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LondonRascal

Events and Promo Team
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LondonRascal last won the day on September 12

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About LondonRascal

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    Social Media Guru
  • Birthday 07/06/1979

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    http://www.norfolkbroadslive.com

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    Male
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    London
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    Broadcaster, Blogger and Technology Evangelist from London. Enjoys a good coffee, Ale an boating.

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  1. LondonRascal

    Independence - Updates | Maintenance & Care

    The video was done simply to share here, and nowhere else. When I uploaded it however I accidentally made it public. This is why it was removed off the main you tube channel page. As to videos generally, I have been concentrating on all sorts of things away from them - and I feel a lot better for it. For example, when I was on Trixie over the summer and spent two days mud weighted on Barton Broad this was a new experience and something I would never have done previously (boring video) and also because you are eager to get on and go somewhere to recorded more video and so over time the video element becomes the ruling factor - not good. This year I met with Russell (The Admiral) who was filming his latest adventure, and like me was ever conscious of what had been filmed, what he could film and so on and showed once more how the whole You Tube circus can sweep you away. However, there are other reasons besides. Firstly that I have such limited connectivity on the Broads - its fine for the odd video upload from my phones, or going online but noway is it suitable to upload several gigabytes of data that a fully edited video takes up - and then there is the editing, all this lives on my powerful desktop computer but that is not with me and languishes in London still in my storage space (flat) that hopefully will be sorted come mid November. But even with the flat gone, there is nowhere I can put and use such a large bit of kit on Indy. So it is a trick situation, but also in my time away from the videos, I have seen how there is room for some new originality to come back, and so there will be new content coming in due course.
  2. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    I absolutely agree with you. However, this is not what we, as new drivers are taught to do. We are taught to approach slow and be ready for them to change so you can react and stop. It was drilled into me by three different Instructors to expect lights to change and always stop - if you cannot stop in time you are going too fast. I ignore this usually and instead go by what is around me - behind and in front. In the case of the failure, I don't think my Examiner was looking as we approached in his rear view mirror - but I was and I knew I had nothing behind us. This is why I stopped as I knew it would not cause issue to any other road users and, it also was what I had been taught. I tried to do it all - slow down, ensure it was safe and make a choice based on the circumstances don't I wish now I had just sailed on through the amber light but if I had, would I have been failed for that..? Next time will be doing the standard learner driver action to abide by what is expected. Drive slow and don't plan too much ahead, and certainly don't do things like back into a parking bay looking out the back window while you make adjustments with your right hand on the wheel - it's really bad as if you need to correct you must stop, use both hands to turn the wheel, then move again.
  3. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    I am more than happy for them to read this, indeed after a call to re-book with my Instructor today, I am the talk of the community among norfolk's largest driving school - of course I could be crafty and be having my next test at the other test centre in Norwich...
  4. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    The Examiner may very well know of me, since he lives in Potter Heigham, but reading this Forum about this - that is like when I bought Independence and people were telling me I was crazy to reveal so much detail including what my tactics were to get the price I did in the public realm in case the owner read it and thought 'I know your game now'. I have had 24 hours to think over things and have a new tactic - treat it just like I did my theory test, turn up and see how I do without a care. This way the nerves can be put to one side because it matters not if you do well or not - re-book wait ten days turn up do it again. So my next test is 15th November, I have some additional lessons booked in the week leading up to the test all planned to run from late afternoon into the evening so I can get some more night driving practice in. I would agree with Ynysmon: And I don't mean that to mean a show off, or acting like you know it all - but it is just the smoothness of the drive, keeping up to speed, planning and judging when to pull away or stop etc. I was behind a chap on his test earlier in the day and my Instructor said he is being far too cautious and risking things - for example doing about 23 MPH in a 30 MPH and when it went to a 40 MPH not speeding up much. What can happen then is people behind begin to build up and it only takes someone to get annoyed, hoot or pull out to overtake out of frustration and you've failed. Lisa who did my Mock was impressed that on country road and single carriageway A roads I was keeping up with the other traffic, in her experience pupils get nervous and so on a 60 MPH single carriageway A road might only do 45 MPH - that is the norm, it is also what Examiners get used to as well, if you are therefore different perhaps you stand out a little too much - who can say. Since yesterday people have contacted me to say they were failed from the same Test Centre. One being asked by an Examiner to overtake in a 30MPH zone when the candidate was close on the speed limit and would have broken the speed limit to overtake. He therefore decided to stay behind the vehicle but was then failed for this since he held up other traffic. Another being asked to do a parallel