Car buying Part 3

So you want to buy a new car continued…


So your “friend” the salesperson is now trying to close the deal.


They will be pushing you to buy using the Manufacturers or Dealers finance packages because it has business benefits for them too. Often Manufacturers will sweeten the deal by giving you money towards your finance deposit, but look carefully as the type of finance may not suit you and some are costly to terminate early. I personally would not buy on a PCP deal, this is where you have a deposit, a low monthly payment then at the end the option to hand the car back, buy it or part exchange it to clear the balloon payment.  Finance is a whole different topic and so I won’t dwell on it here.


They know you will play hardball so the first deal they put to you won’t be the best. Reject this graciously either by just rejecting it or saying how much more you would like the deal sweetened. Doing a Dom Littlewood and asking for “flaps and mats” doesn’t cut much mustard these days, so go for price. New cars are priced on the road but used ones you can sometimes negotiate Road Tax to be included, usually you will get what I call a “splash” of fuel as most dealers don’t like giving it away. You often see FREE servicing included in a deal but consider its value if you are a low mileage user it may not be worth as much to you, likewise if you do high miles you may find the exclusions for mileage and time devalue its benefit to you.

Expect a bit of toing and frowing until you get to the price you want to pay, it can get frustrating as like I said earlier a lot of salespeople have to go through some kind of deal controller, unless you are buying from a smaller outfit which is owned by the salesperson. If you can’t agree on a deal then don’t be afraid to walk away, this can cause panic in a main dealer and you get one final salvo especially near to end of month targets. Having walked away my advice would be to move on from it, I personally don’t like follow up calls asking if I’ve had a think about it or to offer me a better deal SORRY you had your chance!.


Assuming you have agreed to make a purchase it’s not over for you yet. You will be asked about “extras” as this is a further source of profit for the dealer and some of it an FCA requirement of the dealer. A most common up sell is GAP  insurance this covers you for the difference between insurance payout and the market value of your car especially good if you have finance. This can be expensive through a dealer so if you are intending on buying on finance it maybe worth shopping around first. You will be offered a paint and upholstery treatment too, you can strike a deal on this cost usually or get it thrown in as the true cost to the dealer is obviously less than its retail price to you. From what I have seen they often are not applied very well or dare I say it sometimes not at all and most consumers don’t even remember they have it as there are caveats to its upkeep and warranty. My advice would be to take your vehicle to a car detailer then you are going to get a better application and more likely to remember you have it. Another add on is wheel and tyre insurance, don’t bother!. Extended warranties on used cars will be offered but check the cover and any clauses as it may not suit your needs.


Having survived the purchasing you will eventually be back to collect your car. Again you will be in a process don’t worry its a way of making it as hassle free as possible, but I would insist on a look at the car before signing anything or paying. If it’s a new car the salesperson has to show you all the details on the car as a requirement of the manufacturer he and the garage will get a bonus for it especially if you rate the experience 10 out of 10 on feedback. It’s an exciting time but try to listen especially about the controls as modern cars can be complicated with some controls for your safety and some for your enjoyment.


That’s it off you drive.


Any good salesperson will ring you in within 48hrs to make sure everything is ok.

Car buying Part 2

So you want to buy a new car continued…


Now you have got everything in order with your part exchange you are off to the dealership or used car pitch.

Before you go shopping decide how you wish to fund your purchase. Are you paying cash or finance? If you are a cash buyer consider a 0% finance deal and leave your money in the bank or a 50/50 deal where you pay half now and half later, often with little or no interest. If you need finance, and lets face it it’s a big purchase, look at how cheap you can source the funds yourself and effectively be a cash buyer.

The minute you set foot into sales territory expect to be met / intercepted  / jumped on / pounced on by a sales person. Unless you have arrived with a specific vehicle in mind make sure you are not rushed and, if you prefer, given time to browse. It can feel quite intimidating for some people, it’s just that salespeople are generally paid on commission and need to get to the “prey”, sorry customer before their colleagues. If you ask to browse don’t be surprised to be approached again by someone else, you must be firm but polite about wanting space. If you are ready to know more about a car ask for the keys to see inside, and never be afraid to ask for the car to be moved so that you may get a better look.

Now you are in the grasp of a salesperson you are in their process-driven sales pitch.

