Thursday, February 04, 2016


Today was a day I had not been looking forward to. 11.30 am found me reclined on a hard couch as the dentist pointed a pint-sized hypodermic in the general direction of my lower jaw. During the infusion of vast quantities of anaesthetic, I meditated upon the Trojan levels of destruction he was about to inflict upon my lower left premolar. It's called crown prep.

My sister was right: although tooth demolition is without pleasure, the alginate moulds upon which one bites while they harden (both before and after drilling) are a considerably less aesthetic experience.


Fast forward to this afternoon and my attendance at the TTC Speed Awareness Course. There were 23 of us in that bright, modern, anonymous seminar room at the Somer Valley Enterprise Park, 12 women and 11 men. Most of us were quiet, attentive, let's-get-this-over-with types; there were three loudmouths more extravert individuals - thank God - who provided the obligatory degree of audience participation.

The presenters were a genial retirement-age ex-cop (Stan) and a no-nonsense woman of similar age called Kate. To be fair, they were both very professional and often amusing. The general story on these courses is that everyone thinks they're going to be terrible and then ends up being quite impressed; our hosts were clapped at the end of the four hours (this doesn't always happen).

What did we do? It's a coaching exercise. We were told facts about impact injuries at various speeds; we did photo/video based hazard analysis; we group-assessed the consequences and aftermath of car accidents. We were given hints on speed control and some indication that speed limits are not quite so arbitrary as I guess we had all believed. It was manipulation but it was subtle.


This was the first outing for my windscreen-mounted radar detector, although I did not mention this during the group activity where we were invited to share what behavioural changes we had made as a consequence of getting a speeding ticket.

Driving to the session I encountered no cameras and the device was quiescent. As I turned into a parking bay (I later observed, at the moment the car was facing the automatic doors of Paulton House), a well-modulated female voice announced, "K-band radar has been detected, please check your speed."

On the way home, as we bounced over some rough road, the radar detector fell off.

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