it would be no understatement or falsehood, look you see, to state that driving in the Land of Eng is somewhat different to doing so in the Africa of the South. this is true to the extent that, here in England-Land there is distinctly less chance of being shot at whilst driving, and motorists tend to be of a mind to adhere to the principles of both safe driving and the laws in place governing how one may command a combustion engine powered perambulator on the roads.
should you think that the above insights, and those insights are merely a start, means on an automatic basis that motoring is completely, if not entirely, better here than in the Africa of the South, you would not be far from wrong but you are not entirely right. there is a down side to life on the roads here. for the most part that down side kicks in as and when you need to add fuel to your vehicle of choice.
other than the high cost of fuel here (try R25/l being seen as cheap, dear friends in Jozi), you have to get out of your car and put it in yourself. wow. in downtown Johannesburg, or anywhere in the Africa of the South, one simply pulls in to a station and a nice chap comes and puts it in for you.
the same chap,and i am getting to the point of the whine now, also does some rudimentary work on your car. as well as putting the fuel in, he also cleans your windows, checks your oil and water, carries out some rudimentary maintenance on your alternator, observes the condition of your battery and - here it comes - checks the tyre pressure for you. here you have to do all that stuff yourself and, in respect of the latter, in some instances pay to do so.
that picture above is off of a Shell garage, where yesterday i theoretically needed to pay 50p for five minutes access to air in order to check my tyres. in this case i did not need to pay as a taxi driver had just checked his and there was some time left from what he paid, but still.
normally i would not use Shell to check my tyres. the fuel depot which usually benefits from my patronage, mostly because the lady who works there is an old school friend of my Mum, happily provides air for free. however, their hose for the air is knacked at the moment. an idiosyncrasy of my car is a proclivity to lose air in the tyres at the front, so i kind of needed to become a temporary patron of Shell this weekend.
what does this picture of some stamps have to do with paying for air? absolutely nothing. i just picked them up yesterday, and i thought you might like to see them i believe, ostensibly, they are a "special edition" stamp designed to celebrated the90th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen, but i am somewhat baffled by the colour.
over here in the Land of Eng, stamps are normally formally coloured to represent in exact details the qualities of the two major political parties. 1st Class stamps are red, which represents Labour. this is done so to capture the essence of Labour - pushy, forward, imbued with a sense of entitlement that they should be first, cost you more, promise to deliver what's best for you and, more often than not, fail to deliver. 2nd Class are blue to represent the Conservatives - they claim to be cheaper for you, yet deliver only as and when they see fit to and, as a consequence of that, tend to end up costing you more than the face value in the long run. despite the merits and failings of both, whilst 1st Class would seem to be the best it is usually 2nd Class which ends up being inexplicably more popular.
in this respect, i have no idea how to interpret the political statement made by Royal Mail in respect of these purple stamps. from what i recall UKIP adopted this shade of purple as a colour. maybe then it is the case that these stamps on a superficial level seem like a jolly good idea, but ultimately it will prove to be silly and self-defeating to use them.
anyway, back to air, and paying for it. in fairness to Shell, for your 50p you do get to get your hands on some remarkable digital technology that transforms the art of checking and putting air into your tyres into something off of Terminator or Space Battles. you are required to digitally enter the PSI (whatever the f*** that is, i found it written somewhere in the car) of your tyres and then the machine digitally inflates your tyres to that PSI level.
despite their charging me, or if you like some taxi driver, 50p for some air, i do have a lot of sympathy for Shell Oil. they, like me, had their lives unexpectedly and forever changed with the advent of the digital calculator. just as if you type 337 into a digital calculator and turn it upside down you get my name, if you type 71077345 and do the same you get the words Shell Oil on it. as you cannot do this with any other oil producing company whatsoever, except 0553 to get Esso, Shell have suffered a great deal of acrimony, prejudice and harsh treatment from the pure jealousy and spite of others. i sometimes like to think the harsh, negative and judgemental treatment i experience from time to time comes from a similar jealousy within people who cannot write their name on a calculator.
my Uncle Colin, in his infinite wisdom, suggested that i would learn or come to enjoy driving a lot more in England than i ever did in the Africa of the South on the basis that here it features a good deal less firearm use and a great deal more interest in safety. he was predominantly correct in this statement, but still i don't really care for this business of having to not only do the PSI thing on my tyres directly, but also be expected to pay for doing this.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!