Happy landings

November 24, 2010

Hullo everyone!!

What had started back in May as a planned summer break had been pushed back later and later by The Chap’s school holidays, The Boychild’s summer visitation, The Blonde’s work commitments, my work commitments, and various other plans and activities until we found ourselves pencilling in dates in November. At which point we decided to take advantage of the time of year to flee what would no doubt be a grotty UK autumn and head for some end of season heat. Hence, after long deliberation, our destiny of choice, Cyprus. Of course planning a break a full six months hence also allowed The Blonde to take full advantage of my usual short termist strategy. “Four hour plane trip to sunshine?”, she tempted me. “No problem, I can cope with that” I bravely opined, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to endure it for weeks and weeks and weeks, so many weeks in fact that it was irrelevant. The Blonde booked it and so it was settled.

As we step off the plane into the hot dry sunshine my flying anxiety (or more precisely crashing anxiety, I’ve no problem with the actual flying) melts like an abandoned ice cream and we stroll into the cool terminal of Pathos Airport, repatriate ourselves with our luggage and head to the entrance where we’re met by a nice lady who summons up a little man with a big Mercedes to drive us to our hotel.

Downtown Pathos is dry dusty streets flanked by lightly graffiti’d slightly tired white-washed buildings. It feels slightly poor but far from downtrodden, cheap certainly but not tacky. Above all it seems to me to have a very Greek feel to it, odd, since I’ve never been to Greece. We slide smoothly through the suburbs before turning off and aiming for the smarter hotel belt along the beach-front that we saw from the plane. We turn into a large tidy car park bordered by well tended flowerbeds and pull up at the main entrance. Inside the expansive marble laid entrance is cool and quiet and we’re greeted warmly and politely by reception. Upstairs our room, home for the week, is spacious and well cared for, bathroom large and clean. Only a heavy smell of cigarette taints the picture, so we slide open the patio door to let in some fresh air and head out onto the balcony. We’ve got a non sea view room, unwilling to pay a premium when we’re unlikely to be spending much time there, but as it happens we’re on the side of the building and angled seawards and are greeted with a narrow but clear view of the sea, sun already beginning to set over gently waving palm fronds. Bliss.

After unpacking we make our way downstairs to the restaurant. The Blonde rather cleverly negotiated half board for the price of B&B so we’ve evening meals for free. To my delight the neurotic Englishman abroad is well catered for, and whilst The Blonde avails herself of more local fare I acquaint myself with the carvery. Happy days!

Later that evening we take a gentle stroll along the sea front. A still warm breeze gently plays around us as we marvel at being out in shirt sleeves at night in November, taking the evening air. I snap a few atmospheric shots of the hotel and we eventually turn in for the night, 2,500 miles and 20 degrees centigrade away from home.

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What if?

November 21, 2010

Fantastic holiday!! xxxxxx

“Never worry about anything over which you have absolutely no control”, that’s often been my advice. It’s pointless, if you can’t influence or affect the outcome then why concern yourself? You can’t change anything so don’t worry about it. As the CFM56-5 Turbofan jet engine spools up not twenty feet to the left of me I let the accelerative forces gently press my head back into the headrest and quietly, fervently, wish I could follow my own advice.

What if? What if?? What if we have a major engine failure at the point of take off? Too fast to stop, too slow to go. Would we veer off course with the thrust of just one engine and crash? Or would the pilot be able to maintain direction so we stay on line, overshoot the runway, and crash. At 170mph I feel the nose lift followed by the surreal feeling of over seventy tons of Airbus A320 going light and the ground falls away beneath me.

What if, what if? What if we have a bird strike, wasn’t that what happened to the airliner that ditched in the Hudson? That was an A320 wasn’t it? There’s no river near here we could drop into. What if we lose power, something breaks, what if? The Blonde squeezes my hand gently and kisses me on the cheek, she knows I’m beyond normal reasoning, putting me on an aircraft just makes it worse… I gaze nervously out of the window at the rapidly receding earth, sweet, solid, reassuring earth dropping away from us as we power smoothly and forcefully into the crisp clear early morning sky, 60,000 pounds force of thrust battering Newton’s Theory of Gravitation to a pulp. I slip off my wrist watch, a dual time zone affair I’d worn specially, unscrew the crown and pull it out one click. Two clicks adjusts the whole watch but one click allows me to flick the hour hand forward two hours without disturbing the running of the movement, leaving the fourth “GMT” hand to point to UK time. Cool. That passes 30 seconds, so I relieve The Blonde of her sleek ceramic and titanium Rado Integral and wind that forward to destination time as well before returning to the more pressing concern of our take off thus far.

