Welsh drivers demand bilingual parking tickets

What would be an English person's response to receiving a written notification of a speeding fine in French. They may tear the letter up, or perhaps even make a claim of mistaken identity.

It should be of little surprise then that a parking ticket issued in the Northern Welsh county of Gwynedd, where more than half the residents speak in their native tongue, has been the cause of confusion and anger for a female motorist.

Indeed, the female driver and her father were so frustrated that the ticket wasn't bilingual that they launched a protest against the demanded payment of £65.

The proud Welsh mother and long time resident of Gwynedd said, “I feel strongly about the parking ticket being issued in English because our first language is Welsh.

“It's what I speak at home. It's not fair that they have issued the ticket in English.”

Such is the outcry against the erosion of Welsh identity that the Gwynedd Councillor for Penrhyndeudraeth has announced his support for her case.

However, the chances of overturning the fine are minimal, as the 1983 Welsh language act does not cover the issuing of documents by private companies.

This case would seem to lend credence to the Lonely Planet overview of Welshness as “a strength of spirit and character which despite centuries of neglect and attempted assimilation remains defiant.”

Photo © snigl3t via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Police spot female driver practicing eulogy

After catching a rugby player heading towards the motorway in a golf buggy and a U.F.O doing whatever a U.F.O does above Cardiff, the police could be forgiven for claiming that they’ve seen it all. That is until Scottish officers spotted a woman reading The Bible while driving in Scotland.

Apparently the female driver felt so unprepared as she made her way to a funeral in Perth that she felt impelled to seek holy inspiration. She failed to realise that by perching The Bible on her legs she was placing herself and other motorists in danger.

A representative of the Tayside Police said, “This weekend a road policing unit patrol car travelling on the A90 dual carriageway between Dundee and Perth noticed the female driver deep in concentration and apparently talking to herself.

“As the officials drew alongside the car, the driver was found to be reading from a bible propped up on the steering wheel.”

Although the officers had great sympathy for the woman’s situation they were left with little option but to issue a fine and add points to her driving license. This case should act as a reminder of the dangers of multi-tasking while on the road.

Photo © jmwk via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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The Lamborghini Reventon

A lot of us would probably be quite pleased to own a Lamborghini – any Lamborghini at all – but what about the most expensive one ever manufactured?

There are only 20 Lamborghini Reventon’s in the whole world, and Surrey-based company SuperVettura has just recently received Britain’s only model.


If you direct your eyes to the photo on the right, you will see a truly desirable car. It can go from 0 to 62 miles an hour in 3.4 seconds, its top speed is more than 211mph, it has a G-force meter on the dashboard, and its design was inspired by the F22-Raptor fighter jet.

The only downside is that it costs £849,000.

Oh – that’s a pity.

Third-hand Nissan Micra it is then. Still, we can dream…

Photo © Daniel Dionne via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Parking metres might not like new coins

Planning on getting rid of some loose change in the parking metre? You might not manage.

From this month, lots of new 5p and 10p coins are going to be churned out of the Royal Mint, but they will be slightly thicker than the old versions so they may not fit into certain machines.

Annoying? Yes.

It’s all part of a Government money-saving scheme which will apparently save the Treasury somewhere in the region of £7 million to £8 million a year. The catch is that its estimated cost for councils and industry will be about £80 million over a two year period.

The old coins are made of a copper and nickel alloy but the new ones will be made of steel, which is cheaper since the cost of copper and nickel has increased.

Our pockets may soon be overflowing with five and ten pence coins that won’t fit anywhere.

Photo © millermz via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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The spy car with double standards

A spy car which the council claim was deployed with the aim of identifying vehicles being driven along bus lanes, but which some public members say was sent out as part of a money-making exercise, has been caught in the act of violating the road laws.

Pictures of the council vehicle taking spy shots from the vantage point of a loading bay and a road supposed to be used exclusively by commercial vehicles have sparked outrage among the local community of Hanley, in Stoke on Trent.

One local worker said, “I can understand why the council is monitoring the situation, because driving in bus lanes can cause crashes.

“But they should practice what they preach. It's not fair if they're going to fine someone for driving offences and then go and do it themselves.”

A spokesperson for the council responded by saying, “Wherever possible the enforcement vehicles park legally and only park in restricted areas in exceptional circumstances.”

To date the spy car has been responsible for the issuing of 8761 tickets, generating over £196,000 in revenue. However, a number of angered motorists have refused to hand over their money.

The council have been advised to take heed of a similar chain of events, which led to an attack upon a speed camera in Lincolnshire recently.

Photo © Arthur Chapman via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Satnavs send motorists round the bend

Have you heard the story about the football loving daughter of the Earl of Spencer being driven to the wrong Stamford Bridge by a misguided taxi driver?

Or how about the tale of a group of schoolchildren who were looking forward to a day out at Hampton Court Palace and actually ended up at Hampton Court in Islington?

The three words that connect these two unhappy stories are ‘satellite navigation system’. Yes that's right, the cutting edge technology that is supposed to be of help to drivers.

In reality the motoring gadgets have caused some people to get lost and others to be involved in near scrapes and accidents.

But the situation could improve if Transport Minister Norman Baker has his way. He is calling for a “satnav summit, where the highway authorities, motoring organisations and satnav manufacturers can map out their ideas for improvements to the system.

Mr Baker stated that “This will help prevent huge lorries from being sent down inappropriate roads and ensure motorists are given the best possible directions.”

Until these plans come to fruition your best bet is to keep a traditional road map in the car. They might be harder to follow than a satnav but at least they won't guide you into a fast flowing river.

Photo © Unhindered by Talent via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Old photos

Ah, those were the days – you were young and carefree, with grazed knees, shamelessly wearing clothes your mum bought you, and losing teeth right left and centre (and top and bottom).

It’s nice looking back on old photos and remembering times long gone, but if you can look at your driving licence photo and reminisce you might be in for a £1000 fine.

Apparently, more than 1.6 million UK motorists don’t realise that the photo on their licence has to be renewed every ten years.

Getting a new photo on your licence only costs £20, which is considerably less than the fine, so make sure you check the expiry date and get yours changed if needed.

If you’re too young to be concerned by this, maybe you could make sure that family members are aware of the potential fine and have a look at their drivers’ licences.

As the head of Sainsbury’s car insurance states, “Drivers should also remember that their photo card licence serves as more than just a driving licence. Should they intend to use it as a form of identification for other things such as hiring a car or an internal flight, for example, having an out of date photograph could cause problems or delays.”

Photo © jinterwas via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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Icy roads are no problem with the Volkswagen Aqua!

Over the winter months many motorists think very carefully before they get behind the wheel and hit the road – rain, ice and snow can all have a negative effect on driving safety, and, to avoid a road accident, drivers sometimes choose to use an alternative form of transport or to not go out at all.

However, a Chinese designer has sought to change all this with the invention of a new super car called the Volkswagen Aqua.

According to reports, 21-year-old Yuhan Zhang designed an all-terrain vehicle which can seamlessly move between different surfaces for a competition run by Volkswagen.

The vehicle is able to drive on sand, water and roads alike and works similarly to a hovercraft. Two engines mean that it is able to hover above the ground as well as moving forward.

Plus, the car is environmentally friendly with zero fuel emissions as it is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

The car has been designed with technology which is currently available, but we have a feeling we might be waiting a long time to experience driving one of these!

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Back in Blighty

Sometimes the greatest dangers are those closest to home.

Spare a thought for the retired couple from London who recently made a 33,000-mile round-the-world trip in their rare and classic 1956 Bristol 405 Drophead coupe.

The “wrinkly gap year” couple had a whale of a time and hardly ran into any difficulty at all. In fact, although they got a couple of punctures, their trip was pretty much incident free.

So imagine their surprise when safely back in Blighty they parked at their local Sainsbury’s only to have someone put a sizeable dent in the classic car – as welcome back to reality statements go, it takes some beating.

''I was just walking back towards the car and I thought 'gosh, that doesn't look right' and there was a large dent in the near-side front wing, someone had obviously overly crocked it parking next to me and put a dent in,'' said one of the pair.

And with £300 worth of damage sustained, it is probable that the incident has resulted in a car insurance claim.

Image © aldenjewell via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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