Splat the rat

Most councils use conflict-based ‘traffic calming’ schemes as speed reduction measures and to discourage drivers from using certain roads.  They call roads like these - the roads people use to get to work, to go shopping and home to their families - ‘rat runs’. In my own village in West Oxfordshire we have had ‘calming’ imposed on each... Continue Reading →

Say what you mean

Councils and the public sector are very careful about how they use language.  This is no bad thing.  It demonstrates an understanding that language is massively, foundationally important. The National Council of Teachers of English rightly says "language plays a central role in the way human beings behave and think." But language can be used to obscure as... Continue Reading →

Dolores Umbridge. Now in charge of speed limit policy.

Speeding fines handed out by courts are hitting a new high.  In 2013, nearly 115,000 drivers waited while a magistrate looked down, wagged a reproving finger and dished out an average £169 fine and three points.  In 2012, failing to match the number on the stick to the number on the dial accounted for 56% of the 730,000 fixed... Continue Reading →

It’s not Urals that are unreliable. It’s their owners.

It was the rain that did it. That, and me buggering off for Christmas, leaving the Ural alone, outside under its cover. By the time I’d got back, half the UK’s annual rainfall had found its way into the carburettors. The Ural has two, one for each cylinder. Most of the water was, of course,... Continue Reading →

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