Archive for August, 2010

I fought the law – and won!

Today was a special day. I just won in court. The nice judge ruled me not guilty when the nasty policeman told porkies about me. I am very happy.

It’s been an irritating matter that has been hanging over my head for just over a year when I was stopped for speeding. The thing is, I actually really wasn’t speeding. Absolutely not. Really. If I had been, I would have paid up and been done with it, but I was pretty annoyed so I took it to court.

All the correspondence is a bit intimidating – “Chambers v the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”. I kept wondering – what the WHOLE Commonwealth?

My only real knowledge of US courtrooms (or UK ones for that matter) has been gleaned entirely from books and TV. Of course it isn’t at all like that. In books/ TV the D.A. (District Attorney – look how I’ve picked up the lingo) is the attractive one in the sharp suit. In real life he’s about twelve and wearing a slightly shiny polyester outfit. And rather than being thrusting and dynamic he mostly just hung around chatting to people. The Prosecutor was slightly less impressive still.

There’s also a LOT more random sitting around than strictly necessary. There was a good hour of random horsetrading before the show started – everybody else’s policemen made deals but my nasty one wouldn’t. Then there was a bit more waiting. It starts when the judge shows up. And he shows up whenever the fancy takes him. I even popped out to feed the meter in the middle of the sitting around bit. In this small provincial courtroom I counted 15 yes FIFTEEN people all paid by our taxes in some way. All of those 15 people were doing very unproductive things for hald the morning – that can’t be right.

Anyway, I’m ridiculously pleased. That really was the right result. I know I was lucky too. I should have bought a lottery ticket while I was about it.

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A kind of magic

I’ve been doing some more flying. It’s AMAZING. My favourite bit is the take off – it’s like magic. There you are bowling along the runway, then all of a sudden you are up in the air. Every time it feels like one in the eye for my old nemesis – gravity. The only thing I can compare it to is that wonderful moment when a back and white photograph starts to appear in the developing tray. Love it!

Based on my few hours in tiny aeroplanes, I want to share some surprises.

1) taxiing is all done with the feet. Go left, push left. Not hard in principle but so far I’ve been weaving around the airport like a drunken sailor.

2) it turns out that those dials aren’t for show –┬áthere are a LOT of things to look at . There’s a little too much for my tiny mind to take in all at once. I’ve found that I can maintain altitude, maintain speed and maintain bearing but rarely more than two at a time.

3) as a result of 2) flying so far is about the only thing that will shut me up for any length of time.

4) I have absolutely no idea where I am in the air. When I’m instructed to head back to the airport – I have to be told where it is. I’m not sure how pilots learn to recognise airports. I’ve got a way to go here I think.

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