Category - ADI

RIP, Dad.

It’s been a bad morning.

My dad passed away early today.

I owe everything to him, and I hope I’ve been able to repay some of it over these last few years.

RIP, dad. I love you, and always will. I hope there’s something which means one day I’ll meet up with you again.

Annoying Adverts 2023 – I

The kings of idiotic whispering - Secret Escapes

Quite a few years ago, I wrote about Secret Escapes, and it’s inane fascination with whispering. In fact, I wrote about it four times (two separate ads), here, here, here, and here.

Those were in 2012 and 2014.

But bugger me, they’ve managed an even more annoying whispering pile of crap in 2023.

I’m not going to provide a link. The sooner they go out of business, the happier I will be. I hate whispering, and this company hasn’t got a clue. And the evidence suggests a lot of other people dislike it as much as I do.

The thing is, I haven’t got a clue what it is they actually do – I switch channels the moment I hear the whispering. And TRESemmé had better watch out. I use their products, but their current whispering ad is driving me nuts. My general policy is to boycott companies who annoy me, and TRESemmé is doing that right now.

Johnny Fean Dies at 71

I heard the sad news over the weekend that Johnny Fean – one of the most underrated guitarists of all time, with one of the most underrated bands of all time – died last week at the age of 71.

As I have said elsewhere on the blog (and Horslips’ website is linked to in my links section), they were the first band I ever saw live. But I listen to them still, and even went to see them back in 2011 in Glasgow when they reformed after more than 30 years).

I always think of my idols as being ageless, but this year is really knocking that idea sideways right now.

RIP, Johnny. Thanks for everything.

Clucking Bat: 11 April 2023

SV59 NLY – Grey Clio Expression

This one was in heavy rain.

The Clio had changed lanes left-to-right at the last minute. It then stopped dead, short at green traffic lights – I had to get involved and stop my pupil. Initially, it seemed like they had broken down or something was in front of them, so I instructed my pupil to go round whilst I was watching the traffic behind trying to do the same. As she indicated, the clucking bat moved off again – initially with their hazard lights on, then indicating left whilst moving into the right hand lane, then indicating right to turn right.

The police told me this one was ‘below the prosecution threshold’.

Clucking Bat: 21 April 2023

SJ67 YGV – Grey Land Rover Sport

On a lesson with a pupil, dealing with a roundabout, and this clucking bat decided to get past no matter what. Obviously, it scared the shit out of the pupil.

Further down, he was changing lanes with no signals whatsoever. Ironically, apart from other clucking bats switching lanes because they don’t know which to use in the first place, all he succeeded in doing was getting in front of us instead of being behind.

These prats gain nothing – other than showing themselves up.

Clucking Bat: 1 April 2023

I’ve mentioned many times before, but I submit dashcam footage to Nottinghamshire Police if someone behaves like a twat. The police take action in 90% or more of cases I have submitted, to date.

L444 NEH – Black Vauxhall Corsa

One thing I have discovered is that they are as frustrated as me in some cases when the action reported is unlikely to gain a conviction. This video is an example of such action.

I was on a lesson with a pupil. She was turning right on a roundabout, and as she came to exit, this stupid cow pulled out – just look how late. I had to pull us into the right hand lane to avoid a collision.

The police point out that the prat in question would argue that there are two lanes, and so they would not get a conviction. They did say, however, that she shouldn’t have pulled out like that, and that they would have a word with the stupid cow.

For anyone who is wondering, the title I will be using from now on in any such posts involves ‘Clucking Bat’ – it rhymes with ‘f**king twat’, which is what all of these people are.

Nottingham Forest Supporters – Reverse Evolution

I was on my way home from a lesson this afternoon. I thought I’d timed my home journey well enough to avoid the usual problems on Trent Bridge when Forest supporters leave a match.

Then this happened. I can only assume that the prat was using a Mobility scooter because his f–cking brain didn’t work properly (which is almost a given if he supports Forest). How is he allowed out unsupervised behaving like this?

This man should be in secure accommodation for his own safety

You can see from the expressions of the other apes who’d been to the match that they were aware of what he was doing and though it funny. The idiot could have been killed.

