So we found a new place to live.
It is not in Westbury-on-Trym, where the three leading causes of death are 1. boredom, 2. old age and 3. nothing else; and it is a three bedroom house, which hopefully means there shall be no wrangling with tin-pot dictators in flat committees that prohibit all movement, conversation and roller-discos after 7pm because it's a bit noisy and people are trying to die of boredom and old age in peace.
We don't get to move until mid-August; and almost didn't get to move at all, thanks to the credit check agency that vets potential tenants on behalf of our future letting agency. Because I don't start grown-up work until September, there was some question as to whether I would be good for the rent; and the offer letter from my future employer (for which I have studied for five years, completed an essay-style application form, participated in online written, numerical and logical reasoning tests, and attended a two-day assessment centre evaluating my abilities as an individual and a team member) was "only a conditional offer, and anyone can get one of those."
I forget how hard I laughed at this.
Fortunately it is possible to work around their bullshit system, by simply owning up to being a penniless chump and making Dom and the Pixie pay all the rent instead. Awesome.
The whole debacle only lasted for an afternoon, but was somewhat slightly stressful all the same; and so some form of cathartic recreational activity was called for. This was conveniently served up a few days later in the form of a track day at Castle Combe, run by the splendid folks at BHP. Matt, Laura and I took the track slag out for its first outing since we added lightness by, erm, ripping out all the innards and throwing them away. It was an open pitlane, which meant that there was a good mix of exotica, oddities and track hacks in attendance.
We've always found the other folks at these events to be a friendly bunch, and this particular day was no exception. Everyone displayed a remarkable tolerance for our ceaseless questions about their cars, the other guys with BMWs (ours was one of five E36s in attendance) were eager to share their ideas on various performance upgrades, and we even had one old boy offer us a few passenger laps in his Lotus 7-alike. What a tip-top geezer.
There were only a few slight hiccups, the first being a rear wheel that attempted to detach itself from the rest of the car whilst I was tearing around. It probably would have hung on for a few more laps, but I'd promised the Pixie that I wouldn't die and so pulled in to reattach the wheelnuts. The second problem was the brakes, which we worked so hard that the new pads which we had fitted five days ago were reduced to little more than powder by the end of the day.
All of which made for a somewhat cautious drive home. Still, we had an amazing day, met some nice people, and can now legitimately claim to have driven the wheels off of our car.