Thursday, November 24, 2011

Driving, rushing around and total disregard for others...

Bad driving?
If you have read the title you probably have guessed that this is going to be a rant...but, it isn't! It's an observation...of sorts. It's about bad driving!!

Driving to work and back five days a week along quiet country lanes, through one set of traffic lights on a busy road and then up/down a long steep narrow canyon of a road I see all different styles of driving. Some good,, not so! The journey is five and a half miles, it takes me on average about fifteen minutes max and as I say it has a very narrow steep canyon through solid sandstone and brick retaining walls. Interspersed with various bits of street furniture like, lampposts, width restrictions, road signs and the like it is, for some, quite obviously one of two things.
  1. Impossible to negotiate and should be done with your eyes closed or...
  2. Sod you lot I am coming through!
I suppose I should add there is an option 3 in which I include people like myself, who have learned over the years the art of self preservation and how to, hopefully, dodge the people in section one or two!

So, just who is in section one?
Young girls applying makeup/people on mobiles or texting/drivers to frightened to drive/old ladies/old men/Sunday drivers (delete as applicable)

And section two?
Which "Celeb" owns this?
Reps/white van man/ 4x4's/power women (you know, the ones in a Porsche or similar, perfect makeup, sharp hair do, usually full of them selves on the phone in a hurry because they are sooo busy... Disorganised more like!) Senior Managers/Exec's (who think because they are the boss at work are also the boss on the road) all those with personal number plates that don't mean anything to anyone but them selves. You know who you are...go on think about your number plate now... go on....well? If I did not know you, would your numberplate mean anything at all to me? No!??! Then yes, it's you I am talking about!
"Miss Micra" is it you?

What inspired today's post?
Yesterday whilst following a white van which turned out not to be driven by a stereotypical "whitevanman" I watched as he took evasive action from a young lady coming down the hill in a Micra. She was in the middle of the road, the narrow bit, nowhere near on her side where, if she had driven appropriately, she and "whitevanman" could have passed each other. But no, she was in the middle and I waited for the sound of broken glass. "Whitevanman", took evasive action, narrowly missing said rock wall as she gaily careered on her way missing me and the following traffic by inches. Was she, myopic? No! Was she a cr*p driver? Probably! Was she on her mobile? Very definitely!
White Van Man stereotype...

Today, and this is the rub, same place but about a hundred yards further up the hill, in the narrowest section where there is road narrowing/calming measures, ie one lane, the same whitevanman in front of me (How spooky is that|!) and he has priority. Coming down the hill... you guessed it... "Miss Micra"! Does she stop? No...does she bl**dy 'ell!

This woman is a menace...along with all the others like her!

This weekend, I am considering fitting a camcorder to my dash to video my journey... If I see "Miss Micra" coming I will be taking avoiding action especially if I am following a white van! Then, I will post the video on here for all to see...

Have a good day all...
P.s. If I have pinched your picture off the net then I am sorry but thank you. (It must have been good as I chose it so please, take solice in that!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Red Bull Canimations

Hey all. Please, please, for me, vote on this! LittleAnimations, my son Tims business, has entered the RedBull Canimation Competition and needs your help! Please follow the link and watch his entry, comment on it, leave criticism, even like it, we need all the interaction with the video we can get to help get in the top ten. Please vote!

All the help I can get for voting is really appreciated. Just getting into the top ten means the film will be watched by major animation companies of the likes of Aardman and Pixar

Thank you all!

Red Bull Gives You Springs from Little Animations on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adsense...will it make me a Millionaire?

Car Insurance Scheme Ref Multipla Owners 904

Adsense...will it make me a Millionaire?
In a word... NO!
In theory it possibly could if, enough people clicked on your pages and your adverts. But, in my case I doubt it very much.

So, why have I included Googles adsense/adverts on my blog? Purely to see how or, if, it works and wether it is a viable way of me earning some cash which I can give to my chosen charity!

Some of you may know I help run the Multipla owners club UK and that I have set up a car insurance scheme for the UK. (There is a link at the top of this post) Primarily, it is intended for members, but, as I always tell people "mention Multipla Owners Ref:904" when you ring Chris Knott Insurance up and they will try to beat your existing quote and make a donation to the club for our nominated charity. I won't go into what we make but its a nice feeling when we donate to Whizz kids or Cancer relief or whatever charity the members choose to support for the coming year.

So, that's why I am trying adsense.
Has it worked then I hear you say? Well it's been on about ten days now and my earnings have been £1.30!! Not a lot I know, but, "from little acorns mighty oaks do grow..."

Therefore, if your in the UK, please try my Insurance scheme and click my adverts. Not for me but for my chosen charity. If your outside the UK, then please, still click on the adverts but sadly, the insurance scheme won't work for you!


Thursday, October 06, 2011

An S-Max like mine...
Years of owning a Fiat Multipla, all the jokes, the poor reliability etc etc finally took it's toll and at the end of July I bought a three year old Ford S-Max people carrier. I went back to being a Ford owning, Ford loving, fanatic. I miss my Multipla's, I still run the Multipla Owners club UK website and repairs microsite but I just had to make a change. Reliability, nothing less than the poor reliability. So, back to the S-Max!

Well, it's big, seven seats, tows my "tintent" well and being diesel, remarkably economical. Probably better than the smaller Multipla. However, I was buying the dream, a more reliable, comfortable, prestigious car. Or, so I thought!!

