Saturday, 14 December 2019

Car Locator

Hay has been badgering me to take the kayak carrier off the car roof for winter, as it's highly unlikely we'll be going kayaking till spring. However, I'm reluctant to do this due to the ease with which I'm able to locate the car in the Tesco car park.

Ah, there it is... Look along the roof line.

A useful addition to a car when you tend to forget where you parked your car in a large, busy car park.

I've had a brilliant idea about a new challenge. A single unicycle is difficult enough to master, especially if you start learning in later age, but imagine how difficult it would be to use two unicycles. I could strap two together and call it - well, I suppose I could call the resultant contraption a bicycle. It would be fiendishly difficult to master. I could patent it and make a fortune. Don't tell anyone...

Friday, 13 December 2019

Jehova's Lights

Well, it looks like another 5 years of misrule in the UK. Thankfully, Corbyn will step down and (hopefully) make way for a more centre left leader. Boris won on the basis of lies and deceit, which the British people seem somewhat susceptible to of late. We are turning into America and we now have our own mini-Trump. Our capacity for self-immolation seems to know no bounds.

You reap what you sow and I don't hold out much hope for the NHS, nor indeed any public service where there's a quick buck to be made from selling it off to the highest bidder, once it has been run into the ground by starvation in the name of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Politics is broken - not longer is it seen as a calling to public service, but a route to riches with lucrative directorships after a spell in government. We, the electorate, collude in that, by voting for deceit.

Boris can now get on with getting Brexit done, but getting it done will not happen at the end of January - it will take years and years, years during which the UK will be diminished and wealth inequality will grow. The turkeys have indeed voted for the proverbial Christmas.

However, perhaps Boris' two-faced approach to the election has been a ruse all along. In the First Past the Post system, any party which can consolidate support from either the centre right and far right (or centre left and far left) is at a natural advantage. There are too any nuances between the centre and the left for that to happen on that side of the equation, but all Boris had to do was out-bigot the bigots in the Brexit Party, which is what he's achieved and is evidenced by all the lies and double-speak that has been the hallmark of his campaign. Perhaps, now he's gained his majority, we'll see a new Boris who realises he has to put public services first to stand any chance of winning another election in 5 years.

As an aside, I always thought that with having a rampant SNP north of the border, it was a bad strategic decision to choose a LibDem leader from a Scottish constituency.

I wonder whether politicians have ever thought of recruiting a hunting pack of Jehova's Witnesses for door-to-door canvassing. I'm not so sure it would work though, as Jehova's Witnesses are renowned for discovering that everyone is out, even housebound agoraphobics 

Took a little trip down Mill Crescent in Westerleigh before coming home yesterday evening to see whether their annual, charity Christmas light show had started yet, and it had.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Job Done

The showroom Christmas tree is now 90% complete - all I'm waiting for is the pile of old keyfobs and a handful of car boot emblems. They're not really necessary though.

Naturally, Hay put the final touches to it and added a few of our own decorations, plus the lights.

We won't be putting our own version up at home till next week. Perhaps we should hire ourselves out as bespoke Christmas tree designers...

It's the News

No-one can doubt that there's a big problem with politicians lying through their teeth and not being brought to account by the media. Part of the problem is that the political journalist relies on access to politicians; lose that access and you could be out of a job. Politicians have learned to guard that access and only give it to journalists who play their game. It also leads to accusations of journalists being politically biased, which is not to be confused with newspapers, which are definitely politically biased toward the financial interests of their millionaire owners, such as those below.

Another problem is the spread of misinformation, which again is abetted by journalists, the 24 hour news culture and the rush to be first with a story. Time was when a story had to be triple checked from three different sources before it was put out, but now there's no checking, which results in misinformation being promulgated at an alarming rate and stories increasingly having to be retracted.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Works Xmas Tree

Made a start on the showroom Christmas tree yesterday - a bough from our old plum tree, which is slowly dying anyway. I was going to get a traditional tree, but with a root ball so it could be replanted after Christmas; however, there wasn't a single one available in the area, so I decided to so something innovative based on our home 'tree' last year.

I got a few strange looks when I dragged half a tree into the showroom, but once it was put in place and dusted with silver spray paint, opinions became quite favourable. A couple thought it didn't even require further embellishment. 

I've ordered a bunch of old car keyfobs with marque labels on them, which I may paint before hanging from the branches. The local car breaker has promised me half a dozen or so car boot badges to use as adornment sometime next week for a tenner. I'll add some marketing leaflets on ribbons, some alloy wheels we have in the store will be arranged around the base and it will be completed with some warm, white lights. The whole theme will be car related, as befitting a car showroom.

