Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

I hope you’re all sitting comfortably, because today we’re going to learn how to build a proper British snowman.

‘Snow’ in the UK has – for the last 20 years or so – amounted to a spot or two of cold rain that looks a bit grainy when it hits your windscreen (windshield for American viewers) as you’re driving along. Even with the relatively vast covering today it was still nothing compared to what we used to get – and what almost all of the rest of the world still gets on a regular basis.

British Snowman

British Snowman

This dearth of decent snow has given rise to a very British creation: the British Snowman .

To build one you will need the following:

  • a thin layer of wet snow
  • several dog turds
  • some grass clippings
  • oil from road
  • mud or soil
  • masonry removed from someone else’s property

Begin by having a snowball fight. Throw snowballs at moving traffic then, when bored, place snowball on the ground amongst the mud and grass exposed in the previous activity. Roll it around until it gets too big to move any more – by this time it will have acquired a non-white exterior consisting of mud, grass, oil, and any dog turds lying around. It will be roughly spherical depending on how soon you realised you couldn’t move it for much longer.

Repeat this process to make a smaller sphere. Place it on top of the first. Ideally, the primitive snowman will be located on a pavement or in the road – because that’s really funny.

The snowman now needs a face. The nose is usually created using a ‘carrot’ – the typical snowman architect will need to look this up on Wikipedia, not being familiar with vegetables in general, and especially not carrots in particular. The eyes and mouth will be carefully fashioned out of stones or small rocks taken from someone’s garden. The adventurous snowman builder will use clothes and possibly shoes to adorn his creation.

Since the majority of British Snowman builders are students, optional extras include genitalia and bosoms.

Suggested further activity: wait until dark, then go and demolish as many snowmen as possible – ideally by pushing them on to paths or into roads.


Following on from the Mail’s highly embarrassing crusade to prevent energy-inefficient and environment-destroying incandescent bulbs from being phased out (and all because of those damned Johnny Foreigners in the EU. Eh. What), it reported this week that a bulb costing only £2 with a life expectancy of 60 years had been developed.

A lighting revolution is on the way that could end at the flick of a switch the battle between supporters of conventional bulbs and the eco-friendly variety.

It goes on to describe this ‘brand new’ invention:

Cambridge University researchers have developed cheap, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that produce brilliant light but use very little electricity. They will cost £2 and last up to 60 years.

Despite being smaller than a penny, they are 12 times more efficient than conventional tungsten bulbs and three times more efficient than the unpopular fluorescent low-energy versions.

Erm, Mail-guys! They may cost £2 each, but a typical usable light bulb will need perhaps 5-10 of them inside. So your later comment involves a little bit of misunderstanding:

But until now the production costs have been too expensive for widespread use because the material had to be ‘grown’ on sapphire wafers, meaning a single household bulb would have cost £20.

A household bulb using these LEDs will still cost anywhere between £10-20, depending on how many LEDs it has inside. And the Maplin LED Strip I mentioned in the original story only costs £19 and has 36 ultra-bright LEDs on it (that’s about 53p per LED, Mail-guys!)

Maplin LED Light Strip - type 1

Maplin LED Light Strip – type 1

I suspect the Mail is trying (very badly) to dig itself out of the huge hole it dug over that free lightbulb offer to its crusty, middle-England readership – who, incidentally, are still flooding this site with hits based on the search term ‘Daily Mail free lightbulb offer’.

Of course, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that high-brightness LEDs have been around since at least 2007 . No, wait! Maybe since 2005 (and they’re made of Gallium Nitride – the same Philosopher’s Stone the Mail claims this fantastic new discovery is fashioned from). The Mail’s journo’s are a real joke sometimes – they can’t research any science story properly.

The cost of high-brightness LEDs will come down – everyone knows that. It’s just a shame that the kind of people who would happily sacrifice the planet to prevent the EU telling them what to do can’t get it into their heads that even now £20-30 for a bulb which never wears out and uses a fraction of the power is better than paying 70p repeatedly for something which breaks every few months and costs a fortune to run by comparison.

But that’s the typical Daily Mail reader for you. It’s no wonder we’re still stuck with a nonsensical Imperial measuring system and Sterling when metric and the Euro are just sitting there begging to be used.


I noticed in The Sun today they’re offering a free wind-up LED torch.

When you think of what the Daily Mail was offering with that free lightbulb fiasco ( here and  here) you can’t help wondering how long it’ll be before it launches its own free torch offer.

You can imagine the demand it’ll likely see from it’s middle-class retired readers for a proper brushwood torch steeped in resin – made from proper British trees, of course.


For the Audi Q5 – and Audi drivers already figure high on my list of things that Evolution hasn’t got round to making extinct yet.

It looks like we’ve entered one of those periodic phases where stupid and irritating noises are seen as the best way of making people spend money.


…originally covered here here, here, and here are still at it!

In this story in The Sun we are informed that the RAF was given Rules Of Engagement to shoot down UFOs. It says:

RAF pilots have tried to BLAST UFOs out of the sky under a top secret Government directive, it was claimed last night.

Nick Pope – obviously looking for a seat in Parliament should the Monster Raving Looney Party ever seize power – is quoted:

He claimed RAF pilots had fired at UFOs on several occasions **” but failed to bring them down.

 He added: “We know of cases where the order has been given to shoot down **” with little effect to the UFO.**

 Mr Pope said the rules of engagement were drawn up after dozens of close encounters with suspect craft in British airspace.

 RAF attacks on UFOs were “not automatic but happen when something in our airspace is deemed to be a threat**.

