I went to Bolton at the weekend as my wife went to do a course in thread vein removal, we stayed in the Macdonald Kilhey Court Hotel which was in Standish and seemed to be deserted except for ourselves and one other couple which meant that socially distancing was somewhat easier than going to the supermarket in that we saw the others briefly in the bar and had the restaurant entirely to ourselves in the evening and for breakfast the following day.

Having dropped my wife at her course I set about amusing myself for the day, starting with a visit to Bolton to see the statue of the famous Bolton steeplejack Fred Dibnah and then on to the house where he used to live.

I believe it is a listed building now and quite strange in that the vast majority of the house is not visible from street level and needs to be viewed from the rear where the great man used to have his steam workshop which was housed in the back garden.

The house has had two owners since Fred died and is now for sale again, looking rather sad and neglected it is on the market for £325,000 which locals seemed to think was £50,000 overpriced hence the property not being sold.

As someone more used to prices down south, where you have trouble buying a garden shed for that sort of money, I thought it looked very good value for money.

I was surprised that the house was in such a residential area as Fred must have made some considerable noise when making parts for his steam tractors and other machinery when using his steam powered hammer and other tools.

As you can see I took a couple of photos before departing to pick up my wife and was reminded of Fred as I left as I thought of one of his catch phrases, “did ya like that,” well Fred I must say, yes I did.

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I received a letter from HMRC saying that I will have to submit an online Tax Return this year which I was not happy about as I had tried before and there were tears before bedtime as I couldn’t make the damn thing work so continued with the old fashioned paper version.

Having phoned HMRC it seems there is no option this year so I attempted yet again to open an online account but it seems I have to open a Gateway account first which I could do merely by putting in the details of my passport and it would magically recognise me.

Unfortunately this was where I found out my passport had expired a couple of months ago, so I had to renew it which was surprisingly easy, how unusual to utter that phrase in these days.

I went to my normal photographer and had my photo taken which came with a code which I uploaded and the photo did indeed appear as if by magic and it made a jolly fine effort at cropping the photo to fit.

It seems as if it was only a couple of weeks later and my new passport has arrived and what joy, I now have a shinny new black passport (although it is allegedly very dark blue) but has no mention of the European Union on the cover and to all intents and purposes has the look of a proper British passport.

Barring the fact that all these things were so easy and so joined up, proving that big brother really is watching us now, I am at least delighted with the new passport.

It's not even blue': Bemusement over new British passports being 'black' |  The Independent | The Independent

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Hi Sue, I had a feeling you had read my post on being “nicked for speeding!” https://thediaryofacountrybumpkin.com/2020/08/17/ive-just-been-nicked-for-speeding-im-mad-as-hell/

The result of this was an on line course which I was expecting to be a quiz and box ticking exercise but no, it turned out to be a zoom conference which was a most stressful experience.

Firstly I had to purchase a camera for my computer, then luckily I set it up with the aid of a young person, still unsure on the morning of the test whether the sound would work.

Unfortunately it was on a Saturday morning, a day my wife and I usually reserve for lounging about in bed reading or watching television, I was not happy.

As I felt I had been “done up like a kipper” in the first place by being nicked, this experience was not a patch on my usual rather relaxing Saturday morning.

My camera only showed a head shot so I decided not to change out of my night shirt and made a cup of tea and waited for my punishment to start.

I was first on the scene as all older people are and fairly relieved that the sound and picture were both working so chatted through gritted teeth to the woman who was taking us through the course while waiting for the other eight people to join us.

Had any of us had problems with our cameras or the internet and failed to complete the course we would have had to pay £45.00 to do it again, this on top of the original £90.00 we had already paid, “money for old rope” is an expression that springs to mind.

We were questioned by virtue of various images as to what the speed limit might be in various locations, the usual trick ones like, “it may look like it should be faster but the street lighting makes it 30mph.”

Later a right hand bend was presented with a 40mph speed limit sign in view and questioned as to what speed should we be doing, most said 40mph but I suggested perhaps 10 to 15mph, perhaps slower, which as the picture was of a snow covered lane with limited visibility road the corner was the correct answer.

Eventually our ordeal was over and we all passed and were allowed on our way so I resumed my place in bed and continued my more relaxing Saturday morning, still I am glad to say with no points on my licence, so not a completely wasted morning.

I must say thank you to SueW who reads my blog and commented on a post I had put up about temporary 60mph speed limits, the result of which was this reply which has become so long it will be posted on my blog as a post in its own right!

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One of my classic car papers had an article on the latest idea for a trial period 60mph speed limit in an attempt to cut pollution and they asked for readers opinions on the subject but the email address didn’t work and I thought as I had written my opinion I thought I would share it here.

SPEED LIMITS. You asked for our opinions!

All speed limits are wrong for you can never have a speed limit that is right for all the different road conditions, day and night 365 days a year.

I rather favour driving to the road conditions, fast when it’s safe and slow when it’s not, for example a deserted motorway on a summers evening or a built-up area when passing a school when the pupils are leaving on a snow-covered road in winter.

The 30mph speed limit was introduced in 1935, this in an age when cars had drum brakes operated by cables and I can tell you from experience of driving my 1935 Austin Seven they would take considerably longer to stop than a modern cars equipped with ABS.

Strange, then that we have cars able to stop so much quicker and yet in plenty of built up areas we now have speed limits of 20mph, the logic of that I find hard to understand.

The speed one can achieve nowadays is generally regulated by the volume of traffic, we don’t actually need overhead cameras on gantries to tell us we have to go slowly on the M25, at least from my experience whenever I use it, I find myself in a moving traffic jam.

I can remember when the 70mph limit was first trialled by The Minister of Transport Barbara Castle who strangely enough was unable to drive herself in December 1965 for four months before it became permanent in July 1967.

