. Been here, done that.
We went to see Hunger Games Catching Fire and although the cinema was something special the film was not. It ends waiting for the next one. The seats were electric reclining and like something you'd see on TV in an add from La-Z-Boy. Seat picture link.
You might see my review on facebook and trip advisor for a crappy restaurant we went to. The waitress complained about the 16% I left her. Talking to the guys in the apartment they've never had it happen to them and thought 16% was a fine tip and "normal". The waitress thought the tip should be double the tax so this meant I should have give her another 11c .... REALLY !! I'm going to copper up some pennies to give here exactly what she wanted. We left $2.37 rounding up $15.13 to $17.50 but she wanted $17.61. I want to swear ! Stupid cow.
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