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Dear Britain: This, right here, is your problem... May. 7th, 2010 @ 11:06 am
From Nick Robinson's blog: tonight's story may be being over-shadowed by the extraordinary revelation that Britain cannot competently run the most basic part of the democratic process.

You know, in other countries, the reaction to something like this would be: "Someone screwed up. This needs to be fixed, as soon as possible." For some reason, the English - and I think it's an English thing, as I didn't make it to Wales but certainly attitudes in Scotland were very different - take an incredibly dismal attitude to failures. "See? Britain fails at this."

Where's the "What? Britain is better than this, dammit!"? Why the complacency with inadequacy, across the spectrum from train schedules to national elections?

Dear Britain, Nov. 3rd, 2009 @ 11:54 am
A couple of notes about driving, travel, and road design.

1) When it's raining, turn on your lights.

I know this doesn't actually illuminate the road at all in daytime. The point here is not to help you see - it's to help you be seen. In heavy spray, in heavy rain, your car is pretty much invisible. This is not good.

2) When designing traffic control for a road, use EITHER a roundabout OR traffic lights. NOT BOTH. The combination of the two is INSTANT GUARANTEED TRAFFIC SNARLS ALL THE TIME.

3) You know what's useful? Road signs. Including signs indicating the speed limit. Expecting that people will "just know" is really, really annoying to tourists. And we're supposed to be something you want, for the sake of your economy, which is still ailing rather badly.

I am sufficiently sick of driving in Britain that I am quite looking forward to going over to Europe.

No love,
Tags: ,

Space constraints Oct. 12th, 2009 @ 09:26 pm
So, there are ways in which Australia is much, much better than the United Kingdom... and which the UK can't do anything about, that I can see.

Two things:

1) Australian roads are wider, straighter, better signposted, better lit, and have shoulders and emergency lanes and all those things.

2) Australian mobile phone coverage is vastly better, as is Australian radio coverage.

Listening to wide-coverage FM radio in Australia, I've never had the degree of signal cutouts I've experienced here. BBC Radio Scotland cuts out a lot driving around the streets of Edinburgh. And my wireless broadband only works here if it has line-of-sight to the window.

But they have all these old, tall buildings, this rugged terrain, and a lot less space in which to build roads and broadcast towers. So they're kind of stuck, I think.

Today's breakfast: gluten-free crumpets, with lemon curd. Delicious crumpets! From the "Livewell" line, bought at Sainsbury's, if anyone's interested. My tastebuds miss yesterday's delicious bacon and eggs at the B&B, but I suspect my arteries are relieved. Today's plan: Visiting with Mary, in a bit, and then I'm going out to explore Edinburgh!
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