A Driving Instructor's Blog

Assholes

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Virus imageNottingham has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in the country. We were put on Tier 2 this week, and it looks very much like it has been decided that we go to Tier 3 on Monday. That’s serious. More serious than Tier 2. And it was already serious before that.

The biggest cause of COVID-19 spread is people not following the rules (at the very least, it is people carrying on like nothing is wrong, which is what happened during summer and well into the early part of Autumn). Certain neighbourhoods in Nottingham are unfortunately populated by people of limited general intelligence (some are populated by people of limited actual intelligence, but this isn’t just about Broxtowe). I’m talking about the kind of people who, for whatever reason, think they know better than a world filled with genuine, qualified experts on infectious diseases and treatment.

One of the biggest contributors to this group is students.

Every year – without fail – Nottingham has huge problems at the start of the university term as students arrive and immediately blow huge amounts of money getting pissed and going around in childish costumes for freshers’ week. The streets where they live are literally paved with… broken glass. And, if you’re lucky, full bin bags of garbage that get ripped and kicked everywhere. And fast food packaging. And gas canisters and discarded sharps. And no matter how anyone might try to deny it, all this is true of many student areas. I see it with my own eyes when I pick pupils up there. It isn’t all of them, of course. But it is a hell of a lot of them.

A couple of years ago now, a house with a maximum occupancy of (if I remember) ten held a party which 250 people attended. As a result, a wall collapsed – pretty much exploded from the pressure of people – which could have been much more serious than it fortunately was. The event was typical, even if the outcome was more extreme than usual.

Nottingham University is currently bigging up the fact that its number of COVID-19 cases is falling. Yes, any fall in new cases is good, but when the University still has three times more cases than the county as a whole, let’s not kid ourselves that there isn’t really a problem. Because since the term began, there have been numerous reports of students crowding on to trams with no face masks and no distancing when the pubs shut at 10pm. There have been numerous reports of students holding house parties – the most publicised one being the one where the organiser was fined £10,000. When three times as many of these people is infected, there is a serious problem. And still they keep saying ‘the majority are behaving’. Stop that! It doesn’t matter if it is technically ‘the majority’ who are behaving. What’s far more important is the size of the very large minority who are behaving like arrogant prats. And that is why we have the damned problem!

That brings me on to the latest story illustrating how ‘the majority’ is behaving itself. Bear in mind this is on top of all the other stories about partying, boozing at weekends, crowding trams, and the idiot a couple of months ago who was also fined for holding a party.

In this case, four complete wankers/wankerettes were each fined £10,000. When police turned up to a reported party, despite being initially told no one was there, 30 people were found hiding in a house. That was when these four came out with the immortal lines that police were ‘spoiling their fun’, and that they should be having ‘the time of their lives’.

THIS is why we have a problem. I only hope they are on Mickey Mouse courses, because God help us if they’re medical students, or ones studying proper subjects. Fortunately (in a way), they’re Nottingham Trent University students – albeit third year – so the likelihood of them being on serious courses is somewhat less. But you can’t be certain – this is the same University whose biology students killed a hedgehog several years ago by attaching so many tracking devices to it it couldn’t move. And Nottingham Trent University refuses to reveal how many positive cases it has ‘to protect’ the reputation of these morons.

In another report on the same story, NUT says it is ‘investigating’, and the outcome of that means the students involved could ‘face a range of sanctions, up to and including expulsion.’ Frankly, the only acceptable outcome IS expulsion. They lied to police and engaged in an act which will inevitably result in further deaths (although those deaths won’t be able to be pinned on these twats, and NTU will defend them to the hilt if it keeps them).

Expel them now.

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NHS COVID-19 Test KitAs if COVID-19 wasn’t good enough at spreading with the current help it’s getting from QAnon believers, anti-vaxxers, and students/young people with under-developed brains, Birmingham City Council has found a new way of helping it along.

The method involves passing out used COVID-19 test kits to people needing them.

