Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

The Chillmax AirAlso applies to InstaChill, Chill Tower, etc. I wrote this in the very hot summer of 2019. I get a huge spike in traffic several times each year whenever it gets hot.

Note that tonight I saw a new JML advert for the InstaChill. It is a larger version of the ChillMax, and it costs a lot more, too. But it works in exactly the same way. However, there is no way I am going to test one of those.

Be aware that these devices do not work to anything like the levels claimed. The original article follows.

Early in July 2019, I saw the Chillmax Air advertised on TV in one of those shouty ads. Then, the same evening, I was shopping in Asda and saw it on display. I am an idiot for things like this, and bought it on impulse so I could test whether it worked or not.

As a chemist, I know that in order to cool a large space effectively you’re going to need something with a big fan and a special refrigerant. In practical terms, that means a fairly bulky device with a motor-driven compressor, a closed radiator for the refrigerant to pass through, a fan to suck air in and blow it across the radiator, and a wide exhaust pipe through the wall or window to get rid of the ‘removed heat’. In some cases, you also need to collect or drain the condensed water that comes out of the air as it cools. A typical proper air conditioner for a small or medium-sized room will be about the size of bedside cabinet. The Chillmax Air is not much bigger than six CD cases glued into a cube.

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If you’ve used a normal desk fan you will know that you only feel cooler if you’re sweating a bit. That’s because the fan evaporates your sweat as it pushes air over it, and that evaporation is accompanied by a small cooling effect – it’s called ‘evaporative cooling’. If you’re not sweating, you don’t feel the effect. Conversely, if the surrounding air is very humid, then no matter how powerful your fan is, you will feel little or no cooling because sweat can only evaporate if the air has capacity to hold additional moisture (I’ll explain that a bit more later, because it’s what determines whether the Chillmax is any good).

As an aside, many liquids exhibit the evaporative cooling effect. In the case of diethyl ether (the stuff they used to use as an anaesthetic), if you force it to evaporate very quickly you can even freeze water (if you do it properly). However, ether is both highly flammable and toxic, so apart from demonstrating it in the school lab (where I remember it from, partly due to the massive headache the fumes gave me), it doesn’t have much practical application these days. Early refrigerators used it, which was spectacularly dangerous.

The Chillmax Air uses the evaporative cooling effect of water, and this is much less than with ether – similar to sweat, in fact. The unit consists of a reservoir at the top, which you fill with normal tap water, and this drips down on to a radiator unit which has ten sideways-stacked fibre panels in it through which a fan blows air. The water evaporates from the fibre panels, and the evaporatively cooled air comes out through the front grille. According to the marketing spiel on the TV ads, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re going to get frostbite if you sit too close. I knew this wasn’t going to happen, but I wanted to know just how effective the Chillmax was.

When I first set it up and turned it on, the first thing I noticed was that the fan is quite powerful, so you get a good flow of air directed at you – but note that that it’s only a 5″ computer fan, so it can’t beat a proper desk fan for air flow. The air did seem a little cooler compared with what my desk fan was blowing at me, but it also felt ‘softer’ – that’s very important, and I’ll explain later. But the big question was how much cooler was the exhaust air?

I fired up my trusty data logger and left it in front of my desk fan for 30 minutes for the control data. Then I moved it and suspended it in front of the Chillmax for the same period of time. This is what it recorded (the red line is where I moved it).

Chillmax - temperature log in hot and sticky conditionsThe ambient temperature where I ran the test was about 29ºC. The Chillmax brought this down by about 4ºC.

So, the Chillmax definitely cools the air that passes through it. Let’s work on the assumption that it would be able to get the same 4ºC drop no matter what the ambient temperature was. If your room is 38ºC, pulling it down to 34ºC still means it’s bloody hot. And also note that since the Chillmax is physically so small, the cooling is very localised – it won’t cool a room down, and you have to have it less than a metre from your face to feel anything.

