Friday, March 31, 2006

Proverbials # 2 - Give a man enough rope.....

Following a series of deliveries Kev and I were in possession of a particularly long length of rope. Enough to run up and down an articulated lorry two or three times. If that isn't enough rope for suspension purposes then I don't know what is. WIt was placed on hid driveway on Monday.

I didn't inform him that he was taking part in this experiment, partly because I didn't want to influence him into doing the opposite out of sheer cussedness, and also partly because I hoped he might avoid the rope but his wife fall victim to it's charms. Well, we can all dream!

Tuesday passed and no contact from him. Fair enough, we occasionally have days when we dont talk or text. Wednesday, too, passed in a deafening silence. This was beginning to look like the first proverb to prove itself.

However, Wednesday night at about 11:50 he texted about meeting up on Thursday.

I therefore declare that even if you give a man way too much rope than he could possibly need for hanging himself, he fails to do so. Another proverb that is a waste of time.

Expect an update later if you also have to give a man enough time as well as enough rope etc.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Proverbials #2 - Intro

A chance has come my way to test out the proverb "Give a man enough rope and he will hang himself".

More to follow. Possibly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Proverbials #1 - Never Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth

The first problem was to find a gift horse. There are few horses in this neck of West London. Those that are almost definitely belong to gypsies and are best not looked at at all. This obviously required a modicum of lateral thinking and thus I took myself off to Toys'R'Us and made straight for the My Little Pony display.

Looking into the mouth of My Little Pony is a tricky business, particularly when packed in a giant bubble of plastic, the horse, not me, but then, when someone says "look into my eyes" they don't intend you to open their eyes surgically and have a rummage around amidst the contents. This being the case I stared intently at the mouth areas of several of the ponies. This was a safeguard as there was an outside chance that a young girl might come along and buy a pony for herself rather than as a gift. The chances of that happening half a dozen times in a row was slim.

I left the shop. It didn't collapse trapping me within the rubble. All was starting well. Then, things started to go even better.

My power lead for the laptop had packed up the other day and IBM wanted £100+ for a new one, and even Maplins generic model is £49.95! Straight to e-bay and someone locally was selling an IBM lead of the right type and no-one had bid. Allowing a top bid of £20 which would have been well worth it, I had the start bid of £4.95 and by 3.20 when the auction finished it was mine, still for £4.95. Spoke to the seller and we arranged to meet, and three hours later it was in my possession. Result!

But not the only result. My journey to meet him involved me coming north up the A3 and down West Hill from Tibbetts Corner. A stretch of road so notorious for traffic delays that grown men have been reduced to tears and forced to eat the innards of their car seats as sustenance as the hours ticked by to move a further 50 yards. I entered the underpass. This was promising, I came out the other side. A hold up here would be average to good. I headed for the bit where three lanes become one. Still no traffic. In fact, the first time I had to apply the brakes was halfway down West Hill at the lights with West Hill Road! Not bad for 5.30 in the evening!!!! In fact, that would have been exceptional at 5.30 in the morning as anyone acquainted with the area would know!

Other more mundane things are going well and better than normal.

Conclusion : Not only is it safe to look a gift horse in the mouth, it is positively recommended. I can only assume that the instruction to desist from this action was started by The Society for Equine Mouth Gazers to protect their good fortune.

My next challenge will commence shortly.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Proverbials......

I have decided over the next few days, weeks, months, I will test various proverbs in order to check whether they are to be kept safe and followed or whether they should be discarded.

Starting tomorrow, and with no thought to my own safety, I am going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I am fighting to prevent myself from buying absolutely everything on ebay.

I need help.

Freak Show

I hear that the next incarnation of Big Brother will include someone with Tourettes Syndrome. One must hope that this is only a rumour to wind people up. But if not why don't we put a Downs Syndrome child in there and the other contestants could poke it with a stick for our amusement. If anyone knows the descendents of The Elephant Man and they take after him then we could include them in as well.