People who do have developed brains will already see the problem, but for the others who insist on denial, what happens is that a bunch of people who suspect they have COVID-19 enough to need a test get a testing kit, use it, send it off, and then the kit is given to someone else to use. Bear in mind that a testing kit essentially consists of a swab that you wipe around your throat and nose.

Naturally, the method is most effective when you do it in an area which already has higher infection rates. And the news article indicates some people given these used tests have already used them – it’s kind of like a surrogate French Kiss with someone you don’t know who is already quite likely to be infected because they took a test. Birmingham City Council maxed out on the effectiveness of this new method of contagion by giving the used tests to at least some students.

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Virus imageThere’s a news article in The Telegraph about pubs asking for a 20 minute ‘drinking up time’ following the newly introduced 10pm curfew. A quote in it from a supposed ‘industry expert’ made me shake my head in disbelief.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of industry group UK Hospitality, told The Telegraph: “A staggered closing time would be beneficial in reducing transmissions. A hard 10pm curfew was always going to lead to pinch point of customers leaving pubs en masse.”

Erm, excuse me Ms Nicholls, but what precisely do you think customers who are stupid enough to go out drinking in the first place, and who get kicked out of a pub at 9pm are going to do? You know, when other pubs are still open until 9.30pm or 10pm? Or what will they do at twenty past ten, after a ‘drinking up’ period?

Riiiight. In your world, they’re going to catch the bus home so there’s fewer people trying to use public transport at each of the other staggered closing times. It all makes sense, now.

Another ‘industry expert’ is at it again in a story a day later in the Evening Standard. This time, it’s about the government being under pressure to ‘review’ the curfew.

Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association… [said] “The curfew has been another devastating blow to the beer and pub sector. We have invested millions in creating safe socialising environments and had been slowly winning back the confidence of our customers and rebuilding our trade.”

This is on the day the global death toll went above 1 million. I can’t be the only person out here who thinks ‘f**k the hospitality sector’ if they use logic like this. Those twats dancing in the streets and storming off-licences at five past ten were behaving exactly like that inside pubs at five minutes to. How the hell is that part of a ‘safe socialising environment’?

The fact that both of these clowns are from the same gender can pass for now.

Of course, in the real world – a world of people who are stupid enough to go out drinking right now – they don’t give a f**k about ‘reducing transmissions’. If the pub they’re in closes while others are still open, they will head for those. And if they’re kicked out of anywhere before they’re properly tanked up, they’ll still end up creating far worse ‘pinch points’ in local shops, and getting into situations that usually arise when drunken British prats interact with other drunken British prats.

Absolutely none of those shown in the photos and videos are socially distancing or even wearing masks.

As the previous two blog articles with this title have shown, ignorance and stupidity is the problem. And if it is caused by a ‘minority’, as Johnson and his troupe keeps claiming, it’s a f**king huge minority. Frankly, I think it is a considerable majority involved.

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Virus imageThis is a real example from a couple of weeks ago.

I’m teaching a brother and sister. The sister is virtually test-ready, and has been since before the lockdown in March. However, she is having problems with passing her theory test, so we have put lessons on hold until she gets that sorted (and she’s doing daily private practice with her mum). Shortly before the lockdown began she got a job as a teaching assistant in a Nottingham school.

Her brother started with me when I began working again last month. He’d only had one lesson when he texted me and told me his sister had been sent home because one of the teaching staff had tested positive for COVID-19 (it quickly turned into three). His sister was awaiting her test result, so we cancelled his lesson for the following day. He texted me again to tell me that his sister had tested negative, but she still had to quarantine for 14 days (the guidance at the time on the NHS website). However, his mum had called 111 to find out about everyone in the house and been told that no one else needed to quarantine!

That is (or was) stupid. If the person testing negative had to quarantine because (in the words of the NHS website), ‘you might develop symptoms’, what if they do develop symptoms? By then it would be too late.

