This is the small town where I live.
So, I drive up to Birmingham on Friday night. I’m doing what we call a ‘Hub trip’, that is basically where we take all the Pallets from this area for the rest of the country and drop them at a central Hub, then reload with all the palettes for this area and return.
Knowing that this weekend is when ‘Silly Season’ really gets underway and armed with the knowledge that friends are traveling to the area from Sheffield, I was keeping a close eye on the transport situation.
South bound M5 was already getting busy at 4am and the Truck parking areas in different Motorway Services were pack solid with Caravans. While Caravans are allowed to park their, priority has to be given to Trucks to take their Tacho Breaks. So most trucks had to start parking on the Hard Shoulder of the Motorway itself as they couldn’t even get into the service areas due to the magnitude of caravans already there. I actually tried to stop at 3 places on my return and was unable to.
I have to be honest here; while I grumble at Caravans, tacho breaks are a serious issue, they keep people alive, they’re required by law and if something isn’t done about this – things will simply get worse.
Driving standards started out reasonably well, then of course things changed. It’s odd sitting and watching the passing traffic wondering which vehicles were heading for disaster.
At 6.45am the news came trough that there was already at least one person dead and many injured with the closure of all three southbound lanes at Exeter – it had started!!
After returning home and getting some sleep, I heard the news that several accidents across the UK and had left many people dead.
And you know what – I’m starting not to care!
Be advised that this Friday is the official start of the summer ‘Silly Season’ on Britain’s roads and motorways.
The number of people killed in road accidents was 2,943 in 2007. There were 247,780 road casualties in Great Britain in 2007. Thats at least 8 people dead for every day of the year!!!!
Already 1836 people have lost their lives in 2008.
YET NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING
74 people were shot dead during the 2006 – 2007 period and this was far more highly published.
In London alone – over the May Bank Holiday weekend (27-29th May 06) – Police recorded over 50 knife attacks. Yet no one was shouting about knife crime then…
Yet 3000 people a year are slaughtered on our roads
Why would I mention a motor company birthday?
Well, the ‘Land Rover’ in it’s original format (now called Defender) has quite an amazing history. It is reckoned that for over 2/3 of the world, the Land Rover was the vehicle they’d ever seen, and even more amazing is that 3/4 of all Land Rovers built are still running (excluding Range Rover, Discovery and Freelander).
In 1992 I became one of the very first people to qualify as Instructor for Land Rover and what followed this was some of the best experiences of my life. I’ve driven in just about every conceivable type of environment in the world because of this and the only places left are the North and South Poles.
The single real reason I went to work in Saudi Arabia was a complete excuse so that I could do more harsh desert driving and the reports I sent back to Land Rover had a direct impact on some of the upgrades and re-design of the present Range Rover.
But Land Rover are, and have pretty much always been a tight fisted bunch, they don’t give things away to ‘any old expedition’ or people. Heck, I didn’t get a thing for my input into the Mk3 Range Rover and that has gone on to being their best selling product. So unless you’re some top international show jumper or the like, forget approaching them.
So imagine my surprise when as a part of their anniversary they have donated 60 Vehicles to the Red Cross/Red Crescent organisations!
Finally, something good from this once great Marque.
This is great news
During my formative years as a child, ok,ok – so I’m still forming – let me start again…
When I was a ‘younger’ I grew up on RAF Bases as my stepfather was serving. In 1975 we were posted from RAF Brize Norton to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Waddington was the senior of two sister bases, the other being RAF Scampton. This situation has always served the two bases well, from the bombing of the dams during WWII, when the Lancaster Bomber served there, to the ‘then’ (when we were there) present day of being Britain’s frontline airborne Nuclear Deterrent – The Vulcan Bomber.
The Vulcan, one of the original ‘Hooligans of the sky’ due to the complaint at Nellis AFB during RED FLAG by the local power company. The complaint was that a Vulcan Bomber flying at extremely low level had cut a 38 feet high power line – nothing unusual huh? Except it cut the power line with it’s tail while ascending! Not bad for a 27 ft high 80 ton bomber!
Shortly after the Falklands war the Vulcan was scrapped and while the RAF maintained one for display purposes – this too was soon destined for grounding.
There has been a society of ‘well wishers ‘ and enthusiasts (as well as former RAF crews and technicians) trying to get one such Vulcan back into service running a campaign called Vulcan To The Skys.
As of July 3rd 2008 Avro Vulcan Bomber XH558 has been given status and DISPLAY AUTHORITY.
Today, 15 years and 4 months after she left RAF Waddington, she finally returns to carry out her first public air display.
I wish I could be there but I can’t, so I wish all those who have worked tirelessly for 15 years to make her air worthy and ready for this day – the very best of luck indeed.
Specifications (Vulcan B.2)
Crew: 5; Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator Plotter, Navigator Radar and Air Electronics Officer
Length: 99 ft 11 in (30.45 m)
Wingspan: 111 ft 0 in (33.83 m)
Height: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
Wing area: 3965 ft² (368.4 m²)
Empty weight: lb (kg)
Loaded weight: 199,585 lb (90,530 kg)
Useful load: 21,000 lb (9,550 kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 204,000 lb (92,500 kg)
4× Rolls Royce Olympus 201/301 turbojets, 17,000 lbf/20,000 lbf (76 kN/355.9 kN) each
Maximum speed: 645 mph (1,040 km/h)
Cruise speed: 625 mph (1,005 km/h)
Range: 2,300 mi (3,700 km)
Service ceiling: 62,300 ft (19,000 m)
Wing loading: 50 lb/ft² (246 kg/m²)
1x Blue Steel cruise missile semi-recessed in the fuselage or 1x Yellow Sun Mk.2 nuclear bomb or 21x 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Aircraft participating in the Falklands war also carried 2x AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles under the wings.