Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

As a bit of additional background to the story on the YouTube ban I posted on 2 January, I was reminded of a skiing holiday I went on in France some years ago.

You have to remember that mothers who have just had a kid are not a full shilling. Indeed, some of them remain a few pennies short for much of the rest of their lives. And these days, thanks to successive governments trying to warp nature, a lot of men appear to be more likely to opt for a frontal lobotomy before they start thinking about vasectomies once they get their first kid – in this way they can behave irrationally and inconsiderately in front of everyone else.

At work this doesn’t usually amount to anything other than minor irritations. I suppose the worst is the preamble to the start of any meeting – all the mummies and daddies exchanging details of their sprogs’ latest antics. Then, after a few years, you start getting the ‘paintings’ – swashes of colour stuck up on filing cabinets (“Jake – 3½”) – followed by the coloured egg-boxes and other constructions. Or the framed photos.

But a million times worse than this is the combined result of the genetic (women) and deliberate (new-age men)  stupidifying – I made that word up – when out in public. It doesn’t matter how old someone’s kids are, they allow them to get away with murder – and the parents  are oblivious to the effect it has on everyone else around them.

But anyway, back to that skiing holiday. A bunch of us were in a plush restaurant and we’d just started eating our main course. At the table next to us there was a family with a kid in a high chair (I remember they were eating a raclette). All of a sudden there was the most God-awful smell – you knew immediately what it was the smell of, and I nearly vomited there and then. I said to my friends “I think that baby has crapped itself”.

It had. They went and changed it, but the smell hung around for the rest of the meal.

Why should anyone have to put up with that? Changing a nappy is a lot more involved than cleaning yourself after you’ve been to the loo, so there’s no telling how well people clean themselves after they’ve changed junior. And because of the stupidifying they have undergone, being covered in baby poo is not seen as a problem to most parents…

You just have to hope the restaurant doesn’t use those open salt cellars, or hand the same bread basket around…

Hey, and don’t even think about the salad bar at Pizza Hut…

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This is a very old story. A more recent one (January 2015) suggests that scientists have found a way to make the old-style bulb more energy efficient (better than LEDs). I should point out – since the Daily Mail skims over it – that it is only “proof of concept”. Such bulbs are not being manufactured yet, and I would suggest that they are years away – and they may not even make it to market. For one thing, they will still “burn out”, whereas LED bulbs don’t.


Not to be outdone by those Luddites at The Daily Mail , The Sun is giving away energy-efficient light bulbs. This particular story is from 3 January, but in today’s paper copy they’re advertising that tomorrow they’re giving a free one away in partnership with Asda .

Incidentally, I’m getting a lot of hits by people searcing for ‘ Pharox 240v light bulb ‘ or similar. The Pharox appears to be quite difficult to get hold of but you can easily buy equivalent models – take a look here and here.

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A variation on the Prog Rock stuff the Beeb has been covering recently. This one features the BBC’s interpretation of what it calls ‘Guitar Heroes’ . It’s live on the BBC4 website at the moment, but you can’t watch it on their iPlayer unfortunately.

Some of the older clips are pretty much OK, but I don’t think I’d lump The Police or U2 in that heading – especially U2’s earlier stuff. It’s all jingly-jangly – OK to listen to, but not in the same class as Carlos Santana .

And missing out guitarists like Rush’s Alex Lifeson in favour of commercial lightweights just goes to show how subjective it all is.

The program is followed by a documentary about Les Paul .

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Great stuff in yesterday's press. The Sun (registered at the Post Office as a comic) declared:

UFO Hits Wind Turbine

across its front page. The Daily Mail – which has got into the habit of reporting exactly what The Sun has, but a day later – has enhanced the story:

Unmanned stealth bomber could have been UFO responsible for destroying wind turbine

I love the way the most ridiculous explanation possible comes so readily and excitedly to these people.The Definitive UFO Picture

When you consider that a sparrow is quite capable of bringing down a 747 if the two happen to meet unexpectedly you can't help but marvel at the technology which could smash into a 65ft wind turbine blade and then fly off unharmed. Even more so when you remember that the same technology wasn't quite so robust over Roswell in the 1940s.

