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W
Tuesday 4 January, 2022

How is W spelt? I know how it is said, but if I had to write it as pronounced, why would I start with a D?

At least D starts with a D...

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X
Tuesday 11 January, 2022

X: the letter of mystery.

X marks the spot. Mr X. Chemical X. Quality X.

Now try the above while substituting the letter X with any of the others available.

Just about every word used in the English language which starts with the letter X, actually sounds as if started with a Z. Clearly, X exists only to confer the unknown upon a quality.

Ah, but what about X-ray? That is not a word starting with a Z sound.

In 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays while experimenting and began studying them. He referred to the radiation as X, to indicate that it was an unknown type of radiation.

Unknown.

Who is up for starting a campaign to have spellings updated? The gas: Zenon, the musical instrument: zylophone, a person with a disliking or prejudiced against people from other countries: zenophobe.

That way we can keep the mystery and unknown as the sole quality of X.

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Y
Friday 21 January, 2022

Why not?

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Z
Tuesday 1 February, 2022

Zed or Zee? I suppose it depends on whether you live in the UK, US or on Mars.

The French film, Z (1969), is about a military and government cover up over the murder of a prominent Greek politician. A tenacious magistrate is determined to uncover the truth and expose the lie that he died in a car crash.

Mind you, such trivia, or the question over pronunciation, has been shoved aside by the need to know that 90 or 5A means ‘Z’ and 122 or 7A means ‘z’ – ASCII is much more important than knowing stuff...

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Greeks Bearing Gifts
Monday 7 February, 2022

The pain I experienced through accepting and completing a challenge to write blogs utilising titles using letters of the alphabet, has finally ended. However, along the way I have received much by way of comment and suggestions.

A popular point raised was that I had not clarified which alphabet I was using. As the person who originally suggested it was a speaker of English, I had plumped for the only alphabet with which I am fully familiar: the Latin-based English alphabet. Being English it gave me twenty-six blogs to write.

Had I been French, then I would still be using a Latin alphabet, but one with arguably more than twenty-six letters – although two of them (w and k) are rarely used in French. Some fourteen letters can be modified through the addition of diacritics (acute and grave accents, circumflex, diaeresis or the cedilla). Those of a picky nature might therefore suggest that an alphabet of forty letters exists for the French.

Being German I would ‘only’ have thirty, if the three umlauted letters of a, o and u are counted, along with the increasingly uncommon eszett (ß).

The Poles are graced with thirty-two letters, but three of them (q, v and x) are not used in any native Polish words.

However, I am none of the above.

Next came a suggestion that I use an alphabet based upon Cyrillic script, such as Russian (thirty-two characters), or Bulgarian (thirty characters). They are meaningless to me and I have little doubt that they are equally so to many who read my blogs.

Finally it was suggested that I use the Greek alphabet. Its advantage is that it only has twenty-four letters. In addition, some are used in the English language to denote properties, quantities, or are used as linguistic placeholders.

A reduced set along with a very slight degree of familiarity made it seem a great idea. Unfortunately the phrase, beware of Greeks bearing gifts, came to my mind and I took fright.

Consequently I am now returning to the usual unstructured drivel that makes up my blog entries.

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Charging by the Hour
Thursday 10 February, 2022

A few days back, I had need for my car. Heavy parcels needed to be dropped into a collection point and I had to then pick up some cardboard boxes to facilitate packing further items.

There was also a need for me to post some small parcels at my local sub post office, to which I would normally walk. However, I decided to include it in my run out in the car.

Upon exiting the development where I live, signs told me that the road into town was closed except for access. I figured that heading back would allow me access to the sub post office after my quarter mile trip away from town to the drop-off point.

Ho-hum...

Back I went. Road closed. Completely shut. Access? To where?

The sub post office was a little way past the closure and for a brief moment I considered heading home and merely walking there as usual. Unfortunately, those empty cardboard boxes needed picking up and my car was still required.

I turned about and headed in the opposite direction to which I wanted to go. Despite the sub post office being a few hundred yards down the road, I ended up having to drive nearly five miles to get there. Tiny bumpy lanes through twee villages had to be negotiated because the powers-that-be still fail to understand the impact on a market town of fully closing roads.

Driving from the sub post office to the location where the boxes were available was easy. I was already on the correct side of the yet-to-start roadworks, but getting back home required me to drive around the town through villages along unclassified roads.

What should have been a twenty minute exercise became a ninety minute hole in my day.

The road remained closed for three solid days. On the fourth day the barriers were taken down. However, the nearby roundabout remained closed to traffic trying to head out of town for no reason that I could fathom, other than someone had forgotten to take the cones away...

I had cause to walk past the roadworks while they were in progress. The work area where the digging took place was half the carriageway. There was no need to close the road. In the past, such works have been managed by traffic lights. However, not this time. Some bright spark had decided that three days of road closure was worth the pain.

It was suggested to me that contractors should be charged per hour for road closures. It would place greater priority on keeping roads open. To that fine idea I would add that appropriate signage should be a legal requirement and that it also be charged an hourly rate while it is used – including the time after the roadworks are completed, during which it is merely left to mislead motorists.

Did I mention that when the road was finally opened, the road signs indicating the closure were left up and buses and learner school HGVs were turning about and heading back the way they came because the signs were basically misleading?

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Show Babes
Friday 11 February, 2022

The motorcycle show had grandiose stands with shiny and expensive gods of the road on display. Sponsors’ wishing to sway the purchasing decisions of the mainly male attendees used copious numbers of beautiful young women wearing Lycra bearing the sponsor’s name while making it very clear the wearer was female.

This was the early 80s and it was the way things were done back in the days of, “Men are men and women are for men,” however wrong it may have been.

I was with a pal who was leaving a trail like a garden slug. His tongue was dragging along the ground as we walked past the many women clad in second skins.

We were both armed with cameras. Mine was being pointed at two wheeled beauties. His was to be found shaking in his hands whenever a scrap of colourful tight clothing full of nubile woman came close.

Our aims conflicted, so we agreed to part for the morning and meet up again at lunchtime.

While eating, we swapped notes. I looked at my memo pad and told my friend of all the wondrous machinery my camera had captured. At that point he started to dribble as he told of all the sponsored ‘totty’ (his words, not mine) of which he had taken photographs. Then he moaned that it was just about impossible to engage any of them in conversation. In my mind I had a vision of him engaging his camera towards them in a manner reminiscent of a Labrador retriever favouring a visitor’s leg.

His tongue was once again lolling about and drool was already running down his chin as we prepared for another tour about the great halls of the show. Unable to bear it, I suggested that we again part and meet little later at an agreed exit.

The lack of anything fast enough to tempt me to commit vast sums of money to in order to potentially shorten my life had me waiting early by the exit earlier selected. I stood there alone as if suffering from a socially embarrassing medical condition.

