Cars of my early driving years

Here I am looking like a dork in my first car. I was 18 and trying desperately to look cool, but you can only do so much when you’re sat in a poverty-spec Mazda 626 and ask your Mum to take a photo of you.

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Liquid matters

Not counting the fuel in your tank, your car will have at least twenty litres of different fluids in it. Those fluids all perform crucial functions, and you need to keep a close watch on them if you are going to enjoy motoring adventures that do not end in some kind of catastrophic fashion.

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Over at Not Ā£2 Grand (which you ought to follow on Twitter and Facebook, by the way), I have a new post telling you a little bit about all these different fluids and helping you think about how to keep them healthy. Head on over and have a read, because ‘ultimately, your vehicleā€™s fluids are vital to its life, and there are few more important things you can do for your car than to keep them all clean and topped up’. You can find the full post here.

On Italian roads and a hired Fiesta

There is a bridge over the railway tracks in my town that has recently been resurfaced. And it stands out dramatically, because the moment your tyres touch it, everything becomes as quiet as a whisper. It stands out even more because such properly surfaced roads are so incongruous with the general state of Britain’s roads, increasingly deserving of notoriety.

Should you want a ‘grass is greener’ experience with respect to the quality of our roads, however, go for a drive in Italy’s Lazio region (even if the region itself is lovely).

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Why is traffic management so hard?

Those of us who are attentive and self-aware motorists often despair at lack of common sense employed in the world of traffic management. National and local authorities responsible for the roads we use everyday seem to have little understanding of how these roads actually work. Hence the blight of ‘smart’ motorways, ill-timed traffic lights, and reduction of speed limits on empty rural roads.

This deficiency of common sense has become apparent in my own town this past week. Bordered as we are by a river and a canal, and with a distinct lack of crossing points, North Yorkshire County Council has once again seen fit to close one of the two main bridges leading out of town for a period of three weeks for another round of supposedly essential roadworks. Why these essential works couldn’t have been carried out a few months ago when they last closed the bridge for essential works is anyone’s guess.

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Take the long way, it’s good for you

A few times a year, I go to a meeting near Scarborough for a couple of days, and the usual route to get there from my home in the Selby area is to take the A19 to the A64, and the A64 across, as highlighted on the map below. If there is no traffic, this route should take right about an hour. However, this is a journey I make somewhat regularly, and only once have I managed to do it in an hour. Usually it will be one hour and fifteen minutes; my most recent trip took over an hour and a half. Continue reading “Take the long way, it’s good for you”

Crossovers prove that facts are useless

Here is the thing about Brexit: there are no facts. Both sides of the debate talk as if there are indisputable facts that we must heed if we are to make informed decisions, but the reality is that we only have hypotheses and predictions. That is not to say that these are not valid and an important part of the discernment process, but we have never been in this situation before, and the outcome, whatever the final deal will be, cannot be known beforehand. Only in retrospect will we see how all the variables and complexities came together to shape the future of the United Kingdom. At this point, we cannot expect people to make a decision based on facts, because there really are none.

A crossover vehicle that I have driven.

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A taste of vintage motoring

Veteran cars have never held much appeal for me, despite the fact that the very first automotive book I owned, a gift from my grandfather, was all about cars of this era. While they are the forerunners of the cars we have today, they have always felt rather remote, resembling more the carriages they evolved from than anything in the last sixty or seventy years. In my mind, they were just slow and finicky, rattly and uncomfortable, and happily consigned to the pages of history.

When I moved a year ago, however, I met someone who has been a part of the veteran car scene for decades, and gained a lot of new insight into and appreciation of that era of the automobile. He owns several veteran cars himself, including a 1912 Renault AX, and his most recent purchase, a 1925 Austin 7 ‘Chummy’. Today, he brought the Chummy round, and took me for a spin through town.

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Find your cars on Google Maps

Last night, my wife was trying to find something on Google Maps, and in the process noticed that the satellite image that contains our house had been refreshed recently. Looking more closely, we realised that we could pin it down to a two-week period this summer, because there were three cars outside our house ā€“ the Outback on the driveway, and the E39 and Leon on the road. I bought the Outback on 16 June, and sold the E39 two weeks later.

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