Cheap cars at auction

As my family is increasing in size I took a spin up to Naas yesterday to have a look at what value was to be had at auction for a 7 seater. Merlin Car Auctions is located just off Exit 10 on the M7 (follow the Rathangan Rd).

You can check the stock list online before going up (or over, or down) and they recommend ringing beforehand if you are after a particular model to ensure it’s up for auction that day. They have 2 auctions a week, Wednesday evening and saturday morning.

When we were there the catalog had 279 vehicles listed for sale, over 140 were Finance Repossessions. They have 2 lanes in operation, with 2 auctions running simultaneously. All the Repos were on one lane and all others on the 2nd lane. If a car didn’t make the reserve it was moved on or if the highest bid came close to reserve it was sold provisionally, dependant on the seller agreeing to the lower price. Newer luxury cars and 4x4s weren’t bid on as much as others and quiet a few of them were passed on to go back out another day. There seemed to be great value in vans.

You can walk around and view the cars beforehand, hear the engine running etc. Each car has it’s details on a sheet of paper on the windscreen along with its lot number. In order to bid you must get a bidding number which costs €500. If you don’t buy you get your €500 back.

We just went up for a look, but the next time I go up it will be to buy.

A big screen at lane 1 shows all details of the car on auction

Details on big screen on TwitPic

This is a sample of vehicles that were auctioned off.

Lane 1 Finance Repos

06 Nissan Almera SXE 4dr, 86k kms,   €5,200

07 Hyundai Santa Fe PASS, CRDI 7 seater, 34k kms, €18,000

01 Lexus LS430 4dr saloon, 99k, €8000

04 Nissan Almera 1.5, 3dr, 49k, €3400

04 Fiat Punto 1.2 Active 3dr,(gearbox needs attention) 29k €1,300

03 Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI Ambiante, 157k €2700

03 BMW X5, 3.0 D Auto, 100k, dsl, €13000

06 Ford Transit 260S, TDI, (90PS) ASM, Low roof, 30k, VAT inv, €7000

05 Renault Master II DCI 120, 62k, VAT inv, €3800

05 Ford Transit Connect T200, 107k, VAT inv, €3000 (provisionally)

02 Ford Focus 1.4, 4dr, 83k, €2000 (provisionally)

06 Toyota Corolla VVTI Terra, 1.4, 4dr, 62k, €7200

05 Mercedes E200 Kompressor, 75k, €14000

05 Nissan Pathfinder XE DCI COMM, 119k, €8000

08 Honda Accord Sport I CTDI 4dr, 42k, dsl, €19000

03 Nissan Almera Tekna, 58k, €2500

Lane 2

00 BMW 316, 1.9 3dr, 96k, €2600

01 Honda Accord 1.8 S 133k, €1550

04 Toyota Avensis 2.0 D4D Aura Dsl, 4dr, 146k, €6200

01 Audi A6 2.7 Quattro Estate, 4WD, 95k, €5200 (provisionally)

00 Ford Focus 1.6 i Ghia, 4dr, Ex taxi, 189k, €600

01 Daewoo Nubira 1.6 SE 4dr, 48k, €400

07 Toyota Corolla 1.4 5dr, 65k, €10100

The full car spec is on the catalog you get on the way in (€5) and tells you all the usual (AC/EL/EW/PS etc.)

I believe there’s great value to be got and although you might prefer to buy from a dealer to ensure it’s ok, well, they go there too.

All in all you’ve got to decide if it’s worth your time to travel, hang around for vehicle to come through and then be prepared to bid high enough to secure the purchase.

If you do buy, the hammer price includes VAT, but there are 2 more fees to pay:- Buyers fee is 5% + VAT @ 21.5% and the Indemnity fee is €180 for cars over €1501 and €140 for cars under €1500

Using everyday things in different ways

There is always more than one way to use most things. And no I’m not going to tell you about the 101 uses of vinegar.

Today I’d like to share some of the ways I use things to achieve different results than you would normally expect from using them.

Take Twitter, for instance. I followed a random French person just to brush up on my French. You see I studied it in school, lived there on and off over a number of years and quiet like speaking it. Living where I do doesn’t give me much opportunity to speak it, but I don’t want to lose it. So now, every so often, I get a French Tweet into my stream.

To find said person I used Twitter Advanced Search and in the ‘Places’ query I put in Paris, hit search and then when the results page showed up I had a quick look at the tweets and also used the translate button to determine who to follow. I picked someone whose tweets I could just about understand and who also tweeted in English occasionally.

Google is another tool with heaps of uses apart from just being a search engine. One such use that I always get a kick out of is using the reverse phone number search. Basically if I have a missed call on my phone I sometimes put the number into Google and hit search.

If there is a listing on the web somewhere for that number, such as a business name, then I have a fair idea of who might have called or why they might have called. I can then prepare to make a follow up call armed with the knowledge I now have. If they are a potential customer I can be ready to answer their questions and can have solutions to their problems already formulated in my head.