I knew what I wanted to do, but I decided to let him make the call. He knows my situation as carer to my parents, and I made a condition before his lessons commenced that if there was any suspicion either of us had been near an infected person, we needed to be honest with each other. He’s a decent lad (a very decent family, in fact), and he said he wouldn’t mind holding off for 14 days. So that’s what we did.

You see, that’s me. I realise we are in the middle of a pandemic which has killed 50,000 people in the UK so far. I realise that we are not back to normal, and won’t be for a while yet. And I know I have to try and make sure I don’t bring the virus back home to my parents. And that’s in spite of having a net negative income if I’m not working. It all comes down to where my dial is set on the side of morality. But it seems that not all driving instructors would take the same approach.

Someone asked about a similar situation (though it might have been a shit-stirring hypothetical one), and asking the question ‘what would you do?’ A frightening number – mainly the same ones who spent the better part of the summer stating they were going to work because no one had specifically said they couldn’t (even though they never actually did work) – appear to have taken the Ernie’s College-o-rama online medical and epidemiology course during the lockdown, and are now expert enough to decide that just because a school has closed down due to a COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t mean they’re going to stop work for two weeks.

Others manage to reason that 2 + 2 = 5. Apparently, if a school gets a positive and sends everyone home, it’s an ‘overreaction’, since not all the kids have been in direct contact with the positive subject – and certainly not your kid, of course. These ‘experts’ don’t have a clue. All it boils down to is not wanting the hassle of having the kids home from school, and just wanting to earn money as if nothing’s wrong right now. Their justifying ‘explanations’ are fabricated and twisted to fit in with that.

Take a look at the simple simulation below. The initial red dot is an infected person, and all the blue dots are uninfected people. Once they start moving, if a blue dot touches a red dot (there is more maths involved based on probability of infection by direct contact), it also becomes red. Just look how quickly it spreads to everyone.

This is exponential spread. Apply it to a real situation, and it doesn’t matter one jot whether your kid came into personal contact with the infected one directly. If that initial infected kid had subsequently infected others who hadn’t yet been tested, how the hell can you be so certain your own kid isn’t also infected through contact with them? Did Ernie’s certificate gift you with telepathy or something? Your kid could have been in contact with anyone who was carrying COVID-19 depending on whereabouts in this scatter the positive result was found. That’s why they send everyone home, and not just one. They have to.

Furthermore, with the new Test & Trace app recently launched, these same graduates from Ernie’s reckon that a diary is all you need if you’re a driving instructor. Looking at that simulation again, how in God’s name does writing a pupil’s name in a diary and knowing their home address in any way manage their movements when they are not in the car with you? Or inform you of those they come into contact with?

This is why we are where we are today with COVID-19. You’ve got people who are expecting the virus to fit in with what they want, and they twist the laws of nature to try to justify what they’re doing without understanding a bit of it. And as a result, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.

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COVID-19 Infections 2020 (to September)The BBC has an article titled ‘Covid: Is it time we learnt to live with the virus?’ It also has a comments section open in that story.

At the same time, there is another article resulting from today’s government announcements which says that if we don’t do something, we could be looking at 50,000 new cases a day by mid-October, and 200 or more deaths per day once that stage of the increase kicks in.

Comments left in the first article include the following:

[boycie] Just let everyone catch it. The whole country cannot be held back once again for the sake of the few.

[Nick B] …it’s very sad that people have died from this. But locking down and unlocking down continually is no answer.

[Andrew C] …lock yourself down if you want to but don’t expect everyone else to do the same.

[Point_of_view] Do you really think it is people partying and protesting outside that is causing the bulk of transmissions? The main mechanism of transmission has been in people’s homes, inside.

[Ben] Is it time we learnt to live with it? Yes. Further lockdowns are going to do so much more damage than good.

[Richard] Yes, lockdown doesn’t work.

This is a very small sample, but it illustrates the crass stupidity and selfishness of what is quite possibly the majority of the British public – the same public that has put us where we are with the second wave right now.

