Perfect Parking in Blarney

I should blog this at Shite Drivers but this was too good to give up. Sorry Niall!

Perfect Parking in Blarney

What you don’t see is the old SUV (probably new when such vehicles were called 4x4s) that swerved across the road in front of me to block 3 parked cars. The elderly driver waited in the vehicle all the time I was walking about there. I parked across the road by AIB because of the stellar parking of the car above. Good thing most of the tourists are gone home now!

Edit: this is how they should have parked!

Worried about the NCT?

Two years have passed really quickly and it’s time for my car to be tested again as part of the National Car Test (NCT). Registration was simple through their website and hopefully the test will be as uneventful.

My car has been serviced recently but there’s still that nagging doubt in the back of my head. Conventional wisdom says that it’s easier to have the car fail the test, get the car fixed and then retake the test but I’ve heard stories about people whose cars failed the test for different reasons on the second go! Oh the stress!

Things to watch out for are listed on the NCT inspection checklist and include brakes, exhaust and tyres. They’re fairly thorough.

Do you have any NCT horror stories? I don’t want to hear them until after 3pm today!

Bad news! The front left tire is too worn to pass, but as Mel said in a comment below, the visual retest is free. Must ring the local garage and bring the car down to them tomorrow.

Help protect the kids on busy roads

There was a knock at the front door a few minutes ago. That’s not something that happens very often during working hours. At the door was a teenager in school uniform with what looked like a notepad in hand. He was collecting signatures for a petition to have more zebra and pelican crossings built in Tower and Blarney.

The petition was set in motion by the death of Clodagh Murphy in a road accident on September 20th last. She was only 14.

Hopefully we’ll see some positive results from the petition but it’s going to involve education too. There’s a pelican crossing on the main road in Blarney. It’s a very busy road with several junctions leading onto the road in less than a few hundred meters distance. There’s also a bus stop on one side of the road, and a school on the other.

  • I saw a teenager standing ready to run across the road. He was waiting for a break in traffic. He was right next to the pedestrian lights.
  • Every morning over a dozen students pile out of the bus and go to the back of the bus. They too ignore the nearby pedestrian lights and by weight of numbers force the traffic to stop and walk across the road. I’ll have to get a picture of that some morning.

The mind boggles.

Hammond may have brain damage

Richard Hammond, one of the presenters on BBC’s Top Gear, crashed in a jet powered dragster while trying to break the British land speed record of 300.3mph. He had reached 300mph on his first go, and was doing a final run when, “one of the parachutes had deployed but it went on to the grass and spun over and over before coming to a rest about 100 yards from us.”

Sky news updated their news story about the accident a few minutes ago. Richard Hammond suffered a “significant brain injury” but they’re hopeful he will make a good recovery. Watching them do crazy things on Top Gear from time to time it’s easy to forget that they’re actually taking risks. Unfortunately this time something went wrong.

Hope you recover soon Richard!

Much later.. News is getting better.

Clarkson revealed he had made Hammond smile during the visit by calling him “a crap driver”.

He told The Sun: “He was lying peacefully with a black eye but didn’t react so I tried something else.

“I said, ‘The reason you’re here is because you’re a crap driver’. He then smiled at me. It was an amazing moment, very moving.”

Later.. I just watched the final episode of the last series of Top Gear. That’s the one with the white vans. In a final race against Stig in a police car, Richard tipped over the small van he was driving when he tried to take a corner too fast. The van skidded a few feet before coming to a stop and he climbed out safely. I wonder did what Jeremy and James say come back to haunt them when they joked, “Richard might be dead. If you want a job in Top Gear send your application to I’m better than Richard Hammond..”

The Wikipedia page on Richard Hammond has a summary of events including the good news,

In the early hours of 22 September, Hammond took his first steps, just 30 hours after the crash, according to Jeremy Clarkson, and was moved to a general ward on 23 September.

Jeremy Clarkson responds in his usual way, making fun of and light of what happened. I don’t doubt that they did as much as they could to make his land speed attempt safe but reading Jeremy’s quote below, one has to wonder how many children does it take to force a man to consider his fate? Obviously not two, maybe three? No, probably four children.

