Touring Britishland

I’ve done this a lot (not as much as my several Brit Readers, of course, but certainly as much or more than most Murkin tourists).  So when in response to my post about The George last week, Reader Raven comments:

“We need to know what is the best car to tour rural England [and its pubs – Kim]. And with whom.”

…I need little or no prodding to get this one on paper, so to speak.

Some ground rules first.

There will be no travel on any highway beginning with the letter “M” (M25, M4, M1 etc.) because 1) there are no pubs located on any of them, and 2) if you think road construction in Michigan during the summer is bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ until you hit a 25-mile-long highway construction zone (with only about a half-mile’s worth of actual construction taking place therein) in the British fog and/or rain.

Forget that nonsense:  we’ll be taking (at least) the “A” and “B” roads.  And just in case you don’t know:  the higher the number following the prefix, the smaller/narrower the road.  The A4 (London to Bristol old main road), for example, is mostly a two-lane affair with only occasional widening to accommodate turnoffs or city traffic.

By the time you get to, say, the B237, it’s likely to be a single-lane thing, with a tarred surface being an optional extra.  This is the two-way approach road to The Plough Inn in Cold Aston, Oxfordshire, just off the A436:

So forget anything wide, and a large engine will just gulp petrol (currently at $15/gallon US) without getting you there any faster.  And you won’t be able to park your behemoth in any pub’s parking lot, if indeed it has a parking lot at all.

So you end up parking in the street.

Good luck with that.  Also, unless you do this tour in summer (when the traffic is absolutely terrible, on just about any road in Britain), expect rain — so no soft tops / drop heads, especially on the older types, which leak.

So here we go.  First, the car choices, starting with the Top 5, and in no specific order.

Lotus Elan +2 (1971)

MGB GT (1968)

Triumph GT6+ (1971)

Jaguar E-type 42 (1970)

(I know I said no soft tops;  but to drive an E-type around Britain?  I’d take my chances.  My game, my rules).  And finally:

Jaguar XK120 (1952)

All the usual caveats about , leakages and reliability apply.

Let’s look at the Top 5 Traveling Companions, who would have been in their prime during the vintage of most of the above cars:

Shirley Ann Field

Susan Hampshire

Belinda Lee

(By the way, Belinda Lee died tragically in a car crash, aged 25)

And two Brit models of more recent vintage, for those who can’t imagine the Oldies in their prime:

Amy Beth Hayes

Ashley James

And one car of more recent vintage with which to drive either of the above two youngins around in:

Morgan Plus 4

Yeah, I faked you out;  but it is a 2021 model, after all.

I know Britain’s a small country, but equipped with any combination of the above cars and womenfolk, I suspect it would take one absolute ages to compete the tour.  And then there are the pubs…

Speed Bump

I saw an article about how expensive car rental has become in Yurp, but in fact it seems to have become more expensive in Britishland.

A cursory look showed me that a 7-day rental in Vienna would run about $450 (base cost before add-ons), whereas at Heathrow the same car would cost $800.  Seriously?

Unlike a lot of people, I have no problem with driving in Europe or the U.K., so a rental car is always preferable to waiting for trains or buses.  (Not in the cities, of course, but around the country to small towns and villages.)  Even Britain’s perennial parking problems don’t really worry me, and I really prefer the freedom of the open road.

When I stayed at Free Market Towers back in 2017, I rented a car which, if memory serves, cost me about $320 per week, fully loaded (insurance etc.) and I fondly imagined that the next time I get Over There, I’d be able to afford the same.

Fat chance, at those prices.

And train travel has become prohibitive too, not just in Britishland but also in Yurp;  but I’m not interested in just staying in cities (ironically, other than maybe Vienna).

So here I sit:  proper fucked, as the Brits say.

Stop It, You’re Killing Me

…and if you live in upscale areas in Los Angeles, that might be “literally“:

Crime has risen dramatically in Los Angeles, as well as in many other major cities, since the start of the pandemic and last summer’s protests against police violence resulted in the slashing of many law enforcement budgets. News stories document rising fear across LA and crime has become the major issue in both the upcoming mayor’s election and a possible recall of the district attorney. It may not be surprising that issues of race and class are driving this concern, though they have a new twist.

Wealthy and predominantly white neighborhoods have experienced the sharpest upticks in a wide array of crimes.

It shows that the richer and whiter the area, the greater the increase in both raw crime totals and percentages of total city crime. This includes a wide range of felonies, from robbery, burglary, shoplifting and car theft to aggravated assault and rape.

California voters have moved the needle on crime in recent years. Proposition 47 decriminalized a number of theft and drug charges, making them misdemeanors, as it did several “non-violent” felonies. Voters also approved Proposition 57, which allows for early release of non-violent offenders.

Imagine that:  you vote to decriminalize all sorts of crime, and those types of crime increase and the goblins goes to where da money izz (/Willie Sutton).  Read the article for the breakdowns.

Who could have seen that coming?

Well, nobody except the 70-odd million people who voted for Trump last time around.

And stop giggling like little girls, you lot;  it’s unbecoming.

Turning Brownouts Into Blackouts

In the latest insanity emanating from California, we see this:

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a regulation aimed at “Small Off-Road Engines” on Thursday that will ban the sale of portable generators in the state — which includes generators mounted in recreational vehicles.
The ruling bans the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers in the state beginning in 2024. Portable generators will be required to meet more stringent standards in 2024 and meet zero-emission standards starting in 2028.
In the 2024 model year, portable generators will have to improve their efficiency by somewhere between 40% and 90%, which seems unrealistic in such a short period of time, so the reality is, it will be very hard to find a generator in Cailfornia in two years.

The song will be rewritten to show that the lights all went out not in Massachusetts, but California.

Morons, fools, imbeciles.

N.B.:  Insty wants to open up a portable jennie store in Nevada, just over the CA border.  Won’t work:  California will be stationing some Stasi state agents in the parking lot to report the car numbers back to the Fuehrer HQ , and woe betide the CA plates caught “smuggling” generators back into the Dark State.)

Oz Reich (2)

Following on from yesterday’s post about Festung  Australia comes a report from an Oz resident:

[Victoria Premier] Andrews has vastly increased state power under a “state of emergency” that was promised to run for four weeks. It’s now been in place for over a year, with no end in sight. The only sunset clause in Victoria is that the premier has declared it out-of-bounds to sit on the beach to watch the sunset.
Police in Victoria may now detain any person or group for as long as “reasonably necessary,” restrict the movement of any person in the state, close any premises, and “require the destruction or disposal of anything.” Police can enter homes and seize property without a warrant.
Police and army patrol the Murray River—the border between Victoria and New South Wales—like Stasi watching over the Berlin Wall. Drones buzz in the Melbourne skies, and snitches diligently scan social media for WrongThink.


You know, the reason I’m banging on about this is simple.  Were this kind of stuff taking place in some Third World hellhole, former Soviet satellite state or Muslim pisspot, I’d be largely unmoved, because tyrannical oppression is a longstanding albeit ugly tradition.

But this bullying is taking place in the Anglosphere, to one of our longest-standing allied people and in a country I’ve always respected (although it may not seem that way at times).

And the pity of it is that I don’t see it ending soon, and don’t see it being changed nor even challenged at the polls either.  It’s pretty fucking bleak, Down Under.