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.


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





Air France. Why?

Those of you who followed my Facebook over the last week or so will have an idea about the trials and tribulations recently experienced due to Air France, but in the interests of giving me somewhere public to vent my frustration all over again, I’m going to relive the incomprehensible levels of ineptitude again.

So, I went to Genoa. I went to Genoa on business. I went to Genoa for a project meeting; the project being an EU project based around cemetery symbology, cultural heritage, printmaking, performance art, music and digital applications – all with the aim of engagement with youth and both visually and hearing impaired groups. Now I am sure some of you will have already lost sympathy for me, but hold on…

I did try and avoid Air France, boy did I try and avoid them! I begged the lady booking the travel to find another carrier but alas there we no others available with the days/times we needed. As the confirmation came through, a shiver of despair shot down my spine.

Knowing I was flying AF, I decided to pack a change of clothes in my carry-on just in case. This turned out to be a good call as our outgoing flight was delayed due to the AF crew not having enough rest (which is fair enough I guess) which lead to a tight connection at Charles de Gaulle (worst. airport. ever) turning into a near impossible connection. However, after getting off the flight from Edinburgh quickly, I found myself on a bus that drove and drove and drove to the terminal. I swear we must have landed in bloody Belgium such was the distance we travelled. On arriving at the terminal I took one step inside, turned right for Flight Connections and walked another 3 yards, went through a single security detector which took up another 3 yards and turned left to wait for another bus. Seriously. But that isn’t all. No. This is CDG remember. The bus arrived and TOOK ME ALL THE WAY BACK TO WHERE I CAME FROM!!! We managed to catch our flight which was incidentally, on the aircraft NEXT to the one we arrived on, with seconds to spare and with joy in our hearts at not having an 8 hour wait at CDG until the next flight, we sat down and enjoyed the flight.

Arrival at Genoa was smooth. Even better in a strange way was the email I received from AF during the flight stating my bag hadn’t made it. At least I didn’t have to wait for the last bag to be unloaded to realise mine was missing so I headed to the lost baggage desk to have a strained and difficult conversation with a helpful lady who didn’t speak much English (although she spoke more English than I spoke Italian so the language barrier was wholly my fault for being useless at languages. If only I had listened more clearly to Miss Addey at school, rather than lusting over her! Eventually we agreed that my bag would arrive on the later flight that evening although I was then informed that the courier doesn’t work nights. Thank god for the clean pants in my carry on!

My case eventually arrived late the next day and all was well. Until the return journey.

We arrived back at Genoa airport in good time for our return flight to Paris but then heard that fateful bing-bong following by a stretch of Italian which I obviously didn’t understand. The groans and disconsolate looks of my literate fellow passengers told the story though – the incoming aircraft had been diverted to Nice due to a thunderstorm in Genoa. Annoying because as we were being told this, other flights were happily landing in the rain. And so came Air France to the rescue – with silence. Nothing happened for at least an hour until we were told we were being bussed to Nice to catch the flight onto Paris. Outside we went to queue up at the small info desk to arrange new connections, all the whilst we were being told by the staff that the bus was going to be leaving shortly.

Outside, bags in hand – no bus. FFS!

Then a mini-bus appeared. There were 60 of us. FFS!

After an age, a proper coach arrived complete with the grumpiest fucker of an Italian driver. Every case he had to put into the hold was greeted with a sigh, a rolling of the eyes and a (probable) expletive. Eventually we were on the road for the 2-3 hour drive to Nice. Fortunately I was sat next to an emotional Italian chap who spent the journey talking to himself. As we passed through the French/Italian border he pulled over, jumped outside and went for a smoke. Later we hit a French toll booth and his remote charging thing didn’t work which led to a funny five minutes of him screaming TELEPASS to the intercom louder and louder. After nearly three hours of this comedic journey, we arrived at Nice and were helped through the terminal to the plane.

Where we waited.

And waited.

And you know what, I have no fucking idea why we were waiting for so long.

We waited so long we missed our revised connection at Paris – as did everyone else. Muppets.

In Air France’s favour was the reasonably easy way they sorted us all out with accomodation and meals for our unscheduled overnight stay. However when we reached the Campanile it was full and we were pushed to the next hotel (although we still had to go back to the Campanile to eat).

27 hours after we left our hotel in Genoa, we arrived home following an uneventful return from Paris.

Air France – please, never again!

Photo by Jonathan Gross

Addressing the Wombles…

Haven’t posted much recently because all is good and the car is running like a dream and still costing me next to nothing to run!

Mind you, I did see an article on Autocar recently which got on my nerves, not the article but some of the comments from the cockwombles below it. So, to alleviate that Friday anger, I thought I would respond with a ranty-post even though they will never see it. Look, it makes me feel better okay?

The article is here: if you want some context!

Five Grand Subsidy Ahoy!

It is quite literally. Stolen from the taxpayer, in fact.

–Norma Smellons

Well Norma, you are indeed correct. When I purchased my Zoe I broke into the Treasury and stole £5,000 of your hard earned pounds to go towards my car. Although I am surprised you haven’t mentioned the money I stole from the French taxpayers as well given Renault are (allegedly) subsidising Renault anyway. What a horrendous person I am! Actually no, I take all that back Norma you fuckwit. You may have noticed that the world is getting warmer and we need to do something about it (unless of course you are either a climate change denier or a member of the Flat Earth Society in which case stop reading now and hopefully evolution will catch up to you at some point). Reducing the reliance on fossil fuels is one and avoiding pushing out lots of crap into the atmosphere by transport is another. Unfortunately new technology costs and incentives are sometimes required. I have paid my fucking taxes for nearly 30 years so its about time I got something back in the form of a subsidy to drive a car that whilst not carbon neutral, is a lot better for the climate than the majority of vehicles.

I still don’t understand why I have to subsidise other people’s motoring (if that’s the word). Most days I go to a car-park underneath Waitrose at Canary Wharf where there are 6 Tesla re-charge bays that are nearly always empty even in this glass and chrome cathedral of excessive wealth. As it’s free of charge who pays for it? Is it Tesla, or me again? Genuinely not against electric cars and the technology is obviously coming on leaps and bounds. BUT they are not Green in any way, if take up accelerates we’ll have to build more power stations to cope with demand and, tbh, I just don’t understand the subsidy argument. I live in Mallorca and have a solar array so a little i3 BMW would make great sense I guess but the price is just absurd. I’m sure the Zoe is less expensive but I don’t want one.


World class trolling here. The guy lives in Mallorca yet shops in Waitrose in Canary Wharf? What the actual fuck????

Firstly I don’t understand why I have to subsidise London and all the high capital projects that go on there (HS2, Crossrail and all the other shit that will not affect me in any way, shape or form) but I do. Some of my taxes probably paid for your fucking underground car park to be built so you could travel from your home and couple of thousand miles away to get your kale, quinoa and overpriced unicorn milk. Also, you didn’t pay for the Tesla bays you dick – Tesla paid for them.

As for not being green – they are a lot greener than the fucking flight you have to take to get to fucking Waitrose from your house. Sure they aren’t carbon neutral but I’m not sure any transport is, however one of the main charging networks uses fully sustainable power so it is closer than many other vehicles. Demand may well increase but what is the problem with more power, especially if fully green rather than brown power is being generated and used? What is your fucking problem? Your solar array isn’t very fucking green either you tool and it was pretty damn expensive when the technology came out, just like current EV’s and the BMW i3!

Jim Holder and other electric car “owners” are just like Google etc that legally avoid paying their share of taxes. The only reason for most to buy an elctric car is the tax reduction, and tax discount, not desirability of ownership. Until most, if ever, electricity is produced by non fossil fuels electric cars just shift the pollution from the car user, to make them feel good and saintly, onto others. Just like dog owners that take their dog out for a regular walk so they crap on others land and not their garden.


I’m losing the will to live. Just use a green tariff you dick and your argument disappears. Not sure what tax reduction I am getting from my EV apart from saving £15 a month on road tax – £15 a month isn’t enough of an incentive. You really don’t know your fucking arse from your elbow do you, as proven by your dog-walking point. You really think that is the only reason dogs get walked – really? Sometimes I wonder if my own efforts to do my own tiny little bit to be green and give the next generations a planet they can live on is worthwhile – when nuggets like you were there one in a million that managed to get to the egg first. How the fuck is that possible and given ‘survival of the fittest’, how bad where the rest of the sperm if you won???!?!


Happy Friday y’all!

Photo by andeecollard

It’s all going wrong (January 2016 edition)

What a 2016. So far we have said goodbye to Lemmy, to Bowie and today to Hans Gruber 🙁

This morning I said goodbye to my Zoe who was sent to the car doctor to get the massive orange spanner warning light sorted. Fortunately I got a brand new one as a courtesy car which I drove so hard, the dashboard went a strange shade of purple to show me how energy unefficient I was being – loaners really are the fastest cars in the world!

Anyway, old-age. I’m now approaching my mid-forties and tomorrow I become father to an 18 year old. How in hells name did that happen? Age is definitely catching up with my memory after spending 30 minutes swearing at the new washing machine for not working. Eventually the correct neurons lined up and I realised it was because I hadn’t turned the water back on after installing it. Damn.

Not all this weeks fuck-ups have been due to me being a dick; it’s not always my fault. The home charger was installed on Tuesday for the EV and the guy whacked off the power to the whole house. Cue every machine screaming in agony at the hard shutdown, none more so that our remote central heating that took on a mind of its own, started ignoring the thermostat and running on full whack for hours turning our house into one of the levels of Hell. Typically, I realised that it was knackered and that the Christmas chocolate I was eating was melting before I even ate it at 21:03.

The support line closed at 21:00.

Eventually I sort of turned it off to let the house stop glowing and managed to fix it properly last night (for future memory reference, take one battery out of the thermostat and when reinstalling, press and hold the minus button until the aerial icon flashes – or maybe it was the plus button. Try them both, one will work)


Photo by Menage a Moi

Always push it in far enough…

Two things happened today.

  1. it stopped raining for the first time this year (yes, really)
  2. I got to work with about 25 miles of battery left and couldn’t start a charge

Now not much I can do about 1, in fact it was quite nice to see that big orange burny thing in the Sky. Mind you, that is one of our ten sunny days for this year already over.

Regarding 2, I thought that swearing, smoking and swearing again would work. It didn’t. However the Zoe has an ‘ECO’ mode which will eek out any remaining charge for you so I pushed the button and the car changed from a fun, lively and warm little runabout to something from the 50’s with no acceleration and no heating. It did manage to get me home so I guess that is one thing but fuck me, my fingers were like blocks of ice when I got in!

Took a quick ride to the charger at the harbour to get some charge but as usual the local cockwomble Leaf owners were out in force, hogging the charging bays for the usual 6+ hours and using them as their own personal home parking spaces. Nuggets. Only thing worse than Leaf owners are PHEV owners who charge their 10 mile batteries in a charging bay for a whole day to avoid paying for parking.

In light of this, I take it back – Nissan Leaf drivers aren’t cockwombles, the PHEV owners are…

So off to the college for a final try and repeated red flashing lights on the charging port and the dashboard saying ‘Check Connections’. Yes, I already did that. Many fucking times. Now tell me how to bloody fix it! The anger was building whilst the fingers froze and I gave it one more time. Plugging the lead into the charging point, I suddenly realised that it went in a little further this time and with shame racing around my cold frozen cheeks, I realised that all the issues were because I hadn’t pushed it in far enough – not the first time it has happened, and not just with EV’s (fnaar, fnaar). So I managed to get a few % charge and will give it a full charge tomorrow when I’m watching the footie.

The sooner this damn home charger appears the better because this whole public charger thing (and Leaf and PHEV owners) is getting on my tits.

What I learn today:

  1. always push it in hard
  2. always push it in far enough
  3. never pull out too soon
  4. finishing too early is bad
  5. stop watching Carry On films

well maybe not the last one but you get my drift. Tomorrow involves frozen football watching whilst trying to live tweet the key points of the game on the official club account. No pressure then!

The car is great, the rest no so much…

Nearly two weeks in and loving the whole EV thing.

Well, most of it. All of it apart from Chargemaster.

Part of the deal was a charger installed at home which theoretically means each morning you have a full battery to play with. Unfortunately this puts a third party company on the critical path – one which a quick Google shows many issues.

Given they have had my details since September and before Christmas they said my install would be this week (w/c 4th Jan 2016), I actually accepted delivery of my Zoe two weeks early as it wasn’t due until around now. Having just got off the phone to Chargemaster they are now saying the install won’t be until the end of the month which is a proper pain in the arse.

Now I can probably get away charging at the College when I am at the campuses with charging points, but still; surely if you get an order in September you should be able to deliver that order within 3 bloody months? Apparently they have no engineers up in Scotland so I have to wait. What sort of half-arsed excuses is that? If you have no engineers up here and 10% of the bloody population is up here, HIRE SOME.

Fucking idiots.

So, in summary, if you are considering an EV then consider who installs your charge point and if you can, avoid Chargemaster because they are fucking useless.

[UPDATE 1: About an hour after posting this, Chargemaster called back and gave me an install date of 19th January, still two weeks after originally promised. Apparently they DO have an engineer in Scotland who is due to do an install at the end of this week.]

[UPDATE 2: Two hours after posting, Renault Customer Services got in touch and said they would see if there was anything they could do to speed up the install.]

Charging success at last!!!

WooHoo! Took a drive this evening cos we are too old to go out drinking on New Years Eve anymore (and I can’t stand all that Happy New year bollocks, especially when at a party and you have to appear happy to someone you think is a dick), and realised the battery was getting low. I knew there was a fast charger over at Montrose so a quick detour got us up to 85% charge within 30 minutes. Two main points to note:

  1. don’t start charging with a window right down as to wind it back up, you need to stop the charge and start the process again
  2. this time the charger came straight out without any issues whatsoever

It was probably strange for some of the locals to walk past the sports centre and find a parked car without steamed-up windows and a brother and sister continuing the family stick inside; which would explain the strange looks we got from passers by. Anyway, I am classing this as my first charge without incident.

One thing I will mention though is that New Years Eve does seem to turn everyone into a complete arse of a driver! So many cockwombles driving right up my arse desperate to overtake and even more not looking when pulling out. Fuckwits, the lot of them!

oh yeah, Happy New Year and all that bollocks to you as well



I know I am a bit of a travel snob. I hate flying economy, I never go on buses and I try and avoid using the train wherever possible. I know I am contributing to climate change with my obsession with driving myself wherever I go but at least in my car I am (mostly) in control of my own environment.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting the train from Arbroath to Glasgow. Now normally this journey is okay albeit pretty crowded as I try and sleep on the journey (due to the 06:00 early start). Unfortunately yesterday I ended up sitting next to the most annoying person I have ever sat next to on a plane.

First she wanted me to put her heavy luggage overhead for her. Now I have no problem with this and am normally glad to help but I didn’t even get a thank you for doing it. After she eventually got into the window seat and I sat down, she proceeded to elbow me whilst she turned into Mr Tickle whilst trying to take her coat off.

Bruised and slightly annoyed, I put my headphones back in and heard her booming voice above Atom Heart Mother at full blast. She was telling me that I was sitting in her colleagues seat and that I would have to move when he got on in Perth. I had my ticket on the table and took a quick glance in case I was in the wrong seat – I wasn’t. It took a good 30 seconds to explain to her that both my seat reservation and the ticket above the seat said that this was the seat I had reserved and not her colleague. She then got grumpy and turned away when I was in mid conversation.

By this time I was getting pissed off. Then it got worse. Much worse.

She suddenly realised the knew the person sitting behind and turned around to talk to her. Her big loud fucking mouth was inches away from my ear whilst she spent 15 minutes talking to this person whom she obviously used to work with, about all the gossip in her shitty little life and her shitty little job.

In hindsight, I should have told her in no uncertain terms that NO FUCKER IS INTERESTED NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP, but I was still in polite mode and she hadn’t yet clicked my FUCKING RAGING button. After hearing all about how Gail from the Admin department was a bit of a slag, and how Adam should have been fired three times now for what he did (she never said what he did but I think it could have been telling her to shut the fuck up), I gave up on listening to music and tried to zone out – her decibel laden mouth had drowned out even my worse music.

At Perth, her ex-colleague got off as did the guy sitting opposite her across the table. She nudged me, or rather she digged me in the ribs just as I was relaxing with my eyes shut. “You were right. He is sitting in that seat”, she said and I managed to give me my most sarcastic “Fantastic” in reply. She knew I was pissed off.

…and then it came. Her colleague sat down and what happened next had me (and the person sitting opposite me who also had to hear about Gail and slut and Adam the fucking hero) staring at her incredulously. Her first words to her colleague were “You’ll never guess who I have just been speaking to…?”. This WASN’T a rhetorical question for her, her colleague really did have to guess. After an age where I was dreaming of lobotomisation, she piped up with “She didn’t speak to me in ages after what happened. I’d cross the street to get away from her but she was speaking to me nice as pie”.


She seriously destroyed my hearing talking to someone whom she didn’t like? No only was she a gossiping annoying megaphone mouthed pain in the fucking arse, but she was a two faced hypocrite as well.

I gave up at that point and accepted my fate. Another hour of her massive fucking gob spewing high decibel bollocks about fuck knows to her colleague. It is him I feel sorry for as it looked like they were on a work awayday/stayover so whilst I managed to stop the ringing in my ears an hour or so after getting off the train, he is probably still getting it even now.

Sorry pal….
and that is why I try and avoid public transport…

Battery Nipples

So the batteries on my Apple Magic Mouse ran out. As per normal, I replaced them. Unlike per normal, the mouse fired up and then stopped working; not just stopped connecting but stopped working altogether – no power.

I tried other batteries; still no power. I tried the old batteries that were still working when I took them out; still no power. FFFFFFUUUUUUUUU………

I googled. I read. I took the damn thing apart and I noticed that one of the battery contacts was slightly broken. A quick fix with a bit of business card later, I thought I had a cure. I was smug. I was happy. I had avoided another batch of Apple Tax.



I was wrong again.

Still no power.

I looked for another mouse. They were all super expensive. I found a cheapo Microsoft Bluetooth one with some semblance of touch in Argos. I queued up in Argos to get it having fought my way through the Elizabeth Dukes queue. I got my new mouse and walked back to the office.

I looked forward to opening my new mouse. But some f***er had beaten me to it. Argos had given me a return – the box was knackered, hell the mouse was even bloody scratched and had desk-goo on the bottom of it. Someone had used this mouse for some time! Oh, and it didn’t work as advertised on a Mac!

I was well pissed off. Then I had an idea. A strange idea. An idea that could never ever work…

I remembered that the Magic Mouse battery terminals were recessed. I tried another set of batteries (Amazon Basics if you really must know); no power. I tried another batch; no power. I then tried another set of the same brand I took out of it – POWER. IT WORKED. It was the length of the positive terminal ‘nipple’ (for want of a better word). On the batteries that worked, it was ever so slightly longer, at least long enough to make proper contact!


Moral of the story?

1. don’t buy stuff from Argos and expect it to be new (It’s going back tomorrow)
2. not all AA batteries are the same in Apple’s eyes. Some have longer ‘nipples’ than others – go for the longer nippled variety

The Games Industry: Flapping its head up its own backside…

Look, I get frustrated at the best of times with the ignorance and stupidity of people inside and outside the games industry. Their self egocentric, arrogant attitudes and complete lack of any form of empathy for any opinions other than their own drive me to frustration virtually every day (and yes, I do see the irony there), however events over the past week have led me to believe that the industry has finally got its self-important head stuck so far up it’s own arse, that it really can’t see what it is walking straight into.

So, Flappy Birds. Or, Flappy Fucking Birds as it has been commonly called on social networks. Here was a simplistic, difficult but damn addictive little game from a guy in Vietnam that did nothing for nearly a year before exploding up the charts and capturing the hearts of the mass market of mobile gamers — and introducing them to a gameplay mechanic that didn’t involve asking friends for help — and the ‘industry’ HATED it. Well, that isn’t entirely true, most people appreciated it for what it was, a small but tough game taking design and visual cue’s from other products (something that nearly every other title does).

So why all the fuss? Why did the industry essentially implode on itself in a frenzy of outrage and utter bullshit? Ignorance? Stupidity? Fear?

In all likelihood it was all three, but mainly the latter. Developers, or rather those who call themselves developers and look down their nose at ‘others’ who create games for the ‘mass market’ suddenly realised that the gaming taste of ‘mass market’ they have feared for many years was ever so slightly changing and was starting to appreciate the frustration of an incredibly tough game whose mechanic only ever made you feel that failure was YOUR fault. This was an area that had been held by the ‘hardcore’ and was deemed (and I too thought this) not really suitable for the mass market who enjoyed matching their three candies (and don’t get me started on King. Some people need to read up on their IP law before coming up with the streams of bullshit that accompanied that story!) and didn’t appreciate a truly difficult challenge. Were these ‘traditional’ developers getting afraid that they too would soon be making Barbie Match 3 Saga soon?

And so to the journalists. Although, I was always under the impression that a journalist was meant to write about news and investigate facts as it appeared to me that all of a sudden, the mainstream industry sites become dedicated to opinion pieces on how the Flappy Birds phenomenon was detrimental to the industry. This is where it started to get quite amusing as certain elements of the press did some of the quickest face changing ever seen with the print freshly drying on their King ‘candy’ word outrage as they started to lambast Flappy Birds use of green pipes as obstacles.

Now I actually quite like most game journalists – most of them are nice people who just want to write about something they love but they have to be getting fearful for the changes going on in the industry at present. I’m not convinced the new gaming markets get their recommendations and reviews from gaming sites, and definitely not the major ones that don’t really cater for the current batch of casual titles. Traditional gaming will of course remain via PC and console, but surely the number of writers will diminuish over the coming years?

Anyway back to the flapping. After a week or two of great chart success, the author decided to pull the game. This was then greeted with howls of derision and astonishment that someone who was (supposedly) earning so much could NOT want to continue rolling around in his bed of cash (I couldn’t get the image of Huell in Breaking Bad lying on that cash out of my head). What was completely ignored was that the author may well have earned more money in a weekend that his peers in Vietnam may have earned in a lifetime, and money does not always buy happiness! Anyway, it has fuck all to do with anyone else but still the story ran and ran and comment threads all over the internet were glowing red — all over a one button game mechanic, a bird, an annoying sound effect and Nintendo’s green pipes.