Now, some people might be thinking that a 4ºC is better than nothing at all. And they’d be right if it was just a matter of temperature. But there’s more to it than that. I mentioned that the exhaust from the Chillmax felt ‘softer’. I knew what it was, but my data logger shows it in numbers.

These are is the data for relative humidity recorded at the same time as the temperature measurement, above (the red line is where I moved the logger). The humidity went up dramatically – a jump of about 30%RH.

Chillmax - RH log in hot and sticky conditionsAs I’ve already explained, the Chillmax works by evaporating water on fibrous panels by forcing air across them. That water has got to go somewhere, and in this case it comes out as vapour in the cooled air. In the right light, you can actually see it – it’s essentially fog. And just like when it’s foggy outside, and everywhere gets damp, this vapour can condense on surfaces. My data logger collected some and began to drip during the test, and I have since discovered that it also condenses on the front grille and can drip periodically, so you’d need to be careful what you had underneath it if you placed it on a shelf. The fan is quite powerful enough to project the drips forward slightly when they drop.

The ambient humidity in the room where I did the test was about 44%RH. The Chillmax sent that up to over 70%RH.

It’s this elevation of the humidity of the cooled air which really brings into question whether the Chillmax is worth the investment. You’re probably aware that you can have a hot summer day in the high 20s where it is pleasant and comfortable, but a cooler and overcast day might be horribly sticky – or muggy. That’s because of the humidity, or water vapour in the air.

The amount of water vapour that air can hold varies with the temperature. Once you reach the maximum, any extra vapour condenses out as a liquid – misted up windows, dampness, even drips and pools of moisture on window sills or under lamp posts. Cold air can only hold a small amount of moisture before condensation occurs, but hot air can carry much more (think ‘sauna’). Although ‘humidity’ technically refers to the amount of water in the air, the figure most people are referring to when they say it is relative humidity. This is the amount of moisture in the air expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount it could hold at that temperature, hence the units %RH. It’s a very complicated subject, but the important factor for us here is that when it is warm or hot, higher relative humidity is uncomfortable. Indeed, you may have seen weather forecasts where they give the actual temperature and the ‘feels like’ equivalent – that’s a reference to the ‘Heat Index’, which takes into account the effect of the %RH. Here’s a graphical chart for that.

Heat Index - graphical representationAs an example, if the air temperature is 30ºC and 50%RH, it will feel like 31ºC, but if the humidity goes up to 80%RH, then it will feel like 38ºC – even though the thermometer still tells you it’s 30ºC.

Another example. If the air temperature is 35ºC, at 50%RH it will feel like 41ºC, but send the humidity up to 80%RH and it’ll feel like 57ºC – even though the thermometer still reads 35ºC.

The calculation for this is complex (you should see how long my Excel formula for it is). It is non-linear, and the increase in ‘feels like’ is greater at higher temperatures. It also contains an element of opinion/perception, which is why there’s no point using numbers above about 60ºC. But the ‘Heat Index’ is what forecasters use. Incidentally, the official health designations for the colours are: yellow – caution; amber – extreme caution; orange – danger; and red – extreme danger. Vulnerable people need to take these into consideration before going out in hot weather.

However, this is where the problems come in for the Chillmax and similar devices. If it’s 35ºC and 40%RH, it’ll feel like 37ºC. Cool the air to 31ºC but send the humidity up to 80%RH, and it’ll feel like 41ºC. So it’s actually hotter in terms of comfort. Do the same comparison when the surrounding temperature is 38ºC, and the ‘feels like’ goes from 43ºC to over 50ºC!

At lower temperatures the Chillmax will produce a slight net cooling effect. But if the air temperature is above about 30ºC (and 50%RH) – which isn’t excessively hot or humid to start with – it’ll actually make you feel warmer. And if it is already humid outside, you’ll feel hotter still.

Proper air conditioners remove water from the air they cool. This removal of moisture is why the air from proper air conditioners feels crisp, as opposed to the ‘softness’ of moist air. The Chillmax does the opposite of normal A/Cs, and adds moisture.

