80

27°C, clear & still

Two loosely related news stories this week have caught my attention with their retrograde trend. One, proposes to raise the speed limit on motorways to 80mph. This has sparked numerous threads on forums (or is that fora?), interviews in TV and is said to be opposed by “environmental groups”. What worries me about the debate is its one-dimensional nature. MPs and most commentators seems to think there is only one reason against a change- safety. It’s almost as if they haven’t considered that there are other reasons at all. As I get older I am increasingly pushed towards the view that our leaders & decision makers are just plain stupid.
Look guys, here are some factors to consider just so you don’t have to think any up yourselves: fuel consumption (oil is going to run out eventually), noise, wear (on cars and on the roads), fear (cars full of kids because mums fear the traffic). All of those problems increase with speed.

Forecasting the weather reports

16°C, expect the unexpected.

Weather fronts moving up from the south will bring periods of uncertainty to areas of the Midlands. Locally, there could be patches of wild guessing amid spots of general accuracy. As the day wears on, expect some improvement overall but what actually happens remains open under the darkest clouds. The outlook for the week is of some days of normality ans some unseasonal accuracy too. Early reports from listeners in the far west indicate that a butterfly has flapped its wings, we will keep you informed on any developments on this channel during the coming week.

mortgage

10°C, and rising

That cold never did materialise, I felt fine the next day. I’m off soon to switch mortgage, my fixed term runs out next month and it reverts to a tracker, but interest rates are so low I should get a new fixed rate term to hold it low for years.

It’s a strange thing to shop for- nothing like choosing a TV or Hifi. There is none of the materialistic glee from a new feature in your home. A re-mortgage will give you a huge saving in about 18 years. Nothing you can reach out and touch then. It’s even worse than paying out for a big repair. The car is the worst for this, you have your card swiped for £300 and drive the car home, feeling the same as before. It’s no wonder that few shoppers jump ship to another energy provider/mortgage/phone company. The root of the problem is that it’s all so boring.

Anyway, no decisions yet, but the main contenders are fixed rate for 5 years, tracker for 2 then onto fixed, or variations on those (18 or 15 years). I’m playing with a spreadsheet to find the one. Open Office Calc works well.
It’s warm enough for shorts now.

The heat(ing) is on

17°C, Dry, light cloud

The innocent fan. Blame the circuit board!

He’s done it, the water boiler works now. The fan was not guilty all along, it was the circuit board causing trouble. By the look of it, the board is just a set of relays & an IC chip to control the front LEDs. Perhaps a relay failed, it does tend to be a mechanical failure more often, relays physically throw a switch rather than some transistor method. You can hear them click inside.

New colds’ season

16C, light clouds, but…

It’s coming: a new cold, it’s now cold outside, but I’m not warm inside.


And it’s got nothing to do with my home heating not working. The boiler won’t light, but the repair man is dealing with that one. The timing couldn’t be better, it’s normally another month before I put the heating on in this house.

11th Sept. 2001+10

18C,

The media haas been full of 9/11 ten years on stories this week. I expected to really hate all of this, but as it happens, there have been some moving personal accounts. Opinions varied hugely on questions like “is the world safer after the War on Terror?”. Even high ranking US govt. men had seemingly balanced views on this, Bush had been advised to drop the term but decided to stick to it because American’s aren’t bright enough to adjust (how ironic). It was reassuring to remember how we felt threatened by that war on terror- it did indeed create a huge recruitment drive for the anti-American groups as we warned at the time. The reassurance lies in being right ten years ago. With hindsight- GW Bush was every bit as bad as we thought at the time, he did make the world a worse place, a less safe one. Many more US soldiers died in the various campaigns than civilians had in the World Trade Centre. The USA can’t begin to imagine how much the world hates them, and why.

I have to take this opportunity to answer the challenge that we don’t feel any diminution of our civil liberties. We do: detention without trial, tourists who are arrested for taking pictures of ‘sensitive’ buildings in London, and for most people- the conduct of security checks at airports.