New Toys

We’ve dragged ourselves kicking and screaming into the 21st century and finally bought a Garmin satnav for the car. That makes it official: everyone in the UK now has a satnav – we must have been the last hold-outs. Actually, I think the reason we bought it was that we got fed up explaining to disbelieving people that we didn’t actually have one when they clearly thought one essential. You can take only so many quizzically raised eyebrows in response to saying, “actually, we don’t have a satnav”, subtext: “we still use our brains and a map.” The nice folks at Amazon dispatched our chosen Garmin 1340T early this week. After about three days, because I’m a cheapskate and always go for free delivery when possible, the pedestrian (in more senses than one) folks at the Post Office dropped it off at our door.

On a slow, wet Friday, having been left to my own devices and for want of something better to do, I decided to go out and take it for a spin. It wasn’t exactly Mazda MX5 friendly – the v. chunky power cable plugs into the cigar lighter which is v. close to the v. short gear stick – but once I’d relearned how to change gear, all was well. Hopefully the novelty soon wears off and I’ll start watching the road signs closely again. Relying upon Garmin’s speed advisories would be a v. bad idea. On the way back into town it was adamant that I was in a 60mph limit which is actually 30mph. +30mph is a loss-of-license offense for those not paying attention. Shortly afterwards I adopted my own route variation  – “recalculating!” – whereupon Miss Garmin tried to send me up a cul de sac. Cleverly avoiding the cul de sac using an old technology brain and local knowledge, I returned home in the hope that my included one free map update might cure a new technology glitch or two.

Some time ago our beloved Arcam Delta CD player decided to start getting a little senile. Well, it is very old. It still plays a CD perfectly well but that’s it – one CD. After that, the display goes into hieroglyphic mode and the unit is completely locked up; you can’t even eject the just played CD without turning the unit off and letting it cool down. Rather than another passé CD player, Carol fancied another 21st century solution [Aside: have you noticed how absolutely everything now is “a solution”] in the shape of a Brennan JB7. The JB7 music solution is a hard-drive MP3 player capable of holding much more than our entire CD collection. I’d describe it as a half-way house between a computer (which would be bitch ugly in the living room) and a piece of hi-fi kit. It wouldn’t look completely out of place beside my also v. old Arcam Delta amplifier. We ordered a 320Gb JB7 about 5 weeks ago and have since been waiting for Brennan’s production runs to catch up with the extraordinary increase in customer demand.

I know that last paragraph was a pretty sudden non-sequitur, dear readers, but here’s the point: Brennan had caught up with their production runs, built our unit and shipped it via the nice folks at City Link who, being much quicker off the mark than the pedestrian Post Office, had tried to deliver our new toy #2, Mr Brennan, while I was out playing with new toy #1, Miss Garmin. Typical!

We couldn’t wait for Monday for a re-delivery so we used new toy #1 to navigate our way over to City Link’s depot buried deep within MIlton Keynes to collect new toy #2. A while later I returned to MK, this time flying solo on brain and knowledge, to buy the necessary cables to connect new toy #2 to beloved old Arcam Delta.

We can play more than one CD again and they sound good! 🙂 Now we’ve just got to rip a meagre collection of about 400 CDs into Mr Brennan. 🙁

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