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Archive for the category “Driving”

Poorly Sick (part two)

Last week’s “Poorly Sick” has continued on for the last week – although also not helped by my own general idiocy.

On the Tuesday, while coughing my lungs out (mmm, tasty) I drove up to Manchester to see friends, and then go with them to see Massive Attack at the Manchester Arena. And then drove home afterwards, like a friggin’ lunatic. By the time I got back – Wednesday morning, 2:30am – I’d twatted my ribs with the coughing I’d done, and felt fairly rough.

Wednesday was spent at home feeling ropy (while also getting enough work done to keep people happy) and Thursday I was on-site down in Chesham.  I was feeling shitty enough there (and cold enough, the office being ridiculously cold) that I left at lunchtime and came home to thaw out.

Friday was also quiet, spent mainly at home.

Saturday was a trip to London to meet another friend and see “When we have sufficiently tortured each other” at the National Theatre (Spoiler : Don’t bother, it’s cobblers)

And then Sunday was another daft day-trip, this time down to the edge of Somerset to see other friends. And back home the same day, getting back at midnight on the dot.

So yeah, a week of being comprensively unwell while still being daft.

Hopefully things are back to a more even keel this week, but time will tell.

Poorly Sick

It’s that time of year again, where I pick up a cold/flu bug and feel like crap.  I think it’s just a cold, although last night I was shivering in bed while also being roastingly hot, so who the hell knows.

Of course, it’s also in a week where I’m stupidly busy and doing a bundle of driving. So that’ll be fun.

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes, and hopefully I’ll feel better before long.

In the meantime, bleurgh.

Night Mode

One of my favourite things on the Saab was a thing called “Night Panel“.  It was a simple button, but turned off all the instrument illumination except for the speedometer.  Even the speedometer range was reduced – I think it just illuminated 0-80mph, although it activated the full dial if you went past 80. All the other dials went to black, and the needles to zero. (Which was weird to see in daylight, but made sense at night, because if it’s not lit, why would you need the needles to be indicating anything?)  If anything goes wrong, the night mode is cancelled, and everything revives to display the problem – low fuel, high temperature, warning lights, whatever.

That sounds pretty basic, and not a lot of use – which was kind of true. But it was great if you were doing a long drive at night, and I found that it significantly reduced eye strain and so on.  Originally it was just a gimmicky thing, but I found I used it more than I expected to.

Until recently, I’d only seen it on the Saab, and couldn’t understand why other manufacturers don’t have the same thing.  (I feel the same about the little plastic clip at the side of the windscreen that could be used to hold parking tickets and so on)

This week, though, I’ve had to use two different Hyundai cars, and they’ve both had little Night Mode buttons. Not as comprehensive as the Saab one, it still turns off the majority of the in-car dashboard illumination, and makes for a nicer night-time driving environment.

And again, I wonder why other manufacturers (or at least those whose cars I’ve driven) don’t do similar things.

Subconscious

Recently, I came across a really odd thing.

For the last few months, I’ve been experiencing problems with my car at night, with the lights suddenly failing and me driving in absolute darkness.

One night this week I had a drive home where it felt like the same thing had happened again – cars pulling out right in front of me as if they hadn’t seen me, that kind of thing. It happened on enough occasions in a short time that I ended up checking whether my lights were working, thinking “Fuck sake, not again

And that’s when I realised.

I haven’t been experiencing actual problems with the car. I’ve had dreams that I’ve been experiencing problems – because there’s no way on Earth that I would have not got a problem like that sorted immediately. If I’d had an electrical/lighting failure like that, I’d have taken it to the garage the following morning. But I haven’t – I’ve never even called the garage to make an appointment.

So while my conscious brain has been thinking that there’ve been problems with the car and that I really should get things checked/sorted, my subconscious has been sticking its oar in and stopping that from happening. Somewhere along the line it’s known that these problems have been dreams, and has prevented my conscious from actually calling the garage and getting those things sorted.

All the way through I’d have sworn blind that these problems were happening. And it’s only been when I consciously worried that the same problem had occurred again that I realised the previous occurrences hadn’t actually happened.

And that, with no shadow of a doubt, is really bloody weird.

Already Scheduled

Because I’m still a lunatic (despite clearing some projects off the list and so on) I’ve also just been looking at what I’ve already got scheduled for this year – and as usual, some of it is daft.

There’s one week in February that’s looking particularly silly, as it already includes

And that is in just one week. *sigh*

Apart from that, most things are a bit more spaced out – but I’ve still got things in the list now until mid-November, what with plays, concerts, food festivals, and a walking marathon.

There’s just no hope for me, really. Daft to the core.

Average 50

At the moment, my daily drive is on the M1, which has roadworks on it through ’til mid-2022. (Yes, it’s a joy)  Throughout those roadworks there’s a speed limit of 50mph, which is monitored by average-speed cameras.   And as I’ve been going through them, I come more and more to the conclusion that the average speed stuff isn’t actually all that safe.

More accurately, I don’t think they’re that safe when it comes to British drivers, and the habits that a lot of them have – which don’t appear to be the same as those of drivers in other countries.

The main problem with averaged 50mph limits is that it means everyone is driving at the same speed – cars, vans, HGVs, all at 50mph (or close to it)   That means that the British-normal of last-minute lane changes for junctions are nigh-on impossible (although that doesn’t actually stop people from trying it) Instead, you need to be aware of the other lanes, and plan to be ready for the junction far further in advance.

Additionally, British drivers being what they are, turn off their brains completely when in average-speed areas, and will just stick to a particular lane with no regard or understanding of anyone around them, or of moving over into empty space to allow others past. On any given day, it’s terrifying to see just how many drivers are there, zoned out, sat in the outside lane and overtaking two lanes of fuck-all.

All told, it adds up to a whole bundle of unsafe situations at any given time of day. I can see (and have seen) people doing this shit at 6am, at 4pm, at 10pm, and at 2am. It just seems to be the way things are in these situations.

Fun and games, fun and games.

 

Daft as a Brush

In an ongoing thread, there are times where I realise I really am a silly sod. This is another of those things.

A fair while back, the Cowboy Junkies (one of my all-time favourite bands) announced they were coming to the UK. It had been a fair while since they’d been here last, and even better, it was happening the weekend after my birthday.  However, that was also the end of the week I was already booked up to spend in Northumberland, which was a Friday to Friday booking.  And they were playing Manchester on the Saturday, and London on the Sunday.

So I figured what the hell, it’ll be a weekend, and booked tickets for both Manchester and London. Well I was up in the area anyway, and the London one was billed as being different to the Manchester one (although that has since changed). So why not? (Other than mileage, of course)  I’d drive over from Northumberland to Manchester on the Friday, stay in a hotel overnight, do the gig on the Saturday night, and then drive home afterwards. Easy.

And then the plan changed a bit. When I saw the play Queen Margaret in Manchester, I realised how painless the journey was by train. So instead I figured I could drive home from Northumberland on the Friday – allowing me to get laundry and so on done in the evening and so on. Then on the Saturday I could get the train up, have lunch somewhere new and fancy that had grabbed my attention, then walk down to the hotel, check-in, drop off bag etc., go to the gig, stay overnight on Saturday, train home on Sunday morning, then down to London for Sunday night.

Yes, I’m an idiot, and an absolute loon. But I cut my mileage by taking the train, and improved my own safety by not driving home from Manchester late on a Saturday night. So that, at least, was sensible…

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