Sour Grapes Plates

The personalised number plate business in Western Australia is booming – closely followed by a number of people who decry it. For every citizen who is prepared to pay the state government $ 535 to $ 685 for their own lettering on the plates – there is another internet poster who thinks it is foolish and believes that it is their mission life to scoff.

Well, I like scoffing as much as the next anonymous Facebook writer, but in this case I think the detractors are in the wrong – for a number of reasons:

  1. The decision to buy a personal plate is not forced upon any motorist. They are free to take whatever the dealer places on their car at a lower cost.
  2. The wording of the plate must pass some official scrutiny and the rules that govern it are fairly spelled out. No profanity, no incitement, etc. A plate doesn’t appear without permission.
  3. The money raised from the plate sales presumably goes into general coffers – and thence to public works, like roads, schools, and hospitals. More money than standard plates, hence more contribution to state welfare.
  4. The plates are distinctive. This is both a good and bad thing for the driver – they are more likely to be remembered and spotted than if they have standard plate. if they behave with care and distinction on the road this means we can praise them and if not, they can be easily identified.
  5. The are sometimes amusing to read – sometimes puzzling -and sometimes a prudent warning about the mind set of the driver. This can be very useful when the motorist is an hoon or idiot – you can avoid them.
  6. They are a harmless amusement. Hard to find harmlessness these days as everyone is uptight about everything, but a Mini car with ” The Moocher ” on it is a pretty cheerful sight.
  7. All too often we are a number -a Centrelink number, a bank number, an ABN number. Or just a series of passwords and PIN numbers. We often lose our names to everyone else. How nice to have a distinctive plate that we choose.
  8. A personal-plated car is more likely to be cherished, maintained, and driven carefully by the owner.
  9.  A personal plate on a Mercedes, Volvo, Lexus, or BMW that features a number of “8”s on it is as good an identifier as a roundel would be on an Air Force plane. Sort of an IFF signal, but in this case an IFW. If you know what to look for you know to give it a wide berth in car parks.
  10.  For my part I would like to see a return of the old-fashioned yellow ” L ” plate and red ” P ” plate fixed at a standard height on a standard position – the bumper bar or the grill of the car. The practice of plastering something behind a windscreen or rear window that cannot be seen other road users defeats the entire purpose of the warning.

I would also like to see similar plates for us elderly drivers – perhaps a red/yellow striped plate that warns others that we are going to drive more slowly and cautiously.

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Yup. It’s A Car Wash.

And not just any car wash. A hand car wash. As opposed to the ones that they operate with their feet or ears…

Our local shopping centre has used up one of their limited car parks for the hand car wash. The building’s being finished and the signage is going up. Soon employees in rubber boots will be standing in the winter rain washing cars. Or not, if the state of the other hand car wash facilities in the area are any indication…

The proliferation of car washes has been an interesting phenomenon here in Perth. I remember the establishment of one of the first ones on the site of an old petrol station. It straddles a major highway and a busy feeder road and stands opposite a 24 Hr McDonalds. ( for our North American readers, McDonalds is a franchised fast-food restaurant. ) It was probably a good choice of location as it gives the people who leave their cars to be cleaned a place to go during the process. Interestingly, the owners of the car wash also put up a café on their site. This, and the stated prices on the signage, indicates that they would like each post to be a winner…

I suspect this is the case, as well, for the owners of the shopping centre. They have already leased out a great deal of their land to a tavern, Asian restaurants, and…a McDonalds…but would seem to want to cram more on the area. I’m betting that the rent they demand from the car wash owners will make the washing fees pretty remarkable.

I mourn the loss of adequate parking, but as I own a bucket, a sponge, and my own hands, I am not too frightened by the car wash.

 

The Sticky Beaks

We are having a new driveway put into the front yard of our house.

This is exciting, and so far successful, but also somewhat of an interesting window into human behaviour. The behaviour of the workmen who lifted the old one, removed the lawn and retic, then proceeded to do site works, forms, and eventually the aggregate pour was impeccable. When you see people who know their job and do it well, you just supply coffee and biscuits and let them get on with it.

We were favoured by a week of fine weather that allowed the thing to go down and set before today’s rains. Next week we should be able to retrieve the family cars from the street and park as per normal. It’ll be a while before the landscape crew get back to do the rest of the yard but I don’t mind it looking like Verdun for a month or so – the precise part has worked well.

I joked with the workmen that I was going to make a landing field out of it all, and if I could get away with a control tower in the small patch that was lawn I would do it in an instant. A centre line down the street and a squadron of scale model B-17’s would be heaven.

But the sticky beaks? We’ve had everyone in the street ” casually ” stroll by and goggle at it and so far two visits from people who pull up, get out of their cars, photograph the curbing, and then drive off. It is either council nosiness or some new form of fetish. Fortunately, if it is the first, we submitted plans and have permission from Melville City Council and if it is the second I’ll buy a closet full of exciting underwear…

” Grounded “

I really should not mock the afflicted…but apart from that I can laugh at the arrogant and appreciate the twists of fate.

