Tag Archives: motoring

No more RingGo at Swindon! FGW you are wrong

I hear that First Great Western and APCOA are ceasing the RingGo service at Swindon (and other) station car parks any day now.

This is a stupid move and I am supporting the campaign to have the decision reversed. If you are with me click on this link to make your protest heard.

Car park machines are a nightmare at somewhere like a railway station. You either need a mountain of change or, if they have a credit card operated one, the patience of a saint as they rarely work. RingGo makes life easy with a simple phone call and, when its a business trip, I can log on later and get a VAT receipt.

All stress free and one of the main reasons why I have started to use the train much more over the last year or so. I want my RingGo back!


Leave a comment

Filed under business life, random rants, serious stuff

Letters to the Editor #51 – QI, Top Gear and now Steve Coogan


I wrote here the other day in support of QI over the remarks made last week about Japan and the atom bomb raids that closed off WW2.

Over last weekend I had also watched Top Gear, and had heard the oafish remarks made regarding Mexico and its people, and those I cannot defend, nor would I want to. I regard that sort of behaviour, in a public forum, as being on the same level as Mr Gray and Mr Keys the other week. Some of Top Gear I find very enjoyable, but I missed an entire series after turning off part way through the first episode because of their antics in the deep south of the US.

It is a shame that three intelligent presenters seem to want to resort to this sort of behaviour, but the audience do seem to like it, as did that of the Sky football chaps (the 20 year success of the latter could not have come without the audience wanting to tune in).

Maybe I am in a minority here. If so I don’t mind, I make my own choices. Mr Coogan appears to be a fellow member, but maybe his public reaction has something to do with Top Gear drawing a bigger audience and getting more laughs? Certainly it is the first mention I have heard of him in a while.

Will I watch Top gear again tonight? Maybe, there’s not much else on, but the off button is there should I wish to use it.

Yours faithfully

Disgusted of Dorcan


Leave a comment

Filed under Letters to the Editor - I think we should be told, random rants

The joys of motoring #6

So there I was, heading off up the M5 in Jennifer Jaguar with plenty of time to get round Brum and to my seminar around the M42/M6 interchange when the warning signs told me that the M5 was closed between junctions 6 and 5. Oh, well. Off at J8 and across via Pershore, Evesham and Stratford upon Avon and pick up the route again from that side.

Why is it that some idiot has failed to manage to drive along a piece of road where we’re all going the same way without driving into something? I know that I’ve asked  this before, but I do get the feeling that some people have to take their brains out before they get behind the wheel.

Despite my having left with time in hand I got to where I was going an hour later than planned. Not too bad under the circumstances, but I reckon I could have shaved another 15 minutes off that if it wasn’t for two other pieces of brainless activity (or non activity actually) on the part of my fellow car peddlers.

Firstly, why is it that so many people arrive at a roundabout and then stop and look to see if anyone is coming? Look as you are getting there and you can see whether or not you need to stop. If there’s no need to stop, then don’t.

Then there is the traffic light brigade, the worst example of which this morning was in Evesham. I’m eight cars back in the queue at a red light. The lights change. What seemed like three days later the person at the front woke up and moved off. A couple of the others followed fairly promptly, but the rest had to think about it. The bloke in front of me must have had to get the manual out to see which pedals did what as the one in front of him had almost got through the lights before he moved. And then the inevitable; he’s 30 feet from the lights and they start to change. All of a sudden he’s realised what the pedal on the right does and he goes for it, and is undeterred as the lights go red just before he gets there. Through he goes as I coast to a halt at the line.

So thanks to all you people who each wasted a few more seconds of my life again today, and thanks also to whoever caused the problem on the M5. I only missed 40 minutes of the seminar that I’d paid £400 (plus VAT) for because I know my way around and could find a different way. One of my fellow delegates wasn’t sure enough to try a diversion and missed three hours of the seminar.

The joys of motoring?