Aesthetically speaking, the Chillmax is a cube – more or less – about 15cm along each side. There are two buttons on the top rear, one which changes the fan speed to one of three settings (or off), with a blue LED for each, and another button that turns the night light on or off. There’s a flap on the top front through which you add the water. The radiator system is a plastic-framed insert which you access by pulling the front grille out. It slots in and out easily. You can’t officially replace the fibre inserts in the radiator, but you can buy the whole radiator assembly from JML for £15. My only major gripe is the power cable. The jack plug that goes into the Chillmax is quite stubby and doesn’t go into the socket very far, so it is easy to dislodge it. However, the cable itself is quite long, and the  mains plug is a moulded UK type.

JML claims the Chillmax can run for up to 10 hours per fill, but this is likely on the lowest of the three fan speeds, since on top speed it runs out in less than three hours.  JML sells the humidification as a positive without relating it to the comfort relationship between temperature and %RH, but note what I said above. If you want to cool down in humid weather, it isn’t just the temperature that needs to come down.

Does it really work?

It does cool the air by a few degrees, so in that sense it works. However, it also sends the humidity up, and in most cases that actually makes you feel hotter and more uncomfortable. In that sense, it doesn’t work.

Will it cool more if I use ice water?

No. Evaporative coolers are not influenced significantly by the temperature of the water used in them. The temperature of the air that comes out depends on the temperature (and humidity) of the air going in, and the science of evaporation. Only this evaporation results in the cooling effect observed.

Will it cool more if I put the filter in the freezer?

It might – while you’re blowing air over ice. But once they defrost, which will happen in a few minutes in the temperatures you’ll likely be experiencing, then no. You’ll also have more condensate to deal with from the melted ice pouring out of the front grille.

You may see reviews on Amazon claiming that freezing the filters (or using ice cubes in the water tank) does give cooler air. Trust me – apart from what I just said about blowing air over ice, it doesn’t. Science is involved, and evaporative cooling doesn’t work like that.

Can I use it to cool my PC?

Someone found this article on the search term “jml chillmax air for pc cooling”. No. Blowing damp air into your PC would be dangerous, potentially expensive, and would only gain you 4ºC at best.

Can you get larger versions?

Until August 2021, the answer in relation to the ChillMax was no. However, I saw an advert (as shouty as usual) for the InstaChill tonight. Unlike the ChillMax, which is the size of a small table top radio, the InstaChill is the size of a bedside cabinet. And you can certainly get larger evaporative coolers from other manufacturers. The working principle is identical, except that the larger the surface area of water, and the greater the airflow over that water, then the greater will be the possible drop in temperature at the front end (and the more moisture being pumped out to increase the humidity). However, cooling effectiveness is influenced greatly by the RH of the air going in.

If the air is very dry, then a large evaporative cooler might be able to drop inlet air at 30ºC down by as much as 10ºC. However, if the inlet air is very humid, the temperature drop could be as little as 1ºC. In the UK, the realistic temperature drop you could expect on a non-humid day for a large cooler would be around 5-6ºC, but on a sticky day you’d only get about a 3ºC drop.

Suppliers of these devices say that they need good ventilation or extraction, and I would imagine that’s so the humid air can escape. If you’re evaporating more water to get better cooling on larger devices, you’re also producing a lot more water vapour, so the cooling effectiveness will decrease as the humidity rises unless you vent it somehow. Be careful if you read any of the reviews on these things – people may have noticed cooling in already cooler conditions, but trust me – if it’s very warm and humid, you will not notice any effect.

People say it works

Be careful when you read those one-line reviews. If you test it when it’s only 20ºC outside – as many of these people have – then yes, it blows noticeably cooler air at you. But science is involved, and at temperatures above about 28-30ºC you’ll actually feel hotter. The fact that it increases humidity is the key factor. Remember that the reason you even found this article was probably because it’s over 30ºC outside – the more above that it is, then the more hits I get.

So, does the Chillmax/InstaChill work?