parking manoeuvre on a busy road that served as a bus route. As he pulled up and went to carry out the manoeuvre, he noticed a bus was approaching, so he stopped as he had been taught. The bus duly pulled up behind him and he continued the parking manoeuvre. Once he was into the 'bay' enough, the bus moved around him and carried on its way. Upon return to the test centre he found he had been failed because he held up traffic during the parking manoeuvre. There are so many little things that can happen and mess the whole shooting match up and so much pressure is put on to passing - in my case I had paid £1,500 that included the tuition prior to the test, my test fees and use of the car on the day - not small change. Because I failed, I now have to pay another £62 for the next test, and then on top of this finance the use of the car on the day and 'pay as I go' refresher lessons at £45 each. That could all go towards things like fuel for my own car but it is what it is. A lot of people, especially young drivers might have been gifted this as a present, or saved up over time to achieve so to learn you've failed can be devastating. My Instructor told me how some fall apart and once failed might be so put off never try again.
  5. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    Thank you. And this is very true, since after this incident I was natural rather low and felt pretty sick inside. I felt 'what is the point going on' yet despite this and other things, I kept my level head. I am pleased that I did not begin to make silly errors just because I was under pressure or feelings disheartened. I am also pleased I have shared my journey here, from simply talking about progress to taking onboard peoples comments and today giving the news I need to keep on going for the time being to get the magical 'pink licence'.
  6. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    If that happens again I will feel more empowered, after all I am paying for the test. I will be polite but ask if we could not talk so I can concentrate more. As for being in London but learning here, there are many courses around the country that are taken where people stay in a local hotel and do the driving and then the test - where you live should not have any bearing on the location of the test but of course people have their own prejudices. I am more motivated now, know the system and since posting on my personal Facebook page people have commented with tales of their own issues with the Norwich test centre Examiners. I've also had message from a London based Examiner saying what happened today was wrong - he should not have instructed me as he did. If I was too close to the lights to stop safely, and a vehicle was behind then I could have carried on as the lights changed - safer option. The fact there was nobody behind us and I had checked this and braked sharply should also be okay since it caused no risk to any other road user. Starting to brake hard then told 'go go go' was just about as wrong as it could be. Also chatting is optional, asking nosey questions and then throwing in a series of turns and straight after a parallel park seems to show he was simply being at best harsh and at worse piling on pressure for his own reasons.
  7. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    So lets keep this to the point, I failed. Right now that is out the way of course being me it could not just be a simple error I could go away and kick myself about, no it had to be a bit of an oddball affair. I've posted a video below to explain more but suffice to say I ended up getting the 'grumpy' Examiner of the bunch so said my Instructor. She pointed him out as we went into the Test Centre and as he disappeared I thought I was not going to get him, and then he popped back out and called my name. The people waiting we generally older men doing Motorcycle tests or teenagers (two visible shaking) waiting for their car tests. I guess there must have been about 8 of us in the waiting room. As people were called forward they were asked to show their Driving Licence and after a brief check were introduced in a friendly manner to the Examiner who would then ask 'is it ok if I call you Julie', for example. When it came to my turn the first issue was the fact he kept on looking over my Licence, and then asked 'this is a London address?' and I had to explain yes it was and yes it was my usual address etc. I had to sign the test sheet and as we walked out to the car there was no friendly greetings, it was surname only. Eyes tested it was a quick tell me question about the car and I got in. Shortly after he too got in and put his Tom Tom Sat-Nav on the dashboard and begun to talk about why I was up here, had I moved what made me want to come to Norfolk etc. Well, this was strange as I had been told Examiners rarely talk other than to give instruction. He then asked me to leave the car park when safe, and we did. Two roundabouts down we approached a major junction - three lanes, we needed to turn right and you can use the right or centre lane to achieve this. I could see the lights turn green in the distance but the closer we got the more 'edgy' I felt at the length of time they had been green and was slowing - 17MPH was on the screen. I checked my rear view mirror and nothing was behind us, glanced forward to see the lights change to amber. I instinctively hit the brake. During my tuition I have been told and told again never go through an amber light and especially on test day as it will be a fail right away. I even had (at the same junction on my Mock) the same thing happen and I stopped. The senior instructor praised me then, but reminded me if that was on test to always check the rear view mirror just in case there was a car close behind. Today there was no car behind us, or in front of us so as I hit the brakes the Examiner calls 'GO GO GO' - this 'brain froze' me doing something that had been drilled into me and at the same time being told to carry on through the amber light. We stopped. I had eased off the brake a tad as he called me to 'GO GO GO' and now we were a tyre over the stop line. His let out a small chuckle and I knew it was all over. But as I drove on I wondered, well I may have been slightly wrong but so too was he so maybe I would get away with this being six of one and half a dozen of the other. He then got really chatty and nosey and I would have to pause in my replies to