I am Man hear me Roar!

As I was on my commute home after work Friday I noticed my battery warning light was glowing. “By Jove, that’s a devilishly unfortunate occurrence” I exclaimed, (Well I think those may not have been the exact words used).

Now I have had problems in the past with my alternator, so I hoped it was either a dead battery, or just the alternator playing up. My commute is over the Welsh mountains, where there is no phone signal in the slightest, So I decided to drive on in the hope that :-

  1. If the battery was dead. I could keep driving fine off the alternator as long as I did not have to stop and restart the vehicle.
  2. If the Alternator was dead. I could get home as long as I did not over use the charge stored in the battery.

Option 2 was a bit tricky as it was pouring down with rain and dark, I should have had my lights & wipers on, but I am MAN. so I needed no lights, and minimum wipers. Unfortunately my plans were destroyed when I made a right turn at a junction. I had slowed down partially, and tried using the breaks as I turned only for it to feel weird. Confused by this event as I mounted the top of a hill and started to drive down a steep incline, I noticed as I adjusted speed to manage the twisting turns of the road that each time I used the brakes there was less and less there until the time I put my foot on the pedal and there was nothing there. *Don’t Panic!*

I came safely to a stop using the age old breaking technique of mounting the grassy bank at the side of the road for the grass/mud to slow the vehicle down, then finalising the stop with the handbrake. Upon checking the engine I discovered my “Alternator Belt” or “Fan Belt” (depending on your age) had come off.

So I found myself, standing over a internal combustion engine, big metal engineering tools held in my oil stained hands roaring up at the heavens as they poured rain down on me. “I AM MAN HEAR ME ROAR!!!!” You Know, working in an office based Job you sometimes forget the feeling of manly work. If there had been a woman in the area I would have asked for a stocking to really be manly in fixing the car.

I soon got bored of this activity and decided to sit inside the car while waiting for the engine to cool down enough to let me re-attach the belt. (Since the belt also controlled the oil pump & radiator fan the engine was a tad hot)

When I could safely work on the engine it was a five minute job to reattach the belt, which was a lot less time than spent looking manly and roaring earlier. And my trip home continued with me driving very calmly as the belt was frayed, twisted, and not the healthiest. I actually made it the last ten miles home with the belt, before some woman stepped out in front of me two hundred yards from my place and as I swerved around her I heard a SNAP, as the belt finally gave up the ghost. At least it had got me home.

I need to add one more section on this story before I bid you farewell dear constant reader. On the Saturday I popped into town to go to a Car Accessories and Parts place to get a replacement belt. Now I have used the same place for years, since its a lot cheaper than most because it sells to mechanics and car part shops. So I pull up outside the warehouse near the customer door, only to be confronted by a sign saying they now have a shiny new shop across the road, for customers to use. I manage to cross the four lanes of very busy traffic to enter the shop, which looks more like a normal car accessory shop than a parts place. I order my belt, the guy behind the counter checks the exact one I need, takes my money, then tells me I need to go to their main building across the road to collect my part. Yes. They send you across four busy lanes of traffic to order your part, then back across them to collect it. From now on I order over the phone.

Bicycles should be Banned!

…..On roads during peak travel/commute hours.


Now I should point out that in principle I have no problem with people who want to enjoy the fresh air while getting or staying fit and healthy, or those who want to help the environment, or even those who have several mortgages and can no longer pay the exuberant petrol prices.

What I do have problems with are those people who ride push bikes, and tend to be in the middle of the lane making it harder to overtake them, especially if like me your morning commute is down country roads where its hard to overtake due to the number of blind bends. Now I would not mind if they would pull to the side to let you pass, or even stop and let the long tailback pass them. Instead they seem to delight in moving closer to the centre of the road making it even harder to pass, and laughing at all the cars such behind them, with their engines screaming at the indignity of travelling at 3 miles per hour.