Anticipating my friend’s arrival, I idly glanced at two young women clad in the tight outfits favoured by the major promoter of the motorcycle show.

One spoke to the other and pointed at me, leaving me wondering whether I had done something wrong or had an errant cheeseburger hanging from a nostril.

Then the pair made their way directly toward me, ignoring the obviously lecherous looks from those they passed.

I quickly prepared my camera so as to ask someone to take a photo of me with them. I imagined the look on the face of my friend when I showed him the photograph when it came back from the chemist.

When they reached me, the taller of the two women, opened her mouth to speak. Her lips glistened as they parted to reveal glacier white teeth which drew my attention away from her legs which were as long as a wait in a doctor’s surgery.

My fingers fumbled with the controls on the top of my camera.

“s’cuse us, mate. Yer dunt ‘ave ver correct time, does yer?”

My camera stayed down as I said, “Coming up to three.”

“Fanks, mate,” said the voice on stilts and the pair turned and walked away leaving me shocked by the disparity between sight and sound.

“Crikey, I would have paid money for that,” said my pal when he arrived seconds later, having seen, but not heard, the exchange.

My money stayed in the bank.

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The Chicken
Monday 15 February, 2022

Why did the chicken cross the road?

It may have been something to do with needing to see someone, or something, of great importance. She wasn’t sure but was certain it would come to her, eventually.

Whatever the reason, she was determined to make the journey from the relative safety of the kerb at which presently stood and over to the other side of the road. The only problem apparent to her was the speeding vehicles on the way.

Every time she stepped off the kerb and onto the road surface she would receive a loud blast from a car horn and she would return to the grassy verge upon which she had been stood for ages.

Her manner suggested a chicken that was anything but the animal whose name was spoken when someone was looking to emphasis the chaotic nature of a happenstance.

Regardless, she was determined to get across to the other side. To that end she watched the moving objects very carefully and slowly formulated a plan.

At last she knew what she needed to do. Unfortunately those who guided the vehicles along the road were not party to the mind of the chicken. All they saw was a bird about to make a life-threatening dash into the speeding traffic.

Again, the moment she stepped off the kerb she was subjected to screaming reports from horns. However, she continued on her way; all the while keeping a very wary eye on the approach of the huge objects.

Being a chicken, she was unprepared for the reactions of the drivers as she made her way out into the stream of vehicles. As the deadly boxes approached they swerved and veered; making it much harder for her to time her walk across the road. Her plan needed rethinking. Had they remained at a constant speed and steady path, she would have made the crossing in two stages incorporating a pause at the white lines which she had noted as a safe haven along the way.

Unfortunately the pattern of movement had altered and she headed back to the kerb; hopping back up onto the verge and her starting point. For a moment she stood and contemplated her next move in light of the unexpected development.

Now that she was again out of the road she noticed that the speeding vehicles returned to their continued headlong rush to wherever the road took them without any apparent deviation from a straight line. It seemed almost unbelievable to her that they were seeking to take action to avoid her. She was a tiny thing compared to them and she was certain that a coming together between them would be much worse for her than for any of the wheeled contrivances. Regardless, it definitely altered when she moved out into it. What she needed to do was reformulate her plan so as to allow for the actions of others who, through good intentions, made her attempted road crossing more perilous.

Then it came to her.

If she were to crouch down as if sitting on her nest, then she would be low enough for each vehicle to pass safely over her. All she needed to do was avoid the wheels, and she knew she was capable of doing that. She felt that if she moved and stopped in a regular manner, those driving the vehicles might still swerve, but they would only do so a little to convince themselves that they had cleverly avoided the hapless chicken.

Yes, the best approach was to have the drivers think they were taking action while it was she who had the plan.

Once again she stepped down from the kerb and ventured forth upon her journey to a renewed cacophony of toots and blaring horns. However, she strode into the middle of the lane and squatted; all the while carefully watching approaching vehicles.

She allowed a couple of vehicles to pass over her head before deciding that the time was right for a quick dash to the centre of the road where the unbroken pair of white lines offered her sanctuary.

However, with her respite came the dawning of a realisation that things were different than before and not anticipated in her original planning: the vehicles were now coming from the opposite direction!

She watched for a while before coming to the conclusion that maybe she ought to return to where her journey originated. Then she could consider this new information and incorporate it into her planning for her next attempt.

She turned about and prepared to make her way back only to discover that now all the vehicles in the lane she had crossed were now travelling in the opposite direction as well.

This was not good. She had started with a thoughtfully considered plan and now she found herself having to improvise. There were likely to be additional dangers as part of this change in events. She again turned in the direction of her intended final destination as it occurred to her that if the traffic flow had twice reversed, then maybe the final lane would now be travelling in the direction she first experienced.

Sadly it was not so. Everything was still the opposite way around to her earlier expectations of the movement of the traffic. She was trapped half way between her starting and finishing points. There seemed to be no other choice: carry on as before but turn everything about in her head so as to account for the direction change.

As it happened, the remaining lane was negotiated without mishap. As she stood on the seemingly identical grass covered strip of land bordering the road, she wondered why she had endured such a trial. Whatever the reason, it had slipped her mind, but she was here now, and safe.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Just to get to the other side, it appears.

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The Hole
Tuesday 16 February, 2022

The 90 mile drive home from the breeder was an easy time for all of us. Our freshly acquired pair of eight-week-old beagle pups had settled within five minutes of starting their first ever car journey. The uneventful nature of the trip home was a stress-free start which boded well for the future.

The brothers, from the same litter were Darwin (for Charles Darwin: he of the voyage upon the ship, Beagle) and Franklin (after Rosalind Franklin: known for her X-ray diffraction images of DNA which led to Crick and Watson's 1953 hypothesis regarding the Double Helix structure of DNA).

Once the initial jabs were out of the way we took Darwin and Franklin out on walks. We frequently met other dogs and their owners. Other dog owners either commented that they were gorgeous, or that as brothers from the same litter, they were a handful.

We always smiled because we were proud that they were such handsome examples of their breed, and we knew that they were in fact quite easy to manage as they seemed to be preoccupied with chewing each other as opposed to our furniture and shoes etc.

Barely had two weeks passed when things changed.

It began with Darwin pawing at the grass next to whatever chew toy he had in the garden. This action became one of digging holes, as if those chews or toys were destined to be buried.

It was a form of behaviour that Franklin readily adopted. However, neither puppy seemed to get the idea that holes dug were to be refilled in any manner – whether by chews, food, toys or the earth dug out to create the hole in the first place.

Suddenly our lives had been added to. No longer was it all about feeding, toilet-training, feeding, cleaning up after accidents, and more feeding. No, we discovered the delights of following the pups about the garden refilling holes they had dug then abandoned. Neither of us was sure how to stop the digging in what was a previously level garden.

A feeling crept into our minds that keeping pet moles would have made more sense.