The first commenter, ‘boycie’, fails to recognise that it is already proven that you can catch COVID-19 again. It has also been shown that resistance (‘immunity’) in those who have had it begins to wane after just 2-3 months. In other words, there is no such thing as ‘immunity’ at all – it is so short-lived that it is of no practical benefit. He also fails to recognise that anyone who got ill the first time may well have suffered damage that means they’re now one of those with an ‘underlying condition’. For them, a second infection will probably not be as mild as the first. This character, ‘boycie’, therefore appears to be completely happy to send his parents or grandparents to their graves just so he can carry on like nothing is wrong – and all because of his stupidity and ignorance.

As I have said many times, if my parents caught COVID-19, it would almost definitely kill them. If it didn’t on its first try, it would on its second. In a civilised world, you do not play that card on purpose. You do not even consider it – even for the short time this government did at the start of the pandemic, with its ‘herd immunity’ idea. Because we now know that ‘herd immunity’ from natural infection with COVID-19 does not exist, even if the ignorant ‘boycie’ types of this world are still stuck in the past and believe that it does.

‘Nick B’ and ‘Richard’ demonstrate ignorance in a different way. The chart at the top of this article shows the infection rates for the duration of the pandemic up until nearly the end of September in the UK. It seems fairly obvious to me that if you don’t do anything to try and limit how something spreads, there is no way that a thing the size of a COVID-19 virus has any ability to choose a cyclical or wave-like approach, such as we are seeing. It just spreads wherever it can. Therefore, almost the whole reason the numbers fell after the first peak was because action was taken to try and limit it. And almost the whole reason it is rising again now is because that action was reversed last month, and people who are theoretically far smarter than a COVID-19 virus started booking holidays to Spain and Greece (and other places where it was prevalent), and caused whole flights to have to be quarantined as they shipped it back to the UK. Almost the whole reason it never fell to zero was precisely because of people like ‘Nick B’, ‘Richard’, and the prats living it up in Zante or Ibiza, who most likely flouted or ignored the rules that were brought in even in the early days.

‘Andrew C’ probably couldn’t even spell ‘epidemiology’, let alone have the first clue what it involved. If any individual is going to dodge receiving a COVID-19 bullet, they have a much better chance if there are fewer bullets flying around to start with. ‘Andrew C’s’ solution is like saying everyone can run around going ‘yee-haaa’ and shooting at whatever they want, and anyone who doesn’t like it is at fault, and should stay at home and try to keep out the way. That’s fine, as long as there are no stray bullets – like grocery delivery drivers and postal workers – going from house to house.

‘Point_of_view’, like all the others, doesn’t like being locked down or told what to do, so he tries to justify that with cherry-picked details. How the hell does he think the virus gets into a home setting in the first place? It doesn’t just magically appear out of thin air – it has to be brought in. People like these commenters, who think they know more than the scientific experts, are the cause. They’re outside, pissing around like there’s nothing wrong, nipping off to the Balearics, then coming back and not isolating. They pick it up, then they take it home. The whole household becomes infected. But then, if any of that household has the same ridiculous beliefs as the commenters here, they will also go out, and the same cycle repeats in multiple households. It’s how exponential spread of the virus occurs, and is exactly like what that prat, Layton Migas, did when he came back from Ibiza, didn’t isolate (when he should have), and caused Bolton to be locked down.

‘Ben’ is one of those whose life revolves around money – his money – and nothing else, and who resents any restrictions. He is prepared to put that money above the lives of the 50,000 who have already died, and the additional deaths that are inevitable as a result of his ‘I don’t wanna’ approach.

That’s what it comes down to with all these people. They just ‘don’t wanna’, so they come out with these pathetic and uninformed excuses.