check signs, pull out and so on - to be honest it was distracting me and if this was not bad enough 2he switched to asking me to do maneuvers not one at a time like "I would like you to turn right at the end of the road" but instead "I would like you to turn right ahead, then right again and into the next road left" - three instructions in one. As I completed this rather too close I felt to a junction he asked me to pull over and here we would do the Parallel Parking. This meant I had to be super aware of my blind spot in case a car swept around the junction or for that matter a pedestrian - if you are doing this maneuver and anything or anyone comes along you must stop immediately. Despite the pressure and being asked to use the rear wash wipe as one of the show me questions (the most cheeky I feel as on the car I was in requires you to push the stalk away from you, hold in for a few seconds while water appears on the rear screen and then cancel the wipers unlike the front window washers) I did okay with only two minors. One was as I came out on a new road I did not do a mirror sweep until I was a good few feet down the road and the other was approaching too quickly to a mini-roundabout let turn. So we arrive back at the Test Centre and he asks if I would like my Instructor to hear the debrief, and I agree. He then said I had failed and asked me if I wanted to know why, to which of course I said yes. He explained that at the first set of traffic lights it was safe to proceed through the amber light and he had asked me to, but I had stopped. I explained that I did that because there was nothing behind us and it was what I had been taught, his reply was if there had been a vehicle behind us they would have had nowhere to go but into the back of us therefore it was unsafe and a serious fault so a fail. My Instructor could not believe it - and she was the one more fuming than me. She explained in the years she has been teaching pupils many had failed going through an amber and was so pleased she heard it come out of his mouth 'it was safe to proceed'. She said as a driver so many do indeed use the amber light as a 'warning' and carry on through knowing nothing bad will happen but it is not how you should be taught and certainly not what an Examiner should instruct. She also questioned why he spoke at all - if I was going to mess up let me and mark me down, and was even more surprised when I said how much he was talking to me through the test. But despite this, it was what it was. It also was my error at the end of the day - I should have been more prepared, and more ready to have braked and gone slower on approach than I actually had been and that was frankly down to the nerves of literally having left the Test Centre about 5 minutes previous. I am upset that it came down to this but it also has given me a good insight into the experience and frankly, like with school when you learn things but only 50% pop up int he exam you actually needed to know, so I can see how much of the things I have been taught and gone over even if you do them wrong may result in a minor but traffic lights I will never look at in the same way again. At least in time I can say 'and this junction was where I failed my test at'. I am going away for a week with the Lads boating, and then will put in for another test - perhaps first week in November. I want to use the same car and my Instructor so I will fit in with when she and the car are free.
  8. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    The DVSA say on average it takes 45 hours for someone to meet the standard to put in for their driving test. I have had 30 Hours of actual driving experience this year, and 9 hours last year. The problem, as I see it is not the number of hours it has taken someone to get to a 'standard' and I am sorry if this sounds a bit cocky, but experience counts for very little if, from the beginning you begin and continue to do things wrong. You then gain a lot of experience at doing things how you are not meant to. The other thing is everyone (okay most people) will believe they are a good driver. This causes people to take it for granted. I think personally a good driver is someone who does a lot of driving over a number of years over a lot of different road circumstances. Leaving a residential area, through a city, on a duel carriageway then a motorway followed but some town driving to their place of work. Do this 5 days a week but every few days mix in different routes so it never gets the 'same old'. That is how my Dad would do things commuting from North London to Kent. Although it was the same two destinations, there were five routes he would drive and change them up because he felt it would keep him more alert and not get into a Robot mode of the same route day after day. If everyone was really good driver though, there would never be any issues on the road with others moaning about how people are not looking, pulling out, cutting them up, going too fast, going too slow - you name it. What I think time and experience provides you is to appreciate what your driving causes others to do around you and to anticipate what others are going to do. It might be about the style of car they are driving, their gender or age even down to the time of day or day of the week - experience will be your second pair of eyes and your instinct. You cannot be taught that it just develops over time. If I pass on Wednesday, and after Lads Week the first drive I will undertake properly is to Inverness. This is because when I began my first foray into driving lessons I told myself when I pass I will do this and stay at a certain hotel and it will be my moment of pride to make it to a place I have never been to before that is a great distance from home. I am not sure how long I may keep P plates on, I think it will depend on how comfortable I feel rather than a set amount of time. What I have learnt from talking to my Instructor is a lot of younger people feel they are ready far sooner than they really are - they gain the basics of car control and think it is all sorted and want to put in for their test and get it out the way. Also people doing intensive courses are not able to keep up with the many hours on the road with breaks being few and far between but by doing this you are getting good experience day after day, and having to deal with other road users and their ways a lot more than a couple of hours each week over time especially if your lessons are at the same sort of time, like the afternoon you will never experience busy rush hour conditions until you have passed your test, I am also very pleased to be having some night time driving experience tomorrow and feel that should be part of learning and not just good fortune I will be doing it.