I particularly like the 'definitive' photo of (the) UFO taken by a local village idiot. The crash happened at 4am (that's in the middle of the night – when it's dark) – the photo is clearly taken in broad daylight . The Mail reckons the crash happened 'hours later' – technically this is correct, but 'many hours later' would be a more appropriate claim given the position of the sun in that photo, and allowing for the fact that sunset is around 4pm this time of year.

So this photo was taken more than 12 hours earlier – probably more than 15 judging from the sun's elevation. Getting on for a whole day earlier, in fact. Not quite as neat and tidy as they'd have you believe.

But anyway, back to that photo.

Anyone heard of Sundogs? (Sorry to use Wikipedia as a reference, but it illustrates what Sundogs are all about. In any case, it's probably the primary research source for most journalists involved in this story anyway). Can anyone see the obvious similarities here?

Let's face it, the 'definitive UFO picture' isn't a UFO at all, is it? It's just an optical phenomenon caused by clear sky, low sun, very low temperatures, and a few clouds or even aircraft contrails.

It's a Sundog!Sundog Example 2

It even appears slap in the middle of a cloud or contrail – precisely the way it happens!

Yet the jackasses at both The Mail and The Sun aren't interested in facts, and behave as if the photo is actually of a UFO. Doesn't it occur to these people that the simplest and most logical explanations must be considered first?

And the official crazy guy… sorry: UFO Expert … Nick Pope, who follows all these things up said:

What's particularly exciting is that because there's been a collision, there will be residue of the object involved.

What's funny is that they haven't even found the missing turbine blade, let alone the Mothership it is apparently embedded in. So Mr Pope is perhaps a little premature in proclaiming:

Forensic science will enable this material to be recovered and analysed. This elevates this UFO case, because with most sightings all you have is eyewitness testimony or indistinct and shaky film footage taken on a mobile phone.

Yeah, it's a good job that photo of the UFO is so incontrovertible! It's got to be the funniest story for a long while.

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After that repeat I mentioned there was a documentary about Pink Floyd on BBC 4 the other night – you can see it here (until 12 January).

Now, I was never into Pink Floyd that much and I’m still not – but it was interesting all the same. I still maintain that all they ever did until Dark Side Of The Moon was make a bloody noise, and that thing with the cows and the howling dog just back me up on that.

But the overriding thing which came out of it was how much of a shame it was that Roger Waters appeared to be such an egotistical prat (allegedly).

(The other overriding thing that came out of it is that Bob Geldof  also comes across as an egotistical prat (allegedly), but I don’t think this is really that much of a surprise to most people).

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Last year I had a pupil who couldn’t afford her lessons and she cancelled a lot of them. In fact, between July and the beginning of October she cancelled six lessons – that’s about once a fortnight, or every other lesson (and there were cancellations before July, too). It’s also worth noting that because she was saving for a holiday, then went on that holiday, there was a period where she had no lessons anyway, which makes the cancellation rate even worse.

I knew she was strapped for cash and I never had a go at her about this. Even on the occasions when the cancellation was with less than 48 hours notice I didn’t charge her. She was a nice girl, good driver, nearly ready for test, etc.

At the start of October I got a text message cancelling yet another lesson. My mobile phone uses Outlook and text messages are shown as previews. I saw the usual ‘got to cancel’ and ‘sorry’ phrases and left it at that. What I hadn’t seen was the request lower down the message to book one for 25th October. Obviously, I didn’t reply.

On the morning of 25th October I got a text asking where I was. I replied that we had nothing booked… but later on it dawned on me to look at her previous texts to see if I’d missed anything, and that’s when I discovered this request at the end of her last cancellation. Although it wasn’t my fault I apologised profusely. But she refused to acknowledge my texts or phone calls, and I gave up.

Just to summarise for a moment:

  • the pupil cancels lesson after lesson over a total of maybe 10 months
  • this eventually creates a huge mix up resulting in her thinking she’s booked a new lesson and me not having any knowledge of such a booking
  • this is all on top of the lost money (£140 between July-September, plus lost bookings with other pupils) and messed up diary her cancellations have caused me in that whole period

Well, I found out from another pupil this morning that her mother said I had ‘ let her daughter down ‘.

