D4D

And when there was one set of footprints, that's when I was on my pogostick.

Archive for the category “Driving”

Changing Terms

Last week, Milton Keynes suddenly changed their parking rates. Not by a lot, all things considered – it costs me about 20p a day more now – but it didn’t seem to have been very well publicised.

(Disclaimer : There may have been notices in local papers or whatever, but I don’t get those, so didn’t see anything. But there was nothing I saw on parking meters etc., so regardless of how much it was discussed/publicised beforehand, I hadn’t seen anything. And I’m sure I can’t be the only one)

One of the other changes, though, was that now you have to pay on Bank Holidays as well. That’s not been the case up ’til this week – it’s always been free – and it’s all just a bit sneaky.

Because it’s only happened for the second bank holiday weekend in May. So anyone who’s known it was free from the first weekend would be quite within their rights to assume it would be the same this weekend.

There’s more information about that change – they’ve put stickers on the parking meters etc. – but if someone had seen three weeks ago that they didn’t need to pay, would they even go near the parking meter this time?

I don’t know – but there’s definitely a lot of parking tickets been issued today on the bit outside my office building. Which indicates that my theory may be correct on this one…

Another Visit to Brighton

On Sunday, I did another day-trip down to Brighton. I’d known I wanted to go somewhere coastal, and it was really a toss-up between Brighton and Whitstable (although I could also have chosen Somewhere Else, but couldn’t decide where I wanted to go) as both were known quantities, and a dead easy two-hour drive to get to them. There’s only about five miles of driving distance between them, so it really was a toss-up.

It was also somewhat dependent on my insomnia – if I’d had the rare event of actually sleeping well/late, I wouldn’t have bothered, and would’ve done something else instead. But as I was awake by 5.30 – thanks body-clock, you bastard – then the day-trip was Go.

Anyway, for whatever reason – and I’m not completely sure myself what the deciding factor was, other than “Fuck it, that’ll do” – I ended up opting for Brighton. It’s still not somewhere I know super-well, although I’m familiar enough with it that I’ve a rough idea of where I’m going and what I’m doing.

So – a two-hour easy drive down, and I was there by 9am, when it’s still nice and empty. I ended up walking a large section of the seafront, hindered only by a number of joggers, runners and cyclists. (Although it’s always amusing when I’m walking and overtaking joggers – they really don’t like it)

Yes, the weather was that changeable...

Yes, the weather was that changeable…

The weather was pretty good – although changeable – and despite dollops of cloud and greying over, it was still warm and sunny for the most part. I’d walked a lot of seafront, and ended up finding somewhere slightly sheltered – it was also quite breezy – to vegetate and read for a while. Sadly, I’d chosen a place that seemed to be on a main walking route for people from the Marina end of Brighton, with a constant stream of people saying “Oh, is that a mile already?” (thanks to a sign on the esplanade) and commenting about the weird Gaudi-esque construction that was on the beach in front of me. So after a while I decided to wander back towards the car, and probably stop for lunch along the way.

Cue a bit of a furkle on the phone, and oooooh, look, there’s a MeatLiquor. That’ll do as a target!

And that’s what happened.

Now that's a lunch

Now that’s a lunch

Wandered round a bit more afterwards, and then another drive home – managing to avoid all the people getting up later, who’d decided to spend the remains of their day by the sea.

All told, a very successful day.

The next day-trip will be somewhere different, although I don’t yet know where/when. But they’re certainly being good for the soul…

Overtaking – On the decline

Over the last few weeks of driving, I’ve been noticing more and more that other drivers seem to be quite averse to overtaking, even with miles of clear and visible road ahead.  I don’t quite know why it is – maybe it’s about how generally risk-averse we’re becoming – but it’s bloody annoying.

I do overtake – so long as it’s safe, and the road is clear. (That should go without saying, but still) But I now seem to be in the minority.

Of course, the irony is that when you’re then on a multi-carriageway road, every single one of those motherfuckers is sitting in the outside two lanes, overtaking fuck-all. But I digress.

