This is Tom's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Tom's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Tom
London, England
Ex-international lawyer, ex-expat. Returned to London to enjoy his financial independence while pursuing his lost creativity.
Interests: travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
Guardianisti should be marched at gunpoint from one to the other until even the stupidest gets the point. Lucky for their delusions our worldview doesn't permit such measures as theirs does.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2014 on It's been a while, Warsaw at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Image
Al. Jana Pawla II It's not that my enthusiasm for travel blogging is not as great as it was for the political kind, it's just that I don't travel as much as I think about politics! My latest trip was last weekend, to Poland. I dislike flying these days; mostly... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
It's been a while. My excursions have been short and not particularly blogworthy. Those of you who know I have a soft spot for the virtual reality world known as Second Life may be interested to see that Speranza has arrived there. Here she is with my avatar, parked outside... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at The Last Ditch
I shall look into it for my next trip. Thanks.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Nothing like that, sadly. It was all deadly serious and we were all potential child murderers. One tutor insisted, though no-one believed her, that she never exceeded the limit. There was some useful information from advanced driving instructors and I will modify my driving style in some ways - so it was not a complete waste of my time. I was delighted to find that I was far from alone in finding it hard to submit to power-tripping state agents actually. I came over as mild compared to some participants. I was rather amused by the AA's rent-seeking (the AA was ACPO's contractor in my case) in trying to get us to record a view in our feedback that "every driver would benefit from such a course". What better way for a corporation to make money than have people compelled by the state to buy its services?
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
I am well aware of it. I steer well clear of models (e.g. any kind of mommy van) favoured by the "It's only to get from A to B" brigade. Their lack of enthusiasm for cars and motoring is bound to be reflected in their performance. No-one gets to be good (whatever natural abilities they may have) at an activity they don't enjoy. The A-Bniks are far more dangerous even than "boy racer" types who may be insufficiently risk-averse but do at least aspire to be skilful (and probably will achieve it one day if they are spared). We can all have a lapse of attention and make a mistake so motoring is a dangerous activity per se, but if you disdain cars and driving you are likely to be a permanent menace. I am lucky enough to drive a powerful car and have to be all the more conscious of my surroundings. For example, Speranza can stop more quickly than most vehicles because of her F1-derived brakes. I must therefore worry more about the stopping distance of cars behind. So I end up pulling over to let them pass rather than leave them tailgating me dangerously. I would rather get back into the "slow overtaking" queue on a crowded British motorway behind rather than in front of them, regrettable though it is to reinforce their bad behaviour by rewarding it. The best use of such fools is to tuck in at a safe distance behind them and let them intimidate slow traffic out of ones way with their boorish behaviour. Then pass them when they are done. Even that needs to be done with caution as they are raising the risk of a pile-up for everyone in their presence. Speranza is usually the fastest car on the road, but I am rarely (apart from occasional glorious moments on German autobahns) the fastest driver. When I go on track driving courses I frustrate the tutors, because I find it hard to overcome the habits of forty years of road driving. I often drive well below the speed limit if conditions are poor. In heavy rain my visibility down at the level of mommy van spray is poor. If I can't get in front of the line of traffic and out of the spray, I will hang back from it until conditions improve or even pull off and have a sandwich. Perform to the best of your own ability, manage risk as if everyone else is a fool and be gracious to all is as good a guide to driving as to any other aspect of life. I am trying to look forward to the course, despite being rather ashamed of submitting to the blackmail involved. I feel I should tell Thames Valley Police where to stick their indoctrination, pay the fine and take the points like a man. Avoiding an increase in my insurance premiums is an understandable but far from noble objective. I know I will have to bite my tongue for four hours but it's always interesting to meet new people and to observe them under stress. Keeping my mouth shut is anyway good practice for life in politically-correct Britain. It won't adjust to me so I must adjust to it. I rather suspect that will be the best educational benefit.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
It doesn't mean that where I live either, which is why I like to drive in countries where (a) the speed limits are closer to sensible or (b) the speed cameras don't do foreigners so I am only risking a cash fine if actually bagged in a sporting fashion. They are also very polite, call me Monsieur and do not lecture, rebuke or talk down to me. They simply state the amount by which I exceeded the limit and the sum of money they would like. Here in the Envy Isles; Lands of the Damp Puritans, I drive mostly only to get to the Eurotunnel. Otherwise I use the bus and tube, as my miserabilist masters prefer.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Image
Done, dusted Damp start in Epernay this morning I had two martinis and a bottle - not of Gevrey Chambertin - but a very fine Cote Rotie last night to wash down a superb meal. A couple of miserable old Welsh people at the next table gave the staff a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at The Last Ditch
I didn't, sorry. I am already back home.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2014 on Tuscany and back at The Last Ditch
1 reply
In the old days, my late wife and I used to fly home from Poland or Russia, pick up her mum and drive to the South of France for a holiday. Our daughters were not keen on road trips with music selected by 'the elderly' so would fly down and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Last Ditch
The trip is going rather well so far. I have not posted only because the wifi in our "villa" (a small word for a rather splendid 13th Century fortified house) was as medieval as the building. I don't want to quibble though. The house was wonderful and my friends and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
I am booked onto an indoctrination course in lieu of penalty points at present, so I drove very carefully to the Eurotunnel Terminal at Folkestone. I am, as they say in football, "on a six pointer." If I pick up another ticket before attending my course I will get back... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
