Okay, I know I told you about the tension in the house to do with my oldest daughter doing her Leaving Cert at the moment. Well, there's another source of tension, but it's one that only I feel: the NCT. I have to bring my car to the test center in an hour where it will be, well, inspected. It's been a while since I lived in New York State, but the inspection process there was never the gut-wrenching testing process we have here. Why? Well, I'm not sure I can say.

In New York your mechanic is usually the guy who does the inspection, which means it's done by someone who (a) you (hopefully) trust and (b) might be willing to allow a little "leeway" on things like emissions. Here the test is run by a company that does nothing other than test cars. And it's a Swiss company so the culture is an unforgiving one.

I don't know. I'm sure this doesn't sound all that onerous a task and I bet for many it isn't, but I know that for me sitting there at the test center while my car is poked, prodded, revved (is that a word) and measured is a stomach-churning experience. I think I'd rather do the Leaving Cert.

UPDATE: Whew! Passed with flying colors. Celebrated with a few minutes walking along the seafront in Dun Laoghaire.