Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dancing With Memories

Sitting here in my very British living room in my even more British semi detached house, it's sometimes hard to remember there is a big world out there with many different sounds, smells and sights to be experienced and explored.

Photos and videos (amateur and professional) can certainly initiate an interest in some new travel destination but my favourite source of such visual information has to come from movies. As a result, strange to say, my most frequently accessed travel site has to be IMDB which would probably amaze it's creators.

For anyone not familiar with this wonderful site, you enter any movie title in the search box and up comes the movie with every possible bit of information you'd ever want to know about it from who starred in it, to who fixed the sandwiches on set. So why do I use it as a travel site ?

Well down the left hand side are even more options you can pick, like what awards the movie has won, what goofs people have found when watching it and the one that makes it a travel site for me..........the filming locations used in the movie.

As I've said before, I started visiting America in the summer of 1989 and went only to Florida that year. For 3 weeks I toured the state and never left it. It was great and although visiting the KSC was the highlight for a space nut like me, I came away having had enough of theme parks and bumping into Brits on holiday to last me a lifetime. I knew then that I wanted to visit every state and see what was on offer as there had to be much more than what was in Florida.

The following year (1990) I watched a movie that made such an impression on me that it dictated where I would visit in 1991. The movie, Dances With Wolves, starred Kevin Costner but the real stars were the stunning landscapes of South Dakota and Wyoming (thank you IMDB). I had to go there. I had to see buffalo.

So on June 8th 1991 I flew into Chicago and immediately headed west in search of these hairy beasts. I really didn't expect to see any in Illinois and so I wasn't disappointed when none appeared. But armed with my deep understanding of buffalo, based solely on Dances With Wolves, I pointed my rental car towards the Badlands of South Dakota and kept my eyes open.

I got slightly sidetracked by visits to Mount Rushmore and the lesser known, but just as awesome, Crazy Horse Monument. These are worthy sights for any tourist but I was on a quest. I had the cd soundtrack of the movie all ready and dammit I wanted buffalo. After leaving the crowds behind, I found myself in a vast open prairie landscape where I could easily visualise Kevin Costner riding in full military uniform across to visit with the inquisitive Indians.
I decided the moment was near and slid the cd into the player.

As the strains of some of the most beautiful soundtrack music ever written enveloped me, I could hardly believe it when I saw a solitary buffalo up ahead right at the side of the road. I slowed down and as I came up alongside it to get a photo, it moved off at a canter but continued to run alongside the car, almost at touching distance. We came to a sharp bend in the road and as I drove around it, the view opened up before me and like that scene in Jurassic Park when Sam Neil first sees the living breathing dinosaurs, I suddenly saw a huge herd of buffalo a few hundred yards away surrounding a small expanse of water.

It was a moment that will live with me forever. In the vastness of the area, I felt like I was the last person on earth. I hadn't seen another car in over an hour in either direction and so here I was, alone with 'my' buffalo. The scenery, the music, the buffalo. Sitting in my Leeds living room less than a week earlier, I could never have imagined this.

Costner is hardly the most popular actor in the world but most people would have to admit that Dances With Wolves was a great movie on several levels. Maybe it was self indulgent. Maybe it was too long. Maybe his acting left a lot to be desired. But as a magnificent sweeping portrayal of a time in American history that has gone forever, it has few critics. And as for the stunning and emotive soundtrack written by John Barry, rarely has music combined so well with the vision on the screen to make for an overall experience that lives long in the memory.

Yesterday I tuned my cable tv box to Classic FM TV as it is a good channel to have in the background when reading or surfing late at night. Suddenly I heard the familiar opening notes to the Dances With Wolves soundtrack but with a sort of meaty beaty back track not on the CD. I loved it. The images were from the movie of course and I wished I'd had a chance to record it. I was immediately taken back to my very special time that summer in 1991 when another of my travel dreams came true. I didn't want the music to end but all too soon it did. I needed to hear it again and again.

Then I remembered YouTube and how just about anything is on there somewhere. I did a quick search and found the version I'd just heard on Classic FM and I was in heaven....or at least that part of heaven in South Dakota when for a short time you can feel totally alone on this mad planet. Where time seems to stand still and you are but an insignificant speck on the landscape. Where that landscape is almost limitless and only ends where it meets the sky. A sky so blue, it makes your emotions soar and your soul ache.

