Avatar How to park in London

I’ve been driving my car into London a lot since all this nonsense started (the global crisis, that is, not the Beans) and I’ve had cause to ditch my ride in a lot of pay and display parking bays.

Most of the time I’m parking in them when they’re free, but sometimes I need to pay for half an hour here or there if my stay overlaps with the premium parking hours.

The best way to do this is not to stand by the road, like a mug, pushing buttons on your phone to pay for something. No, the best way to do it is to park up, take a photo of the sign for reference, and then stride away like the important London man-about-town that you are, dealing with the parking admin later, perhaps while sipping an organic cappucino in a hipster café, or even better, delegating the whole problem to your PA when you arrive in your 93rd floor corner office.

I suppose what I’m saying to you is that I went back through my camera roll and, even though I usually delete them at the end of the day, I discovered that I am building up quite a collection of parking information for the streets of the West End. And, lucky for you, I am willing to share this for your entertainment and enjoyment.

You’re welcome.

Avatar As good as new

A while ago I bought a new car, as you might remember. (It replaced a large tin of beans I was temporarily driving, and is in every way better.) I liked driving a new car. The only sad thing about it is that, once you’ve been driving it for a while, it’s not new any more.

I’ve now learned that there is something you can do about this. Here is what I suggest you do.

First, get yourself into a traffic jam, and make sure the car behind you is being driven by an absolute tool. I chose a really solid jam on the M1 back in April, where I could stop in lane 3 with my handbrake on and nothing at all was moving.

Second, and this is more tricky to arrange, get the absolute tool in the car behind you to stop paying attention. Being an absolute tool, he won’t have put his handbrake on, and instead he’ll be sitting there with his feet on the pedals. When he stops paying attention, his feet will slip and he won’t notice his car setting off forward at not insignificant speed because he’ll be looking at his phone.

Third, use the rear bumper of your car to stop the absolute tool’s car from making any further progress. This will result in a small crack across the width of your rear bumper. If your car is anything like mine, the rear bumper will be the only place you’ve picked up scratches and a couple of chips to your paintwork.

Now, speak to your insurance company. They will get some money off the absolute tool which will pay for a firm of professional accident repairers to pick up your car, take it away, fix the rear bumper and return it.

When your car is returned to your home address, it will not only have been repaired, with a new freshly-sprayed bumper replacing the old one with the scratches and chips in it, but it will also have been valeted inside and out, including cleaning all the tyres and polishing all the interior fittings.

Hey presto! Your car is now just like new.

My plan is that, about this time next year, I’ll get another absolute tool to go into my rear bumper so I can have it all polished up again, and I can drive a brand new car forever.

Avatar Underneath my car

We are truly living in the future now. In the past, when I’ve taken my car to the garage for one reason or another, the mechanics have done things to it and given it back to me, and it looks the same. I just see the shiny outside of the car and not the rest of it.

Well, no more. My new car came with a service plan and yesterday it had its first annual service. And now, apparently, the annual service doesn’t just mean that the car gets checked over and serviced inside and out – it also means that the mechanic takes a video of the underside of your car while it’s up on the ramp so you can see the bits of it you can’t normally see. Then they text it to you and it’s there for you to watch on a special website for ever and ever.

Obviously, I found this thrilling, so I’ve set the video to some music and invite you to join me on a voyage of discovery as we travel… underneath my car.

Avatar Colour chart

Just in time for Kev’s annual Whole House Redecoration (start date 1 November 2018; completion due 25 October 2019), Pouring Beans Chemicals Ltd. are delighted to announce their new home decor paint range.

All our new paints are lovingly hand-made at the large chemical refinery down by the docks.

Whimbrel
Neither too yellow, nor too sad, Whimbrel is the colloquial name for the traditional butcher’s apron which this haughty colour embodies. It’s the perfect contrast to our slightly lighter Musty White and Smoky White, creating a trio of colours that sit perilously close together in modern and traditional homes.
Third Degree Burns
The deep blackened pigmentation gives a smug burgundy finish with a wonderfully sore feel. This, our most angst-ridden red, reads almost like a disingenuous purple if you compare it to our more painful looking Internal Bleeding Crimson.
Dipsomaniac
This quietly desperate blue feels wonderfully hopeless, and could be suitable anywhere from a service riser to an airy frotting room. The exact shade is rooted in a despondency palette. Like denim, its blue hue is ultimately worthless and yet always feels tipsy.
Churlish Bile
This takes its name from the old English expectorations of simple peasants with a poor diet. With its highly pigmented yellow base, this mid green creates a totally unique look by not actually being green at all. It’s a statement colour when contrasted with shades as repellent as Titchmarsh Brown. It is also fabulous when used with furtive glee.
Ocean Drowning
This rich teal takes its name from highly fashionable show-drowning in pre-revolutionary France. Sitting between Punitive Green and Biliousness, its subtle blue undertones work particularly well in modern aquatic spaces. Slop onto industrial processing units alongside Huguenot Fishwife on pipes and valves for a clean finish that is conducive to modern industry.

