Sunday, 26 January 2014

One Smart Cop

This morning we saw an interesting catch by a traffic cop. It's a long weekend here and there are lots of cops around. Just south of where we live is a longish 80km/h section (usual open road limit is 100km/h). It's slower because there are several sneaky corners interspersed with tempting straight sections. Our car has a speed limiter on it and we make use of that to keep to the limits. This morning Mrs was driving with the limiter on, and a car behind tailgating 'cos he wanted to go faster, which is not unusual through there.

We passed a cop parked on the side of the road, no doubt with radar on etc (also not unusual through there). The tailgater pulled back when he saw the cop, of course, and we both passed him looking quite sedate.

Mrs noticed the cop pull out just after we passed and checked her speed just in case, it was fine. Once we were around the next corner the tailgater passed us. Shortly after that the cop passed us at speed. We wondered why. He didn't have his lights flashing and we made irreverent jokes about him being late for his tea break etc.

A little later we found him with his flashers on stopped behind the tailgater and with his pad out etc. Well, we knew the tailgater wanted to go faster than us, and so it seems did the cop. Presumably the cop had spotted him tailgating before he had a chance to pull back.

One smart cop. I wonder how often they use that trick?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

On Reading a Book

I'm reading a book just now, or trying to. When I say a 'book' I mean a book made of paper, not an eBook. This is the kind of book people talk about when they wax eloquent about the joy of real books. It is 'London: The Autobiography' by Peter Ackroyd and it is a fine work. The cover is interesting, the paper is good quality and the binding is well done. It needs to be well bound because it is a thick book and fairly heavy. If it were new it would probably have a 'new book smell'.

The writing is excellent and the material is riveting. So there is every reason for me to be racing through this book.

And yet I am not, and I found myself wondering why.

I often read at breakfast. It is a good time to catch up on reading my weekly 'New Scientist' and my brain appreciates the warm up before the day really starts. But I cannot read this book at breakfast. It wants to flip closed all the time and it takes one hand to hold it open and two hands to turn a page. I need between one and two hands to eat so it doesn't work. The second problem is that there is a good chance I will spill something on it, especially when I'm struggling to hold it open and eat at the same time.

These aren't issues with magazines like New Scientist because they lie flat and they are ephemeral enough that the odd bit of egg or cereal landing on them doesn't matter. I also often pick up my tablet (iPad Mini) and check the newspapers. Again, I can work that with one hand and food spills wipe off without damage.

The other time I read is in bed before I put the light out. There's no food and I have both hands free. But propping up a heavy book gets a bit wearing and if Mrs wants to put the light out sooner than I do then we have to compromise. The tablet wins out there as well. It is not nearly as heavy as the book, and I can read it in the dark. I often wake up early and I can read in the dark before Mrs wakes.

I do rather like nice books, and I have a fair collection of them. But as for actually reading them, the tablet seems to do a better job. And books that are less than nice, such as cheap paperbacks, they come a poor third.