The country is in a f***ing mess for all sorts of reasons. Right now, COVID-19 is the biggest reason. And – right now – there is no ideal solution. The government is trying to balance letting people die, with letting businesses (and individuals’ finances) collapse. It is physically impossible to support both sides of that equation, and I don’t envy anyone who has to try. Right now, there is no solution, and I wish idiots like ‘boycie’, ‘ Nick B’, ‘Andrew C’, ‘Point_of_view’, ‘Ben’, and ‘Richard’ (plus the millions of others who think they know best – even though they can’t spell or use good grammar) would stop trying.

For me, if it was a choice between my business or my parents’ lives, my parents would come out tops every time. I just have to accept that there are people who are so materialistic (or whatever their motivation) that they see it differently.

We need a vaccine.

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Michael Richards - Lifetime Darwin Awards nominee, and complete twatRegular readers will know I make occasional reference to the Darwin Awards. These are actually a semi-official thing, and relate to people who are just stupid in the extreme.

My mentions are not official, but the people involved are at least as stupid – if not more so. The latest is Michael Richards, 41, who was on a flight to Tenerife. In this article, he boasts how he avoided having to use a mask on an EasyJet flight by making a tube of Pringles last for four hours.

When you read his pathetic bragging, it is clear he did it on purpose. And he comes from Huddersfield, which is in itself a forewarning of the the missing chromosome Richards is subject to.

Richards’ only defence for his stupidity – which he sees as brilliantly clever – which has prompted criticism, is to say:

they’re sitting at home in the UK in rainy weather and we’re sunning it up in Tenerife

I don’t think he understands the situation at all. All of us could be doing what he is doing. Nothing is physically stopping us, except for one small detail.

We’re not complete wankers.

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virusAlmost every one of these has ‘so can I start teaching again’ after it.

Loads of people have had COVID-19 without realising it

Official ONS statistics suggest 0.25% of the population has had COVID-19 as of the time this claim was made. That’s not ‘loads’. It’s actually a very small proportion – one four hundredth of the population, in fact.

Update: The government is now saying up to 20% ‘have had it’. I’m not sure how they know that, since only 3 million tests have been done, and most of those were on people in hospital, on the frontline, or with symptoms. Test 3 million people who are in the thick of it (or in hospital), and you will get far different results compared with testing 3 million people who have been in almost complete isolation for the last two months.

It’s just flu

Tell that to the 35,000 of the 0.25% (or 20%) who have died from it in just a little over three months.

I’ve had it, so I’m safe

And you can now leap tall buildings in a single bound. But assuming you have had it – a lot of ignorant people are convinced they have because they had a ‘bad cold and a cough’ around Christmas, and ignore the ONS figure of only 0.25% (or latest government claim of 20%) of the population likely to have – you can still spread it around. And no one is sure yet if you can get it again – which you probably will be able to, based on other coronaviruses.

I’ve had it, so I can’t pass it on

Yes you can. Perhaps not by coughing it out, but certainly by picking it up on your hands and transferring it by touching things.

The government said most cases are very mild

Yes. And 0.25% (or 20%) of the population has apparently had it, and 35,000 people have died as a result. Multiply 35,000 by 400 (or 5), and that’s potentially how many could die if the whole population got it based on what’s happened so far. It’s unlikely to be as high as that, but it’s still a Big Number.

