Tag Archives: M25

Cars

I like cars. I like driving them even more. The workings of the internal combustion engine are a complete mystery to me though. As with DIY, engines are beyond me. I know where to put the fuel, the oil, coolant and screen wash. I can change a wheel but that’s the limit of my expertise.

I think I may have mentioned before that my first ever car was a 1973 MGB GT.

This is identical to the MGB that I had. Same colour, same interior, same wheels.

It had a 1.8 litre engine with overhead valves. Nope. No idea what that means but it was a nice car and I travelled many miles and it was a blast driving it. Girls liked it too which was the best reason ever to own it.

The next car I owned was a Rover P5.

It was like driving around in a gentleman’s club with all the old leather in it. It had a bloody great 3.5 litre V8 engine. Ever since then I have loved the burble of a V8 car engine. A lovely sound. With the price of petrol at 55p per gallon it wasn’t particularly expensive to drive either despite a lousy M.P.G.. When fuel prices started to shoot up, I got rid of it. Shame really because they’re worth a fortune now.

There then followed quite a few years of dull and bland company cars. Some were ok but nothing more and some were just crap. There were exceptions. For a few months my company car was a Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth 4×4. Brilliant car that looked like a normal saloon car but went like stink.

Goes like stink

Unfortunately, I wrote it off when a tyre blew out at speed and it rolled over. I hasten to add that the speed I was travelling at was the national speed limit. Maybe just a little bit above it but not much. Really. Then it was back to boring and unexciting cars. It was the same for PIL. Our cars did the job they were supposed to do but nothing more. Then in 1994, we bought ourselves a car which started a love affair with the marque that has continued to this day. So much so that we have two now. We bought a Land Rover Discovery.

On the school run

What a brilliant car! Over the years we have had a couple of Range Rovers and a Land Rover Defender

but we keep coming back to Discoverys. We’ve probably had 8 or 9 in total and currently own a couple of Discovery 4s.

For us they are the perfect car. We live in the country and during winter the roads are rarely gritted, snow drifts form quickly that block the roads to all but 4x4s or  the roads flood and our village and others nearby get cut off unless you have a 4×4 that can wade through fairly deep water. One of the other advantages is that Discoverys come with 7 seats. Our kids are very sporty and are always playing matches in one sport or another and of course, PIL and I go to see as many matches as we can and this means that we often return to their school with half a football/hockey/rugby/netball or swimming team in the car plus all the kit that goes with the sport. So for us, it was ideal. Land Rovers are also tough as old boots. Google “land rover defender falls off cliff” and read the stories that appear. You can read about the blokes who survived when their Land Rover Defender rolled 600 feet down a slope or the Scottish bloke who survived after driving his Discovery off a 150 foot cliff. Or the woman who survived after driving her blue Discovery off another cliff. I’m not sure if the fact it was blue made any difference and I can’t really say why so many Land Rover owners seem to enjoy driving off cliffs but they survived the experience. I can confirm the toughness of these vehicles from personal experience. On one occasion, I was returning home after dropping the children at school. I was driving our Defender. I stopped as the car in front of me was turning right. Just as it turned, a van being taken for a test drive by a mechanic drove into the back of me. The Defender which is not the lightest of vehicles, was thrown 30 or 40 feet forward by the impact. I got out of the car completely uninjured. The van was a write off with the whole front end completely demolished. My Defender had a couple of broken rear lights, a bent tow bar, the rear windows were smashed and that was it. I drove it to the nearby Land Rover garage and arranged for the van to be picked up by the breakdown people.

On another occasion, PIL was going to a work function in central London. She took my Range Rover. She phoned me just after midnight to say she was stuck in a traffic jam on the M20 caused by road works. Ten minutes later she rang again to say she had been involved in an accident. She was fine but the car wasn’t. An articulated lorry had driven into the back of it. The lorrys brakes had failed. If PIL had been in a normal car, the lorry would have gone straight over the top of it and killed her! That was the opinion of the Traffic cop who attended the accident.

