Christmas goodies for your car - that's if you have one

For those of you who have not yet got a car – a car may be on your Christmas list.  If you are already a vehicle owner you might want to receive some great car gadgets instead.

I get very excited by the prospect of in-car DVD players which attach to the back of the headrests, and then I remember that I’m going to be the one driving and only the passengers will benefit, so I forget all about the idea once again.

Of course, there’s always a SAT NAV.  Oh, how I’ve longed for one since they first appeared on the market.

They’re so very useful and – so very bad at reading maps sometimes.

Friends of mine who have them attached to their dashboard or windscreen have many a tale about the SAT NAV’s idea of a shortcut - through a building - or a simple right turn into a dead end.

The problem with any SAT NAV is that the UK is changing so fast it can’t keep up, poor thing!

Chocolate, socks, a new mug and some vouchers? Yes, that will be lovely thank you.

Image © sneakerdog via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



Personalised plates can cost a pretty penny

Imagine if you had enough money to buy an expensive personalised registration plate. What would it say?

In 2008, Arabian billionaire Saeed Abdul Ghaffer Khouri, from a wealthy family in Abu Dhabi, spent £7 million on a number plate with just one written on it as a numeral. Apparently he said that he bought it because number one was “the best number”.

Reports at the time stated that he had been more than prepared to spend twice as much on the registration.

The proceeds from the auction at which the plate was bought went towards helping victims of traffic accidents, so that makes the expensive price a bit easier to swallow, I suppose.

If you want to enjoy making your own registration plate and dreaming that you’re a billionaire, then here’s a website for you to have fun on.

DemonPlates gives you a realistic image of what your registration would look like, and even lets you buy the end result. A word of warning however, you can’t use the plates on the road unless you already own that particular registration. The company only makes the plates, they don’t sell the numbers.

We even had a go ourselves and here’s what we came up with: DUC2 WTR
Have fun!

Image © wwarby via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



Weller, weller, weller, what have we here?

Paul Weller has designed a Mini Cooper with rather fetching stripes on it, to help raise money for two charities.

The chosen charities are War Child and Nordoff Robbins and both help young or vulnerable people in conflict-ridden countries.

The Mini alone would cost £15,000 but with all the extras (such as heated seats) added by Weller, which cost £4,000, the car should cost a small fortune – did I mention it was designed by Paul Weller?

I hope whoever buys it finds some very cheap car insurance after having spent so much money on the vehicle itself!

As well as the automobile’s connection to a music legend boosting up the price, the bodywork was hand-painted by Mini craftsmen – that’s craftsmen employed by Mini, not tiny workmen.

Paul Weller’s Mini creation is meant to reflect “the mood and colours associated with the mod era”, said the man himself.

An auction is taking place online, on a special website, and bidding for the funky little vehicle will end on December 11th. Someone will have a big Mini surprise on Christmas morning, maybe?

If you want to see the car, it’s on show in the BMW Park Lane showrooms until it is sold, and if you fancy owning it then bid from the Paul Weller Mini Auction website.

Good luck!

Image © vonlohmann via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



My name is Berlingo, Citroen Berlingo

When Renault chose the new moniker for its latest model I bet the bosses didn’t expect to be taken to court, but they were.

So, what would you suppose could cause this uproar?  It must have been something blasphemous or perhaps so politically incorrect it could not go unchallenged. Did Renault call their car … All the permutations of WRONG names for a car are flashing through my mind, but I cannot bring myself to type them.

No, Renault called their car…Wait for it…Zoe.

However, no sooner had the seemingly innocuous name Renault Zoe been whispered on the car production line than two French families were heading for the civil courts as they argued that their daughters, aptly named Zoe Renault, would be perpetually mocked and harassed as a result of the car maker’s action.

Apparently, the French take first names very seriously.  In the past parents had to pick names from an approved list, but although they are now at liberty to choose any name of their choice for a child, officials can make it difficult for an unusual name to be attached to a baby if they feel it will cause the child to be harmed by ridicule or teasing.

But, in the case of the parents versus Renault, it was the motor manufacturer who won.  The judge ruled that he could find no evidence it would cause the children “certain, direct and current harm”.

The families’ solicitor argued, however, that thousands of Zoes, all over the country, would be prone to teasing and certain taunts He suggested phrases such as "Can I see your airbags?" or "Can I shine your bumper?" would be used as any girl named Zoe gets older.

Personally, I think that if this is the case, a clever girl could turn these comments on their head.

The Renault Zoe ZE (zero emission) is an all-electric car, so how about a retort of, “Don’t worry mate, my batteries don’t need charging today.” Or maybe, “No thanks, I don’t need lead in my petrol!”

The Renault Zoe – welcome to the motoring world.

Image © DoubleM2 via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



Happy Halloween

Those involved in the car insurance quote business get to read a lot of road safety statistics, so come Halloween recently I made sure my kids exercised extra caution when out trick or treating; in some places, Halloween is the time when children are most likely to be injured on the roads.

Quite simply, Halloween is a time of revelry, for both adults and children. Teenagers and young adults often take to the roads, sometimes drunkenly, while the younger ones weave their way enthusiastically through their neighbourhoods filling their greedy little sacks with goodies.

This combination can be a dangerous mix. As such, I always make sure that the costumes I’ve prepared for my beloved offspring are not uniformly black and instead have plenty of “high visibility” details.

Like many girls of her age my 13-year-old daughter is utterly obsessed with the musical Wicked. She wanted to be in all black with a dark green foundation. After sticking my oar in, I convinced her to go with a black gown, a fluorescent yellow hat and an assortment of glow sticks.

My 11-year-old boy, who had been determined to go as a “dead goth music star”, was artfully persuaded to go as a luminescent skeleton.

But, most importantly of all, my two children as part of a group of six assorted friends were followed by a team of three conscientious adults, all of whom were wearing high-visibility bibs and carrying pumpkin lanterns.

It may not be cool, but I like Halloween to be gory and ghoulish for all the right reasons.

Image © hanna_horwarth via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence



Old driver still going strong

For all the young drivers out there we bring news of a record breaking pensioner. Yes, 92-year-old Archie Scott, former director of Scottish Malt Distillers, has become the oldest person in Scotland to pass an advanced driving test.

After being an active motorist for 75 years Mr Scott chose to take the test to prove that he was still a safe driver.

However, the newly qualified advanced driver admitted his original test taken in 1935 was more straightforward than his recent examination.

Mr Scott said, "My first driving test was very simple.

"It took half an hour and as long as I dealt with the gears in a decent sort of way and drove in a fairly straight line I passed."

He added, "The advanced test was 50 minutes worth of driving in and around Inverness - on the dual carriageway and rural roads.

"I was fairly nervous about it all but fortunately I managed to pass."

Neil Grieg, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists said, "We offer our congratulations to Archie, who has proved there's no age barrier to being a good driver.

"Archie's feat underlines our policy that re-tests after an arbitrary age should not be made mandatory, rather we recommend people opt for a voluntary reassessment to improve their own confidence and safety."

 Here at duck2water we say, “Well done, Mr Scott and happy driving for the future.”

Image © CGoulao vis Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence




Hmmmm!  We’ve heard of some unfathomable loopholes being used in motoring law to get drivers let off parking tickets and speeding fines, but this drink driving case takes the prize.

A Swedish driver recently managed to persuade a court that although he was more than ten times over the legal alcohol limit, he had been asleep at the time and therefore not responsible for his actions.

 He was found outside his car, in a ditch, in Karlsrona, Southern Sweden.

In court an expert witness statement gave the opinion that the man may have been suffering from somnambulism or sleepwalking.

"Somnambulism is a well known medical phenomenon where a person can carry out complex behaviours like walking, eating and making food, driving a car and having sex without actually being awake or aware of what's happening," the doctor stated in court documents.

The doctor stated also that the man had previously shown such sleep-related behaviour and that it may have been once again triggered by medication which he had taken on the evening of the car accident.

The court stated in its ruling that "it cannot be shown beyond a reasonable doubt" that the man "was aware of his actions when he drove his car" to the extent required to find him guilty of drink driving.

Well, now we’ve heard everything. Falling asleep at the wheel is one bad driving behaviour punishable by law, but apparently, so long as you are sleepdriving, in Sweden, you can be drunk as well.

Image © Bedzine via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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