Saturday, 16 November 2013


My bride's car is looking sad after an encounter with a hailstorm

Almost every panel has sustained some damage. It came from nowhere, and there was nowhere to go.

The picture doesn't look too bad, but the turret, the boot lid, and the door panels are all damaged. Even the plastic trim around the number plate was smashed.

We've had a series of evil little super cells which have been popping up everywhere, and moving very quickly.

This is the way these small super cells look on radar.
The insurance companies are thoroughly geared up for this eventuality, and I was able to lodge a claim over the phone, and book an appraisal at the same time.

That's happening next Monday, so unless there's a backlog of vehicles being repaired, repairs shouldn't take too long. It will be interesting to see how much it costs. I reckon at least $2000.

It was closer to $8000!
Car is therefore written off.
Actually, it's an ill wind, as we were in the process of getting quotes on a trade on a new car, and the payout was $3000 better than any dealer was prepared to give. They're doing deals and are swamped with cars at the moment, so are trading low.
Consequently, the order is in for a new car, and the dimpled Focus will be departing forever on the back of a truck tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Driving the Warrego

I've been driving up and down the Warrego Highway in this job since 2006, 
and have seen lots of changes.

Not all of them are for the better.

This was brought home to me yesterday when I arrived on the scene of an accident at 6.30 am on the journey West.

It was an all-too-familiar scenario. Two young men in a small sedan had been heading East and had stopped on a three lane section of road (two lanes West; one lane East) to turn on to a side road. A woman driving a larger car had not seen them (sun in her eyes?) and ploughed into the back of their car at full speed.

On that section of road, full speed was probably about 80kph.

By the time I'd pulled up, a bloke in army uniform had helped her out of her car and was doing a good job of looking after her, so I went to the help of the two men in the other car. It had copped a helluva whack, as it was about two-thirds its original length. The fact that it folded up pretty comprehensively, probably contributed to the fact that neither were badly injured, although shocked and bruised.

I sat them down, offered reassurance, and set about trying to make sure that no one else ended up adding to the chaos, as the position of the sun was a problem for the Eastbound traffic.

Most drivers slowed, but about 10% didn't. Unfortunately this 10% are always on the road. I see them all the time.

The towies turned up  in about ten minutes, and the emergency services people in about fifteen. The towies obviously monitor the police frequencies.

Fortunately, none of the injuries were life threatening, but I'd be surprised if the woman in the second car didn't need to spend some time in hospital.

I resumed my 350 km journey, pondering how much more dangerous this road has become since I started driving it seven years ago.

The explosion of mining development in the Surat basin has a cost. There's so much more traffic, the road has been steadily destroyed by the heavy machinery, and seems to need rebuilding every two years.

Your taxes and mine are paying for this. It's a pity the mining companies aren't paying their share, and it doesn't look like they ever will.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...