We have a right to know.
I decided to challenge Stense to a round of the Paparazzo Game on Monday. As you might remember, this involves me trying to take paparazzi-type photos of Stense, while Stense tries to avoid being photographed.
This time, I was sneaky. This time, like a true paparazzo, I lay in wait.
I’d had a tip-off that Stense would be taking the south-bound exit at junction 37 of the M6 at 10:00. So I hid out on a hillside overlooking the junction with my telephoto lens at the ready. Stense was being sneaky: she arrived eight seconds early. But I was ready for her:
Later, being even more sneaky than Stense, I managed to take a photo of the two of us together, without her even realising it. I used my special
fish-eye dog-eye lens:
OK, I guess you win this round, Stense. But there’s always next time. You have been warned!
I passed my driving test when I was 17. In other words, 31 years ago. I don’t know how far I’ve driven since then, but it must be half a million miles, give or take. Twenty times around the Earth, say. To the Moon and back.
And in all those hundreds of thousands of miles, not once—not on one single occasion—have I ever needed to consult the rev-counter on the dashboard of my car. Not once. Never.
True—touch wood—I’ve never had need of a seatbelt or airbag either. But seatbelts and airbags strike me as sensible precautions. But what the hell is a rev-counter for? For counting revs, obviously. But why on Earth would I need to know how many revs my car’s engine is doing? To make sure I’m not over-revving, presumably. But I don’t need a rev-counter to tell me when I’m over-revving, as I have a perfectly adequate pair of ears, and can tell when I’m over-revving because the car’s engine starts screaming for mercy, and bits start flying off it. Even if my rev-counter were to tell me that the engine was revving within acceptable parameters—whatever the hell those might be—I would certainly ignore it if my ears told me otherwise. That’s what ears are for. Well, that’s one thing that ears are for. When it comes to flogging an engine—which I don’t tend to do—I would far rather play it by ear than rely on some stupid dial telling me that I was doing 500,000,000 revs—or whatever.
The truth of the matter is that rev-counters are a total waste of space. The only reason they put them on car dashboards is because they can. Revs are something that can easily be measured, so measured they must be. If you were checking out a brand-new car in a showroom, and it didn’t have a rev-counter on the dashboard, would you even notice? (Be honest, now, have you even noticed whether there’s a rev-counter on your current car’s dashboard?) And, if you happened to notice that the otherwise perfect new car in the showroom didn’t have a rev-counter on its dashboard, would you kick up any kind of fuss about it with the salesperson? Or even try to use its inexplicable absence as some sort of haggling point? Of course you wouldn’t: they would laugh in your face.
Whoever it was who invented the rev-counter is laughing in our faces. Or they would be, were they not, presumably, long-dead by now. (Actually, I’ve just looked it up: it was the German engineer Dietrich Uhlhorn, and he died in Grevenbroich in 1837, so the joke was ultimately on him.)
Putting it quite simply, we don’t need rev-counters on our dashboards. That space could be filled far more usefully. With yet another drinks-holder, say, or an ashtray—remember those?—or even a barometer. Anything, almost anything would be more useful on a car’s dashboard than a sodding rev-counter.
Someone ought to do something.
Fifty years ago today—Friday, 22nd November, 1963—a day of great events: C.S. Lewis, collapsed in his bedroom and died; Aldous Huxley, died in bed having, at his request, been administered LSD by his wife; John F. Kennedy, shot through the head by person or persons unknown Lee Harvey Oswald.
Can you remember where you were when you heard that JFK had been shot? They say you never forget. I almost certainly heard about it some time in the mid-to-late 1970s, but I’m buggered if I can remember where I was. So, I guess that disproves that crap theory.
Jen‘s mum, Pat, has the perfect alibi for the (first) Kennedy assassination: she was in a hospital in Halifax, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, giving birth to our lass.
Thanks, Pat. Job well done!
Now, if you don’t mind, Jen and I are off to Filey to celebrate. Rock and roll!
True story: My Dad has just informed me that, after he had hit a near-perfect drive down the fairway on Saturday, a rook swooped down and flew off with his golfball.
While England slept, Norway was exporting record amounts of seafood last month:
The Norway Post: Record seafood export in October
The value of Norwegian seafood exports in October totalled NOK 7.3 billion, the highest ever for a single month, according to the latest figures from the Norwegian Seafood Council.
It’s all down to their burgeoning salmon, mackerel and fjord trout trade, apparently.
Don’t look for this story in any of the UK-based newspapers. They don’t like success stories—especially Norwegian success stories. They would rather fob you off with tat about invading Romanian hordes, Miley Cyrus (no, me neither) smoking a suspicious-looking fag, and the Duchess of Cambridge’s hair at a Remembrance Day parade. OK, when I say they, I mean the Daily Mail.
Far be it from me to give Gruts’s competitors free advice, but the Mail is missing a trick, here: Norway is not an EU member, you see—so of course business is booming! If the Mail had reported this story, they could have ranted about the shameful state of the British seafood trade, no doubt blaming it on the Spanish for sneaking into our fjords under cover of dark and making off with all our trout. As it’s the Spanish, they could even have referred to it as an armada (do you see what they could have done, there?). It’s damned unprofessional, if you ask me. The Mail is letting down its core readership.
Me? I’m delighted for the Norwegians. They’re a good bunch. They never seem to kick up a fuss; they just mind their own business, catching their trout and selling it to the Russians and Belarusians.