If you have seen this movie, take another listen to this music. If you have never seen it, I envy you this first listen. I want you to be there. I want you to be where I was that summer 16 years ago. I simply ask you to first imagine the scene before clicking on the link at the end and when you do, please close your eyes the first time as watching the video clip can be distracting.

You are in this car. There isn't another human being around for a hundred miles. You have dreamed of being in this very location for over a year. You turn off the engine, slowly step out of the car and let the sound of silence envelope you. A few yards away a solitary majestic buffalo has returned to eating the grass, safe in the knowledge that you pose no threat to it. Your eyes sweep across the vast empty landscape and suddenly stop on a herd of buffalo grazing near a waterhole not far away from you. As the tranquility takes you to a different level, the music starts......gently adding to the beauty of the experience.

You are now where I was. Enjoy it with me again.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Still Walking Back to Happiness - But Only Just.

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been 2 weeks since my last post.

Sorry......still got some Catholic traits deep within me.

Today the sky is blue, the clouds are fluffy white and the sun is.........well I was told never to look at it, so I've no idea. Probably a nice yellow colour with pointy rays coming off it in all directions.

I only mention this as we here in soggy England haven't seen much in the way of this warming orb in recent weeks and I've been pretty much stuck indoors with little to blog about. I was beginning to think it had moved out of orbit and eastern Europe was pinching our bit of sunshine - as if what they normally get wasn't enough. It's bad enough hearing reports of records temps in Greece or wherever when our webbed footed, welly wearing citizens are paddling canoes down their main streets.

Given the record rainfall that has been dumped on our green and not so pleasant land in recent weeks, I think it's ironic that thousands have to stand in line now to get drinking water. Sadly the stuff that's splashing up to their knees or settling nicely in their living rooms isn't fit to drink.........or even allow to touch your bare flesh come to that. Once you see shots of long wriggling wormlike critters floating by alongside the usual assortment of bike wheels, shopping carts, empty coke bottles and condoms, well you just don't want to dip a toe into it never mind get any inside you.

As usual, one man's misery is another man's opportunity and reports are rife of people being overcharged for bottled water and other necessities. String 'em up, I say. Off with their heads, I say. Let them run the railways, I say !!

Anyway this long period of wet and gloomy weather has made it difficult for me to get out there and do my walking. Yes I've got a treadmill for this very reason but it's just not the same. The big issue I have using the treadmill is that, at the first appearance of an ache or pain, it's way too easy to just climb down and be sitting with my feet up watching tv a few seconds later. When this happens out on the road, I'm usually 2 miles from home and have no choice but to 'break through the wall' and carry on. So I prefer to walk outside.

Oh, while on this subject, I've noticed recently that many visitors to my blog have come to it via a google search for the song 'Walking Back To Happiness'. Now one or two such visits I could understand but I am surprised by the numbers I'm getting. Maybe there is a quiz running where you need to know the lyrics to this song ? Maybe Helen Shapiro is making a comeback ? She was so young when the song was a hit that she's probably only in her 20's now !!

The post where I mentioned the song was created 13 months ago. It seems that if you google the name of the song, my blog comes up 60th out of 46,400 search replies. Not too shabby but not high enough to explain the number of hits I've been getting as I don't think many people look beyond the first page of google replies. However if you put in certain lyrics from the "Funny but it's true what loneliness can do", then yours truely pops up at the top out of 738,000 replies. Wooohoooooo. I'm No.1, I'm No.1. Wonder if I'll go platinum ??

So if ANYONE out there comes to this blog this way, can you please add a comment telling me why you were looking for that particular song or it's lyrics ? Thank you. Oh and feel free to stop and read the other posts !

Speaking of shameless plugs, I think it's time to mention my brother's holiday cottage in Wales again. As regular readers will know, I spent a week there recently and can highly recommend it as a wonderful holiday base from which to explore the stunningly beautiful (and mostly dry) mountains and valleys of North and Mid Wales. Their web site is looking good now and is well worth a visit - if only to see some of my photos which I'm pleased to say were used to show what the cottage and surrounding area looks like. As their site links to this blog, I thought it only brotherly to reciprocate.

Well I need to go out and spend some time basking in the warmth of this rare celestial visitor - maybe even take a walk. As everyone tends to be miserable and sad looking when it's wet and overcast, you can imagine the national gloom that has been hovering over the UK recently. I've certainly felt that way. So to be able to get out for a walk today without a fur lined coat, thermal undies and wellies, I really can say that I'll be literally..........walking back to happiness.

