Archive for the ‘parking’ Category

Here we go again I have worked myself up into teeth spitting fury and frustration, I’m sure that those of you who go to the effort of reading this rant will think by the end that I am a sad, arrogant arse and I wouldn’t blame you for feeling that way because it’s probably true but I cannot help but share this with someone especially as Mrs BC has given up listening to me pontificate my frustrations.

A few of you who have stuck with me for a while now may remember my two-part series from October last year which if you don’t you can read here and here but if understandably you can’t be bothered to go back to my earlier rants I’ll give you a brief background, My kids go to a nursery school which is set within the grounds of a privately run but government-funded high school, their basic tenet is to make profit and take control of a school that was failing under government control. To earn the big government moolah they have to show lots of shiny statistics that include things like reduced exclusions etc. this is very easy for them to do as they basically just ignore every behavioural problem that they can.

The school is run by a slimy young businessman who in these pages I have named Mr Litebeer, I met with him last year to complain about a specific indecent I witnessed and he chose to brush under the carpet. Since then our paths have barely crossed, barring a minor rant from me about the amount of litter around the school which to his only credit in all of my dealings with him did improve for a few days thereafter.

Yesterday though I found myself trying to drop my boys off and all the allocated nursery parking spaces had been occupied by builders skips, delivery vans etc. as I was on my way to work and time was of the essence I chose the first available parking space which I will freely admit is clearly marked Principal.

Ten minutes later I returned to find the following note (only names have been edited otherwise it is as written)

PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN THIS BAY CLEARLY MARKED “PRINCIPAL” 

THERE ARE YELLOW BAYS CLEARLY MARKED “CUTE SHINY NICE KIDS NURSERY” FOR YOU TO MAKE USE OF.

THE PRINCIPAL

of course I being an arrogant arse myself I could not leave this be and drop this so decided to respond to Mr Litebeer thus

Dear Mr Litebeer, 

Thank you for the note you left on my car this morning.  Whilst I appreciate that the bay I was parked in is CLEARLY MARKED “PRINCIPAL”, somehow the yellow bays clearly marked “CUTE SHINY NICE KIDS NURSERY” seemed to be full of delivery vans that were clearly making deliveries to the school. 

If you are unable to ensure that your delivery people park in spaces other than those clearly designated CUTE SHINY NICE KIDS NURSERY, I am afraid that I will be forced to continue to park wherever there is available space. 

However, while writing, I would comment that one of the principal tenets of secondary education is readying young men and women for the real world and that as PRINCIPAL your primary role should be setting an example of how to earn the respect of others.  Your note definitely does not set any such example. 

With this in mind, I also would like to bring to your attention that I have seen no marked changes in student behaviour since we met last year (the incident where one of your male pupils punched a female pupil in the face and you chose not to punish them).  I do realise that since the majority of construction has ended there is less interaction between pupils and Cute Shiny Nice Kids’ parents, yet we are still forced to endure daily lashings of loud and disturbing swearing, tomfoolery and disrespect for their elders – never taking into account the impressionable young ears surrounding them.  

It is ultimately your responsibility for making sure that the pupils are aware of the nursery school children and the public in general and that they conduct themselves appropriately.  It may appear that in today’s society swearing is commonplace, but it is still generally unacceptable in polite society and allowing it to continue on school premises to me shows a lack of control by the school over the pupils. 

Yours sincerely

The concerned parent of the next generation

Mr Bunny Chow

 

this solicited the following response from Mr Litebeer.

Thank you for your observations which I refute.
We do not tolerate swearing on the school premises and deal with it whenever we hear it. I agree that it is not necessary in polite society.
I will ask our site team to remind deliveries not to park in the Cute Shiny Nice Kids Nursery bays. 
If they are occupied, as they sometimes are, as often more Cute Shiny Nice Kids parents arrive at once than there are spaces, please feel free to park on the yellow hatched drop off zones that run along the kerb before the bays you parked in. Many Cute Shiny Nice Kids parents do this currently when they need to.

Smarmy Litebeer

Principal
Scummy failed Government Academy 
I know, I know I should probably have dropped it at this point but couldn’t resist a final dig, below is my final ignored email.
Mr Litebeer, 

Many thanks for your prompt response, I regularly make use of the cross hatched area as you suggested but as I’m sure you noticed when parking this morning that too had a delivery vehicle in it. 

As for swearing and intolerable behaviour may I suggest spending time listening to and acting on the complaints of the public rather than blindly believing that your pupils behave in exactly the same manner as when in your presence.

If you would like to meet with me again to discuss the behaviour of your pupils I’d be more than happy to take the time. 

Regards

Mr Bunny Chow

I know, I am such a boorish arse of a human being and quite rightly the Nursery have put out a general email reminding all parents that we should only be making use of our designated bays and not inconvenience Mr Litebeer into having to park in the bay next his own and walk a whole extra two feet to his office. None of this changes that I cannot contain my wrath that this smarmy, greasy, nasty little administrator has been entrusted to raise hundreds of the next generation of oiks as they transition into adulthood. It leaves me angered that it is only a year since the riots that brought London to its knees yet this total lack of interest in the behaviour of oikish youths by the very people being paid vast sums of money to educate and mould them into acceptable members of society.