Let's have us a freak show! Or perhaps the public could do something like not watch the series. No, that would probably be crediting our society with too much sense.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bargain Update

The £139 car continues to give good service. It has now done 1000 miles since I bought it.

I thought there was a problem this morning though. I was driving along when there was a loud bang from the rear. I thought maybe it was the boot that I hadn't closed properly as I had just gone over a speed bump and that might have shut it. Next corner I come to I turn left and the indicator flashes double time. Rear indicator bulb appears to have gone. Before I buy one I just check the other lights are working to discover the entire rear nearside cluster isn't working.

Oh Bother! I think to myself. I decide it's shorted out for some reason and can see hours of changing wiring etc to cure it. Then I just check whether the bulb area is damp to find out that the light unit has just fallen away from iot's holder. Slotted it back in and everything is fine.

£139 might buy you a car, but not peace of mind.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Master Criminals

There is now a breed of criminals that are such a threat to society that their every move has to be monitored by camera, 24 hours a day, to stop them breaking the law.

It is probably you. And if it isn't it is almost definitely the majority of people you know.

It is.................... the motorist.

The latest government adviser has decided on this.

Who is this Mr Gifford? Apart from an absolute fecking idiot! Can the government honestly take notice of an advisor who wants to clamp down on motorists by increasing camera use because the 7/7 bombers travelled to Luton Station by car!

This government is obsessed with clamping down on motorists and raising revenue. Of course the fact that they were never meant to gain any money from the cameras but now do has nothing to do with it. Yeah, right!

If motorists are the scum of the earth then perhaps they should ban cars along with cigarettes and alcohol, as all of crime in this country appears to be centered on those three items if you believe them.

There is a road near me, Midhurst Road for those who know the Northfields area of Ealing, which is covered in potholes. It is a fairly busy road as there are schools nearby and it is on a route connecting a number of major roads. Someone, and this person should be knighted immediately, has gone down the road with one of those industrial paint cans and put a ring round every one of them. Then at regular intervals has sprayed "road tax", "car tax" "Fuel tax" etc along the road as well. A point well made.

The government now tax your fuel (fuel tax), your car purchase (VAT), your insurance (Insurance Premium Tax) as well as the traditional road tax. The roads in the meantime are a disgrace. I will have blogged previously on my Kennamatic site about the quality of French roads these days as oppose to ours. Soon it will be the UK with "chausee deforme" signs.

Meanwhile "official" cars are free to park where they want, and that appears to include standard police cars, without the fear of recrimination. Meanwhile you will be persecuted.

This is a rant I go back to at regular intervals. It is one of the few things in life that winds me up. I don't get stressed by traffic jams but this is beginning to get to me. If I am ever going to get into civil disobedience it will be over this issue. I have always pulled over for the emergency services when their sirens are going, and I always will for the fire and ambulance services, but I automatically presume now that if a police car is on "an emergency" it is either untrue and just trying to cut through traffic, or is after a fellow motorist, lord knows, they never turn up when people are attacked or burgled so they won't be on their way to that sort of incident. I feel, and I know plenty of others like me, that we are in a "them and us" situation.

Anyone know any good ways to make a stand that doesn't involve overtly breaking the law or getting yourself into too deep hot water? I'll sign up.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bargain of the Century

At last, my weeks of cycling are at an end with the purchase of a car off e-bay for the princely sum of £139!!!!! Now that is a bargain because a) there was £45 quids worth of fuel in the tank, a new battery worth £35, and 6 months MOT worth about £21. so with those £101 pounds worth of good bits it means the rest of the car cost me £38. And if someone else hadn't been bidding he would have in effect paid me a pound to take it away as the e-bay listing started at £100.

It's an H reg Ford Granada 2.0 DOHC and it drives like it is new! No wheel judder even at 70 mph (+10/15 mph if you're not a police officer). Not a beat of the enging missed and kick down for overtaking was fine, responsive and definitely not showing it's 155,000 miles done.

