Friday 3 June 2011


This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Willy’s MB – popularly known as the Jeep. The first four wheel drive vehicle that many people came into contact with through service in the forces in the Second World War, it provided the springboard for the whole 4×4 industry – particularly once the Land Rover came along in 1948. There are an awful lot of Land Rovers – nearly five million in their various flavours.

One of them is sitting on our front drive – a 2003 Freelander. Want to buy it? It seems the market for older second-hand 4x4s has died. Our car has a book price of £3200, but the best trade-in we’ve been offered is £1400 because “nobody wants ’em”. With most 4×4 manufacturers now offering much more economical models (the latest Freelander diesel has similar mpg figures to a Ford Focus, compared with our model’s 29mpg on a good day, downhill with a following wind) and petrol at £1.35 or more per litre, people are shunning older models in favour of cheaper options.

As always, those who can not afford a new car are left to run more expensive models. Using the tax system to penalise drivers of gas-guzzling cars may seem well-and-good and is well intentioned, but it tends to penalise the poor twice over – first on the extra cost of running the car (be it an aging 4×4 or an aging saloon) and on the higher tax disc costs. In rural areas, a 4×4 is a pragmatic choice – when roads around here were effectively closed to non 4x4s by snow for more than a week earlier this year, if you wanted to get to work, school, the shops or – in our case – infirm parents who might need help at a moment’s notice, an older gas-guzzling 4×4 is vital. Our road is full of them (at least eight in a road of just 31 households).

So, what do you do? Wait for the new car fairy to wave a magic, fuel-efficient wand?

Post title inspired by this.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Meme instead of work

So sue me. Or him.

1. My uncle once: fell over the side of an aircraft carrier in a plane. Actually, he did it more than once.

2. Never in my life: flown in a hot air balloon.

3. When I was five: I began primary school. My teacher was called Miss English, and I told her that my parents were aged 21 and 18.

4. High school was: not as great as people sometimes claim. But not as bad either. And probably a missed opportunity, particularly the sixth form.

5. I will never forget: the day that Tom was born.

6. Once I met: Molly Sugden. She visited my parent’s nursery and forgot to take her credit card after the transaction.

7. There’s this girl I know. Fact.

8. Once, at a bar: I was stalked by a midget with a perm.

9. By noon, I’m usually: thirsty.

10. Last night: I fought with Tom whilst trying to persuade him to sleep and then went to bed early myself. My patience is dramatically reduced when I feel ill.

11. If only I had: more money, time and self-discipline.

12. Next time I go to church: I’ll probably be with Tom and we’ll admire the architecture.

13. What worries me most: is not much at all. I don’t worry about much, as it seems a rather futile activity. But I’m concerned about the future, like most people. You can only wish to be happy, comfortable and for your child to have it better than you did.

14. When I turn my head left I see: the garden – lots of plants in flower, plus Tom’s trike parked outside the door.

15. When I turn my head right I see: a couple of pot plants and the stereo.

16. You know I’m lying when: I admit to it.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: the lack of responsibility. As I was in my early to mid teens during that period, I didn’t have much responsibility at all. Unfortunately, it was a missed opportunity – I should have grasped those years a bit more.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: Banquo? Nah, who am I kidding?

19. By this time next year: we’ll be millionaires, Rodney! Alternatively, I might have finished those draft posts for this site.

20. A better name for me would be: um, actually, I like the one I have.

21. I have a hard time understanding: people who don’t think things through and use the evidence available to their own senses. I can understand why Richard Dawkins gets so frustrated by people who don’t agree with the findings of empiricists.

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: have taken a wrong turning.

23. You know I like you if: I relax. You’ll know it when you see it.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: Hels.

25. Take my advice, never: clean your headlamps with a baby wipe and then try to stick “beam benders” on. It won’t work. (What? You wanted a philosophical answer??)

26. My ideal breakfast is: Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious muesli with cold milk. Plus eggs, bacon, toast, tomato, black pudding, juice, coffee, cheese, bread, ham…

27. A song I love but do not have is: not known to me yet. I tend to download stuff I like soon after hearing it.

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: visit the Cathedral and then a pub (assuming you mean the place I consider my hometown. If you mean the place where I live, then visit the church – it has a surprise inside).

29. Why won’t people: just give me the f***ing money now!

30. If you spend a night at my house: you’d eat well, drink well and, hopefully, relax.

31. I’d stop my wedding for: nothing, except a fire alarm perhaps. Done it already.

32. The world could do without: about three quarters of its human population. Obviously you and I are exempt from this.

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: its feet.

34. My favourite blonde(s) is/are: my wife.

35. Paper clips are more useful than: staples if you want to take the pages apart again after fixing them together.

36. If I do anything well it’s: cook duck à l’orange.

37. I can’t help but: I have a short attent

38. I usually cry: when peeling onions.

39. My advice to my child/nephew/niece: is to never stop asking questions.

40. And by the way: isn’t it your round?


Friday 9 December 2005

Rommel Markt

Rommel Markt. Photo hosted at Flickr

Rommel Markt
Originally uploaded by graybo.

The perfect place to get your lovely fresh Rommels. Three for a fiver!

Spotted by junction 43 of the A59 near Vlijmen, Netherlands. 8 December 2005.

Tuesday 6 December 2005

Ik werk voor BERK

Ik werk voor BERK. Photo hosted at Flickr

Ik werk voor BERK
Originally uploaded by graybo.

Uh huh.
Spotted in the car park of De Vroomen Holland BV, Lisse, Netherlands, 6 December 2005.

Wednesday 16 November 2005


Image021.jpg. Photo hosted at Flickr

Originally uploaded by graybo.

I have all sorts of issues with any manner of things – politics, people, clients, competitors, the weather, the cat’s muddy feet. Can I now get these issues resolved at McDonald’s?