D4D

An example of the unreasonable man who makes all the progress

Archive for the category “Driving”

Bellwether

In a conversation the other day about driving – and motorway driving in particular – I was told I was too callous and calculating. I’m not sure this is true, but I’m interested…

 

So.  When I’m driving motorways, and even more so at night, I usually let someone else go in front who’s driving faster than I am, and let them be the testing point for whether there are any active speed cameras or unmarked police cars around.

My theory is that if [Other Driver] blats past a camera and it flashes (or a car that then turns out to have concealed flashing lights on/in it) then that’s their problem rather than mine. And it gives me time to slow down before getting to the camera myself.

I was told that’s callous and calculating. I think it makes sense.

Surely I’m not the only driver that does this?

Brighton Images

On Sunday, I trolled off down to Brighton for the day. I haven’t been there in years – the last time was a flying visit five years ago for an interview, and before that it had been a number of years too – but realised it’s just about the same distance as Felixstowe is (they’re both a two-hour drive time) to get to, so what the hell.

I don’t know Brighton as well as I should, and so having a wander around was also appealing. It’s on the list of ‘places I could re-locate to at some point’, so seemed like a worthwhile explore – and I was right on that score.

Being December, it was pretty blowy and chilly – although less cold than a December Sunday would suggest – but that’s never bothered me all that much. I lived by the South Coast for a couple of years before, and have no real issue with cold. That was the flat where the freezer shut off because it was colder outside the freezer than inside it, and where more than once I woke up with frost on the top of the duvet. Sunday, by comparison, was almost summery.

Brighton Beach

As it turned out, the weather made it ideal for what I actually wanted – waves, and the sound of the sea on shingle beach. Walking along one of the groynes/piers (not one of the Proper Piers, but the little jutty-out ones) was a joy, just for getting out to be where the waves were hitting the beach.

Brighton Waves

And then the sun came out, and it was even better…

Sunlight hits Brighton

All told, I think it’s a place I’m going to go back to a lot more in the coming year. It’s an easy run, and I think I could really get to quite like the place.

There’s others still on the list too – something I’ll be writing about at some point this month, I’m sure – but yeah, Brighton is definitely now more of a destination, and pretty high on the possibility levels too.

Two Hours

Over the last couple of weekends, I’ve looked (again) at just where I can get to in a two hour drive from home.  As has been said before, I live between Milton Keynes and Bedford, so I’m sat right between two decent North/South access roads (The M1 and A1) as well as vaguely decent cross-country connections with the A428 towards the West, and the A14 to the East.

What this means is that a two-hour drive covers one heck of a lot of the country, and I decided to have a look at just how far (via use of Google Maps, and their route predictions) I could get in each direction.

Two hours North takes me up to Sheffield, and South gets me to Brighton. That’s a total distance of 225 miles top to bottom.

Two hours West gets me to Bristol, and East gets me right across to Felixstowe and Aldeburgh – roughly 234 miles in total.

The area within that circle comes out as roughly 43,000 square miles (if my maths about area in circles is correct) or 111,000km², which in terms of the UK is just under half the area of the UK as a whole (going by CIA’s Worldbook figure of 243,610km²)

Not bad, all things considered…

Coastal – Brighton

Following on from last week’s day-trip to Felixstowe for coastal stuff, today I’m off – assuming vaguely decent (or at least non-abysmal) weather – down to Brighton for similar reasons.

I realised afterwards, looking at maps, that actually the two places are a very similar drive-time (and indeed mileage) away, so sod it, go for something different.

I haven’t been to Brighton in yonks – well, I had an interview there a few years back, but that doesn’t really count – so it’ll be fun to go back, and have a wander around, plus spend some time on the beach (I know, it’s stones rather than sand) and see how things go.

That’s the plan, anyway. I’ll update later/tomorrow with how it goes, and any relevant photos etc.

Coastal – Felixstowe

Over the years, I’ve always known that I love being by the sea. It’s an environment I love – although it makes a lot of other bits of life more complex. (For example, working in London or other techie environments) I’ve lived by the coast a couple of times, and would certainly consider doing so again.

Which all makes it a bit weird that the location I live in currently is about as far away from the sea as it’s possible to be in the UK. And I realised recently that I haven’t actually been to the coast properly since I moved here. Which is quite a surprise for me, it’s fair to say.

So today I upped sticks, and buggered off to Old Felixstowe. It’s an easy run, but still two hours. (And all coast is at least a two-hour run, from the look of it) It made for a really enjoyable day, leaving earlyish, getting over there, walking along the seafront, having lunch, walking back, sitting on the grass above the – well, it’s not a cliff, I don’t know quite what to call it – and just enjoying the sound of the sea on the shingle and so on.

I had been going to take the camera as well, but in the end I couldn’t be arsed. I did get some nice stuff with just the iPhone though, so even that qualifies as a bit of a win.

Felixstowe

Felixstowe Ferry

I had sort-of forgotten how much I like that environment, and it’s certainly something I’m going to look at and consider as part of the plans for 2015 and 2016, depending on how things go. Ideas are bubbling, so we’ll have to see how things go…

One of the tidal pools at Felixstowe

Inept

Following on from yesterday’s post about car maintenance, and giving the Saab a treat, there was one final thing that needed doing.

Over the last couple of months, the car’s been intermittently reporting “Key battery needs changing”. It did it for a week, then stopped doing so. Then every so often the message would return. (I know, that’s pretty much the definition of ‘intermittent’. Sod off)

Anyway, last week it got more consistent, and over the weekend it started not locking etc., which I figure is a pretty good indication that it’s time to sort it out. (Luckily I’ve got two keys, so it wasn’t a complete hassle) Having looked at the instruction book – yes, a man reading the instructions, what a rarity – and picked up the necessary battery on Sunday, expecting it to be a two-minute job.

Safe to say, it wasn’t a two-minute job. Following the simple instructions, the panel on the key simply wouldn’t open. I probably could’ve forced it, but what the hell would be the point of that?

So it ended up that yesterday I went to my Saab garage, and got them to do it instead. It cost me nothing (except the fuel to get there, of course) and yes, it took them less than two minutes all told.

On occasion it’s galling to be quite this inept – although they did say it’s something that a lot of people have issues with doing – but at the same time I’m fairly secure in my inpetitude, and in getting things done by those who know how to do so.

Basic Maintenance

This week, the Saab must think it’s been stolen – allbeit by someone who actually gives a damn about cars.

With the various odds-and-sods and issues of the last few months, basic car stuff had kind of gone by the wayside. I’ve been promising the car some attention, and so now normality has been somewhat resumed, it’s been time to do it. Plus, of course, the onset of winter conditions, which means it makes sense to ensure things are sorted.

Over the weekend, it got a proper clean inside and out (I don’t quite know how car windows get so disgusting on the inside, but they do) which made a world of difference. There were also new windscreen wipers – the last MOT said they were OKish and wouldn’t fail the car, but did need replacing. So with the colder/wetter weather (and with the next MOT due in a couple of months) it was worth sorting out.

Finally, it’s now sitting on new tyres – it’s a year since I did the last new set, and they’ve done nearly 30,000 miles in that time.

Of course, now it’s had another couple of hundred quid spent on it, it’ll now break down spectacularly in the next couple of weeks, knowing my luck.

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