Archive | January, 2017

Practice what you preach

9 Jan


Braving the last of man flu symptoms, we took our Puss cat for his MOT test today. He was very nervous in his pet carrier and I slowly drove out of the village. The kids were all pouring out of school and the pavement heaving with eager young people, keen to get home to their broadband, game machines and so on.

So, bearing in mind my recent punishment for loss of focus (speeding in a 30 mph limit) I was using 3rd gear and keeping within the urban speed limit.

A very irate mum, driving a huge and expensive looking 4 x 4 came up behind me, blissfully unaware of the hordes of kids marching home through the rain. Flashing her  headlights made no difference and I stuck to 30mph. As we passed the secondary school, she swung off to the right, cutting the corner and screached to a halt to pick up her own kids!





Perhaps she would drive more carefully if we put up more Ducks Crossing signs in addition to the one we already have. Kids? What do they matter…………………


A rare trip overseas

8 Jan


Wherever else we go this year, this one’s a cert. Cape Cod , Massatchusetts  just south of Boston, on the eastern coast of the USA for my son’s wedding to a very pretty American lady!

I have already ridden a half hour’s bike trip alongside the Cape Cod canal using YouTube, my exercise bike and my laptop. I  am looking forward to the real thing! It should be a wonderful and memorable event. I love seafood, which abounds in Cape Cod. The wedding itself will be an introduction to American culture. With family from Irish and Italian stock, it’s going to be fun. We cannot wait.

After the wedding, the plan is now to possibly travel North to Canada, my deceased Father’s homeland, to Nova Scotia. My son in law is keen to hire an RV each to enjoy the peninsula and Islands of this lovely scenic region.


My daughter did a fabulous job of 2016’s trip to Scotland and I am hoping that she will again rise to the task and organise 2017’s special trip overseas. An RV will cost around $1000 per week plus fuel etc. What a way to see the best that Nova Scotia has to offer. One of my former Teachers once said that it was the most beautiful place that he had ever seen. It cannot have changed much in all that time can it?

rv-rentaljpg  We were lucky enough to own a 24 ft Minnie Winnie when the kids were small and we ran our own business. Back then these monsters were cheap. 4, yes , 4 US Dollars to one pound sterling ! Have not seen that in a while !These big coachbuilts are easy to drive with light controls and automatic gearbox. very smooth, quiet and surprisingly swift. The V8 engine on ours sounded like a jet engine whirring away deep beneath the front seats. I must have posted before about only achieving 7 mpg though, in very windy, wintery conditions near Locherbie one November’s night whilst RAC Rally watching? Usually it would manage about 14 mpg. Not a big issue when paying North American fuel prices.

I would not be doing my Blog justice if we did not go ahead with this, now, would I?

Yogi Bear

“What’s in the Pic-a-Nic Basket ? Boo Boo”

Whose been a naughty boy then?

6 Jan

speed-detection   Today, I attended a “Speed Awareness Course” run by Staffordshire County Council.

Some time ago, I was driving along a local road, near the edge of town, which I drive almost daily. I always use my Sat Nav sited close to my face to watch my speed, monitor the speed limit (keep it all updated dude……) and check my speed as judged by the satellites. (Usually more accurate than your speedo, I am told.) My speedo seems to read around 2 mph slow at 70 mph.

I honestly, normally adhere rigidly to all speed limits. I am retired and usually don’t have to rush around and would hate to run a child over or hurt anyone. So , I stick to the speed limit. However, I lost focus on the way home from carrying out some house maintenance and was thinking about the next phases of the job (replacing an external staircase to a flat). I did not even see the Speed Camera, NO ! Get it right! The Safety Camera Van until it had picked up my speed at 37 mph. It’s a fair cop gov’., I’ll come quietly!

T’is only the 3 rd speeding offence in over 44 years of driving. On each of the previous two occasions, I had 3 points which were added and then removed from my licence after the prescribed 5 year (?) period.

westport-lake-visitor-centre So, today, still suffering from the final symptoms of a winter cold, I made my way, with plenty of time in hand to Westport Lake Visitor Centre in the Potteries. It’s well worth a look.

westport-lake-landscape    Instead of a £100 fine plus 3 points on my licence for doing 37 mph in a 30 mph limit, I decided to pay an £80 “fee” and attend the Speed Awareness Course offered in it’s place.

There were 20 people attending. One chap turned up beyond the lateness cutoff point and was sent away. Possibly with 3 points and option removed?

The course was punctually run and run well! For me and from the feedback I heard from the others, it was wortbwhile and a good alternative. Four hours of discussion and interesting, amusingly given and non-reprimanding, educational info. If this happens to you, I would urge you to consider the option seriously.

Has the course worked for me?  Yes. I am going to use 3 rd gear in 30 mph zones. I am going to use just my Sat Nav to moniitor the local speed limit and my speed and try to eliminate loss of focus and distraction.I have to stop flicking from the main speedo and the Sat Nav. Quiet, soothing mood music may help  me stay calmer too !

I have also returned “Stewie”, my radar detector, to his place on my dashboard. Honest, officer, it’s not actually in use……………..

To illustrate “Stewie’s” purpose:          A friend asks if my neighbours are honest. “They certainly are” I reply. “Then why the shotgun leaning against your log store?” asks the friend. ” That’s to keep ’em honest!”   says I.

First Posting on New Blog

3 Jan


Every cloud has a silver lining so they say. On my 4th or 5th Day of Man Flu and having had  all my friends and neighbours tearing me to shreds with comments to “Man Up !” and my wife’s cold is much worse than your’s and she’s still climbing Everest! This has enabled me to take time out from chopping logs and daily chores to initiate the new Blog.


The above is shown in a rare moment of political correctness…………

My wife has always maintained that my Preoptic Nucleus was larger than normal. Something that I have always, rather proudly, suspected……………..

This Blog will continue to be updated with our travels but for those seeking new areas of interest please visit my new Blog , in all it’s unpolished infancy at      catchy eh? LOL     Thanks!