All posts by Steve Evans

College Lecturer, would-be Pirate

The VERY thing I’ve been saying for nearly TEN YEARS

Painted cycle lanes

On the 18th January 2010, I blogged here that cycling on Pavements was the only safe way forward at the time.  Just stand by a painted cycle-lane on a busy road (so, all of the UK then) – look at the speed, the vehicle sizes, the behaviour of the motorised traffic – what’s your first thought as a potential cyclist?  It’s “Noooooooooo . . . . . ”

“Dealing with a busy road” advice includes:  Assertiveness – ride with the traffic, not in the gutter, it includes wearing hi-vis, helmets, light yourself-up like a Christmas tree.

It makes me wonder if some drivers need to consider their eyewear options – isn’t a person on a bike big enough to see?

I remember typing – I wanted Mrs Jenkins to be quite able to pop onto her bike and cycle down to the corner shop – in normal clothes.  I wanted Toby to get to school safely, not secured down in an enormous fashion-wagon, spewing exhausts out as it sits in the jams of other Tobys and Melissas – all heading for the some Ofsted graded emporium five miles away.

You see, what happens is the Cyclists that do brave the streets adopt guerrilla tactics, they see the motorised road users as ‘the enemy’ and behave accordingly.  Consequently the motorised road users find these ‘Assertive’ cyclists much more of a nuisance – because they are!

painted_cycle_lanes_waste_of_money

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Doing deals

Doing a deal with Europe

Doing a deal with Europe

Notice the language – we’re trying to ‘do a deal’.

I wonder if the agreements collectively could be termed ‘a bundle’ – then we could align our aspirations with any damned BT TV advert.

It’s the same with Services in the UK, you get a Car Insurance quote, it’s a hundred pounds more than anything on a comparison site, call the company, and they magically find a ‘deal’ that’s three-quid less than the best quote online. Electricity, Gas, Internet, Bank accounts, Mortgages, Rail tickets – go online, find a better deal.

Dealers – Back-street spivs who open their overcoats to display rows of knocked-off wristwatches you can choose from.

Dealers – Young hoody types on dark corners leaning into cars.

Whatever happened to ‘coming to an agreement’ – or for that matter, what ever happened to costing services we all need so they’re affordable – no less, no more. No ‘Market Forces’, shareholders = the Public. Ooh dear – a little bit socialist eh?

And you know what? I’m 62 years of age, and since I was 15 I’ve known to my very quick that the only mechanism that could ever really work for the planet – is some form of socialism, of sharing resources, of collective responsibility.

Jaguar Landrover – job cuts Jan 2019

https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/01/under-fire-from-multiple-foes-jaguar-land-rover-to-cut-4500-uk-workers/

Dr. Ralph Speth, JLR CEO, called the cuts a response to “multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry.”

Let’s just read that again shall we?

  • Regulatory Disruptions ?   You mean a few million of us are disliking the ‘huge vehicle / luxury crap / spew out noxious exhaust gases bit?
    Or do you mean pollution levels are killing thousands every year?
  • Technology Challenges?  Surely not?  I’m certain every damned advert for these machines touted just how technologically advanced they were – didn’t they?
    Did you mean – “sorry, electric isn’t there yet?”

Join me in the fantasy imagining of a company that can read what is needed for the good of us all – planet-wide, and actually manages to be ahead of the curve, instead of citing rubbish in the news.

 

Karina-Jones: Princess Cat

lovely cat
Karina-Jones was due her post-op check-up this afternoon at the Vets.  Perhaps prematurely I was congratulating myself on getting her easily into her jazzy ‘travel’ zip-up carrier.  There it was now, safe on rear seat of the car – the occasional mews of sadness & mild complaint emitting.

Three hundred meters down the road I fancy I can hear a zip being slowly, experimentally pulled, and sure enough – a few seconds later, she appears in the rear-view mirror.  Grinning.

OK – “Be calm” I tell myself “Just drive slowly, and if there’s any sign of her getting toward the front, then pull over and pop her back into the box” – Easy.

At the first set of lights I swivel round and gaze rearward – nothing.  No cat.  She’s obviously climbed over into the hatch area.  This is good news.

We (as I presume it’s still ‘we’) get to the vets.  I need to tell you here that parking at this Vets is very close to a main road.
If I just open the rear-hatch now, a jumpy cat would be about one tiny metre away from a very busy road.  So I gingerly open one of the rear doors, kneel on the rear seat, close the door behind me and try to see Karina.

Nothing.  That’s weird.

Now OK, there’s a lot of stuff in the back – not yet cleared out from a summer’s boating, beaching and god knows what I imagined we’d be doing all Summer from the amount of equipment I carry.  There is however, no matter how many items I carefully move and peer under – decidedly no cat.

“Ok” I think “I’m at the wrong angle” – I get out of the back, carefully close the door, and walk around to the rear hatch and open it about 3 centimetres, kneel down and check no animal is squatting there – pre-pounce to freedom.

Nothing.

Open door wider, scrabble about under items of summer, behind screen-wash top-ups, behind stack-and-store boxes full of emergency tools never ever needed.

Nothing.  “My god I’ve lost her!”  Against all logic – I’m feverishly trying to think if there’s a way out from the back of the car – maybe underneath?
Just like checking the same place a million times when you’ve lost something you KNOW you’ve checked this place but you can’t help yourself.

OK, there’s nothing for it.  I lock the car doors and walk into the vet’s reception.

“HI!  Steve Evans, and Karina – except I haven’t got Karina.”  The young girl gives me an old-fashioned look.  I try and explain, I fail, and we re-schedule the appointment.

Back outside I’m in one of those ‘I can’t believe this’ moods.  What a waste of time and effort – I’m never gonna use that stupid travel cat jobby-thingy again.  I lean against the front wing of the car and stare at nothing.

A movement attracts my attention.  There’s Karina, paws up against the rear window – she’s staring at me in a way that seems to ask “what shall we do together now Papa?” 

I open the door, pick her up, pop her effortlessly into the carrier, zip it up (noticing en-route the Velcro zipper lock I’d completely failed to see the first time).

Now at this point it is maybe three minutes after I’d last been into reception, so I whiz back in – cat in bag, so pleased to have retrieved the situation.

A different girl is sat behind the desk, and she’s on the phone to someone who seems to prefer every phrase to be peppered with “you know” and “to be fair” before the conversation can progress.

Fifteen hours later she puts the phone down.  I explain that I am no longer sans-cat.  She peers at her computer monitor.

She presses a few keyboard keys, and looks up to gaze around reception for a few hours.

Apparently the ‘phone call was someone diving-in to take-up the cancelled appointment.

“Ah well thanks anyway.”   Karina-Jones and I drive home.