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Posts posted by andyh4

  1. Frankly none of that bothers me as much as the misuse of our language - including - indeed especially - BBC presenters. Those who cannot cope with the correct use of less rather than fewer.

    For the rest it is just part of todays politico speak where nothing you utter actually means what you say, still less what you will do on the basis of what you originally uttered.
  2. Can be easy, can be hard.

    When I learned French in school, the problems of masculine, feminine and plural hit rather hard.

    When I then learned German, the three genders plus having nominative, accusative, genitive and dative became a real struggle that I never fully got to grips with. (and yes I know that for those who took the alternative course in latin, they had it worse). Fast forward near as damn it 30 years and I am shipped out to Germany. Got to get to grips with all these linguistic complications.

    Well in spoken German, no I didn't.


    der, die, das. die

    den, die das, die

    des, der, des, der

    dem. der. dem, den

    (hope I got that right - possibly not)

    converted to

    de, de, de, de

    de, de, de, de

    de, de, de, de

    de, de, de, de

    in the local dialect.

    Mostly however dialects are a way of keeping outsiders excluded.

  3. Mobile/smart-phones are wonderful things - provided you can get a signal.

    Here it is quite interesting to see the artisans doing work around the village, hanging out of windows with their device in their hand or standing in the middle of the square arm stretched upwards and spinning like a dervish devotee.

    So no we don't have a French mobile, but do have a UK PAYG one for an emergency.
  4. Idun you are quite right that a journey that is not important today could well become an essential journey in a couple of days time.

    Like you I consider myself well prepared and reckon at a push we could last 3 weeks or more without re-vitalling but I am sure many others would not last a week or even a few days. I have to say that the last week in such circumstances might be a case of "what's-left-stew".
  5. I agree Richard, safety is paramount. Even rescue services know that putting your own life knowingly in danger simply runs the risk of a double rescue.

    Likewise I think you will find that the professional drivers (which are they who you were castigating) will have had that firmly instilled as part of their required training. In my experience the vast majority follow what they were taught in that respect.
  6. I cannot give any chapter and verse on this but I would have thought an emergency appointment with a dentist on Monday (cost max 50€) would be the best and probably quickest course.

    He might also be able to effect a temporary repair at least leaving the OH with something until a replacement can be constructed.
  7. ALBF wrote:

    Depends on the planner. Wink, wink, wink !!!

    Agree entirely.

    And that is why we never used JIT - judicious stock management yes, but JIT never. Our customers however did. If our suppliers (bar perhaps 2) had let us down and we in turn had let down our JIT customers, we would have bankrupted them - our suppliers (and I mean that literally). No solace in that, having let down important customers and destroyed a supplier. No winners anywhere.
  8. Richard51 wrote:

    In terms of foreign lorries - then yes they should be stopped if non urgent and if they had not already been stopped by the conditions. BTW this weather was well predicted. Long distance lorry cabs are quite luxurious I believe with good sleeping areas.

    AS they say Richard, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Yes long distance cabs are fitted up with beds. Some drivers even set up satellite TV and they have in cab heating - home from home isn't it?

    My info is now a bit out of touch since retirement but I am sure ALBF can update if I am a million miles off. When I retired the road transport groups were getting extremely worried by trends in the industry.. Despite the high levels of luxury to which you refer the average age of a long distance HGV driver had risen (this was back around 2012) 5 years in 10 years - so over a ten year period the average age of drivers had risen 5 years. The average age then was 54 years!

    So put in its simplest terms, that I hope you can grasp, young drivers were not interested in entering the long distance lorry trade - despite these wonderful cabs fitted out with all mod cons that you consider so wonderful for the average driver stuck in a layby in minus 8 degrees external temperature - or even in the depths of summer with the aircon on.

    If that trend has continued then the average age today will be around 57 years. Thank god that they keep extending the age of retirement or we would get nothing delivered.

    Now back in the mid naughties when I was in charge of our Frankfurt operations we had a rather disgruntled Polish (nationality is not important) driver to collect a delivery. He complained that he had not been back to his home country (let alone his home town) for 3 months.

    So if your idea is that drivers live in the lap of luxury essentially camping out in the truck cabin, with no in cab stove/oven, no shower, no bath, no toilet - in fact not a lot except a comfortable bed, then I suggest you take up the profession and enjoy the wonders of travel.

    Living on the streets is worse - but possibly not a lot worse.
  9. Impossible to answer in the abstract Wooly.

    When a plant freezes the water in its cells freezes (or at least can freeze). When the plant defrosts the ice returns to water and just like the pipes in your house, if the cell walls are weak, they burst. If too many cell walls burst the plant dies. If the cell walls are strong then they can withstand the freezing-defrosting action.

    The other factor is to what degree the ground can keep roots frost free. Plants in pots are less protected from prolonged cold than plants in the ground; but against a light frost they will warm up much more quickly.

    The impact is that some plants survive and others don't and some plants that we might expect to be susceptible are surprisingly hardy - lemons and olives will both withstand quite a degree of frost. Olives in the ground are hardy to -15C. Most lemon varieties to at least -5C.
  10. I think we have been discussing at somewhat crossed purposes Richard. I thought we were discussing those who were out during the bad weather - which from your numbers is around 20% of the normal traffic.