They cool the inlet air by several degrees. But they send the humidity of that air up considerably, and this cancels out the benefits of the cooling effect when it is very hot. The ‘Heat Index’ is the key detail, as explained above. In the case of the InstaChill, it will add a lot more humidity than the ChillMax, and as I have explained and demonstrated, the ChillMax is bad enough when it comes to increasing the ‘feels like’ temperature.

Only the air being directed at you is cooler. Once that slightly cooler air has passed through warmer air, it’ll be close to ambient again. The device cannot cool down a room. It’s far too small for that.

Humidity can carry much further, though. So in a small room, you could easily increase the ‘ambient’ RH without any cooling at all, and that will make it feel even hotter. If it is already hot, the amount of water vapour the air can hold before reaching 100% RH will be substantial. The increased humidity of the outlet air does produce localised condensation, so you have to be careful to keep these devices away from electrical sockets where they might drip on them. They also contain a significant volume of water when full, so you don’t want to knock them over.

Should I buy one?

My advice is to buy a proper air conditioner (A/C). If anything costs under £200 it is not a proper A/C. However, it is possible some people might find the minor cooling effect and increased humidity of the Chillmax/InstaChill (and similar devices) beneficial, so the choice is yours. But for real cooling and dehumidification when it is hot, it has to be a proper A/C.


The empty bird box at nightI have a new toy. A birdbox with a camera fitted into it. I will be installing it outside over the next few weeks, and maybe I’ll get some roosting birds in the autumn and winter, but I’m hoping to get them nesting next year.

The plan is to get Blue Tits nesting in my box. If that works, I intend to get another box and entice our Robin, who is tame enough to fly against you if you’re out gardening to let you know he or she is there so you can feed him/her mealworms (he won’t take them from your hand just yet, but he’s getting close on that).

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The birdbox I bought is from Green Feathers. They also supply their kits through Amazon. I chose the deluxe kit, which includes the birdbox, Wi-Fi HD camera, and all the necessary accessories. I also bought the daylight LED lamp to illuminate the inside of the box.

It comes with excellent instructions, and is easy to assemble as long as you can use a screwdriver (and perhaps an awl or small drill), and it connects to the Green Feathers app equally easily. I had it running with a live feed to the app within a few  minutes. For most people, that’s really all they need. The app tells you when any birds visit (motion detection). The camera also has a microphone, so you’ll be able to hear any sounds the birds make. The LED lamp (optional extra) uses a sensor to detect daylight, and turns on during the day to give a true colour feed. At night, the LEDs turn off automatically, and the camera records in infrared (black and white). You can record the video stream and save it through the app, and you can also take snapshots. For most people, the birdbox and app are all that is required. But me being me, that wasn’t enough.

I am not a ‘millennial’, but I am computer literate (I have been building and repairing them for over 20 years). I cannot see the attraction of doing everything on your smartphone when you have a PC in front of you. Fine, getting a live feed of the birdbox to your phone is pretty cool, but this is a HD camera we’re talking about, and there is no way on God’s green earth that you can get a decent HD image on a smartphone. They’re just too damned small – especially iPhones, which most millennials seem to want to own at all costs.

So, once the system was running on the app, the next thing I did was download ONVIF Device Manager (Green Feathers cameras are ONVIF devices). It is a network video client, which means it can access and manage as many ONVIF devices you like. On running it for the first time, it immediately saw my BirdCam, and I was able to view the video live feed on my PC.

Then, I turned to my Synology NAS, and set up Surveillance Station. Now I know most people won’t have a NAS, but I do. Surveillance Station is software on the Synology NAS which monitors multiple video feeds, and allows recording and playback. It is mainly intended for security cameras, but it will work with any IP Camera (which Green Feathers cameras are). It, too, picked up my BirdCam immediately.

Note that ONVIF Device Manager and Surveillance Station are completely independent of each other, and have little if anything to do with what I wanted to do next (ONVIF did help me identify my video feed address). ONVIF Device Manager was simply playing around (and understanding what was happening), and Surveillance Station would provide an alternative if what I did want to do next turned out to be difficult or prohibitively expensive.