I wasn’t driving myself until May 1968 and I seem to recollect the 70mph limit wasn’t strictly adhered to, for should you venture into the outside lane of a motorway in those days you would be well advised to keep a sharp eye on your rear view mirror for faster cars coming from behind flashing their lights to alert you to the speed difference and as a polite way of requesting you remove yourself from the path of their vehicle.

A lesson which might be well learned by some of today’s drivers who seem never to use their rear view mirror and seem unable to notice a police car with headlights and blue lights flashing even when they are right behind them.

Well that’s enough nostalgia from me about the good old days, so in answer to your question; no, I do not want to see a 60mph limit trialled under the pretext that it will make a major difference to world pollution, for we all know it won’t.

Sorry to have gone on so long but it’s quite strange to think that sometime in the future when we are forced to have electric cars and the lights have gone out all over the country, there may be young people nostalgic for the old days, the internal combustion engine and reasonable speed limits.

DOT670 Maximum Speed 60mph | Speed Limit Signs | Road Signs Signs

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Apparently Mr Donald Trump has paid NO tax and has spent $70,000 on his hair.

I have to say I’m appalled and outraged, this sort of behaviour is absolutely disgusting.

How dare they carry on in this fashion, I would say this is obviously fraud.

In my opinion, this sort of behaviour demands a prison sentence.

Whoever charged $70,000 for the mess on Mr Trumps head should be locked up.

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Went to the Kings Oak, High Beach for a Bentley Drivers Club meeting for lunch which made a change from meeting in the evening, variety is the spice of life after all.

Met with Alan Osborn, Mick Atrill and Richard Freestone, it was an interesting experience being gentlemen who lunch.

I came in my 1947 Mk VI and Richard came in his rather splendid 1953 Park Ward R Type.

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I don’t mean to be beastly to the Welsh and I hope they don’t take this personally but I had the misfortune to go to Wales at the weekend as my wife had a course to do and I thought it might be a nice drive in my Bentley Arnage.

Now I know you can’t blame all my misfortunes on the Welsh but we started off with the usual M25 car park then on the M4 we suffered a 49 mile long average speed check slog at 40 or 50 mph, apparently for roadworks, although no-one was actually working nor was there sight of any workmen for the entire time.

Bearing in mind the Arnage has a 6.75 litre engine with a turbo charger the speed of 50 mph is attained at 1000 rpm which is just double the tickover speed of the engine, so motorway travel at that speed feels as if one might go faster if one got out and walked.

Later when we had cleared the roadworks a much higher cruising speed of 90 mph, attainable at 2000rpm and still very relaxing would have been experienced had the speed limit allowed it!

I must say we couldn’t fault the hotel, The New House Country Hotel in Nelson on the outskirts of Cardiff, especially as we were required to social distance due to Covid 19, all done in a very civilised and professional manner; I had considered staying in Cardiff itself but none of the hotels had parking suitable for a car some 18ft long and 6 1/2ft wide.

Sunday after breakfast I set off to take my wife to her course but as we had plenty of time we decided to have a drive round, unfortunately I was amazed to find Wales looked like a rather spread out Council Estate and even worse was riddled with speed cameras, average speed checks and speed humps, this from a country that gave us some of Britains finest rally drivers was quite a surprise.

I have to admit we didn’t see the entire country, however we did progressed up quite a narrow road with cars parked each side in the villages which had speed humps and a 20mph speed limit which I thought was overdoing the speed calming as I certainly wasn’t going to exceed 20mph in a car some 6 1/2 ft wide.

Undaunted we continued up the side of a small mountain where my wife had a funny turn when realising how high it was and requested we turn round and come down.

The other mistake we may have made was to have chosen to sightsee on a Weekend for I don’t know if this is the influence of Chapel or The Temperance Society or both, for it appeared to us that Wales is shut on Sunday.

For the first time, Wales has been able to flex its muscles' – could  coronavirus tear England and Wales apart? | Wales | The Guardian

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Celebrating the birthday of W O Bentley who was born on 16th September 1888.

W. O. Bentley - Wikipedia
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I caught up last night and watched the last night of the Proms, sadly I do not have time to list all the things that were wrong with it, suffice to say absolutely abysmal is an understatement.

Whoever organised this rubbish should be taken out and shot, it certainly wasn’t the last night of the Proms, it was however a politically correct sequence of performances and a fine example of how to ruin an evenings entertainment.

As a box ticking exercise in political correctness you could see each box come up, starting with Black South African Woman with a Jewish sounding name, (I haven’t the time to find out if she actually is Jewish) and were the ribbons on the conductors rostrum LGBT, there wasn’t a box not ticked, although I missed the vertically challenged person in a wheelchair.

Even worse were the very strange arrangements of popular and well loved songs with verses that you had never heard before that were obviously picked in an attempt not to offend anyone.

Well BBC, sadly I have to say I think you have offended a great many people, in fact by producing this load of rubbish I would imagine you have managed to offend every single one of your traditional viewers for this programme, if that was your intent, then you have succeeded.

So sad that the BBC has sunk to this level and I suspect that if they produce a similar load of tosh next year, I would imagine their viewing figures would be so low they will be able to count them on the fingers of one hand.

Rule, Britannia! lyrics sung at Last Night of the Proms after BBC U-turn | Proms  2020 | The Guardian
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My wife and I go to the Goodwood Revival every year which would be taking place this weekend but sadly due to Covid the event has been cancelled, so we are missing seeing our friends, some splendid classic motor racing and dressing in our forties clothes.

I suppose it will make us appreciate next year that much more, assuming we are rid of this rather boring Covid thing by then.

So to any of our friends who may see this, I say; hello and look forward to seeing you all next year.

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