Blog Archive

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Uninsured Pigeon Attack, Silly Me, England at its Best, EU ends the Ryanair Tax, Make-up Girl

An uninsured pigeon attacks my car

As I was driving along a busy motorway, a pigeon appeared to fall out of the air from nowhere. Before I could even start to comprehend the situation, it make a faint clunk as it hit the front of my car and following that I could see hundreds of feathers scattering across the motorway behind me as I looked in the rear view mirror. A few moments later the incident was history and the journey continued as most long banal car trips do, as if nothing had happened.

The only other similar experience I have had was in 2013 when I was driving a brand new Rolls Royce Wraith around the track at Goodwood. We took this beautifully engineered car up to quite a high speed, when a pair of pheasants decided to stroll out onto the track. As trained, I didn't alter my course to try to avoid them as it would have been imprudent at this speed. In front of my eyes the two stupid creatures dissolved into a puff of feathers and I didn't notice a sound. I was worried that they may have damaged the front grille of the £250,000 brand new car, so I slowed down and pulled in as soon as it was safe. I was hoping there would be no more that a few feathers in the grille. But I was wrong; there was no damage, no feathers, no trace of anything; I breathed a sigh of relief.

Rolls Royce Wraith

Following the pigeon attack on my car, I drove home and had almost forgotten about the incident. After I parked my car I went to have a look at the front; the pigeon had cracked the acrylic cover over my right headlight. Fortunately the lights were all working perfectly so I stuck some transparent tape over the crack to prevent moisture entering the headlight unit.

Pigeon damage to headlight cover

I rang the dealer to ask if they could fit a new headlight cover. Unfortunately the cover is part of the headlight unit and the whole item needs to be replaced. Price? £1,600. After I got back up from the floor, I tried to source the part elsewhere including eBay but no luck. I rang my insurance company who said that the would cover it (subject to my £500 excess) but that as the pigeon was uninsured, they would not be able to reclaim the cost from its insurance so it would go down as my fault and would increase future premiums. Even if the pigeon was insured, there was no way it could provide details of its insurer.

The light has now been replaced and I hope to have no further encounters with pigeons. Why did it fall out of the sky?

Silly Me

I did something very stupid at the supermarket. Unusually, I took my MacBook computer with me as I wanted to match some paint colours at the shop opposite. Then I went to the supermarket, paid my £1 deposit to get a trolly, put my Macbook down at the front of the trolley and then went round doing our usual shop. Then I paid at the checkout and returned the trolley and took back my £1. Next we crossed the road and went into another shop. After a while my wife asked me what I had done with the computer. Then I must have gone white and rushed back to the supermarket trolley which was where I had left it outside the supermarket. Fortunately my Macbook was still there, where I had left it.

I left my laptop in the supermarket trolley in the street

I was very lucky. I won't do it again. This is a good example of a change to a routine exercise. My brain had gone into automatic 'regular shop' mode. And that does not cater for a computer in the trolley.

England at its best?

The weekend of July the 8th and 9th was a Perfect English Weekend. The weather was 25C and it was neither too hot nor too cold. It is the first time in 20 years that we have eaten breakfast in the garden! Let's hope we can do so more often.

Breakfast in the garden

We also that weekend had a delicious cream tea (tea and scones with raspberry jam and thick clotted cream) sitting out in the gardens at Waterperry Gardens, one of the prettiest spots in Oxfordshire.

Waterperry Gardens

Cream tea
Finally, we walked along the river Cherwell (pronounced 'Charwell' in Oxfordshire) from the centre of Oxford along its east bank up to Wolfson College in North Oxford. The Cherwell is a major tributary of the river Thames into which it flows at Oxford. The walk is along an established footpath but we were the only people there, making it feel very quiet and remote, despite the fact we were only moments from the city centre. The west side is busier as that is where the houses and colleges are. Wolfson College has a bridge over the river just beyond the Cherwell Boathouse which is a restaurant and one of the major punt stations in Oxford. So we watched the punts idly moving up and down the river on this idyllic day from the bridge. Wolfson College is brutalist architecture but it is softened considerably by the vast amount of greenery and the adjacent river. Oh for more beautiful days like this one. Everyone was outside and happy!

River Cherwell from Wolfson Bridge: Cherwell Boathouse and Punt Station

Wolfson College - Brutalist architecture

End of the Ryanair Tax

Great news! The EU has ruled that what I call the 'Ryanair" tax is to be made illegal from 1st January. This is the unsavoury practice, pioneered so well by Ryanair, of charging people for using credit cards to pay for their services. Ryanair for example, used to advertise flights for just £1 but when you went to book them, the card charges alone came to several times that amount (unless you took out some obscure card that they had cooked up to get around it). Since Ryanair, pretty much everyone is at it now and in many cases it is clear profiteering.

Almost everyone's at it now - here are some current airline examples

Thanks EU, once again, for protecting and enhancing the rights of its 500 million citizens. This follows the scrapping of mobile phone roaming charges last month.

Oh we will miss you so EU!

Make-up Girl

My regular train commute into London takes about an hour. We are fortunate that the trains are usually almost on time, everyone gets a comfortable seat and there is free internet and power sockets readily available and usually working. Nearly everyone on the morning commuter train is well presented and well behaved. Nobody talks unless there is something important to say. For example:

"My seat is on fire, please would you let me out" or
"Please would you switch off your telephone - we are in the Quiet zone" or
"Excuse me I need to go to the toilet, please will you keep an eye on my bag"

But the normal silence makes for a pleasant and relaxing journey. A few days ago, a young lady sat next to me and started to apply her make-up. I didn't think too much of it until she started to switch to different products. She must have had a small Boots in her bag. After 30 minutes of application of different materials she appeared to have finished and relaxed back to read her phone. It was at this point that I was really curious to see what she looked like. 

The trouble was that I couldn't see her. I could see the two people opposite me (the configuration is 2 seats facing another 2 on either side of the table, repeated on each side with the corridor in between) and I could see other people further away. But not her. Not without turning to look her right in the face which is obviously not done. I could have tried to strike up a conversation so she would have turned to me but that's not done either. And there was no legitimate emergency that I could use as an excuse to talk to her. I could have followed her out of the train and looked discreetly on the platform. But I couldn't as she got up out of her seat and was let out by the passing line and I wasn't (not so pretty I guess). By the time I got out she had long gone.

And then I realised; even if I had been able to see her, I didn't know what she looked like before the make-up! Maybe she will be on the train another day...

Update on Make-up Girl

This morning I noticed Make-Up Girl get on the train and she sat down a few rows away from me but facing in my direction so I could partially see her. She looked quite attractive. She went through her 30 minute routine again. I got to see her when we arrived as she stopped to let a few of us out of out of our seats. She looked amazing. Well worth 30 minutes!

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