Stepping back into reality for just a moment, you can’t help wonder how any Western government – faced with the possibility that an advanced alien civilisation is maybe trying to make contact – would decide the best way of saying ‘hello’ is to shoot them down.

OK. With that said, let’s step back into La-La Land where Mr Pope lives:

“I do believe we will bring one down. We’re developing increasingly sophisticated weapons.**

 Mr Pope also rubbished the MoD’s stance that UFOs pose no danger to the public, saying: “I think that’s a line I wrote myself in the 1990s.

 “But if they haven’t investigated, how do they know it poses no threat?

Bringing one down should be no problem. We can just build some more wind turbines.

I take it with a bigger pinch of salt every time The Sun brings it up. If Mr Pope – who was a government employee until not that long ago – was really revealing anything Top Secret then I’m sure MI6 would be taking an interest. Instead, the same people who treated David Icke are probably ready to scramble if need be.


I wrote a few weeks ago about how the Daily Mail had stepped back in time – to the 18th Century to be precise – and was offering its readers free incandescent lightbulbs solely on the grounds that the EU had dared to become involved it British affairs and ban them. No matter that they’re being banned for a reason – all that matters for the Mail is that it panders to the whims of its nationalist readership.

Well, looking at my stats I am amazed at the number of hits I get as a result of the Google (or whatever) search term “daily mail light bulb offer”… it’s even higher than what I’m still getting for that daft woman ( Linda Kingdon) who has banned the use of the word ‘school’ to describe her school.


I had a good laugh with a pupil late this afternoon.

We were doing a lesson on roundabouts and as we were heading home we were in a 4omph zone with a 30mph approaching. As the 30mph signs came into view around a long bend, I said:

Look at what’s coming up and plan ahead.

Nothing happened. So I said:

Look at those road signs – what are you going to do?

Still nothing happened. I said:

Look at the change to the speed limit.

As we sailed through them at 40mph, still nothing happened. I brought us down to 30mph using the dual controls and got her to pull over. The conversation went something like this:

The speed limit dropped to 30mph. Why didn’t you react to the signs?

They weren’t very clear.

But they were big round things with ’30’ written on them, and they both had bright white lights shining on them. And I was pointing them out to you for the last 400 metres. How do you mean ‘not very clear’

We both had a good laugh about it.

When we arrived back at her home, though, it became clear what she meant. Her first language isn’t English and doesn’t use Arabic numerals or Western scripts. What she meant was she’d seen the sign but what was written on it didn’t make any sense to her at that particular moment.

It’s an interesting situation, because she insisted on taking her Theory Test in English and she passed easily. When I first started teaching her a while ago her English was extremely basic. She had a long lay-off in the middle to have twins, and her English has progressed no end since she started up again. She’s adamant she wants to take her test without an interpreter. Even when I tried to learn a few Chinese words to help her she said she’d rather learn how to drive using just English.


The Sun is still on its 'must prove extra-terrestrial UFO hit wind turbine at all costs ' paddy at the moment. As I have posted previously, it is digging up old news and pretending it is new to try and keep the irons hot in the fire (i.e. persuade its readers that aliens definitely exist).

Well, it did it again today.

ALL MEN ARE FROM MARS.. AND WOMEN We could all be Martians, an expert on the planet claimed yesterday.

They mean 'an expert on the subject of Mars' and not someone who is actually on Mars – I'm sure they use poor grammar and punctuation to purposely mislead those who are easily misled.

The expert in question is Heather Couper, and the 'new' idea was first put forward in 1996 when bacteria-like structures were found in a meteorite. Indeed, the basic premise goes back to 1969 and the Murchison meteorite (sorry it's Wikipedia again), which fell in Australia.

Hardly the earth-shattering news The Sun is claiming – and if Ms Couper is trying to get publicity out of this, then shame on her.


Another story in the media today: a Christian bus driver refused to take out a bus which had a paid-for atheist slogan on the side of it.

I initially read it in all three of The Sun, The Daily Mirror, and The Daily Mail. Richard Dawkins is only mentioned in the Mail version (I missed it initially), and then only briefly. For those who don’t know, Dawkins is a rabid atheist who is a hundred times more bigoted than those he seeks to lampoon with every word he utters. I know from long experience his sinister support of these kind of things and his name did come to mind while I was reading the stories and before I remembered his involvement with the group who had paid for the slogan.

And then I saw The Guardian’s article, linked to at the top of this post. Bingo: I knew he’d be poking his oar in somewhere.

In a nutshell, the British Humanist Association has paid £140,000 for this advert – you’d think they’d have something better to spend it on, wouldn’t you? – which says:

There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

The bus driver, Ron Heather – a devout Christian – refused to drive it when he saw it. He is, of course, entitled to feel like this.

The issue isn’t over whether Mr Heather is right or wrong in his belief in God or, indeed, if anyone is right or wrong in their belief of any God or gods. The really worrying thing is that as mandatory Christianity is removed from schools, agencies like the BHA can start to peddle their own sinister brand of ‘religion’ to corrupt people’s minds.

The BHA – and its vice president, Dawkins – is happy to keep asking ‘can you prove that God exists?’, but the simple response to this has to be ‘but can you prove God doesn’t exist?’ The answer in both cases is ‘no’.

I notice from their website that the BHA seeks:

inclusive schools where children with parents of all faiths and none learn to understand and respect each other, instead of being segregated in the growing number of faith and sectarian schools

You can’t help thinking that a better understanding of how the world works might be a more realistic aspiration. But I really like the closing paragraph in the Mirror’s story:

The £140,000 ad campaign is being run by the British Humanist Association to “give atheists a voice”.

Another £140,000 and hopefully it would give them a brain, as well.