Week 546

Sunday, 9th June, 2019

For years we’ve bought new, Honda cars. Generally, we’ve ordered them one week and picked them up next. Not this time. We have had about 12, new CRVs in the past 20 years and we’ve been waiting for the latest upgrade model – a Hybrid, All-Wheel drive, Continuous Variable Transmission, Automatic vehicle which obviates the need for gears. It is a step change improvement on previous models.

This model features Adaptive Cruise Control which, if you use cruise control as we do most of the time, is a fantastic improvement. There is nothing worse than setting Cruise Control to the speed limit and then finding a vehicle in front doing a much slower speed. This innovation allows the car to slow down and speed up  according to what’s in front. There is an ‘intelligent speed limiter’ facility which allows one to stick within prescribed speed limits without breaking the law.

Milan Ring Road – an absolute delight!

There is a facility called ‘Low speed following’ which allows one to set the car to auto when in a slow, queue of traffic. It slows down and stops as the traffic in front dictates and then starts up and accelerates away as the traffic in front allows. That is just the sort of facility that would be useful on the Milano Ring Road.

Often we would hit the Milano Ring Road after 10 or so hours of driving through the night and we were at our lowest ebb. My co-pilot would be at her calmest and I would be pinning my eyelids open. Another innovation – ‘Lane Departure Warning’ would have been very helpful here as would ‘Traffic Sign Recognition System’ which reads road conditions and automatically adjusts the car’s systems to meet those demands. 

Monday, 10th June, 2019

Wet, wet, wet! It was grey and heavy rain. We looked like spending the morning indoors. We received a phone call from Honda to say that our new car was arriving some 6 weeks early on a transporter this morning. We drove down to the dealership and arrived just as our car was rolling off the carrier on to the forecourt. £40, 000.00/€45,000.00 worth of car can look pretty ordinary slicked with protective wax, wrapped in plastic sheeting and in need of pre-delivery preparation.

We had to do the paperwork immediately to transfer our ‘cherished number plate’ that we’ve had since 1997. I bought it for £250.00/€280.00 back then and it is now worth some £12,000.00/€13,500.00 which is rather nice. The new car will be ready by Thursday or Friday so I’ve got to rather hurriedly shift rather a lot of cash from an Investment account in one bank to our Current account in another bank to the Honda dealership’s account in another bank. It used to be done through bits of paper called ‘cheques’ or Bankers’ Drafts in the old days. Now it is done electronically and, however confident one is with the process, moving huge amounts of cash through the ether is a little nerve wracking. The good thing about it is that it can happen almost instantly.

That done, we were able to enjoy the rest of the day by putting in a couple of hours at the Health Club. Home to chicken and salad for our meal and to jeer at the lunacy of the Tory Leadership contest. This country is going to hell in a handcart! At least we will have a new car to drive away in.

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

Après nous, le deluge! Yesterday was a washout in some regions. Actually, we go off lightly and, this morning, the day opened clear and sunny. We had sun all day and reached 24C/75F as we left the Health Club.

This morning we had to go to our ‘local’ bank branch to do an ‘official’ bank transfer to pay for the new car. Apparently, we are nor allowed to transfer a sum as large as we needed from our home computer through on-line banking. I don’t know how often you go to a bank branch. We haven’t been for about a year. Actually, our home branch is in Oldham which tells you how often we use it. We went in to Rustington which is 2.5 miles away.


One of the things about where we live is that nowhere is far away especially if you have a car. The money was transferred, the receipt confirmed and the car will be ready in a couple of days. We drove home and spent a couple of hours in the glorious weather mowing the lawns, trimming the hedges and generally tidying up. It was delightful and satisfying.

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a tree we found in Tenerife 6 months ago and from which we took seeds. I sowed them in two pots. The first were soaked in boiling water for 24 hrs and the second were not. This morning, those soaked in boiling water had germinated and the others had not. Delonix Regia or ‘The Flamboyant Tree’ is a gorgeous, red-flowering tree of the Med..  We’ll see if it survives in Sussex.

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

I have never been seriously concerned about climate change and, I must admit, I am not now. I have no children and, as I approach 70 years old, I do not worry too much about the children of the future. Certainly, I am not prepared to turn the clock back on current standards and advances in order to produce a future world of which I will not be a part. As ever, the world will innovate to confront the demands of the world’s climate.

We are told that, although driving, sailing and flying has revolutionised our ability to travel across the globe, we must stop driving, sailing and flying because of threats to the climate. We are told that, although humankind has been a meat eating species for as long as we know, now our meat eating must be curbed/stopped to save the planet. Science is already producing ‘Test Tube Meat’ and plant-based meat substitutes. We are told that fossil fuels which our planet has in abundance should be eschewed because their exploitation is dangerous to the planet’s existence.

I do not support any of those choices per se. Amusingly, however, I find myself falling in to a number of those decisions by accident out of self-interest. I have hardly eaten any red meat for 2 – 3 years. I almost entirely eat fish and chicken. This has absolutely nothing to do with climate change but is almost accidental and an alteration of choice. I have just ordered a  self-charging, Hybrid car. It has absolutely nothing to do with climate change but provided me with fuel consumption which more than doubles the economy of my current model.

