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  1. Arcadius

    Hot Hatches

    Yes please; but .... Me too. I'd like virtually any of the cars in the opening credits of this Maurizio Merli film, in particular a Fiat 850 or 131. Yes, either would be shit and slow on modern roads, but this was the most glorious era in ordinary car design as far as I'm concerned. I'd even like a Fiat 690 Millepiedi lorry, which has the bonus of being RHD; though I'm not quite at Chris Eubank levels of eccentricity yet ...
  2. I'm in a similar position about ten years down the line from you, and your observations are cock-on; I don't have any answers either. You write better than the majority of admin desk jockeys ever could, but turn up anywhere in a van and they will sneer at you from their PCPd Audi, Emily Lady Nugee style. The only time I've experienced lower status was during a brief stint as an artic driver in the Nineties; for example, when at a minor RTA once, the policeman deferentially addressed everyone as Sir ... except me, who he insisted on brusquely calling 'Drive'. I have done reasonably well out of it, but, just as a DOSBODS once eulogised a previous victim to me because 'he went to work in a shirt and tie', careerwise I often wish I'd spent more time with my highlighters and flipchart. The brutal fact is you cannot physically do it in your autumn years anyway, as many of my groundworker mates are finding; and after 25 years' self employment it is hard to engineer a transition into PAYE. And yes, many groundworks projects are unmanageable/destined for anarchy if you just chuck a method statement and workplan at a few blokes, though our local council seem to think it is efficient to have six men standing around watching while one digs halfheartedly.
  3. Fair dinkum Exxy, except that I'm from a shithole Northern pit village where no bugger's ever seen a £20 note! Oh and to quote your spokesman Oz, "Bollocks Neville": we could drink you under the table with your staple diet of piss-weak Newky bogwater!
  4. Arcadius

    Hot Hatches

    They were. I had a Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo new in 98 (ok not strictly speaking a hatch but could have been!) that needed a new cylinder head under warranty at 6 months old, and still drank 0.5l oil per 1000 miles until I flogged it 2 years later because it was making me a nervous wreck. Hens' teeth cliches nowadays. I loved that car, even if the 220hp FWD configuration and its inevitable understeer meant you were heading for the bushes in the wet. I have been German ever since, though I'd still love a pure Italian car, more specifically the Alfa 1750. I guess that's what's known as character; ie they are quirky, unreliable and not that fast but make you smile whenever you get in them.
  5. 'Spoons is not exactiy a sample of hoity-toity society though: I was shocked when in one of their Northern gaffs - Sunday 8am, there for the Reasonably Priced Breakfast - to see hardenened pissheads serial-ordering the Stella and getting fucking hammered. Lord knows what they do the rest of their Sundays. Shout at buses presumably.
  6. Yes, modern telematics are very comprehensive: Tesco will be able to identify excessive braking, overrevving, etc; and when +\-1mpg makes £100s of difference it is understandable. i remember receiving a monumental bollocking in my driving days because my NS drive axle wheelnut indicators had melted. Turns out the brake compensators were wildly out, and I received an apology; but even so, it shows that with the enormous costs involved, all operators are vigilant.
  7. She'd probably baulk at being called 'Doctor' and insist on being addressed as 'Mr'' the mardy mare.
  8. Those Audi affairs are the definition of fashion victim imo: the automotive equivalent of deely boppers. A tried-and-tested system replaced by a novelty that actually performs worse than the traditional solution, like a sort of trafficator Theresa May. The only thing worse are those Noughties Passat things, that you cannot see at all.
  9. Anyone who thinks this is a shock should have been operating HGVs before digital tachographs became commonplace. It was de rigeur in the days of disc (wax) tachos to bend the stylus to allow a higher speed, or to use a magnet in a way that distorted the reading but that I never understood the purpose of. And that is before you start with throwing cards out of the window, misusing attestation letters, pulling fuses, etc. Or - before that - drivers' log books, aka 'write a story'. Whenever there is serious capital involved, or potential benefits to the driver of 'running bent'', there will be shortcuts.
  10. Arcadius

    Hot Hatches

    Haha, very true. The Suds were the best-handling cars of the 70s, but there are tales - possibly apocryphal - of them rusting through while sitting on the docks. The steel was Nornal For Italy, apparently; ie not specced for Northern climates and gritters!
  11. The original 1980s A-team, currently showing on some council channel in the ratio 1 part show:10 parts payday loan ad. Even allowing for unreasonable boyhood fascinations with explosions and ludicrous suspension-of-reality scenarios, it turns out Mr T cannot act to save his wooden life and was only there to provide a muscly, vaguely menacing foil to the others' bluster. Though I suspect on a night out in Darlo he'd get fooking leathered, or at least garroted with his own Elizabeth Duke choker. And I never realised how camp the whole thing was, in my adolescent naivety; cf Top Gun, PSBs, etc.
  12. Indeed; when I switch to French media I get an even more exasperating denial of the issue, which is why I believe there will be no change in France until such time as there is public dissent verging on civil war. We are not there yet. All public discussion that I have seen has been fiercely left-wing, with any other view shouted down. They have even made the word populiste more derogatory and pejorative than even the So-Called BBC could manage. I often wonder, as an old school Francophile, just what it would take to reach critical mass and popular revolt. I do think that Marine's legacy is a double-edged sword, however, and that her dad's leanings may take another generation to be forgotten.
  13. Yes, I was being slightly tongue in cheek, and fault codes are generally googleable. Though I did have a traction motor and encoder go recently, and the call out engineer quoted £4,500 for replacement ... then, with a wink, he let me photograph his rocking-horse-shit exploded diagram and whispered the instrucfions to get it out and rewound for a quarter of that.....
  14. Le Pen won't win on this occasion, but anyone who complains about the So-Called BBC should really watch France 24 for even half an hour. (It's live on YT, but only in French). France has been arguably the world's punchbag for terrorism in recent years, yet in the francophone media I haven't heard such blatant propaganda since the newsreels in the 40s, when Guy Gibson gave Gerry a bloody nose. Everything is fine, all people are good, racist this fascist that, etc. Not really any wonder there is nothing to see and business as usual.
  15. Ooof. Par for the course in FLT land, in my experience. It's like conventional engineering, combined with the car manufacturers' focus groups in reverse. "So," Len, "how can we make this fastener an absolute bastard to remove even with special tools, this connector unserviceable and the whole truck stuck in limpmode unless our very expesive engineer attends." I run Atlets, so feel your pain!