It was something that we had half anticipated in any case, so it wasn’t something we viewed dimly. The act of refilling the holes was considered to be one of those things that comes with the joy of owning puppies.

However, it became a problem when one particular spot in the garden came in for an elevated level of hole-digging attention from the Brothers Beagle. They seemed to become possessed with an urge to dig as if their very lives depended upon reaching Australia, or discovering oil.

Naturally, scowling at the brothers had no effect. Severely wagged fingers were licked. Gruff voices issuing stern warnings were met by brief pauses before continued digging. Treat-training one brother seemed to be an invitation to the other to reopen excavations at what had become known as, The Hole.

As puppies, they were subject to easy distraction – we labelled it, Shiny Object Syndrome. Therefore, it was reasoned, the mere act of refilling the hole and placing something on top of the fresh surface would suffice to discourage attention being paid to the spot and provide a reason to move on elsewhere. However, there was the question of what to use. We didn’t want to place a sheet of wood or similar over the affected ground. We wanted a non-chewable and immoveable object.

Given the size of the Brothers Beagle, a house brick was deemed suitable for the purpose. It didn’t cover the area affected but would constitute a strange object that would get in the way of future digs. The house brick was to become that Shiny Object and it was intended and anticipated that it would divert beagle puppy paws away from the area.

We considered this to be a clever solution that didn’t have either of us incurring deeply wrinkled foreheads, straining our voices, or risking spraining our wagging fingers. In fact, we prided ourselves on our ingenuity in the face of such doggedness on the part of the Brothers Beagle.

Indeed, the first time they encountered the house brick it seemed that victory was assured. There was a combination of whining, crouching and yelping which was followed by apparent disregard of the location known as, The Hole. We were going to sleep easy in our beds that night knowing that our combined intellect had defeated two 11-week-old puppies. Oh yes, we were very pleased to have won.

The next morning we found out how they had responded to our ‘solution’ once we had stopped observing them. It was early and the Brothers Beagle had been let out into the garden while their first feed of the day was being prepared. It was then, through the kitchen window, the absence of the house brick was noted.

It was more important to get the morning feed over with before further investigation, but when the spot was properly examined, we were unable to believe our eyes: the house brick had been partially buried.

We considered the cost of a house brick to be a small price to pay for teaching them to bury things as opposed to just digging holes needlessly. As it happened, it seemed to exorcise the urge within them to dig relentlessly.

Neither of us ever considered a house brick to be a training aid. It just goes to show that owning puppies can be full of surprises.

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Winds of Change
Monday 21 February, 2022

There have been some nasty storms about this last week, and stories of roofs being damaged, fences blown down, falling trees and deaths.

Newspapers have seemingly been falling over themselves to carry the fastest wind speed on their front pages. It started out with reported wind speeds before gravitating towards projections ahead of quoting theoretical figures which didn’t even apply to the British Isles. This meant one newspaper screaming about 120mph winds on a front page spread that looked as if it were reporting an actual wind speed experienced in the south of UK.

There is nothing as good as a bit of scaremongering to keep sales buoyant.

I’m not claiming that there have been no storms. No, I’m more indignant over the manner in which the media have hysterically claimed that the country was doomed to be blown apart by high winds and death dealing weather.

My part of the country was issued a Red Warning which indicated that winds would be strong enough to cause damage and possible loss of life. The following day I needed to make a forty mile drive to a nearby county which was subject to the same Red Warning, in order to attend an event.

On the day of the forecast storms in my area, a chair fell over in my garden. That was it. There was the occasional strong gust of wind, but at no point did I feel the need to hold onto my hat when I ventured out.

During my journey the following day into the bowels of destruction which had been predicted and reported in the nearby county, I witnessed the odd traffic cone being out of place during the whole of the trip. No sign of the mayhem ‘promised’ by the headlines and features proclaiming death and devastation. Not a single wrecked car on its roof.

It would be stupid to try and claim that the whole thing was nothing. There will be plenty of people who have suffered from the storms and gales. However, there will be far more who spent the day fearing that they would be picking up debris that was formerly their prized belongings. They won’t have enjoyed the loss of sleep caused by the drive of the media and others to scare some loyalty into their audience.

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Safety First
Thursday 24 February, 2022

It astounds me that there are still people who use their hand-held mobile phones in cars despite the current sanctions available.

The law seems pretty clear, or at least to me and anyone who can read. It seems to only be those who reckon they will get away with flouting the rules who end up getting caught.

Or is it?

It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. You must have hands-free access, such as:
- a Bluetooth headset
- voice command
- a dashboard holder or mat
- a windscreen mount
- a built-in sat nav
- The device must not block your view of the road and traffic ahead.

Yes, very clear.

The next bit seems to be not-so-obvious to many:
You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted.

Basically, even if you follow the law as most people understand it, you can still be prosecuted if the argument you had over a hands-free phone with your ex-spouse has upset you and you are deemed to have been distracted by it. And who could argue?

The next bit seems to cause confusion:
The law still applies to you if you’re:
- stopped at traffic lights
- queuing in traffic
- supervising a learner driver

The first two points seem to be okay in that if you are behind the wheel and in charge of vehicle, then how can it not apply? But supervising a learner? Well, thinking about it, you can’t really be supervising anyone or anything if you are deep in conversation, holding a mobile phone to your ear.

And here is the real aspect which seems to befuddle some of the lesser-brained who clog up our streets:
When you can use a hand-held phone
You can use a hand-held phone if:
- you’re safely parked

Stopped in the middle of traffic with hazard warning lights flashing is not an example of being safely parked. Not even if in a large 4x4 with airbags. No, Mr burgundy 4x4 driver, you are merely breaking the law while also being a dangerous obstruction to the traffic which is trying to use the roads that you seem to think you own...

Just saying.

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Sand and Heads
Monday 28 February, 2022

There is a conflict taking place that threatens to go global. Actually, at the time of writing this blog entry, it has already.

While the physical aspect is geographically localised, the measures being taken against the country seen as the aggressor are certainly global in nature.

This isn’t a blog about what is going on. There are already thousands of them out there. Why would I want to become one in the crowd?

Instead, I want to admire the daffodils popping up in the bright sunshine. But I can’t.

The blue sky is a sight to behold. But I can’t.

Signs of spring are all about to be enjoyed. But I can’t.

The sound of increased birdsong is a joy to hear. But I can’t.

My head is too far down in the sand to hear or see anything...

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Disappointment
Friday 4 March, 2022

A while back I was driving and heard a faint noise that shouldn’t have been there. It was at road rather than engine speed and I suspected that a wheel bearing might be about to fail.

Over the next few weeks it became louder so that anyone in the car could hear it. The digs that it was merely my ears playing tricks turned out to be erroneous. However, being proved right about the reality of a noise didn’t make me happy.