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Mr VirusIf you’re sitting comfortably, a little story. Once upon a time not that long ago, Mr Virus appeared. There is no vaccine to deal with him right now. Mr Virus tends to kill quite a few of the people he visits – at the time of writing he has more than doubled the normal weekly death rate from all causes in the UK even compared with a ‘bad flu’ season. Until there is a vaccine for him, he is still out there, doing his virusy thing. He cares not for country borders or skin colour and, being about 45,000 times less wide than a French fry, he cares not for physical barriers, either. Not unless they are very special or very solid ones. He can drift in the air, and he can remain ‘live’ on surfaces for some time. Although he tends to hit those with ‘underlying conditions’ hardest, he has shown quite clearly that he can hit anyone. People with ‘conditions’ tend not to be born with a neon sign on their forehead proclaiming the fact in the first place (though it is a personal choice for the individual to decide if they want one retro-fitting at a later date), but Mr Virus cares not for specific vulnerabilities in any case – he just infects anyone he meets and leaves it up to them whether they survive his visit or not. Many of those he visits might not even know they have a ‘condition’, but these people – including older ones – are not throwaway members of society, and have the same rights as everyone else. But I stress again, Mr Virus’s visit can kill healthy people too. Although his visit seems to have an effect which is proportional to the age of his host, he doesn’t just wait until someone’s birthday or anything, since he cares not for birthdays any more than he cares for borders, barriers, and ‘conditions’. As if to demonstrate this, his visit has recently claimed a 3-day old baby, whereas on the other hand several centenarians have survived it. And finally, Mr Virus is a two-way visitor – he can come visit you, but you can send him to visit others.

The moral of this story is that if you have even a shred of humanity in you, you’ll realise that the Mr Virus problem (aka COVID-19 pandemic) isn’t just about you. Other people are involved – all of them, actually.

In spite of all this, if Uncle Boris lifted the lockdown tomorrow, a huge number of driving instructors would wet themselves rushing out to work. All the dire news about Mr Virus in the media, and the first thing they say is ‘can I work or not?’ They say this repeatedly – and I mean at least once a day – even though nothing will have changed for Mr Virus if the lockdown is eased or lifted. Placing yourself before him will carry they same risks tomorrow, or next week, as it did yesterday, or a month ago.

Misleading (or very unclear) government advice, combined with non-scientific (and even conspiracy-oriented) understanding, doesn’t help. It means that many of these instructors are prepared to teach in face masks – even full-face visors – and nitrile gloves, with all the car windows fully open, and everywhere coated in a double layer of hand sanitizer the moment Uncle Boris says it’s OK. In spite of being short of money, they are apparently going to use a couple of bottles of sanitizer a day between lessons to make sure their car is ‘safe’ (even though Mr Virus is fairly mercenary, and cares not for attempts to eradicate him if you miss a bit, or get any of him on you without realising). They’re also planning to hand out face masks and gloves to their pupils (or insist pupils bring their own). Hand sanitizer of the kind that actually works is running at about £20 for half a litre. Face masks of the cheapest kind are around 50p each (and are single-use and need to be changed every 20 minutes). Gloves are about 25p each (50p a pair).

As for the windows being down – and let’s not complicate the issue by mentioning that it could be 5°C outside – a few years ago I was caught in a sudden thunderstorm on a lesson. The window was open a crack and rain was coming in, which caused the pupil to swerve slightly. I told her to stay calm, gently held the wheel, and asked her to close it. She pushed the wrong button and opened it instead, and got drenched (I was in full control of the steering by now). In addition, you can’t communicate effectively with someone when driving much above 30mph with the windows down because of road and wind noise – and that’s even when you haven’t got your face behind a mask, and possibly a visor, as well. And as numerous people who’ve been planning for it and testing it whilst sat on their driveways have now discovered, if you wear glasses and a face mask, unless it is very tight-fitting – and therefore very uncomfortable – your glasses fog up (as does the visor if you’ve got one on). And that’s before we get any warm weather, which will make it a hundred times worse. And people haven’t even discovered the joys of mask-related zits yet. Or hand dermatitis from wearing sweat-filled gloves for hours at a time. Even worse, masks don’t actually stop the virus. They just reduce the risk. A bit. Probably. And no one knows by how much (‘up to’ 75% minimisation of risk has been touted), even if they do.

One sector other than ours which has been badly affected by COVID-19 is the taxi industry. Taxis didn’t have to stop work, as they were considered essential. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that behind security staff, taxi drivers have recorded the most deaths across the various sectors – even more than care staff (but only just). Mr Virus certainly took advantage of the situation there. But instructors have been constantly whining that ‘taxi drivers are allowed to work, so why can’t we?’ Even when confronted with the ONS report in the media, the whining has become ‘it isn’t fair that taxi drivers can still work and we can’t’. Clueless doesn’t come into it, and Mr Virus is sitting there rubbing his hands in eager anticipation.

