Wednesday 26 September 2018

Bicycle number plates.

Apparently a school has brought in a new system whereby the pupils will be compelled to have number plates on their bicycles so they can be identified should they be riding badly or offensively.

There has been some suggestion that a number plate scheme for all bicycles would be a good idea and I for one have to say I would thoroughly endorse the idea.

I would even go so far as to suggest that all bicycle owners should have number plates, insurance and pay road tax to use the road, which would keep them in line with all the other road users in this country.

On a recent trip through London I was astounded how much of the available road space is given over to cyclists and yet none of them pay a single penny for the privilege.

In certain parts of London as much as half the road is given over to cyclists, great swathes of the available road are painted blue and yet not one penny is collected from these people who command a disproportionately large area of the road.

Without putting to fine a point on it, I think it's about time to ban all bicycles from the road until they  are properly insured, have licence plates and pay road tax equivalent to the amount of road they are allotted, it seems only fair. 

Sunday 23 September 2018

Duxford Battle of Britain Airshow.

I have been to this event before and it was my intention to go this year with my wife and our grandchildren but sadly it was not to be.

On the previous occasion when we went we purchased tickets to the Gold Enclosure which included a parking permit which they said was exclusive for the Gold Enclosure, as we were going in the 1947 Bentley. I was going to end the sentence with; going in the 1947 Bentley of which I am a little precious, but I am concerned as to the well-being of all my cars and I thought I should clarify the sentence as it is relevant later in the story.

This year we became Premium Family Members, two adults and two children at a cost of £115.00 which we thought might be useful as we wanted to have access to the Premium Members Enclosure which had it's own cafe and seemed to offer a more exclusive way to attend the event.

We still however had to purchase entry tickets at £29.50 each although the kids went free as they were under 15 and a parking permit at £5.00, so a total outlay of  £179.00 in total for the day.

The weather had been awful on the morning of the event so we left later in the hope of it clearing, unfortunately we weren't the only ones with this idea as upon arriving we were stuck in a traffic jam for 1 hour before getting near the entrance. Finally we arrived at the usual Duxford entrance and having seen no signs for the Members Car Park I followed the signs to VIP and enclosure where I enquired where the Members Car Park might be. I was instructed to follow the normal car park signs to where they alleged I would find the Members Car Park, but still no signs. Finally we followed the parking sign into a muddy field where I asked again where the Members Car Park might be.

Now you can call me a sceptical old bugger if you like but by now I was beginning to think that there was no such thing as a Members Car Park, however I was informed by the man on the gate that the Members Car Park was full and to follow everyone else into the muddy field, I declined his offer, turned round and left.

I have severe doubts as to the existence of a Members Car Park due to the lack of signage, but even if there were one, surely it should have been on hard standing and large enough to accommodate all the Members who might attend.

Luckily as the weather was inclement I chose to go in my Jaguar which is more modern and better suited to the weather but still not a car I want to get caked in mud in a field. (See above explaining my concern for all my cars.) Obviously my mistake was to assume that like the Gold Enclosure with it's designated car park, the Members Enclosure would also have a suitable car park.

I know I leave myself open to being called a frightful snob and that we should have roughed it and thought no more of the matter but I feel this is a typical example of the British ability to spoil a ship for a ha'peth of tar. Had there been a proper Members car park we would have entered and braved the weather and no doubt had a very enjoyable time but we didn't get the chance.

The worst thing is that my grandchildren missed out on an event that they may not get the opportunity to see again, unless someone else takes them, for at the moment it is very unlikely I shall endeavour to go again. Such a shame, it could have been such a splendid ship!

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Thoughts for the day.

I haven't posted anything for a couple of days as I've been busy at home catching up on jobs which were not done as we have been away for the last couple of weekends. What we are missing at home is hoards of staff who could continue the running of the house in our absence, something along the lines of Downton Abbey would seem appropriate as we are always behind with the household jobs.

Having had a busy day yesterday repairing one of the legs on the carport outside of the garage in anticipation of the arrival of the remnants of the latest hurricane to hit America which is on its way across the Atlantic as we speak. Today some lawn mowing and the arrival of a new large wheelbarrow which required assembling, so we now have something to move the grass cuttings to the compost heap in fewer journeys than before.

Now, on to the subject of my post for today, which involves our grandchildren and the modern habit of playing games on the television with the aid of a Playstation or some other device.

When I was young we only had the one television in the house which was in the sitting room which was presided over by my father who upon entering the room whilst we children were watching television would utter the phrase, "turn that rubbish off, I'm watching the news" or whatever other programme he desired. Bearing in mind that in those days there were only two or three channels from which to pick and television would stop at 11 o'clock or before preceded by the playing of the National Anthem and a dinner jacketed presenter wishing you a good night.

My, how times have changed, we have two televisions in adjoining rooms, the second of which was acquired so the grandchildren might watch television or play their games without interfering with our television. However with the aid of one of our daughters they have set up a system where each television is coupled to a Playstation which enables them both to play games at the same time whilst communicating with each other and the other gamers playing.

