The first time I … went through a red light

I took to traffic lights like a duck 2 algebra.

Strangely enough I had a dream one night that I would be driving along with my policeman boyfriend sat next to me when I would go through a red light and he would arrest me.

Only a few weeks later, almost exactly just that happened. I was merrily driving along late at night with my boyfriend sat next to me singing along to the radio when suddenly I passed through a red light. I didn't even notice it until my boyfriend shouted at me. I would like to say I had the excuse of driving in an area I didn't know but the lights are just outside my house and I make almost daily trips through them.

Thankfully, unlike in my dream my boyfriend did not arrest me nor report me although I did get a severe reprimand from him.

Luckily the traffic light also didn't have a camera in it so not only did I manage to pass through without my boyfriend arresting me but I also escaped a hefty fine and points on my licence as well. That would not have helped my renewal car insurance quote.

Image © David Silverline, via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



My life as a taxi driver

I'm guessing many parents won't find this a new concept, but occasionally your car becomes a taxi and even though you have toiled all day at the office, school or factory, you find yourself doing an extra shift as you ferry everyone around in the family's personal taxi.

Yesterday, I got home from a full day in the duck2water office, cooked dinner, hung a load of washing and then took the family to their various clubs and hobby activities.

7pm. First drop - my year eight son to Judo club.

7.10pm. Second drop - my partner to footy training which officially starts at 7pm, but they never get going at that time (he normally cycles, but his bike had a puncture).

7.35pm. First pick up - my daughter from athletics training, which is a 25 minute drive away, she goes there after school in a friend's car but her friend's session finishes at 6.30pm and it seems unreasonable to expect them to hang around for her (I drive while praying for no road-works or hold ups).

8pm. Second pick up - drive back to Judo to pick up the Karate Kid (although I have been banned from calling him that) and then drop the two of them at home before the footballer has to get back in the car.

8.30pm. Third pick up - turn up the air freshener before the footballer gets in (open the windows), then drive home.

Arrive back at 8.45 to finally sit down - what a day.

Image © estraire via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Italian police crash £150,000 super patrol car

Italian police must be pretty gutted after crashing one of only two Lamborghinis in their patrol car fleet. The £150,000 car has been declared a write-off after the police car swerved to avoid another vehicle which crossed its path, ploughing into two stationary cars.

The Lamborghini car, painted in the Italian police force's blue and white colours was a gift from the Italian carmakers in 2004 and is one of only two owned by the Italian police.

With six speeds and a 500-horsepower engine designed to go from zero to 100km/h in four seconds, no criminal stood a chance of outdriving the response car. The news that the Polizia's top response car is out of action therefore may well be music to the local joy riders ears.

But perhaps Lamborghini will show the police some compassion and offer them a replacement Gallardo for Christmas. Thankfully finding cheap car insurance for the police is not an issue.

Image © Simon & Vicki via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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What's in a name? Don't blame Dr Evil, the poor guy had no chance

Aptronyms (names that are perfectly suited to the character) are not very fashionable in literature these days, unless, of course, you count the characters in the Mr Men series of children's books: Mr Happy, Mr Silly, and Little Miss Bossy, to name just a few.

One of the main reasons for this is that aptronyms are considered unrealistic; if your family name is Crapper it doesn't mean that you're going to grow up to be the world's pre-eminent inventor of toilets, right? Wrong! And the list of people with eerily aptronymic names just goes on.

Among my favourites is the disgraced Bernard Maddof, the investment banker who literally "made off" with billions of dollars of his clients' money. Then there is Usain Bolt, world's fastest man; Lord Brain, a famous neurologist; and Amy Winehouse, the singer whose battles with alcohol have been well-documented.

The whole of idea of the aptronym is entwined with that of nominative predeterminism (the theory that a person's name goes some way to determining their role and career in life).

The phenomenon has been documented and even proved to have a great deal of credence. What, however, about those poor souls in life cursed with names that augur hope of little more than a life of menial mediocrity (I. Middling), spectacular failure (Max Fall) or pure evil (Cardinal Sin – don't worry I'll explain this one later).

The answer, it seems, is to change one's name. This is exactly what one Mr Chris Hunt did recently. Unhappy to move headlong into years spent on horseback chasing defenceless foxes or, more probably, a desire not to embrace an at first bland-sounding existence that was in fact ultimately encoded to mean a lifetime of visceral unlikeability, in honour of his favourite snack, he changed his name to Mr Monster Munch.

Now, presuming he hasn't effected this name change too late in the day, I fear that things may not work out exactly as Mr M M hopes. I don't know about you, but the formula of nominative determinism makes it highly probable that he'll end life being eaten by a crocodile. Then again, perhaps I'm being alarmist and he'll merely develop a deep antipathy to his hereto favourite crisp and discover that he instead has an insatiable taste for M&Ms.

Let's get back to Cardinal Sin, otherwise known as Jaime Lachica Sin, once the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila. I wonder what deep, dark and disturbing secrets his biographers will manage to dig up?

Anyway, I better go, I'm off to change my name to Mani Lover.

Top Image © Mike Licht NotionsCapital.com, via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence



The first time I moved house…

I took to moving like a duck2 a merry-go-round.

With my current room stacked high with boxes, my thoughts have returned to the first time I moved house.

As a family, we had never moved house and my parents to this day still live in the same place where we all grew up. The thought of moving four children, one dog, two cats and various guinea pigs and rabbits no doubt was a slight deciding factor in this. The idea of safely moving all six of us as well as our toys and whatever else without leaving behind the odd child or family pet was obviously too daunting a task that neither of them wanted to face.

My first move therefore was not until I went off on my merry way to uni. Car piled high with clothes, duvet, kitchen bits and pieces, freshly made cakes put in by my mum and all sorts of other completely unnecessary items, I set off for my new life in the big wide world.

Sadly my move inexperience showed only too clearly. The boxes I thought I had so cleverly crammed were of course far too heavy to lift up to my third floor bedroom, there was no way I was going to have space for my inflatable armchair, beanbag and Ikea pop up wardrobe and from the way I had shoved things together, I was unlikely to find anything much before the end of the first term.

Several moves later, I have hopefully learned my lesson. Each box is clearly marked with its contents and the room it is to go into. However having done an office move and a home move all in the space of a week, I shan't be gaining any more practice in the art of moving any time soon.



Go to a game - get a quarter of a million pounds, yeah!

And that is just what happened to one lucky punter (literally) at Wembley Stadium on a chilly Tuesday evening in November.

Stuart Tinner had gone along to watch Saracens play Rugby Union World Champions, South Africa, in a midweek game at Wembley. Organisers had put the £250,000 prize up for grabs in a common rugby half time game of "Can you hit the cross bar?"

Three lucky spectators were picked from text entries made by members of the 46,000 strong crowd, but the 24-year-old job centre worker took to the 30 metre line first and after taking off his shoes, punted the ball 30 metres to land plumb on the goal posts' cross bar. For a moment the joy was on hold as, technically, he was supposed to have drop-kicked the ball by letting it bounce before he kicked it. However, after common sense prevailed the gigantic cheque was in his hands, cheerleaders mobbed him and the place went mad for it.

The fifth choice hooker from Welwyn RFC told reporters he would be buying drinks for all the cheerleaders after the game, but sensibly said in front of the cameras that he would probably buy a flat and a car – a cheaper proposition perhaps judging by beer prices at Wembley.

And generally there seemed to be nothing but good feeling for the guy.

Personally, I love a good luck story and as rugby union is my sport of choice (I watched the last half hour of the game on TV, but missed the half time party) I think this story is brilliant.

And Henry's Hand of God? Disgraceful – give us Tinner's Socks of Joy any day.

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