Incidentally. although it has been below the radar throughout the pandemic, you might be aware that Mr Virus tends to be somewhat more malevolent towards males than he is to females. Data suggest he is up to twice as likely to kill men compared with women. I do wonder how much more central on the radar screen this ‘minor’ detail would have been had the situation been the other way round, but I console myself somewhat with the fact that I am instead now far more knowledgeable concerning shortages of sanitary products, the demand for female-specific surgical gowns, women’s mental health issues, and what it’s like to be non-binary during the lockdown. Nevertheless, this statistical skew has prompted some female instructors for whom it hasn’t passed unnoticed to suggest that they should be allowed back to work because they reckon 2:1 is ‘low risk’. Clueless.

But back to taxis. Hackney Cabs already have Perspex screens separating the driver from the passenger compartment in back. Consequently, several companies have developed similar screens for normal taxis – even ones which separate the driver from the front passenger. This is a reasonable idea for taxis, primarily because the driver is the only occupant of his cubicle for the whole day, and because he is the only one responsible for driving the vehicle. But it will come as little surprise to discover some ADIs are over it like a rash. At least two I’ve seen online have even had the modifications carried out!

As I already said, a taxi driver is solely responsible for legal control of his vehicle. A learner is not – the instructor is – and to that end, the instructor has to be able to reach the steering wheel from the passenger side. A Perspex screen prevents that. But that’s apparently not a problem if you’re a super-ADI desperately wanting to go out before it’s safe, because it seems that such an instructor can teach verbally and through the sheer force of their will, and does not need to touch the controls at all (you can see where the article title came from). Alternatively, it has been suggested a hole could be cut to allow access to the steering wheel!

Such a screen would almost certainly void your instructor insurance. For a start off, here on Planet Earth, we mere Earthling instructors have real world experience, and we know that we can have pupils who will attempt to take a roundabout the wrong way, or who see a cat or squirrel run across the road 200 metres ahead and instantly try to take the doors off parked cars along the kerb. We know that telling them – even coaching them – not to isn’t very effective in the heat of the moment, and even if it was we can’t take the risk in the split second involved in avoiding 3rd party contact. So being able to grab the wheel is critical, and if you can’t, you don’t have control.

If this screen had a hole in it, allowing access to the steering wheel, then it would first of all be less effective for its original purpose. But what happens if your hand is through it and a collision still occurs? The jolt alone could snap your arm like a twig if it hit the edge of the screen. But what if the collision were serious enough to compress the car? What does Perspex do when it breaks? It certainly doesn’t shatter into safe little cubes like safety glass, but instead snaps. The broken edges are sharp, the fragments can be pointed, and your arm is through the hole trying to prevent whatever it is that’s happening. It’d be like a scene from a horror movie, and chances are you’d not be having any more piano lessons afterwards.

And then there’s the sanitisation issue. A taxi driver is the only one on his side all day. An instructor spends time on both sides. How much sanitizer or alcohol is going to be needed to clean the entire surface of both sides of the screen? If you have four lessons a day, you’ve got to clean your side (at least) in the morning, both sides before the first lesson, your side (at least) after the lesson, both sides before the next lesson, and so on. That’s between twelve and fifteen complete wipe downs for four lessons! How much sanitizer will that get through? And what if you miss a bit and Mr Virus is lurking on that bit? It’s hard enough to get hair and dust out of the gaps between the seats at the best of times, but how easy will it be when there’s less than half the usual space – and as well as the hair and dust, Mr Virus is possibly lurking? Absolutely clueless.

