Playing some vinyl

I have (had) wanted a new record player for a while now. I previously bought a vintage Akai unit on ebay but never found a cartridge for it so it was gathering dust. Luckily I now sold that back on ebay and someone has made good use of it by doing it up and selling it on.

For Christmas my girlfriend got me a nice new Sony record player, and some records (Humble Pie, AC/DC, Motorhead) so I have been geeking out about how to get them scrobbled to Last FM and how I can track them.

I have now registered for DisCogs – you can see the widget on this site now – and have done some further digging about how I can scrobble an analogue audio source.

The closest I have got is an app called ShazamScrobbler for Mac, but this will only work on newer versions of MacOS and would involve me having my laptop on and nearby whilst playing vinyl. I also found a Reddit thread with some further suggestions but some are outdated/no longer working:



Minimizing debt into 2018

It’s coming to the end of another year and time to write a brief wrap-up post.

I think I have achieved a lot this year:

  • I finally got my Mazda MX5 through another MOT after a lot of hard work and that’s still ongoing.
  • I’ve been able to maintain a loving relationship which I am proud of, and through that, also made some new friends.
  • I’ve progressed in my job although that’s been a struggle, having to be put through potential redundancy early in the year.
  • My freelance work is still progressing, I tend to allow work to flow in via word of mouth so not to stretch myself but do pursue some leads when I can (sneaky feelers!)

I am attempting to reduce the amount of debt in my name. A while after buying my house (Keep calm, just bought a house) I required some additional money to buy furniture and decorate, and to also pay off some credit cards (consolidating debt). I immediately closed a credit card account thereafter. Credit cards are bad ideas. I am now left with one credit card and have just reduced the credit card limit to £1500 after they had increased it to £2900! I don’t want that temptation. If I don’t have the money, I can’t pay for something. Simple as. My loan will be near enough paid up at the end of 2018, so I’ll be able to close that too.

Considering I am only 27 I think I have done quite well. I have big dreams and passions but sometimes I have to look back and see how far I have already come.

I wish everyone a good new year, and remember to set achievable targets that you can reach!

Averaging 25 mpg in an old Mercedes

I recently had to sell my old Mercedes 190E. I had it for nearly 3 years; bought in late October 2014, because I liked the shape and I had been hunting on eBay. I think I liked the shape, albeit I didn’t really know what I had gotten myself into. I had my mk1 MX5 which was the same age, but that was an import car and this was a UK model car and the previous owners hadn’t given it much love!

Amazingly, there were no advisories on the previous year’s MOT, so I was in a bit of a shock when the MOT came up and it failed on quite a number of things.  At the time I needed the car and wielding a credit card I naively paid for the repairs. I considered myself to be a caretaker of the car I guess, silly in hindsight. It was an old car and I thought it should be repaired and maintained. I wanted to keep it on the road. That was an expensive MOT!

I then continued to drive the car for some time, but considering it had probably been driven now harder than it had for a few years it started to show some signs of wear and tear. Driving above 50mph became a bit harrowing, and the car would shake violently.  The order of this account is a little hazy now, but the events were correct.

The garage came back with a long list of parts on the underside of the car that had worn out – a lot of suspension components and bushings, so yep, I went ahead and told them to replace and fix.

The car at this point was driving quite well…. I had previously been up to Middlesbrough with my Dad to pick up some parts, and I’d painted and replaced the front wings of the car as they were rusting quite badly. What I hadn’t realised was that parts of the car around the spring mounts were also rusting quite badly and these had to be welded at one of the MOT tests to pass.

I also had to replace the EHA valve as quite a lot of petrol was leaking out due to the cracked plastic on the previous unit. Hard to find anywhere, but finally found it on Amazon (also quite expensive, but solved the problem).

The following year the car required an exhaust bracket welding underneath to pass the MOT but nothing serious.

And then this year it failed on quite a considerable amount, bits and bobs under the car that I would deem as normal wear and tear, around £600. But also a lot of welding on the opposite side of the engine bay. The mechanic tapped a section of the driver side inner section where the coolant, and washer bottle are located, and the screwdriver went straight through. Something I had failed to spot. They had quoted £1700 to fix. Emotionally, my head wanted to pay for this to be fixed, but luckily my Dad talked some sense into me.

I have never got as emotionally attached to a vehicle like I did with this, the car had character, it had been on the planet as long as I had and me and my girlfriend had been on some good  adventures with it – that probably adds to the utter feeling of regret at letting this one go…

And the best bit? It consistently got 25miles to the gallon! And to think that in 27 years we have only just managed to get over 50 from a petrol engine, shows just how slowly things have come on?