My main aim was to be able to put a live feed of my BirdCam on the blog.

I’ve not done anything like this before, though I knew it was possible. But how? My first thought was that I could provide the feed directly from my computer, but my internet provider might not be happy (or capable of it) if I tried to do it through my router, and my router might not be happy if more than a couple of people tried to view the feed at the same time. It was clear that I needed a media server service, where I provided a single feed, and the server managed the necessary bandwidth and distributed it to others.

To that end, after some searching – and being put off by silly prices – I came across ipcamlive, who do just what I wanted. I’d got this far on my own, but I have to admit I needed to contact their technical support a couple of times to get it working. However, thanks to them, I can now be certain that I can do a blog page with a live BirdCam feed on it.

Right now, all I have to do is bolt the bird box to the shed and I’m set to go. And hope that some Blue Tits like the location enough to set up home next spring.


Can you believe this one? It happened today on a lesson. We’d just driven through Bestwood Village and were heading towards Bulwell.

We stopped at the traffic lights at the junction with Hucknall Road, and it was tipping down with rain. Then, a motor hearse drove through the junction just before the lights changed to red. I was just commenting that the day was already depressing enough, when it was followed by a horse-drawn hearse, which went through the the lights when they were probably on red. Then, a second horse-drawn hearse went through – and the lights were definitely on red this time, since ours were now green.

But what happened next was unbelievable. The hearses were being followed by a large convoy of mourners, and they proceeded to go through the lights while they were on red. The blue car in front of us pulled out when our lights turned to green, but then, one of the convoy went through red lights in the other lane to deliberately stop anyone from turning. The blue car blocked the junction, through no fault of his own, and had to reverse back when the assholes on the other side – who could see clearly what had happened – started sounding their horns at him when the lights changed again their side.

The convoy continued, and even after our lights went green again, they still continued through the red! They were all driving with their hazard lights on, so any signals were absent, of course.

Once we turned off Moor Bridge, I told my pupil to stay left, because there was no way we were going the same way that they were (they were either heading for High Wood Cemetery or Bramcote Crematorium). But even then, another one of them deliberately moved into the left hand lane to stop anyone passing.

And when we got to the junction with the A6002 – where they were all going – a white Volkswagen Golf GTi was blocking the junction again so that the convoy could proceed unimpeded!

Nottingham Police still do not accept dashcam footage unless you send them the SD card by carrier pigeon (and at £80 a pop, they can stuff that), but just in case they fancy getting off their fat arses and following any of this up, the registration numbers and vehicle details of some of these twats were as follows:

SP60 ULH – Silver SEAT Altea

GN63 GXX – White Audi A1 Sport

BL06 OCO – Black Lexus IS 220D

DE04 LGK – Silver BMW 320D

YG20 KFT – White BMW 118D M Sport

OY17 XOS – Grey Audi Q3 SE TDi

CE66 COH – White BMW X5 XDrive 40D

FH68 CYJ – Grey Volkswagen Tiguan SEL TDi (this one blocked the left hand lane for a while)

KN53 JVG – Black Ford Fiesta (this was the twat who blocked Moor Bridge to start with)

BJ06 AUL – Grey Renault Megane

CH08 LAN – Blue Maserati Levante D V6

SA17 ULU – Grey Vauxhall Corsa SRi Ecoflex

RF66 WHT – White Volkswagen Golf GTi (this one was illegally blocking the A6002 junction)

These are just the ones I passed – cleverly having their hazard lights on to identify themselves on camera. At least nineteen of them went through illegally in the initial convoy, plus the two horse-drawn hearses. Some were complete pimpmobiles.

Funeral processions obviously happen. But funerals are also personal – and there is no way they should be inflicted on anyone else, and especially not like this. Standard protocol (unless you’re a complete prat) is that you drive normally to the gates of the cemetery, then you can do the solemn stuff once you’re off the road and not inconveniencing the rest of the world. You do not – unless you are one of the aforementioned prats (which these clearly were) – do what happened here.

