Sunday, 30 November 2008

Weekend away

I travelled down to Somerset to visit a friend for the weekend. Lovely part of the world, but transport links down there are a bit variable. I didn’t quite realise that the M32 dumps you right in the middle of Bristol. At least it wasn’t difficult to get through the city and on to the A37. The A37 looks like a main road but it winds up and down through villages and the speed limit keeps changing. Then again there was plenty of mist and fog so going fast wasn’t really an option. For a while radio 3 entertained me, first with a concert from the Barbican by the BBC Symphony Orchestra of Paul Hindenmith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis of themes by Carl Maria von Weber and then a programme about the Goliards, medieval musical satirists. The only problem was that I felt I should concentrate on the road and not the radio so the instrument was switched off. A sobering reminder of the importance of concentration was delivered a while later when I crawled past an accident, evidently caused by someone pulling out of a side road when there was someone approaching on the main road. Shortly after that, rising out of the mist, was the almost surreal sight of a massive pair of (probably) Lucas P100 headlamps, flanking the grille of a 1930s car. Probably an Alvis or Lagonda all I could make out were large wheels, sweeping running boards and the hood irons of the convertible roof. A car like that looks as though it belongs in the fog although I’m not sure I’d fancy being the driver. A moments contemplation on the crude heating and ventilation arrangements, not to mention - very probably - cable operated drum brakes with no servo followed.

Oh and as I drove I saw signs for both Bath and Wells. Can I be the only person who sees those two place names and thinks of Blackadder’s famous baby-eating bishop?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Changing seasons

Just a quick update, not motoring related but something that occurred to me tonight.

I know plenty of people moan about winter but I have decided that I love cold winter evenings. There is something wonderful about escaping the stuffy warmth of the office for the cool, freshness of the evening. And little things like the comfort of wrapping a thick scarf round your neck or walking more briskly to keep the cold out.

I'm pretty sure that C.S. Lewis (one of my favourite authors) had plenty to say on the subject of the weather and seasons. There is something satisfying about the combination of constant change between winter and summer and the fact that it is a regularly repeating pattern. Lewis even created characters who enjoyed the weather possibly as a lesson to remind the reader that you cannot change the weather so you are as well to enjoy it and so, with life, there are many things that we cannot change so the only thing we can change is ourselves to try and smile in the face of adversity. Not always easy, not always possible, but I'm sure a positive outlook is more useful than a negative one.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Watching Top Gear

I'm afraid I can't resist the charms of BBC television's Top Gear. Today they are testing the Dodge Challenger, which I have a massive soft spot for and seeing one on the move on the small screen just makes it look even more appealing. Actually seeing it is only half the story, hearing it is even bigger. It makes me wonder how the Challenger drives and how it would compare to the Ford Mustang. The 'stang was crude but both effective and entertaining but it did have competition suspension and incredible, racing brakes, not to mention a supercharged engine. Maybe I should drive one of the racing tuned Challengers that Chrysler offers in the USA only to people with racing licenses.