Luckiest Man Alive

Best wishes for a rapid recovery go to Mike Conway, British Indy Car driver, who has survived a spectacular 220mph crash at the Indy 500 yesterday.

That he survived is a testimony to the incredible effort that is put into driver safety. His car was literally shredded as it impacted with the barriers and yet he “only” suffered a broken leg and compression injuries to his back.

Get well soon Mike.

View the slide show (here)

Its Getting Closer

Yeah….we are going on our hols.

The View From The Balcony - Looking West (ish)

Just 10 more days, then,  Icelandic volcano and fate in general allowing, we take off for the island of Minorca for 17 days of sun and relaxation.

We’ll be based in Son Bou for this our third, or is it fourth, visit to the island.

Who Put The Turkey In Turkey ?

So who put the Turkey in Turkey ?

The answer is Red Bull and the Turkey is Sebastian Vettel.

Well done Sebastian Vettel I bet you feel really proud of yourself. Took yourself out. Nearly took out your team mate. Lost your team a whole bag full of points.

Thats what I call a great days work.

And to cap it all, despite the multiple camera angles which show to the contrary, you Seb maintain that Mark Webber tried to run you off the road.

Well its time to fess up and admit you got it wrong.

Click here for the probably most neutral reporting. However, Google Vettel and F1 and you will be snowed with the indignation that I and thousands of other motor racing fans feel about Vettels statements following the incident between Vettel and Webber during yesterdays F1 GP in Turkey. Probably the most level headed reporting comes from Martin Brundle  (Link)who as an ex F1 driver is well placed to comment.

Eurovision – Weak Offering From The UK

Well it was that time of the year again. The Eurovision Song Contest hit our screens on Saturday night. But hey, was it just me or did the standard of the songs presented this year just leap to a new all time high.

From the opening act I thought wow, that’s better, a decent song. Not the usual bouncy metronomic euro garbage. And so it went on through the evening with only a couple of exceptions. I guess its difficult to completely throw off the old Eurovision style shackles in one fell swoop.

I was perhaps one of the few who had not heard the UK entry before Saturday night. So I didn’t have a clue as to what was going to happen. So you can imagine my dismay when approximately half way through the show the UK offering whimpered its way on to the stage. I say whimpered because compared to so many of the preceding songs our entry was weak.

The song itself may have merits but our choice of singer and the stage presentation did nothing to bolster the overall performance. To me the performance was lack lustre overall and why did Josh walk up over the boxes past the backing singers. He didn’t interact with them, in fact he walked past in the same way as you might walk past anonymous shoppers waiting at the till in your local supermarket. Not even an excuse me out of politeness.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that Germany were able to walk away with the crown jewels. They had a much better song performed with much more stage presence and of course the UK song was long forgotten buried in the middle of many much better, more powerful offerings.

Satellite performed by Lena wasn’t perhaps the best of the nights songs but it is very good. And performed where it was on the night it stood out. Many of the other countries had submitted power ballads performed by very attractive singers with long hair and long dresses. In the end it was the consistently higher standard that was their downfall. How to sort the best of them from each other. This is why I think Tom Dice did so well. His performance of Me And My Guitar was so different from everything else on offer but ultimately he was never going to win against the stronger songs.

There will now be the usual post-mortem and once again there will be the detractors of the Eurovision Song Contest crying out for the UK to withdraw, to stop submitting us to this annual humiliation. I think that would be wrong especially now when most of the competitors have woken up and, for this year at least, have realised that they need to up the anti.

Shame the folks responsible for the UK entry haven’t also realised that the old formula songs don’t work anymore. Can someone tell me why it was felt that relying on a song writing team that haven’t had a hit for years was a good formula for winning this competition. What has producing songs for Kylie and Rick Astley back in th eighties got to do with modern musical tastes ?

What is required is something new, fresh and contemporary to be presented. And lets not select our singers on the basis that everyone wants to mother them or have them as their grandson. Lets choose someone who actually has some strength and stage presence.

Lets learn from this years experience and go forward to 2011 with a real chance of winning.

Vauxhall Astra 1.6i Cabriolet – Insurance Issues

My granddaughter (20) is currently having a hard time trying to renew her car insurance. She has nearly 3 years no claims and all she wants to do is insure a Vauxhall Astra ragtop. We all have come to accept that there is an enormous price hike for those under the age of 25 but she is encountering the following issues

  1. A number of companies seem to have put an arbitrary age limit on anyone driving a cabriolet.
    Just yesterday, one company said that they wouldn’t insure anyone under 25 for an Astra Cabriolet !!!  Yet the very same company had previously insured her to drive an Audi TT 1.8 Turbo when she only had 1 years  previous driving experience in a Ford Fiesta and a Renault Clio.