The amazingly comprehensive warranty sold with the car also had an amazingly long exclusions list, and wheel bearings were at the top. That wouldn’t have been too bad were it not for the fact that the make and model of car I own is very expensive when it comes to replacing wheel bearings...

However, something about the noise seemed wrong. Past experience told me that a worn wheel bearing not only sounds louder as the grating rumbles through the car body and into the cabin, but it changes tone as corners are taken. This sound was definitely that of a failing wheel bearing except it didn’t alter no matter how hard I turned in either direction.

I jacked the car up and examined each wheel in turn. The front offside felt rough when turned by hand. I couldn’t turn it fast enough to replicate the sound experienced inside the car while driving (it only started becoming noticeable over 20mph), but the usual checks suggested that the wheel bearings were fine on all four wheels with no discernable play.

Eventually the position of the rear seats didn’t have any effect upon the drumming through the interior of the car so I decided to speak with a mechanic friend to see how much fixing it might hurt my bank balance. As I reported that the wheel bearings seemed okay upon examination, his opinion was the CV joint bearings on my front wheel drive car were failing.

As it turned out, that bearing was covered by the warranty. So, despite the repair promising to be a fair bit more expensive, it wasn’t going to cost me anything.

I had risen from despair and was now on a cloud just short of double figures.

A week later I booked the car into a garage which was part of the approved repairers list supplied by the warranty provider. They agreed, going by what I reported by way of observation, that it was likely a CV joint. Unfortunately, upon their inspection they told me it was a wheel bearing.

I fell from the cloud quite heavily. In addition they told me that the front tyres had been trashed. That had the ground open up beneath me as my fall continued into the pits of Hell.

When shown the tyre wear on the inside tread of each, the play in the bearing was very easy to feel, having gone from noisy to loose in a week. Their initial suspicion was that it had been the cause of wrecking the tyres.

While it is possible for a worn or failing wheel bearing to cause premature tyre wear, further inspection revealed the tracking to be quite some way off. As I am the only driver, aside from when I supervise my daughter, I can be certain it hasn’t been kerbed or similar.

I had arrived at the garage with a budget of £0 in mind and left after having paid a £355 bill.

The car drove really well as I left the garage. In fact, I was bowled over by how well-planted the front end was on bends and bumpy straights and it was within only a couple of miles that I realised the car had probably never been sorted from the day I bought it in 2021.

Given that I ended up having to fix the poor radio reception myself after they failed after having the car in for a day, and they were unable to track down a squeak in the front suspension even though it was loud enough to wake a zombie, I strongly suspect that they weren’t as thorough or competent as claimed when it came to car preparation before sale.

I took two things away from the experience.
Warranties suck. I wish I hadn’t bothered as I would have been better off had I attended to the wheel bearing right from the start.
and
Don’t believe anything a dealer tells you regarding the servicing or preparation of a vehicle you intend to buy.

Still, it could have been worse - the wheel could have fallen off...

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Dog Treats
Wednesday 9 March, 2022

Walking past a major vehicle dealer and servicing agent, I saw a pair of police vehicles parked in the compound. They stood out from the thirty or so vehicles waiting servicing and/or repair.

I suppose it is possible that the police don’t have their own servicing and maintenance facilities and thereby farm out their requirements.

However, one of the vehicles caught my eye. It was a van with Dog Handling Unit down the side.

Having had a car serviced there in the past, I already know that they have a comfortable waiting area in which free WiFi is provided along with copious quantities of tea and coffee. Despite availing myself of their facilities a while back, I never noticed an area where doggie treats were available.

But then, my nose isn’t as well tuned as our four-legged friends...

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Haste
Thursday 10 March, 2022

We have all experienced The Moron - the driver who seems to be trying to fit their car into the boot of our own. It is usually caused by one of two things. Either they have left x minus 1 minute to complete a journey of x minutes, or they have brains the size of walnuts.

There I was, driving along roads which were punctuated by a seemingly never ending series of roundabouts. I was driving at 40-50mph when the limit for cars was 60mph. However, I wasn’t dawdling. No, I was merely matching whatever lorry, van or car was in front of me.

Enter The Moron. Naturally, in their opinion, driving at 50mph along a single carriageway behind an articulated lorry, which was limited to 50mph by law at that point, was too slow. So they flashed their lights and tailgated me for at least a mile through two roundabouts.

Eventually, whatever disappointment they were eager to reach had them perform an overtake manoeuvre which had me brake hard before they then rushed past the lorry and into the face of oncoming traffic.

Whatever. Their problem. Why bother? I’m proud my head is devoid of grey hairs.

Imagine my joy when the lorry turned off and I found myself approaching the next roundabout with The Moron stationary, having had to wait for others. I looked carefully, spied a gap, and nipped past them and through the roundabout.

Yes, you guessed it. Despite now doing 60mph with no other vehicle ahead of me, The Moron quickly caught up and started the whole headlight flashing and tailgating thing all over again. It was entertaining seeing them in my rear view mirror pulling out then in again as vehicles approached from my front.

Naturally they eventually passed me when a tiny gap appeared so as to allow them to hardly cut me up as they nearly caused the oncoming car driver to suffer a coronary.

Guess what? Yep. Next roundabout. The Moron stationary. I watched carefully and nipped past.

And repeat...

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Manners
Sunday 20 March, 2022

My parents taught me to say please and thank you. I hold doors open for others. Barging through openings and gaps ahead of others isn’t for me.

However, it seems that they taught me badly in terms of supermarket shopping.

There I am, approaching an obstacle and an elderly shopper is coming the other way. My choice is to tackle them head on and try and make the gap at the same time as them. Or I can stop and stand aside to let them through.

As I will be old and frail one day, I opt for the latter in the increasingly vain hope that the same will happen in my favour when it is me hanging on to a shopping trolley so as to avoid collapsing in a heap.

My intention is to carry on once the aged trolley wielding shopper has passed. As I move, anyone behind will push ahead and cut me off.

It would be annoying if it were it a one-off, but it becomes disturbing in light of being it being a normal occurrence. It is something I know will happen every time I stand back to let a disabled or older shopper past me through a gap. So pronounced and predictable is it, I have taken to stopping a step further back and hogging the way as the object of my seemingly wasteful politeness passes me.

If one person shoved past me I would label them ignorant. When it is all shoppers, I wonder what term is best suited. In addition, it causes me to worry for the future of society when it is considered the norm to push past to be first at the expense of manners or civility.

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Cables
Saturday 26 March, 2022

I tend to be careful with cabling. I don’t like to see it. I don’t like to be untangling it. I don’t like to abuse it.

A mains extension cable needs to be fully unwound. Leaving any of it still coiled up allows for a magnetic field to be created in which there could be a heat build up. Rare, but possible.

That gives rise to the spectre that is known as a tangled mess when a ten metre extension cable is used to bridge a two metre distance. The opportunities to introduce kinks and damage to the lead are many.

So, what to do?