Last week , on our freeway system, I saw a tradie’s truck pulled over at the side of the road with a motorcycle policeman in attendance. Full ceremonials, too, with red and blue lights going like crazy.

The tradie was being given some sort of ticket for some sort of offence – I suspect from the position of the cop’s bike that it was for speeding in a section of the freeway that has always been 80 km per hour speed limit. Of course there are other offences like being on your mobile phone or weaving through lanes with no signals that also attract the motorcycle Plod. I passed under the limit but had time to see the sign on the side of the trade van:

” Grounded “.

I didn’t have a camera, and using it would have been an offence anyway, but I can appreciate the occasional joke from Karma to brighten the day.

 

The Fast Life In The Slow Lane

I try to hit all the stops. And then I really do stop.

Like last Sunday – I was jerked bolt upright at 8:30 AM by the realisation that I did not have to go to work in the cotton fields. Of course we don’t live in Mississippi and I’m retired anyway, but there was still that feeling. And once up, you can’t go back to sleep. The cat will make sure of that.

Then it was off to the shower, the shaver, and the sh….umm..let’s change the subject.

Breakfast. They say we must start the day with a substantial breakfast. Toast is substantial. So is oatmeal. So is rum and motor oil, for that matter. Don’t get near me when I burp.

Out to the Little Workshop. On with the radio. Olde Tyme Wireless from Wireless Hill. So you can avoid the horrid music of millenials by listening to equally vacuous stuff from  baby boomers. And it is true that we pluggers can identify a piece of music from the first two notes – if it is one of the only three that the station owns and plays repeatedly. Anyone fancy a Walk In The Black Forest?

Lunch? Don’t mind if I do. The chicken and celery soup is attractive, seeing as it is left over and doesn’t need any effort to heat up. No-one else in the family will eat it, so I get as much as I want.

Shall I work or shall I nap?

And dinner. I must prepare dinner. Fortunately there is an electric oven and as long as you let things cook over a slow heat they will be fine. Too many people think that an fan-forced oven run at welding temperature will be more efficient, but they are eaters for efficiency, and are welcome to it. I cook for flavour, and if this takes 3 hours rather than a blowtorch, so be it.

And the dinner need not be hurried when it is ready. It’s Sunday night and the family is home and there is nothing more important to do than the roast and three veggies. And the glass of red wine. And of course one must not drive or operate machinery after this. Safety in all things.

 

Slingshot And A Bag Of Gravel

Let’s face it. There are a whole lot of difficulties that would dissolve if we were allowed to make more use of the slingshot and the bag of gravel.

a. Traffic holdups.

Not that the SAABOG would help if there are cars t-boned at an intersection or flipped over on the side of the road. But it would sure clear up a lot of those scenes where two entitleds are yelling at each other over a fender-bender.

Not to mention the bicycle riders five abreast.

b. Ethnic dancing festivals.

I like ethnic dancing and photograph it frequently. The best stuff is terrific, but the worst stuff is also terrific – using a more precise definition of the word. It gets bad as the tempo slows and once you have reached to point of art set to modern atonal music you can be forgiven for reaching for the SAABOG. A couple of well-aimed flints can start the slowest dancer and a wise shooter will drive them toward the exits.

c. ” You kids get off my lawn! ”

Don’t yell at ’em. SAABOG. No noise, no smoke, no smell.

d. Does the local dog chase you when you walk down the street? Have you tried politely asking the neighbours to prevent this from happening? Did they laugh at you? Were you embarrassed and distressed?

SAABOG.

There’s still gonna be embarrassment and distress, but now it’ll be a shared set of emotions.

E. Same neighbours?Same attitude? Wild parties every weekend that go until 4:00AM?

SAABOG. After the midnight cutoff point when the cops refuse to come out yet again, start firing gravel up into the air in a high arc from your darkened yard. You might   be horrified at the price of howitzer ammunition these days but gravel is cheap. Treat yourself.

Thank You, Tourist Driver

And I am not being sarcastic when I  write this – thank you indeed for being who you are, doing what you do, on our freeways.

You are slower than the rest of the entitled aristocrats in their Audis and angry tradies in their tray top Toyotas. You are in the left-hand lane, and about 10 KPH below the speed limit. You are doing the sort of speed I want to drive at, and you are a convenient haven.

I can tuck in behind you and look as if I am caught by your slow speed. In reality, I am slipstreaming you and would not pull out to overtake for quids. You are doing what I want to do. If you are driving a Bayswater Hire Car, so much the better. Your inexpertise advertises itself and takes the blame off me.

Please continue. I shall not flash my lights or toot my horn.