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Photography, speed awareness and art

WODEN mono

Lake or pool?

I do get a few local readers on a Sunday. They might be surprised to know that today’s picture was taken locally. This ‘lake’ or pool as some people refer to it is about a mile away from my house. What do you think? Lake or pool? I might photograph that today, the sun is shining this morning.

As usual on a Sunday morning, I’m thinking about cooking lunch. I’m a bit desperate today, I need to do some shopping. I am thinking about testing things from the supermarket for my blog, it will be cheaper to buy a packet of tea to test than a smart phone. So this week I bought the ‘red label’ tea from Aldi to compare with the one from Asda that is about 20% more expensive. I’ll report the findings of this scientific test on Thursday or Friday. Stay tuned….

One insurance company has put up premiums for drivers who do that speed awareness course. Does that surprise me? The course is a private company rip off with a lot of incentive from the law to attend it. If you can’t make it on the day for the half day course, that costs a whopping £85, they do you for a £45 rearrangement fee. Miss the rearranged course and you still end up in court. Most people get nicked when the 40 MPH limit changes to 30 and there is a speed camera strategically placed as a cash generation machine. It’s just happened to me. I’ll take the 70 quid fine and 3 points on my licence. Instead of a speed awareness course, why not require drivers to go for an eye test? You need bloody good eyesight to read those little 30 limit signs when you only see them for a moment. If it’s an advert for bloody Coca Cola, it’s splashed across the side of a building. If it’s the speed limit or a sign you need to find your way, it’s in bloody Braille.

Mitt Rmoney lost the US presidential election, thank God. David Cameron congratulated Barack Obama. “I think he’s a very successful US president and I look forward to working with him in the future,” he said. He would say that wouldn’t he… The Labour leader is still counting his winnings…

I’m thinking of taking photographs today, maybe in Sandwell Valley or even Moorcroft Wood. I’m supposed to mention places and words like photography in this blog to help the search engines find it. This is called SEO, search engine optimisation. I can’t stand blogs that are stuffed with keywords. Did I mention photography?

Titles are important when writing a blog too, they have to appeal to the readers. I think today’s title will appeal. It doesn’t make sense, but the bloggers will wonder about it, so will the speeders and for that matter I could get a few people wanting to look at the pictures.

Completely changing the subject, I have been thinking about education today. I think it’s important to pass knowledge down from one generation to the next. That is how we make progress. Skills too need to be passed on to the younger generation, we need apprenticeships. There used to be lots of them when I was young. Then along came Thatcher, the milk snatcher and we got youth training schemes and the poll tax. Things haven’t been the same since.  Comprehensive education didn’t help either. Young people were revolting when I was young and challenging authority. That must have annoyed the hell of out Thatcher and could be the reason she put the young oiks in their place. I watched a recording of the Rolling Stones on TV last night. What do kids today have? Justin Bieber… His names not even in my dictionary… Young girls used to throw their knickers at the stage, especially at the BBC… I wonder what they throw at Justin Bieber? I think he made a mistake showing public support for Israel in the current conflict. He would be better calling for a halt to hostilities.

Constable Chaos, a British Bobby is asking what we learn from a speed awareness course on Twitter. I can tell him, we learn that after you get ripped off by the private company, your insurance goes up for years. You feel screwed and hate speed cameras. You are less likely to cooperate with the police too.

Did I mention that I want to take some photographs today? Maybe in Sandwell Valley. Neodigital Art is about creating images with digital devices. Michelangelo used brushes, we use digital cameras, computers, software and even scanners. Neodigital art is social and open to everyone. So if you have a camera; you too can become an artist. If Damien Hirst can pickle animals in formaldehyde and call it art, why shouldn’t we start an art movement here in the Black Country. Stuckism was a few people in a dodgy area of London messing about and now that’s quite well known. It did take an exhibition in Wednesbury art gallery before it really took off though. I really need an exhibition in a local gallery. Any offers?

Today’s ramble is quite long. Please comment if you have a suggestion or a question. I particularly welcome comments from people who are local to me. What do you think of my picture, would you like to see it in a local art gallery?

There are more blogs on a zillion ideas.


10 responses

  1. Hi

    Thanks for picking up on my tweets about the Car Insurance company Admiral (which also includes Elephant, Diamond, Bell Direct and comparison site, announcing they will ‘load’ premiums of car drivers who have elected to attend Speed Awareness Courses as an alternative to a £60 fine and 3 points on their licence (it is a £60 fine not £70 as mentioned in your narrative by the way).

    I would be very interested in any input you could provide from your experience of the course and problems you experienced trying to book one. Others tell me it was an easy process and they were offered choices of morning or afternoon sessions, seven days a week – I guess it must depend where in the country you are ??

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘with a lot of incentive from the law to attend it’ as by all accounts the courses are offered to people who have broken the speed limit, been caught doing so, but have not driven so ridiculously fast, that a day in court is necessary to explain themselves. I’m not aware of police forces having targets or such as to how many people they can send on a course – that would obviously depend how many people speed in a given period.

    Similarly, the police, contrary to popular belief, don’t profit from sending anyone on a course – a proportion of the cost is channelled back into local ‘Road Safety Partnerships’ of which yes, the police are one part, but the rest disappears into that big black hole called The Treasury ! – I reckon a lot more people would be less miffed however, if it was plain and simple and the money was ringfenced for road safety improvements, or even filling potholes !!