  9. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    I have not found anyone 'trying it on' if that is the correct expression when I have been either driving in the branded learner car, or with the L plates on. This could be because of the part of the country I have so far driven in - not a big metropolitan area and generally Norfolk folk are more laid back. I think the other difference is if you are hesitating, going too slow on fast roads or being timid then you are going to cause people to get frustrated around you regardless of if you have just passed, still learning or are generally a slower less confident driver. So why the P Plates? I guess my reasoning is because I have the excuse to fall back on should something happen I can feel some kind of 'shield' by wearing them. Silly? Probably, yes. But then I feel the same way when I am cycling and have some decent lights and an High Vis of course it does not protect me form the idiot there always is on the roads, but at the same time it makes me feel a little more comfortable, and for me that is all that matters.
  10. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    The L placement - I did not expect this to cause the issue it has, clear choice I had. Have one on the front where it was or not have one at all. The magnetic one I had got was no good, as the car is aluminum and the bumper plastic. I tried to stick it on the bumper but it caused havoc with the forward parking sonar beeping all the time. So quick thinking it was off to Halfords and they had two choices - magnetic and window cling. Problem is the window cling is for the interior - I tried it on the lower right of the windscreen to approximately where it 'should' go - this restricted my view too much just above and to the right of the instrument cluster 'hump' so we opted for the nearside. I've got some nice stick on P plates ready to go after Wednesday, that will give people something to smile about on the back of a Beemer The other problem with the car is it makes no difference audibly with engine noise, or with any sense of handling difference between say 35MPH and 70MPH. It is therefore incredibly easy to go over the speed limit, not helped that key speeds like 30MPH are not shown on the speedo, you just get a 'dash'. There is also no digital speedo like I have got used to on the Audi. I know in time experience with a car will lead you to have an automatic sense for what speed you are doing, and also other road users around you help, but with a smaller less powerful car when you are on a duel carriageway and you can hear the road roar more and engine is revving higher it feels faster automatically, compared to a hushed near silence in this car. Should I do well come Wednesday the next thing will be to put in for a manual test - since I have been learning in an Auto, but the test routes will be fresh in my mind and I won't have any pressure to pass - I can keep trying. Once that is done I want to get learning HGV's as I think I have found a bit of a love of learning and driving already.
  11. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    Today I was due to do a little driving with Simon, and originally that was going to be in his Rav-4 around the wide open roads of the Cambridgeshire Fens until I came up with the idea that I drive my car, the car I have been keeping at their house, taxing, servicing and insuring without having been able to drive, to Brundall. And so there was a quick dash to sort the paper work out - tax was running out 1st October, MOT too (booked in for the day after my test) and the insurance needed renewing too. DVLA website was a breeze to use and another 6 months tax put on, next up Compare the Market then Money Supermarket, then Direct Line - you get the idea - shopping about I found XS Direct Motor Insurance came in the cheapest, £764.79. Expensive, but at the other end of the scale, this is for a BMW 730LD and with me, not even a full license holder yet. We were all set to go, damn it! L Plates would not stick on as they are magnetic and the BMW has a bunch of weight saving aluminum panels. I gaffer taped one on the rear bumper and we set off. First stop Halfrords for some more L Plates and a visit to the local car wash. I was pleased with how things were going, forward bay park at Halfords perfect but then my Mum needed the toilet, off to Tesco it was - tighter, fuller car park, decided for a reverse bay park - got it right on between the lines. Then I had time to contemplate the journey and the nerves began to creep in. A47, single carriageway, duel carriageway, roundabouts, unfamiliar roads... We left and after a tense half hour I relaxed and Simon was commenting on how smooth and well I was driving. He is undertaking ADI training currently hoping to become a driving institutor himself with the AA so was able to practice some questions and get a fee for how may be for him in the future as an Instructor. Well we did have two issues on our drive. Firstly at a roundabout where I had to go straight on, I forgot to indicate as I left the roundabout - the car in front did not, neither did the one behind and as Simon said in a BMW the indicators are usually disconnected anyway. The next issue was judging the width of the barge and the nearside touched the rubble strip as we pulled off the carriageway on the slip road approaching a roundabout. I was so pleased to have done such a long drive, in varied traffic in a new car to me but felt confident and noticed how so much of what I have been taught has now 'stuck'. But it not just what I was taught it is things I have picked up, like being ready and then moving over as cars joined the duel carriage and planing ahead. Tomorrow they drive back without me, but I have a refresher lesson on Tuesday and an hour before my test on Wednesday so I am as prepared as I can be and if anything is going to fail me I think it will be a result of something that happens to me not what I cause. I therefore hope for a good route, and some sensible fellow drivers around me come the day. The Barge and Boat...
  12. LondonRascal