His scooter has no registration plates and is not a road-going vehicle. He was riding the wrong way down what is effectively a dual carriageway in the outside lane. He has no mirrors, and was purposely not looking at any traffic (he’s a Forest supporter, so has an attitude problem to start with). He is a criminal – as any car driver would be if they did that. More worrying is that his mental state has not been recognised and the scooter taken away from him. He is clearly incapable of using it safely.

What annoys me is that the Police don’t do anything about these retards. The Council put up those stupid barriers after that thing in London close to a decade ago, but Forest supporters just walk either side of them, and completely ignore crossings and traffic lights.

Ramadan And Driving

I originally wrote this back in 2010, but it gets a new raft of hits each year, usually around the start of Ramadan.

I had a pupil fail her test a while back, and on the way home she mentioned that Ramadan had started. She insisted that she felt OK, but I couldn’t help wonder if it might have had some effect on her concentration otherwise she wouldn’t have brought it up.

Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims. During it, participants abstain from eating and drinking between the hours of sunrise and sunset. Technically, those fasting are not even supposed to drink water (there are exceptions for pregnant women or those with specific illnesses), and some participants take it more literally than others. At least one reader has had concerns that Ramadan has affected their driving, and in 2016 it was unusually long at 32 days. In 2017, it ran from 26 May to 24 June, and in 2018 it spanned 17 May to 15 June. In 2019, it ran from 5 May until 4 June. It’s pretty much a full month anyway.

Some years ago, I worked in Pakistan – in Karachi – for a short time, and was there during Ramadan. Some people ate during the day, but very little, and some fasted properly. But in the main, they just got on with things and worked normally. I have vivid memories of the sights and smells of street food when I went to see Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s tomb one evening.

At the other end of the spectrum, when I worked in the rat race over here, Ramadan and other such religious festivals were used by some (not all, I must add) simply to avoid work. Some of my shop floor staff tried it on regularly, but I knew what they were up to – having a smoke outside when you’re supposed to be praying is a bit of a giveaway.

I used to have the (bad) habit of getting up at 8am or earlier, drinking only a cup of tea, not eating anything until I finished work in the late evening, then pigging out on kebabs or curries. Occasionally, during the day, I’d crave something to eat there and then, at which point I could easily put away four Mars Bars and drink a litre of Lucozade! Someone who is very slight would probably not be able to get through the day without being affected at least a little – and this must also apply to those fasting during Ramadan.

If you are teaching Muslim pupils it’s worth discussing the subject with them – and just be open about it: they don’t mind talking about their religion (it’s people who think they do who have the problems). I’ve had several pupils in the past who were suffering during fasting, and in several cases we postponed lessons until it was over. A few years ago, I had a small pupil who was very nervous and jumpy in the car, and we were both worried Ramadan might affect her (she raised the topic herself). So we agreed to do her lessons later in the evening (that was my idea), and although I will admit I thought sunset was a little earlier than it actually was when I agreed to it, we did lessons at 9.30pm once a week for a month so she could keep driving.

Whether it is for Ramadan or any other reason, not eating could affect your concentration on both lessons and driving tests. And you might not realise.

Advice I’d give to anyone fasting during Ramadan is to take lessons or tests in the morning or late evening (if your instructor will do it), and to eat properly when not fasting the night before. Alternatively, just put your lessons on hold until Ramadan is over.

As for the question about whether you should be driving or not,you need to be realistic. I’d say that 99% of white, non-Muslim UK drivers drive when they’re not feeling 100%, and Ramadan hardly turns most participants into hospital cases. So there is no automatic reason why people who are fasting for Ramadan shouldn’t drive. Just use common sense.

Can I take my test during Ramadan?

Of course you can. However, you should consider how fasting affects you and your concentration. It might be better to plan ahead and avoid booking a test during Ramadan altogether. Alternatively, try to book an early test at a time just after you have eaten – or rather, before you start to get hungry.

Fasting during Ramadan affects my driving to work

Someone found the blog on that search term! The answer is simple.

If you are having problems, either don’t drive or don’t fast. There is no Magic Pill that makes it everything OK – if you’re fasting, and it affects your concentration, don’t drive. And that also applies whether you’re ill, drunk, menstruating, or anything else. It’s just common sense.

Bye-bye PayPal Here, Hello SumUp

Regular readers will know that I have been taking card payments from my pupils since 2013. It’ll be ten years this September! How time flies.