A few years ago, PIL and CJ were on their way to LegoLand and were travelling along the M25 in PILs Discovery 3 when a German articulated lorry decided to move out of the inside lane of the motorway without indicating and obviously without looking in his mirrors because he moved out onto a car travelling in the next lane and shoved it straight into the path of PIL in the outside lane and overtaking both these vehicles. PIL hit the central reservation at about 70 mph. The impact spun the car and it finally came to a halt on the hard shoulder, jammed up tight against the armco crash barrier facing the wrong way. All the air bags had deployed filling the car with smoke to the extent PIL was convinced the car was on fire. Thankfully, it wasn’t and she and CJ were completely unharmed. Shaken yes but unhurt.

On the way to Sainsburys to do the weekly shop

They really are brilliant cars and if money were no object I know exactly what car I would buy. This car really is the dogs bollocks.

 

I’d buy a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang.

The Dogs Bollocks

But I’d also have a Land Rover Discovery as my daily drive. Probably the only car you will ever need or want.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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Guilt

I’m sitting at home feeling guilty. The soaps are on TV so PIL is destroying several million brain cells watching them. She enjoys mindless TV apparently and Morgan Freeman help anyone who speaks while they’re on.

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So why do I feel guilt?

I have been away for a couple of weeks working.

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I disappeared on the 13th May to start on a task on the 14th. It was scheduled to finish on the 29th. It didn’t. By 11am on the 28th we had finished and after a horrendous journey on the M25, I had returned home to my family by 4pm. This meant that I was able to watch the Play off final between Hull and Sheffield Wednesday and then swop channels to watch the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid while still being paid. I also spent Sunday the 29th poking around in the garden, the local garden centre, walking the dog, spending time with my family (except Greg who was at his girlfriends “revising”) and getting paid while I did so. Is this why I feel guilt? No chance!

No. I feel guilty because on the 16th the builders appeared to start work replacing the family bathroom, the en-suite and the downstairs loo and poor PIL had to deal with it all. It did not get off to a good start. Within 30 seconds of arriving, one of the builders had smashed a vase. It did not improve at all over the next couple of weeks. There were no major disasters, just a series of minor problems that started driving PIL nuts.

The builder sent an email stating:

“Get any shower you like for the bathrooms.”

assuming that we remembered a brief conversation we had many weeks previously where he said that the main bathroom needed an electric shower. We didn’t so PIL got the wrong showers which in turn meant there wasn’t any shower in the house for 2 days as a pump had to purchased and it had to be installed and because of that delay, the radiators haven’t been fitted. Not having a shower for two days is a major disaster in our house!20160530_150927

Then they installed the toilet for the main bathroom in the downstairs loo. Why? They didn’t ask and just installed the toilet closest to hand. Another morning lost. Each of the sinks is having a cabinet fitted underneath. The one in the downstairs toilet was going to be full length. So that’s what PIL got. Then it turned out that due to some issues with pipes, it needed to be a wall hung unit. So PIL ordered one. The following day she noticed they were installing the full length cabinet. So she had to cancel the wall hung unit but it had already been despatched and so on and so forth………..

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Work has commenced in the en-suite and has been more involved than at first thought but at the same time, the tiling in the main bathroom hasn’t been completed. Why? No idea.20160530_150833

I explained to the guy that we have absolutely no issue with the workmen or the standard of workmanship but there has been a distinct lack of communication and he has made a very dangerous assumption that we understand what he is talking about. Neither of us is thick and we are very good at every aspect of our professional lives but we know absolutely nothing about building, plumbing or tiling middle-age-man-tools-18781280

so he needs to treat us like a couple of morons and use simple words of one syllable or less and not assume that we will remember a short conversation about showers that took place some weeks previously.

“In future mate, put on your emails; ‘any shower you like but remember the main bathroom needs an electric one’!”

The builders are back today and I have told their Boss to be here later today so we can thrash out all these niggling issues once and for all. The plan is that the bathrooms should be finished this week. We shall see. Until then I will continue to feel guilty about leaving PIL to deal with all this nonsense although I have to say she has done a bloody marvellous job dealing with the builders and a never ending series of hiccups while at the same time selecting all the units and tiles and showers and baths and bogs and basins. It’s looking good.