I have too many children these days to put myself voluntarily in harm’s way. Hammond, however, isn’t there yet.

Top Gear is a great show but when Jeremy Clarkson’s flippant attitude strays towards serious matters it really irks me. Thank God, Richard Hammond is well on his way to recovery.

TCAL has photos taken from Sky News of the crash. Looks bad. Lucky man to walk away from that!

Richard Hammond Crash

WordPress developer in near miss auto accident!

Press the button on the traffic light, wait for the green man, walk. It’s simple. Cars generally stop and obey a red light or risk two penalty points if seen by a member of an Garda Siochana. Unfortunately they can’t be at every street junction every hour of the day.

Jacinta and I were walking across the road at the North Gate, a busy intersection, with relatively complicated lights. Pedestrians be warned, wait for the lights! Cars come from all directions! The green man was flashing so it was safe enough, we thought. An ambulance was trying to get through the red light in front of us so we stopped, still, the green man was doing his thing, shaking his stuff, and generally flashing on and off. All’s ok, until there’s the loud blare of a car horn, a louder engine powers a green VW Passat across the junction from North Bridge and swerves just behind us, missing us by perhaps a few inches!

We were shocked, but I looked after them and recognised the same green Volkswagen Passat I had seen two days previously. Dark windows, a big VW badge dangling off the center mirror and the name of some exhaust maker on the back window. That time I had been driving, they were in front of me, and had raced off when lights turned green, lane hopping like there was no tomorrow, in a 50km/h zone. Ironically, they were stuck at the lights going to Mayfield and I passed them a moment later..

It’s a mad world out there, I’ll post a picture of the car next time I see it.

Oooer, that NCT feeling!

I brought my car down to the Blarney NCT center this morning and checked in and joined a lot of other worried looking guys in the waiting room. The tension in the room was palpable as soon as I entered, and when vehicles were driven into the test garage half the room stood up and stared intensely through the windows. I read about discovering new earths in National Geographic.. when else am I going to get half an hour to do nothing but read? The disquiet and oppressive atmosphere was lightened considerably by a 3 year old girl and her parents – the parents were worried, but their daughter was oblivious reading her animal book and chatting to her mom!
Finally, just before 9am a man appeared at the waiting room door, said my name and I followed him out. With a smile he handed me my shiny new NCT certificate. Yay! No need to worry about that again until 2007!

Police can't touch you?

So, what do you do if you drive a Northern Ireland reg car that the Southern Ireland Police can’t trace? Double park in front of some poor guy’s car and wait for the Gardai to come along and scratch their heads wondering what they’ll do..


I took the above photo from the no. 10 bus, using my mobile phone so please excuse the quality of the shot!

Wow! Congestion charging schem …

Wow! Congestion charging scheme gets Livingstone go-ahead – Motorists will be charged £5 to drive to Central London on weekdays! It’s going to be introduced on Feb 17th, 2003. I can see trouble ahead..

In related news, the penality points system due to be introduced here is in doubt because there isn’t money for the EUR11m computer system needed by the Gardai! Hear the RTE report on it.

Now that I’m over the shock of going to the dentist, I feel a rant coming on. I pay my taxes like everyone else and a part of those taxes go to PRSI, Pay Related Social Insurance. PRSI will pay for some of your medical bills, including visits to the dentist, but not always.
I’m 26 and out of college four years and working. Because I went to college and got an education, and now contribute to the economy’s tech industry, I can’t claim benefits due me. If you’re 26 or over you have to be working for at least five years to claim PRSI entitlements. Now that I need to get work done I can’t claim money back from a fund I’ve paid into for four years. It hardly seems fair. grrr

The Irish language is taught in Irish schools and is compulsory for everyone (with some exceptions). A book just published calls into question the cost to students of learning Irish. Science is only now becoming a part of the primary school curiculam. Hear the RTE interview with Dr Aidrian Kelly.