# Do they care ? ? ?

Over the past couple of years, I have realised that many car, van, lorry and even bus drivers need to learn the basics of numbers. It seems to me that the most challenging number to grasp is the number 20. We are seeing increasing use of the number 20 on our roads in the form of a maximum speed sign. All the roads within the boundary of our village have a maximum speed of 20mph. However, many drivers seem to be of the opinion that this limit doesn’t apply to them.

A couple of the roads have another sign. This has been given the nickname, SID. Apparently, this is an acronym for its real name of “Speed Indicator Device”. In our village, if you are travelling at the speed limit of below, then the sign alternates between a Green Smiley face and your actual speed. Go 1mph over the limit and the face turns to a Red Angry face.

This red face is supposedly designed to make you instantly change your speed down to the limit or below.

It doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is simple. Enforcement! Without anybody enforcing the limit, the limit is pointless.

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In another motoring gripe, I must ask this question. Why does the driver behind me think that ‘tail-gating me will make the line of cars in front of me go faster? It seems to happen whatever road I’m on. I was, at one point beginning to think it was just me, but other people have said the same.

And it’s not just small vehicles. Thursday was a good example. The speed limit on the particular stretch was 40mph, and I was travelling at, and I must be honest at around 42mph. But behind me was one of those tipper wagons that was returning to a local quarry. It was so close, that I could not see the driver’s cab and could only make out the make from the front grill. If I had to make an emergency brake, the impetus from the wagon would have carried me quite a long way. Is there any need?

# It ain’t going to work …

We have had a 20mph speed limit in the village for about a year now. Maybe a bit longer, but I would say that well over 80% of drivers take no notice at all. The problem is, and this is my opinion, there is no enforcement. None whatsoever. We have the main 20 mph zone signs as you enter the village together with smaller repeater signs, but that’s it basically. There is one of those ‘smiley’ face signs near the school, but that is mainly ignored by the majority.

A great deal of the time, these “speed merchants”, (and again, my opinion) are local people. People who know that they are not going to get caught. I was at the local bottle bank last week, when a van went past. The sign showed that he was travelling at 35mph. The lady who was walking past stated that “… they should not be allowed to enter ...”. I had to explain that the van and driver was from the village and in fact from the same road that I live on.

It was announced in the Parish Magazine, that the Parish Council was putting a bid to purchase a Mobile SID (Speed Indication Device) to raise speed awareness in areas of concern. I don’t think it will have any effect. If drivers already ignore the sign near the school, are they going to take any notice of any signs. Back to my opinion again, but the only thing that will stop this is proper enforcement. Signs at the entrance roads saying that mobile Speed Cameras are in use, together with a Police Office with a Speed Gun would be the better idea. Nothing gets a message home better than a fine.

However, the latest idea is to have a sticker on your refuse bin that tells drivers to slow down. A sticker! On a bin that is only put out one day a week. Really? Is that the best they can come up with?

# Is it that important ?

I was driving back from picking up a parcel from Argos. The road is a single carriageway and whilst not like a switch-back, there are some tightish bends. The majority of the time, the speed limit it 50mph, but for a stretch of about 2 – 2½ miles, the limit is 40mph. Many people ignore this limit as you would expect. So I was motoring along in 50mph zone when I noticed in my mirror that an Audi was tailgating me. Honestly, he was that close, I could almost smell his aftershave. He kept moving nearer the centre of the road to try and pass, but the traffic on the other side was to busy. Of course, when drivers do that to me, I tend to slow down. So now I’m travelling at 42/43mph and I can see he is getting irritated as he now has to slow down. Soon we get to a stretch of road that is a long bend. It is not tight, and he sees his chance to get past. I’m now up to the correct speed, so he has to go at least 65mph to pass me. Which of course he does.

When you get to the end of the bend, and the road begins to straighten, there is a layby and that is where the mobile speed camera usually sits. Not every day, but most days. Today was one those days. A mile further up the road and my Audi friend is waived into the next layby by the waiting police patrol car. I tried not to laugh.

So is his journey so important that he has to drive in that manner?

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Over the past year or so, I have had the tendency to ‘follow back’ most who followed my blog. But it had got the stage where I was following over 200 sites. Many of these were commercial sites trying to sell me something and many hadn’t posted anything for some time. So this morning, before I went out, I sat down and went through all those that follow me and ‘un-followed’ anyone who had not posted for more than a month. There was one follower that had not posted since 2016! I have an idea that most will not even notice and the majority of those that do notice, will not care. I’m now down to a more reasonable 103.

So if you are one of the above, it’s nothing personal.

# From Then to Now … Decisions, Decisions

It’s the end of March and things had not got much better. Our usual whole-team meetings were now bi-monthly and there were rumours flying around about possible job losses. The head of our service had called a special meeting as he put it “To discuss certain issues!” He was quite up front from the start. The department had to save £XYZ the next financial year and that there could/would be job cuts. But there was good news too. The Early Leavers Initiative (see this post) that I had been rejected for was now looking at every application with a view to acceptance. The caveat was that it was a time-limited offer and we would have to work fast, because after the offer finished, the early link to the work pension would no longer be available.

My initial reaction was not a very positive one. I took the view that I was too important before, so I was too important now! After my initial thoughts had calmed down a little, I talked it over with my wife and decided that there was no harm in applying again, especially as I was no longer IT ‘king-pin’ that has been before my heart operation. And of course, if I was not happy with the offer I would be getting, I could always refuse it and carry on.

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The offer came through at the end of April and it was about what we were expecting. So after more talk and lot of soul searching, we decided it was the best thing. We decided that I should carry on until the end of October as this would give us more time to make any plans we needed. My idea was that I would take about 6 months off, doing jobs around the house that I had not had time to do, then start to look for some part-time work. I knew that after half a year, I could possibly apply for my old job back in a part-time capacity, but that thought never got off the ground at all.

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So after about 1 year of jobs and taking it easy (sometimes) I started to look for something paid to do. This wasn’t going to be easy. I had applied certain conditions to the job search. I could not work weekends (my wife worked Sundays, and Saturday was our ‘family day’). Evenings were also out as I just didn’t want evening work and I only wanted to work a maximum of 14 hours, over a 2 day period. This did limit the kind of work that was available. I also did not want a managerial/supervisory responsibility which limited it even further. It was nearly another year before I was successful.

# Top 10 Driving hates

I enjoy driving, and consider myself an average driver. I’m not the best driver in the world and certainly not the worst, so the word ‘average’ is probably the best description I can offer. Like most people I hate the way some other motorists drive, and I would like to share my Top Ten moans.

1. Drivers who will not move out of lane one, on the motorway, when I am trying to join;
2. Those who move into lane one when approaching  the joining lane of the motorway;
3. Drivers who drive in lane two or three under the speed limit, when lane one and two are free;
4. Heavy goods vehicle drivers, who wait until they get to an incline and then try to overtake, usually going at the same speed as the vehicle they are trying to overtake;
5. Drivers who pass you, then pull in front of you and immediately slow down;
6. Vehicles that have ‘Baby on Board’ signs in the back of their car, but don’t have a baby on board;
7. Non Volvo drivers that have their headlights on all the time – just buy a Volvo !!!!!;
8. Vehicles that have a faulty headlight and use full beam to compensate;
9. Drivers that have their front fog lights on when it’s not foggy;
and finally
10. Drivers of grey vehicles, who drive on grey roads on grey days with no lights on.

Theses are in no particular order, because they should all be at number one, depending on the circumstances. I do have a lot more driving hates, but the list would go on forever.

What are yours?