Some places will try to get you to test drive the vehicle before pricing your part exchange, some will insist on pricing it first. If you have no part exchange it’s reasonable for them to want you to test drive it before offering a discount as it’s irrelevant if you don’t like the drive.

Remember it’s about how much you need to pay to own your next car.  The part exchange valuation and price of the car you are buying can be manipulated however you like but it’s the difference between the two which is the important bit.


You are likely to be asked for your Driving Licence to be checked for offences, etc. before being taken on a test drive, due to insurance and safety of the staff. This is to be expected these days so make sure you have it with you.

For the safety of the staff most places have a set test route, therefore if you want to drive a specific road or take the car home to see if it fits your garage for example it’s only fair to make the salesperson aware of this before you set off so they can advise the person in charge.

A good salesperson will always drive the car first to explain some of the controls / features you may not be familiar with and to show how the car drives. Most people know very quickly if they like the car but if you feel you need a longer drive you should ask for it – after all it’s an expensive purchase.

After the test drive is when the work really starts.

Assuming you have now got a price for your part exchange, you can negotiate a deal.

It’s always a good idea during the buying process to “make friends” with the salesperson as they are only human and annoying them makes them less likely to be accommodating. If they like you they will fight your corner with the person controlling the sales process (I say this as most places have a Sales Manager/Controller looking after the sales profits). From the salesperson all the way up the chain the process is target driven so everyone wants you to buy – use this to your advantage.

Puppy Training update

So last night we had a new arrival in the class a little Chihuahua about 4 months old. He’s a lovely little chap in fact VERY little chap and his owner does well to keep bending down to him.

Now the clocks have changed we had chance to go outside to practice some healwork, this proved that WE need more practice!. Once back inside, the class was introduced to getting your dog to have some discipline when going through doors. This was achieved by getting your dog to sit whilst you opened the door and not to bolt through before you once moving off. We practiced SIT again last night too and being made to remain steady whilst a toy thrown in front.

Homework is sending your dog to its bed and to lie down. Do Spaniels ever stop long enough to lie down!.

Next month we are going to come out of this class have have some gundog specific training then the fun will start.

Car Buying part 1

So you want to buy a new car?


It will help you tremendously if you are planning to part exchange your car to do some preparation too. Take a look around the internet to get a feel for what your car maybe worth, bearing in mind these will be retail prices ie what someone or dealer expects to achieve for the car. If it’s from a dealer consider that they are likely to be including a warranty, a service (quite often just an oil change and kick the tyres) and a new MOT, all of which has to come out of their profit. Therefore what you get offered will be considerably less. I’m not saying you accept that: just be realistic about your expectations as it will depend on the condition of your car and how much the dealer really wants it.


Now to the condition of your car…if it’s worth more than a few hundred pounds its definitely worth giving it a quick wash and brush up before going shopping. If it looks loved the dealer is less likely to go over it with a fine tooth comb expecting the worst if it looks a “shed”. Don’t get me wrong they will still expect everything to be in working order and especially these days no warning lights on the dash.

If you have a chipped or damaged windscreen its worth getting it replaced or repaired through your insurance as the dealer certainly won’t want to stand the cost of that. If you have any bumps or scrapes on the bodywork it maybe worth getting these attended to also, someone like Chips Away do localised repairs and  may add hundreds to your part exchange valuation.


Does the vehicle have full service history? If so they will want to know if it’s Main Dealer or otherwise. Depending on who the otherwise is may make a difference ie a professional local garage or DIY mechanic. The dealer will also want to see proof so make sure you take the stamped service book or receipts with you. They will also be keen to know if it’s due a service, especially if it’s a major one!. Does your car have an MOT and how long can make a difference too. Don’t worry about the paperwork as this is checked online now, which means they can also check for any advisories that may be a future cost to them too, particularly if they need to MOT the car to resell it.


Do you have a full set of keys or remote controls that would have originally come with the car? This can wipe a few hundred pounds off the value of your car these days as they are expensive to replace and often require main dealer programming.


If you have alloy wheels have you got the locking wheel nut key? It may seem trivial but the dealer will look at the expense and hassle involved in getting a replacement, more so if they need the wheels off to work on the car.


VERY IMPORTANT is have you got the V5 registration document. A dealer is unlikely to want the car without it as it’s proof of ownership and he can’t sell it on without one, and again there is a cost to getting a replacement.