The thing is, if you’re behind five or six – hell, even two or three – vehicles who aren’t overtaking whatever’s holding everyone up/back, then my own overtaking manoeuvre becomes difficult, if not impossible. So you just end up sitting there, because no-one else is prepared to do anything.

It’s an odd state of affairs – and sometimes bloody annoying. But there’s not a lot that you can do, except accept that it’s just going to be one of those days…

Travel Time

The trip to Edinburgh this weekend is also pretty much the first time I’ve taken a long-distance train journey since I lived in Manchester. I was considering driving, but looked at a minimum of six hours each way, as well as the consideration of fuel costs etc., and thought “You know what? Eff that”.  (Which is pretty novel in itself)

So I checked out the train costs – the journey’s about 5 hours each way by train, and the ticket price is pretty much on a par (within £10 or so) of the expected fuel costs. Plus it’ll mean I get to read, write, or just look out of the window, rather than being stuck having to concentrate on driving the entire way.

All told, it’s really been quite a sensible decision.  I’m not sure how it happened – I normally see a sensible decision and run in the opposite direction.  I’ll write more about it once I’m back, and know how it all went.

Month of Madness

This month is actually quite busy for me outside of work.

Last weekend, I ended up doing a daytrip to Somerset.

This coming weekend I’m in Edinburgh – I may have mentioned that before

The weekend after, I’m in Manchester.

The weekend after, I’m in London.

And then it’s May.

I’m not quite sure how that’s all happened, but it’s going to be fun.

Whitstable Day-Trip

The day trip to Whitstable was thoroughly pleasant, and much needed.  Among other things, I’m coming to the conclusion that I really need to have more sea and seaside in my life – it’s something that’s been missing for way too long.

Having written last week about feeling down/flat, wondering what’s going on and so on, I found myself feeling far, far better as soon as I got out the car and heard the noise of waves on the beach. I don’t know why it works like that on me, but it does.

Anyway, as a result, I walked along a large length of the seafront. What the hell, I was there early, and most places weren’t even open, so it was pleasant – and I got to meet a huge Irish Wolfhound as well, for added bonus points.  Mainly though it was about just walking and appreciating the noise of the sea. (Such a bloody hippie)

The BeachThere’s also a load of beach huts along the front, all different – not just in paintscheme, but in style – and I ended up taking photos of a number of those, too.  Again, no-one else around, and it was a pleasant way to spend a morning.

Whitstable Beach HutsIt was just what I needed as a ‘day off’ activity, and I ended up walking 5km along the front, taking the odd picture, and just relaxing.  I stopped off at a few places as well, and also spent some time sat in wind-free areas – of which there were few – just reading amid the sounds of the waves.

More Huts at WhitstableThe weather wasn’t perfect – it was grey and blowy – but that didn’t bother me. I wasn’t going there to soak up sun, but instead to just have time out from lots of stuff. And I got that in swathes.

Groynes on the beachWhitstable’s definitely one of those places I’ll be going back to, and could easily consider as a place to live. It’s not ideal – some of the travelling would be more problematic than it is currently, for example – but at the same time it’s a place I like. It’s on the list when I finally do decide to move on, and let’s leave it at that…

Slowtime

Following on from yesterday’s notes about being a bit flat/tired, I’m taking this weekend as being a bit slower, a bit calmer – well, by my standards, anyway.

Saturday is going to be a cinema-day. There’s a couple of things I want to see, the timings gel nicely, and the weather forecast is mediocre, so sod it, that’s the plan. An afternoon of cinema.

Sunday though is likely to be a bit sillier. Because all I want to do is curl up and do nothing, I’m going to do another day-trip. I’m unsure of exactly where yet – the main options being Reading, Whitstable or Brighton – but all are within a two-hour drive.  I’m quite tempted by Whitstable, to go and sit by the sea and generally chill out a bit.  I used to work near there many moons ago, so a bit of a revisit too. I did go back there a while back – although a site search has revealed that ‘a while back’ actually means 10 and a half years – so it’ll be interesting to see what’s changed (and what’s stayed the same) in that time.

And that’s the plan for a quiet weekend…

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