Advice on language Language is the key differentiator between homo sapiens and all other species. Whilst forms of communication in some creatures such as dolphins are quite sophisticated, it is only humans that can pass knowledge through generations using spoken, written and other forms of recorded media. This skill has enabled us to evolve as the planet’s most intelligent creature. Given the current state of the world with elections in the USA (Trump versus Clinton), wars in the middle-east and economic crises, it is not a huge endorsement for our intelligence; there must be other civilisations in the universe doing a bit better than us. Anyway tonight’s advice is about the power of language; it can be more dangerous than weapons. At a trivial level Farage had his nickname for Brexit and managed to mix it up in national media and talk about ‘Breakfast’. Boris chose an interesting combination when he declared that Brexit would be a Titanic success. The English medical representatives had their own name for Jeremy Hunt and have to take great care not to mix up his surname with their nickname when being interviewed on the national media. However with all the chaos in the world, tonight’s advice is to celebrate our expertise with language. The latest Nobel Prize for literature has been awarded to Bob Dylan and I have chosen this verse to demonstrate the beauty and skill of this songwriter poet in this descriptive verse from Mr Tambourine Man: Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky With one hand waving free Silhouetted by the sea Circled by the circus sands With all memory and fate Driven deep beneath the waves Let me forget about today until tomorrow
Advice on Roundabouts Those of you who were here when I closed the meeting with advice on recycling may remember that I moved to Bridge of Allan to escape the chaos of bin choice on Glen Road, Dunblane. I have now been living on the edge of BoA for over one month and some advice on roundabouts seems essential. Roundabouts are very British. You can hardly find one in the USA; indeed I had to drive some American friends around St Lucia once because they could not cope with roundabouts (and driving on the left). The piece de resistance of Roundabouts is surely the Swindon 7 circle, nicknamed the magic roundabout. Anyone who can manoeuvre into this network and leave where they intended has passed the advanced roundabout test with a gold star. Roundabouts, when motorists follow the etiquette are very efficient at keeping the traffic moving. When Derby City Council put lights on a busy roundabout to control movement, the ring road and the shopping slip road were jammed for hours and the lights had to be removed. Basically when approaching a roundabout, the driver slows down ready to give way, checks the traffic, gives way to traffic already on the roundabout to their right then smoothly joins the roundabout traffic when there is a gap. Fairly simple. However I have now been a frequent user of the Bridge of Allan mini roundabouts and this warning advice is necessary. There is an unpublished convention in Bridge of Allan, not known or understood by outsiders, which I have named the Bridge of Allan main road precedence rule. If you are approaching either of the mini roundabouts, which act as frontier posts to Bridge of Allan, then any car on the main road within 50m of the mini roundabout takes precedence. Indeed they usually speed up to ensure anyone seeking to enter the roundabouts from a side road is deterred (unless they have a large Range Rover or Hummer --I have called this the Kenilworth Road residents’ exception to the precedent). So my advice this week is to generally respect the value of roundabouts for traffic movement and also to be very wary when going through the Bridge of Allan mini roundabouts.