D4D

There's never a stungun around when you need one

Archive for the category “Driving”

Parking Mad

At the moment, the BBC has a documentary series on about Traffic Wardens (Parking Agents, Collection Agents, whatever else you want to call them) called “Parking Mad” and it’s been pretty interesting.

What I find most interesting is the people who don’t pay their parking fines, then get all snotty and sweary about it when the costs for it go up and up.

No matter how paranoid you are, I think the great majority of parking wardens just give tickets to people who’ve overstayed their tickets, not bothered, or are parking like cunts in the first place. I’ve spoken to a fair few over the years (I’m a twat for talking to just about anyone) and haven’t ever really come across a bad one. I’m sure they exist, don’t get me wrong – I just don’t believe every one is a bastard, or hates every other driver.

So if you’ve got a ticket- and again I emphasise that this is In My Experience Only – the odds are that you’ve fucked up and done something wrong. The ticket is going to cost you £30 to pay in the next 28 days, or £60 after that (and with extra costs the more they have to do to recover it) – so just sodding pay it. It’s a fee for fucking up.

I think I’ve now had four parking tickets. Two in Cambridge (where I’d be the first to admit that I pushed my luck anyway, and/or forgot to renew the ticket at the end of its duration) and two in London when I was commuting, and had a brain-fart about paying the ticket. The London ones were a pain, because you couldn’t buy the ticket before 9am- not from the machine, not online. I *know* it was a plan to get more people to forget to pay it, and thus do the tickets. But in six months, I forgot a grand total of twice.

I just don’t get the point of not paying a ticket – you know you’re going to lose anyway, so you might as well get it paid while it’s cheap.  Even if I were going to protest it, I’d pay while lodging the appeal. (Unless it’s better to not do so – I don’t know, never had to do it)

The programme seems to specialise in these ball-bags who park like twats, make a mistake, and then blame everyone but themselves. Of course, they don’t pay, and then bitch even more when the bailiffs come round (or stop them in the road) and charge £500 for what could’ve been dealt with for £30.

I’ve said many times that there’s whole heaps of stuff about people that I simply don’t get. Parking tickets are just one more facet of that lack of knowledge/understanding.

Squish

Maybe I’m more aware of it this week, with Death of the Mau, but on my drive to and from work I’ve noticed a lot more dead animals by the roadside this week.

Uncommonly, the great majority seem to be badgers (of varying sizes and ages) which I always find very sad.  At least these are on dual-carriageways, rather than the completely-intact bodies I sometimes see on the edge of other roads. (I’m never quite convinced that these aren’t actually from farmers/people gassing them, and using the roads as a convenient excuse/reason for dead badger, and disposal thereof. But I’m horrifically cynical)

In my opinion it’s always sad to see dead badgers – they’re awesome creatures – but particularly seeing younger ones depresses me.

I suppose it’s that time though, with semi-mature ones making way for new litters and exploring the world, and also post-winter-sleep. (I know they don’t ‘hibernate’ as such, but they certainly appear to slow down significantly over winter)  All the same, you’d hope that a driver would notice a bloody big black-and-white creature lumbering across a dual-carriageway. (I know they don’t, because they have issues noticing other cars, let alone animals. But still, we can hope)

People Carriers

As has been noted before on here, I do a fair amount of driving on any given week, mainly for commuting. It’s about 400-500 miles per week at the moment – although I’ve had greater mileages, and lesser ones.

One of the things I notice during those drives is how drivers do seem to group up, and that certain groups are infinitely worse than others. There’s always the usual culprits – BMWs, Audis, and White Vans, but there’s another one I notice more over time. MPVs, or people carriers.

I don’t know if it’s because BMW et al don’t actually do people carrier vehicles, but it does seem that MPV drivers are on a par with BMW drivers. In particular it seems that Citroen Xsara Picasso (now renamed the C4 Picasso, I think) are a breed of shit drivers. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen these vacuous bell-ends approach roundabouts in the wrong lanes, cut across lines of traffic, cruise across busy roundabouts, stick their cars into the flow of traffic, weave across multiple carriageways, and generally act like cunts.

So yes, welcome to the ‘shit drivers’ group.

  • BMWs and Audis
  • White Van drivers
  • MPVs – and Picasso drivers in particular.

East/West

I’m really hoping that this isn’t a poxy April Fool’s thing, because (as I’ve written before) it’s actually needed far more than HS2 is.

Network Rail have published a development plan which includes an East/West route connecting Bedford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Oxford.

Phase 1 will deliver the infrastructure required for Chiltern Railways services between Oxford and London via Bicester as well as the works required for the later introduction of East West Rail services west of Bicester.

