IT’s been a troubling time for my car, Bora Horza Gobuchul. About a month ago the catalytic converter was stolen but this isn’t about the trials and tribulations of that incident. This communication is about a cool, but random, occurrence when I happened to check the mileage on the car after my eldest son asked how far it had travelled.
There we are. I thought it was pretty cool. Although I didn’t even notice it at first, it was my child who got excited.
It has been an interesting few weeks. I recently met up with my good friend Jamie from Cornwall and had a nice meal with him and Smith. When I returned to my car and started it all hell broke loose and it sounded as though the exhaust had fallen off! I turned it on again just to see what would happen and – BLAM – still the same [sexy for a race car] noise. There is no way a Toyota Prius should sound like that. So I had to call the AA for Bora Horza Gobuchul. Now, being a male and having broken the car in the leafy Surrey suburbs I was not top of the list to be helped, but that is perfectly fine. It makes sense that women and vulnerable people should be helped first. We shouldn’t live in a world where that discrimination is necessary but as there is a very clear problem with male-on-female violence I’m happy to wait.
The AA man turned up and I described what the car sounded like. He grabbed a torch and looked underneath the vehicle. “Your catalytic converter’s been nicked”. In the couple of hours I was with my friends people had come and jacked up my car and sawn out the catalytic converter. This was a bit of a “bugger” moment as I was hoping he could just do some bolts up and I’d be on my way back home. Nope. The AA man called for a flat-bed truck to come and get me. Again, I’m down the list of priority so I had to wait until 0230 for the truck to arrive. I was slightly terrified of having to start the engine to get the car onto the truck as the Prius can only be put into neutral with the power system turned on, if the battery is low the engine will start. It turned out there was enough juice in the hybrid battery to run the car on EV power for a short while. It was loaded onto the truck and we headed off to Kent.
I had Bora Horza Gobuchul dropped off at an exhaust centre a couple of miles from my house and I got home a little before 0400. I went to bed and got up after not sleeping particularly well to organise work things and getting to the exhaust centre to explain the car dumped outside their workshop. I had already planned to cycle to work for a few days this particular week and so I had all my shower kit and spare clothes at school. So, I just had to cycle a few more days. Fortunately the weather was good and quite warm. Hopefully it’ll be similar the next time I cycle to work. The ride is about thirty minutes and as the majority of it follows the Medway towpath is actually really pleasant.
After speaking to insurance people and various garages it turned out that if I needed a courtesy car then I would have to get Bora Horza Gobuchul fixed at their choice of garage. In Ashford. The guys at ATS couldn’t fix the Prius because they can only replace the exhaust with OEM parts and they don’t have a deal with Toyota. So I had to get the car fixed in Ashford. After calling them I had to wait five days before they could get to me! Five days. I phoned them on the Friday, they couldn’t get the car picked up until I had uploaded a photograph of the car showing it can’t be driven. This was an amusing piece of administration as I couldn’t take a photo of the bits of the car showing I couldn’t drive it because from the outside it just looked like a normal car. While they understood this they also said that they can’t proceed until I upload a photo. I was at work. My car was thirty minutes bike ride away. So, I had an old photo of the car, cropped the background out, removed the meta-data and uploaded that. The garage said they would be able to get to me for Tuesday morning between 0800 and 1300.
I managed to borrow a friend’s car for the weekend and to run small jobs and the sorts of journeys you take for granted when you have a car. Even so I was mighty pissed off that I was expecting a speedy service and all that happened with me was delay and delay. So, I am currently in the position of waiting for Bora Horza Gobuchul to be fixed. I have a courtesy car which is ok. It’s a car. I don’t like it, but it’s a car. It’s nice to be mobile. All the money side of the admin has yet to be completed and I’m hoping to get the Prius early next week. I have no idea whether I’ll get a cat-lock fitted next time it’s in for a service. I suspect that if people want to steal my catalytic converter then they will.
The speedometer in my car over-reads. The car, named Bora Horza Gobuchul, has been with me for a while and I remember being on a motorway thinking that I’ll settle at 60m.p.h. as I wasn’t in a rush. After a while I was being overtaken by HGVs and that was quite disturbing given they have a 58m.p.h. speed limit. So, I got a speed application downloaded from the iTunes store and tested my speed using the phones GPS signal.
The result, my speed, according to my phone, was 54m.p.h.
That explained a lot. I had never tested the speedo in the Beast, there never really seemed to be a need to do it. So I set about testing the readings my car was giving me and it turns out that my speedometer over-reads my speed by 10%.
So, if the car is indicating 70m.p.h. then I’m really going 63/64 m.p.h.
My understanding is that speedometers are allowed, legally, to over-read the speed but NEVER under-read the speed. Because of this rule that they are NOT permitted to under-read means that a tolerance HAS to be included for under-reading. It would be costly for manufacturers to produce speedometers that are “exact”.
So, a car indicating a speed of 70m.p.h. could be doing anything in the range of 63 to 70 m.p.h.
Having tested this and observed the traffic around me and used various different speed testing apps I have now adjusted my speed accordingly. This effect could also be deliberate to try and make Prius drivers drive a little slower and therefore save fuel. You use approximately twice the fuel to travel at 70 than you would at 50m.p.h.
Now, here’s the rub:
My car has a “computer” as they used to be called and it tells me average speed, m.p.g. etc. Over the summer I reset this to zero while travelling on a clear motorway. I set the car’s cruise control to a steady speed of 77m.p.h. and reset the trip computer. Once the computer had enough data it flashed up my average speed: 70m.p.h! This continued over the next ten miles of travel before I had to slow down.
