Mock IAM Car Test

Just did my mock test for my Car IAM. The Institute of Advanced Motorists are set up to carry out advanced tests, and local voluntary groups make arrangements to help prepare folks to test standard.

Part of the quality control of this in local groups is for Senior Observers to run through a mock test with the potential candidate to put them through the conditions of the test, sometimes the driving isn’t the problem – it’s the test itself.

I went through mine this morning with a Senior Observer from Edinburgh IAM who also happens to be a biker, which could be either a good or a bad thing – at least one comment related to my biking “background”.

To cut a long story short I would have passed if it had been the real thing, but as a flawed perfectionist I have to watch out for the way that the Observation programme works. The arrangement is a naturally critical one, based on watching what you do and how it could be done better. Both my bike and car mock tests descended into what appeared to be a lengthy list of what was wrong, whereas the throwaway line “the perfect drive/ride doesn’t exist” is important. Perhaps I give the impression that I’m not listening, rather than being totally gutted at falling short. I suppose I should take the encouragement from today that I know that if I work on the two or three points raised (nothing new either) that my drive would have been really good.

Give me a couple of days and my self esteem will come back a bit and I’ll be ready for the real test!

The Gym

I’m still a bit wary about blogging stuff about going to the gym, it is still a bit of a 50/50 experience for me and it is like I am on the verge of stopping each time, but..

I progressed to the last column on my wee progress chart yesterday. Admittedly I had a gap of over four weeks in the middle, but Tony had written “10” in one of the settings in the last column to give me a target to work to. So having been going at the exercise machines on their setting 9 for the last couple of months, i went all the way up to 10 yesterday.

I survived, albeit was a bit sleepy for the rest of the day. So I’ll just have to stick on with it and see if Tony’s suggestion at my next review is to go all the way up to 11 – that bit extra on the LifeFitness machines they have in Leith.

For reference I go three times a week, and do four activities. First is 500 metres on the rowing machine, then 15 minutes on the bicycle doing the Hill+ Kiliminjaro, then 15 minutes on the cross trainer doing Hill+ Speed Training, then 15 minutes plus cooldown on the Treadmill. On the three latter machines I plug in the headphones and watch / listen to the Hits music channel pumped through the freeview connector.

Roundup of November 2007 so far

Things have been incredibly busy at work, I’ve got a project overrunning into another project that is starting, not ideal but the juggle should settle down soon. Both projects are really interesting in their own ways.

The advanced driving continues apace, after a bit of a lull waiting for the final stages to happen I’m now confirmed for my independent assessment in the group on 18th November, which is the equivalent of a mock test. In preparation I had a catch up Observed drive with my observer Colin on Monday evening. Generally ok, though I’ve been advised that I don’t need to do my commentary for the whole drive – just ten minutes, and that the banter and jokes in my commentary will need to be toned down for the test. All fine by me, I just chuck in the comments to help relax things. Hopefully all being well I’ll be able to go for my advanced driving test before the end of the year.

Not much has been happening on the Motorbike front, hopefully I’ll get out on it soon.

Dogs in Hats and Cats in Bomber Jackets

We had our annual visit to the vet last weekend, ever since we inhertited Perdy the fat cat years ago we’ve taken her along each year to get her booster jag for some feline disease. It’s something needed if they ever go in to a cattery, something we’ve only ever done once in the time she’s been with us. This is mainly because I think we’ve never been away on holiday for years.

The vet takes it as an opportunity to check her over and this year she had a bit of a problem with her teeth. Knowing the nightmare it could be giving her the antibiotics for a while made me arrange immediately for her to get her teeth done, something she had done with no problem a few years ago. The vet explained the procedure, they do a blood test to check the cat’s health and that it is ok to have the general anaesthetic. If all is fine then the cat is anaesthetised and the teeth clean is done. Vets are brave but not brave enough to clean a cat’s teeth with it fully conscious.

I arranged to go in to the office late and dropped her off at the vets at 9am, all fine and headed in to the office, to get the call from my wife saying the cat had decided not to cooperate with the blood test. So I turned around and headed back to pick up the cat, apparently they get less cooperative when they are older. Thank goodness we had managed to give her the antibiotics and they were working.

Cue one slightly embarrassed vet, and a cat trying to appear invisible. She hadn’t scratched or bitten anyone, but I guessed she was either wriggling a lot or made her intentions clear – cat body language anyone?