Other shades are also available. Please ask your stockist to mix two cans together and see what they get.

Avatar Smidge on Science: Cars

In this confusing and ever-changing world, we can all welcome a bit of guidance; an expert voice who can make things clear and brush away our doubts. Nowhere is the need for that clarity and wisdom more necessary than in the realm of science.

Thankfully, Smidge Manly is here and, over four episodes, he’s going to explain all there is to know about the “big four” scientific disciplines: time, wind, rain, and cars.

Obviously, he’s going to start with cars.

The next episode will arrive in precisely seventeen days, by order of Kev.

Avatar Christmas mop-up

Another Christmas has died and been buried in the garden. The tree is crackling nicely in the fireplace and the leftover cake has been used to block up a hole in the kitchen wall where a pipe used to come through.

Let’s see how we did.

Wearables

  • Pack of ten socks

Edibles

  • Box of orange Matchmakers

Readables

  • Jeremy Paxman’s autobiography

Motoring accessories that duplicate things I got for free in a nice presentation pack from the garage when I bought my new car but I’m too polite to tell anyone

  • Paintwork cleaner
  • Dashboard polish
  • Bug shifter sponge
  • Car washing sponge
  • De-icer spray
  • Screenwash

Avatar Selling a car

Are you tired of being able to move around at speed with the radio on and feel like maybe you’d prefer staying in the same place and owning more money instead? Then perhaps you’d like to sell your car.

Before the fall of the People’s Democratic Republic of Great Britain, you could only sell your car to the National People’s Used Car Supermarket, where the secret police would beat you until you agreed to their low, low prices. But nowadays there’s lots of ways to sell a car.

All those websites that say they buy any car dot com

They’ll tell you on their website that your car is worth an amount that is actually slightly higher than what you paid when you bought it. Then they make an appointment for you to go in and sell it to them. When you arrive (at a dirty portakabin at the wrong end of a supermarket car park) a disinterested man will ask you lots of questions, photograph the car from all angles and then take it for a desultory test drive before phoning his boss in, I don’t know, Milton Keynes or Stockholm or Barbuda. They will then offer you £300 for it. You say you know the car is worth more than that and on the website their estimate said £45,000 and a gold tiara. The man sighs like you’re one of the difficult ones and phones his boss back and says OK, they can go up to £350. You leave.

Trade it in

If what you actually want is another car (seriously, what’s wrong with you, you’ve got a car, just drive that for god’s sake, what do you want a different one for, they’re basically all the same) then you might be able to give your car to the person who is selling you the new car. That way you give them a car and some money instead of giving them some money and some more money. When you do that they will look at it and nod thoughtfully and tell you the microscopic scuff on the paintwork that is so small you’ve never actually seen it before knocks a bit of value off the car, and then they offer you £450 for it. You leave, saying you’ll sell it elsewhere instead. Like, seriously, just keep the car you have and drive that, you cretin, what are you even putting yourself through all this for.

Sell it privately

The person who will pay the most for your car is some idiot off the street who knows no more about cars than you do and who isn’t aware that it’s worth either £350 or £450 depending on which professional shyster you ask. All you have to do is make them aware of it. To do that you photograph it from every angle and list it on a website that trades autos. They list a phone number on their website that connects directly to your mobile number and for the next few days you keep receiving phone calls from sullen, suspicious-sounding men with a range of intimidating accents who sound like people you would normally cross the street to avoid. They ask you questions you don’t think you’re qualified to answer and try to beat you down on the asking price before they’ve even come to see the damn thing. You hope one of them just buys it and goes away soon so you can take down the advert and end your time as a chat line for middle aged men who are obsessed with timing belts and vehicle tax bands.

Next steps

When you have sold your car, don’t forget to buy another car with the money so you can go through the whole exhilarating process again in a few years’ time.

Avatar Things! Ep. 4 – Petrol Pockets

Around the world, every single day, remarkable people are creating remarkable new things, making their ideas and innovations a reality. And since the start of 2016, Pouring Beans Productions has been sending its reporters out to meet some of those people and catch a glimpse of the exciting inventions that are in development.

In this episode of Things!, Dougie McLaughten meets a man from Banbury who hopes to revolutionise the way we buy petrol and other inflammable spirits.