# 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’s been a few days . . .

After the last ‘rant’ I thought I would leave this alone for a few days to calm down a little.

So, work was a little easier this week. The main chef was off, so the owner stepped in for the full week. He usually only cooks on Friday and Saturday, with the main chef (I shall call him “A”) doing Monday to Thursday. ‘A’, is a bit of a perfectionist, who doesn’t take kindly to being, as he calls it “messed around.” What he seems to hate is people who will take a look at the menu and then ask for something that is not on it, usually with the phrase ‘… if that is possible?’ Or ask for something that is on the menu, but would like it cooked a little differently. We had one customer, that asked for a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwich) off the menu but they wanted it without the tomato! And when the checks mount up he gets even more stressed and we all feel the pain.

The owner on the other hand (call him ‘P’) is more laid back. He seems to have the attitude that says “… if you want it cooked fresh, then you have to wait!” This makes for a happier day. The volume of work stays the same but feels easier.

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On Thursday, we forgo our usual trip to Wetherby for a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. For those that are unaware, this is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture, set within the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. It houses within the grounds, many sculptures from renowned artists such as Barbara Hepworth and Damien Hirst. I’m not a fan of the latter as I just don’t like his work. It was a good day, and the weather was not too hot. I managed to get a few photos.

The “Random Cow” was not a sculpture. We think that the gate to the nearest field may have been left open and it just wandered in. It wasn’t harming anyone but was just a funny thing to see.

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This weekend sees the return of the Leeds Festival to Bramham Park. It runs in conjunction with the Reading Festival and has been coming to Bramham for more than ten years now. The main issue with it is the disruption to traffic. Some roads are closed and those that are open are very busy and slow on the few days before the Festival opens and the day it closes. On Friday I drove back from Wetherby to home, in the village, and it took me nearly 40 minutes for a 4½ mile journey. Although we know this will happen, it does get a little frustrating. This road is usually a 50mph road, but for the duration, the limit is reduced to 30mph. However, this does not seem to apply to a number of drivers, who think they can just ignore the limit. The police were out in large numbers, but they never seem to catch these idiots.

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Some of you may (or may not) notice a slight change to the blog theme.

I am now using the Independent Publisher 2 theme. Prior to this week, I was using the original Independent Publisher theme, which I understand has been withdrawn. This does look a little different in some ways, the header image is larger and the widgets have moved to the right hand side, but I’m quite happy with it (for the present)

# 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.

# Is it that difficult …

I’m moaning talking about driving. Not Formula 1, Moto-Cross or one of the myriad of other motor sports, I just mean everyday driving. Commuting to work, taking the kids to school or the weekly shopping expedition. I would like one of those cars that do not have to obey the legitimate speed limit. I don’t mean the emergency vehicles, no the ones I’m ranting ‘talking’ about are  those cars whose driver seem to think that because their car is bigger and more expensive than mine, they should be in front of me. They tailgate so close, just waiting for the opportunity to overtake. Half the time, I will end up catching them when they get to the next traffic lights or junction. Are these people so important that they have to always be the first in the line. I tend to liken it to bullying “Get out of my way, I’m better than you!”

Then there are the ones that have not adjusted their headlights to the correct angle. They always look like they are using full beam. It can be really dazzleng when they go over a speed hump. While I’m on the side-subject of speed humps, why do some people like to speed-up between humps? I may have griped mentioned about this before, but there seem to be an increasing number of drivers that have an aversion to switching their lights on when it is raining. It can be so difficult to see a dark grey Volvo on a dark grey tarmacked when the light is poor and the rain in falling. Just because they can see others does not mean the opposite is true.

But a vehicle I would like to drive, is one of those vehicle that have the ‘Highway Maintenance’ sign on the back of their vehicle. I’ve seen the sign on the back of small vans, flatbeds, transit vans and even a few cars. I may be totally wrong about them, but most of them seem to be the worse for wear and look like they have not seen a MOT test in years. Most seem to have no regard for the rules of the road and drive like complete idiots (my opinion). They also appear to be able park anywhere they like, regardless of the danger to other road users.

Now the above does not apply to all the users mentioned, but it does in my opinion, apply to a great number of them.

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So that’s motorists out of the way and I spouted  talked about cyclists some time ago, so my next road diatribe discussion may be pedestrians. Possibly the most dangerous aspect of the outdoors experience.

# Daily Prompt: Busy busy busy …

Rush … not the Canadian band, as good as they are, just rush. Everybody seems to be in a rush. I’m travelling down the road at just a couple of miles under the speed limit, and there is some idiot in his/her SUV weaving from side to side waiting to pass me. Then they do and 60 seconds later I’m pulling up behind fool at the roundabout. Their ‘rushing’ got them no further than me. What was the point? Then, when these people get in the supermarket, their ‘rushing’ seems to evaporate. They stroll around the store with no spacial awareness whatsoever. Walking three abreast down the aisles. Looking at me as if I’m Satan’s advocate on Earth, just because I’m in a bit of a rush!  God, I hate shopping!

I would like to talk about the band called Rush, but they are  nothing but a name that came to me when I saw this prompt. To be honest, I thought they were a girl rock band … I think I should stop now.

(So they are not a girl rock band? I must have forgot. I’m getting old. Too old to be rushing about.)

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.

# Better not speak to soon …

Well, the weather has not been as bad here as was forecasted. We had a bit of snow first thing yesterday morning, but it had gone within an hour or so. This morning there was more, but most of that has gone now. We keep getting the odd 10 minute shower, but we’ve had nothing like what seems to have been happening in other places. Looks like we might be in for another shower in the next hour (15:00 now). Some rather ominous grey clouds seem to be drifting in from the North East.

Now although, our weather has not been bad, in the five mile drive between here and Wetherby this morning, I did run into quite a heavy shower of snow, which  needed the wipers on at double speed to clear the windscreen. Bearing that in mind, you would think that motorists would drive with  a little more caution than usual. Not here they don’t. The road, a single carriageway, has the national speed limit along most of the route, only dropping to 40mph as you approach the roundabouts. This speed limit appears not to apply to some drivers. On the longest straight stretch, I was overtaken by two cars going at least 70mph and probably more. I have no idea why they need to go at that speed at all, especially as when I got to the roundabout, they were still waiting move on! I joke with K*** that it is ’… because their cars are bigger and more expensive than mine, that they in front of mine …’ but it could be true.

It’s 15:20 and those grey clouds have delivered. It’s gone from sunny to heavy snow. But now, only 5 minutes later and it’s stopped again! It was heavy enough to give a covering to the car though. Its strange, because the sun is coming out now and the sky is once again blue. It’s very confusing to an old ditherer like me. Still, the youngest lad will be in his element. He loves watching it snow. He’ll flit from room to room, looking out of the windows, just to make sure that it is snowing everywhere. It can be so funny to watch him at times like this. He should horse-riding today but I wonder if he has gone. It is one of his favourite activities, but he hates getting rain on his face so we are hoping that it will be different with the snow. You can never tell.

# 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?

# That’s a relief …. well sort of ….

The software upgrade went as well as can be expected, with only one problem. Wrong build !!! The version was correct, but the build was wrong. As a consequence, certain parts of the software failed. So who’s fault was that ? The software house for sending the wrong client build?? Our IT department for packaging the wrong client build??? Well the IT department will say, that they packaged the client build that they were sent. I can believe that that could be the case. However (enter Hercule Poirot) the upgrade files that had been copied to the server, contained the correct client build !!!!! So the dilemma is, where did the wrong build come from, and why are there two builds ??? Once again I feel the answer is down to a lack of communication between the software house and our IT department. The next major project, is moving the whole data file structure to the new SAN storage area. This time, I will take a more pro-active role, and will insist on a detailed project plan. This will not go wrong.

On a different tack, the eldest rang his Mum today, to apologise for his money mismanagement. I don’t know if he meant it, but no one asked him to ring, so maybe there is something there.

My ‘Speed Awareness Course’ invitation came through today. I need to log on to a website to arrange a course and pay the £60.00 course fee. I’ve been getting lots of ‘expert’ advice people who have been in the same situation. Advice ranging from challenging the accuracy of the speed camera, to pay the fine, but send £60.01p !!! Apparently, the latter will stop the points going on, as the police cannot send me a refund for a penny, and they cannot keep the penny, so the point do not go on. Do I look stupid !!!! If they cannot process they payment, because of something I have done, then the law says that ‘I have failed to pay the fixed penalty’ and the case will proceed to court. End of story.

# Saturday comes and goes

Eldest got home at around 1:30 this morning, and it was about 12:00 when we managed to get him up. Apparently, the party had not been that good, and had ended around 11:00pm. However a friend of his mate got very drunk and they felt obliged to get him home. Hence the very late night.

My Notification of Intended Prosecution came through this morning. It looks like I could get away with going on a ‘Speed Awareness’ course. Hopefully, that will mean I don’t get any points on my licence. It will still cost be £60.00 pounds though, the same as the fine.