Thirty minutes and thirty eight thousand feet later I finally admit that the take off seems to have gone well. Time to stop worrying about that and start fretting about the journey instead. What if someone has put a bomb on the plane? When it detonates, will we know about it or be killed instantly? Will we remain concious as we plummet to earth still strapped to our chairs? Will we feel the intense freezing cold of the high altitude? It’s minus fifty five degree’s centigrade at 38,000 feet, add 500mph’s worth of wind chill factor and it’s bound to be a bit parky out there. In the event of total engine failure how far can an Airbus glide? Can an Airbus glide in fact? Would it be better to be over the sea and have to ditch into it, or over land and try and get to an airstrip? What if we’re over the Alps?

They’re “fly by wire” aren’t they? What if the computer packs up? There was a story in the paper just before we left about an Airbus that had suffered total control shutdown for “several minutes”. All the screens went blank and the aircraft veered off course apparently. By the time the pilots had it back under control they were twenty miles off course! Why hadn’t the planes been grounded whilst they investigated that one? Why was I sat on one, hurtling through the sky at over 500mph, waiting for the reported shuddering and the veering off course?

I pick up my book and start reading it. The second half of Chris Evans autobiography, crazy fascinating stuff. I try to forget the frail aluminium frame surrounding me and concentrate instead on the wild ride that is Chris Evans life so far.

Another hour and I was starting to need a pee. Now obviously I know that unstrapping myself and walking forward to the loo is unlikely to tip the plane into an uncontrolled flat spin, but it just doesn’t feel right to move about, cough, sneeze, or generally do anything that could threaten the delicate balance of artificial and wholly unnatural winged flight. Unfortunately it’s another three hours to destination. I decide to risk it. Walking unsteadily past rows of people to the toilet feels innocuously like wandering down a railway carriage. I remember best chum Steve’s advice, a frequent flier he once remarked to me “they’re just buses with wings mate, nothing to worry about”. Toward the pointy end the noise of the air battering the fuselage and streaking past grows ever louder. “Yeah, 500mph 38,000ft high buses, mate” I muse, bitterly.

Re-installed next to The Blonde I offer a silent prayer of thanks to Sir Stellios, founder of Easyjet, and delve back into the adventures of Evans.

Engrossed in my book the next couple of hours fly (ahem) by and all seems to be running very smoothly when without warning I feel the power wind off simultaneously from both engines and the nose drop perceptibly. I glance at my watch, we’re about half an hour away from ETA so either we’re preparing to land, or we’ve suffered a catastrophic failure in both engines and are nose diving toward oblivion. I glance around at the cabin crew, they seem unperturbed so I cross my fingers and pray for the former. Seriously, how hard would it be to put out a quick message from the captain? “Ladies and Gentlemen we’re half an hour from destination and about to begin our descent”, that’s all I ask. Fifteen words just to re-assure any fliers of nervous disposition that all is well on the flight deck and that they aren’t in fact screaming “Mayday Mayday” into the radio. Not too much to ask is it?

The Blonde murmurs re-assuring platitudes into my ear, explaining that we are just dropping down to land. Like she’d know whether or not we are in fact running out of fuel and this is a last desperate bid to get the crate back on Terra firma without too much collateral damage. As it happened she was right, but that’s missing the point.

I gaze out of the window and my mind turns to landing, and the spectacular crosswind landing video on Youtube (well worth a quick look, just search “Youtube” and then “crosswind landings”). Landing can be the most difficult and dangerous part, getting it wrong just as the speed of the plane drops below minimum flight speed leaves no second chances beyond grabbing a fist full of throttle and hoping to claw desperately back into the air before running out of runway or veering off and striking something solid at circa 150mph, ripping the aircraft to shreds and scattering debris and bodyparts over a wide and varied area. That’s assuming everything keeps working properly of course, remember the plane that crash-landed at Heathrow recently after losing all engine on final approach? Freezing fuel lines apparently, the pilot managed to get it down safely, but when they reconstructed the scenario on the simulator later it reckoned it couldn’t be done!