Obviously one should coil the excess up so as to protect it from becoming tangled.

Uh-oh, nope, that is exactly the wrong thing to do – another coil that could become hot.

Unfortunately, the only way is to snake the lead across the floor in a manner which doesn't introduce kinks while not catching unwary feet and avoiding the creation of coiled loops.

Or use a two metre extension in the first place.

Mains extensions I have mastered. However, I have been defeated by USB leads.

I tend to dab a spot of epoxy resin around the headers of USB cables where the cable enters. In the past I have had to discard those which have broken and frayed about the connector as it is the part that flexes the most.

For the most part it works well.

For the most part.

Despite my best efforts, I have just suffered two cable failures. Both were for the same reason. My pre-repair strategy worked fine. Unfortunately it outlasted the outer sleeves which became brittle and cracked everywhere the cable tried to bend.

They both looked as if they had been dipped in a liquid nitrogen bath then taken out and used to flog a horse, dead or otherwise.

The result is a USB cable that is in great condition at each end, but the braided shielding is coming to the fore.

Otherwise they are both performing well.

One might think they were designed to fail eventually, no matter what steps are taken from the start to prolong their lives. However, that would be the thoughts of a cynic, and economically we would all be doomed if we all shopped as cynics.

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Oops!
Tuesday 29 March, 2022

I like to think I can fathom out simple IT technical stuff. I know my way around operating systems and volumes. Many a year has been spent faffing about with hardware and the code that run on it.

All very clever stuff and I feel smug knowing that I can understand it all. Well, most of it. Okay, some of it. Bits of it...

On Sunday I was doing battle with a microSD card that kept being reported as corrupt in a mobile phone but which was passed as fit and healthy by various computers. In the process of dealing with it I got down and dirty with command line utilities...

...and managed to format and destroy all my data on my laptop.

Not so clever now, eh?

The first ten minutes were a bit of blur as I took in the enormity of my blunder. The following day and a half was more leisurely as I restored all my data.

Thank goodness for backups!

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Solidarity
Sunday 3 April, 2022

A blog – indeed, all blogs – ought to show solidarity and get behind the most pressing morality issues in the world. They should empathise, support and extol the virtues of what cause is currently at the top of the news at any particular moment.

World events should not and cannot be ignored.

It is the responsibility of those who write and compose blogs for them to demonstrate a willingness to carry their part of the load. Painful and heavy questions of the day should be addressed.

Right, I’m ready! The only thing to do now is identify what is right and what is wrong...

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Simple Things
Tuesday 12 April, 2022

It seems that even the simple things of life are beyond some people. Take the rules of the road, for instance.

In the UK there are many. Admittedly, not all of them are simple to understand. However, some of them are pretty easy. Drive on the left. Give way to the right, generally. Obey the traffic signage and road markings.

How simple does it need to be?

Then there are the lines...

Double yellow means no parking, right? Yet vehicles are regularly seen parked or stopped on them. Why? Ignorant drivers? Possibly, but not probably.

They do mean no stopping, waiting or parking, but there are exceptions. Loading is one. Except if there are signs or markings on the kerb indicating otherwise. An exception to an exception. Blue Badge owners can park on them, subject to a myriad of restrictions which may be connected to other exceptions for other road users. Or not. It depends.

Then there are single yellow lines. These can mean the same as their double line cousins, but they rely more on instruction signage. Their existence can be for many things. The time periods during which they are in force may vary.

Basically, if you see a single yellow line by the roadside, look for instructions to tell you what they mean and do – and check the time.

If I were to exhaustively detail all the rules and instances of exceptions which apply to yellow line road markings, then this would end up becoming the longest web page in internet history.

Conversely we see that double red lines are here to rescue us and reacquaint us with the simplicity of the rules of the road. When you see a pair of red lines down the side of the carriageway they mean no stopping, no parking, no nothing. If you break down on them you will be fined and be required to appeal it. Feel free to engage an expensive lawyer to fight for justice and be prepared to end up with a hefty legal bill in the process. Or do it yourself.

Except if picking up or dropping off a Blue Badge holder, and then you are required to do just that and move off quickly.

Transport for London will provide exemption letters – for a large fee – which allow for parking on them for the purposes of moving properties when removals vehicles are required to access a property along a red line afflicted roadway. Other authorities in the country can be approached and reasoned with, if you are careful.

So, red lines are simpler. They are best treated as being an instruction to never stop for any reason.

Unless you are a taxi or private hire vehicle, displaying an exemption sticker issued at the time of inspection to gain a taxi or private hire plate.

Would anyone like me to detail the many different white lines that exist to help us on our simple way over UK roads? Anyone got a spare lifetime?

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Wonderful!
Thursday 14 April, 2022

Isn’t technology wonderful? For a number of years I have had a choral-like piece floating about inside my head. It is a haunting female vocal reminiscent of some of the works of Enya. However, despite it being quite clear as it flits between the brain cells between my ears, it hasn’t been identified.

Recently I watched an old edition of BBC’s Top Gear. During a short segment they played the elusive collection of notes that have dogged me for some time. It was a mere thirteen seconds, but I played it to an app on my smartphone that promised to be able to identify any music played to it.

As the segment ended and the screen of my phone displayed a swirling image that was meant to convey the message that the app was hard at work, I settled for knowing that I hadn’t imagined the work, but that I would remain oblivious to its title.

After the eddying of super small pixels had stopped, the screen displayed the words, Vision (O Euchari In Leta Via).

I entered the name into a search engine and was rewarded with a YouTube video that confirmed the result.

Thirteen seconds. It reminded me of a modern hi-tech version of Name That Tune...

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Drawers
Tuesday 19 April, 2022

An interesting word with multiple meanings.

When used to describe someone who writes a cheque or a money order, it is pronounced the way it looks. As an item of underwear or the magic storage compartment in the kitchen, it is pronounced draws.

Naturally the pronunciation leads to the common misspelling of the word in the same way that Wednesday (Wensday) and February (Febury) are casualties of how they are commonly spoken.

Magical storage compartment?

Yes, the word is used to term the storage tray that slides in and out of kitchen units and furniture. Usually items of cutlery or clothing can be stored within. However, at random times, things placed within can disappear without trace.

The converse is sometimes true. When one rummages through a drawer, items thought lost forever reappear, as well as strange unidentifiable objects turning up that have clearly not been placed there by anyone in the household.

By anyone’s definition, this denotes some for magic. Is anyone seriously going to suggest that the world is populated by home intruders or imps? Could it be that mysterious items found in drawers are merely mistakes due to interlopers forgetting what goes where as they make their way through countless drawers across the world?

Actually, now I think about it, there is reasonableness surrounding the idea.

Saint Anthony might be who you call on when things go missing, but no one can tell me who to turn to when you are left scratching your head over random things appearing. The nearest I can determine is Saint Denis who is said to the patron saint of headaches, as well as France.