Carnival cruise ship

The anomalies in the climate change analysis are fascinating. I read an article today which said, Carnival cruise ships produce more sulphur oxide than all Europe’s cars in total. The solution is blindingly obvious – ban all cruising. It doesn’t appeal to me. The thought of being cooped up on a ship for more than a day fills me with dread (sorry Richard). Even so, science will arrive at electrically powered planes, ships, cars, everything and the power will be stored in massive batteries sourced from renewable energy and humankind will look back on these problems and laugh just as we do about early attempts of men to fly. What we shouldn’t be doing is denying ourselves the benefits of progress in order to salve our consciences about the future generations.

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

Last night we heard torrential rain for about 30 mins. We woke to sunshine and a very clean, fresh world. Our garden was certainly grateful for the drink. The paperwork for our new car – transfer of our ‘cherished number plate’ to our new car and the transfer of registration of our current car to our dealership arrived this morning. We also had to contact our insurers to ensure that our new car would be covered from the time we took it over at 5.00 pm tomorrow. 

We decided that we would have a short break in France with the new car. That done, we chose to enjoy the rest of the day by not going to the Health Club but planning a short trip away. We will book a suite in our favourite hotel in Coquelles and go out for day trips along the coast during the days.

Lunch in Honfleur? Could be worse!

Wimereux, Bolougne, Le Touquet, Berk-sur Mer, Dieppe, Honfleur, Deauville all provide interesting stopping off points for lunch or dinner and a stroll.  It will be lovely to put the new car through its paces while we enjoy the coastline next week.

Friday, 14th June, 2019

Quite a demanding day. The weather has been pleasant plenty of sunshine and 20C/68F. We did some more gardening this morning – finishing hedges, mowing lawns, potting up plants and harvesting some herbs. It’s amazing how long these jobs take.

We received confirmation of 3 nights in a suite at our favourite hotel in Coquelles. We booked return Tunnel crossings immediately so everything is arranged for next week. Out on Tuesday morning and return Friday evening. Next, although we are tired from the morning’s work, we decided to go to the Health Club because our bodies regretted not doing the exercise routine yesterday.

Home for a quick meal and then out to Honda for the new car. It was already out on the forecourt when we arrived. The old car is just 3 years old and has done 22,672 miles/36,487 kilometres including a trip around Europe last summer.. We have enjoyed driving it. Admittedly, the fuel consumption is poor. We are driving an automatic with the air-conditioning permanently on. We drive mainly short journeys and average 22mpg/35.5kpg of unleaded.

Old (2016) CRV

As you can see, the new car is totally different but looks almost identical. Actually, although this is our 13th new CRV and 4th new model, the latest one is incredibly updated.

New (2019) CRV

Just one, small detail illustrates this modernisation. All our CRVs have been automatics. The early ones had dashboard-mounted gear sticks. Later ones went to the more conventional shift arrangement. The gearing was always one of their pleasures, climbing and descending smoothly and almost seamlessly. We drove almost continuously on ‘speed control’ in order to avoid breaking the law.

The new model has the speed limit projected at eyelevel on the windscreen for the driver to see along with the car’s current speed. It features an ‘intelligent speed limiter’ function which reads the road signs and regulates the car’s speed accordingly. You can, of course, over ride it but why would you – unless you are a boy racer and my days are gone on that score. The new car also has no gears at all. The drive is CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission, also known as a shiftless transmission or stepless transmission. It has no gear stick of any sort. Everything is done via electric buttons/switches. Now that does need some getting used to.

The gears are replaced by switches.

Because a lot of the work is done by an electrically powered engine, it is almost silent. This is particularly true at slow, starting speeds. We are reliably informed that our old 22mpg/35.5kpg will suddenly become 52mpg/84kpg which will be nice.

Saturday, 15th June, 2019

The day started off beautifully but has turned gently damp. It is only 18C/65F which is poor for mid-June but feels quite pleasant. I must just wish my little brother, Bob, happy retirement. He’s only 67 and very healthy so let’s hope he’s got a lot more mountains to climb yet. If he enjoys it half as much as me, he will be a happy chap!

I apologise in advance that my Blog entry is once again dominated by the new car but I have definitely realised that I have so much to learn and understand before we go away on Tuesday. There is so much on-board information and so many settings to adjust. It has taken me all morning just to scratch the surface.

Blind Spot Information System.

There are those, of course, who say just drive and all will become clear but I love gadgetry and I want to squeeze the maximum amount of pleasure from this machine. After all, we never know how many more there will be for us to enjoy.

Head-up Display screen rises in front of steering wheel.

When we press the start button, a symbol lights up in the wing mirrors to tell us that the radar sensors are switched on to warn of vehicles in our blind spot when overtaking. Excellent. I’ve always wanted this although I haven’t quite got to grips with the parameters within which it operates. I’m sure I will. The other element I’ve been acclimatising to this morning is the Head-Up-Display which emerges from the dashboard as the engine starts. It’s one of those things you don’t know you need until you have it and then realise it is actually indespensible.

Tried out the ‘Intelligent, Adaptive Cruise Control as we drove to the Health Club this afternoon. It is cruise control but with a refinement which copes with traffic in front that slow one down. The car reads the speed of the car in front and adjusts its speed and following distance automatically. Slight problem this afternoon as we drove down the High Street of our village, encountered a badly parked car and found ourselves being harshly braked to avoid hitting it by the automatic system. This is quite a steep learning curve. I will be sleeping with the handbook for the next couple of nights before we set off for France.

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