Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

DVSA logoAn email alert from DVSA details the procedure for the actual driving test. You can read the full communication by clicking the link, but the important part is as follows:

Wearing glasses with face coverings on test

Your pupil must wear a face covering when they come for their driving test, unless they have a good reason not to. This includes if:

  • they have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means they cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause them severe distress
  • they need to remove it during their test to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to others

If your pupils wear glasses

Wearing glasses does not count as a good reason not to wear a face covering.

So, anyone going out on test must wear a face mask unless they have one of the excuses outlined, and wearing glasses is not an excuse not to.

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DVSA logoAn email alert from DVSA, which you can read in full here. In a nutshell, there will be no extension to theory test certificates which expired during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has considered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the validity period of theory test certificates.

After careful consideration, the government has decided not to extend theory test certificates due to the impact on road safety.

A note for the hard of thinking out there. See the words “the government has considered” and “the government has decided”. Can you see the really, really important detail in there?

The GOVERNMENT. Not DVSA.

I’m already seeing instructors blaming DVSA or criticising them for it. It is not DVSA’s decision. In order to extend certificates, there would need to be a change in the Law – look, there’s another important detail – and that is also down to the government.

I realise it’s probably too much to hope for, but hopefully now people will just get on doing the job they’re supposed to do – teaching people to drive. However, I am now waiting for the inevitable lobby groups springing up consisting of people who, 50 years ago, would have been union leaders.

But people paid for a two-year certificate

Look. This is about safety on the roads. The idea of a two year window is so that the information people acquire when they study for their theory tests is at least partially current when they’re let loose on the roads. You know as well as I do that there are those who forget everything two seconds after they walk out of the theory test centre because all they ever wanted was to get the certificate. Some retain the information, though.

The problem is that the first type become – or cause – statistics. The second type, less so. Therefore, it makes sense that this second group does not morph into the first, and that is the basis of the decision the government (not DVSA) has made. Just remember that the lockdown is likely to have a longer term effect on road safety even as it is – there are already reports saying accidents have increased – so stop potentially making it worse by trying to behave like a Samaritan on this subject.

Do YOU agree with it?

If the government had given an extension, I would have accepted it. They haven’t, and I accept that. My job is to teach people to drive, not to argue with every single aspect of this job and the legislation which surrounds it.

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Donna and RalstonDonna Smith came to the UK from Jamaica over five years ago. She met her husband – also originally from Jamaica, I believe – while he was on holiday there. She came to the UK a year after marrying Ralston Fustiye. Her two children also came with her. Ralston was a British citizen, and had worked for Nottingham City Council for 15 years.

Tragically, Ralston recently died from COVID-19 due to an underlying heart condition.

Donna Fustiye, who is employed as a registered carer, now faces deportation back to Jamaica. She wants to remain in the UK, which she considers her home, along with her children.

Donna has to raise £7,600 before 8 August in order to apply for residency. Her immigration advisor (also a councillor) has set up a crowdfunding page to try and help her that way. She’s been helping us all through this pandemic, and the least we can do is try to give something in return.

I’m sure this country still has some good people in it who see these situations as tragic, as opposed something to get all excited over because it means deporting someone. If you’re one of them, consider helping out by pledging whatever you can to try and stop someone’s life being destroyed.

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Neowise - I saw it!Yessss! The weather finally cleared up and I finally saw Comet Neowise with my own eyes.

This is just a handheld short-exposure shot, but it’s clearly there. And you can see it with the naked eye even in well-lit areas. It has a long visible tail.

If the weather looks good tomorrow, I might drive somewhere darker to try it with my tripod. And a longer exposure – trust me, with the naked eye, the tail is much more pronounced, but a snapshot doesn’t pick it up properly.

But the main thing is, I saw a comet! And a proper one with a tail.

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ReadlyA couple of years ago I was having a clear out and I was amazed at the number of magazines I’d collected over the years. They were mainly my Classic Rock mags, and part of my decision to have a clear out was that I’d been getting more and more disillusioned with that particular publication.

At the time, I was on an annual subscription, but Planet Rock had just launched its own magazine and that did exactly what it said on the tin – it covered rock music. Classic Rock acquired a new editor, and she made it clear in her introductory piece what she was planning. Subsequently, any rock music they covered had to include at least half female acts – meaning it became obscure and far from ‘classic’, at best – and they also decided that (as just one example) Depeche Mode somehow ticked both the ‘classic’ and ‘rock’ boxes at the same time (actually, they decided twice in the space of just a couple of months with that one example). Then they did their ‘best 100 female artists of all time’ issue, and necessarily had to include non-rock genres to fill it out. That was it from me, and I cancelled my sub.

Before any feminists start frothing at the mouth over this, I go to see lots of female artists and bands with female members. I actually seek them out if I hear them on Planet Rock and like the sound. Like Samantha Fish, Haim, Paramore, Evanescence, Courtney Love, Joanne Shaw Taylor, The Lounge Kittens… I just don’t need any feminist magazine editors trying to filter out the men for me. And if you don’t like the fact that I don’t like that fact, click the back button and go somewhere else.

Planet Rock mag suits me fine, but when the lockdown came along, it also came with a lot of extra time for reading and finding tips on how to do stuff I wouldn’t have otherwise had time for. And going out to buy magazines wasn’t an option – even if it would have been of benefit with the ‘current’ issue on sale (you usually need a series of them).