Make of that what you will...

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Fluffy Bunnies
Friday 22 April, 2022

Do people realise how hard it is to come up with a blog that avoids all or any mention of world events? Wars, economic hardship, sex crimes on huge scales, political scandals involving lies, war, economics and sex. What’s left to write about?

Escapism seems to be the only way to deal with the whole thing. Think of it as a way to bury one’s head in the sand without getting any grains of it in your ears.

Reading a good book isn’t brilliant. Any decent literary work will cover one of the above in some form or other, and usually a fair bit better than the players out there presently indulging in some or all of the above...

Watching television or listening to the radio can work. There are plenty of mind numbing programmes available. The problem is that they are potentially bookended by news of whatever is occupying the minds of journalists at any given time. I suppose one could skip the serious bits in the same way as many avoid the advertisements.

Browsing the likes of YouTube is usually rewarding. The caveat is that one has to be quite clear and determined in order to find videos that stick to mundane issues. Even then suggestions threaten to derail attempts to avoid the newsworthy topics. When I typed in fluffy bunnies and selected the first video, a list of suggestions down the right of my screen appeared as a video montage of delightfully fluffy leporids was displayed for my delight.

The suggestions were mainly for more videos of rabbits, but one appeared to be a student protesting over something (possibly political, although because it wasn’t in English so he may have been complaining about the cost of coffee in his college cafe). Another promised rabbits fighting to the death. A little further a video existed to tell me that I was killing my cat by using harmful cat litter.

At that point I decided to scroll down to see whether things improved. They didn’t seem to do so. Spectacular crashes at the Nürburgring were followed by tips on how to survive a sudden tornado ahead of a treatise on whether Macron's Covid fascism will cost him the French presidential election race.

I found it all rather fascinating how a search for nothing more than fluffy bunnies had world events, violence and gore thrust at me.

Now, where did I leave that isolation tank?

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Lights! Camera! Action! Lights Again!
Monday 2 May, 2022

To get out onto a main trunk road and headed in vaguely the right direction, I took a route eastwards. The stretch of road between the edge of town and the junction of the highway that promised to allow me to drive onwards to my ultimate destination was a mere 1.6 miles.

On the first bend I encountered roadworks and traffic lights. Red. I waited. When Green came, I slipped the car into gear and made my way through the traffic light controlled zone. By the time I was out the other side, I was in third gear and intending to go higher.

No sooner was I in top gear when a road sign warned me of another set of roadworks and more traffic lights. I eased off and changed back down as I came to rest at another red light. Once green, I again set off...

...only to change down once more as another road sign told me of yet another set of traffic lights ahead.

By now I wasn’t happy. My hometown is beset by moronic road traffic management when road works are concerned. To have three sets of temporary traffic lights between leaving town and getting onto the main road towards the next major town wasn’t funny.

By the time I reached the crossroads I had negotiated six sets of temporary traffic lights over that 1.6 mile distance.

The annoying bit is that the reason I chose that route was because the alternatives had been shut for roadworks. I guess the same idiot who sanctioned the temporary traffic lights gave those contractors permission for the road closures...

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G'me Skin, Bro!
Monday 9 May, 2022

With the dry sunny days comes the increase in motorcycle activity. I was once an avid motorcyclist and if circumstances were better or different, there would be no reason I would not be out there zipping about the place on two wheels.

However, with the weather improvement there came sightings of motorcyclists wearing t-shirts, light jeans and trainers. Only yesterday I spotted a chap sporting a natty pair of baggy shorts while he trundled down a main road in my town on his 150mph plus sports motorcycle.

This isn’t going to be one of those preachy blogs on the subject of wearing suitable protective riding gear. No, it is to be a tale of a step-thru scooter rider who laughed at the youngsters who worked under him when they berated his lack of gloves when he commuted into the workplace many moons back.

One day at lunchtime he popped out on an errand aboard his mighty 40mph steed. He wasn’t back by the end of the lunch break. Nor did he turn up during the afternoon. The official word was that all was well and he had to take the rest of the day off.

That rest of the day off became a two week break. He had been rolling along in first gear behind a line of cars in the town centre and upon stopping abruptly, he had toppled over and put his hands out in front of him to break his fall. The palms took the brunt of his weight and the scooter caused them to slide as his torso hit the ground.

The result was that he took the skin off both his hands and was unable to return to work.

The spill was not even at walking pace.

He wore a meaty pair of motorcycle gauntlets after that experience.

Just saying...

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Blame the Monkeys
Saturday 14 May, 2022

I have regular need to drive to and from the big town nearby.

A major road into that big town is undergoing closure during the nights. Unfortunately, those responsible for overseeing the closure didn’t have the intellect to have those erecting the diversion signs point out the overnight aspect.

The result was that for the first week, my local bypass was at a crawl and those who didn’t want to join the snake opted to attempt to drive through the centre to reach the big town. That brought our centre to a standstill. And all because drivers were following a diversion for a road closed that wasn’t...

Nice.

Additionally, another major route to the large roundabout fed by the overnight closed road has been subjected to a six month closure. This means that the A5 dual carriageway entering it has queues reaching back to the last major junction some mile and a bit away from the roundabout served by partially functioning roads.

Seeing the tailback of traffic as I drove into the big town, I opted to drive a different way home. Upon trying to do so I encountered another road closure which meant I couldn’t turn into a little town within the big town. Instead I was to be diverted through an area which I knew to be choked by traffic at that time, even when unaffected by random road closures elsewhere.

Local knowledge had me decide to turn back and head through a housing estate and out the other side to pick up a road over the closed road at a roundabout.

Guess what? Yes, that option was denied me because some clown had allowed a contractor to close the second section of road fed by my second choice. I ended up heading in the opposite direction to get to where I wanted to be, all because no one had made an effort to try and coordinate the road closures.

I realise that lines have to be painted and surfaces need to be renewed. To not appreciate that fact I would have to be an idiot. However, for an authority to allow the partial closure of a road and misleading diversion signs at the same time as a six month total closure, as well as a day-long road closure that stretched across routes suddenly important because of the other road closures, smacks of incompetence at best.

I have a theory.

Once upon a time, road and route planners were specialists who were paid to know their stuff. Then came along the idea of budget cuts and some bright spark (who I sincerely hope has retired) decided to employ a monkey to sign off road closure requests. They could pay the monkey in peanuts and a saving could be made at a stroke.

Good to see that we are all pulling together to help reduce emissions and save our planet. The extra miles and faffing about as I repeatedly turned about or remained stuck in a traffic jam because no one considered staging road closures across a controlled period, won’t have contributed to pollution in any way whatsoever. No sir.

If the planet dies – blame the monkeys.

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Customer Service
Friday 20 May, 2022

I think everyone has an opinion on customer service these days. It may range from laughter and rolling about on the floor, to ranting and covering walls and nearby people with spittle as spleens are vented.