    The Sub £300.00 4hp Outboard...

    It depends on what you use the engine for - if you own a Shetland 4+4 and this would be your only motive power you might go for the brand, the backup and so on and you may also consider re-sale value - Honda = known Hongda = Not known avoid. This may make your boat harder to sell on, or attract a lower price. I get that. What I don't get is all the small tenders out there, used a handful of times if that in a season. Deflated tubes, green beginning to spread along the ropes and cover, and yet bolted on the back is a nice, expensive branded outboard. I don't get that. The outboard I shared is at the 'disposable cost' so it runs great for a year and then the following year gives some issues, you find out it needs a small part, unique to this and the seller on Amazon you bought it off is no longer around - you scrap it and buy another. Moving on to the the 'proper' looking, water cooled outboards that are clones on branded models and share branded parts, are doing well and when you see some rescue services with Parsun outboards on the back of their boats it begs the question - how bad can they be? But even then two or three years service out of an outboard that costs you £400.00 before it might give up the ghost, to me is good value and worth it. The same goes for the latest crop of warm air heaters from Russia - cheap and reliable units with increasing UK support makes the big branded multi-thousand pound choices harder to justify. These motors are not for everyone, but for the person who goes for a fishing trip now and then, pops along the river to the local pub form the Marina and does not want to take their larger boat these cheap and cheerful units make perfect sense to me.
  13. You know sometimes when you find yourself in the odd part of You Tube, or end up in whacky part of E-Bay..I found out Amazon has one of these little explored isle's too. You see you can buy outboard engines on Amazon - I knew you could get electric ones that produce a few pounds of thrust, but I had no idea you could get engine powered ones too. What about a price tag starting at £199.00? Now a good size would be about 3.5HP to 4HP for a small dinghy type set up, and for the modest price of £268.59 you can have one. This as you will see is not an outboard you will be familiar with, it has a single gear and in order to go astern you move the entire engine around on its pivot. They are air cooled, in fact let's not beat about the bush what you are really getting is a lawnmower engine that drives a propeller. But the great thing about that is they are so easy to work on, parts are cheap as chips and they have very little to actually go wrong. I think these would make ideal engines for people who have a tiny tender that might not get used much, and that the expense of a branded 'proper' outboard is not worth, but a cheap engine that can be put on easy and weights very little is great. Link: http://amzn.eu/d/9Cq3rAC
  14. Some of the roundabouts do need extra caution and a degree of defensive driving as I have found in my lessons. The 'locals' tend to treat the lanes on these roundabouts as if they are not there, so if you are going around, you need to indicate earlier and really show 'i'm exiting' to prevent someone coming up the inside as you come across to exit. A good look over the left shoulder does wonders and if it is not safe I have just gone back around for a second attempt. I really dislike them because they just look and feel different to all the other roundabouts and some have filter lanes for left turning traffic, some do not and the signage could be better as well.
  15. LondonRascal

