How Much ???

That was pretty much the response from my wife when the garage called to advise that her car had failed its MOT and, how much the repairs were going to cost.

The car is only eight years old has less than 30K  on the clock and does less than 3K a year. This really is the car with a lady owner that only drives it to the hair dressers once a week.

So, how much was this going to be ?

As the mechanic described it, worst case “If we have to replace both rear brake assemblies and the brake shoes too” then £300″. “Obviously if we find that any of the parts don’t need replacing then we won’t and the price will be reduced accordingly”

So all in all it’s not actually a bad price. Given how much garages charge these days we could be considered to have “gotten off lightly”. Still a bit of a shock when the car gets so little usage.

So now we are going through the usual “get rid of it”, “the MOT is more than the car is worth” gut reactions.

All pretty much un-warranted as this car really doesn’t owe us anything. It is a Ford Ka and as you would expect for a low mileage car it hasn’t let us down. In fact most of its woes are now down to age, rather than wear and tear, hence things like brakes (probably rubbers getting tired) and the last MOT we replaced track rod ends (probably the rubbers getting tired allowing dirt into the ball joints).

I don’t get to drive the Ka very often but when I do I always enjoy the experience. Given it’s size it handles much like a go-kart. That is it is very nippy and it goes where you point it. The steering is direct making it fun to take round corners.
So although we have a black cloud hanging over us right now I’m sure the sun will break though very  soon.

Update: 18:00

Good news from the garage. They didn’t have to replace any brake parts. Still charged us for the strip down, clean and adjust but the bill came in at £200.

Waterlooville Classic Car Show – 2012

Every year a Classic Car Show is staged in the Waterlooville centre.

Despite the weather letting the exhibitors down there were quite a few folks up there and I include a few snaps for your edification.

Waterlooville Classic Car Show – General View South
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – General View North
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – A
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Triumph Stag
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Sunbeam Supreme
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Model T Replica
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Vauxhall Victor 101
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Edsel
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Ford Mustang Mach 1
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Hummer
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Pontiac Firebird
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Chevrolet
Waterlooville Classic Car Show – Mercury Monterey

The pedestrianised precinct is ideal for this type of event. It is a shame that there wasn’t some music and perhaps a barbecue or hog roast to supplement the static car display. Now that the precinct has been refurbished the town has to make maximum use out of the facility. I arrived around  13:30 and all I could see aside from the cars was some kind of Face Painting and a caravan with someone bending balloons. I couldn’t see much to indicate if there was any kind of “Best in Show” competition.

The owners of the cars were not much in evidence although some had obviously taken refuge within their cars. I did wonder if the old lady, asleep in one of the cars, might have been an optional extra at the time of original purchase.

I can only wish them better luck with the weather next year.

Parents’ fury as cars are banned from Waterlooville school site

Personally I think its a shame that pupil parent vehicles are not banned from the roads outside of this school too.

With three schools alongside each other the number of vehicles clogging up this road twice each day is beyond a joke. On occasions the tailback caused by these vehicles reaches down Frendstaple Road and almost back to the Hulbert road roundabout.

The cars that can’t get into the school sites tend to park all over the show and when turning into St Peter’s Primary School quite often end up staionary with the rear of their vehicle projecting into the road because there are people on the pedestrian way across the entrance.

But parents have started a petition – now with 62 signatures – calling for the ban to be withdrawn.

They say it will lead to parking chaos in surrounding residential streets.

I’ve got news for you folks, it is already chaotic in the area.

They are also concerned as children may have to walk for up to a mile in bad weather.

Oh Dear !! The poor little darlings, is that such a hard thing. Perhaps it’s the parents that are worrying about having to abandon their 4x4s and walking as far as a mile.

Back when I was in primary school we regularly walked a mile or more. It was part of the day and was made interesting by my mum or dad walking with me.

Parents’ fury as cars are banned from Waterlooville school site – Education – Portsmouth News.

