It was impossible to publish any posts while away at Pandy. The local Mobile Internet in that part of Monmouthshire was very poor. I could have put something together, and sent it off whenever visiting a town of some size - and I did after all go to Brecon, Abergavenny, Newport, Hay-on-Wye and Hereford - but it seemed wrong to let a country holiday be compromised by a daily dash to some built-up area, simply to post something I wrote the day before. I wasn't under contract or anything! So in the evenings I concentrated instead on editing my photos, so that once home I could resuming blogging without delay.
I will have to go out for the evening fairly shortly, so there's no big post tonight. But there's plenty to write about. For instance, I haven't finished relating my West Country adventures in September and early October - never mind about last week's experiences. And lately, having seen with my own eyes how well my friend Angie has done with Slimming World since last July - two stones lost: wow! - I have decided that the time has come to join a local group and lose two stones myself. I am facing the truth: I can't succeed on my own. Jackie next door wants me to join, with her, this Thursday evening. I'm going to. So expect some posts on that too in the time ahead.
Tonight's post is about a fat tyre of another kind - four of them. Fiona is now shod with a set of Michelin CrossClimate tyres, fitted this morning. Here's what they look like, taken from Michelin's website:
And here's how they look on Fiona:
As you can see, these tyres have a distinctive V-shaped tread that will perform well in winter conditions, but are highly suitable for wet weather (and slippery roads and tracks) at any time of the year. These are not a soft-rubber winter tyres though. They are made of harder summer rubber, but with a winter tread pattern. Michelin have actually had their CrossClimate tyres certified for winter use in those countries where it is the law to change tyres when the cold and snowy weather begins. I'm confident that they will keep me safe in the kind of fairly mild winter weather that Sussex experiences (a bit of frost, and the odd snowflake). But they will also grip on the kind of wet grass and muddy tracks that I sometimes face when pulling or manoeuvring the caravan, or exploring remote country lanes. And should I need to travel to South Wales before next March, I want to have proper tyres on Fiona's wheels.
Did you notice Fiona's tyre size? 235/60 R18. Need I say that these new tyres were expensive? But I don't like making false economies on safety. The two front tyres had to be replaced - they were getting close to the legal limit - and although there was a fair bit of tread left on the rear pair, I didn't like them: they hadn't enough grip in wet or muddy conditions. In any case, it's best to have the same tyre on each wheel when you have permanent four-wheel drive. This assists the correct feed of power to each axle.
First impressions are that the Michelin CrossClimates are quieter than the old set of tyres, and they feel very reassuring at any legal speed. The car's handling is definitely improved. So I'm pleased.