It appears that the car’s trip computer reads or reports the correct speed.
This confuses me. The trip computer either uses a different source for its data OR it knows the correct speed from the existing source. I don’t understand why either of these would be designed like that. The car has a mechanical device for reading the speed OR it could use the GPS system but why over complicate things?
This summer was not a good one for me attempting to park the car. It seems I’ve been a little unlucky or forgetful!
The first incident was caused by me largely not connecting the dots and being in a slight rush. I parked my car at work when I left for CCF Camp. When I did this the entire site was locked because it was being used by the Ramblin’ Man music festival in the park nearby. I managed to get into the car park and was going to park “out of the way” in my normal spot. I decided there and then that I really wanted some CCTV coverage of the car so I zoomed around and parked in the main part of the car park.
I thought little of this until the Tuesday. I was walking down to the Eden Project and I had a phone call asking if the spare keys were nearby. Could I get the car moved as it was blocking the route for a new water and electricity trench that the school needed to build. There was a few hours of consternation until I was eventually called and told that a car breakdown service had been instructed to move the car. I was relieved.
Bora Horza Gobuchul no longer blocked the path for the trench. I had been told about this work that was going to take place, but did not combine this fact with where I parked the car.
The next incident was parking at the M’era Luna festival. Along the journey we had received updates about the parking and rain situation and we arrived around midday to park. The queues into the car park were long and we wondered what the delay was. I followed the instructions given by the parking attendants and turned onto the field. Drive fast they said and don’t stop.
Well. That’s all very well for a manual non-hybrid car without and traction control electronics. I think we managed about 100 metres across the field before we became embedded in the mud. The car was not going anywhere.
We weren’t the only ones. There were many cars getting stuck including a BMW X5. Shortly after this the organisers closed the car park and managed to arrange alternative parking for the festival attendees. One of the attendants explained there would be a tractor when we wanted to leave. I was quite distressed because the car was beeping and flashing lights at me. There wasn’t anything I could do and so I turned the thing off. Andy did well to calm me, slowly my stress lowered and I managed to enjoy most of the weekend without panicking too much.
Before leaving the car park we found the emergency tow hook and I read the instructions about how to fit it and be towed. Mentally I prepared myself for the car to be broken and the steps we would have to go through to get home.
On the Monday morning, in quite a gorgeous setting, we flagged down the tractor man and he towed us out of the hole. I had to put the car into neutral which I rarely do but it all seemed to work well. As we neared the edge of the field the tractor chap unhooked us and said we had to drive the last three metres by ourselves. I’m not really sure why. I wanted a tow to the road so I had a proper surface to drive on.
I floored the accelerator and the car moved to the road. I shouted to Andy to get in and we left. A few miles up the road I removed the emergency tow hook. We headed to the UK. All seemed far better than I had expected!
The good news is that since I am now back at work the summer is officially over and I have had no more parking incidents. I even had quite a time in the Lake District and then Bradford and neither resulted in issues. My nerves have dissipated now.
It seems it is quite traditional for me to drive all over this country during the summer while also traversing others. Part one of this manic adventure was out in the south west and gorgeous Cornwall. I had a lovely time. Here are some of my best photographs, just appreciate the lengths I go to show you lovely places and things.
This quaint fishing village, now mostly tourism, has a lovely old bridge and speedboat rides.
Also, I don’t think I quite captured just how beautiful this next scene looked in real life, but I only took a quick shot with the phone rather than a proper camera.
Cotehele House is lovely. But, whenever I visit these old houses it reminds me of the blatant and appalling class difference in this country and how this is reinforced by these old “stately” homes. These rich wankers are here “to look after us” and wasn’t life simpler when there was a Lord Of The Manor. Well, fuck you British history, I hate this sub-conscious reinforcement of “place in society”. I dare you to watch Disney stories and spot how they reinforce the order of birth-right.
The house was pretty though. This picture is just the quayside so not even the proper part of the estate!
Kit Hill is a local Marilyn. There was a road all the way to the top, although I think I would have preferred to park at the bottom and walk up by myself.
Lantic Bay was a lovely secluded bay on the south coast where the blustery wind couldn’t quite reach. The sand was shingle and coarse so it hurt to walk on it, but the views were bloody lovely. The air was warm and the sea was cold. There was a short walk from the car park to the beach down the rugged cliff side and it amused me how much people were struggling on the way back up. I found it too easy and it made me want to go running more!
At Godrevy Bay I found muscles. Not undiscovered ones in my body but loads on the rocks.
Went on a rainy trip around HM Naval Base to see the warships from the river and a short while later we saw the Dutch Frigate leaving for the open sea. The following ships were alongside: two Trafalgar class submarines, HMS Sutherland, HMS Ocean, HMS Bulwark, HMS Albion and some RFA ships.
At the National Marine Aquarium I saw sharks and turtles and jelly fish and loads of pretty stuff.
This is a carnivore:
Wandered around this stone circle in the rain:
My first impression was that the queue seemed quite long and I tried to book tickets online while standing in the queue but the next available session was in three hour’s time. It seemed a slow moving queue to me. Then we went to the restaurant. There were four queues but the food selection was down one side of them and the system wasn’t CLEAR. It was not a pleasant experience.
As it rained we used the bus to drive us the 2km to the stones from the visitors centre. This was the only time my ticket was checked. When we got to the stones we wandered around but I am largely uninspired by them. They seem more impressive from the road as you drive by.
If you want to visit. Pay to park and then walk to the stones. If there’s no one checking tickets just walk through. If there is someone checking tickets you can still get a good view from the free-viewing-area. Don’t pay the money.
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