Leave a comment

Filed under cars planes and trains, random rants

more #F1 musings on the #hungariangrandprix

I’ve been looking at that incident between Cobbler senior and the Barra Boy again and believe that MSC really knew what he was doing. As he moves over he appears to keep watching his mirrow long after Rubens had got into the blind spot part way alongside him.

We know that those mirrors are pretty useless, so was he so focussed on looking that he moved a bit too far over? Or had he seen Rubens come across and was waiting until he got alongside just to intimidate him as much as possible? I think the latter.

If, as he appeared to claim in his post race interview, he was trying to let Rubens past on the other side (his left), why wasn’t he looking there? Why stay focussed on the right?

We know of his opinion of Rubens and maybe he just thought he could make him chicken out. They both swerved left together, so got away with it all even if Rubens did take off slightly as he passed over the kerb at the pit exit, and Rubens had the experience to use his track position there to make sure he got the corner.

All in all an ugly moment and rather uneccessary.

Something else that troubles me though: A certain other Brazilian used to dish this sort of thing out every bit as much as MSC does and yet still gets revered whereas everyone queues up to throw rocks at MSC and want him penalised. MSC’s move on Rubens was nasty, but almost identical to one that the yellow helmeted Brazilian pulled on Nigel Mansell once (like Rubens, he didn’t bottle it either), but that isn’t the only example of overdoing intimidation; turning into Mansell (yes him again) at Spa, ramming Prost off the track in Japan. I could go on.

MSC and Senna both have (had) sublime driving skills, but I will never be able to regard either of them as true greats because they have this tendency to be bully boys. Both are/were good enough not to need to behave that way, but neither had enough character to kerb their animal instincts.

The real greats like Ascari, Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Lauda and others could be hard, but would not pull these sort of stunts.

Leave a comment

Filed under auto racing and motor sport, cars planes and trains, F1

#F1 Musings on the #hungarian grand prix

Great drive Mark Webber! Did what you had to and good call by the team when the SC came out.

Renault vs Force India – Ooops. An accident waiting to happen. Maybe F1 needs to look at NASCAR on pitting under SC conditions (not that get it right every time, but they do have a pit for every car on the track, and they have 43 in a race. OK, the pits would stretch half way round the lap at Monaco, but you get my point.

What were you thinking Michael? That was just plain stupid, and good job Rubens for not backing out.

SV will grow up one day, and we can maybe put up with the tantrums as they aren’t hurting anyone else. The kid is bloody quick, but maturity is one of the reasons why his team mate has won 4 races this year.

Well done Williams and Sauber, and also to the Ruskie Kid.

So, tight at the top going into the Summer break. Who’s your money on?

Leave a comment

Filed under auto racing and motor sport, cars planes and trains, F1

F1 2010 – I got it wrong #F1

Back in March I blogged F1 2010: full bore or what a bore? http://wp.me/pN1RI-2j I was wrong in my judgement of the season after just that one race as it has turned out to be a decent season since then.

Alonso’s hystrionics in Spain I find are just hillarious, but maybe the FIA should listen when he says that the race was manipulated; after all he is an expert on the subject. As for Ferrari? Well they’ve always been ready to moan and groan, it’s part of what we all love about them. Sure I feel sorry for the Spanish fans, cos they didn’t get a lot to cheer about, but that’s racing.

JB’s decision to leave Brawn/Mercedes has been pretty well vindicated with a couple of wins for the Woking mob with his old team up at Brackley really just not performing. Is it another case of big corporate having taken over and spoiling things?

Roll on Silverstone. I won’t be going, but might just try and find the time to watch on the box.

[tweetmeme source="bowenjohnj"]

Leave a comment

Filed under auto racing and motor sport, F1

new amazon eStore open today

One of my business connections, Transport Books & Models, has opened its eStore on Amazon today. Check the Transport Books & Models link on the right of this page.

1 Comment

Filed under auto racing and motor sport, Books & Reading, business life, cars planes and trains, F1, The Joys of Shopping

nice to be back in Scotland #li

I like Scotland. My first visit was to Galloway on holiday with the family and I was able to trace some of the roots of Richard Hannay’s adventures in the first half of the 39 Steps ad well as tracking down some of the old Port Road.