I think our new bathrooms may be the subject of another post real soon. Until then have a bloody excellent day.

More Dick soon.

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The M25

Also known as The London Orbital Motorway because it very nearly completely surrounds London. It doesn’t quite because the section over the River Thames at Dartford is an “A” road so that traffic forbidden from using motorways like horse drawn carriages, mopeds under 50cc, cyclists, tractors and ride on lawn mowers can cross the Thames here. I’m looking forward to seeing a ride on mower chugging along crossing the QEII bridge!

m25map

 

When it’s good it’s very, very good but when it’s bad it’s an absolute bastard! Chris Rea is supposed to have written ‘The Road to Hell’ while stuck in a jam on the M25. Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere’ is also very apt as the whole of the M25s 117 miles doesn’t actually go anywhere except round and round which is why it’s often referred to as the Worlds longest car park. I use it a lot and I need to have a bit of a rant.

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Most of the M25 is now 4 or more lanes in each direction but not all of it. So as an “experiment” some bright spark

 

Homer-Simpson-insert-brain-here

 

decided to increase the number of lanes from 3 to 4 in two seperate sections by converting the hard shoulder to a live traffic lane. I travel along the northern section of this experiment on a regular basis. There are little lay-byes every couple of miles for broken down vehicles. I find it amazing that the Highways Agency who are responsible for roads in the UK actually knows EXACTLY where vehicles will breakdown, get a flat tyre or crash into each other so they can take refuge in the Refuge that just happens to be where they have broken down, had a crash or got a flat tyre. A load of bollocks. What actually happens is that the broken down vehicle is left stranded in the middle of the motorway with cars passing at high speed or lorries carrying 40 tons of cargo bearing down on them. (The speed limit in the UK is 70mph but no one goes that slow except trucks and ride on mowers, everyone else is doing at least 80 mph. Except me of course). So the Highways Agency put speed limit signs up saying “40mph”. “Stranded vehicle” and “Queue ahead” which everyone ignores because the Highways Agency forget to turn them off again after the “Stranded vehicle” has been removed, so 7 times out of 10 there’s nothing there. Eventually, drivers come across the obstruction and are forced to stop. A four lane traffic jam forms and quickly lengthens. The emergency services arrive at the end of a 10 mile tailback totally unable to reach the incident because some twit thought it would be a good idea to turn the hard shoulder, which is used by broken down vehicles as a refuge and by the emergency services to get to an incident, into a live traffic lane. It then takes 4 hours to clear a car with a flat tyre.

M25-traffic

Last year a truck caught fire. Not a major problem usually but he had no hard shoulder to pull into. The fire spread along the lorry. Traffic built up behind it and at the end of that queue were half a dozen fire engines that were going nowhere. So. More fire engines were despatched from the other direction. By the time they arrived past all the rubber neckers, the lorry was completely engulfed in flames, the sides of the trucks trailer had collapsed and 40 tons of cargo, which was also on fire had fallen out and covered the rest of the carriageway. The tarmac melted and absolute chaos reigned

lorry 3 @brocky74

In February, a lorry broke down and the tailback created was 12 miles long! How do I know this? I know this because it happened during the evening rush hour and Thank God, I was travelling in the opposite direction on my way home.

m25 jam

This is a photo of the traffic jam that I refer to.

One lorry, yes ONE lorry, breaks down and the motorway system around London grinds to a halt. All because some 45 year old idiot

p03crycs

who probably still lives with his mum and dad, wears a cardigan his mum knitted for him, masturbates a lot, can’t drive and travels everywhere by train thought it would be a good idea not to have what is effectively an emergency lane on one of the busiest motorways in Europe.

 

Cost to the UK? Probably billions in lost time and spoiled goods and an adverse effect on my blood pressure.

I have a message for this person:

My hat is more intelligent than you buster.

 

NOW

Fuck_Off_and_DIE_by_edsplace

Rant over. Have a great evening by avoiding the M25

More Dick soon.

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