Are you aware of any extras on the car that would have been an additional cost? Some are desirable some not but worth telling the person looking around your car as they don’t necessarily know all the specs of cars.


Don’t be worried about my pointers like I say some preparation can see you get more for your car, and just consider that if the dealer has to spend any money on it it’s worth less to you as he’s not going to fund it.


Some dealers will move cars on to other trade buyers or auctions but will still expect all of the above to be able to give you a fair price. Again I’m not saying its what you want or should accept but its a starting point for negotiations.


PS Take your Driving Licence too.



Norfolk Coast Guardian

I was delighted this week to get one of the first copies of the Norfolk Coast Guardian publication especially in its silver anniversary year. This year is also a memorable year for the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty too, in that its 50 years since it was recognised as one of the UK’s most treasured places.

The cover artwork ‘Outstanding’ was gifted to the Norfolk Coast Partnership by nationally renowned wildlife artist and Norfolk resident Richard Gillmor.

A book has also been produced by the Norfolk Coast Partnership in collaboration with local photographers and poets to mark the 50th anniversary of the AONB, with profits going to support projects along the coast.

Did you know that the Norfolk Coast is home to 2 Dark Sky Discovery sites, these are areas designated as being unaffected by light pollution allowing people to view the night sky. And it also has a Marine Conservation Zone off the coast and miles of National Trail Path running through the area.

The theme running through this years Guardian is 50 things to celebrate, from things to do, nature to see and lots of walks to take in.

If you are reading the Guardian then why not support one of its many contributors of articles or advertising by eating at their establishment or visiting their attraction etc. It may be a nice touch to also mention where you saw their details.

The Norfolk Coast area of outstanding natural beauty is managed by the Norfolk Coast Partnership. I spoke with its manager Estelle Hook whose team work with partners and organisations around the coast to manage it in a sustainable way. Estelle said “To be involved with the AONB at such a milestone in its history is a real pleasure and I am excited about the year ahead, starting on 8th April the exact date 50 years ago the AONB was formed”.

The Guardians’ 60,000 copies are being distributed now via shops and organisations around the coast.

If you visit anywhere in the outdoors this summer just consider that many are AONB or National Parks and are managed for your enjoyment and future generations. So please take your litter home, keep to paths and keep your dog under control especially around livestock many who have young at this time of the year.

Puppy Training update

So last night we decided that the Spaniel has enjoyed his weekly indoor classes but is now bored with it and ready for something more challenging.

The indoor class as been good for building on the work we had already been doing with socializing him, and reinforcing some of the basics. It has been a mix of breeds and ages with some dogs more vocal than others.

Now that we have established steadyness at Sit and the heal work is coming on, I am going on to 1to1 lessons to build on this and have gundog specific training with a view to us working on a beating line eventually.

Watch this space….

Sick Spaniel

So yesterday after being with me at work all day, we arrived home to find the lady of the house working hard in the garden.

Shelby seemed pleased to be able to stretch his legs and have a nosey around the garden, and do the usual doggy things like picking up sticks and your hand tools!. It was nice to see him letting off steam with the other dogs in the pack and exploring the garden, having been restricted due to the poor weather.

However a couple of hours later and having had his evening feed Shelby started vomiting. He vomited his feed and what looked like chewed up bits of garden pruning. He continued to pace around drooling, vomiting and looking very sad for himself for about an hour.

Quite often like humans once an animal has been sick it will feel better, but my concern was not knowing exactly what he had eaten and if he continued to be ill overnight. We had also noticed when packing away for the day one of the other dogs had a rat with no head, so had Shelby eaten any of this too?. As time was getting on I took the decision to take Shelby to the vet, as he showed no signs of improving and wanting to avoid a late night dash to them (and out of hours fee). I was very concerned enroute as he became very lethargic and didn’t seem well at all.

He was checked over and as he didn’t appear to have any stomach pain and a good heartbeat the vet was reasonably confident nothing was stuck in his throat/stomach. Shelby was given an injection to stop the nausea and help him feel more comfortable along with the advice to starve him for 24 hrs.

So we left for home with some expensive Hills id canned food for today, and I am happy to say he seems to have come out the other side none the worse for his experience.

Thanks to Millhouse Vets and their great service as always.


