Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

Dumped baby rabbitSomeone dumped a baby rabbit in Bestwood. Its mother died, but it was rescued. It’s the cutest little thing.

Knowing Bestwood and its denizens, I’m surprised they dumped the rabbit. Most of them would have eaten it – and the box it was in, as well.

And I promise to stop posting this sort of cutesy stuff. If I’m not careful, I’ll be posting blurred selfies of me with a trout-pout.

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WannaCry RansomwareEveryone must have heard about the problems this week with an unprecedented attack on Windows computer systems around the world. I understand that there are already reports of further cases as we head into the new week.

I’m not going to do an in-depth report, since you can find them all over the internet, and they’re written by people  much more knowledgeable on the subject than me. However, the one thing you MUST do is install any updates or patches as soon as possible.

Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Vista systems should already have been patched (back in March). If you haven’t done the patch, do it soon. Microsoft no longer officially supports Windows 8 or Windows XP (except by custom arrangements), though the NHS still uses it from what I have read. However, they have released an emergency patch for both Windows 8 and Windows XP that regular users can apply.

Just do it.

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Urban foxTheresa May originally backed remaining in the EU. Now, she is the über-mouthpiece for Brexit. This blatant about-turn alone should tell you all you ever need to know about both her and the Tories.

The Tories are – and always have been – the party for the elite. They have never represented the working class. However, Brexit has given a lot of working-class people all manner of delusions, and May’s master stroke has been to simply change her outward-looking spots to appeal to these idiots.

So anyway, in related news, I see that May will allow a free vote among her party on the repeal of the Hunting Act – an Act which banned hunting with dogs.

I’m not going to go into the issue of fox hunting in any detail. All I will say is that anyone who hunts and kills foxes or any other mammal for sport using dogs is scum. Theresa May is quoted:

As it happens, personally, I’ve always been in favour of fox hunting…

As I say. Scum. Not content with pushing us back to the 70s, May wants to make it the 1870s.

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Seized school car (West Midlands Police)Here’s a demonstration of how you have to be careful when you choose an instructor. The BBC reports that a learner in Birmingham was on-course to pass her driving test (no faults had been recorded) when the police pulled the car over because it had no insurance and no MOT. It happened in Tile Cross on Saturday (6 May).

The instructor, a 46-year old woman, and the pupil were taken back to the test centre where the police questioned the instructor. They seized her Green Badge and reported her to DVSA.

Evidence of damage to rear bumperLooking at the photos, there is evidence that the car had been rear-ended at some point in its recent past.

I’m not going to speculate (I’m sure some people will do that on the forums), but I bet the pupil isn’t happy. Having a clean sheet up to the point the test was terminated is no guarantee of having the same next time around.

And as for the instructor, it’s a perfect display of how to throw a career away. In monetary terms alone it would have been cheaper to have MOTd and insured the car rather than pay the inevitable fine this is going to result in. Factor in lost Green Badge, lost income, and increased insurance premiums – and probably extra travel costs as a result of a likely ban – and the full cost is almost incalculable.

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Bill and Ben - Flower Pot MenThis came in via the Google newsfeeds. It seems that Bill Plant driving school went into administration on 27 April 2017. It has since been bought out by Ecodot, which is:

…a specialist in car vehicle preparation and dual control vehicle hire. Our main services are, Dual control vehicle hire, Alloy refurbishment, Porfessional (sic) Valeting services and Body Repairs

I would have used an image above which related directly to Bill Plant, but from past experience I know that they’re a bunch of prima donnas who threaten court action unless you’re saying anything good about them. Of course, such behaviour makes it even more difficult to say anything good about them.

The reason for the titsup is given as being due to:

…exceptional costs associated with a change in operating model.

Or, in other words, they were a bunch of incompetent prima donnas. Most of the other belly-ups in the driver training industry went bust during the economic downturn during the last decade and the early part of this one. Bill Plant has managed it during a period of economic growth, and that doesn’t bode well for their future.

This industry is not high-margin. Driving lessons can only cost so much before learners won’t pay for them, and at the moment almost everyone is charging the same (in the region of £25 an hour, give or take a few quid). Similarly, instructors who work on a franchise will only pay so much before they walk away, too. The amount they pay for the franchise lines the pockets of the franchiser, who is at the top of the pile, and that franchiser will not be happy unless he or she is pocketing enough to keep a new X5 on the driveway. A kind of status quo is established, whereby the only loser is the instructor – lesson prices can’t go up by much, and the franchiser will still want to increase profits year on year, so the franchise fee goes up. It’s a simple Law of Nature.

It makes you wonder what the numpties did to their “operating model” to screw things so badly. I wonder if it had anything to do with introducing BMW X1s as tuition cars – the prices of which range from £23,000 to £35,000, which is at least double (and up to five times) the price new of most instructors’ tuition vehicles? If it did, I can’t see Ecodot – which is apparently now trading as Bill Plant Driving School Ltd – keeping them. Someone somewhere in the chain has to pay for the overheads.

As I say, this industry is not high-margin, and anyone who buys a top marque as an overhead and then delivers lessons costing the same as they would in a vehicle costing a quarter of that is not going to stay in business long without someone on the outside pumping them money intravenously. Having hubby (or wifey) supply the financial drip feed to their other half is one thing, but for a limited company it’s a different matter altogether.

Ecodot isn’t big enough to pump money in indefinitely, and I can see big changes coming.

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A meteorThe Mirror has some handy advice for people who might want to watch the Lyrid meteor shower this weekend.

Apparently, you need to look up at the sky to see if it’s clear, because if it’s not you won’t see anything. Having established the clarity of the sky, you then need to keep looking up because that’s where the meteors will be.

I’m glad they told me that. I’d never have figured it out by myself.

Somewhat more relevant, other than the fact that it is the “second brightest star in the sky”, is that Vega is in the North East (the two stars on the handle side of the pan of The Plough point roughly towards it). The Mirror doesn’t mention that – which is odd, since most of its readers would probably need help finding the sky, let alone a specific star given only by name.

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I’ve always been a Labour voter, though I didn’t vote last time because Jeremy Corbyn is not the person to lead this country (even less so with his Brexit sympathies). Ooops. I DID vote last time, but vowed not to the next time because of Jeremy Corbyn. Thanks to a reader for pointing that out to me. My bad.

After today’s announcement of a General Election – probably on 8 June if it gets the go-ahead – my first thought was that I wouldn’t vote this time, either. Having said that, I haven’t seen the Lib Dem manifesto yet. If they’re against Brexit then they can count on my vote.

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