Now We Are Off On Our Hols

We have been planning this for a while but it now seems like it is going to happen. Now that we have booked the channel crossing and the motel for our first nights stop.

So there we are. We have booked the gite, motel and shuttle time slot. I have even bought the little headlight converters required when you take a UK configured car over  into la belle France.

Actually the amount of stuff you have to take with you in the car to meet the French motoring regs is growing year on year. When I first went you just needed a warning triangle and a first aid kit. Oh and you had to put deflecter strips on the headlights and paint them a delicate yellow-orange. Nowadays you must have the first aid kit, warning triangle, spare bulb set, reflective jackets (must be in reach without having to get out of the car), headlight conversion (don’t need yellowing). And from next month it will be law for you to carry a breathalyser. Nobody says you have to use it I suppose.

So where are we going ? We are off to Barbezieres  which is a commune in the Charente department in southwestern France. From the link you can see that it has a huge population, 123 back in 2008, that is slap bang in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully this will be the perfect place to destress.

Leastways that is what my wife is hoping for. No phones, no internet etc. etc. etc.

Good news, the gite is situated right in the Cognac region. Plenty of distilleries to visit and of course sample. Just what I need. Not forgetting, hopefully, plenty of photo opportunities.

Dare I say it…… Watch this space ;0)

Audi Registration OW53 AZU – Stupid Stupid Stupid Driver

The  blond-haired female driver, of Audi Registration OW53 AZU is an idiot of the first order.

Not only was she negotiating the roundabout, at the end of Downwood Way Horndean,  but she was doing it with her mobile stuck to her ear.

I couldn’t see if she still had it stuck to her ear when she negotiated the roundabout between London Road, Portsmouth Road and Havant Road in the centre of Horndean.

However, after taken the Havant Road she decided she needed something from the back of the car. Rather than pull over she kept rummaging, pretty much for the length of the road while meandering over the centre line and back. By rummaging I mean she was turning around in her seat to lean between the two front seats for several seconds at a time.

At the end of the road she encountered the next roundabout which is at the junction of Havant Road, Dell Piece East and the B2149 which leads to Rowlands Castle.

At his point our paths separated.

I hope she made it to her destination as I hope all the other road users in her path made it to theirs.

As a driver this woman is a menace.

Let’s have a bit of give and take and respect each other

From a recent article in The News.

DRIVERS have criticised cyclists for not using a designated cycleway – arguing it is a safety hazard and causes traffic jams.

Motorists say traffic queues are building up on Hambledon Road between Waterlooville and Denmead as cars wait to overtake cyclists.

What a weird article this is with suggestions that cyclist are responsible for traffic congestion in and around Waterlooville.

According to this article the main complainant, leastways the only one that is quoted, is a Ms McGeady, of Linda Grove, Cowplain.
She is quoted as saying

‘Drivers have to take their life into their own hands, zooming round bikes and worrying people coming in the other direction.

Well Ms McGeady, I have news for you. Your not supposed to “zoom” round cyclists. You are supposed to drive around them with due care, giving plenty of room. You are supposed to leave plenty of time for your journey so that you don’t have to “zoom” around.

‘The other day there was a little old guy who was cycling almost in the gutter and there was a queue of cars trying to get round him.

‘Everyone was winding down their windows and asking him to use the cycleway.’

I will be 60 this year and when I was a youngster we had it drummed into us that you should not ride your bike on the pavement. From the sounds of it this “little old guy” was of a similar vintage and he too, probably, has it ingrained in his psyche.

I have personal experience of using this road to get to and from my place of work over the last 30 years. I too have experienced hold ups on this road. However, my experience has been that it is motorists that are causing the hold ups.

Not because they are driving badly.

This road has seen a steady rise in the volume of traffic over the last 30 years that I have been using it. The housing developments in and around Denmead are contributors to that increase. At peak times the traffic can build up very quickly, especially if there are vehicles slowing down to make turns. For example a single car waiting to turn across the traffic to enter Soake Road, Closewood Road or Sunnymead Drive will quickly cause the traffic to build up.

