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ABS failure

The ABS problem light and the brake fault light. A combination that you don't want to see.
ABS failure
ABS failure.

When the ABS light is on, it signals that there is a problem with the ABS unit.
When both lights are on, it signals that there is a critical failure of the ABS system and that ABS is inactive.

This happened out of the blue on the way home today. I stopped the car, restarted, and for the rest of the journey the ABS light without the brake light as well.

Brake fluid is okay. I pumped the brakes and then looked underneath. There's no evidence of a leak. So my guess is that one of the sensors is dirty/misaligned/failing. I'll need to call the Aixam garage next week to see when it can be booked in to be looked at. I have around 900km until the major service (which is a lot given it has a service every five thousand) but it would make sense to get everything done at the same time.
I just hope they still come and pick up cars, what with the price of fuel these days.

While I understand that brakes are very important, I'm not losing it for four reasons:
Firstly, in the absence of ABS, the braking system will work in a traditional manner, the computer won't try to do anything clever. I only plan on going to work and back, and there's not much risk of icy roads now.
Secondly, I don't drive that fast - things like that may be rather more important if you hit a slip road at 110 and have a mere hundred metres to slow down before a roundabout.
Thirdly, thanks to Felicity, I drive quite defensively. There was no real risk of a crash with that white van the other week because I was taking the roundabout slowly and I saw him coming, so plenty of time to ease to a stop and wait for him to notice. ☺
Finally, to say that Felicity's brakes were "soft" would be an insult to plushy toys everywhere. I had half a feeling that I would have obtained better braking by opening the door and dragging my feet along the ground. In fact, it would be wrong to describe Felicity's brakes as soft. An alternative four letter word beginning with 's' comes to mind.

It will need to get sorted, and fairly soon, but it isn't world ending. It's a damn sight better than the "important engine problem" indicator.


Magazine subscription

Well, the day after I called to sort out my magazine subscription, I received an email confirming the cancellation of "Mon Jardin et Ma Maison". It will be sad to no longer take that, as it was something mom enjoyed and it's her that talked me into getting the subscription (look, a free tablet! ☺) but there's no point in paying a lot of money for something that looks good because, well, there's plenty of scenery available online. Or, you know, look out the window.

Today, in the post, a letter of confirmation of a new subscription to Que Choisir, and a comment at the end that they will be sending the tablet seperately "real soon now". They don't seem concerned that this is the third one they'll be sending me. I'm guessing it's a huge job lot sent over from China and messed around with by the company "Klipad". But since I'm paying €3,75 for the magazine (retail price €4,80) and I'll be taking it for a minimum of 12 months, not only am I saving around €14 over the year compared to the retail price, but I'm also having it posted directly to me and the grand total of a year's subscription is €45.
I really don't see how they can be making money on this. Certainly, enough to pay for "the free gift".

I'm writing this on the previous free tablet. It's not great because it is rather underpowered, but it is functional. I use it as a word processor with a Bluetooth keyboard, email with K9 Mail, it just about runs Firefox (version 60.something with all the blockers), plus it does Prime Video and Netflix. Okay, it's slow at doing anything, but it does do it. The 10" screen is bright enough I can use it outside, as I am right now, though not in sunlight. It's not a great resolution (1280×800) but it can cope with playing HD video and, really, the main problem I find isn't the visibility of the pixels but the shininess.
So, it's not a great tablet, but it isn't instant landfill either. There's potential to do useful things with it. So, how on earth do they manage to make money to pay for this sort of thing? Unless the retail price of magazines is horrifically marked up and they can get them for a euro apiece. A euro to Que Choisir, a euro to La Poste, and a euro to them, perhaps.
But if that's true, makes you wonder who is coining it at the €4,80 retail price.


My vegetables

The potatoes are coming out of being banked up. I'm not going to cover them again, especially seeing as the results last year seemed to indicate better potatoes from not being covered. I only did that the once as it was still chilly in the morning.
One of many photos you'll see of my potato plants
One of many photos you'll see of my potatoes!

As I went down to take that photo, I made a new friend.