I think like tractors, and industrial diggers there should be a core time when they are not allowed on public roads to prevent tailbacks, dangerous driving to try and makeup time, and road rage. I really believe they should be kept off the road during these hours for their own safety. You see, you may be smug sat slowly peddling your bike making me drive at a babies crawling speed, but I’m in a big car, and you know how much damage you and your bike will make to my car as I drive over you? NONE….

Now get off my road you bunch of weirdo hippies!!!!

Weekend Wanderings

This weekend I went a wandering. Well not really far wanderings, but wanderings nether the less. And wanderings covering two countries (Three if you count Bala as its own country) So I thought I was share my wanderings to you dear Readers (And it helps me remember where I was, and what I was doing). (more…)

Secret Government Base?

This morning on my way to the Insane Asylum I had to stop off at a small garage (Gas Station) to fill up my vehicle with diesel. Nothing special about that, It happens at least once a week, or more commonly twice a week due to my superstition about filling up my tank in one go (Which I may explain at some point in the future). Now the reason I’m blogging about a common, normal everyday activity is  the following.

I pulled into the strangely busy Garage forecourt, which normally has one or maybe two cars parked to either fill-up or use the shop. I once saw it on a particularly busy day with four cars there. This morning, including my car there was one vehicle at every pump (So eight in total) with a further nine parked at different parts of the small forecourt. Seventeen Cars, SEVENTEEN!

Now as I filled up, I was the only person in sight. All the cars were empty, and no one was walking about. When I walked into the Garage itself (which I should point out is a small room, with a counter, and a small office/toilet at the back which you could fit maybe three people in if they were “very familiar”) One man walked out. There was also one person behind the counter serving, So with myself three people to account for seventeen cars? SEVENTEEN? where were the other fourteen people? there was no way they could all be in the back room. In fact the only way they could be in the building at all would be if there was some sort of secret government facility underneath the garage.

Well I guess, Zombie outbreak?, Mass murderess who kidnap customers and throw them into an empty underground fuel store “It puts the lotion on its skin, else it gets the hose again!“?, Alien abduction? are also possibilities, but I tell you this now, I for one will not be using that particular garage again unarmed.

A thanks to the StopGo roadworks guy

How often do you drive past roadworks and wave a thanks, or even acknowledge the StopGo Man? You know the poor guy who stands there all the time the roadworks are going on, in rain, snow, hail, etc. changing his sign form Stop to Go and back again?

Well I would like to doff a virtual pint to the StopGo man in respect for the good work he does. “What? why am I doing this?” Well this morning on my commute to the Insane Asylum I hit a long set of roadworks, and as I approached I spotted the sign was on STOP. Now I must have just missed it since I could see cars way ahead of me heading in the direction I was. I slowed down, and sighed as I knew I would be stuck here now for a good ten minutes. As I slowed the StopGo man looked at my car, looked at the retreating cars in the distance, and waved me through. So I floored it til I caught up with the rest of the traffic.  So the common sense of a StopGo man saved me a ten minute wait I would have had if there had been traffic lights there.

So to all StopGo men out there, I raise a pint to your good work.

Still Missing: General Common Sense.

On August 19th last year (2010) I posted about the Missing common sense in people today.

There are times when I really despair for the Human Race. When I see acts of such stupidity, or people not using the most basic of common sense, and I have to ask myself “Can we survive as the dominant species here on earth” This morning, on my normal commute to the Insane Asylum was one such moment. Let me share with you dear reader. (Taken from Missing: General Common Sense. )

This morning on my commute to the Insane Asylum I noticed there are new roadworks in exactly the same place again, Which in itself shows bad planning. Not only that but as I was waiting for the lights to change a Bin Wagon stops half way through the road works to pick up bins (Which is their job) and when the lights changed to green the cars in front of me moved forward blocking the path of the bin wagon (and cars behind it) and caused a full road blockage as neither directions fo vehicles could move.

So this post is a quick reminder that the common sense of a lot of people is still missing, and could you keep your eyes out for it.