I am honestly surprised that we have not had a repeat of the looting and burning of our area if this is the attitude of the system.

I should probably stop now before I break my keyboard by typing too forcefully.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

 

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Mazda5

Image via Wikipedia this isn't my car but the same colour and spec

We’ve now had the Mazda5 for a hundred miles or so and I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a few of my thoughts on how I find the car to live with on a day-to-day basis.

I’ll start out with the hits:

There is plenty of space with the seats moving in and out of their multitudinous functions with ease, it’s really great to be able to raise and lower seats single-handed when the other hand is invariably busy trying to hang on to a wriggling toddler. We’ve taken her shopping and made use of the extra seats a couple of times. I’ve even laid them all flat and loaded her up to the gunwales with half of a giant jungle gym we bought sight unseen.

maybe we should have thought about this before agreeing to buy it even if it's really cheap

I still have to go back and collect the rest of it, I probably could have got more in but ran out of time before work. Still it really is a huge amount of space and really easily accessible because of the clever seats and massive doors. Accessibility is after all why we needed a new car in the first place.

I’m also surprised by how sporty and quick it feels. Yes I’m sat high up but the 2.0l petrol engine is free revving and really picks up its skirt if you make use of your right foot in a lead booted manner, I was expecting to miss the performance of my Audi but the raspy Mazda engine if anything makes this feel quicker than the more refined Audi. Looking at my speed reference points, i.e. places where I know what speed is safe and possible, shows that the Audi probably has the edge but it’s much closer than I would have expected and certainly entertaining.  

For such a big car it’s incredibly easy to parallel park with huge mirrors, massive amounts of glass and the parking sensors we had fitted I’ve found I’m no longer driving round the block looking for bigger spaces as I was in the Audi.

Misses:

I’m probably being overly picky but here are some of my thoughts. Firstly if you’re in the market for a Mazda5 seriously consider whether you need/want the larger 17″ alloy wheels, they are certainly better looking than the 15″ or 16″ options on the market but boy do they make for a firm ride. I’m sure a lot of it is to do with the fact that the Mazda5 is trying to be a dad’s MPV and sporty or Zoom Zoom in Mazda parlance but it is possible to develop a sporty chassis/suspension setup that absorbs the bumps in the road as opposed to simply trying to bash them/my spine into submission. I know that I have been spoiled for the last couple of years but ouch.

The interior plastics are a little scratchy but that’s to be expected, what does get on my goat though are the information displays. At any one time I can either see what the outside temperature or the temperature I’ve set my climate control to. Minor irritation but still there. On the other side of the info display though is the one that’s really getting on my nerves I can either see the clock or information on fuel consumption, why, why why is the clock not always visible, which idiot made the decision to scrimp on a very cheap LCD display for an always on clock.

While we’re on the subject of fuel consumption the on dash display which is generally hiding behind the clock is set to display as litres per hundred miles, now I grew up in Africa and we always measured consumption there in litres per 100kms but I’ve been in Britain for a long time now so had gotten used to miles per gallon, it made sense to me and provided a reference for me to compare consumption between vehicles. The most obvious answer is that there should be a way of being able to choose the unit of measurement and I was even a big enough man to resort to reading the manual, well I looked at the pictures and still I cannot figure it out so at least for now I have no idea how much fuel I’m using. I’ll either figure it out or just get used to it but for now at the end of 100 odd miles and week one its irritating me.

Otherwise I’m happy with our purchase, We’ve been back and checked on the dealership we made the trade with and of course they’ve got our old cars on the forecourt marked up at 90% profit, but to be fair this will have been eaten into a huge amount by the work they needed to be prepped for sale, with things like MOT’s paint blemishes, ok scratches and general toddler filth, I don’t think we did too badly even if the dealer is still the one with the biggest smile.

Anyway those are my thoughts for the week.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

Good day to you dear readers,

As some of my longer term readers may recall I posted back in November last year about our search for more family friendly transport and how it was time to grow up and move away from our very comfortable and seemingly practical but actually rather small Audi A4 Avant and hugely reliable and faithful Toyota Corolla.

Whilst it has been useful for us to have two cars whilst Mrs Bunny Chow has been on maternity leave the grim reality is that it’s hugely expensive and even with Mrs BC at home the second car was still only being used at most once or twice a week, so with the dreaded triumvirate of MOT/Annual services, Insurance and Road Tax renewals looming in the near future we renewed our search.

I spoke before about numerous options and whilst it was a fun idea trying to justify getting a 4×4 especially with snow on the ground outside we really couldn’t afford one of the big ones unless they were starting to get a bit old and a bit tatty and things like the Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4 and Landrover Freelander are just too small to meet our need to carry two children a dog and some detritus, not forgetting the odd friend or family member.

So with reality in check I began looking at our options, I already outlined that anything French or made by General Motors was off the shopping list because a man can only be pushed so far, but I was quite taken by some of the Korean offerings, at least on paper.

