Here marketh a turning point: targeted junk mail has darkened my doorstep this morning. It heralds the first of many inevitable unsolicited letters intrusively attempting to sell me stuff I don’t need, now that my name would seem to be on an odious mailing list somewhere. The first of many paper wasting letters I have absolutely no interest in.
I will not even bother to open the paper waste Littlewoods kindly sent to me today. I am returning it to sender with a note for them to remove my details from their list. I have formed my request in a lazy scrawl with a crappy half-inkless biro on the envelope. If they ignore my request I will complain to the Information Comissioner’s Office.
They write to me proclaiming ‘It’s your space’ on the envelope in a happy font. Would you mind perchance informing me then Littlewoods why you are invading my space with your unsolicited letter please?
I am not a Littlewood’s customer, I do not have any store cards, and I have never signed up to any buy now and pay later kind of deals. This particular piece of mail looks to be inviting me to interest free credit at their store. It’s particularly ill-judged; perhaps something my mum would be interested in.
I think a more apt name for direct marketing is ‘desperate marketing’ because the marketeers are taking a punt that you will buy their product because you fall into their catchment socio-economic group.
I’ve a feeling that Hackney Council sold my name to the mailing list Littlewoods has access to. Hackney Council has been the only entity to send me mail with the characteristic misspelling ‘Ms Mitchall’. It seems wrong that your local authority would sell on your information. More than this, might they only be selling the information of people who are broke? who else signs up for interest free credit deals?
Have you received any random junk mail lately? Know how I can get my name off of this list??
I’m releaved and delighted to tell you I passed my driving test today, first time.
I didn’t think I stood a chance of passing as I made stupid errors throughout and my nerves had got the better of me. I had a spliting headache from the unseasonal sun pounding down while I drove up, down, and around hilly Hastings, where I took intensive lessons for a week and the practical test, but luckily I held it together long enough to pass with twelve faults.
I spent the morning focusing on my breathing and trying to relax which I think really helped bring about a positive state of mind. My warm up lesson went really well because I was feeling calm which would have boosted my confidence for the test.
Hastings is really hilly and I had to do a lot of hill starts in the test; not something I usually struggle with but one time I tried to pull off while I was in neutral and couldn’t figure out what was wrong when I didn’t feel the bite! Once I told myself to relax I worked it out and got moving. Incredibly, I didn’t get any test faults for this.
I got a lot of luck on the day too: I got to drive through the town centre (which is more like the London driving I’m used to) and around residential suburban streets where I didn’t meet too much traffic.
When I passed the examiner gave me an eco driving leaflet. One of the ways the government aims to cut emissions from transport is through the promotion of eco safe driving, a strategy I criticized as being a cop-out in the Sustainable Transport podcast because I doubted whether the majority of people are interested in or capable of driving as efficiently as necessary in order to achieve meaningful emissions reductions and because by merely ‘promoting’ eco safe driving the government isn’t really doing all that much.
While I recognise eco safe driving techniques lead to more efficient use of fuel, I still wonder if such techniques ask too much of the typical driver, whose concern is merely to get from A to B as quickly and safely as possible. Any driver would want to use fuel more economically, but as petrol is paid for at the pump and not by a meter as in a cab, money-saving eco driving techniques may not be at the forefront of most drivers’ minds.
My most recent instructor was very up on eco driving techniques and helped me to get a better idea of what driving more efficiently involves. He was always pushing me to improve my road awareness by planning ahead (so as to respond without hard acceleration or breaking) and was also rather frugal with changing down the gears – e.g. I was to change straight down from fourth to second, and I was to make turns second or third if safe.
If the UK driving test is to get more difficult as reported by the BBC I predict that eco safe driving techniques will carry more weight in the future practical exam. If drivers are taught from the outset how to use eco safe driving, then perhaps these skills will become habitual. There are already questions about eco safe driving in the theory test and as I noticed today, a section on the exam sheet for the examiner to tick when having given out the leaflet to a newly passed driver in the test debrief. These are signs of the push for eco safe driving.
My currnet plan is to drive when I get the chance taking my time and continuing to learn and hopefully developing as an eco safe driver.
Have you any eco safe driving tips for a newly qualified driver? Do you think the next generation of drivers has more potential to be eco safe if the driving test is made more difficult?
It’s time I stopped reading established media because I’m tired of the scaremongering. In each and every paper every day there is something depressing or fearful. One minute we’re all going to die of a horrible new disease, the next we’re going to lose our jobs and homes, and the cash machines will run out.
I have double-dip news flash fatigue. Maybe it will happen; I can’t be worse off than last time (has it actually stopped?).
There is something in the word ‘recession’ that instills fear. It’s losing jobs and savings and not having stuff. The worst aspect of all its all the wasted potential it entails. All the ideas, dreams and experiences that might have been were it not for economic forces beyond our control. Another reality where nobody speculates with virtual money.
When the word recession is removed and I think instead of slowed down growth I no longer feel scared. I think of people doing fine but living with less or with more equitable expectations. Maybe it’s people having less stuff but then also having more of the right kind of stuff. The people and their governments have realised that infinite growth is an impossibility and with it there is an awareness that change is necessary.
But the worst thing about living through a long drawn out recession is the enduring stagnation of possibilities. A jobless young person bursting with ideas but getting rejected at every turn. Somebody under-employed. Others forced to volunteer for private companies.
All the closed doors and internalised failures behind the recession and alarmist news stories. The actual cost of living through recession.