A few years ago, as a result of my quest to find some authentic German food recipes, I came across a subscription service called Readly. It carries – and this is no exaggeration – thousands of UK titles. They’re all the ones you see on the newsstands (and many you don’t), from TV Times, OK!, Hello!, through all the photography and amateur DIY magazines, through to music and musicians (including Classic Rock). They cover specialist computer and technology subjects, gaming, weddings, cycling, fishing, horse riding, pets… everything (but no X-rated adult stuff). Including back issues, too, which multiplies the content by at least ten. And as I already implied, they have similar numbers of publications from Europe, Asia, and America. They’ve also recently started including newspapers, though it’s only The Independent and Evening Standard right now.

My normal Readly subscription is less than £8 a month, but they offer a two months for free trial. Even so, at £8 a month, that’s the newsstand cost of just three magazines! If you were after foreign magazines, you’d probably pay more than that for a single issue once shipping was included.

You can get the Readly app with the offer through Amazon (it’s free), and you can read on your phone, tablet, or computer. You can also read offline by downloading the content.

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Back To The Future movie posterThis is worth getting. It’s 35 years since Back To The Future was released, and this book – We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy – is the in-depth story of how it was made, with interviews with all the writers, cast, and crew. I was interested immediately, because I always wanted to know the truth about why Eric Stoltz – the original Marty – was recast with Michael J. Fox.

I found out about the book from an MSN newsfeed item, where fans have been arguing about whether any of Stoltz remains in the films (apparently, they reckon it’s Stoltz’s fist when he punches Biff in the café). The book doesn’t answer that, but it’s a damned good read.

It’s 268 pages devoted to one of the best movie trilogies – certainly of the 80s – of all time. And best of all, as well as paperback there’s also a Kindle edition (which is the one I bought). I also note that other books about the movie are available on Kindle Unlimited for free (see the banner on the right for a free trial if you’re interested).

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Ennio MorriconeThis one’s likely to pass most people by – I doubt many know who he is. But he represents a huge part of my childhood (and ever since, come to think of it).

Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. He was a film composer, but by far his best known works were the themes from The Dollars Trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns in the 1960s. His score for The Good, The Bad And The Ugly in particular is a genuine work of art.

RIP, Ennio.

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Eric Idle in Monty Python sketchCouldn’t have put it better myself. Eric Idle has criticised the official Monty Python Twitter feed for tweeting “It’s time to dust off your finest attire now that pubs & restaurants are open from tomorrow.”

Idle’s response was:

Do not listen. This is shit advice. I have nothing to do with this. In the wise words of my wife. “What has changed?” Nothing. There is no cure, there is no vaccine. Go out at your peril. Mingle at your own risk. Just remember “Bring out your dead.”

Unless your pub is called The Grim Reaper, you should stay home. Please be safe.

Completely agree, Eric. It’s too soon.

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The Jen Fog fogging machineRegular readers will know I have referred to JennyChem before, mainly in my article about smearing windscreens. I buy their brand of TFR.

I got an email from them today announcing the launch of their new defogging machine, which claims to do anti-viral sanitising as well as removing tobacco and pet odours. It can be used in cars and for treating small living spaces. It’s called The Jen Fog.

At £145, it’s quite a bit cheaper than other fogging machines, and it comes with 5L of the fogging liquid. Each treatment takes about 20 minutes.

The fogging liquid itself costs £17.50 for 5L. You can even choose between unfragranced, Cherry, Tea Tree and Pine, Strawberry, and Bubblegum scents.

The machine has a 400ml reservoir, and each fill will treat up to 30 cars. So a 5L bottle will be good for up to 375 treatments!

Those numpties looking at buying things to clip on to their air vents should invest a little more – actually, only three times more, because they’re being ripped off with those dinky things – and buy the real McCoy. If anything is going to sanitise the car properly, it’ll be something like this – which is much more cost-effective than some of the prices for ‘refills’ I’ve seen being bandied around social media.

If anyone is interested, these are the datasheets for the FogSan fluid, and it has been tested and confirmed as a viricide.

Datasheet

Product Spec Sheet

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Three American MoronsAmerica has a problem. Actually, America has many problems. But with COVID-19, some problems stick out more than others.

Mind you, I say that. But in America right now, pretty much all problems stick out. One of the current ones is in Texas. It seems they have had daily new cases of COVID-19 jump from 2,000 to 6,000 (the article says 5,000, but it is actually 6,000 right now) in a few weeks. Putting that in perspective, Texas has a population which is about a third of the entire UK, yet our maximum number of daily cases has never – apart from one day in April, where I think care homes were added – been much above about 6,000. And the charts indicate it is still accelerating in Texas.

Of course, we had the lockdown. And apart from a worrying number of morons ignoring it, that has brought our daily cases down to around 1,000.

In a similar vein, Texas has seen around 150,000 cases overall. So far. That’s already half of what we’ve seen with three times as many people, and a higher population density.

America has a complicated political structure, whereby state government mainly calls the shots, but this is further complicated by the various amendments to The Constitution, meaning the people pretty much decide whether they follow the Law or not (it’s the ‘Land of the Free’, after all). And if anyone tries to make them, they get their guns out and it gets even more complicated (it’s also the ‘Land of the Stupid’ at the best of times). And all this is completely legal, thanks to that same Constitution.

You could write forever about the American system. But the point I wanted to make was about wearing face masks. It seems that the Texas Governor has urged people to wear masks ‘where it is indicated’. This has proved unpopular – violently so, from what I can gather. And my question in the title is simply illustrated by the photo from the BBC.

See if you can spot the morons in it. Hint: there are three of them, and I’ve numbered them just in case you can’t work it out.

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