Cars and cameras

I posted a couple of articles about cameras recently. I wanted to change my elderly SLR, and discussed the option of getting a modern compact camera that would give me all the features and functions I desired, alongside more traditional operations, as well as having a decent lens. I arrived at my shortlist, and asked for suggestions from my fellow bloggers. I got some very helpful comments and recommendations, which was only to be expected, given the number of enthusiastic photo-bloggers out there. I said that I would let you know the outcome, so that is what I am doing with this post.

Today, my car went in for the annual major service and MOT test. (For readers outside the UK, an MOT test is a compulsory safety check. There is a strict list of requirements to be checked, and if your car fails any of them, it is essential to have them rectified.) This is always potentially expensive. The service alone is around £250, and the test fee is £49 on top of that. Even on a good day, I was going to be £300 out of pocket, but I had budgeted for that. I left my car with the dealer at 08.45, and headed off for a walk into Dereham, in bright sunshine. After a quick trip around the town, I went into the library, to use the one hour of free Internet access allowed for members. I thought it would kill some time.

No sooner had I logged on, than the garage called my mobile. The car had failed. A rear tyre was damaged, possibly from a pothole in the road. As well as that, there were some other issues he wanted to discuss, and he thought it best that I return to talk to him in person. As soon as he emerged from the back, and showed me into his office, I knew that the news was not good. He went down the checklist, advising me what would have to be fixed to pass the MOT, and what needed doing in addition to that, but could be out off until later. Front brake discs, front brake pads, the offending tyre, all would have to be done, no question. These items added well over £300 to a bill that was already well over that figure. Wheel alignments and tracking of the steering (again probably caused by potholes), another £50. As these were fairly big jobs, it will have to go back in again tomorrow, but at least they will collect it free of charge, and leave me a car to use too.

And the other jobs, the ones that need doing sooner rather than later? Cam-belt and water pump, well over £300 the pair. Rear suspension mounts; a big job, not yet priced. Tailgate struts, (they don’t keep the big rear door up properly) £150. Best part of £800 the lot, was his best guess, on top of the more than £600 I have to pay tomorrow. So, those extra jobs will have to wait a bit, until after the summer, I expect. That leaves the new camera, its budget blown on keeping the nearly eight-year old car on the road. It looks as if I am going to have to rekindle my relationship with my old SLR after all.

Still, try as you might, you can’t drive a camera.


23 thoughts on “Cars and cameras

    1. It is irritating, but nothing goes on forever without cost I suppose Alex. Promising myself a new camera was a bad idea anyway. A hangover from ‘present lists’ at Christmas, I expect. I’m getting too old for new toys really.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  1. Ouch, Pete… Car bills are expensive, I had to have the cambelt on my car changed last year £450… and will need new tyres soon. I got the garage to switch them from front (drive wheels) to rear a few months ago to keep them going a bit longer, but it will be anno domini soon…should have done it earlier but life gets in the way and I forget!


  2. You could drive all the way to Poland, have the repairs done and drive back for less than the repair bill you have on your hands! I just replaced the regulator on the alternator, new font and rear brakes, inner CV boots and front stabiliser arms replaced for just over £100 and that included a call out when we broke down when the alternator failed. I appreciate the cost of living is a lot higher in the UK, but sometimes I think it has gone too far.
    I’d have to question if I actually needed a car and if alternatives could be found. A trike with Ollie trailer perhaps?!


    1. A trike and dog trailer would be nice, but it would be a bit tiring pedalling it to see relatives in Hertfordshire, and friends in Devon! Once Julie retires, we will be able to just run one car, and that will make life a bit simpler, and cheaper.
      I like the sound of the prices in Poland, but I suppose they only reflect the lower wages, and generally cheaper cost of living to some degree. The price of new cars is getting silly here now, with people getting large loans over 4-5 years, just to own a Fiesta or Corsa. Despite the bills, it still makes sense to keep running the car you already have.
      Cheers Eddy, hope all’s well with you three. Pete.


  3. Ouch I feel your pain! I had the cam-belt/water pump done last year + rear tyres, this year I will need new front tyres at some point, but my girl passed the MOT this week And I only pay £25 It is hard when everything needs to be replaced at once.

    Fortunately my car hasn’t cost me much more than general maintenance, though I do think the annual service charges are high (not as high as yours though). I still think of her as new, but she isn’t. Its a May 2008 car so 7 years old already. Still has cost me less to run than her predecessor, but then I was doing a 60 mile round trip to work each day.

    Regarding cameras I have almost made my mind up to go for the Olympus EM10 micro 4/3 with a couple of additional lenses – a zoom and a macro. I reckon that should do me.


    1. The irony is that I hardly use my car. Just odd trips to the shops and taking Ollie out in the back. They said that this is what causes some of the problems, especially the corroded discs. It is a biggish car though, and a 2-litre diesel automatic, so I have to expect expense occasionally. Even the road tax is £260 a year!
      The Olympus Micro 4/3 system looks to be a good choice Jude. Lightweight, well-specified, and excellent Zuiko lenses.
      Regards as always, Pete. x


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