Monday, 30 July 2012

What's around the corner?

We went to watch a hillclimb in Devon again on Sunday, at the venue where I will drive for the first time at the beginning of September.

Mr H and I got a ride up the course in the back of someone's car (not at competitve speeds!) and it was so interesting to see how different the road looks from a driver's eye view, as we'd only seen it from a spectator viewpoint.

I think that psychologically my barrier is going to be remembering that there will NOT be a car / person / animal around those blind bends.   In normal driving, one never goes on a road where there is no risk of something lurking out of sight - even a seemingly deserted lane holds that inherent risk. On a main road there could be a bicycle or pedestrian, or a vehicle stopped or broken down (with no red flag waving as a warning to stop).  After the crash of course my psyche is constantly on the lookout.

So I will need to over-ride my natural caution. Maybe having to concentrate on taking the right line and getting the gear changes smooth and in the appropriate place will help?

Here is a lovely picture of our Imp (the car I will be hillclimbing) outside a motor museum in Dorset - "Regular or Super, Sir?"

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Wait a moment...

This morning I listened to a piece on Radio 4 about a new drug which reduces the liklihood of HIV being passed on (the detail isn't important for this blog post). 

The expert said that ideally the person in the relationship who was HIV+ would take it, and this would not only prevent them passing it on to their partner, but would increase their lifespan as well.   "However," he added, "the partner could take the drug. For instance in the situation where a husband is HIV+, but refuses to talk about it, won't wear a condom and won't take a drug, then the wife could take it to help prevent her contracting HIV."

Whoa, hold on a moment.   The husband cares so little for his wife that he won't even wear a condom to prevent her getting HIV??   

In that 'situation' I think I'd be questionning the whole relationship, not worrying about who takes the drug.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Vicious circle?

Today I was considering the irony (if that is the right word) that at the moment climate change is making the UK much wetter, so those of us that might normally cycle or walk to places are more inclined to use the car.

Which increases emissions.

Which accelerates climate change.


Friday, 13 July 2012


Last  year we bought a nucleus of bees, that is a small number of bees from which to build up a full colony.  Sadly after a stressful year and a really bad wasp problem, they died before Christmas. We don't know if it was starvation, or just that they were generally weak, but we were pretty upset about it; especially me as I'd been looking after them while Mr H was living in Scotland.

A nucleus of bees costs around £200 to buy, so we weren't just going to go out and buy another one only for the same thing to happen. We resigned ourselves to hoping we'd get a swarm in the hive we put in a strategic place in the garden,or possibly acquire some a bit cheaper from a local beekeeper. Meanwhile the hive containing a small cluster of dead bees sat in our friends' field over the winter while we kept saying 'we must go and bring that home'.

A few weeks ago we got a call from our friend saying that there was lots of activity around the hive: it appeared that we had a swarm in it from somewhere, brilliant!  They seem pretty strong, and we are feeding them because of the awful British weather at the moment.  Hopefully they will build up to a strong colony before winter hits (and wasp season for that matter).

Then yesterday one of my girl friends got a swarm flying around in her garden, which finally settled in her apple tree. I called Mr H - 'Can you get out of  work to go and get a swarm...?'. Sure thing he could, so we now have a new swarm in the hive in our garden, right next to the vegetable patch!

If everything goes to plan, and these two new colonies survive the winter, maybe we'll even get some honey next year.... or is that tempting fate?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Shower thoughts

Thinking in the shower, often a mistake for me.  This evening I was mulling over some of the things said on Monday.

On Monday, Mr H and I drove 3 hours to see my solicitor and a barrister about my case, well worth the trip as the barrister was very nice and explained everything extremely clearly.  It is 2 years since the crash and my physical improvement (ie. discomfort and pain) over the last few months has slowed to a crawl; psychological improvement is better, with the odd relapse. As I have mentioned on here before, I detest spurious personal injury claims, but this one seemed to happen of its own accord after our crash, and it's not spurious in most people's eyes. Therefore however much I shy away from talking about it, I will because this is what I was thinking about - not the fact of there being a claim but some of the details, and the insight into how the legal system works (not having done this before).

Two things came out on Monday that annoyed me in the shower:

1.  The other driver's insurance company hasn't admitted liability yet.  This surprised me, since they have already accepted our claims for uninsured losses and made an interim payment.  So it is just them playing games - but to hear that they haven't admitted liability automatically opens up the possibility that they will suggest it was somehow partly my fault, despite all the evidence showing that it wasn't.  In the weeks after the crash, the grandparents of one of the passengers in the other vehicle put in a claim against my insurance... Mr H and I were gobsmacked - they had to be f*ing joking right?  I guess no-one had told them what actually happened...

2.  The barrister half joked that the law might consider a dog to be a 'chattel' and therefore argue against us claiming for the excess we had to pay on insurance for Django's veterinary bill.  I didn't think about this in the meeting, but how could someone argue that they won't pay up for that, yet not argue in the slightest about the cost of the replacement dog cage or a T-shirt? (chattels in anyone's language). The whole point of uninsured losses is to cover costs that we wouldn't have incurred had we not been hit in a head-on collision. And as for looking at Django as a chattel... well that upsets me a bit.  

Just thinking about the nitty gritty of things, now that we are likely to get to the arguing stages about wear and tear on my lost sunglasses and how much the pain I experience really affects my life, makes me want the whole thing over as soon as possible.

Then hopefully I will feel that I can truly move onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

TP 202: Series

For this week's Thematic Photographic, Carmi has chosen a different tack with 'Series', and has started us of with some fantastic shots of his own!

I have chosen this series of photos of me walking across Sandwood Bay in the far north west of Scotland, last week. I love how the footprints become more important than the person who made them... a reflection of life perhaps?

Psychology of City Cats

As the furore over Barclays (and what other banks...?) and the Libor Scandal goes on, with discussions over resignations and the question of appropriate justice, I started thinking about the employees behind it.  To work in the finance arena, I'm presuming that you need to be a sharp, hard-hitting, manipulative type of person who is basically out to make as much money as possible (do correct me if I'm wrong - if you work in the City and are a fluffy type who knits at your desk and eats home-made lasagne every night).

I can imagine such a personality getting obsessed with performance, with working out how to make the bottom line look better (for the company and for themselves); at any cost, or without consideration of the cost...?   Did those who manipulated the figures stop and think for one moment about what would happen if they were caught?  Or do they think that they are above normal humans and untouchable, and 'getting caught' did not enter their minds? Did they even realise that they were doing anything wrong, or do they get so enmeshed in it that they are blind to that.

There is much talk at the moment of how it should be treated, of banks getting away with a large fine, and a few individuals resigning or being fired rather than being treated in the same way as others who commit serious fraud (or other more minor infractions) - ie. prison.

How do the untouchables feel when the axe falls?  Maybe they are losing some sleep now, now that this particular bubble that they were flying on has burst...