Oh Lord, don’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz…

Now then.

I don’t believe in stereotyping.

Especially in the world of ‘you are what you drive’.

Because that would be stupid, right?


(except that two out of the three drivers who unexpectedly blocked oncoming lines of traffic – as mentioned in this post – were Mercedes drivers)

But this evening (as I correctly and prophetically thought that the drive to pick up The Lovely S might be an interesting experience) I saw one and a half Mercedes cars.

I saw the first one on the A442 at Bradford House, north of Droitwich.

At this spot the road dips down in to a deep dip.

Normally this deep dip isn’t filled with a fast-flowing torrent of flood water.

It was this evening.

And there was a police car, blue light flashing.

The police officer was telling people that the road was impassable.

But the Mercedes driver knew better.

She pulled around the police car and drove down in to the dip and forwards in to the water.

And her driving was straight out of the book of “The proper way to drive through deep water“.


She floored it and bombed through the deep water.

Tried to bomb it through the deep water.

She got thirty-five metres towards the far side; the bow-wave was washing up against the windscreen, the stern-wave would have impressed an off-shore racing yacht.

I sat there impressed at her stupidity.

And then the lights on her car went out.

The bow-wave and stern-wave collapsed.

The car lost forward motion.

The water began to settle around the Mercedes.

The driver opened the door, letting tens of gallons of water in to wash around the inside of her Mercedes (I guess her electric window opener wouldn’t work!) and called back to the policeman for assistance.

I could have sworn I heard him laugh.

Of course I might have been mistaken, I was turning my car around at the time.

The half of a Mercedes was the top half.

Of another one; abandoned.

The bottom half was submerged beneath 3′ of fast-running water.


I’m going to avoid the stereotyping statement about Mercedes drivers believing their cars are capable of floating on water.



More flooding in Worcestershire

It had to happen.

The last lot of rain has barely drained away from the land in to the local river network that is already swollen and – in a few places – overflowing.

The last 12 hours of rain has been the bridge too far.

Coming back from Droitwich at 13.30 I had to take a detour because the A38 was closed by the Morrison’s roundabout.

Water was pouring upwards out of the drains.

People were trying to drive through water levels of 2′ and over.

Three cars were abandoned across the road (in a ‘conked out’ kind of way).

I’ve declined to ride later today.

The roads are flooded and I expect even the arena is temporarily out of action until this downpour stops nd the water drains away.

Driving to Droitwich this evening to pick up The Lovely S might be an interesting experience!


Today’s big learning experience


The band.


Track called ‘High‘.

It rivals cold baked-bean and Worcestershire Sauce sandwiches* as a Truly Great Thing.

Oh yes.

* Look, I had a traumatic time as a student and this became my metaphysical crutch. And it’s a bit like having a Pot Noodle addiction; you’re never completely safe from it. Even if (like cold baked-bean and Worcestershire Sauce sandwiches) the addiction is to an excellent hangover cure. Or just a brilliant item of food stuffery. And hey… it’s veggie!


Etty-cut (up)

OK, I give in.

Can you tell me?

When did it become acceptable to cut across a lane of oncoming traffic and sit there – blocking the way – to wait for a gap in the other line of traffic?




It’s made me chuckle a little.

There’s an item in today’s news that says that our MPs want the minimum driving age raised to 18 years.

And yet I’ve been (Hmm… I can’t say ‘cut up’ because that would be incorrect so I’ll use the proper description) forcibly blocked from proceeding in an unexpected manner that caused me to have to use severe braking and then had my journey halted three times today.

Not by younger drivers.

Middle aged drivers.

Two females and one male.

And not a boy-racer in sight.


Hill Street Blues

I used to watch the eponymous TV prog.

Mold-breaking, in its day.

But I remember a scene from one particular episode where hardened police Sergeant says to bitter undercover cop:

Let’s hope the temperature doesn’t climb any hotter. If the mercury gets higher so will the body count.

It was an observation that in warmer times people can be prone to lose their cool (ha ha!) and do things they might later regret.

I remember this scene because about 17.00 today in sunny south London (temp: 24.5c) I saw the logical in action.

Two car drivers, outside Camberwell, stopped to have a real ding dong in the middle of the road.

Neither vehicle had made contact with the other but, I suspect, one was keeping station too closely for the leading driver to be comfortable with.