And as a bonus, that reference should keep me on top of the google search results !! Shameless.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Speedy Gonzales

I was going to call this post "Another Soapbox Alert" as I'm going to pontificate - but decided it might put people off from the get go.

Today I took a 6 hour 200 mile return journey to a place near Flint in North Wales to serve my penance and attend a Speed Awareness Course in order to avoid getting 3 points on my licence for speeding 7 weeks ago. I mention the 6 hours as it wouldn't normally take me that long to drive 200 miles but today a combination of dreadful weather, it being a Friday with many schools breaking up for the summer and the fact that I had to use some of the busiest motorways in the UK, all meant that a 4 hour drive took me 6 hours and I was stopped for much of that time.

My speeding crime was doing 35mph in a 30mph zone and I was on the course with 4 other hardened criminals who had also been caught a few miles over the limit. In fact you are only offered this course as an alternative to the licence points if you've only gone a few miles over the limit. I have to assume the police think that doing something like 50 in a 30 zone or 100 on a motorway means you are beyond help and therefore would not benefit from a course. I choose to think differently but what do I know ?

It's wasn't bad actually and we discussed the reasons for, and the implications of, speeding. Among other things we talked about bad driving techniques and the road rage that often follows.

Anyway, all that aside, it's time to pull out my soapbox and climb on board.

Both going and coming back, but mostly coming back, the weather was horrendous with heavy rain and the usual lack of visibility that comes with it. That was compounded on the motorways by the spray from speeding vehicles (not speeding in the context of what I've said earlier - just speeding as in.......well speeding along). If ever there was a need for having your dipped headlights on, this was it. And yet what did I see - or barely see, to be more accurate ? Loads of idiots driving along with no lights on at all as if it was a glorious sunny afternoon.

I just don't get it. I'd love to talk to one of these people and ask them what's wrong with them ? I mean, REALLY. Along with driving along in the middle lane of a motorway when the inside lane is free and not indicating when exiting a roundabout, it's my biggest driving peeve. I try not to get stressed but God help me, it's not easy.

I don't mind these people killing themselves.......more power to them. But their stupidity is just as likely, if not more likely, to get others killed instead.

Maybe their argument is that they can see perfectly well in conditions like we were experiencing today so why use lights? After all it was only 5pm on a July afternoon and not really dark at all. This totally misses the main point in using lights during bad weather. You don't do it to SEE but to BE SEEN. Come on people, it's not rocket science.

I'd be trying to change lanes with a steamed up car, windscreen wipers going like Paris Hilton's legs in prison (ok cheap shot) and with low visibility everywhere. Like a good boy I'd check my rear view mirror first and what would I see ? Well about a dozen cars far enough behind me to not really stop me changing lanes. And how come I saw them through the gloom and rain and spray from my own tyres ? Because they had their lights on !! Yeahhhhhh. So I indicate to show my intentions and immediately I hear a horn blast and looking back again I see a car I'd not seen before, flashing his lights at me. Oh they did work then !

I'd not seen it before because it had no lights on and was a dark colour. It just didn't stand out against all the other cars with their lights on.

I know I've laboured the point now but if it's so obvious, why doesn't EVERYONE do it ? Actually one good thing I did learn at the course was that soon all cars will have to have their lights on....ALL THE TIME. God bless the EU for that one. Can't come soon enough for me.

And don't get me started on the others who use their 'side lights' and think that's enough. It's not. My theory is that the bigger the car, the less use these side lights are. The classic example is a Rolls Royce. I've seen bigger and brighter lights on a lightning bug !

So when I pull up along side them or they do the same to me, I can't really indicate with pulsing hands signals that they need to put their lights on. They simply look bemused as they know they already have them on. Yes but they're like using 2 tealight candles to light the Vatican.


I'd really love one of those moving advertising signs on my back window so I could let these people know what I think. It might cause road rage but it would help lower my stress levels and let me concentrate on my speed a bit more. Oh yes, my speed. Dang it, I forgot about that.

You know, I'm really not sure going to that course today did me any good at all !!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh I Don't Like To Be Beside The Seaside.

Yesterday was a pretty nice day, weatherwise, and I fancied a drive to somewhere new.

