Skip to main content

It'll be a corkscrew next

We drive over to France at least once a year. It's a lovely place to visit and the roads are much nicer to drive on than ours. But I am getting a little tired of the game played by the French authorities where each time you go, they think of a new thing you have to carry in the car.

Recently it was a reflective jacket. Next a reflective jacket for everyone in the car. And this year it's breathalysers. Yes, unless you have a breathalyser in the car you can get an on-the-spot fine. I'm really not sure what they are for. After all, if you use your breathalyser, even if it comes up clear you can't drive, because you won't have a breathalyser in the car (OK it's a twin pack, but you know what I mean). It's hard not to see this as a way to rake in easy fines.

So I've been thinking about what next year's imposition might be. And I reckon it will be a corkscrew. You will be fined if you don't have a corkscrew in the car. This is partly because it is unFrench not to be able to open a bottle of wine at any time at a moment's notice, and partly because that way you are more likely to need the breathalysers.

However, just for once, I won't have to make a panic buy at the Shuttle terminal when I see the latest sign at the AA shop telling you what you must have in the car to avoid being hauled off to the chokey. You see, my trusty Swiss army knife already has a corkscrew on board. So there, French police! I'm ready for you.


  1. Brian

    You might be interested to know that because of the unprecedented demand (there are only two manufacturers in France)there is a grace period for foreign drivers until 1st November.

    Also be warned that only breathalysers made in France or French compatible will be allowed; ie no cheap British rubbish!

  2. Thanks Ian - I've already been. The one in the photo is my very own, which claims to be French compatible!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope