Road Bullies


This is going to be a bit of a rant, so if you’re not interested then look away now!

I have a small car. It’s a Hyundai i10 Classic. It has a small engine (1000cc) but it is ideal for short to medium journeys, which is all I do these days. Top speed is 85 miles an hour and that is with the wind behind me. I tend to mostly not exceed the speed limits when driving, but sometimes  I drift over slightly. So it really annoys me when big cars pass me by exceeding the limit. Today was no exception. The road was a single carriage way, with the National Speed Limit (60mph for those not familiar with UK speed limits) and I was motoring along at around 50 – 53 mph. The reason being was that it was a mainly twisty road with many sharp bends. Now I remember my driving instructor telling me that I “… must drive to the conditions of the road …” which basically means that on roads like the one I was on, the 60mph limit is an aspiration not a mandatory fact.

To get to the point, still driving at around 50mph, I had in my rear mirror a large passenger vehicle. A discovery I think, but he was that close to me, that if I had to brake hard he would have completely written my small machine off. He was that close, that I could tell where the sandwich he had on his dashboard, was purchased. He kept pulling towards the centre of the lane as if to pass, then dropping back as he realised there was not enough room. Eventually, he did pass and pull in front of me, only to maintain the same speed as before due to the vehicles in front do the same speed I was doing.

What he was basically trying to tell me and anyone else is that, as he had a bigger, more expensive car then he ought to be in front of the cheaper, smaller car(s). I call that a form of Bullying. It is the same as when you were in the dinner queue at school and the bigger, older kids pushed in front of you. Bullying!

Rant over.

It’s been a while …


It’s been a few weeks since my last post. No particular reason except laziness really! I tend to post when I have something I want to get off my chest and usually wait until there are a couple of things that rile me. Well there has been some things that have ‘annoyed’ me somewhat, but I’m wanting to break away from the rant style post which may account for the ‘laziness’ I just mentioned. But until then …

I just about survived Christmas, as usual. Saying that, I wasn’t well from Boxing Day to the 29th. I had what I thought was a variation of the Norovirus. I did not have the sickness, but had all the rest. The one thing that seemed to floor me was the lack of energy. On the Friday, I spent the whole day in bed, most of it asleep, which is unusual for me. Lost about 8 pound in weight (sadly not permanent), but by New Years Eve I seemed to be a lot better and by the 2nd I was nearly up to my pre-Christmas weight again!

K*** and me had a trip out to the Designer Outlet at York on Friday. R*** was on respite and was due home that day, so K*** wanted to get out whilst we could. The weather was terrible. One minute it was raining, and the next it was foggy. K*** was driving as I had driven to Harrogate on Wednesday and wanted a rest from it. You know I lost count of the number of cars/vans/lorries that did not have any lights on. Many didn’t even have sidelights switched on. It’s no exaggeration to say that most of them were grey vehicles. So that’s a grey vehicle on a grey road on a grey day! I was told by my driving instructor that those types of day need headlights. I saw one police-car on the whole 25 minute journey and he was at the side of the road eating some food. What cay I say to that?

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K*** (or more accurately, me) has been having issues with her email. She does all her stuff on her iPad which suits her as she has not been much of a fan of my laptops. So ever since the latest update the iPad Mail App has been playing up. Emails have not been showing up when they arrive (as they did before) and I have tried to get it sorted. The problem is that I’m not an Apple expert so I have had to hit Google a lot. The problem was exasperated by the fact that her email client is Sky.com or the be more precise Yahoo! It did used to be Gmail until a couple of years ago and it’s not been the same since. Don’t get me wrong, when Yahoo works, it is very good, but when it doesn’t work there is noting worse. It seems to be a little better now, but she now has to refresh the app and wait until the emails appear now instead of them being there when she opened the app. It also does not help that she never deletes any emails. Still, Yahoo tells us that she space for another 54 million emails, so ‘she’ is not too worried. I may have to do a clear out for her at some point.

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So, in the spirit of blog posts to come (hopefully). Happy New Year

Some good, some not so …


I took the car in for service and MOT on Friday. All passed without any problems. Tyres might need a check before Christmas but other than that, all was goo. Eldest lads car went in at same time. His, not so good! He needs new tyres again. That will be the second lot in three years. Driving style, road quality and luck are the most likely culprits,or so the service department said.

As I was off for the full day, K*** thought it would be a good time to go into York whilst we waited. So we did the ‘Park & Ride’ which was a first for us. The garage dropped us off and promised to pick us up and it cost £2.80 each for a return ticket. A bargain, I thought.

We had a nice lunch, and then did a tour of the shops. That is were the ‘not so good’ came in for me. I’m still looking for a couple of pairs of lounge/jogging pants (mainly lounge as opposed to jogging) and we started to look in the obvious sports type shops. Ridiculously expensive for both the brand names and the unknown and nothing in my size. I was now starting to get a bit fed up. We then went into one of the major well know high street stores. I won’t ‘name and shame’ because they are all the same really. Found a pair that were exactly my size, and I totted off into the changing rooms to try them on. As usual, the size on the label bore no resemblance to real life. I asked the assistant if there was a manger available and I explained to her the problem. You see I have an inside leg measurement of 29”. The pants I picked up said they were a 29” leg. I asked if she would measure the pants. She reluctantly agreed and to her amazement they actually measured 34”. Apologies followed and she went looking for more styles. Five more 29” pants were measured, with the sizes ranging for 31” to an amazing 36”. To make those fit, I would need armholes instead of a waist band. This size problem seems to be an issue in many stores, and I’m of the opinion that the leg size is just an estimate or possibly an opinion.

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Well today is Bank Holiday Monday or as it is now called the Bank Holiday Weekend. In fact Bank Holiday now start around 15:30 on the Thursday before and lasts to around 08:00 Tuesday morning!

This weekend saw the annual Leeds music festival, more commonly known as “Leeds Fest”. It’s held in Bramham Park, which is literally just over the road from where we live in Bramham village. Apart from the traffic disruption as thousands of people descend on the park, it has little effect in my opinion. There is the noise issue, but if the wind is in the right direction we hear very little. We hear more noise from the A1 (the road I mentioned earlier) which seems to have a continuous drone with the amount of traffic.

Because of the location, Bramham is allocated a number of weekend VIP tickets and residents can take up the tickets with a donation to the various causes in Bramham. These tickets are at a extremely discounted price and go very quickly.

I’ve been the festival twice, in previous years and seen fantastic acts such as Sea Sick Steve, Madness and the first year I went, Ed Sheeran was a new and upcoming musician.

The line-up this year was not to my particular taste, and there was no-one I was particularly interested in watching. Maybe next year.

Quick update on the car issue…


As I mentioned, the car was going in to have the ‘knocking’ noise looked at. Knowing my luck, I was expecting it to be expensive.

It had to be in the garage for 10:30 and we got it there for just after 10:00. It was booked in and we were told to go have a complimentary coffee, and they would let us know what was happening. I could see my car from where we were sitting, and by 10:45, it still had’n’t moved. Then around 11:00 I saw it being driven down to the service area. “Not long now” I said to K***.

Just after 11:45, K*** went to see if they could tell us how long it was going to be. We both thought, that they would have a look and come and tell what it was, when they could do it and more importantly how much it was going to cost. The answer she got was, I thought just the bog-standard ‘they’re working on it now’ answer.

Another 45 min later, and K*** was up and asking the question again. After about 5 minutes, I went to see where she was.

Found her talking to the Service Manager, who had the job sheet for my car (saw the registration, so that’s how I knew). She was nodding and almost smiling, so I thought it can’t be that bad then. The manager explained that it was one of the ‘suspension’ rods had broken, and that was causing the noise. I stood there, waiting for the bad news. It never came. There was no charge. It was covered. I bought a 5 year extended warranty when I bought the car, but stuff like this is never covered. Never covered! I drove home with a smile on my face that is still lingering!

 

New Lappy – Still getting there


It’s taking a while to get my new machine up to something like I had on my old machine. There are a couple of issues I still need to sort out and some that I don’t think will get sorted.

Those of you who are a bit ‘techy’ will understand the next bit. My hard drive has two visible partitions. One called C: (OS) and the other is D: (Data). Both are roughly the same size, but all new programs and documents and files etc are using the ‘C’ partition and nothing seems to be using the other partition. I had the idea that programs would go to ‘C’ and documents and other files would go to ‘D’. I had a similar issue on R***’s laptop and solved it by using a partition manager that I downloaded from the internet to shrink one and stretch the other. I thought I could do the same on this machine, but it is proving a little more difficult. I’m probably going to have to ask on one of the help websites for some advice.

Another big issue that raised its head this morning was with my anti-virus software. For years I have used AVG as my anti-virus and it has served me well. I therefore thought I would stick with what I know and duly installed AVG. All was fine until I needed to do a restart of my machine. The system that informed me that AVG could run because a certain file was missing. I had probably been deleted when I uninstalled some pre-installed software that I did not need. Trying to reinstall AVG gave me the same error message. I tried the AVG forums, but there was so many ‘answers’ that it was impossible to decipher which route to take. I did the usual Googling for the best (free) program, and it came up with Avast free at the top, with AVG languishing in third place. Well I’ve done a couple of ‘bullet biting’ exercises this week, so I thought one more wouldn’t go amiss. So now I have to get used to using Avast

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I’m having a bit of an issue with the car also. A couple or more weeks ago, I noticed that there was a banging noise as I was driving. Couldn’t work out where the noise was coming from, but I only really notice it when driving on road surfaces that are not well maintained. I have a slight suspicion that it could be the shock absorbers or something to do with the suspension that’s the problem, which could be expensive. It is going to the garage on Wednesday so all will be revealed then.

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On a final note. Anyone have an idea why, the word count at the bottom of my writing in Word 2016 says one thing and and the proper word count says something different? It is only accurate after the document has been saved!

Back home …..


Well, back home. Yesterday in fact. It was a pretty uneventful day. The weather, whilst not bad, was not as good as it had been. It was going home weather. We stopped off at a gift centre for a look around. My god, these place do depress me at times. Here we are at the start of November and the place was full of Christmas decorations and gift ideas. I don’t know about you, but I think it is far too early. Some of these places have had Christmas stuff for sale since mid-October! Most stores have been planning for the Christmas period from around the end of May. Takes all the symbolism out of the occasion if you ask me. I remember when I was young, there was a department store in the centre of Leeds called “Lewis’s”. On the top floor, at Christmas time, there was Santa’s Grotto and Santa used to arrive on the 1st Wednesday in December, with the Grotto opening the following Friday. Christmas time started in December not November or October. How times have changed.

I digress. I was going to start this post by talking about what I call the “Twat Gap”. How big should the Twat Gap be? Should its size depend on certain conditions? Should there be a minimum size? Maybe a maximum size? What about penalties for abusing the Twat Gap. Now I know some of you will be wondering what a Twat Gap is. Well, you know when you’re driving, you leave a space between the front of your car and the back of the car in front. That is the Twat Gap! Why is it called the Twat Gap? It’s because it does not matter how small that gap is, some twat will try and squeeze into it when they overtake. The Twat Gap!

A little bit more ranting …


     I’ve just spent the past half hour posting replies to comments on our local online newspaper. I use the term ‘newspaper’ lightly in this case. I have stopped buying and even reading, physical editions of the press. To me it seems a little one way. With a hard copy, or paper copy if you prefer, the only way to have your voice heard is to write to the editor. He or she, then may or may not publish your letter/email when ever they see fit. With the online version, I can post or reply to a comment and it appears almost instantaneously. That is providing it complies within the terms and conditions. This to me, seems to be a far more interactive way of expressing ones feelings. I have to admit though, it can lead to my comments being ridiculed and attacked by some of the other people that contribute to the site. Like many online newspapers, there are a large number of people with right-wing tendencies, that seem to take delight in posting negative political and almost racist comments. I occasionally try and redress the balance.

     Work took an interesting turn on Friday. Our service manager called in at the end of the day, and asked to have a private word with me. The way things are going in the Council at the moment, it made me a little apprehensive. However, and I’m not supposed to say anything yet, she explained that that there might be an opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks and that she wanted me to consider it carefully. Without going into any detail, it is an area that I did not think I have any experience in. I downloaded lots of information, and I may be doing myself down too much. I may just have enough limited knowledge to pass this off. If I get my head down and start reading all this information, who knows what may happen. Just hope I don’t tread on anybody’s toes!!

     The new car is living up to expectations. Now I’ve had it a couple of months, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember the old one. The mileage is better, although I’m not getting the 60mpg that i was led to believe. It’s more 48mpg, which is better than the 42mpg I was getting with the Ford, so it is an improvement, and with the low tax band, I will be saving. It still looks strange to see my car and S****’s car side by side in the car park. Especially as they have consecutive number plates!

     On a completely different track, I’m starting an online course on Monday 25th. I saw an article in the Guardian online, that explained a little about these ‘free’ courses. It is an organisation called Futurelearn and the quote from it’s website says:

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.”

     I’ve signed up for a course about King Richard III. It is not something I know much about, but the discovery of his remains and the recent television drama about The White Queen, stirred my interest somewhat. It is free, so I have nothing to lose, and it may just benefit me should I attempt to go on Mastermind !!!! I’ve also signed up for a course in programming apps for smart phones, but that does not start until February 2014.

     A couple of post’s back, I mentioned a story idea that I had been planning. Well it is now into it’s fourth chapter, and the story will start to take a different direction. I will not say any more, but I may put an excerpt on here sometime. In fact, I have considered posting the whole story as weekly chapters, but I’ve not decided yet.