    As for the lorries on the road unnecessarily, I make no apology for repeating what I said earlier, it may well be that the "unnecessary" journey is needed to position a truck so that its next load is a necessary load. Road traffic logistics is a complex business.

    I see today reports that some UK supermarkets are running out of some goods - because those nasty trucks could not get through or were not positioned to make the necessary journey. It demonstrates how precarious modern civilisation really is when things start to fall apart after a maximum 4 days disruption; and the dangers of the much heralded JIT (just in time) delivery logistics. In my experience JIT very readily converts to JTL - Just too late.
  11. Richard51 wrote:

    I doubt essential travel makes up a large % of cars on the road.

    I am less sure, although I am sure there are a lot of numpties on the road.

    The NHS is the largest employer in the UK with around 5% of the working population. Take away the office clerks who really do not need to be there on a day to day basis. Now add back in the agency staff. Answer probably about 5% of the workforce still need to travel. This is not just nurses and doctors but also lab staff, X-ray staff, radiology staff etc. We saw what happens when these folk are cut off from the doctors when the last major malware hit the NHS and whole hospitals let alone departments shut down. - so we perhaps need to add in the IT staff as well as essential workers - given that firewalls may well prevent them from working away from their home stations.

    Now add in

    Electricity and gas generation and distribution staff.

    Police and Fire staff

    Highways department

    Local Councils

    Farmers who need to move between their livestock locations - which are not always in adjacent fields.

    Social Services - meals on wheels*, care homes, care of the vulnerable.

    * so now we have to count in those who cook the meals, receive and store the ingredients and distribute them.

    Supermarket distribution of food stuffs - incoming to the central warehouses and outbound to the stores PLUS the need for all of the drivers to get from home to work.

    Railway staff - drivers, guards and signallers.

    Bus staff - drivers, traffic controllers.

    Food handing operatives - including, not exclusively, Milk collection, food preparation (including receipt of incoming ingredients) and distribution, bakers, butchers, abattoir workers (arguably).

    Fuel delivery from refineries to petrol stations and fuel oil to individual households.

    Heating engineers to repair defective heating installations.


    Yes there are numpties out there but I suspect that many (probably the majority) of those on the roads have good cause to be there.

  12. Why on earth do people drive on motorways etc when the weather is so bad.

    Well as for motorways, they are far safer than ordinary roads. They are the first to be ploughed and salted.

    However I take the point of your post. Many people seem to venture out on the roads in conditions that the sensible and sane would consider a good reason to stay home. And from that comes the first reason, many people are simply trying to get home - from wherever they have been - just as for Mogs above.

    Many people work in jobs that require them to travel in all conditions - doctors, vets and nurses are obvious examples, but then add in train drivers, power workers, people working for the national infrastructure. Then there will be those people who work on shifts where it is necessary to keep processes running. A car production line can be stopped with little impact apart from the economic one on the car producer. You cannot however just press the stop button on a refinery - well actually you can but if you have ever seen the consequences, you would not recommend it. The entire plant empties all of its materials in process and many in store to the environment. To do this safely the products are burned and the sky turns into a Dante like vision of hell of huge flames and black smoke amid a huge amount of noise as gases escape up the vent stacks. It al lasts for many hours and perhaps days.

    The same is probably true for many metal producing plants, where simply stopping is not a realistic option.

    Then finally there are those who think their jobs are indispensable - but almost always are not. I guess it is to these people that your question is aimed. It might include people like lorry drivers whose cargoes are not time sensitive (ie are not perishable), but they will be under the orders of their owners, who (for all we know) might need the truck to arrive at its destination so that it can pick up a perishable load for a return journey.

    We could of course ban all of the "non essential" journeys but then run the risk of a re-run of the 1963 winter in the UK, where fuel started to run out, food started to run out, electricity supplies failed, gas supplies were interrupted.

    So Richard, what do you suggest?
  13. Wooly wrote:

    Well, managed to get the waterbutts back into position on the offchance ? that there might be some rain sometime. But it nearly frozed my knuts and fingers off doing it.

    I don't know about the quality or materials of your water butts, but when ours freeze - which they can still do overnight - they frequently split. Ours are left empty from mid - November to mid - March (and this year maybe a tad later than normal
  14. Woolyb wrote:

    What I think will happen, Andy, as has been happening all over the place, is that the regions will take over the cost of upgrading and running the things, rhen, to get b ums on seats they will offer cheap travel concessions to people going to work, kids etc.

    Exactly - and the big problem then is what happens to lines that cross from one region to another? Answer, the regions cannot agree on who pays what and what subventions will exist. No maintenance gets done and the line closes.

    Problems on the trans- Massif Central lines, lines in the Jura and quite probably elsewhere.

    Unusually for France, there is a complete lack of central overview and control. Result chaos.
  15. Having worked for a company that used a lot of international delegates (secondments) to instil a company culture around the world I have seen a great deal of reverse culture shock when the delegate and his/her family return home - and often after just 3 years. Certainly not just British, but Australian, American, French, German, Spanish as well.
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