There's something I should tell you. I'm not left-handed either.

Archive for the category “Driving”

Staying Still

This coming weekend is my first one fully ‘at home’ in about three months. As such, I’m looking forward to it for downtime and some peace and quiet.

However, I feel almost guilty about staying home, and doing Not Much.

My brain keeps on saying “Oh, but you could do a day-trip to [x], [y] or [z]“.  And it’s right, I could. But I don’t really want to – except my brain doesn’t believe it.

It’s odd. One part of me wants to just have a down-weekend, a time of not doing a lot, and most emphatically not driving any significant distances. But the other part obviously does want me to do all of those things.

It’s a bit schizoid, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see which side wins out in the end. All very strange.


[Note : There may be some sweeping generalisations in this, but at the same time I’m trying to avoid them]

As has been noted many times over the years, I drive way too much, way too many miles (in comparison to pretty much anyone sane) and get to see an awful lot of crappy driving.  I’m not claiming my own driving is perfect – but with that number of miles I cover, nor is it bloody awful.

Anyway, as always there seem to be certain categories of drivers who are worse than others.

Invariably, the worst of all tend to be the drivers of BMWs and Audis, but there’s another class I’m seeing more of on the roads – the people-carrier vehicles, the MPVs and their ilk. In particular, there’s something about drivers of Citroen Picassos (I’ve always suspected that people only buy those because BMW don’t make a people-carrier – if they did, that’s what the fuckknuckles would buy) but it’s actually most of that vehicle type.

I don’t know why it is that certain types of vehicle seem to attract crap drivers, but it keeps on appearing to be so.

[I had a theme in there, but it’s now gone. Grrr]

Receding Mania

The last couple of months have been pretty manic and busy for me, as has been shown (kinda) by the paucity of posts round here.  Thankfully, it’s now slowing down a bit, and should be considerably calmer over the next while. I hope that’s the case, anyway.

Since the start of April, I’ve been to :

  • Somerset
  • Edinburgh
  • Newcastle
  • Manchester/Stockport (3 times)
  • Brighton
  • London (3 times)
  • Oxford (twice)

That’s as well as working during the week, and at least one trip to Chesham per week for work purposes. There’s probably also other stuff I’ve forgotten about, too. (Hell, I know there’s stuff I’ve not listed, which is other more local sociable stuff etc.)

This coming weekend should be the last busy one for a while – and I can’t deny, while I’m going to enjoy it, I’m also looking forward to some down time, to having some anti-social space for a bit.

I’m still going to be busy and doing stuff, but I’m fairly optimistic that it’ll gear down a bit as well.

And from there, well, it’s more about sorting out some of my own odds and sods – some jobs round the house, that kind of thing. (And yes, I know, it’s a rented place – but there’s still a couple of things that need doing by me!)  With a bit of luck, there’ll be more writing time too, both here and on Other Projects…

Short-Term Let

Three years ago, when I was looking at moving (and ended up where I still am now) there were a couple of other places in the running – they fitted my plans, location and cost wise, if nothing else.

I go past one of them regularly on commutes, visits to parents and the like – so I see it come back on the rental market every six months or so (which is, not coincidentally, the usual period for a first short-term tenancy)

It’s pretty grotty, and right on a busy main road, so I’m not surprised it’s regularly in need of new tenants – and it looks like this, so it’s hardly appealing…Rental PropertyThat’s the only photo of it. There’s nothing of the inside at all – which always triggers my alarm bells, and is why I didn’t even visit it, so I’ve no idea what it looks like inside. I can’t imagine it’s much good though.

Even the sales description doesn’t do it any favours.

A One bedroom cottage situated on the outskirts of [village]. The property benefits from a parking area to the side and views of the countryside to the rear. Offered Unfurnished and Available Early July.

Entrance to Rear, Kitchen, Lounge, Bathroom, Double Bedroom, Shared Courtyard Garden, Double Glazed Windows, Electric Heating.

What fascinates me is that people choose it at all. OK, it’s dirt-cheap – although actually still a bit more expensive than the place I ended up with – but that doesn’t make it an appealing proposition. I’d imagine it’s even less of one after you’ve visited, seen the location and heard the road noise.

So I do wonder what type of person chooses it, and why.  And (of course) where they go next, once their six months there is done…


Average Speed

[No, for once this isn’t about the fuckwits who can’t drive properly with average speed limits/cameras on the M1]

A couple of times in the last week, I’ve witnessed something a bit different when following other drivers on the more rural roads around me.  It’s people who seem to stick to a speed, regardless of what’s going on around them.

There’s a few winding roads near me on key routes – A-roads to get me to see the parents, for example. They’re decent roads, but with absolutely no way to safely overtake when you’re following a fuckwit, crane, HGV etc. – which can make those roads… somewhat wearing.

In this case, I was behind a silly bastard who was sticking to 45mph like shit to a blanket. The road is national-speed-limit, and perfectly doable and safe at 60mph, but no, 45 it was.   Then we get to a village on the road, the speed limit goes down to 30 (for good reason – it’s good a big-ass set of bends in the middle, as well as everything else) including the flashing warning signs if you exceed that. But no, silly bastard still sticks to 45.   So we’ve gone from too-slow to too-fast, without him moving a muscle.  That takes some skill, I suppose.

I’ve seen a couple of other drivers since with the same mind-set, and it’s no less frustrating or weird when you see more than one person doing it.

What I can’t work out is whether it’s pig-headedness (“I’ll get where I need to go at 45, it’s a fine speed”), ignorance (“I don’t care about anyone else, I’m going at my speed”) or just a complete lack of awareness of their surroundings, so they don’t even see the signs, or the line of cars in the mirror.

I just don’t know. They’re bloody scary to follow though…

Out and About

The end of this week is another busy one.

Thursday, I’m in London seeing Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer at the Hackney Empire.

Then for the weekend, I’m in Manchester, seeing friends and attending the Grillstock Festival in the city centre. I went last year and it was good fun, so a repeat visit should be entertaining.

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…

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