Did I say ‘ding dong’?

It was a real slagging match.

And a fist was waved in the face of one driver,

Neither showed signs of backing down.

Neither did back down.

And then a passing police car pulled over and the driver of that vehicle intervened.

Then the matter was closed off.


Not why did he intervene.

Why did it happen?

Why do we let our self-control evaporate when we got warmer?

Why do we permit ourselves to become so… stressed out that we always seem to be living on the verge of blowing up when things we don’t like cross our field of vision?

I find it impossible to believe that this scene would have occurred in the dead of winter.

It was interesting to observe – and interesting to listen to.

But I’m thankful that we don’t carry guns as a matter of routine in this country.


Sunday’s show jumping…

Didn’t happen.

Whilst it would be untrue to say that ‘rain stopped play’ (other nutcases braved the downpours)…

I decided to let discretion be the better part of valour.

And remained at home.

I wasn’t being a fair-weather rider (honest!).

I just didn’t have any water-wings big enough for Vin.


Film review: Perfume

Don’t watch it while you’re eating.

In fact, don’t watch it soon after you’ve eaten.

It’s a rough, tough, unpleasantly gory start.

But it gets better.

And better.

And better.

Set in pre-revolution France Perfume is the story of a man with an extraordinary gift – the power to ‘divine’ smells.

In a time when open sewers ran through the streets and many of the population lived in total squalor…

In a time when fresh, uncontaminated drinking/washing water was as far out of reach of everyone on the planet as eradicating hunger is today…

The gift of scent and the ability to mask the unpleasantly odorous with something pleasant…

This would have been a gift greater than anyone of the time could have imagined.

Despite being gritty and treating the period with great realism, this is a beautiful film.

The cinematography is brilliant.

A moving portrait of shades, colours and hues.

And, I think, homage to Stanley Kubrik.

Was I imagining nods in the direction of A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon?

The cast is underplayed, a strange thing to say with a cast as strong as this (Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood and beautifully narrated by John Hurt).

The locations are stunning.

The story is stunningly woven.

The combination of a German director, German producer and international cast have made something incredibly worthwhile.

An unusual subject, stunningly filmed.

Film review: Shrek The Third

Many people are apparently labouring under the misapprehension – because of a generous certification – that Shrek The Third is a children’s film.

It isn’t.

What child would get the soundtrack and the way it was used (Do You Remember Rock n’ Roll by The Ramones, Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, the beautifully sardonic use of Live and Let Die – so ironically sung by a chorus of frogs –  the Wings version of course, not Guns n’ Roses, or Damien Rice’s Nine Crimes)?

What child would get the deliciously pervy exchanges (the one between Prince Charming and Rapunzel is a great example)?

What child would get the cinematic references (Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music – beautifully done by Julie Andrews!, Midnight Cowboy, Monty Python & The Holy Grail – or was it Spamalot? – A Chorus Line and The Truman Show… oh yeah, and Rosemary’s Baby/The Exorcist)?

The story’s a little weak in places but it’s still an enjoyable romp.

If you can think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon (out of the bedroom), do it.

But Shrek The Third is a fun, entertaining way to pass time in the company of someone you love.


Dressage for fun

Prelim 7 and Prelim 14 at Bromsgrove Riding Club.

From start to finish Vin was a star; ‘Mr Chilled Out’.

He’s come such a long way since we began the ‘need to get miles on his clock’ policy.

Bromsgrove can be testing for a highly-strung horse

The riding club venue is adjacent to six lanes of motorway and as a result a high level of traffic noise blankets the field.

This makes it perfect – in my view – just the venue to ‘get miles on his clock’.

The moment I unloaded Vin he showed he was Mr Cool.

We tacked up, mounted, walked off and began working in.

Half an hour later we did P7 and I felt he was brilliant.

An hour later we did P14 – slightly less brilliantly (a little too much pace in some of the movements for my comfort), but – I was very pleased again.

I have to give a huge thank you to my caller; she battled against the unrelenting traffic noise but not once did I lose the thread of what was being shouted at me.

We got placed 6th in P7 and were unplaced (but 7th) in P14.

Our first rosette! (his second one though – he earned that with Karen on board at the Eventer’s Challenge show jumping competition a couple of months ago when I was unable to ride).


Tomorrow (weather permitting) we’re going show jumping at Allenshill.

Fingers crossed!