Of course the new traffic lights are a contributor and when the new housing developments are complete the additional traffic volume will far exceed any hold ups by cyclists.

Ms McGeady made a complaint to Hampshire County Council after seeing a cyclist on a racing bike on the road.

She said: ‘There was a cyclist with a very expensive racing bike and the full kit.

‘He was not using the cycleway. You have to say why?’

No, Ms McGeady, you don’t have to say “why ?”.

As John Holland, chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, says

‘A cyclist has a right to be on any highway, apart from a motorway, just like a horse and cart has.

‘A vehicle is there by licence.

and the most sensible comment from John Holland

‘If you are driving down a road and there is a cyclist and you have to slow down, by how long does it delay your journey? Twenty seconds, five seconds?

‘Let’s have a bit of give and take and respect each other.’

Safety warning as cyclists steer clear of new cyclepath – Transport – Portsmouth News.

Development Benefits – Really

The residents of Sarisbury Green have my sympathy.

The planners are doing it again. Selling the “benefits” of a new development assuming that the locals are gullible enough to be distracted from the reality.

Miller Homes and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) have submitted plans to Fareham Borough Council to build 168 homes and 40 sheltered housing units on the old Coldeast Hospital site in Sarisbury Green.

The plans also include the restoration and extension of the existing Mansion House, which would become a hotel, and a project for Brook Lane Lodge to become a house again.

A swimming pool, sports pitches, a cemetery, allotments and a new community building with changing facilities also form part of the plans.

Anyone who travels through this area on a regular basis will know that the traffic levels are already horrendous. The local roads feed the A27 which in turn feed two major junctions of the M27. Junction 9 to the East with the notorious Segensworth / Whitely road network and Junction 8 to the West.

Rachel Allinson of the Coldeast Action Group, appears to be resigned to the development.

‘We don’t believe that we can stop it. Our view now is to minimise the impact that it will have and try and make it as few dwellings as possible and make sure that there is adequate green space.’

Well I wish you good luck with that. The powers that be seem to be hell-bent on covering every last bit of green in the south of England. The “Western Wards” has been in the spotlight for many years. Solent City just keeps creeping closer and closer.

The council, typically, are viewing this development through the obligatory rose-tinted planning goggles.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council, said: ‘Overall, there is tremendous support for the community benefits. We have been working to achieve this for the past 20 years.

‘Without doubt there will have to be some amendments to the housing side. There is understandable concern in terms of the impact on traffic, schools and doctors.’

Those rose-tinted goggles obviously come with special ear plugs which prevent the wearer from hearing any dissenting comments.

The traffic is going to be horrendous, as it is already – Politics – Portsmouth News.

Royal Mail driver is caught parking in disabled spot in Crookhorn

Well it’s the Royal Mail that are caught and getting the public flogging but the problem is much deeper.

Since our local Tesco Express was burnt down my wife and I tend to use these shops on a regular basis and I have often observed the “couldn’t care less” attitude of so many drivers. It’s not just the Royal Mail drivers but “white van man”, “joe public” and also the “yoof of today” that quite unashamedly park in the disabled parking bays or just in the designated turning spaces. They will use the disable spaces even when there are other spaces available just to save themselves a few extra feet of walking. Never a thought for the disabled users.

Of course the problem has been exacerbated by the demise of the Tesco Express which has caused a lot more people to be using the Purbrook Chase Precinct and as we have recently heard, that situation will be ongoing for at least another 18 months.

I’d say that the mail mans actions are just a reflection of society today.

Royal Mail driver is caught parking in disabled spot in Crookhorn – Local Business – Portsmouth News.

Waterlooville Wally Of The Week Award

A few posts ago I introduced the Waterlooville Wally Of The Week Award

Well I have a new candidate, Bradley Woodacre.

Woodacre, of Boxwood Close, Waterlooville, who has a string of previous convictions for driving offences, later admitted dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and without insurance

So he drives while disqualified and obviously that means no insurance but he doesn’t have the brain cells to drive quietly. No he drives like a total twat and then wrecks the car.

