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Turning a people carrier into a mobile disco

Turning a people carrier into a mobile disco

People carriers. They’re for married couples who have been overactive with their loins, and suddenly find themselves in charge of four screaming mini-me’s who they don’t really like, and so decide to keep them out of the house as much as humanly possible by keeping them active in endless football / karate / ballet lessons, which involve using up what’s left of the Earth’s oil resources to ferry them around, so that by the time the kids are old enough to inherit a planet choking in carbon emissions and rising sea levels, at least they’ll know how to dance to Swan Lake. Although they’ll have never seen a swan.

To avert this terrible fate for people carriers everywhere, my ex-uni mate Di (who is usually seen generally cooking up amazingly silly ideas – she could be a Kari Byron for the Birmingham edition of Mythbusters) has turned a people carrier into a mobile disco, which is a much more sensible use of such a car. Watch the video, and then go and vote for her idea.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Top Gear…

Has Richard Hammond gone all girly?

Has Richard Hammond gone all girly?

Richard Hammond on Top Gear 7 Oct 2007

So on Sunday night I settled down on the sofa, like most of the British population, for the new series of the fantastic Top Gear – the programme for people who like silly blokes.

But oh dear oh dear oh dear. What on earth is Richard Hammond wearing? I know he’s the girliest presenter on the testosterone-laden programme by a long shot, but even so someone should have had a word in his ear about that jacket. Whatever was written on it, it looked too well-designed, as if it was a jacket from Top Shop that a girlfriend had bought for her reluctant fella. Which, come to think of it, is probably what happened. (bear in mind I’m not usually moved to write in an angry fashion about what television presenters are wearing!)

But it gets worse. During the film the presenters made driving around Europe in super sportcars looking for the ideal road, Richard is always seen wearing a namby-pamby necklace. Not a silver or gold one, but a chunky black one. Just like the kind of necklace I was reluctantly persuaded into wearing during one summer weekend in Italy. And it looked as wrong and girly on him as it did on me.

He’s a television presenter. He’s run PR agencies. He ought to know what is relatively acceptable and unacceptable to a Top Gear audience. What gives?

And another thing, the Top Gear team seem to have decided that what makes a great road primarily consists of steep bends and turns up and down sheer mountain peaks. Have they ever tried driving into mid-Wales late at night? It’s not exhilerating then, let me tell you – mind-numbingly dull, tedious and dangerous comes to mind. Give me six shimmering lanes of concrete any day of the week!

Never let me behind the wheels of a van

Never let me behind the wheels of a van

First off, sorry for disappearing from the digital world for oooh a month, but you’d be surprised how much time it takes to settle into a new fab home, complete with *two* washing-lines. And maybe a new houseguest, but I’ll tell you about that later!

Anyway, at the beginning of July it became time to move all my worldly goods up to North Wales. So I hired the biggest Transit van that I could get – which turned to be a bruised and battered white van which had to come all the way from Liverpool.

It being a hot summers day, I thought a big huge American-sized tumbler of Diet Coke would be just what I need before I started the four-hour journey down the motorways of Western England. So I drove into a nearby KFC drive-in. Neglecting the fact that it had a height-limit, and I had a huge Transit van.

Thus, the first warning I had about the sheer size of the thing was when I drove right into the handy mobile height-metre warning on the KFC drive-in. So I thought I’d better try to get out of the drive-in before I courted any more damage. But I didn’t want to run into the height-metre thing again – so I thought I’d just go a little forward and try to ramp my way out of the drive-in lane.

Another bad mistake, since I managed to scrape past a yellow post on the corner (leaving yellow markings all over the side of the van) mount the kerb and come down with a thud on the other side before I made it to the relative safety of a parking spot. Although it’s lucky I did that since the *roof* of the drive-in was just around the corner.

After that little incident, I drove to Cardiff and even managed to park outside my temporary flat without any further problems. Then I was invited to the pub – and as it was now dark and raining by now, I thought I’d drive the van down there. Spotted a parking space between two cars, thought I could get the van into there without a problem. Except not really.

Before I knew it, a man had come running out of the pub screaming “what the hell do you think you’re doing to my car?” – and on further examination, I was a wee bit too close to his BMW. Reversing the car revealed the awful truth – I’d made quite a few scratches on his precious car.

Once he had calmed down and realised I wasn’t just going to disappear quietly into the night, I popped into the pub where I saw my friend, grabbed a pen and exchanged insurance details. At one point I asked him who his insurer was, he muttered something about Glamorgan County Cricket Club, and I asked him why there. Both my friend and him looked at me as if I was mad or stupid. Which I may well be, but that’s another matter!

Anyway, details were exchanged, and the man left to carry on his drinking with his pals. Whereupon my friend told me with some glee that I had managed to scrape the car of not just anyone, but Robert Croft, captain of the Glamorgan County Cricket Club. Which makes it my second scrape, and my second scrape with a famous Welsh celebrity.

More moving disasters next time, once I gradually get my office set up!

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