I was really pissed off on hearing this. What made it worse was that I was out with another pupil yesterday and I saw this girl walking down the street with her friend. Young people are extremely bad at hiding their feelings or behaving in a mature way: it was obvious she had seen me and even more obvious she was pretending she hadn’t. Better still, her friend turned round to have a look after they’d walked by. So it couldn’t have been plainer that she was behaving like a spoiled brat.

This is one of the downsides to the job, unfortunately.

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Looking at my stats and yesterday the number of hits went through the roof. Amazing how many people were searching for ‘Linda Kingdon ‘ (and one or two for the school’s – sorry, the ‘place for learning’s’ - name).

She’s the one I wrote about recently who has banned the use of the word ‘school’ to describe her, er, school.

I wonder if it’s because she and her teachers – ooops! I mean, ‘people who convey knowledge’ – have been boosting their egos by seeing what a commotion they’ve caused…?

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Just watching a 1974 performance of Tubular Bells , by Mike Oldfield on BBC 4. It looks like it’ll be available here on the BBC site soon, but it isn’t there yet (EDIT: It is now! Until 13 January, so get it while it’s hot! )

There’s more Prog Rock on after it, as well. Not sure what that is yet. Might be repeats (yes, it is. Same show as the one I mentioned in that last post).

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I watched a couple of shows on BBC 4 (satellite) last week. Prog Rock At The BBC has some brilliant performances on it – especially from the likes of Wishbone Ash , The Nice , and Caravan . It was just a shame that the spotty-faced oik responsible for the captions for each performance were focused on taking the piss out of the whole Prog Rock phenomenon.

Some of the best rock bands ever came out of the Prog Rock movement – try to imagine saying the same of today’s lame offerings in 40 years time: it just won’t happen. So it is annoying when 18 year olds with ADHD are allowed to comment on something which they are incapable of understanding, and which was musically capable of producing 43 minute long tracks with almost no repetition. Your average Hip Hop act can’t go 5 seconds without repetition – it’s the only thing they can do.

There was a follow-up show – Prog Rock Britannia. This was typical BBC – basic summary: Prog Rock was the direct result of the Beatles and The Sex Pistols, just like all musical genres. End of matter . Time has no meaning to those at the Beeb (well, they make Doctor Who and hype it into the stratosphere, after all), and justifying the past using more recent history is one of its favoured ways of misleading the public.

It was even irritating to see some of the Prog Rock pioneers half taking the piss or criticising what they did back then – especially when you consider that some of them still tour and make a passable living out of it now!

But the only real problem with these shows was that they specifically made out that Prog Rock was a quintiessentially English phenomenon. Anyone at the Beeb heard of Frank Zappa ?

Most annoying of all, though, was the omission of the best Prog Rock band ever: Rush. And they’re still going strong…

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Well, I wrote the other day about an  anomaly at a school in Kent who had banned his teachers from using red pen to mark pupils’ work. But another story in yesterday’s press has quickly put headmistress – sorry, headteacher – Linda Kingdon on the 2009 Total & Utter Prat contenders list.

She has banned the use of the word ‘school’ to describe her… school. It has ‘negative connotations’, you see.

Instead it is to be known as ‘a place for learning’. Its head hopes the change will help ‘de-institutionalise’ the school.

She sounds a right laugh, doesn’t she. Having worked in industry for many years, I can imagine the off-site meetings her teachers will have been involved in, the reams flipchart paper (all in nice pen colours – except red: we don’t want any negative connotations), presentations by ‘groups’ (they’ll naturally have all been split into groups), and so on.

‘We decided from an early stage we didn’t want to use the word “school”,’ she said yesterday. ‘This is Watercliffe Meadow, a place for learning. One reason was many of the parents of the children here had very negative connotations of school.

‘We wanted to de-institutionalise the place and bring the school closer to real life.’ Watercliffe Meadow, which was named after Watermead, Shirecliffe and Busk Meadow schools, is described as a 2,000 sq m learning environment for 481 children, from nursery stage through to Year 6.

There’s a photograph of her, as well. She has the kind of irritatingly smug countenance which, when you consider the crap it spouts, is rather more to be expected at the rear end of a farm animal than on the shoulders of someone charged with teaching future generations.

Fortunately, Ms Kingdon – and possibly her eager-to-please teachers – are the only people on the planet who think it is a good idea. Parents aren’t impressed, neither is the Campaign for Plain English .

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