Father-to-be Bradley Woodacre was driving a Volkswagen Golf while disqualified when he narrowly avoided hitting a 13-year-old boy on a bike and a Peugeot 307.

Woodacre then lost control of the car, which a witness claimed was travelling at up to 70mph in a 30mph zone in Park Avenue, Widley.

The Golf mounted the kerb and ploughed through a fence and a brick wall before flipping on to its side and hitting a van parked in a driveway outside a house.

Him and his mate do a runner. When later interviewed by the police he denied driving the car. Seems like the fashion police were out to get him to. Not showing exactly the height of sartorial elegance his attire let him down.

Daniel Sawyer, prosecuting, said: ‘Unfortunately for Woodacre, CCTV from a petrol station showed him filling up that car that morning, wearing the pink or peach-coloured top and the red shorts described by the witnesses.’

Woodacre was sentenced to 18 months in jail and banned from driving for five years. At least while he is locked up we can assume he won’t be on the roads. However his previous record shows that he is unlikely to heed the driving ban.

What compounds this piece of driving is the fact that you are no stranger to these courts and in particular you are no stranger to the offence of bad driving.

‘You are a man now of 23 but you have been before these courts on 11 occasions for 23 convictions.’

On this basis alone, Bradley Woodacre, I award you the “Waterlooville Wally Of The Week Award”

‘Appalling’ Waterlooville driver handed 15-month prison sentence – Local – Portsmouth News.

83 Additional Homes Proposed For Waterlooville

Is this the straw that broke the camels back ?

CONCERNS about traffic congestion and overdevelopment were raised as plans to redevelop a convent and its grounds went on show.

But Ian Roberts, highways consultant, said the road network could cope, with 34 vehicle movements estimated from London Road at peak times and eight movements from the Hulbert Road side.

Does that figure take into account the extra burden that is being placed on London Road by the Berewood development or the potential additional burden being placed on Hulbert Road by the proposed development at Dunsbury Hill Farm ?

Where on earth does the “34 vehicle movements” figure come from anyway ? Surely there must be an assumption of one vehicle for every home at the very minimum. I appreciate that not every vehicle will be on the move at peak times. The highways consultants must be assuming that many of the new residents will be either walking into Waterlooville town centre or hopping onto a bus to take up the employment opportunities mentioned by John O’Donovan.

John O’Donovan, the developer’s planning consultant, said: ‘I would suggest it is an ideal site for housing.

‘It’s very close to Waterlooville town centre, to employment opportunities and to the bus corridor.’

So what are these employment opportunities ?

These would be the same opportunities that the folks in Leigh Park, the new residents of Berewood and the current residents of Waterlooville and the surrounding areas have their hopes pinned on.

More than 50 residents packed into Havant’s council chamber as developers laid out initial proposals to build 83 homes on the site of the former St Michael’s Convent….

I’m glad to see that so many folks are taking an interest in their local area. We, the Waterlooville residents, have been too quiet. As a consequence the planners and the developers have had free rein and we are paying for it.

It comes as Peter Holloway, a spokesman for residents in Hermitage Gardens, said he would never have bought his house last year if he knew so many houses were in the pipeline.

He said: ‘We knew something might be built there but when we contacted Havant Borough Council we were told they would not be allowed to build any more than 57 houses and the part of the land nearest our garden would not be developed because there is an old apple orchard there, a sewage pipe running through it and it is so steep.

‘Now we’ve found out they want to build right at the bottom of our land, 26 more houses than we were told.

Sounds like the council were acting like the old-fashioned brush or encyclopaedia salesmen. Get a foot in the door with the low numbers, then jack them up once the flow of opinion is headed in the right direction.

Council officers said the land was earmarked for 57 homes in the latest local plans – but this figure was ‘indicative’.

Presumably “indicative” is the councils “get out of jail” card.

Fears raised as Waterlooville homes plan goes on show – Politics – Portsmouth News.