Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Driving Lesson #30

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Passed the 60 hours of driving lessons milestone today, which probably equates to about 58 hours of actual driving. What with the first couple of lessons being driven to somewhere to practice, and the end of lessons going over Drivers Records from time to time. Turning round in the road was pretty much spot on, Kev wanted me to make a mistake so that he could ask me to do it again so we would be pointing the right way again. Reverse round a corner wasn’t as bad as usual I concentrated very hard – however I find it difficult to get the observations in and make the changes to steering to get round the corner. Reverse parking went very wrong from the outset – I was phased by a white van and rushed it, getting it all wrong from the outset.

The rain was really quite heavy on the way home, it was interesting to be in that situation but made it very difficult to see and make judgments in my door mirrors. Still figuring out where all of the controls for the car are, it doesn’t seem to quite make sense in my head that the rear wiper is pushing the right control forward and front wipers are pushing it up.

Have booked another 6 lessons with Kev over the course of the next two weeks, one every day over half term. A bit of a drive round on the Monday and then my test on the Tuesday. Starting to get minor butterflies when I think about it, although reading a book or playing EVE gets my mind off it.

Snow Havoc

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Today was a very bizarre day, it seemed to me that the whole country ground to a halt (electronically too). I got a text message at 0630 this morning telling me to stay in bed as the school I work at is closed. After a slightly more gentle wake up than usual, I discovered that the local bus company had suspended services, twitter was going mad with snow reports from the UK, someone even came up with a Twitter & Google Maps mash up.

As it turns out Brighton and Hove was not alone London also had its bus service suspended. It seems that much of Brighton and Hove wasn’t gritted because it was too cold. In the end my driving lesson was canceled because they roads were just not safe.

Why is it the whole of the south-east of England ground to a halt? we weren’t prepared! Brighton and Hove’s reasoning for not gritting the roads was it was too cold, what does the temperate have to do with it? the answer is that a 1:9 salt to water solution lowers the freezing point of water to -6c whereas a 1:4 solution lowers the freezing point to -16c (Source). Why this wonder of modern physics escaped those responsible for salting roads I do not know.

So the council not gritting the roads is the reason for the havoc caused by snow flakes, no probably not, I suspect the lack of preparedness stretches from the biggest to the largest. How many people in the country have supplies of water, heat and light in their house. A couple of large bottles (say 2 x 4 liters) of water will typically last one person about 4 days, have you got that much water at home… I don’t think I have. Have you got enough candles or glow sticks to allow you to move safely round your house after dark? How long will it take your house to get dangerously cold when there is no heating and it is -6 outside? Do you have any way of generating heat, cooking stoves candles can these be safely used inside? Can you prepare any food without power, do you have an non electric can opener any more? I have glow sticks and a manual can opener, not sure how much food I have in the house – cold baked beans would work but you can’t survive on them.

What would happen if it was more serious than snow, what would happen if you were in New Orleans on August 29th 2005 would money do you any good. What would happen if you only had a £20 note, would anyone accept it – would anyone have change. I am taking it to extremes now, however today has taught me a lesson there are some things you don’t think about until it is too late.

On a cheerful note, Catherine and I spent a nice day together we built a snow rabbit (or perhaps cat) went for a walk and spent some time together. As far as I’m concerned today was a free day, a gift, and I enjoyed it.

Driving Lesson #29

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Today was not my best lesson so far, generally my driving was quite poor, I seem to have forgotten some fairly important things like using the hand break and putting the clutch down. I did change my driving position within the car as I was in quite a tense position which dosn’t give me the best view in the world, not sure if that affected it but it may have done.

I am still having problems reversing round corners, despite spending some time today reading back my old notes I couldn’t really do it today either, it is a bit to analog for my digital brain. Kev had another way which might help, and was certainly a way of getting the job done.

  1. ratcStart reversing back, slightly further than you would do if you were making small incremental changes.
  2. Make one full turn of the wheel to the left.
  3. Wait until the kerb moves past the center line in the left mirror.
  4. Straighten up
  5. Wait until the kerb moves past the other side of the center line
  6. Repeat from 2 – 5 until round the corner

It is by no means the ideal way to get the job done, however it is passable and it might lead on to me being able to reverse round a corner without major problems. I hope to be able to get another 10 more lessons in before my test, which I can confirm is on the 24th February. Which is four weeks tomorrow, half term is before the test so that should give me some extra opportunity to practice.