The next argument that keeps coming up is dates from DVSA. When the lockdown began, DVSA initially cancelled tests for two days, and then a week. Anyone with intelligence above that of a peanut knew – absolutely knew – that it wasn’t going to be just for two days, and then a week. I mean, for f***’s sake, even my neighbour’s cat could work that one out. But not most driving instructors.

As the situation progressed during that first week (March), tests were further cancelled and moved to late May and June. Again, my neighbour’s cat was aware that this was just in line with what the government was saying at the time and that it was not a definite statement of when we would be able to start working as if nothing had happened again. My neighbour’s cat knew that the dates would move back again. And yet every single time someone’s pupil gets an email telling them their test has been moved, out come these people with ‘looks like we’ll be back on 3rd June’. Clueless.

Next, we have the idiotic government ‘guidelines’. It stands to reason that while Mr Virus is hanging around, the best way of stopping him visiting is to keep the metaphorical doors (and windows) shut. And doing that has helped a lot – though it would have helped a lot more if the UK population didn’t include so many Neanderthals who think the rules don’t apply to them, and if the UK government had… well, that’s a different topic, and much too expansive to go into here. But instead of sticking with ‘Stay at Home’, Uncle Boris has morphed it into something along the lines of ‘hey, man, chill. Stay cool. Go out, but be careful’. Translation: ‘If you’re a Neanderthal, you can now do what you were probably doing anyway, and now you can officially do it anywhere and the police can’t do anything about it’.

For driving instructors, the first question to come out of this is ‘so, can we go back to work?’ The obvious and crystal clear answer to this, so my neighbour’s cat tells me, is ‘no’. Standard response from instructors? ‘But we are now allowed to car share, so that means we can work’! Clueless.

And it goes on, and on, and on, and on.

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KFC QueueAn article in the local Nottingham Post (have an ad blocker – you’ve been warned) reveals that police had to be called as massive queues built up outside the only branch of KFC to open up in the region.

The combined IQ of those in the queue probably barely made it into three figures, but the really funny part is how KFC are going to handle it.

Even at the best of times, the likelihood of going to the drive-thru only to be told ‘we’re just waiting for chicken – it’ll be about 12 minutes’ is about 50:50, so how on earth they can manage queues of this size is anyone’s guess. Then there is the normal drive-thru procedure to consider.

KFC specialises in attracting the kind of people who drive BMWs and Audis who haven’t got a clue what they’re going to order once they reach the intercom. They’ll invariably have their brood in the car with them, and it’ll then turn into that scene from The Exorcist, with the driver’s head spinning repeatedly through 360° as he or she attempts to add whatever numerous items everyone wants to the order. And of course, it won’t be a normal order – there’ll be tweaks and special requests to customise it.

One they get to the pick-up window, you can be sure there’ll be no more chicken left for you. And God only knows how they’ll manage with the typical two Order Bays in the car park – they need a dozen even when it’s quiet.

It does make you wonder, though, how people can get their priorities so wrong. It’s the same as champing at the bit to go back to work as soon as you’re allowed – even though nothing has changed with the virus pandemic.

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The reality of COVID-19 spreadingSince the Coronavirus pandemic started, one of the most annoying aspects of it has been how all the self-professed ‘experts’ have squirmed out of the woodwork and offered their takes on it.

I am repeatedly pointing out on various message boards that when the entire scientific world is treating this as a Very Serious Problem, the likelihood of some wanker who is getting through boxes of tissues because of being shut up in their room for too long hitting on an alternative and more correct interpretation is similar to that of winning the lottery by not even doing it.

In other words, it isn’t going to happen.

There are the conspiracy theorists, who claim it is manmade. There are those who think it is a hoax, and not as bad as is made out. And then there are those whose heads sound like pan-pipes when the wind blows past their ears.

It was bad enough two weeks ago when people were doing it. And back then, others were agreeing with them.

But to see someone post the same comment today – that China has had 20,000 deaths because of COVID-19, but it has 20,000 a day from other causes – is beyond stupid. Light years beyond stupid.

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