    With regard to your comment “You need bloody good eyesight to read those little 30 limit signs when you only see them for a moment” there are a number of other factors which would tell you you’re in a 30mph limit …. Streetlights being the biggy, but then we have to remember even 30 is a limit not a target, sometimes even that’s too fast for the conditions. Some may counter argue, ‘if you only see them for a moment’ you’re going too fast !

    Personally I think we’d be better to look over the channel to France – no messing, at the start of every town/village is a sign with a red border – cross that and you’re in a 30kph zone …. end of the village is a similar sign with black line through – end of restriction – how simple, easy to understand and not open to misinterpretation is that ???

    People do hate speed cameras – they don’t have discretion like police officers do. Maybe you were rushing to get to see an ill relative in hospital, had a call to pick a sick child up from school or similar. Explain that to a bobby and they have the option of taking it no further, tell it to a camera all you like, they don’t care. But do remember, cameras only activate when you’re well over the limit not just two or three mph – only one of you is speeding and it isn’t the camera :o)

    Back to the original point – that of insurance company’s upping your premium – there’s the issue. You haven’t been convicted of anything, and what is the difference between getting advice from a police officer on the street and a trainer in a classroom – by logical extension you should therefore declare to your insurers next time the police stop you for something; anything; a bulb out maybe – isn’t that careless of you ??

    By the way, it’s a lake … or a pond … but not a pool, pools are smaller :o)

    18, November 2012 at 1:33 pm

    • Hi,

      I think the big problem with that course is that they don’t say where they are. I researched it and found they were sing local hotels and so I assume they would do them there. I have hospital appointments and so I will pay the fine, I don’t fancy the fee to rearrange the course if I can’t make it. Like Nick the previous commenter, I drove out of the 40 zone into a 30 zone that had one sign that I consider too small to be useful. I drove out of a 40 zone today into a zone that was clearly signed at the maximum limit. I drove slower. As as police officer you are trained to think ahead and drive only as quickly as the conditions allow. I did a similar advanced course with the government. I think I was wrong about the fine, still expensive at £60. It’s the points that really bother me.

      I checked information about pools, ponds and lakes. It usually depends on the size. But opinions vary. I think most locals call it a pool, but I tend to think it’s big enough to be called a lake. It annoys me when they downgrade it to a pond!

      I followed you on Twitter when the girl went missing in Wales. I thought I might be able to help by publicising it.

      18, November 2012 at 5:15 pm

      • Obviously don’t know your circs, but if you believe the signage was wrong, or a contributory factor, challenge it. Even if you’ve already paid the ticket, take it up with the local authority or your local police and see if you can get it quashed – lot’s of people do, mainly due to failures on the Local Highway Authority’s side for not setting things up properly in the first place.

        Pools, ponds, lakes – that’s very confusing as well – look at The Lake District, there’s only one actual lake – Wastwater, the rest are mainly ‘waters’ but they are called lakes or mere’s – and there aren’t any mere’s there either apparently …

        18, November 2012 at 5:41 pm

  2. I was told the speed awareness course is only for people who break the 30, but are under 40mph. Basically, anybody who really needs it isn’t invited to do so.

    18, November 2012 at 3:05 pm

    • Hi Nick,

      I’ve answered this comment once. I installed a new plug in and comments keep disappearing since. I think you usually get a summons if you are over 40, I was just on 40. I was on the Birmingham Road coming up to the motorway island. I had no chance. I saw the speed camera on the central reservation and was doing 40. I was passing a truck. I have checked since, the sign saying 30 is there. It was on the other side of the truck and bus lane. I think the reason was a school lies back off the road there. I suspect lots have gone through there too fast, it needs more signs. The flyover is usually quite fast too and you have a lot to look at with those strange traffic lights. They don’t work half the time. I don;t usually go that way unless we’re going to Merrion’s Wood. I’ll know next time!

      18, November 2012 at 5:30 pm

    • On what I’ve been able to find out so far (and surprisingly or not it isn’t that easy) Speed Awareness Courses are offered as an alternative to points if you fall into the ‘lower band’ of speeding. Don’t quote me on this countrywide, but the standard speeding ‘trigger point’ appears to be 10% plus 2mph over the posted limit – i.e. in a 30mph zone that would be 30 +10% (3) +2 = 35. Similarly in a 60mph limit – 60 +10% (6) +2 = 68mph.

      Also be mindful that this tolerance is to allow for inaccuracies in the average car speedometer so you can’t safely go around doing 34 in a 30, in the belief you’re below the trigger limit – your speedo could be 10% out on its own !!

      It seems that SAC’s are offered to people who’s recorded speed is below a level of +10% +9 – i.e 30 + 10% (3) +9 = 42 – or 60 +10% (6) +9 = 75

      What is as clear as mud is whether things kick in ‘at’ or ‘above’ the minimum and ‘at’ or ‘below’ the maximum numbers.

      All that waffle said and done, I don’t agree with speed cameras; much rather police were out there dealing realistically but I suppose the overriding factor is – if the camera gets you, you’re going too fast !! 🙂

      18, November 2012 at 5:36 pm

      • Thanks, I might check the signs again. I think I’ll check the street lighting too because that could be a factor. There are problems with speed limits varying and where I live, it’s hard to look at signs. You have to watch the road in front of you. I think making the roads difficult to negotiate with traffic calming and complicated lanes makes them dangerous, you want think ahead and see people on the pavements for example.

        I was in Sandwell Valley this afternoon. Swan Pool looks as big as Forge Mill lake, so even the council gets mixed up! 🙂

        18, November 2012 at 11:46 pm

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