Seasonal Area February 2013 etc

The February Seasonal Area page is now online. After some pondering about replacing Penryn with Penrhyndeudreath or, failing that, somewhere else in Cornwall, my eye was caught by a rather older picture from the dim days before I’d lived west of the Tamar. The Severn in flood at sunset is really quite a sight as the sky reflects across the mile-wide stretch of water.

It’s another Turneresque scene; brighter pictures will be rooted out for March and April in a bid to offer some variety to the dusky and misty images of the last few months. A Penryn picture is being pondered for March instead.

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Chris Huhne is an unfortunate chappie. It is not usual for motorists convicted of being generally unaware of their surroundings (speed limits, speed cameras and suchlike) to receive anything more than a slap on the wrist, it being widely accepted that clobbering someone with five tons of steel is about as much an inevitability of modern life as bumping someone in a crowded shopping centre.

He was apparently so unaware of his surroundings that the following week he was hauled over for driving on his mobile phone and disqualified from driving anyway. Presumably he was so distracted by his new-found awareness that he was an unfit driver that he forgot he was driving.

Meanwhile, for the benefit of any passing columnists who say “well, we’ve all done it – or at least wanted to do it” no, I haven’t. And nor do I anticipate being in a situation where I may have any need to. If all motorists are really seriously that bad at keeping to the speed limit they should really appreciate getting stuck behind me and my pedal-bike a bit more – at least they aren’t going to get done in by any speed cameras.

The whole “of course, who among us hasn’t done this sort of thing?” brings up certain memories of a Monty Python sketch where the interviewee is making comments to the broad effect of “who among us hasn’t murdered our next-door neighbour for pruning the hedge? I know I have.” Perhaps the police should examine the driving records of the spouses of these columnists too.

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On a seemingly related note, the AA has released a survey saying that lots of people think that the national speed limit is now 80mph. This is presumably a legacy of the proposal to up the maximum speed of motorways to this level. Since people are evidently too thrilled by all the exciting railway history programmes floating round on BBC2 at the moment to read their Highway Code, I would like to take this opportunity to provide a public service guideline on this matter.

The maximum speed on motorways is not, has never been and never will be 80mph.

It is, as it has been for donkey’s years, 60mph.

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On a completely unrelated note, Peter Gilmore has died. Amongst his many film and television acting roles he played Butters in The Great St Trinians Train Robbery, a multitude of miscellaneous bad guys in Carry On films – including the thief who hijacked Hattie Jacques in Cabbie and “my mate Ginge” in Khyber – and the leading character in the TV series The Onedin Line.  He was 81.