Lazy Sunday

Now that the snow has all but gone I thought we would venture a bit further today on the dog walk. So after getting the little man off the sofa at breakfast time we set off.

Lazy Sunday

Shelby is still too young to walk too far, and as our favourite farm track is a sea of mud I took him along a nearby quite lane. Today’s task was for more heel work practice. Being a typical spaniel this is coming on slowly as the rest of the world is much more interesting than listening to me. However I feel we are making progress now, he will pull on the lead but by turning him around at this point he is starting to get the fact that a slack lead is much nicer.

Anyway we had a nice session this morning and not wanting to overdo it we headed back for breakfast. Fish for Dogs puppy for the little man and full English for me. When I say full I mean FULL. We had sausages from Musks of Newmarket, Black Pudding from Back to the Garden Letheringsett, Bacon from Elsegoods Butchers Pott Row, Mushrooms somewhere in England, Bantam Eggs from a friends garden in Sheringham and Heinz Baked Beans with I side order of Homemade Marmalade, Toast and Tea. As you can see we are keen to buy local as much as possible and food with provenance too, this requires a bit of effort but tastes so much better.

So now we are having our feet and paws up enjoying the rest of the day in front of the woodburner,with maybe an English Whisky or two and a good book.



Le Chameau Wellies

After many years of leak free service with Hunter Neoprene wellingtons, they finally succumbed to age and split.

As Hunter is no longer on trend and is now worn by festival goers I was looking around at the broader market.

My wellingtons need to be able to be seen in in all situations (I know you are thinking poser!), comfortable to drive in,walk distances in and be warm. Oh and be Green.

I took delivery of a pair of Seeland but was very unhappy with the top to sole finishing and so they went back. I researched reviews for Aigle and Le Chameau and both seemed to have mixed reviews, especially around quality of product in recent years. But I have decided that this criticism can be levelled at most things we buy these days and none appeared to be catastrophic.

My partner has a pair of Aigle Parcours and is very happy with them, however having had the thicker neoprene in the Hunters I knew they would be too warm for me when walking.

The top of the range Le Chameau were a bit too expensive for me right now, and so I did some research and came back to a recent addition to the Le Chameau range. I settled on a pair Traqueur as they represented a fair price and I liked the sound of the Kevlar reinforcement. They are natural rubber and reinforced on the front to protect against undergrowth, which whilst I am currently not on shoots it will be useful and sometimes on dog walks you come across paths that are overgrown.

The lining is “OnSteam” microfibre of a decent thickness and density, which so far hasn’t proved to be too hot. And when matched to a pair of Dubarry Technical Socks from Robinsons of Stamford offers a good level of comfort. The sole has all terrain grip and appears to keep me fairly stable under foot.Initially I felt they were awkward to get on and off as they have a good grip around the ankle, but I have mastered the knack of removing them now without too much drama.

On Steam lining

I have now used them in a variety of situations and weather, including the current “Beast from the East” and find the fit okay and comfortable to wear for a long time without my feet getting too hot. I’m not sure what the zip up the back does for me as its short and at the top, but its obviously been developed for some reason.



These boots have an RRP of £150 but I managed to secure a pair from Uttings currently with £31 off. This was my first purchase from Uttings and I can say I was impressed with the price and speed of delivery inc the quality of the packaging.


Puppy Training

For the last 4 weeks we have been attending training classes with Shelby, to build on what we have been doing at home. Currently the classes are being conducted inside because of the time of the year. Being inside and in close proximity to other dogs is a great help with socialising your dog.

Each week we are building up the requirements of heal work, sitting and recall. Obviously for all dog owners heal work is very important both for the comfort of the owner when out, and not to put any undue stress on a young dogs neck whilst walking on a lead. Most importantly on a road its an offence under S27 Road Traffic Act 1988 to not have your dog on a lead and under control.

Being a Spaniel the heal work is an area we are currently behind on as the rest of the world is more interesting when you are a spaniel.

“Sit” is now coming on better with a bit more effort from me. I am now able to get further from Shelby without any movement.

Recall is generally ok as long as I remember to make it exciting enough.

I am intending to train Shelby for work in the beating line on shoots, and so there is and will be subtle differences in some of the basic training.

All training is conducted with positive reinforcement rather than treats.

If you are interested in training your dog have a chat with Steve at Breckland Dog Training .