    Rascal's Learning to Drive

    Today was Mock Test day and a bit of a change, since the vehicle I would be used would be different to the one I had been learning in, a larger, newer Audi A3 S-Line (I've been learning in an Audi A1). Also the test would be given by a senior instructor to be more independent and as realistic as possible. Having got used to the car, I found it much the same as a boat - going larger is better and easier to control. It was far more planted, especially on the fast country road section, and at speed on the dual carriageway sat squarely in the lane - the smaller A1 gets thrown about more by cross winds and is far less forgiving over uneven road surfaces. I drove to the test centre having a chat along the way which was nice, as it took away the slight nerves I had. We then proceeded on a real test route which took us right away out on the duel carriageway. We then turned off and did country roads, then some built up driving before I had to perform a forward bay park, and then an added emergency stop for good measure. Back to the test centre and the results were given...A pass. Not only was it a pass Lisa, the Instructor giving the test had to laugh because the only minor she could possible give was on the duel carriageway I was keeping a 3 second gap between the cars - you should aim for nothing less than 2 but only go over 4 seconds on wet days etc. However, as I checked my mirror and blind spot to overtake a car, this reduced to 2 seconds - not at all bad, not an issue but to an Examiner he might very well give a minor for such and so she did to. Her husband and her own the driving school, Chilled and in her time doing these tests and generally instructing said she never met such a confident new driver who handled everything really calmly and safely and she felt very relaxed being driven by. So big up the Rascal eh? But the thing is this is just a mock, the real thing could throw up something stupid that could cause a fail so I am not counting my chickens yet and the fat lady has not sung, but let's just say it is all looking to be going to plan. I have some driving this weekend in the Fens lined up and an added two hour lesson squeezed in the day before my test to keep me refreshed and on top form.
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