Phase 2, which is at an earlier stage of development, will deliver the EWR works east of Bicester to Bletchley and Bedford, including the Aylesbury to Claydon Junction line within this five-year period ending March 2019

So – still a long way to go, but it looks like it might just be a plan.

Twat-Nav

Following on from the London visit last Friday, I’m now pretty damn sure that I’m going to be replacing my satnav at some point soon.

I’ve had this one now for a few years, and it’s always been a bit – quirky, is probably the politest term for it. (Downright vindictive would be another)

On Friday it pissed me off by giving plainly bad instructions – on several occasions. On two junctions it was indicating that I needed to be in the right-hand lane, and it was only through paying attention to it that I realised it meant “Oh no, not that right, I meant the right-hand lane of these two, you’ll be turning off again in a second. If you’re on that right-hand lane, you’ll be going wrong in 5.. 4… 3.. 2..”  That’s seriously unhelpful!  It also has a nasty tendency to tell me to turn/u-turn at junctions that don’t allow that to happen. If I were heeding only the twatnav, I’d’ve been in deep shit a couple of times, and probably have points on my licence as well.

When I was up in Derbyshire a couple of weeks back for the wedding it did similar things, as well as trying to send me some very dodgy routes including single-lane farm tracks. It was almost as though it was saying “I’m bored of direct routes and level ground – let’s have some fun!”  And while I’m happy with interesting drives, several portions were pretty fucking hairy indeed.

So yes, I think that it’s time for the SatNav to be retired / replaced. I haven’t got any major journeys now for a few weeks, so we’ll see. But its days are definitely numbered.

Londinium

Friday turned out to be a really good evening – despite the trials and tribulations of driving in London.

I knew the drive was going to be a pig – after all, 6.30-7.30pm on a Friday night is always going to be a pig. I’m not the greatest fan of London driving at the best of times, but this one certainly wasn’t the best of times.

Apple MartiniStill, I got the job done, and only wished death and fiery rain on about fifty drivers – mainly those ‘in control’ of buses and taxis. The parking I’d found turned out to be perfectly located (in Chinatown) for where I wanted to be (Leicester Square), despite the number of suicidal orientals assuming that they had priority over big lumps of steel indicating that they were turning into the same street.

I’d picked a place called QPark - not the cheapest (although there’s no such thing as cheap parking in London, it appears) but cheaper than most of the other ones in the area that looked far dodgier. I do have to say thought that bloody hell, the parking spaces are tight – particularly when driving a sodding great boat like my Saab. Not too much of a problem going in, but reliant on others not parking like cunts when it comes to making one’s escape.

Garden PearAfter that, meeting up with friends at Scoff and Banter in Leicester Square was easy – and that Apple Martini was a worthy reward. (I’d got four hours minimum before driving, so a drink wasn’t going to cause any issues)

Having put the world to alcoholic rights, and grabbed some food as well – which was also excellent – it was on to the Leicester Square Theatre to see Mr Bill Bailey.

I’ve seen Bill Bailey before – as it turns out, ten years ago – although this show was much smaller. I believe this one was a testing run for his new ‘Qualm Peddler’ tour – and if that’s the case, go and see it if you get a chance. Some of the stuff was just surreal (and usually caused by some very strange members of the audience) and he seemed close to corpsing with laughter himself at some points. It was that sort of gig, really.

Food!Highlights included the reggae version of Downton Abbey, and Zombie Country and Western, but the entire 90 minutes was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed it all, and would love to have seen more.

After that, it was just the drive home – with London still solid traffic, even at 11pm – and then a clean run up the M1.

Oh yeah – and with those timescales, why did I drive?  Mainly because a) I don’t mind driving, and it’s always good to be able to say “Yep, done that, it holds no real fears” and b) because I’d thought it was going to start far later, and end after trains had finished.  Not that I mind at all – it was a good evening, and the driving was just one part of it.

But I couldn’t drive in London on a daily basis – there’d be far too much temptation to kill people…

 

 

Skyline

Last week, there was a new addition to the skyline at home – and for a fair dollop of the surrounding area.

It’s obviously been planned for a while, but it’s really only been in the last month that I’ve seen a new wind turbine being erected at the Forestry Centre.  It went up mid-February, but the turbine blades were only added last week, which is when it became truly noticeable. (There are chimney stacks around the place, so the initial turbine stalk didn’t stand out as much)

And now it’s visible – for quite a distance. I can see it as I come in past Bedford, and also as I come over the hill in the other direction. It’s pretty impressive.

Fortunately, I like wind turbines – I like the sight of them, and the sound. But I’m willing to bet there’s some NIMBY bastards who’ll complain about it.

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