That was the summer that was – Part 1

Wow, what a summer! Perfect weather, and time spent with great friends. Best weather since 1976, which I actually remember quite well. So what’s been happening? During my self-imposed exile from the blog over summer, the world has provided plenty of inspiration, through daily events, crazy stories, but above all from the stupidity of the human race! And did the weather hide dangers, unseen…. but potentially deadly?

YES, I’m back readers! Prepare for a winter of education from onein400, #backtoschool, good old home daily life, and of course terrifying true stories!

We have been out on the road a fair bit and I was reminded of how we used to give directions to places before the days of Satellite Navigation systems. The joy of reading a paper map resting on the steering wheel trying to eat a chocolate bar whilst children run around inside the car without seat belts and playing with sharp things! Gone are those days.

We were recently visiting a gentleman to show him my Travelscoot as his wife expressed interest after Jean mentioned how useful it has been for me. For those of you who haven’t seen my Travelscoot, there is a photo later in this post.  We were given directions and off we set into the wilderness…..

Take the main road to x, go past the y pub and the immediate left. After 2 miles, you pass a church on your left, keep right and then turn right. We are at the bottom on the right.

We, of course, converted this to Sat Nav speak, and in that way had no need to stop and ask the local serial killer (there is always one folks!) for the finer directions. Mind you, you don’t want me stopping and asking for guidance. It’s pretty darn scary now.

Squeeze me mutt. Wish way to the twerch?

Talking about travel to those unventured areas. I have formed a lot of my opinions of people and places from the films I have watched over the last 40 years including such classic cinematic reels as Wolf Creek. If you enjoyed this classic, I suspect asking directions in the vast outback of Northern Australia is not high on your priorities. If you have seen the film, I dare you to now watch Wolf Creek 2! Backpacking would be off the menu for you and all your future offspring I guarantee it. You simply don’t want to meet Mick Taylor!

And when I was young, my image of the country of Turkey was engrained into me by the stunning film Midnight Express. I have never had a desire to visit since watching! I am sure it is no where near as bad as I imagine, but hey the images till scare me! Youngsters, have a watch and take heed!

During the summer break we visited a vast outback, North Wales. Anyone who knows the A458 from Shrewsbury to Barmouth will be aware that it is a death trap of a road. A winding route with very few safe places to overtake, but not that it stops the locals from attempting. The phrase

as long we get there in one piece

could have been specifically written for this road. We have witnessed many a nutter risking their lives, and others over the years. I do believe that over the last decade as most of modern driving today is on big motorways and highways, the average driver has lost the ability to overtake safely. In my early driving days journeys up and down the country involved much overtaking and “Phew we got there in one piece!” Thus skill developed.

Back to our Welsh adventure. Jean was driving, and as per my last post, I was giving appropriate guidance on approaching the strategy for overtaking etc (you would expect it from me, guys). So when we got stuck behind a car which was just going too slow, I discussed the thorough technical feasibility of getting past. After an executive meeting, we agreed that I would shout “Yes!!!” when, in my highly proficient view, it was totally safe to do so.

We agreed on this word as Go and No sound pretty much the same with my voice now and using has caused many a near miss!

Jean then successfully overtook the annoyingly slow car and we were suddenly shouting and jumping with absolute joy at the open road now ahead stretching of us. As we approached the very next roundabout (rotary for my US friends) where we always take the second exit, Jean in her infinite wisdom proceeded to miss the turn!! This resulted in another go round and, yes, we found ourselves behind the very same car we just got past!!!! Karma!! So we had yet another 30 miles before we were able to pass again! I kept myself amused by talking to the locals whilst they walked alongside our car!

I also took time to read reviews of local restaurants on our route, handily pointed out by Facebook as you entered a new area. One of these was a Mexican restaurant. A recent reviewer stated that all the food was all together far too spicy for his girlfriend. Fighting that irresistible temptation to respond with

So get a new girlfriend!

we continued on our journey without further incident.

Although times have changed, some things don’t. North Wales is still a beautiful place with road signs in two languages and where ladies go to tourist spots during daylight hours in their nightclub clothes! In Barmouth there is also this subtly named chip shop…

Not only spelt incorrectly but with a fallen C!

I suppose their main dish is

Chips on the Beach” – I wanna have chips on the beach!!

Talking of those Ladies wearing unsuitable, and plainly ridiculous, clothes to tourist spots, we encountered some at Portmeirion. Portmeirion was made famous by the 1960s TV Series, The Prisoner. It is a wacky village built in Italian style on a hill on the coast of North Wales.

It’s a bit of a dire TV Programme, and I wouldn’t bother viewing. We watched the first episode the other day and it’s spooky how the village looks identical some 50 years later. The terrifying giant balloon put me off North Wales as a youngster! Those darn films and TV!

Of course, a bit of planning was necessary for my scooter, but it was great, with me roaring up the hill! The village offered a free entrance fee for a carer, and a reduced charge for me. It makes no sense for any attraction to not offer such deals, especially as at some places I am about as likely to be able to use all on offer as a free Mount Everest climb! I can confirm Portmeirion is disabled friendly.

One thing that happens when you are a scooter user, is you end up talking to people with other disabled devices. I don’t mind this at all, and often learn some key new facts.  However, please don’t smoke with your fag (cigarette for my US friends) end burning over my Travelscoot seat! Oh and by the way, smoking is bad!

Back to the present. After returning from beautiful Wales we met our son and daughter-in-law for brunch. Using my blue badge we parked conveniently nearby in a residents parking zone, the only free spaces. Now before you say you can’t park there, you can. It’s like parking on double yellow lines, you can stay for a max of 3 hours. It does vary from UK council to council, but in ours you can. In fact, as one purpose of my blog is to inform and educate, a lot of people with a blue badge may not be fully aware of the places and times that you can park with it. Before getting one I was certainly not 100% sure. Full details can be found here and you have to read it very closely. Knowing this information can make for much more relaxed travelling.

The big one for me is that unless there is a specific disabled restriction, you can park for an unlimited time! For example, at this sign, blue badge holders can park forever! Yes, forever!!

Oh, back to our story. On returning to the car, and after my usual clambering into the seat, we noticed a leaflet on our windscreen. This note, one of those so-called polite scrawlings, was placed under the wiper, I assume, by a “curtain” peeker. It informed us that we were liable to a fine as we had parked in a resident’s spot!

Well, well!

In my old days, when I used to run around like a blue arsed fly, I might have, just perhaps, gone door to door in a raging frenzy, dragging out each owner by their ears demanding to know who placed it, before professionally explaining their error with a detailed, but beautifully presented and entertaining PowerPoint presentation! However, today, I left it to Jean, who wrote in big pen on the notice:

Rude! and incorrect!

I watched meekly as she proceeded to shove it through a randomly selected letterbox! Feeling smug and self righteous we left. They can think themselves lucky I had not just rewatched the opening scenes of  Wolf Creek 2 and not fully capable of revenge! Watch it if you dare, to get just a feeling of my internal emotions!

On a serious note, perhaps the purpose of such films like Wolf Creek is to remind folk that it is just not worth annoying people as you never know what reaction you might provoke! Hope that’s a handy tip kids?! Not really worth getting minced up over a parking spot!

Anyway, ……calm, breathe….relax. Now to watch Arsenal play in the new football season. Oh dear, anger again!

Back soon readers with part 2 of the summer of heat! What is there in store for you? The great Lord Bragg has been boosting some of his businesses with brand new products and destroying others.

What a guy!

signed Mick Bragg!!