The bodywork has the usual minor rust spots on the wheel arches, but what Granada doesn't, and to be fair, my bodywork isn't all it was 15 years ago!

By the time the travelling to Bury is thrown in, and the meals en route I'm all set up for just around £200.

If my usual pecuniary position had been any better I mmight not have though about trying to get a cheapy on ebay, but because it is I've got a real bargain.

Hurrah for the internet!!!!!

Trains & Boats & Planes

Actually, on this occasion it was trains and buses and tubes and coaches and trams.

Yesterday I had to travel, with Kev tagging along, to Bury in Lancashire in order to pick up the bargain of the century. Now there is probably a nice direct train from Euston to Bury but knowing Virgin it probably costs a nice tidy price as well, so I went for the alternative.

Train from Brentford to Vauxhall.

The journey started well with catching the 9.53 to Waterloo. Brentford station has no ticket office and like many of the train stations on this bit of South West Trains you buy your ticket on board. Or at least you do if someone comes round to sell you one! They didn't so, as there are no exit barriers in force today at Vauxhall that was £5.90 saved.

Tube from Vauxhall to Victoria.

We get to Vauxhall at 10.19. Two stops on the Victoria line costs £3.00 each but luckily a train comes straight away and we get to Victoria at about 10.30. No hope of dodging that fare!

Bus from Victoria Station to Victoria Coach Station.

This was a bit of a luxury as it's only about 500 yards. Kev however is not sure 500 yards isn't too far for him to walk so we catch a number 11 bus. "2 to the coach station" I request of the driver. He shakes his head and nods for us to just get into the bus and not bother paying. Within minutes we are at the coach terminal.

Coach from London Victoria to Manchester Central

Checking the timetable there is a direct coach leaving at 11:00 with just one pick up at Milton Keynes. (Anorak Corner - the 540 service to Rochdale). Victoria coach terminal looks a lot better than the last time I used it but that must be a good 20 years ago or more. Kev waits whilst I rush to the ticket office and purchase two of their finest tickets for the journey. £41.00 for the pair. Not bad I suppose compared to what the train would probably set us back. Stopping momentarily to buy a couple of sandwiches to keep us going on the 4 1/2 hour journey we bound aboard and grab the last two seats together. The rest of the bus, all 23 other pairs of seats are occupied by one solitary person. The coach is away on time. Leaves via St Johns Wood, Camden, Brent Cross and onto the M1. Slight detour at Milton Keynes to The Coachway which is no more than 5 minutes off the motorway and we carry on after various groups of people try to work out how they can sit relatively near to each other. After the M1 it's the M6 and then probably some bit of the Greater Manchester motorway system and into the Centre. Coach arrives about 15 minutes early, even allowing for a change of driver at Knutsford Services. At no point did anyone check we had a ticket for the journey but just as we were ruing the fact that we had bought one we remembered that the driver had counted everyone and rung the figure through to the office. Whilst this confirmed the potential numbers of injured should the bus crash, it probably also allowed them to tally the number of people aboard with the number of tickets sold. If there was a discrepancy then no doubt tickets would have to be produced.

Tram from Manchester to Bury

We had hoped to catch another bus to Bury but the next one appeared to be at 8:55 this evening. Probably not true but that ruled it out anyway and we weren't in the mood to go looking for a mysterious GMPTE bus stop with buses Bury bound. Rushing to the information desk to ask how we get to Bury one of the three remembers that there is actually a tram 50 yards away which goes there so we walk to the nearby tramstop and immediately miss one. Luckily there is only a 10minute wait and, having purchased a couple of £3.10 tickets, which again were never checked so we might as well have not have bothered, we board and shoot off to the Northern reaches of Greater Manchester. We arrive in Bury at 4:25, ideal as we are meeting someone at 5:00.

With just 35 minutes left what can we do other than go take refreshment at the handily placed Robert Peel public house!

Then it was bargain time!