Those involved in this pathetic show probably had numerous offences against their names already. If the police get to see this, they might get a few more. And deservedly so. It was a show of utter arrogance, created danger and inconvenience for everyone else – and all because they wanted to show some stupid clannish affinity with someone had died.

But they were just stupid pillocks.


This one happened a couple of weeks ago. I was on my way to a lesson, and turned into Mabel Grove in West Bridgford.

Mabel Grove is a narrow road, and only one car can pass each way at the best of times. So when I take my pupils down it, I always make sure they understand the importance of checking down the road before they turn in.

I immediately saw a van was blocking the road completely. It turned out he was making a delivery to a house that is being refurbished (probably a student HMO). I didn’t know that – I assumed it was a courier dropping off a parcel – so I turned in and parked so he could move away again once he’d finished.

As it happened, the van was making a delivery of building materials. Ironically, there was space either side for him to park, but the driver (‘boss’) was the SIlverback Mountain Gorilla type of tosser, and he chose to just stop and block the road, with no thought for anyone else. He was accompanied by an apprentice or trainee tosser, who walked slowly after each package of material was delivered to collect another, whilst glancing up and down the road at the tailback he and his mate were causing.

The house owner (or landlord) would have been completely aware of the delivery, and should have cleared their driveway to make things even easier. But they didn’t.

They had a full van of building materials, and they took their time. I stress, while blocking a significant through route.

In the video, once I’ve stopped, I’ve switched to time lapse. It took them a full ten minutes to finish, and another five minutes for the queues to clear. They did not hurry one bit, and it was all coolly calculated to be inconvenient – especially after I got out after five minutes and told the apprentice tosser they were just taking the piss (which they were).

They worked deliberately slowly. The apprentice tosser looked at the traffic each time he slowly – very slowly –  walked to and from the van, clearly highly impressed with the arrogance he and his Silverback Mountain senior were exhibiting. People were getting out of cars to remonstrate and take photos.

Once they’d finally done, they calmly and deliberately sparked up to hold things up a little longer (and after the apprentice tosser had told his Silverback Mountain senior what I had said), and waited a little longer before moving away. No hurry, just deliberate stupidity.

There are some very, very sad creatures who are classed as human in this world. These were two such.

The van was a Peugeot Boxer 335, registration number CK17 WPN. The two occupants were registered at Twycross Zoo as exhibits in the monkey cages.


Last week, I was going to a lesson in Clifton and caught this near miss on my dashcam.

When you consider what the blue car was, and the speed he shot off at across the mini-roundabouts once the taxi turned off, the FedEx driver was nearly involved in a very unpleasant situation.


Another recent one, this time on the A453 near Clifton.

My pupil was travelling at the speed limit (in fact, I’d told him to watch his speed as the GPS nudged 41mph). Then this van sped past, and flew across three lanes in those weather conditions. It was a silver Vauxhall Vivaro 2900 Sportiv, registration number FE65 LYG. Since we were doing 40mph, what does it look like he was doing?


This happened recently on the Priory Roundabout in Bramcote. The twat in question was driving a blue Mercedes GLE 450 AMG, registration number LN20 KYS.

Note that they used the right-turn only lane, and then cut in. It was completely deliberate, because as the title says, they are an arrogant tosser (as well as an awful driver, and probably known to the police).

Makes my blood boil, it does!


COVID imageThere is going to be a fifth SEISS grant. A couple of weeks ago, HMRC sent out an email explaining how it would work this time.

Bear in mind that the SEISS is not – absolutely not – just for driving instructors. That important distinction makes how you interpret the email rather important.

The email makes it clear that the fifth SEISS will be granted depending on how much your 2020/21 turnover has reduced compared to previously. It also makes it crystal clear that you do not have to have submitted a return for 2020/21 (not due until the end of January 2022 at the latest) in order to make a claim.

