Sunday, 29 December 2013


A few weeks ago, in my post Electric Dreams, I suggested that I might do a follow-up called "Wet Dreams".

Well this is more a case of "Wet Nightmares".

The BBC covered the recent flooding that hit various parts of the UK last week including this picture...
...of a flood damaged classic MG that appears to have had logs floating around it.
The Mail seems to be taking great pleasure in an Aston Martin Rapide that got caught up in flood water.  The wording of the item and the comments at the end all seem to me to show that much jealousy is in abundance.
I feel very sorry for the owners of both these beautiful cars.
I don't have much sympathy though, with the twerp in this Mirror story from today.  A 19-Year-Old seems to have deliberately driven his car off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean.  Maybe he was trying to kill himself - he will certainly have endangered the lives of his rescuers.  It all looks very scary and his car was battered beyond recognition.
A bit like this one from a story that has been gradually picked up by various news agencies including the BBC over the last few days since it happened. 
A car travelling at motorway speeds (or maybe faster given the damage) has left the carriageway and hit a motorway sign.  The driver and passenger survived with minor injuries.  Nobody has speculated about what the car actually is but after ruling out a Nissan Juke, my guess is it used to be a Lexus RX.
I know that last story doesn't involve a car ending up in water - but I bet the front seats weren't dry.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Ideal Christmas Present for The Traffic Warden in Your Life

It's almost Christmas Eve, the day that traditionally, men visit their local petrol station to stock up on Christmas presents for their loved ones.

The Telegraph motoring section has suggestions today including a "Parking Ticket Holder"
It is actually a clear bit of plastic that you are supposed to fix pay-and-display tickets to your windows with.  It costs £1.99 which seems excessive and I would be very miffed if someone bought me one of these for Christmas.
It is claimed that it helps prevent "sticky mess" on the window.  I never suffer from sticky mess on my windows but, then again, I never attach pay-and-display tickets to my windows - I just leave them, clearly visible on the dashboard.  However, the Tikettak (for that is what it is called) sticks to the window with an adhesive strip - bet that makes a mess if you take it off.
They make a big deal about it being manufactured in the UK.  Good.  However, some of the errors in their Website make me suspect that the producers themselves are not British:
  "unless, of course, you don’t mind whether the logo is legible properly!"

This may only be available online so it could be too late to get one for Christmas time so I guess it is off to the filling station now.

Charcoal Brickettes anyone?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Abu Doubley

Bahrain don't like The Flintstones.

But Abu Dhabi do!

It's six months since I last commented on F1.  It's about two years since I gave up watching F1.

I still follow the odd F1 story though.

Today's from the BBC is about the sport's attempts to make itself more popular again.  They think that it is losing popularity because it is becoming more boring with Red Bull/Vettel winning all of the time.  A bit like the '90s when Ferrari/Schumacher were winning everything.

The FIA have come up three changes:
  1. A spending cap for all teams
  2. Double points for the last race of the Season (Abu Dhabi)
  3. Drivers get to chose a number and stick with it for their careers
The first of these is basically a good idea although the richer teams won't like it very much.  I've always been of the opinion that if people don't like the dominance of a team - it isn't that team's fault - it is up to the other teams to improve.  However, if the other teams don't have as much money to play with, they will never improve enough.  I speak here as a fan of a Premiership football club that cannot compete financially with the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea.

The second change is the one that has really set the cat amongst the proverbial pigeons.  I love reading the readers' comments at the end of such articles and, in this case, the fans are almost unanimous in their condemnation making some very good points along the way - some teams and drivers perform better at certain tracks - Abu Dhabi is not an exciting circuit - a driver with a 49 point advantage could lose the title.

The third change seemed pointless to me until I read on and saw the commercial/marketing angle - think Nigel Mansell and "Red 5".

I think the commercial/marketing angle must also be coming into play with change 2 since Abu Dhabi is where the money is but not a lot of fan interest.

And, of course, there may be more instances of the championship going to the last race of the Season - hence less boring.

The boring-ness is only one aspect of the dwindling popularity though - another is the sport disappearing behind paywalls in more and more countries - sorry to bring back my reason for giving up on it.  Andrew Benson, the BBC Chief F1 writer, believes that the same arrogance that existed among the teams then is still there - he states,

"Inside F1 teams, though, senior figures are more phlegmatic. They are not that worried about the purists - they reckon they will watch anyway. And if this new idea, gimmicky though it is, attracts more casual fans, all the better. "
I have to disagree with them if they really do believe that.  They thought that about the BBC/Sky deal and seem to have been proved wrong there.
My favourite comments though come from someone calling himself (or herself) Abu Lincon - a play on Abe Lincoln perhaps?  First he (or she) posted,
"Abu has good suggestion to all F1 fans...switch over to the far superior NASCAR...better cars, faster cars, better drivers ( some women too as they are better driver than the man ) and legandary circuits like Daytona, Indianopolis and Sazuka."
I wondered if this was a wind-up mentioning Suzuka but apparently they have raced Nascar there.  It was a bit of harmless trolling though because it was followed with this,
"Abu has read your comments again and u all seem sad about rule change, so as Abu good friends with F1 supremo Christoper Ecclestone, i have text him telling him the fans are not happy and he should scrap this rule. He text back sayin "who is this?" and i txt him it his good friend Abu. He hasnt replied back so Chris is obviously thinkin things over so hopefully he change mind and Abu save the day"

I wonder if Abu is British given his mis-spelling of Lincoln and his reference to Christopher Eccleston.

Anyway, I know who I'd rather have running F1.

And his name isn't Bernie.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Disc Breaks

or should I call it "Tax Brakes"?

No, this story is about tax discs not disc brakes.

I'm not sure why George Osborne announced that he was scrapping the Tax Disc this afternoon.

Because everyone knew that it was happening this morning - along with the rest of his Autumn Statement.  The BBC had it here.  Autocar had it here.

They used this picture.  That registration number belongs to a Range-Rover.  I wonder if it was just parked outside their offices or it belongs to a member of staff there - it isn't the one that comes up if you look for a review of a Range-Rover on their site.

The BBC have also used this as an excuse to bring back their occasional (and amusing) RIP item with "R.I.P. Car Tax Disc".  These sometimes prompt amusing tributes from the readership - I await these in mild anticipation.

What the scrapping of the discs doesn't mean, though, is the scrapping of the tax.  That will continue to be collected and the Police will have access to the databases which tell them who has actually paid - although your average traffic warden or nosey neighbour won't be able to easily tell.

The tax itself is "vehicle excise duty" not "road tax".  I make this point because this comes up every time anyone mentions tax discs - it comes up a lot in the comments at the end of the main BBC article.  Cyclists generally make this point a lot.

I am an occasional cyclist myself but very much take the Jeremy Clarkson point-of-view on this: