Christmas come early
Yes, we are well aware (despite the weather) that it is June and the summer has only just begun, however, Hamleys toy store has already released a list of toys it thinks will be best sellers come December.
A bit premature perhaps, but we suppose that when you’re in the toy business it’s your business to know such things.
According to the company, it’s toy cars that will be at the top of every child’s letter to Farther Christmas – unless the bad news has been broken to them, in which case they’ll be begging their parents for them instead.
The head of buying at Hamleys has said, "There's a lot that is movie driven this year, with Cars 2, Transformers 3…
"Finn McMissile, with his fully loaded car, as well as the Transformers bumble bee I'd imagine will be sought after this Christmas."
As for the rest of us who can’t get away with rolling toy cars across the carpet anymore, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to be gifted a real road-legal vehicle. We have six months to wish for it – better start now so that the wish builds momentum.
Soon electric won’t seem so eccentric
It’s understandable – I mean, who would want to run out of juice just as they’re on a deserted road in the wilds of Rannoch Moor and a louring sky is closing in?
But slowly, ever since the first generation Prius appeared through to the latest Nissan Leaf, people are being converted to greener motoring.
Just last week it was reported that the founder of the charity Zero Carbon World had managed to drive the 894 mile length of Britain in an electric Tesla car, using only public car battery charging points to keep him going.
Good news is that the car managed to negotiate even the most challenging of terrains and conditions without so much as a hiccup, often reaching speeds of 70mph.
Maybe one day we will all be electric and the petrol pump will be a thing of the past.
Day tripper sees red as train offers to take strain
Now, maybe I have got this wrong, but the last thing I want to see, as an occasional, special-trip-only type of motorway user, as I’m sitting in a three-mile tailback on a hot summer’s day is a gleeful message telling me that I should have gone by train. I have a partner who can do that and I don’t even have to take my eyes off the road to listen to his berating tones.
The signs will also, reportedly, give drivers alternative directions to get them off the motorways and onto lesser-used roads through the country.
Once again I’m puzzled. Wasn’t one of the major reasons for the building of these swathes of concrete through our green and pleasant land a bid to keep cars off the minor roads and out of small villages, the roads of which could not cope with hoards of day trippers all attempting to get to the sea.
So, I bet the occupants of tiny hamlets, and those who have a B road running by their property en-route to a tourist destination, are just thrilled to bits that the honourable members are about to tell people to drive past their houses so that the motorways can run a bit more quickly.
Anyway, as I plan to drive a (supposedly) three-hour journey up several motorways this weekend, I wonder what the trip has in store for me? And if my passenger should dare to whisper anything about alternative travel choices… why, I think I’ll stop at the nearest service station, quietly open the door and tell him he can make his own way to Bedford because I’m going home!
Don’t always follow instructions
In Washington, USA, three women went plunging into the Mercer Slough river in their SUV when they trusted the commanding voice of their GPS system a little too much.
Now it was dark – but if they had the vehicle lights on and weren’t driving too fast, they should have been able to see that they were being guided right down a boat slipway that led straight into the water.
Luckily for the women aboard the newly submerged vehicle, they were able to get out quickly as the Mercer Slough came pouring in.
After that all they could do was watch as their car sunk below the surface – no doubt drowning the engine completely.
A tow truck driver tried to drag the SUV out, but to no avail, and today the police are trying their hand at car fishing instead.
We doubt the car will be drivable after that ordeal.
Don’t get too drawn in by the sat-nav instructions – you have been warned.
Future super car
A 21-year-old Chinese mechanic design graduate has created a sleek space-ship of a car which she claims can drive over road, sand, ice and water!
She designed the super car for a competition which was held by Volkswagen to find a great “go-anywhere” vehicle, and has called it the Volkswagen Aqua.
Apparently it can not only pass from one type of environment to another seamlessly, but has a top speed of 62mph, which may sound quite low but isn’t bad for a vehicle which is supported by airbags and pushed forwards by four fans and a hydrogen fuel-cell motor.
Yes, you read correctly, this fantastically futuristic vehicle also emits zero carbon emissions.
We love the photos and information we’ve seen so far on this car, but we’re a little put off by one aspect.
People getting into the car will go through a hatch at the rear of the vehicle, which is very cool, but we imagine this means there’s no boot to speak of.
So this might not be a great car for going on holiday or to the shops with – oh, and you’re only allowed one friend, since this automobile is a two-seater.
Still, a quick look at the concept pictures of this car will make you forget anything that you were previously concerned about, vehicle-related or not.
Google news from three decades ago
Recently a new tool has sprung up on the news pages so that when you search for something you receive details of archived items about your search term.
And when I put in “James Bond cars” I saw three old news items relating to all things 007.
For instance, on April 5th 1966, the Sarasota Journal was reporting that Prince Andrew was about to take delivery of a model of the secret agent’s Aston Martin DB5, as driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger, given as a gift by the Buckinghamshire motor manufacturers.
The scanned copy of the newspaper reported, “The prince, third of the queen’s four children, will use the car around the grounds of Windsor Castle.
“Electrically driven, it can go six miles an hour. Its radar operates over a radius of three miles.”
And the queen was reported to have said, “It’s wonderful. Andrew will be so pleased.”
So, there you have it – the internet giving us a little bit of news from over 35 years ago. Yes, Google is great!
It’swan long journey to the other side!
Sorry! But this is what kind of happened in Birmingham recently when a family of mute swans crossed the busy B4148 dual carriageway.
The two adult swans and their five fluffy cygnets were moving from Plantsbrook Nature Reserve to nearby Pype Hayes Park when they found they had to negotiate the road.
Having wandered onto the highway, they failed to heed the Green Cross Code guidance of “go straight across the road” and decided to have a bit of sit down on the tarmac.
After bringing traffic to a standstill for more than ten minutes, it finally took some brave bystanders to physically lift the swans off the road, depositing them safely on the other side.
One of the swan-movers said, “We grabbed the male swan by the neck and dragged him. The female put up more of a fight, flapping about and making lots of noise.
“We then scooped up the cygnets and took them to the side where they were safe and waddled off quite happily.”
Here at duck2water, although we’re a little intimidated by our big white power-house cousins, we’re glad to hear they were all safe and that some conscientious drivers helped them on the way to their new home.
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