Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Fri, 16 Apr 2010

Hi and Drai

Our old Rover car had been showing its age and so we had been looking at getting a replacement. Our diesel Zafira is a perfect family car, so we wanted something small and economical to get me to work. The Zafira did pretty well with 47mpg, but with fuel getting more expensive I wanted better than that, without blowing the budget.

We could have gone for second hand, but the government's scrappage scheme could give us £2000 off a new car in exchange for the Rover, which was worth a lot less than that. The most appealing option was the little Hyundai i10. It comes with all the features you need and worked out cheaper than a second hand Toyota Yaris. We did test drive a new Toyota Auris, but I couldn't see why I would pay that much more money for that, although it did offer better mpg.

So we ordered the i10. We went for the mid-range 'Comfort' model to get features like a height-adjustable driver's seat and remote central locking, but I wasn't really fussed about getting alloy wheels and coordinated trim. We opted for the stability control system. It took a few weeks to arrive from India and I'm very happy with it after around 1500 miles. I'm not a 'sporty' driver and it moves along perfectly well in traffic, including on the motorway, without too much noise. The quality of finish is better than most cars I've had in the past. Having an aux in on the standard radio is great for me to plug in something to play podcasts.

So far I'm getting economy between 50 and 54mpg calculated when I fill up. I'd have loved a real-time economy meter to optimise my driving, but that was not available. I'll also be saving money on road tax as it's only £35/year. I'm still getting used to driving such a small car. Yesterday I ended up some way from the petrol pump when guestimating where the filler cap would be. Mind you, the old Fiat 126 I had in Germany was smaller, but much more basic.

[10:20] | [/Motoring] | Comments | G

Chickens

We decided a while back hat we'd like to get some chickens, partly as pets and also for the eggs. We're not meat eaters, so their ultimate fate is uncertain. We have a large garden with plenty of room for a big run. Before we built the new house there used to be a big chicken house here that was used by my wife's grandparents, but we had to demolish it.

It took a few weeks to build a run with strong mesh buried in the ground to deter foxes. I converted our old wooden playhouse into a coop, rained on a platform made from some decking that used to be our front door ramp. I didn't have to buy much materials due to having lots of wood and other bits lying around.

We're fortunate to have a very good poultry supplier a couple of miles away at Thorne's. They do lots of fancy breeds, but we went for hybrids who are better for eggs. They were very helpful there in advising us on what to do. We picked up our birds this week. We went for a selection of breeds, including one that lays green and blue eggs. So far the older two have been laying an egg per day each. The other two have not started laying yet as they are a bit younger. When egg production ramps up we'll start supplying a few friends.

The kids are still enthusiastic about this project and have been doing some feeding and cleaning out. Let's see if they can sustain that.

Chickens settling in
[10:19] | [/Chickens] | Comments | G

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