I may have to temporarily adorn it with standard, red baubles till my proper deccies arrive next week.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Trekkie Owl

Switched on the TV news last night and thought I'd inadvertently switched to an episode of Star Trek..

While walking on the road outside our house on Saturday, Hay found a very badly injured tawny owl. It had probably been hit my a car while swooping down to catch a rodent scuttling across the road.

She picked it up and brought it home, placing it in a warm, cardboard box. It was still breathing, but totally immobile. We took it to a local vet after phoning an owl sanctuary in Gloucestershire, having been advised that, if any bones were broken, it would in all likelihood be euthanased. 

She left her phone number with the vet, but she received the sad news on Sunday that the owl was too badly injured and was put down, that being the kindest action.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Elecktrickery IV

Well, after only 2 days of being up for sale, the VW e-Up! sold for the asking price, the customer being from Lymington on the South coast. My strategy of taking a calculated risk and underwriting the car for the dealership, simply to prove a point, has paid off. Hopefully, we'll now be buying more, if we can find them.

OK, so I'm doing a bit of blatant advertising for my employer...

The customer wants it delivered. Given I'm headed to Winchester next Sunday to collect No.2 Son from university for his Christmas break, I'll probably drop it off with Hay following me in our car. She can do a December swim in the sea off Hurst Castle too, thus killing three birds with one stone.

Looking at the route and consulting the PlugShare App, I can recharge the car at Chievely Services at the junction of the M4 and A34. That will save us £200 on the hire of a transporter. It also means I can perform a proper hand-over of the car.

We were doing some fixed point photography of an ecological site between Slad and Painswick yesterday and I spotted this wonderful sign of solidarity and common sense on the Ecotricity HQ building in Stroud.

Ecotricity is a very interesting company, especially in the way it's promoting the use of EVs. I'd rather trust Dale Vince, its CEO, than any politician when it comes to green matters.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Pencils and Broomsticks

We've been watching all three and a half hours of The Irishman on Netflix (reasonably watch-worthy, if you like watching pensioner actors renowned for playing Mafia mobsters). Overheard while The Chairman had Wikipedia open on Rober De Niro:

Hay: "How many times has Robert De Niro been married?"

Chairman: "Twice."

Hay: "To who?"

Chairman: "A couple of women."

Hay: "You don't do detail, do you?"

The new unicycle came with a book and a video. I read the book and watched the video yesterday - and learned that there was a minor problem with my technique.

It's actually better to be further off the ground with the seat than too close to it. This is explained best by the analogy of balancing an uright pencil on your finger and a broomstick; the broomstick is easier to balance because it unbalances more slowly due to its greater inertia, which is why tightrope walkers carry a long pole.

I heightened the seat by an inch or so, resulting in my legs being almost straight at the bottom of the pedal cycle - and it did make a noticeable difference in the stability when moving.

I still think it will be a while before I graduate to unicycle jousting though...

Saturday, 7 December 2019


Since the start of the year I've been tracking my daily mileage. While perusing the Excel spreadsheet I use, I came across a graph of the results for weekday miles, which I forgot I'd made.

You can click on the image to blow it up. 

Nothing particularly interesting about it; however, it does show that, on average, it could warrant the use of an electric car in terms of the average mileage, which is generally under 100 miles a day.

That said, many of the miles can't be travelled in an electric car, as I'm moving petrol and diesel cars between HQ, the bodyshop, the MoT station and the valeters'. The remaining miles, which are travelled in the company runaround, certainly could be.

The very high daily miles were when I was collecting cars from auctions around the country, including some from Glasgow, but these have disappeared since we started buying from nearer home and having them delivered.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Electrickery III

Contrary to all expectation, the wall charger for the VW e-Up! actually arrived yesterday and so will be installed at work today. Of course, it's not just for the e-Up!, but will hopefully be amortised over a large number of EVs in the future.

I performed some training on the |EV yesterday and imparted all I had discovered to the rest of the crew. Even Hay attended - and had a drive of it. She fell in love with it immediately. 

The car is now on the front row of the dealership and has already attracted an enquiry from someone with a Renault Zoe EV to part exchange. Now the Zoe has a larger battery than the e-Up!, so it will be interesting to see why she wants a change.

Having inspected AutoTrader, ours would appear to be the only 2nd hand e-Up! in the country. As of this morning it has had 141 views on Facebook Marketplace too, which is encouraging.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, to coin a phrase, as it were, this is an experiment to get us into a new and fast increasing market area, and as such is a bit of a risk - but a risk Hay and I willing to take, as we underwrote the purchase and all the risk is on us.