How Cars Have Changed Life as we know it!

quotescover-JPG-14It always used to be that the top prize on a TV gameshow, especially in the heyday of the game show in the 80s, was a car: A brand new top of the range family car. The motor car is probably one of the great status symbols of our time and also one of those things that give us unprecedented freedom, certainly compared to our ancestors. Turn the clock back to the 1950s: If people wanted to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors on a bank holiday the only way to travel was by bus or train. Yes, public transport was crammed with people in those days, all on their way to enjoy the great British seaside destinations.

Today, we are free of all those past restrictions, no waiting for trains or buses. It’s just a simple matter to pop outside, start up the motor and you’re off. The only restriction is probably traffic congestion. How many of us spend our bank holidays stuck in some traffic jam that clogs up the roads to the holiday hotspots?

Traffic is just a nightmare in the UK but then when you consider the densely populated nature of the UK it’s hardly surprising. That’s why I just love driving on the roads of France. OK, Paris may be just like driving in the UK, if not worse but out in the country in departments like the Loire, Brittany and Burgundy the auto route and the A roads are just a joy to drive on. Forget also the drab overpriced service areas in the UK. In France it’s so nice to drive into an ‘aire’ as they call them, a lovely picnic area with toilets and picnic tables. How often have Liz and I stopped at one of these delightful places and opened our sandwiches and bottles of water to find a French couple stop at the next table and open a hamper the size of a house complete with wine, salad, cold meats and God only knows what else.

It’s relatively easy in the UK to drive over to France on the ‘shuttle’. A quick trip to Folkestone, drive onto the train, handbrake on and off we chug down and under the channel.  Thirty minutes later and we are driving off in Calais. Sometimes I think about my very first car and wonder if I could have made that journey in that car. Possibly not as my very first car was a Bond Bug. A what?  Do I hear you might ask?

9o698i3bgeI’m probably pushed to tell you the registration number of my current car but the registration of my Bond Bug, PDB 71M, is still firmly anchored in my old memory bank.  A Bond Bug, for those of you who don’t know was a sporty little three wheeler car and I bought one because I failed my driving test twice and I could drive the Bug on my motorbike licence.

It was actually a pretty eye catching car for a three wheeler. No doors but the roof lifted up to gain access and the side windows were plastic held on by Velcro. I always remember bringing it home and showing it off to my family with a certain amount of pride and my Dad looking at it and saying “How are we all going to get into that?” Perhaps he thought I was going to take us all away for a holiday! It certainly wasn’t a car for travelling over to France in!

Still, we had some nice times, me and the Bond Bug but then one cold and snowy Christmas I decided to chance going out to a Christmas party in the car even though it was losing coolant. I topped it up with water and went off for a night of Christmas cheer. I walked home sensibly, I might add, but when I returned the next day I found that the car had frozen overnight and it ended up having to have an engine rebuild. That was a pretty expensive night out! Later when I passed my driving test I got myself a proper car.

The author and his, well ok not his actually, just some random Ferrari!

The author and his, well ok not his actually, just some random Ferrari!

I’m pretty happy with my current car generally, it’s a Renault Megane convertible and I kind of like being just a bit of a poser, driving round when it’s sunny with the roof down and looking generally pretty cool what with my leather seats and my shades but you do get those days when things go wrong.

I spent a lot of time the other day burning a few new cds to play in my car and just as I joined the motorway on the way to work I pressed the eject button on my CD player but the old cd wouldn’t eject. I could hardly pull over on the motorway so already my journey had not started well.

The other thing is that one of my electric windows, the rear off side one to be exact, has jammed. OK, at least it jammed in the up position but the car automatically drops the windows when raising or lowering the roof, so that means I can’t open my roof.  Add to that the prospect of spring and hopefully some lovely weather – perfect for open top driving – and as you can imagine, I’m not happy!

Anyway, I have to look on the bright side. When I pulled up at work and switched off the radio, my CD ejected! At least I was OK for music on the return journey and now I’ve had the window fixed expect to see me cruising around Lytham with my roof down, posing!

If you liked this blog, why not buy my book; available as a paperback or a Kindle download:

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Blogging the Blog

quotescover-JPG-15So just what makes us bloggers and why do we blog?

Well, if you write something, it stands to reason you will want someone to read it. It’s deep in the psyche, this need to communicate and express yourself but bloggers blog for a number of reasons. One is that we have a particular interest or passion that we just have to talk about. It might be a sporting interest or a hobby that we love. It could be a love of poetry or books.

If you spend a lot of your free time cycling for instance you might want to indulge your love of this hobby by writing about it and discussing cycling issues or sharing information and tips about cycles. I subscribe to a lot of blogs about my favourite sport, F1 racing, as well as blogs about writing and my favourite movie directors for instance.

Another reason for blogging is to promote a business. There are many photographer blogs on the web, some are from amateurs who want others to see and comment on their work, some are by professionals who are actively promoting themselves and their business.

Authors are frequent bloggers, perhaps because publishing has been turned on it’s head by the internet and the digital revolution. No longer must we writers wait for the publisher to find us, we can get our work out there straight away and build up an Internet presence which in turn benefits our self published works. Whether self publishing is a good thing I’m not so sure. I feel that personally I’ve rushed a little too quickly down the self publishing route but the experience has been good for me. I’m well aware of the state of my manuscript and it’s grammatical errors and I’m well on the way to sorting that.

I have to say also that the print version of Floating In Space will shortly have finished it’s re sizing and grammatical revisions and will be ready to hit the market soon. Blogging for me is primarily to promote my work but I do love writing and I do love writing my little blog. One good thing about blogging is that it gets the creative juices flowing. It gets you thinking, what can I write about? What can I write about next time? So far the ideas have kept on coming and I’ve got six or seven draft blogs in the pipeline although I have to say two have them have been there so long I think they may be heading for the trash file shortly.

popartpic1edQuite a few people have asked me about my novel. What’s it about? is a frequent question. Well, it’s set in the late 1970’s and it’s about a young man in South Manchester and his small group of friends. He goes from working in an insurance company to finding himself as a bus conductor in a short space of time and the background to the book tells us about life in the seventies: Music, drink, pubs and Mancunian night life.

Is it a science fiction book? No it isn’t.

Why is it called ‘Floating In Space’ then? Click the links at the top of the page for more information or, buy the book and all will be revealed!