Due to the level of calls, we are unable to answer your call right now. That is code for: We don’t employ enough people to bother.

Your call is important to us, is another favourite of many. Cue cries of, If it was bloody important, you’d bloody answer the bloody phone instead of playing bloody music and issuing insincere, stupid, pretentious crap!

Or just ignoring the customer – that appears to be another customer support tactic practised by some.

Ah, to be ignored...

A few weeks back I was incensed by a web camera manufacturer deciding to make the one I had bought from them redundant by withdrawing the appropriate software. I dashed off an email to the effect that I was now stranded. Their immediate reply was to send me a list from which to buy one of their updated cameras.

I replied to their stupidity with a complaint and a promise to never buy from them in future and made it very clear I was not happy and goodbye!

Over the next few weeks I received enquiries and offers to rectify the situation. At first I responded with a simple outline of my position. It was: enable the camera I bought, or leave me alone.

The same emails were repeated, so I ignored them. For weeks I ignored them. Almost.

Yes, I read them, but I didn’t respond to them...

...until they began arriving two or three times a day. It was at that point that I explained that I was no longer a customer of theirs, I considered their emails to be spam, they were to remove all my details from their databases, and that I fully intended to follow up their unsolicited emails via any and all data protection agencies I could interest.

I also threatened to name them in this blog (a link was supplied) if they didn’t stop.

They stopped, so I’m not naming them, but I didn’t say anything about online review websites...

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Top That!
Sunday 22 May, 2022

Driving along, minding my own business, I spied one of those car transport HGVs heading towards me on the other side of the road. What caught my eye was the fact that it was empty except for three vehicles along the top level.

I shuddered.

A few years back I followed such a car transporter. I had already copped the fact that the top deck was laden with vehicles while the bottom was empty. I was aware that he had just delivered vehicles nearby as I had been cut up by him as he left the dealership. I hung back as he really didn’t seem that steady.

Judging from the direction he was headed, I think he may have been aiming to deliver the remaining vehicles to a nearby branch of the same dealership. However, I never got to learn whether I was correct because as we slowly negotiated one of the very large roundabouts in the town where I used to live, the whole rig tottered alarmingly.

Then it happened. It was as if in slow motion and it was fortunate that no one was in the lane to his left. The whole trailer leaned over beyond any point of return and the brand new vehicles that were formerly atop the lorry were dashed against the tarmac and crash barriers as gravity, inertia and centripetal force came together to remind the driver how foolish it had been to drive such a top heavy and poorly loaded lorry.

I stopped behind the mess and turned on my hazard warning lights, although the scene was such that it would have been impossible for anyone to miss the mayhem. Before I even managed to open my car door the HGV driver was clambering out of his upturned cab. He didn’t seem hurt and no one had been crushed under the load he had been carrying, so I restarted my car and edged past the results of the driver’s crass stupidity. I figured that there was no reason for me to stick around and be delayed by his lack of intelligence.

You’d think drivers of such vehicles would be aware of the risk, but it seems not...

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Handy
Thursday 26 May, 2022

A few days back my daughter and I heard a ‘thwump’ from the car as if we had run over something.

It was daylight and visibility was good. As the driver, I was pretty sure that the noise wasn’t anything to do with our car, but I duly pulled over and walked around the car and looked it over.

As suspected, nothing was apparent and we set off back home.

Fast forward five days and I decide to address the duff nearside driving lamp. To access it I need to turn the car on full lock, remove an inspection panel in the wheel arch, then somehow magic my hands to be 50% smaller so I can wiggle the light fitting out to be checked.

Imagine my surprise to see there was no need to remove the cover because the whole wheel arch lining had vanished.

The driving light bulb hasn’t blown and fiddling with the fitting hasn’t brought it back to life (it is an Italian car – vehicle electrics have never been an Italian automotive engineering skill). However, there has been no need to have my hands surgically altered.

A replacement liner isn’t too expensive. Then I add the two inspection doors. Suddenly it isn’t a cheap fix. Then I need to replace the fittings that hold the liner in place...

In my childhood, it was British Leyland (then Austin Rover) vehicles that had pieces fall off. It seems the Italians are the new BL.

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Mugs
Sunday 26 June, 2022

We are all experiencing price rises. Suppliers tell us wholesale prices have gone up for whatever commodity one cares to mention.

Okay.

So, why do the prices go up immediately when said commodities don’t get through to the end customer for three to six months? Then, after those months, the prices rise again with the retailer citing those same commodity prices rises that gave the original increase?

One would almost think that everyone was paying the increase twice over and retailers and suppliers were fleecing customers. It is almost as if they think we are all mugs.

Naturally, the above is incorrect and the billions of Pounds of extra profit is just a coincidence...

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Annoying
Monday 4 July, 2022

I had an interesting discussion with a publishing company recently. Upon entering a competition promoted by them, one has to submit an email address. They very clearly state (after you make the correct selections regarding data permissions) that they will ONLY use the supplied email address to administer the competition.

While that is good, with my having spent a good few years in IT and having become rather cynical, I generated an email address specifically for each entry. The addresses contained the name of the publishing house and the date of use.

Imagine my surprise and annoyance to receive offers for magazine subscriptions etc. on the supplied address from the magazine running the competition.

Okay, they were never quite that blatant. What they were actually emails telling me I had entered the competition while wishing me luck. Underneath the opening paragraph there would be magazine subscription invitations and special offers and further below would be these words:

You are receiving this communication as it contains information regarding your recent competition entry.

Clever, but not overly subtle, especially so when said emails arrived repeatedly long after the deadline for entries had passed or the prizes had been allocated.

They claim it is nothing like the spam that arrives as genuine newsletters from blue chip companies addressed as:

Dear See our girls here [web address pasted in]

As a way to circumvent spam filters it has to be admired. The spammer registers email addresses with them but replaces personal names with their message and own web address.

I won't name the UK publishing house as the ICO are looking into it. Were it just me then they wouldn't be interested and would be as useful as a chocolate teaspoon. However, it seems that this might be something the publishing moneys have inflicted upon many tens of thousands. So I am hopeful of a fiscally well-smacked wrist...

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Hard Limits
Friday 15 July, 2022

I see that Wales is to introduce 20mph as the lowest default speed restriction in place of 30mph. This in turn has caused lobbyists to crawl out of the woodwork and call for all new vehicles to be fitted with speed limiters.

Without doubt the technology exists and the idea appears sound. After all, if the speed limit on any particular stretch of road is Xmph, why should anyone allowed to exceed it?

There is a cynical reason not to introduce such devices and there is one based upon seriously reasoned argument. However, the former will be the cause of why the proposal to fit speed limiters to all vehicles will fail.

If modern vehicles were to be incapable of exceeding any given speed limit in force, then imagine the fiscal harm to authorities when the cash cow of speeding fines suddenly vanishes. It won’t happen, for the same reason smoking isn’t made illegal: money.