    Go figure

  2. Probably the most disgusting issue is that  several companies are using a no fault claim as a reason to jack up her premium by, in one case, over £400.

    Last year her car had been parked legally in town. While she was away from her car a coach trying to negotiate narrow streets hit her car and caused damage to the front wing, door and front bumper. The driver of the coach accepted liability and the car was repaired. She was told, yesterday, that statistically it has been shown that young people who have a no-fault claim subsequently go on to make a claim against their own insurance. That is given as the reason why her premium should be jacked up.

Insurance companies are the slipperiest of companies to deal with when you are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim but it seems to me that they are just trying to make it difficult for the young to get on the road.

Perhaps this is an area where the government could step in and legislate for an affordable insurance scheme for new  young drivers. Of course there would be restrictions on types of cars that could be driven, the power ratings etc. But make it a scheme without arbitrary restrictions to do with soft tops or no fault claims. I am sure that there are lots of other youngsters out there who are getting the run around with lots of other trivial reasons being given.

The actions of the insurance companies are probably a contributing factor in the number of uninsured drivers that are presently on our roads.

Workers Playtime

So here I am sitting in my lounge, working from home, when some movement outside the window catches my eye.

  • Is it my next door neighbour moving their car on the drive ?
  • Is it the Blackbird attacking its reflection in my car window while it craps down the paintwork ?
  • Is it the postman on his daily trek to deliver my granddaughters mail that she never comes to collect ?

No its none of the above.

It is, in fact, a bunch of contractors playing hide and seek and climbing up an ancient Yew.

Yes at least two have made the climb up into the tree whilst several others have sprinted off into the distance. Presumably to find themselves a tree to climb. Another bod has arrived and stood talking to the guys in the Yew while he scratches and adjusts his nether regions. Doesn’t he know he will give away their hidey hole. I thought maybe he was the seeker but the two “hiders” didn’t come back down after he wandered off so I assume not.

These folks are all busy “working” hard, replacing the local water main.

Well apparently they did that before Christmas. Then they came back after Christmas but got held up by the snow. Having cleared out they have had to come back and do other “stuff” that involves multiple trucks, trailers, diggers and pneumatic drills spread over several roads.

So here we are, it’s nearly June and the task that was only going to take 3-4 weeks is still ongoing.

In the meantime its good to see that they are enjoying themselves. It doesn’t pay to let work get in the way of a great lark.

Cock-a-Doodle-Doo About Nothing

Once again the sights and sounds of the British countryside under attack. By whom you may ask. Why, the townies, the part-time residents who purchase  second homes just so they can use the countryside as their own personal recreation site.

These are the same folks presumably who put up with the ever-present honking of horns in perpetual traffic jams that blight our city centres, the incessant wailing of emergency service sirens and the boom boom boom of  over powered stereo systems that appear to be installed in most hot hatches.

Presumably the typical city cacophony is acceptable while it appears that the perfectly natural sound of a cockerel is too much for them to bear  according to this article

Well go back to the city is what I say. What on earth did you expect when you bought a place in the country. The countryside is full of  many strange noises and smells all of which should be treasured.

Where I live we have the sounds of pheasants calling,  jays chattering away as they beat a hasty flight through the trees. Even those cute little squirrels can kick up quite a din when they are agitated, hissing at next doors cat or even other squirrels.   What about the owls screeching in the night, and who hasn’t felt the shivers run down their spine at the eery call of the vixen.  As I write this, there are dozens, if not hundreds of birds singing their hearts out despite having joined the dawn chorus which must have started around 04:30 this morning.

Are these the next sounds to come under the disapproving glare of the townies as their idyllic tranquility is disturbed by nature, what on earth did they expect to see and hear when they opted to step outside the city limits ?

Will nature have to give way to some kind of enforced sonic curfew to satisfy these idiots ?

The countryside is a noisy place. Get used to it.

Radio Paradise

Is Radio Paradise (RP) the best Internet Radio Station on the planet ?

To date I believe it is. The variety of artists, musical styles and the quality of the broadcasts are what has sold them to me. The eclectic mix on RP  has your typical FM station beaten hands down.


RP is a listener supported station, that means they rely on donations

Bill & Rebecca Goldsmith have put together probably the best format station. The linkage between the tracks is sometimes really quite sublime. The ability for listeners to rate and comment on the tracks played is quite often the most entertaining place on the web.