Yesterday, to avoid 9 points on my driving licence, I attended the DriveTech Speed Awareness Course
. I was apprehensive at first but I have to admit the course was excellent and I now believe that every driver should attend such an event. I was in a group of 20 drivers who had been caught exceeding the 30 mph limit by between 1 and 9 mph. We learned about speed limits (amazing ignorance from some of the group), speed cameras, little-known dangers and, most important of all, the possible consequences of speeding in a built-up area. None of us will forget the harrowing story of the 29-year-old Berkshire driver who hit a 14-year-old pedestrian at 39 mph in the village where they both lived. The effect was so tragic that the driver has voluntarily never driven a car since.
To what bad driving habit must I now confess ? Staying in 5th gear all the time in 30 mph restricted areas. We were taught that this inevitably leads to creeping over the limit without being aware of it.
We missed the jazz at the Europa this evening because we were so late with dinner due to watching the Brazilian Grand Prix. Was that not the most exciting finish to a motor racing season ever ? It is not uncommon for the driver's championship to be decided at the last race but this was at the last corner of the last lap. The race winner had already crossed the line ! Nail-biting staff indeed.
On starting Boost Energy's old VW Golf test vehicle for the first time in 6 months (with a second battery) we discovered that the almost-new clutch had seized. Attempts to free it by pushing the car in gear failed miserably. I then jacked up one wheel, started it in gear and, with clutch depressed, heel-and-toed accelerator and brake until the clutch became free.
Moral; do not leave a car unused over winter.
Boost Energy Systems has just bought a Nissan Kubistar van, advertised as the shortest in its class but with the greatest load space. I tried it yesterday and it seems fine.
Yesterday our Suzuki Ignis Sport was in for its 54000 mile service so Town & Country Cars (Ripley) lent us a new Suzuki Swift. It was comfortable and drove well but had the usual snag for us; a deep lip down into the laggage compartment. This would make loading and unloading one of our medium or large 3 phase converters almost impossible without help. Selina found it rather roly-poly in sharp bends and roundabouts so we would need the Sport !
Yesterday our Suzuki Ignis Sport was in Town & Country Cars
for its fifth 9000 mile service so we had a loan car; a Suzuki Liana. This is the vehicle used for many years in 'Top Gear' for Star in a reasonably priced car
. When I mentioned this I was asked not to drive it like that ! It rolled far more than our Ignis and the tyres squealed with no provocation so I think it is not best suited to the race track.
Today we went to the Classic Car Show and Fayre at the Prins Willem Alexander School in Old Woking. This featured a huge collection of cars from 1903 to the present day, as well as live music and various events. The pictures show:
Selina posing in front of Rustom Patel's 1969 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible
John Gilroy White's 1924 Citroen 5HP Cloverleaf.
Both the owners are known to us from pubs with jazz nights; The Cricks and the Watermans Arms respectively.
On Wednesday afternoon we returned the Fiat Punto courtesy car to PMC body repairs
in Sussex and collected the repaired Suzuki. PMC seems to have done an excellent job, fitting a new floor panel under the spare wheel to replace the one that was badly kinked in the accident. While waiting for the Suzuki to be given a final clean we looked round the PMC 'museum'. This included a pair of Jaguar XJ140s, one restored and one original. The paintwork on the original one was apalling.
Today our Suzuki Ignis Sport is in for its third 9000 mile service so we have a loan car; a new Suzuki Swift. First impressions are very favourable; it is comfortable and drives well. The major snag for us is the deep lip down into the laggage compartment. This would make loading and unloading one of our medium or large 3 phase converters almost impossible without help.
Having viewed more in the last 24 hours, we have made a short list of the following cars:Toyota
Corolla; good ride, expensive, not easy to load goods in backToyota
Yaris Verso; expensive, ugly, easy to loadHonda
Jazz; roomy, medium price, not easy to load from back but possible from sideSuzuki
Ignis Sport; cheap, powerful, small, Recaro seats, easy to load.
The Suzuki looks irresistible on this basis.