I decided to plan where to go over another delicious and cheap carvery meal at The Wellington on Wetherby Road which has rapidly become my eatery of choice and it's hard to resist if I'm passing within 5 miles of it with a rumbling stomach.

So I tucked in to ham and turkey with Yorkshire puddings, new potatoes, peas, carrots and delicious thick gravy with my UK A-Z next to me and tried to decide where to go. I settled on finding somewhere east of Leeds as it's still pretty much a black hole when it comes to my personal travel experiences. I wanted the seaside but with something a bit more than sand and candy floss to keep me photographically entertained for the day.

Grimsby it was then. Never been before and I thought I'd get to see some fishing boats in an idyllic harbour setting. As time was getting on, I skipped any ideas of taking a scenic route, if indeed there was one from Leeds to Grimsby, and opted for the M62/M18/M180 all the way there.

No sooner had I made it onto the M62 than I hit trouble. The overhead signs showed that due to an incident, the motorway was reduced to one working lane up ahead.

This is an exciting photo of us on that one lane.

Actually I was doubly cheesed off as, in merging from three lanes to one, I went past a vehicle that I would have photographed if traffic had been flowing normally. It was some sort of a trike contraption but one unlike anything I'd seen anywhere, even in America.
It looked from behind like a standard 3 wheel vehicle but the bike part, although obviously fixed to this frame, moved independently in some way. Hard to explain but after the traffic merge it was way behind me and I never saw it again.

The debris from the incident, whatever it had been, was being swept up when I passed it and I'm sure the motorway was back to 3 lanes soon afterwards.

I reached Grimsby without any further delays and it was good to have been on new roads to me.
I actually smelled (or smelt) the town before I saw it and I got some idea of what it would be like to live in a house made of fish fingers. Handy for late night snacking but hard on the nose.

I drove around the docks for a while but only saw high walls and closed gates and the occasional teasing view of a mast. I finally stopped at a security gate post and asked where would be the best location from which to photograph the fishing fleet and although he didn't exactly laugh, the guard said there was no fleet anymore. The fishing industry in Grimsby was essentially history and anyway, thanks to Mr. Bin Laden and his cronies, the docks were off limits to the general public. I wasn't sure what was left to keep secure or even why any terrorist would want to blow up a fishing fleet at the best of times, but I drove on into the town............

......and right out the other side. There was nothing remotely interesting about Grimsby. I'd go so far as to say that if I lived there, I'd be trying to leave asap. I'll be kind and leave it at that.

Just 2 miles away and almost joined to it, is the seaside resort of Cleethorpes. I still wanted to see water and walk on sand and so, bitterly disappointed with Grimsby, I drove on to Cleethorpes.

Oh boy. It was everything I hated about UK seaside towns with it's miles of sad old slot machine arcades, unhealthy food outlets and decidedly antique rides spoiling what could've been a lovely promenade next to a wonderful length of clean sandy beach.

Ok I suppose every seaside resort has to have ice cream, fish and chips, candy floss and so on but PLEASE get rid of the arcades.

Most of the ones in Cleethorpes looked like they'd not been painted since the 50's and everything about them reeked of a time long gone - like the customers.

This small Ferris Wheel was the only amusement offering on the beach side of the promenade and further on was the 134 year old pier which does have one claim to fame - it's the shortest pier in the country.

With the decline of such structures, it's changed hands numerous times over the decades and seems to have lost money for whoever owned it.

Another reason for not liking Cleethorpes was that you had to pay 90p ($1.80) to park for an hour anywhere along the promenade and although I understand that the town has to make money wherever it can, I feel there should always be free parking for a Renault Clio at the seaside. It just makes sense and should be a law. Anyway I parked and moved a few times and never paid and displayed. I'm a rebel.

Across the road from a particular line of arcades was this solitary eatery - why we like to slap "USA" or "American" on lots of our eating places just because they sell hotdogs or donuts is beyond me.

I'm not sure what menu items ordained that this place should class itself as a USA Take-A-Way but I'm quite sure that the quantity, if not the quality, would have made a visiting American raise an eyebrow or two.

It wasn't so much a take away as a stay away as the customers were giving the place a wide berth.

Further along the prom and beyond the pier, things got a little better, visually if not gastronomically. The sky was a tad overcast and being mid afternoon on a weekday with many school still in session, there weren't many people out and about. All the more ozone for me then and I took in great lungfulls and enjoyed the views.