The reasoned argument goes like this:
Imagine you are driving along a motorway. In the leftmost lane is a line of HGV lorries all running line astern at the regulation half car length from each other’s rear. They are doing 60mph, give or take the 0.1mph that prompts lorries to overtake one another over huge distances.

Imagine that a coach is in the middle lane and is passing that line of lorries.

Imagine you are approaching the coach because you are both doing 70mph but the coach’s 70mph and your 70mph differ by that crucial 0.1mph. With the coach having cut you off as you neared it, you move out into the third lane and proceed to edge past with that 0.1mph speed advantage.

Given the average coach length on UK roads of 39’4” that means there would be approximately 75 seconds during which your head is alongside the coach. That means no sight of the vehicles in the innermost lane. For the first part of your 75 second crawl past the coach, your only view frontwards would be of whatever is in your lane directly ahead without any indication of what is taking place in front of the coach. You are either blind or only partially sighted for the duration of your manoeuvre.

Those 75 seconds indicate the time you are alongside the coach. Assuming you pull back in a coach length ahead it, you will be in that outermost lane for 150 seconds. The total time will be probably be longer but it will depend on how abruptly you were forced into it by the coach cutting you off...

Or you can opt to put your foot down to minimise the time spend blind.

If you accelerate up to 80mph you will be unsighted for less than a second. Your time in the third lane is reduced to less than two seconds.

Of course, a sensible manufacturer will fit a warning buzzer. Your ears end up being assaulted by it for a couple of seconds. However, if said manufacturer has fitted a speed limiter as per whatever draconian law has been passed, then you put your foot down, stay at 69.9mph and pray that the coach driver doesn’t need to swerve as a result of being brake-tested by a pillock you cannot see, or none of the lorry drivers have decided to join the coach in the middle lane before it has finished overtaking during your painfully drawn-out move.

Being shoved into the central reservation at 69.9mph is so much safer than all that nasty speeding to be safe, isn’t it?

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Parking on Footpaths – A Skill?
Saturday 1 October, 2022

Discussion on the rights and wrongs of parking motor vehicles on pedestrian footpaths is one that will continue until our sun explodes.

Some will say that drivers have their place on the highways and that the rest who are on foot are wise to stay out of their way. Indeed, try walking along a motorway and see how long it is before a nice man in a police car, or similar, stops and offers you a lift to a police station. Therefore vehicles have priority on roads and legislation exists to reinforce that priority. The other side’s counter is that pedestrians should at least be able to enjoy priority on footpaths and legislation should exist. Well, actually, it does. Get caught driving on a footpath and it is a £50 fine and no points...

Others maintain that the need to park as closely and conveniently to their destination trumps anything argued by those who cannot afford to buy a superb example of whatever they are proud to own.

Regardless of the arguments, the fact remains that it happens. What is left is to try and understand what sort of driver does it. To do so might help justify the opinions and beliefs of those with who so vociferously make their points either way on the subject.

To that end, I wonder whether it is possible to classify those who park on footways into categories. Maybe it is and I suggest there two basic types.

The first falls into the already understood class of, Must Park as Close to Where I Want to be No Matter How Selfish I Appear to be. The second is very scary. At first glance they strongly appear to be of the first type. Unfortunately, the second class of driver is identified not only by their parking on pedestrian footpaths, but how they do so. The second classification consists of parking opposite post boxes, lampposts, thick encroaching foliage, telecoms boxes and the like, thereby reducing the available space even further so as to make it harder or impossible to pass.

While the first group of drivers is a pain to some, the second indicates a driver who not only selfish, but incredibly unaware of their surroundings. Therefore not only should they be deigned socially acceptable by pedestrians, but they are to be feared by other road users who share the highways with them – often at great speed.

Drivers might like to remember that the vehicle too close behind might be being driven by someone in Group Two and that they are at risk from a possible moron.

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Rights
Wednesday 23 November, 2022

I sometimes drive to a nearby town along a very busy road. Said road commonly sports huge lorries and many commuters all in a hurry to get to work or back home.

Alongside this very heavily used road there runs a cycleway. It is marked as such and runs from within my hometown to the nearby village of Wing.

The other day I was caught in traffic that was moving along the A418 at just a couple of miles per hour. Ahead I saw a big lorry carrying huge A-beams for what I suppose might be a delightful house being built for someone very rich. Cars were backed up behind it and I supposed the lorry driver was concerned that his load wasn’t very secure.

That made me think he shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place.

However, upon reaching the back of the lorry I could see that it was held up by a cyclist who had seemingly chosen to ignore the cycleway running alongside the busy A418 in order to assert their rights to ride on the road. The poor lorry driver had no choice but to follow the hapless and clueless cyclist because there was no way for him to overtake without scaring the idiot.

Who feels that carping on about rights is worth being in bed with a broken leg?

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Tags
Friday 25 November, 2022

It was Bin Day. The rubbish collection had been made and I went out to retrieve my bin. Attached to the handle was a tag, prominently featuring the name of my local authority.

It was just information regarding the suspension of Green Waste collections over part of December through early March, 2023. I read it, made a mental note, then tore it free and dropped it in the bin. The whole process took about 20 seconds.

Over the next couple of days, I found many dozens of the same tags littering the ground on my walk to the local sub post office. I supposed that batches had been accidentally dropped by the bin men as they did their round. Maybe they should have picked them up, but the weather hasn’t been too good these last few days and ‘simple’ act of retrieving paper tags from the ground wouldn’t have been as simple as one might think.

Then I walked past a near neighbour collecting their own bin from the roadside. They glanced at the tag, tore it off, then discarded it on the ground, while attending to their wheelie bin! It joined the others now forming that familiar damp leaf mulch to be found on footpaths at this time of the year.

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Definition
Saturday 17 December, 2022

Well, that was interesting. I listened to a ‘clever person’ on the radio going on about how the government intends to fund wellbeing rather than an NHS that merely picks up the pieces after society fails to maintain the health of citizens.

No more throwing money at the NHS. It is broken. It is no longer fit for purpose.

That ‘clever person’ went on and on about how they feel it is more worthwhile to spending money of better lighting in parks, better public security, better means of non-vehicular transport, and generally better support more active lifestyles. The alternative is to accept a top-heavy NHS that sucks wealth from the UK as it deals with an aging population afflicted by a growing reluctance to engage in anything more arduous than operating the controls of a car.

Fine words. Spoken by a ‘clever person’. A ‘clever person’ who seems happy to allow local authorities to grant building and planning consent to huge companies who build environmentally damaging developments, as long as they promise to build infrastructure as part of their massive industrial monoliths.

Except, there are never any footpaths or cycle lanes leading to those blots on the landscape.

Perhaps ‘clever person’ in this instance should read: run-of-the-mill-lying-politician?

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