Less than ten weeks of ownership, 2750 miles and...the handbrake jammed on. Nothing would budge it so we called the breakdown guys in to tow her away to be repaired. A guy turned up from "AutoNational", in a "Green Flag" liveried van, and proceeded to scratch his head and take apart the interior of my car! Out came some screws, bits of trim and voila! they say, one centre console in pieces, exposing all the handbrake mechanism.
S-Max handbrake...
Now S-Max handbrakes are unusual in that they look like the handles that come out of a suitcase with wheels on them. There is a little release button on the right hand side that you press to release the handbrake. You guessed it... this was, as they say in the Black Country,"BOST!" To all of you not from the aforementioned area, that roughly translates to broken/kaput/no longer works!
A simple pawl and ratchet..

It would appear that the mechanism that pulled the pawl away from the, sorry am I getting too technical? had indeed sheared off in a lovely clean granular break! A textbook piece of "not made strong enough" if ever we had seen one!

Five minutes later, with the judicious use of a small screwdriver and the handbrake was released but' sadly not repaired.

Outlining the dangerous nature of driving without a fully operable handbrake and a kindly reminder of "DON'T... pull it on again!" My little tow truck man drove of with a wave and cheery flash of all his emergency lights.

Now, I was doing a removal favour for a friend at the time, I had a full car, a trailer piled high and no of we went!

We accomplished the mission successfully, me choosing a route with no hills, impossible around Dudley, but I did my best and we pulled into the drive a few hours later and unhitched the trailer and put it under the carport. We then parked the car in front to stop aforesaid trailer being whipped by scrapmen and firmly applied the handbrake to stop them shifting the car. Er...firmly applied the what!!??! My heart sank...

Armed with a torch and screw driver I buried my hand down in the depths of the centre console and handbrake mechanism, had a firtle around and within seconds I had released the brake. However, I had noticed exactly how it worked and within a few minutes could easily release the brake using two hands! This was deemed useful if I ever really had to use the handbrake.

Now, I think I have forgotten to say it's close to nine pm on a Friday night and I could not do anything until Monday morning. I also knew I had a three month warranty at the dealer from whom I bought the car and a further nine months that I had brokered into the deal, so, I was not unduly worried about costs!

Monday, I rang the dealer having emailed them to no effect. Typical huh! They in-turn said "a classic claim, should be no problem mate, ring the warranty company!"

I did! Bar stewards lied!

The warranty is common in the trade and works like this. 
You breakdown and get yourself to a garage by whatever means. The garage rings the warranty company outlining the nature of the problem and how it complies with there criteria as set out in the warranty manual. A claim number is passed over to the garage with an agreed price for the repair which the dealer will duly invoice to them when the repair is completed.

Sounds easy doesn't it? This is what actually, truthfully happened...

  • I rang the Warranty company to find out how it all works.
  • I rang a local dealer and outlined my plight and what I had found.
  • They looked at the car that day and concluded it was a broken faulty part.
  • They rang the Warranty company, explained the situation and the warranty company said..."NO CLAIM!" It's wear and tear or damage by the owner!!!
  • The garage hung up, looked at my car again, and rang the warranty company back.
  • They outlined the nature of the claim and started!??!
  • The warranty company then say they will send an engineer to inspect the damage.
  • Engineer turns up Thursday, the garage have lent me a FREE courtesy car. He inspects the damage and says...YES! (Big sigh of relief)
  • He then asks for a discount on the parts and labour which amounted to about fifteen pound and duly drives of into the noonday sun back to Crewe!
Now I dunno, the whole bill came to something like £250 quid inc VAT. What was the cost of his time/wages/car and anything else? Does that sound economic to anyone of you? that another reason our Insurance/Breakdown cover/Warranties are all so dear? Burocracy!??!

Well I don't know what to make of it but, at least my car is fixed and it's cost me nothing!
I have found a cracking little garage not a mile from my home and I think that, ladies and gent's, is what they call... a RESULT!

Till the next time... G'night all.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Chromium's logo. Note similarity to Chromes?
Tried Google's Chromium today, not chrome but, the open source version called chromium. VERY quick!!
I am actually typing this up in it and it is just...working. I can't find anywhere for RSS feeds which is a pity and my browser of choice, Firefox, does do lots of other bells and whistles stuff which I find useful. So will I use it? Honestly, I doubt it as I will miss my bells and whistles. However I will use it for the next few days and see how we get on...
Try it for yourself...

Have fun,

Friday, September 30, 2011

I haven't blogged in over two years to this blog...why?!!?

Well, personal family problems have took over a lot of my time as the Mother in Law had a stroke. She is now quite poorly in a nursing home and it takes up a lot of family time.

Why else?

I found twitter and thought it was a bit crap to be blunt. I found Facebook which I embraced as fully as I could but even that has gone a bit "pants" now that they have changed the format somewhat. But I will no doubt get used to it! However, the single biggest reason was I started a work based blog about my old secondary school and current place of work which put this on the back burner so to speak!

The school is undergoing a major change in its appearance and function under the auspices of BSF (Building Schools for the Future) a government inspired/funded initiative to rebuild all the countries schools...sadly now stopped but for those in progress like ours.
The old School being refurbished
Have a quick look:

Speak again soon...