We are all accustomed to caller id on our phones, so you know the benefits of knowing who is calling you (whether to answer or not, should you put on your ‘telephone voice’ etc.). I would love a piece of software/application or something whereby I could route my phone line through the PC and if it wasn’t a number stored on my database, it would Google the number instantly and give me some idea in advance of who was calling.

It would be like having every number in the world stored in your phone (apart from blocked numbers or ex-directory I suppose). Maybe such software already exists, maybe somebody reading this will create it, either way, I’d love to have it.

There are a number of uses for Irish Whiskey other than drinking it. But as I don’t condone such wastefulness, you’ll not be finding out about them here!

What is it that you use in a different way than most?

Blog by phone -This post is being…

First trial of posting to the blog using voice over a mobile phone.

This post is being inspired by mcawilliams from twitter. Who has set up a blog for his daughter and in the course of conversation I remembered that through dial2do you could set up a voice activated or post to your Word Press blog from your mobile phone. And I just thought it might be-

Powered by Dial2Do. Mp3

Update to post:-

(Before I get to that don’t forget to vote for mcawilliams in the Shorty Awards in you haven’t already done so. Voting is drawing to a close and he deserves it.)

I had to edit some things as the spellings were a little out and the website link wasn’t right (although I threw in a word myself that shouldn’t have been there). Also, the links were put in place afterwards. I have left it pretty much unchanged though as you can hear from the audio, and it might be of help to anyone trying it out for themselves.

Some things to note from first attempt:-

You have a limited time to speak, so think before you talk!

The title to the post is the first couple of words spoken.

I would have spoken more eloquently had I known the audio would also be posted!

Dial2Do is a free service that allows you to send texts, emails, set reminders, post to Twitter and of course to your WordPress Blog using your phone. Correction, you will have to pay the price of dialling your host country’s no.

You can also post to Twitter using Twitterphone and if you have Twitter streaming on your blog I guess you are kind of updating it that way. Anybody with other ideas please let me know.

New Magazine is with the printers!

After several late nights and a lot of hard work our new monthly title Life and Fitness magazine has been printed.

This is going to be a short post as it’s late and I’m tired. But I feel good and things are going to plan. Now I’ll tell you why I feel good.

After several late nights and a lot of hard work our new monthly title Life and Fitness magazine has been printed. It should be in shops nationwide next week and available free of charge to members of gyms, leisure centres etc. throughout the country. It is also available for free download at The first 10 pages are available to preview and then you need to download it to see the full issue.

We hope that it will inspire, educate and inform health conscience people. After all “If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing!”

If you have any ideas or suggestions or whatever for future issues we would love to hear about them.

Here’s to your health!

How to get free publicity on the radio

Today I listened to Enda Crowley do a great job talking on ClareFM radio today about Teen Camp Ireland which takes place in Dublin on 17th January.

It gave me inspiration for a post about how to get free publicity on the radio.

It’s nothing too exciting or complicated but very easy to do and can be quiet effective. There are only 2 steps involved in the process.

1. Listen to the radio.

This means listen out for subjects being discussed relevant to your business or the event that you would like to promote. Channel surf. Get to know when the stations chat shows are on. Which DJs accept text or email queries seeking advice.

2. Text in to the station.

If you hear the DJ re-telling a problem a listener has sent in and you can help solve the problem, let them know! It’s great if you have a website or blog you can direct them to.

(if you need a domain Blacknight, at the time of writing, have announced a great offer on .ie domains for today (Friday) only)

For instance, using the example above, if Enda hears the DJ read a text such as “There’s nothing for teenagers to do in …..” then he sends in a text. (Real life examples of my own at the end)

It doesn’t matter if the bored teenager would have absolutely no interest whatsoever in attending the event. You just want the DJ to read out your message. It helps if you can find a link to justify sending your text and for the DJ to read it out. Listen out for keywords, so to speak, like ‘teenager’, ‘blogging’ or anything tech related. Then send your text ‘The bored teenager is welcome to attend an event in Dublin organised by teenagers for teenagers, there are details at”.

If you were really devious you could have a friend get the ball rolling by sending in the initial text. But that would be sneaky …….

Some radio show presenters/researchers will get curious and want to know more. They may call you to see if you are available to talk on air.

Be prepared, have a few notes written down to refer to so you don’t get tongue tied. Practise doing interviews so you will come across better. Record yourself doing it. Try to eliminate the filler words like ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘you know’, ‘like’. You’ll only have a certain amount of airtime so you will want to make the most of it.

Two Real life examples (please note I will be shamelessly plugging my own site here)

Listening to Ray D’Arcy on TodayFM one morning a listener sent a text in wondering if he should ask his girlfriends father for her hand in marriage. I sent in a text saying “The website may be able to help your listener”. The text was read out and there was big jump in visitor numbers.

Listening to Nikki Hayes on 2fm one afternoon a listener sent a text wondering what song they should play for their first wedding dance. I sent in a text saying “The website has a playlist of first dance songs you can listen to, to help choose”  Two minutes later I got a call from a researcher asking if I would go on air to explain about it. That was fantastic for me! A few minutes free airtime on national radio plugging my site for the price of a text.

These were two simple occasions when I took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.

Now if only I could get my first wedding dance video on TV!