The prom was wide, very clean and - empty for the most part. The sand was clean too and very soft underfoot. Like with most beaches on the eastern side of the UK, the tide went out a long way and this, coupled with the cool temperature and a lack of tourists, meant only a few brave souls were frolicking.

Now I enjoy a good frolic as much as the next person but I was happy to just walk on the sand with no wish to dip my digits into the water. The air temp needs to be above 80F and the sea temp not far behind before I dip my delicate bod into it. Actually I think the last time I had a swim in open water in the UK was when the paint on those arcade places was still fresh. I kid you not, it's probably been the best part of 40 years.

A short walk later and it was obvious that the tide was coming in......from Norway or somewhere. You still had to walk half a mile to get your ankles damp

This didn't stop some people rushing out to meet the tide halfway or, in the case of this dad and little girl, playing that old favourite seaside game called "now where did you hide Daddy's car keys, sweetheart" ?

I think that's what was wrong with this trip to Cleethorpes and it wasn't really the town's fault. There were so few kids around that the place had an out of season feel to it. Give it another few weeks and I bet it'll be rocking. Maybe.

As usual, what the place lacked in youths (or yutes...hehe) , it made up for in golden oldies. It's a simple but time honoured recipe : take one seaside resort, add a dash of wooden benches or deckchairs, throw in a few wrinklies and voila........the perfect mix.

There wasn't much worth watching on their home tv so George and Mildred here decided to get out and watch the ships passing towards Hull.

"I've had enough of this show, George"
"I like it, baby. And it's great in widescreen"
"But it's boring. Change the channel"
"It's not a channel, Mildred, it's an estuary"
"Nobody likes a smart ass, George"

I drove to the end of the promenade road and things livened up. There was a cute coastal train to ride, some sort of water park, a shopping plaza and fast food outlets galore. The ice creams, donuts and candy floss at the other end of the prom had given way to original recipe chicken and bigmacs. Similarly unhealthy and similarly nummy. I gave in to temptation and had a 2 piece Colonel Meal which was my first fast food meal in 6 months so I didn't beat myself up about it. I even saved one chicken piece till today.

By now it was 6pm and Cleethorpes was closing down for the day. The coastal train had stopped and if you wanted an ice cream along the prom, tough. I took the hint and left too.

Maybe I'm not a seaside person although it's really the seaside town that I have issues with. I don't 'do' amusement rides. I try not to eat unhealthy (if nummy) food. I detest arcades. So that just leaves the water and the beach. I like both of those and so the next time I decide to feel the hot sand between my toes and have the urge to jump headlong into the warm breaking waves I'll know what to do.

Go to Florida !

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A Very Unique Post

As a certified Grumpy Old Man and Victor Meldrew clone, I hated learning today that one of my pet peeves needs to be qualified, toned down or even discarded completely. It's been like losing a family pet, a close friend or even a footy team I've supported for well over 30 years. I'm just not sure I can do it.

It all started this morning when I glanced at my digital watch to make sure I was up and about in time to watch the start of the cricket on tv. Oh don't even THINK about teasing me on that one. I told you I'm in mourning so don't kick me when I'm down. I LIKE watching cricket on tv, ok !! Just let it go and move on.

Anyway the watch display caught my bleary eyes attention as the row of numbers along the top which show the date, read 070707. Putting aside my disappointment that I hadn't been awake to see the time register 0707 several hours ago, I thought about how unusual this sort of date really was. Well I had to constantly stir my porridge for 5 minutes so my mind needed something to focus on.

For a start it's one of those rare dates when we're in sync with our American cousins who yet again decided to be different and put the month first when specifying dates. It's also when I don't have to remember that my watch was bought over there and so do a sort of mental switch around every time I use it to check the date. Thankfully it's not something I need to do very often.

So it's a unique date then. Or is it ? Well with the cinnamon and raisins combining nicely in my porridge, I discussed this question with myself. How many days in history will ever be written down as 070707 ? Well.....only this one of course. Hmmmmm. Ok then, how many days will be written down as tomorrow's date, 080707 (or 070807 for Americans) ? Again only one. So on that basis, EVERY date is unique. Rats.

