Years ago, having been trained and examined by an ex Class 1 police driver, one of my activities in life was to carry out assessment drives for people who wished to take the advanced driving test arranged by the Institute of Advanced Motorists. The aim of the IAM in those days was to promote increased safety on the roads by heightening the awareness of danger in drivers and teaching them to travel from A to B in a safe fashion, making good progress by travelling at a safe speed at all times, not slowly but at an appropriate speed for the circumstances, driving defensively with a strong index of suspicion about the intentions of other drivers, maintaining good vehicle control by always being in the correct gear, especially on corners, using good road positioning, maintaining maximum forward visibility, courtesy to other road users and so on. In those days, the test included a 20 minute commentary by the driver which demonstrated to the examiner that the driver was aware of the danger around him and was taking steps to drive safely. For example, looking under the back of an opposite-facing stationary bus to make sure that no feet were walking towards your intended path of travel. One skill we taught involved safe overtaking.

I have been driving quite a lot recently, partly on motorways and partly on country roads. On motorways, I have been appalled by the current trend of turning on the right hand indicator and pulling out, all in one movement, regardless of the speed or proximity of the vehicle behind. Equally annoying is undertaking, which is extremely dangerous as we tend to be aware of what is going on behind us and on our off-side, but we are not conditioned to expect idiots to come flying past on the nearside. I know some drivers treat the middle lane like the inside lane and this is frustrating, but, so far as I know, such undertaking is still illegal. Here, in Norfolk, we tend to have long, straight roads which allow safe overtaking with good visibility. However, on some roads, such as Mundford to Thetford and most of the roads in Suffolk, the opportunities to overtake are limited. All you need is a tractor or a flat-cap doing 30mph, followed by a car tucked in close and, with no forward vision, making no effort at all to overtake, and you are stuck! The next car in line would have to overtake two vehicles and the situation then becomes hazardous. The same sort of driver will travel at 20mph in a 30mph zone and at 30mph in a 40mph zone, thus rendering following drivers apoplectic and more likely to take risks in overtaking. Why do they do it? Answers on a postcard please! This might be a good time to thank Head Office for all the help and advice she gives me while I am driving. I sometimes wonder how on earth I manage to arrive anywhere safely while travelling alone!

Did you know that, when a woman put on a leather dress, her husband’s pulse races, he goes weak at the knees, his pupils dilate, he thinks irrationally and he becomes really excited? Have you ever wondered why this happens? Well, it’s quite simple really – she smells like a new car!

A few thoughts: Those who jump off Paris bridges are in Seine. Practice safe eating – always use condiments, Dancing cheek to cheek is really a form of floor play. Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion. Reading while sunbathing makes you well red. When two egotists meet, it’s and I for an I. A bicycle cannot stand on its own because it is too tired. This reminds me of the old joke about advice for those making a speech “A speech is like a bicycle wheel – the longer the spoke, the greater the tyre, or tire” Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? She was engaged to a fiancé with a wooden leg but she broke it off. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis. The man who fell into the upholstery machine is fully recovered. If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

An appeal: As some of you will know, Management and I belong to a boat club at Southery. There are finger moorings, at which the boats are moored. A couple of months ago, I stepped back off our boat without realising that it had drifted a couple of feet away from the pontoon, straight into deep water. It was all most disorientating and unpleasant. Don’t laugh – it is cruel to mock the afflicted! My friend, Ken, grabbed my hand as it surfaced and held on. Fortunately, there were others around and half a dozen club members hauled me out. This episode demonstrated that, almost certainly, I could not have got out of the water unaided and we decided that it was essential to install ladders at each pontoon. We need old aluminium ladders which can be cut to 8ft lengths and we would be happy to pay the scrap price of the aluminium. If you know of any (eg ex scaffolding ladders, etc) could you let me know on 01842 828956? We really would be grateful for any help with this.

Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet

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