Bank Holiday Weekend

Well that was a busy one!

After a somewhat heavy session on Friday night at Abacus with colleagues – damn you Happy Hour! – Saturday found me packing for the weekend and heading over to GT for Saturday, including seeing “The Avengers”/”Avengers Assemble” (which I can recommend as a good, fun film) and a nice meal out afterwards.

Sunday morning and GT was running a half-marathon so I left at a reasonable time and headed off to Manchester with a stay at the comfortable Radisson Edwardian and an evening out at the Comedy Store‘s “King Gong” stand-up show with some very good (and some really awful) stand-up comics.

Monday was a day shopping at various stores in Manchester including a 20+ minute wait at Starbuck’s in the Arndale Centre for a coffee. I was somewhat disturbed though by this that I saw whilst walking through Top Shop:

I'm sorry? "Formal"? Jogger?

Then another night at the Radisson Edwardian that ended with me watching Homeland’s disappointing end (well, for the first series anyway): why do the US networks insist on keeping these series running on and on rather than actually developing a story with a start, a middle and an end? I won’t now bother with the second series.

Tuesday saw me mainly sitting in traffic jams on my way to Birmingham for a meeting and then back down to London. Somehow, despite excellent driving conditions, people had variously managed a series of crashes on the M6 and one on the A406 North Circular that closed it leading to really long tailbacks. How do people manage to crash in such excellent conditions?

If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong…

One of the most trite sayings that sheeple come out with from time to time when human rights issues come up is “if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ve nothing to fear”.

I always counter that with “define ‘wrong’ now and in the future”. What may be acceptable now might not be acceptable in the future.

Taking speeding and speed limits. Now I regularly speed but I believe I am a safer driver when ‘pressing on’ given that my attention is fully on the road ahead, traffic, etc. The other trite line trotted out by the Government is that “speed kills”. If that truly was the case, there would be no Traffic Division police officers alive, would there? It’s the inappropriate use of speed that’s the issue, but that’s more difficult to police without human intervention.

The Nanny State has announced that it intends to reduce speed limits where there is a higher risk of accidents but that’s bollocks as usual: speed limits will simply be reduced for no good reason as a revenue generator.

A case in point: the section of road between Wymondham and Thickthorn Services on the old A11 in Norfolk (now the B1172) used to have a 40mph limit in Wymondham, then a national limit, then a 50mph limit through Hethersett before becoming a national limit again.

Over time, the 50mph limit has been extended towards Wymondham despite there being no additional housing or changes in use, etc.

I noticed recently that the limits have now been changed to a 40mph limit in Wymondham, then a 50mph limit then a 40mph limit through Hethersett. Why’s this?

Similarly other rural roads in Norfolk have had 50mph limits imposed despite no changes of use or apparent increases in crashes.

Ridiculous!

“I’m sure that the majority of motorists would support the proposals”

From the same bunch of fuckwits that brought you “People ‘can’t wait for ID cards’” comes news of another twat suggesting that if the road speed limit was cut to 50mph the majority of motorists would support the new restrictions, which would be enforced by average speed cameras.

Well here’s news for you, Jim Fitzpatrick: I would be dead against yet another piece of ill-conceived, knee-jerk legislation from you bunch of arrogant control freaks! Or, put another way, you can fuck right off you power-crazed, arrogant, self-obsessed piece of shit!

Sounds like it’s about time for some well organised campaign of civil disobedience before the nanny state imposes yet more draconian legislation on us. Any takers?

SatNavs Compared

I had a journey to go on today: Google Maps reckon the outward leg should have taken 3 hours. The Garmin i3 (aka Psycho SatNav Bitch as ‘she’ tends to taunt me with unrealistic targets, even the way I drive) reckoned around 2¼ hours. My Nokia N95-8GB with Nokia Maps, on the other hand, reckoned 4 hours. Something of a disagreement.

In the end, the combination of the time of day, the occasional spray and muck left over from gritting (even though it hadn’t been icy) and the way I drive meant it took 2½ hours.

The routes themselves were almost identical, the only difference being the route in or around Grantham.

And the other differences were:

  1. the Garmin had the speed camera database to warn me of “accident blackspots”;
  2. as the Nokia was on the cradle and connected to the car kit, every spoken direction muted the radio which is a tad annoying when the voice prompts get a little frantic; and
  3. the Nokia’s display also shows the current speed (good) and the time left rather than the ETA (bad).

Looks like there’s still no ideal solution for me, but the Saga-driver Nokia is closest as it’s so nicely contained within the phone.

Speeding

On the same subject, I was pondering about speeding today: a lovely day, a wide dual-carriageway that had opened up to three lanes, the fairly light traffic moving well, etc.

The traffic was flowing well at speeds of between 50 and 100mph, I’d guess, with no bunching, lots of space being left, etc. Nice and safe.

And then we came across a rare sight on our roads these days: a marked Volvo estate doing slightly under 70mph. All the alert drivers slowed down to 70mph and for the few miles until the police car turned off, it was horrible. The previously free-flowing road was now snarled up with everyone keeping to the limit and thus taking much longer to overake the slower moving commercial vehicles which in turn was causing longer queues of traffic and further bunching. It was clearly a far more dangerous place to be with so many other vehicles in a smaller area than they otherwise would be taking up.

But of course, that wasn’t the point, was it? Forget good driving: everyone was having to simply obey an arbitrary limit set in 1965 when the average family car was hard pressed to hit 70mph and even more hard pressed to slow down from that speed. Ridiculous!

The Trouble with Speed Cameras…

So after people decided that the “scameras” were being located for maximum revenue potential rather than to actually save lives – pouring scorn on the pathetic “safety camera” doublespeak that our illustrious leaders and the NGOs indulge in to restrict us – regulations were introduced to require speed cameras to be brightly painted, be visible from 60m (200ft), and be sited only where there was a history of road accidents. Of course the scamera vans flouted these guidelines no doubt to be seen to be doing something about this scourge (sarcasm intended).

It was only by chance that I happened upon an article in the Motoring section of today’s Daily Telegraph which reveals an about turn by the Department for Transport and that those regulations are now merely guidelines. So we can now expect these little Hitlers to be concealing scameras all over the place to provide as much justification as possible for these useless wankers to keep their overpaid and unnecessary jobs.

Their true intentions are revealed by this telling quote from Lee Murphy, speed camera manager for Cheshire:

“If the rules weren’t compulsory, we could use cameras to tackle emerging trends rather than waiting for the minimum number of collisions.”

In other words, “forget the justification for speed cameras being that they are positioned to assist road safety, it’s all about the money!”