I originally used iZettle, which I was happy with. I’d initially wanted to use PayPal Here, but their sales rep got something wrapped around his neck at the time, and so I decided against it and went with iZettle.

Everything was fine for a couple of years, but one time there was an app update which wouldn’t install on my phone (which had worked perfectly well up until that point). I contacted iZettle and they told me my phone wasn’t supported. When I questioned that, pointing out it had always worked before, their precise words amounted to:

Your phone isn’t supported. Goodbye.

iZettle Support in 2015

I’m not making that up. It is precisely what they said. And it nearly destroyed my business overnight, since I had no way of taking most of my payments.

I contacted PayPal, who by now knew what their system actually did, and quickly purchased one of their readers. It worked like a charm, and it was better than iZettle in that money went into my PayPal account instantly, instead of after (3 days + not weekends + not bank holidays (UK) + not public holidays (Sweden)).

iZettle got back to me some time later (quite a long time later, in fact) after I had left withering reviews in various places about their awful service, and it turned out that the reason the app wouldn’t install was that the incompetent prats had put out a package on the Google Store that had the same filename as the previous version. That was the cause of the problem.

I basically told them to f**k off, and I’ve been happy with PayPal Here ever since.

A cool wind of apprehension blew over me in 2018, when PayPal took over iZettle. The wind blew a bit stronger when PayPal stopped supplying the PayPal Here card reader, and began pushing the iZettle (or Zettle) terminal. I’d taken a sacred vow never to use iZettle again, and it didn’t matter anyway, because I already had four PayPal Here readers to cover any breakages, so didn’t worry too much. I didn’t think it would affect me for a long time, as PayPal had never told me the Here service would stop, and I’d only had one terminal fail in ten years, so I was pretty much set until I retired. But it turns out I was wrong – and I am not happy with PayPal for not telling me in advance.

In fact, the first I knew of it was early March, when I had a voicemail which informed me in an American accent that the PayPal Here card readers would stop functioning from the beginning of April 2023. I tried to contact them, but they haven’t bothered to respond in the two weeks since I tried. This is annoying when you consider that I must have taken around £100k using PayPal Here since 2015.

So I immediately took action to ensure I can continue taking card payments.

Zettle can still f**k off. They are the same Swedish company that tried to put me out of business, even if PayPal now owns them. I would not use them again under any circumstances. And now PayPal is pencilled in on my list of people I don’t trust anymore.

So it came down to either SumUp or Square. And then it came down to either an all-singing, all-dancing standalone 3G terminal, or one that connected via an app to my phone. I was a bit concerned about some users complaining about signal strength on the 3G devices (if a pupil lives in the sticks, that can be an issue even with my 5G phone), so I went with an app-based one. And the SumUp one looked better, so it was decision made.

I’ll review it separately in a few days. Right now, it is set up and ready to take payments, but I am waiting for my business Mastercard to arrive so that I can gain the ability to transfer money to my bank account on a (almost) daily basis.

Dragons’ Den

I love this show.

A lot of the things that appear are crap (to me), but every now and then something comes up which makes me go ‘woah!’

Tangle Teezer

A few years ago, someone came on with the Tangle Teezer – a hair brush which removes tangles. I’ve got long hair, and tangles (and dust bunnies, as I call them – how the hell they manage to form overnight amazes me) are a major headache. So I bought a Tangle Teezer just to try it out, and it is bloody brilliant. It really does get tangles out – and it’s good for the bunnies, too. I’ve had two so far – and an Amazon mistake with the second means I have another three on the shelf when the others wear out. They also do versions for pets – the Pet Teezer.

In this current series, a couple more items have appeared which pulled me up.

Matey Measure

The Matey Measure clicked with me immediately. I do a bit of DIY, and as soon as they demonstrated this device, I went ‘a-ha!’ The inventors didn’t get an investment – it probably isn’t something which will set the world on fire – but it does fill a definite DIY gap. It helps you use a tape measure in a confined environment. I bought one (it is also available on Amazon)..

And then there was FixIts (these did get an investment). They are a sort of thermoplastic strip, which melts in hot water to a putty-like consistency, but which becomes hard again when it cools. I immediately saw applications at home for this (my reading glasses and the nose pads being one immediate example). I’m waiting for those to arrive through Amazon.