In the early hours of tomorrow morning I set off to drive to Tuscany. My planned route is below. As so often, I am in too much of a hurry and will be whizzing by interesting places rather than exploring them. I need to break the habits of a lifetime... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at The Last Ditch
I think Cameron did what he had to do. He had a choice of being exposed as a hypocrite if he supported a federalist or as weak if he opposed him and (inevitably) lost. He will present himself to his Eurosceptics (and remaining sympathisers outside the party) as a plucky, principled loser and then call in every favour owed him to start the "In" campaign for the referendum. I think the CBI speaking out this week against Brexit is probably one such favour and there will be more, given the gongs and other incentives a PM has in his gift. In the end, the choice was driven - not by concerns about the future of the EU - but by Angela Merkel's political needs at home. If the job were important, he would not have been selected. He is past his prime and not notably energetic in action. Just a boozy old "fixer" in the FIFA-like back rooms of the EU. Most member states will follow Merkel's suit on most issues that do not directly impact their interests in the hope of winning favours from the EU's leader nation. This appointment has made it more difficult for Cameron to win an in/out referendum. "Winning" in his terms being securing a mandate for Britain to stay in. But with the credit and other resources of the British State behind them and an immensely biased (and partly EU-funded) state broadcaster determining the votes of a decisive minority of lackwits, whoever is in power at the time WILL "win" - and be handsomely rewarded a la Kinnock for selling us down the Rhine. I am afraid I see no democratic solution to the EU problem, any more than to the more important one of the ethical degeneracy and economic illiteracy brought about by the Welfare State (including state education). These problems WILL be solved, whether in my lifetime or not, by the laws of economics. When the benefit and subsidy cheques start to bounce these mad institutions will go the way of the even madder USSR. In the end it was the iron laws of economics that did for that too, not political argument or even Cold War. If I could lend arguments to the debate that had some hope of allowing a soft landing for the crash of the Social Democrat West, I would. As I can't, a dignified silence is more fitting than pointless curmudgeonry. I spent the weekend amongst the motor sport crowd at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in company with two of my best friends and their grand/children and I spent today managing what remains of my once-mighty wine collection. Both were better exercise and more fun than political blogging. But I will begin again with the travel/photography stuff on Thursday when I set out for a drive to Tuscany and back.
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
I ought to add here - as commendation of Joe Macari's exceptional services - that the issues in Scotland were resolved and the broken radiator replaced over about 10 days. It was a big job because the relevant sensors were inside the engine. The radiator was covered by my extended warranty. They did the engine work at their own cost as a goodwill gesture because their engineers thought it might be a hangover from the warranty issue resolved after my American trip last year. These systems are so complex that I could never have argued that point. Their honesty and fair dealing do them enormous credit. I have never dealt with anyone in the motor trade as worthy of trust. Kudos.
Toggle Commented Jun 16, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
No kidding. I grounded her on the track to my rental there and have cracked part of the cooling system. Estimate incoming. B^)
Toggle Commented May 30, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
I think your view on the identity of the figure was the spin at the time but the materials on display at the site now say it was always intended to be the young pretender. You don't buy a supercar for reliability but Speranza has never yet failed to get me where I was going. She just sometimes makes a highly-strung fuss about it. B-)
Toggle Commented May 22, 2014 on Almost Skye at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Image
Speranza did not misbehave once after crossing the English border. I am not prepared to anthropomorphise enough to attribute this to her displeasure at being in Scotland, though she cannot have enjoyed some of the rougher tracks we took. It's rather that she has been on entirely dry roads from... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
I spent my last night in Scotland near Dumfries in a pleasant country hotel much enlivened by a Scottish wedding. I have never seen so many blue-white male legs in an evening. Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time and it's hard not to be happy at a wedding,... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
Mossy Young Pretender Glenfinnan Viaduct Towering treason I kept my resolution not to visit Skye this time, but only just. I took Speranza for a last run in the Highlands along the Road to the Isles to the ferry port at Mallaig. It began pleasantly enough but after thirty miles... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
According to Dr Johnson, That man is little to be envied whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plains of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer amid the ruins of Iona. There is something moving about the windswept little island just over a mile off the Ross... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
After Tuesday's automotive excitements and having driven enough miles (more than 100) since the 'reset' to reassure me that all is well again - I decided on a quiet day. I pottered around at 'home' in rainy Achnacarry - only emerging to go shopping. I went to Morrisons in Fort... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
Speranza back on form in Glencoe Speranza almost spoiled yesterday. Her 'engine management system' was out of sorts and went into the Ferrari equivalent of Windows "safe mode." This switched off her automotive awesomeness so that, for a while, it was like driving a pretty Reliant Robin. I reset the... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
Today we motored from Lamesly to my base for this week on the shores of Loch Lochy, not far from the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge. My apartment is in the grounds of Achnacarry Castle, seat of the Cameron of that ilk. From here (and very tentatively for the first... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at The Last Ditch
Image
Yesterday Speranza bore me from London to Lamesley near Gateshead where I rested my head in a Goatshed. It's actually a rather smart B&B on a farm, but the name was part of the attraction. On the way we visited the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest - a regular weekend... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at The Last Ditch