Driving Lesson #28

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Moving towards my 60th hour of driving, and I am still enjoying it. Made a couple of silly mistakes today, the first (not the first mistake just the first silly one) was not taking a right turn where I should of. It was down to my perception of how the road went, I hadn’t anticipated that the road itself went straight on, I thought it went off to the left. Kev asked me to take the next right, and I missed it and went straight on.

Second mistake was not stopping at a give way line, someone came round a sort of blind corner, had I crept further forward I would have seen them. This was bad because they had to slow down, on the off chance they are reading this, sorry! Lesson learnt though.

Kev has said he is happy for me to book my test, so I did. I am not going to post it on here until I have it confirmed with Kev. It is against by better judgement to post it at all, as I am likely to end up with twitters, texts and e-mails soon before the test which might make me nervous. We will see.

Driving Lesson #27

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Today was a new skill, parking in a shopping center car park. Or at least an adaption of existing skills.

  1. Get yourself parallel to the line kerb equivalent, roughly a doors width from the bounding line of the parking space.
  2. Reverse until the near side bounding line of the parking space is about half way through rear window.
  3. Once at this position steer full lock to the left.
  4. Keep reversing, making corrections by straightening up then moving back to full lock.
  5. As you finally come round to parallel to the left and right bounding lines straighten up.
  6. Reverse until the front bounding line is level with the mirrors.

That’s roughly it, I think. Hopefuly I will get to practice it again next week and draw you all a diagram. This week I was less hesitant than I had been in the past, I still made mistakes and got confused by the trafic but I was more decicivie. Felt conftable and confident in the car, if a little weary of being asked to do emergency stops again.

Driving Lesson #26

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Today was a day for gear changes and roundabouts, some dual carriageways and national speed limit single carriageways in the pitch black freezing cold. Kev was trying to get me more confident and less slightly dangerous on roundabouts which is good as I find them shockingly confusing, particularly if I need to do a gear change coming up to them.

Lifehack has an article on making decisions under preasure, which I think probably covers the broad techniques I should be using to make sure I am better at roundabouts than I am at the moment.

Specifically – know the situation, know the outcomes and commit to the task at hand.

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

This is just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I have been wanting to post some statistics gathered through Google Analytics for some time now so here we go. The following data covers 1st January 2008 until the post time 31st December 2008, all data excludes administrator visits and search engine crawlers.

Visit Statistics

  • Visits: 3,066
  • Visitors: 2,708
  • Page Views: 4,935
  • Bounce Rate: 74.72%

Top Visit Origins

  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • France

Most Popular Posts

  1. Lakeland Revival
  2. Center Parcs Longleat
  3. Google Chrome
  4. EasyWorship

Top Search Terms

  1. lakeland revival
  2. richard slater
  3. easy worship
  4. breaking distances
  5. easy worship

Browsers

  1. Internet Explorer (56.23%)
  2. Firefox (37.18%)
  3. Safari (3.59%)
  4. Google Chrome (0.95%)
  5. Opera (0.27%)

Operating Systems

  1. Windows (89.11%)
  2. Macintosh (7.47%)
  3. Linux (2.67%)

The main thing that I get from looking at those statistics is I would like to get the bounce rate down, the average time on site is only 51 seconds, which I would like to increase. The only way I can go about that is by creating more useful content and the only way to do that is to keep plugging at it.

See you all in 2009!

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

It’s that Christmas time of year again, I am fortunate to be able to spend time with friends and family this Christmas. I hope my readers get to spend Christmas with those that you love too.

Merry Christmas!

Driving Lesson #25

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

First lesson in two weeks, for that matter I don’t get another lesson for two weeks either. I feel a little stuck with the driving to be honest, each lesson seems similar to the previous lesson, it is possibly a mix of the law of diminishing returns and fustration at doing the same thing over and over again.

Took a look at the Burgess Hill Test Center the website still says no information available, and I can’t seem to select any times or dates on the “book a test” page on direct.gov. Never mind, hopefuly will be able to book a test at some point in 2009!

Anyway, as I said no more lessons for two weeks because of Christmas, will update again then for sure.

Driving Lesson #24

Monday, December 8th, 2008

So today was the 48th hour of driving a car, we didn’t do anything new one emergency stop at the end after being chased round by a 4×4 for a bit, should have guessed that was going to happen after Kev had said he wanted me to do an emergency stop.

Trying to perfect manoeuvres on difficult roads (read steep), was quite interesting trying to do a three point turn on a large hill. One thing that is slightly concerning me is reversing into parking spaces in supermarkets and the such. I am not sure why I would want to reverse into a parking space when I could just go in forwards and then put the shopping in the boot, it just seems like something that might be useful at some point.

Anyway, no lesson next week Kev is going Christmas shopping.