I went and looked at a Kia Sedona which is huge and very comfortable but it’s biggest failing is that the rearmost seats don’t fold flat and need to be removed and stored somewhere else when not in use or you need some boot-space. I have to admit that I also wasn’t overly enamoured with the perceived quality of the interior, I know that this is a practical decision but beige velour was perhaps taking things a mite too far.

I also looked at a couple of Hyundai Santa Fe’s which I liked a lot, they were still a little bit scratchy plastic on the inside but nothing I couldn’t live with, the reasons that they fell by the wayside though was that they were wide enough for three proper seats in the back but lacked those sixth and seventh seats and concerns over fuel economy/running costs of that unnecessary 4×4 system.

I also looked at and dismissed all of the VW Group options like the VW Sharan, Seat Alhambra and VW Touran based on expense and lack of boot-space with the sixth and seventh seats in place.

I hadn’t entirely dismissed the option of one of Ford’s S-MAX or Galaxy models but the local main dealer didn’t seem all that keen on winning our custom and most of the examples I found outside of their group and within budget were either private sales which would mean us having to sell the old cars ourselves which would mean going through the aforementioned expense of MOT’s, Servicing and a general scrub up. We also had the problem with the older models sharing the seating issue of the Kia Sedona in that the rearmost seats would need removal if not in use.

I then came across something called the Mazda5 which was smaller than the Kia and Ford Options but still gave us seven seats (admittedly only six for any longer journey) that fold flat into the floor, some boot space with all seven seats in place and very handy sliding rear doors. I didn’t know much about the Mazda5 but established that it was built on Ford’s global C1 platform which also includes things like the Ford Focus, Ford C-MAX and Ford Kuga, various Volvo’s and the Mazda 3.

This seemed like a good bet to me, I already liked the C-MAX but had dismissed it for the lack of a seven seat option and having really enjoyed all of the Focus’s I’ve driven over the years. I booked a test drive which conveniently was the morning after several inches of snowfall allowing me to test the car risk free in what was possibly the worst conditions it would ever have to face. The dealership is a local non franchise who’ve been around for over thirty years and even sold us our Audi.

They very bravely handed me the keys and sent me on my way onto a gritted main road which allowed me to give it a bootful and see if I could live with the performance deficit over my beloved Audi and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, the 2.0l Petrol engine, pushed me along in a perfectly acceptable and maybe even slightly thrilling manner, sure it’s not a sports car but it’s more than quick enough to cope with the conditions in which I do ninety percent of my driving and will even dismiss of members of the proletariat driving Micra’s and other hateful little supermini’s without complaint.

After picking up Mrs Bunny Chow and installing my progeny in the rearmost seats, we confirmed that you could indeed still fit three adults in the rear all be it with the middle seat being reserved strictly for shorter journeys, but it does also convert into a toy bin or table or away completely when not in use which is very handy in itself. The drivers compartment on this Furano Limited Edition Sport Model is well laid out with most of the toys you’d expect, climate control (single zone) an in dash 6 cd autochanger which will play mp3 cd’s and innumerable cup holders and cubby holes. The online reviews I have read suggest that the Mazda is behind its French competitors in this area but I certainly didn’t find it lacking.

Now loaded up we took the car over some of the area’s less well cleared roads and even ventured successfully into a completely untouched snow-covered car park and the car just continued on with minimal complaint. Yes in comparison to my Audi some of the plastics feel a little cheap, but it is several years newer and has half the mileage of my Audi. It also suits the family better and is a pretty good drive whilst managing not to look like it should be being driven by a gauloises smoking, taxi driving, axe murderer. In other words I was sold on the Mazda5.

Being the first example of its kind that I’d seen I held off on making an offer there and then and went to see a newer but base specification model at another local used car dealer but it was grey and without the sporty body kit or toys inside and to be honest it just seemed that although it was slightly lower mileage had had a tougher life than the first car. So with that in mind negotiations over trade in values for our old cars and some minor work we wanted done on the new car (the addition of rear parking sensors and new brakes all round) we came to a deal.

We should be able to pick it up and say goodbye to our trusty old cars on Saturday.

So there you go, you can get a dad car that isn’t a bus or over the top 4×4.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Another idiot in my life

Posted: 15/08/2011 in parking

Our upstairs neighbour currently has their flat on the market and I’ve now come home two Saturdays in a row to find an estate agent parked in my driveway.

The first got a flea in his ear and a friendly reminder to let all of his colleagues know that they are not to park there. Needless to say I don’t think the viewer bought the property as when I got home this Saturday there was a Barnard Marcus Golf taking up not only my parking space but parking in my other car and blocking the space allocated to the upstairs flat that they were showing.

Of course being the sensitive caring neighbour I explained loudly and voiciferously that I expected her to move her vehicle immediately. She then wandered back into the flat and said she’d be out in a minute she was just going to finish off the viewing, ummmmm no you’re going to move your vehicle now.

Again I somehow doubt the young couple viewing are going to be buying the property.

I have now formally complained to the local branch of Barnard Marcus and to give credit where credit is due, that afternoon I recieved a message from the agent doing the viewing apologising for any inconvenience and the local branch manager has been in touch this morning to apologise and advise that she has let all of her team know where they can and can’t park.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow