a love of airports (not Charles de Gaulle)

I’ve been lucky in that I left school with a few A levels, spent a few years stacking shelves before falling into a job which allowed me to travel. I have probably spent 500+ hours in airports over the years and unlike many other people, I find them fascinating. The concept that all these people are in one place at the beginning of the day, and spread out across the world at the end of the day just intrigues me. Yep, I’m a big airport fan. Apart from Charles de Gaulle.

Whilst I love being in airports, like everything else on this planet they do tend to piss me right off, mainly due to the fact that whilst you would think that customers (ie passengers) would be the priority of an airport, we are in actual fact at the very bottom of their ‘giving a shit’ list. Seriously, every airport has now turned into a form of Disney where every security checkpoint leads you into an interminable, wibbly-wobbly route to the departure lounge through the duty free shop, similar to how every ride at Disney exits through the bloody gift shop. It’s like Ikea, once you are inside you can’t get out and any possible short cuts are blocked by over-tanned orange sales staff trying to sell you various pungent aromas from the latest name to reach celebrity via showing their genitals whilst getting out of the back of a stretch limo at the latest Who-The-Fuck-Are-You awards ceremony.

I was in Finland last week. Beautiful country filled with trees and lakes and trees and lakes and lakes and trees. And a few more trees. Lovely, friendly people; great public transport and another country that I can tick off my ‘does a Big Mac taste the same in every country?’ scientific survey. (The answer is yes so far). Anyway, I flew to Finland from Aberdeen this time. Just for a change. I’ll mention the journey in the EV later on, but anyway I’m at Aberdeen and as usual, decided to get a greasy breakfast from the local Spoons/WhateverChainIsBig. The grease was good however I made the mistake of taking a table by the window as for some reason I didn’t spot the massive number above my head; I was sat next to a bloody gate. All this meant that everyone who started to queue up for the 7:50 to Humberside (does Humberside have an airport and is it actually a place?) was staring at me munching down my eggs and lorne sausage. Not that I cared – as mentioned previously, I would never see them again as they spread out across the globe by the end of the day. Or spread out around Humberside anyway.

Did you know Aberdeen airport has a smoking area? Either did I, but I found it. Awesome.

WTF? You have to pay a pound to open the fucking door? Not sure if that is genius entrepreneurial spirit or not? Anyway, there was a guy waiting outside for someone else to pay the pound and like a mug, I paid. I didn’t realise until I got inside that the trick was to just knock on the door. The guy who was waiting and followed me in didn’t even volunteer 50p to cover his cost. Then he started vaping.

I should also mention that it was another great experience with KLM. How one side of a partnership can be fantastic (KLM) whilst the other part (Air France) be a bunch of incompetent fuckwits I will never know. Bu they are.

As I said, I travelled to the airport using the Zoe so charged it overnight and set off. The airport was right at the edge of the range and given my late return flight, I hoped to give it a charge in Aberdeen which would provide enough to get home (no off-site airport parking places offer chargers yet). After a quick rapid charge at Asda I left the car. On the way back, I gave it a small top-up at Asda before setting off home but I miscalculated a little and as I got within 5 miles of home the car started going mental with lights and alarms and a big ‘you are running out of battery you muppet’ warning. Fortunately I managed to eek it home with around 3% remaining. Its the closest I have got to running out of battery but the adrenaline definitely kept me awake after being awake for nearly 24 hours!

 

 

 

Three months in…

Three months in to Electric Vehicle ownership and there isn’t that much to add to what I have already written! The car is performing well and done over 2000 miles although with an 8000 mile per year limit (I’m regretting making it so low already), I still have to use the old Volvo from time to time.

Maybe I should be become Chancellor as whilst stupid old George ‘face like an arse’ Osbourne seems to be cocking up his budget and missing all his savings targets, mine are pretty much spot on if not greater than expected. From the Kia that I traded in, I estimate I am saving around £150 per month which is pretty damn good. I don’t miss anything from the Kia apart from maybe the heated seats but with summer coming, who cares. With the seats down it has enough space to take a few bits down to the skip and the boot is big enough to get down to the shops – even considering how many bags we buy when all we go in for is bloody bread and milk!

Next week I’m flying from Aberdeen and taking the car. I can make it up there on a single charge but as no Scottish airport parking places have chargers yet, I may as well give it a charge just before dropping it off so it will be reasonably full when I come home. I can’t be arsed getting off a flight at 22:00 on a Friday and having to add another 30 minutes to my journey home charging!

One moment of stupidity recently (well just one I am going to mention anyway) involved me making the effort to stop the Volvo looking like a outdoor khazi for seagulls and more like the comfortable, elegant, Swedish soft top cruiser that it was sold as. Meg cleaned it and I got it all nice and shiny with polish and elbow grease. The outside looks great but the inside and especially the leather shows its 135k miles! So I bought some leather restorer to make the seats look nice again. I bought the cream coloured restorer as the seats in the car I have had close to three years are cream.

Two days later, the cream leather restorer arrived.

I looked at the Volvo again.

The seats aren’t cream.

They are fucking grey.

In the whole time I have owned that damn car, the seats have been cream. As soon as I buy some stuff to make it nice, they change to grey.

WTF?

Anyway, I need to change it for grey. Maybe it is just senility. Or stupidy. Probably both.

 

 

 

 

Ker–ching..!

So someone asked what the price differentials were.

So, at the moment in the current weather conditions, I am getting just over 3 miles per kilowatt of charge – however apparently it averages out at 3.5 miles over the year. I’m paying 8p per kilowatt so to try and provide a comparison of ‘fuel’ costs against a traditional ICE (assuming 50mpg and £1.00 per litre):

EV: £0.80 for 35 miles driving

ICE: £3.00 for 33 miles driving

Quite a bit cheaper then, even more so when you consider zero road tax, zero congestion charge and reduced insurance. Considering I charge most of the time at public points whilst at work, it makes it even better. I think I have probably used about 40Kw charging at home (ie. not that much), and have done 600 miles for that £4.50 worth of electricity — bargain 🙂

What puts people off is the initial cost which did used to be pretty high. However, if you can catch a decent offer then it definitely makes financial sense. For a two year PCP, I am paying £80 a month for the car and £80 a month to lease the battery – £160 a month. I was paying £200 a month for the old Kia along with £120 a month fuel and £15 a month road tax.

You do the maths 🙂

Work again? Already….?

After two weeks, I’m back in work tomorrow and I really do appreciate that I have had more time off over Christmas than many others! Back to waking up before the bloody sun and eating nocturnal cornflakes for breakfast – and for two reasons I am actually looking forward to it.

First, two weeks of doing basically nothing can be therapeutic for sure; but whilst the body may recover with a holiday, my brain has turned into mush due to complete and utter boredom. The issues with the new car have stranded us a little so we haven’t been able to do much and in the top procrastination stakes, I updated all the tasks I had on my todo list for these hols to next years Xmas hols. Yeah, I know I could have done a few things but the few things I did try almost drove me into a rage (fitting a new seal on the washing machine being one – almost lost my fingers there!).

Apart from the brain stimulation, heading back to work means I can put the new car on charge each day. Fortunately Chargemaster called today saying that they had ‘had a cancellation’ and brought my home charger install forward to next week but having a full battery will make a big difference to the EV experience.

On the EV side, we have had a few charges without incident recently which is good, however the lack of public charging points (and home one) has caused a bit of grief with other EV owners using the charging points as their own personal parking spaces and keeping their cars there 24/7 (yes, Nissan Leaf owner near the harbour, I am referring to you). At least it gives me the opportunity to call them cockwombles which has to be my favourite insult at the moment.

In other news (or similar news filed under ‘things fucked up’), the washing machine is fucked. Yes, the one I almost amputatedmy fingers fitting a new seal – within a few days the brushes have gone on the motor and given the motors seem to be buried deep in the innards of the machine, I’m buggered if I am going to lose any more skin fixing the damn thing. So, if I start wearing things from the 1980’s you’ll know I am running out of clean stuff to wear until a new one gets delivered next week. The whole process of looking for another one made me wonder how I can get something delivered from China quicker than a washing machine from Currys or Tesco but that is another anger riddled post no doubt.

Waiting for Zoe

I’ve always had ‘interesting’ cars over the years (starting with a gold Capri!) and found different ways of running them. My old XJ Jag got converted to LPG which provided the old girl with the economy to go with the comfort and speed. My old Jeep also ran on LPG although it didn’t really compensate for the 50 year old chassis and its related bone shattering discomfort!

A few years ago I traded our trusty Mondeo which we all loved, for an V8 Audi A8 which was awesome. It may have been diesel but had so much torque it could really fly. Buyers remorse is an infliction I suffer from when getting a new car and none more so than when I traded the A8 in for our first new car, a Kia. A Kia. A fucking Kia.

Why I didn’t pull out the deal when the salesman said his boss wanted drive the Audi around for a few nights before putting it up for auction, I’ll never know but for the last near three years I have been driving around in an uncomfortable, diesel Kia. To be fair, the later ones are fine but with my long pockets and short arms, the bargain of the previous model loaded out with leather, satnav and heated seats counteracted the newer model with a diesel engine that wasn’t stuck in the 90’s. Anyway, as much as I disliked that car, I have had to drive it.

A recent job change at the beginning of the year threw me into quickly learning about sustainability across many projects – one of which was hydrogen vehicles. During a conference my mind wandered and I started googling alternative fuels and before too long had my mind set on an all electric car.

A month or two later I noticed a stonking deal on the Renault Zoe. £5000 off the government, £5000 deposit from Renault and a high end use valuation on PCP meaning I could get a new one for just over £150 a month – £50 cheaper than the Kia. Bargain! Throw in zero road tax and close to zero fuel costs (many public chargers in Scotland are free – and the College where I work also has charging points) and being up to £200 a month better off with a new car was too good to pass.

So at the end of September we took one out for a test drive. Not sure what I expected to be honest, maybe a modern milk float? However it drove just like a normal car – only quieter. And cheaper. Deal done with a 3-4 month wait for delivery.

However, as I have apparently been a good boy this year, Santa came early and we got the call that our car had arrived. Given we don’t get our home charger installed until the New Year, it is a gamble picking it up now but it’s a gamble worth taking – there are a few public chargers in Arbroath that we can use so I’m sure we will get by – if not, hopefully I’ll have Sarah or Meg in the car if we run out of power to push the damn thing home; it is only tiny!

So my car journey is taking another turn and given that no other bugger I know has an EV, I thought it worthwhile telling the story of how we get on with it. I’m sure I’ll be grumpy as hell about it from time to time and I’ll definitely miss having heated seats (not sure how, but our last 5 cars over the past 12 years have all had heated seats!) but we’ll give it a go for the two years anyway. Only real concern is the 100 mile range but that will be part of the challenge.

 

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PS4

so I got a PS4 and let it sit in it’s Amazon box for a couple of weeks before opening it. First thoughts are that I can’t really see a huge difference visually between it and the old PS3 – maybe my eyes are knackered?

Most interesting thing for me is that after 20 years of refusing to play an FPS on console (preferring mouse and keyboard), I spent 2 days playing through COD: Ghosts and enjoyed every second of it although the single player is far too short! All quite ironic given the first game I ever produced was a console (PSX) FPS…

Also quite enjoying Assassins Creed 4, after avoiding the franchise after finding the first one really dull. Maybe because it seems like Red Dead Redemption on water?