So why has 070707 taken my eye ? It's not even a palindrome unless you put it in groups of 2 numbers or remove the zeros and that's just cheating. Well it's one of those dates when it's almost a pleasure to write a cheque (or check) or fill in a form as your pen fairly speeds across the paper - 070707. Woooohooooo.

And so that was that. The date today is just a minor amusing series of numbers which combine to be unique in the sense that every date is unique. Ah but once again I'd woken the Kraken that is the word UNIQUE.

Almost numero uno on my list of pet peeves has been the use of the word unique in modern society. For me it was always pretty clear - unique came from the Latin unicus meaning ONE. As so, it cannot be preceded by anything like 'somewhat' or 'very' or 'almost' as these would be superfluous at best and downright bad grammar at worst. So I'd go easily into Meldrew Meltdown Mode anytime I'd hear "quite unique", "very unique" and the most irritating of all......."one of the most unique" Grrrrrrrrrr.

But then I decided to do something I'd never done before. Something unique in fact. I looked the word up in a dictionary. Just to be sure of my facts, you know :

Function: adjective

1 : being the only one : SOLE
2 a : being without a like or equal : UNEQUALED
: distinctively characteristic : PECULIAR

usage Many commentators have objected to the comparison or modification (as by somewhat or very) of unique, often asserting that a thing is either unique or it is not. Objections are based chiefly on the assumption that unique has but a single absolute sense, an assumption contradicted by information readily available in a dictionary. Unique dates back to the 17th century but was little used until the end of the 18th when, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was reacquired from French. Around the middle of the 19th century it ceased to be considered foreign and came into considerable popular use. With popular use came a broadening of application beyond the original two meanings (here numbered 1 and 2a). In modern use both comparison and modification are widespread and standard but are confined to the extended senses 2b and 3. When sense 1 or sense 2a is intended, unique is used without qualifying modifiers.

Qualifying modifiers are allowed !! What, what, what !!! My world was turned upside down. My porridge stuck in my throat. (That was more likely due to not using enough milk though).

Oh great. So now when some young whipper snapper VDJ on MTV says that the latest one hit wonder has a 'very unique voice", I have to work out the sense implied before I can rant and rave and fire off an email to The London Times about the lack of basic education shown on tv these days.

We are NOT amused. 070707 will certainly go down in my life as the day I lost something very close to me. I lost something to grumble about. I lost something to get on my soapbox about.

I lost........something quite unique.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm Back

Well I've not actually BEEN anywhere but as it's been a while since I posted, I thought it sounded good to give the impression I had been away somewhere. Somewhere exotic maybe. A Nile cruise maybe.

Actually I did think about a Nile cruise today as I got an email holiday alert offering such a trip including air fare and 10 excursions for the remarkable price of £299. Wow. I love last minute offers.

With my mind calling up thoughts of spitting camels, sunkissed pyramids and some ghastly exotic diseases, I went to the site to checkout the small print and sure enough, there it was. "Price is based on 2 people sharing".

Sharing what ? A semi in Neasden ? The same surname ? A bit of tongue now and then ? Dammit. Where is that sister of mine when I need her - the one who moved down south years ago ? We were VERY close !!

Seriously (and I don't have a sister), once again a potential great holiday deal was taken away from me because I'm a sad old single. I'm considering patching up my inflatable 'friend' from 1972 and giving her another spin. Patches and all. I'm just not sure she'd stand up to the latest security screenings at the airport.

But one trip I will be taking is still 13 weeks away. I got my medical insurance sorted and bought my tickets for another winter in Florida. Given the summer weather we've had so far, I can't wait for winter.

The number 13 has raised it's dubious head elsewhere in my life too. Remember my speeding mishap in Wales (see one of the Welsh posts if not) and my lovely and well deserved letter from the North Wales Police thoughtfully inviting me to cough up £60 and they'd give me 3 points on my licence as a freebee ? Well they made me another offer shortly afterwards. If I went on a Speed Awareness Course, cost - £60, they'd not bother with the 3 points.

I was torn. Why ? Well 3 points would hardly be the end of the world and the course was being held back in North Wales. This would involve a round trip of 200 miles and even with the Clio purring along at 45mpg, that would still rack up about £19 in petrol costs.

Well I decided that points on my licence would be shameful, if nothing else, and so I accepted their kind offer. Today I got the letter giving me details of when I'm to attend and it's on Friday 13th July at..........13:00.

And who says the police don't have a sence of humour !!

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