So we now find ourselves with what seems to me to be a ridiculous situation of being unable to view our own television because two 11 year olds have command of both television sets and are talking to each other through their headsets. The concept of talking to your brother in the next room through the internet rather than actually speaking to him seems strangely surreal to me, I must say.

Apparently the games that are played by the young people and indeed people who are old enough to know better last for 20 minutes so I'm told, which means one has to wait until they have finished their game or the lose points or something.

Oh, how I long to return to the olden days where one might enter the room and utter the phrase, "turn that rubbish off, I'm watching the Grand Prix" but it seems one must pander to the wishes of the youngsters as this is the modern way. My father would be turning in his grave if he could see such goings on.

Now briefly to my next topic and I should probably have to pay a fine for I am going to mention the dreaded "Brexit" word. There seems to be a slightly more conciliatory mood from the EU recently, perhaps they have realised that if we don't have a deal with them, they too don't have a deal and perhaps they could take a more active part in finding a solution to the problem.

I have another cunning plan to fix the problem and that is to employ the services of some modern young people who are more used to negotiating with mobile telephone companies than us older folk who just leave things the same for year after year.

However when a young person's contract is about to expire they contact their supplier and threaten to leave as they can get a better deal elsewhere, whether or not they can get a better deal seems not to matter, for immediately the current supplier will offer to match or better the offer.

This is a tactic employed by our daughter with success on many occasions and whilst she currently has a full time job, should the offer of gainful employment by the Government at the sort of money the European MP's are earning, I'm sure she would be only too happy to assist with the Brexit negotiations.


Wednesday 12 September 2018

School absence.

My wife and I went to The Goodwood Revival at the weekend and had arranged for our grandchildren and their father to join us on the Friday which is generally the quieter of the three days, which should have made for an easier day with two youngsters in tow.

It was the 20th anniversary of the event and there was a most splendid atmosphere all over the weekend seeing friends old and new, which unfortunately meant we were rushing about from pillar to post and not taking any photographs with which to liven up this post.

Prior to taking the grandchildren to Goodwood we had written to their school to inform them of the need for the children to be absent for a day but as it was only their second day at their new school we had assumed that as they are only 11 years old they wouldn't miss a great deal in such a short time away. Even if they had taken up studying the finer points of "War and peace" or started to learn Latin, or battled with the more complicated aspects of trigonometry, none of which in fact happened, I very much doubt if their fellow pupils would have managed to be greatly advanced on our grandchildren in such a short time.

We have now been informed by their father that we have contravened some sort of school protocol whereby one has to fill in a form should one wish to request a days absence for one's offspring, how indicative of modern life that a days absence should require the completion of reams of paperwork before permission is granted, a mere letter of explanation not being sufficient. 

The school has sent the relevant paperwork to their father but we have yet to see it so I am unsure whether our explanation that it made more sense to take the children on the quieter day, which unfortunately required a days absence from school may not cut the mustard and it appears that the boys are to be penalised by not being able to take part in any after school activities or school trips for a period of six months.

Call me old fashioned if you like but this seems to be a tad harsh especially as the children had no say in what day they would be absent, however we have devised a contingency plan should this draconian punishment be put into place. Whatever trip the boys may miss we shall arrange to take them on the exact outing at the first available opportunity and make sure they get every extra treat that may be available.

That should take the sting out of the punishment for the boys, although as grandparents we are unsure as to what sort of punishment may be inflicted upon my wife and I. We have though thought of a contingency yet again, for should we be called up to see the Headmaster we shall both go wearing our forties outfits from the Goodwood weekend. The reasoning behind what may seem to be a strange choice of clothing is, my suit trousers are very loose and my wife will be wearing a suspender belt which should give both of us the opportunity to secrete about our nether regions a copy of a substantial weekend newspaper, so should the headmaster wish to lay upon us with a large cane to administer six of the best we are adequately protected.

I'm led to believe that in modern schooling it is no longer possible to punish pupils or even grandparents with a sound thrashing but I'm not taking any chances should our form filling not result in a verdict of not guilty.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Hampton Court Concours.

Todays blog will take the form of a photo blog due to lack of time as I'm preparing to get ready to go to The Goodwood Revival at the weekend where I may do another photo blog, let's see if I can do this one first!

 We went with friends from the Bentley Drivers Club and I have to say there were some very splendid Bentley's on display.

This is a special one off Rolls Royce commissioned by a chap who I think must have more money than sense for this is what he asked them to make. The craftsmanship is superb but in real life I think it looks more like something Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds would commission. Still each unto their own. 

Now this is what a proper car looks like a rather splendid Bentley Continental, fabulous!

                               There certainly wasn't a shortage of Bugattis, all very nice.

Another beautiful Bentley.

Some views of Hampton Court which we took while having a look round.


                                    Some rather splendid gardens of which there were plenty.

                                         And finally to finish off a beautiful trio of Bentleys.