It states clearly that your 2020/21 turnover needs to have been reduced compared to previous years in order to be eligible for the grant. If you haven’t yet submitted your 2020/21 return, an honest estimate is acceptable, and HMRC will determine how much you get based on the difference between 20201/21 and the previous year(s). Just be aware that your ‘honest estimate’ for 2020/21 is inevitably going to be what you eventually do submit, so be careful if lying comes naturally to you.

HMRC website makes it clear that if you are down by 30% or more, you will get 80% of three months’ trading profits (maximum £7,500), and if you’re down by less than 30% then it will be 30% of three months’ trading profits (maximum £2,850). This is because – as I mentioned – the SEISS is not just for driving instructors. It’s for plumbers, electricians, cleaners, nail bar owners, and all kinds of other self-employed people, etc., as well as instructors. Some of those will have legitimately traded while, ADIs ought not to have been.

I am confident that having only worked for about six weeks at a very reduced rate last summer, I will be eligible for the higher award. My turnover was down by more than 90%. However, if I’d pretended everyone was a ‘key worker’ and crammed in a lot of work I really shouldn’t have been doing last year (whilst claiming ‘hoax’, and boasting about not wearing a mask), then I’d have been at the lower rate – if I was eligible at all. If anyone out there did that, then I wish them well in their dilemma over what to do next – and I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching them complete their 2020/21 self assessment.

But for me, I have no such dilemma. My reduced workload is absolutely transparent. I typically do around 1,100 hours of lesson in a year, but in 2020/21 it was down to about 70 hours – a 95% reduction. And all as a result of following advice, taking this seriously, and not trying to be a smart ass.

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A downward trendAll was going well. Then, last Monday, a pupil texted me to say he’d had to go into isolation because someone had tested positive at work. He actually had COVID last year. Then, the following day, I gave a lesson to a pupil who had been to watch one of the Euro 2021 matches at a pub with work colleagues (in spite of my warnings about the risk). He tested negative for the next three days, then last Friday informed me he was now positive.

I shit myself, and have been frantically doing lateral flow tests everyday since. He is unwell with it, and he’s now informed me his missus is also COVID positive.

Then, last Saturday I turned up to a lesson and the pupil didn’t come out as he usually does. I texted, and he immediately replied he’d just found out a family member was positive, and the whole family had to isolate. The same day, another pupil who I was planning on visiting to help with her theory test texted me to say she’s had to cancel the test because her year has been sent into isolation at school because someone tested positive.

Then, yesterday, a pupil who had a lesson booked for tomorrow texted me to tell me he’s tested positive. He questioned why I said next week’s lesson would be off, too (he didn’t have a clue about quarantine periods, and the timeline prognosis if symptoms develop). Also, the first pupil contacted me to inform me that his last day of quarantine is the same day of his driving test this coming week (which was a moved test anyway, since he had COVID last year when it was originally scheduled for), so we’ve had to cancel it again, and unless we find another cancellation somewhere, he’ll have to do his theory test again, because the nearest dates are the end of December.

And finally, I turned up for a lesson today. I’d just stopped outside the house when the phone rang, and he told me he’d been pinged by the NHS app and had to isolate (and he had another lesson tomorrow). Yet more confusion, because he said it’s ‘two days’, and apart from the fact I wasn’t aware of anything under ten days being a quarantine period, there’s no way he’s getting in my car unless I’m sure he’s negative.

And to add insult to injury, two more cancelled lessons for today claiming feeling unwell. Funny how the nice weather does that to people (it always has done, so I’m wise to it) – but now I can’t take the chance and pick them up over it, any more than I can moan at them not telling me sooner (though the two who did that say they’d only just found out).

So the old diary has taken a beating for the next week.

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This one involves a van driver, so not so much an ‘arrogant’ tosser as a borderline human. More of an above average monkey, I guess.

Driving through Mapperley on a lesson, and this dickhead emerged from The Wells Road into traffic from both directions. It was a Specially Fittted Transit, registration MV62 VUG.

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