My first flight was to Aberdeen, returning a couple of days later from Edinburgh and I went on to shuttle back and forth to Edinburgh or Glasgow (and Belfast, but that’s another story) so often I was on first name terms with many of the cabin crew.

It was during all these trips that the Wonder of Wokingham and I got together in Edinburgh, so no wonder I have many fond memories.

This time we (a colleague and I) have had to drive up instead of the planned flight, but we have had an easy run up the M40/M42/M6 toll/M6 etc and are in place for our round of meeting tomorrow. Aplogies to followers of my driving logs, but I forgot about keeping one of our run up. I’ll try and remember to log the drive back though.

1 Comment

Filed under business life, journey logs

F1 2010; full bore, or just a bore?

Having waited with real anticipation for the start of this F1 season, probably with more baited breath than for any season since probably 1986, the Bahrain GP was such a bore that I turned the TV off on lap 22 and got started on my VAT return (sales tax for my US friends) instead.

Aside from the pathetic circuit, which looks like a slot car track in a sand pit, the race was just a procession. I would have had more entertainment watching the traffic at the end of the road I live in. If this is the way the new season is going to pan out I shall have a lot of free Sundays.

While I’m on the subject the BBC pre race session hasn’t improved at all either. As I was sat here today I thought that I’d watch, but found it every bit as dire as when I last saw it. For most of last year I was able to time switching on the TV with the tail end of the formation lap but, if today’s event is going to be typical, I won’t be switching on at all.

I am really disappointed.

Leave a comment

Filed under auto racing and motor sport, F1

Driving Logs #2

Not much of a trip this time, just a run of less than 70 miles over to Milton Keynes and back, but I felt it was worth recording as it represents a trip I have done regularly for 25 years (at least to the MK area if not this specific address). It is also, for part of the run, one leg of a longer journey to and from the North.

As an aside, I got my route planner software to propose a route. It suggested the fastest way was to go down the M4 to the M25, round to the M1 and up there to MK. That trip was estimated at 111.1 miles and taking 99 minutes, but the software would have not known about the several sets of 50 mph restrictions on that route, let alone the likely congestion. The route I used is virtually a straight line on the map, and the distance and timing make an interesting comparison.

My route across country involves a mixture of rural and urban roads, some 2 lane single carriageway with speed limits between 30 and 60 mph and others 4 lane dual carriageway. The Oxford Western by-pass still has a 40 mph restriction around the bridge works at Peartree, but that was my only issue with road works. I chose to drive straight through Bicester both ways rather than use the ring road. Rush hour traffic was worse on the way out, especially towards the Oxford end of the A420 and around Buckingham.

Note that the stop at the Kingston Centre retail park added 1.2 miles to the journey – big places these.

Way Point Time Elapsed Distance Speed MPH
Home (depart) 719 0.0
A420 (join) 724 5 2.6 31.20
A34 (join) 800 41 27.6 40.39
M40 (cross) 810 51 36.6 43.06
Finmere 825 66 46.3 42.09
A421/422 Buckingham 836 77 51.0 39.74
Watling Steet (cross) 852 93 61.1 39.42
Kingston Centre (stop) 901 102 64.6 38.00
Kingston Centre (depart) 912 113 64.6
Magna Park (arrive) 917 118 66.9 34.02
Net driving time 107 66.9 37.51
Way Point Time Elapsed Distance Speed MPH
Magna Park (depart) 1600 0.0
Watling Steet (cross) 1609 9 4.6 30.67
A421/422 Buckingham 1621 21 14.6 41.71
Finmere 1628 28 19.2 41.14
M40 (cross) 1646 46 29.0 37.83
A420 (join) 1656 56 38.4 41.14
A419 (cross) 1729 89 63.1 42.54
Home (arrive) 1734 94 65.7 41.94

Leave a comment

Filed under cars planes and trains, journey logs