I look out of the window anxious to catch my first glimpse of the island, our holiday paradise for the next seven days. Through the light mist I spot calm gently rippled Mediterranean sea. Perfect, if it all goes to rats at least we’ve got ideal conditions for a marine ditching, and being so far south it should be quite pleasantly warm to drown in if we can’t escape the plane in time. Then I spy land, just the tail end of the island through the heat haze, gliding gently up to meet us. We drop lower and lower, gathering everything into focus, it looks beautiful. I grab the camera and fire off a shot of the harbour as we swoop past it.

Closer and closer the ground edges, I can see the shadow of the plane on the dusty ground, coming to meet us. The pilot slows to what feels like walking speed, don’t stop now for flips sake man, we’re still two hundred feet up!! But against all odds the plane continues to hang in the air, nose up now, sinking confidently toward Mother Earth. Fifty feet to go and suddenly the dry barren land turns to concrete edged with landing lights, hallelujah, runway! The plane sinks the final few feet and with a gentle bump the main landing gear touches down. Seconds later the nose wheels join it and air brakes sweep gracefully up from the wings, adding to the firm retardation pulling us forward in our seats, the plane slowing almost to a standstill, creeping across the tarmac and swinging toward the terminal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Cyprus. Local time is 3:30pm and the temperature is twenty six degrees centigrade”.

I gently unclamp my fingers one by one from the vice like grip I have of The Blonde’s hand, look at her and smile. “There you go”, I say, “Piece of cake. Honestly, I really don’t know what you get so worried about”.

Brick wall

November 4, 2010

Worth being late for...

If it’s not too pretentious a thing to say, I felt genuinely inspired by the subject of my last three way review for The Editor. All of the subjects were high quality high performance highly desirable items, and I’d enjoyed my time with them very much.

I’d already written the bulk of the review a week before I got near them working on my previous knowledge, the actual hands on experience would merely fill in the blanks. After spending a glorious day with them I came home and substantially re-wrote much of the article concentrating instead on their more cerebral joys. The words flowed and I had it penned in a couple of evenings and a long Sunday morning. I fired it across to The Blonde for a grammar check (she’s so much betterer at the Inglush Lingwage than mi), gave it a final run through and tweak that evening, and fired it off to The Editor to be on his desk when he arrived for work Monday morning. I was pleased with it, very pleased, even more so than my previous published article.

That was nearly three weeks ago, and despite a degree of communication, punctuated by couple of subtle reminders (and one not so subtle), I’ve heard absolutely nothing on the subject since.

Frustrating would be an understatement. More to the point, The Editor’s plans for an article a month simply cannot happen if he takes three weeks just to read my filed copy, let alone the organisational time that goes into it.

So, not for the first time, I feel like I’m back to banging my head against a wall.

Good job the cars are still selling…

Onwards and…

October 21, 2010

Lastminute.success! xxxx

A slightly belated annual review went well, I was given a 25% pay rise! Not quite as fantastic as it sounds as it’s a rise on basic pay only, which typically accounts for a third of my total salary, but well worth having non the less. The reason given was that they “didn’t want me contemplating moving on”. In a weird way I felt more pleased about their obvious desire to try and hang on to me than I did about the extra cash. Briefly anyway… So, general consensus at the 12 month (and a bit) interval, mostly positive.

In other news, a brief midweek two day break last week saw me off on a three way photo shoot for my latest review for The Editor, and possibly, hopefully, the beginning of many more to come.

I’d organised this via a couple of dealers who’d put me in touch with some willing owners and despite a couple of set up snags it finally went off well. I spent several evenings plus last Sunday writing and polishing the review until I was sure I had it right and fired it off to The Editor for marking.

I await his response…

Blame the Italians

October 10, 2010

Back soon! xxxxx

Moving a new Ka that had just arrived this week I spied a button I’d not seen before. Now the interesting(ish) thing about the Ka is it’s actually built by Fiat, it’s more or less a Fiat 500 with a different interior and slightly differing front and rear bodywork.

And as such, it does throw up a few random eccentricities not found in the rest of the Ford range such as the button above which, after careful thought and deliberation, I have concluded can only be an optional and switchable Snail Farting Warning System.

Funny old lot, the Italians…

Soundtrack

September 29, 2010

Curves unlimited... xxxxx

8:15am. I plip the central locking and the door mirrors of my latest Fiesta electronically unfold from their parked position flush against the door, whirring smoothly out with a discreet single long flash of the indicators, sidelights fading on in unison, all of which I find strangely pleasing. I pull open the door, drop into the driving seat and swing the door shut. Seatbelt on, engine on, radio on, and we’re off, to the cheery morning greeting of Chris Evans on Radio Two. Thus begins the soundtrack to my day.

8:30am. The car is parked on the forecourt, price tag positioned in the window and up for sale. I do this for two reasons, firstly if we sell it I get a new one (not that there’s anything wrong with this one, I just like getting new cars), and secondly if it’s out the front it gets cleaned everyday. Inside it’s computer on, launch Kerridge, open emails, and switch on the showroom radio for more Evans in the morning. I used to really dislike Chris Evans, but since he’s taken over from Terry Wogan he’s completely turned my opinion around. I read his autobiography recently, it’s fascinating, and indeed he admits himself that success went to his head some little while ago and he lost the plot. He’s back with a vengeance now though, and has turned his morning show into the most popular broadcast in Europe! A really brilliant and gifted broadcaster.

9:30am and the day is getting under way, marked by the transition to Ken Bruce, a sort of poor man’s Terry Wogan. Pop Master is as annoying as usual and the “humorous” by play with the traffic girl a tad wearing. Normally we’ll start to see a customer or two by now though so it fades to the background.

12:00pm and Jeremy Vine hits the airwaves, marking lunchtime. If I’m free the start of the show see’s my retreat to the back room, lunchbox in one hand, this weeks Autocar in the other, for a half hour break. Back out and Jeremy is stuck firmly into his first great debate of the day. He covers some interesting topics but inevitably just as it’s getting interesting my listening is interrupted by the need to head off another customer on the forecourt before they make good their escape. Almost daily I promise myself I’ll catch up with a topic that night on iplayer. I never ever do.

2:00pm. “Zany” Steve Wright hits the airwaves and we’re well into the afternoon session. Another brilliant presenter, he never fails to raise a smile through the monotony of the long afternoon.

5:00pm. Drive Time with Simon Mayo, his “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think” theme tune a relief as it heralds the fast approaching end of play and time to do the daily banking, check the cars are locked, reset the security cameras and finally wind up another long tedious day and get the heck out of there.

5:30pm and I’m greeted by the shiny freshly washed Fiesta’s mirrors perking up like an eager dog at the plip of the key. It’s time to go. Drive Time on the radio, thoughts of sales made or the ones that got away playing though my head on the short journey home before I can shut the door on another day at the coal face.

Same again yesterday, same again tomorrow. The daily soundtrack rolls on and on.

Minibreak

September 16, 2010

Lovely weekend... xxxxx

A three day minibreak saw The Blonde and I on my annual pilgrimage to the Southampton Boatshow in my sporty little MX5 (which, incidentally, has turned dark blue and sprouted air conditioning, leather, and a Bose hi fi since last I mentioned it). Time off in September is a tricky blighter due it being a new registration month, and took some concentrated negotiating. As it happens I didn’t miss much, an encouraging flurry at the end of August which saw me selling as many cars in three days as I had the preceding four weeks faded to nothing at the onset of the new month as an eerie quiet settled once more across the motor industry.

A good time was had looking at boats I can’t afford (which was most of them) followed by a very pleasant evening with a close friend and his wife who live in the vicinity. The following morning we were up bright and early for a trip up to Bath for the day and a stay in a very posh hotel that night, before returning home later the following day. Those who’ve followed (or read) this blog from the off might recall I visited the show last year, just weeks before I started the adventure of my new job. It felt curious to be making the same trip twelve months on but feeling like an old hand at work now.

Excitingly, we even wangled a meeting with The Editor into the weekend. He’d expressed a desire for a chat when last we exchanged emails. I think my thwarted decision to hang up my writing hat may have gently touched a nerve, as he was full of plans and ideas for me to work on and keen to express his desire for my input through next year. I’m still not holding my breath on this one but the vibe is strong and good on the writing front right now, provided of course that I can deliver, which is the challenge in amongst the day job.

In the meantime work continues on the project he gave me a couple of weeks ago. Much of the writing is already done, but I need to collate facts and figures (the boring bit) and also try and arrange some “hands on” time with the products (the difficult but exciting bit). If I can get this one pulled off and put to bed I shall start to feel that progress is finally being made I think.

And back in the real world (or as close as I get) I continue to schlep into work every day in the hope of dragging a reluctant purchase out of the ever sparser number of punters that cross our forecourt. Not the most fun profession in the world right now, particularly during these dark recessionary times, the worst of which, I’m convinced, has not yet passed.

I really need to get this writing going properly.

Resignation

August 30, 2010

Good luck with the new plan! xxxxxx

I sat for a long time gazing contemplatively at the email I’d just written. Did I really want to be sending this, killing the dream perhaps for good? I’d already made the decision, hence the email in front of me which had been written and re-written again and again in an attempt to end things on as cordial but final note as possible. It was to The Editor, from whom I’d heard nothing since our last communications had fizzled out on his side once again. Enough was enough, it was time to take the hint and bite this particular bullet.

It had been worth a try, and I was very chuffed with my one and only full comparison review I’d had published, seven pages of glorious technicolour spread across the inside of an international magazine, it even had a mention on the front cover.

But it seems that I am a car salesman now, and earning a reasonable living from it too, which was after all Priority One when I was laid off back in early 09.

So the email thanked him for all his time, suggested we wind up my monthly column also, and offered a friendly parting on the the best of terms. I sighed and hit send. Gone. Done.

Twenty minute later a soft double tone gently announced incoming email. I clicked over to Outlook, a reply from The Editor. I opened it expecting the usual polite acceptance and good wishes for the future that inevitable accompany the final goodbye.

“Hi Charlie, did you not get my last email? I’m revamping the used section of the mag from January and I’ve got you very much pencilled in for a regular full slot. Quite understand if you want to call it a day but I hope not”.

Now I’ve heard this before but this felt different, mainly because if he had been trying to give me the polite brush off I’d just dropped the ultimate opportunity straight into his lap. All he’d needed to do was to thank me for my efforts to date, wish me well and I was out of his hair for good. But instead I had this request to stay on board, and an outline of a potential commission.

I decided that if this was going to start up again it was going to have to start up properly. I wrote straight back, no I didn’t want to quit, I just felt it was going that way, yes I’d like the slot, give me some specifications and I’ll crack on!

Half a dozen email exchanges later I’d got it in the bag, word count and full details of what was required, a proper commission, job on!

So the proverbial fat lady hasn’t sung after all, we’re back in the game!

I’m going to really start to push this now though, I want this to happen.

100

August 18, 2010

Ouch! xxxx

One hundred! The number of posts I’ve made on this blog, and as of this week the number of cars I’ve sold since joining my local Ford dealership toward the end of last year. Which, given that last year was very much a steep learning curve during which I didn’t sell very many, isn’t bad going.

But by jove it’s boring whilst it’s quiet. And the truth is that it isn’t that interesting when it’s busy, although at least time passes more quickly.

And the big question this brings me too is, would it be that much more interesting if I were selling a marque rather more exciting than Ford? Would dealing Aston Martins engage me more fully? Would Audi light my fire on a daily basis? Would selling for Porsche see me leaping into action more eagerly at the sound of my Stephen Fry voiced Jeeves alarm clock? And, I muse, what sort of company cars do the salesmen (I struggle with the official term of “Sales Executive” for my role, there’s nothing particularly executive about it) of these marques drive? Is the grass really greener, the cars faster, the salary higher, and crucially, the job more interesting?

The trouble is that I’ve already carved myself a fairly comfortable niche at Ford. I get on well with the guys here, the manager is a very decent and supportive cove, and most of all it’s local. Admittedly it’s Sunday as I write this, but I cracked a record six minute journey time this morning. Even in the worst of the weekday rush hour it’s never normally more than about ten. All the big city main dealers are based, unsurprisingly, in the big city nearly an hour away from home. And they open till six (we shut at 5:30) Do I really want to add ten hours (more than an entire working day) to my working week?

And more than that the cars we deal in seem, in the main, to attract normal pleasant generally easy to deal with folk. Call me cynical, but I can’t help but wonder whether your typical Aston Martin buyer might have, to put it politely, a slightly more demanding persona.

And indeed, I still believe we’ve not necessarily seen the worst of this recession. A small provincial dealership dealing with good straightforward mainstream new and used stock isn’t a bad place to sit it out.

So for all these reasons and more I find myself sitting tight and biding my time. But just occasionally, when I’m sat in my Ford Fiesta and I see an Audi S5 Cabriolet or a Porsche 911 burble quietly by, I think hmmm…

Doing ninety

August 5, 2010

I love it when a plan comes together... xxxx

WAWAWAWAWAWAWAWA!!!!!! The sound of a Ford Ka engine bouncing off the rev limiter as we drift down the road at 4mph, clutch thankfully in, accelerator pressed flat to the floor as the lady behind the wheel tries to process the information that, despite pressing harder and harder on the pedal, the engine is screaming and car isn’t slowing.

I sit in the back of the car cringing as her husband tries to placate her whilst attempting to persuade her to lift her foot off and press the middle pedal instead. “What’s happening?” she continues to ask before eventually pulling up the handbrake, the car grinding to a gentle halt. Once we’re stopped she feels able to lift her foot from the “brake” and the revs die back to tickover. That’s a promising sale lost there and then, there’s no way this will be anything other than the car’s fault. Sure enough even when order has been resumed she’s genuinely baffled as to “why the car did that”.

It’s pretty obvious what’s happened here, unfamiliar car, pedals offset very slightly to the left compared with her normal car, and despite the fact that I’d made absolutely sure she was happy with all the controls before climbing into the back (for self preservation reasons never mind making sure the customer feels happy), as she’d let the handbrake off and we’d started to roll down the hill she’d gone for what she thought was the brake to check the speed, hit the accelerator, and when the car didn’t slow and the revs shot up she’d been unable to process the information quickly and just pressed down harder and harder.

Which leaves me with one obvious thought. Imagine what would have happened if we’d been in an automatic? Basically the car would have simply continued to accelerate quickly until either her husband had talked her into lifting her foot or we’d reached something solid enough to stop us from whatever speed we’d reached.

Now it may not surprise you to know that this was a lady “of a certain age”. At which point I will immediately be accused by some of being “ageist”. Which I’m certainly not, I’ll sell cars to anyone! And on a more serious note, I’ve had test drives with many an elderly pensioner (I live in an area popular with people “of a certain age”) who, sure, have been slow and methodical, but have been perfectly safe, perfectly aware of their limits and perfectly aware of what they’re doing and what is going on around them. I had one lady well into her eighties who turned up with a cushion so she could see over the steering wheel, rather worryingly. Funnily enough she was buying a Ka too, an earlier one, and I approached the test drive with more than a degree of trepidation. But she asked that we stayed off of fast roads and she handled the car slowly but perfectly safely, I felt quite happy to accompay her.

On the other hand an elderly gentleman with a very battle-scarred Corsa was an absolute liability on the road, unaware of other vehicle movements around us or hazards approaching, focussed purely on the ten feet of road in front of the car only. At one point he selected fourth instead of second, stalled the car, and didn’t notice! We were rolling downhill at the time and, dimly aware of the lack of response to the thottle, dipped the clutch, shoved the gear lever round a bit, found second and let the clutch out harshly bump starting the car without even knowing it had stopped! That was a very short and very frightening drive, culminating in slotting third whilst waiting to turn right onto our dealer forecourt. Fearing that we were about to lurch across oncoming traffic and stall broadside on to an oncoming truck I politely informed him that I thought he might be in third. No response, just the grim death-stare at oncoming traffic. I pointed the error out again. Nothing. Self preservation kicked in and I reached down and slotted it out of third and into first. Seconds later we stuttered across the road and onto the forecourt intact. Phew.

So the problem is that there is no precise point at which one’s faculties fade to the point of genuine motoring danger. Some people become a real liability in their seventies, others are still driving safely, slowly and carefully maybe, no problem with that, but safely, into their nineties. So it would be ridiculous and quite wrong to impose a driving age limit. But given that, if we live long enough, everyone’s abilities will diminish with age, surely it does make sense to regularly test our more senior citizens, perhaps from 75 upwards, just to check? Not a full blown re-test, just a quick once round the block confirmation that they’ve “still got what it takes”.

Because based on personal and up close experience, some of them, no doubt many of them in fact, sadly simply no longer possess the required mental agility to be on the road in the company of you, me, our friends and our families. And equally clearly they’re not going to give up driving on their own.