No apples to tempt me with
No apples to tempt me with.
I think it's a couleurvre (grass snake) but I don't plan to offer up a finger to see if it's toxic. Oh, and I must treat it kindly, it's a protected species so if you do nasty things to it, there's a potential year in prison and a €15K fine.
Plus... to be honest... it was... I dunno... almost (but not quite) "cute"?


Over in the Previous Potato Patch (let's alliterate those plosives!) the shallots appear to be doing well.


The planted bulbs will multiply, and be ready sometime in the late summer, when the foliage turns yellow and topples. As I want the bulbs, I should cut off any flowers that form (but leave the leaves alone). They should be lifted, dedirtified, and then hung up in a shaded and dry place with airflow to "cure".


The leeks have finally started to come up.

The leeks are starting
The leeks are starting.


And, finally, at long last, the carrots are beginning their journey to orangey goodness.

Carrots starting too
Carrots starting too.


Depending on the weather, I might do some strimming tomorrow. I took the big mower around recently, not that you'd know looking at it now. I used the little mower last weekend on the potager and to tidy up various places the big mower didn't go.
Now I have a fresh ten litres of petrol (€18,60!), I can either use the little mower some more, or - more likely - one of the strimmers to tidy up the awkward stuff that neither mower can to, like the cleavers on the wall. Or, in fact, just those damn cleavers anywhere I see them.

I'll also need to go around the Previous Potato Patch to weed out anything that isn't a leek or a carrot from that area. And pull up endless potato bits that keep on sprouting. It's a shame you can just leave potatoes to grow year after year, it would be a self-sustaining crop slowly growing until everything here is potato plants. Which, given the problems with wheat in Ukraine, might be an important staple food. After all, we have to have our chips, right?
Failing that, make vodka to drown reality away. ☺


Kicking the delusional

The Daily Mail offshoot "This is M🪙NEY" (if you can't see the emoji, it's a coin, such a cliché) reported that the Bank of England's former policymaker has claimed that most of the UK's inflation is "caused by Brexit".

I didn't bother to read the article. I went straight to the comments. ☺

Didn't disappoint. As for the grammatticul an spellin erers, I'm just copying them as they are!

  • steve - i tell you one thing thats inflasted and thats Posens waistline!
  • Mr Annoying - More jobs than workers ,more EU citizens want to stay than they even new were here.Sounds like a booming economy to me .
  • Stokey boy - Here we go again, another remoaner trying to pin energy price rises and Putins invasion of Ukraine on brexit.
  • Mantius - Why are the UK exports to the EU subject to inspection and delay, when EU imports to the UK are frictionless. This is not what Johnson promised on Brexit.... another lie.
  • Livin Lovin Life - Wrong. Most of the inflation - as see by all Western countries - came from printing money to combat a virus with a 99.98 survivability rate.

So we're still using the insult "remoaner" are we? Then I trust you won't mind if I refer to the non-remoaners are illiterate halfwits. The first two pretty much make that point.

As for the "more want to stay than they (I presume "the government" is they) ever knew were here", that's partly because of the complete lack of protocol for registering who is where. In the EU days, freedom of movement meant exactly that. There's a lot of Brits in France, perhaps more than they thought. And lots of EU citizens in the UK. But clearly not enough given the rotting veg in the fields and the culled livestock.

The UK exports to the EU are subject to controls because the EU can do controls. The UK, on the other hand, has a long history of outsourcing customs and controls to pretty much anybody and everybody else. Coming on the car ferry to the UK, all my stuff was checked in Ouisreham. Over in Portsmouth, just drive straight from the ferry to the M275.
Couple that with the fact that all those articles on how little the UK imports from the EU were clearly fabricated (as was a lot of the Leave campaign) because it wouldn't be that big a deal to apply full checks to all EU imports.
That Rees-Mogg have just put it off, for a fourth time, now, ought to tell you that there are important necessities coming in, and it would be chaos if that was all held up in customs.

The Banque de France projected, in early January, they they expected inflation in France to stabilise at around 2% within two years time, as growth has been solid but will eventually plateau. They had hoped to be able to gain around a half of a percentage point a year to bring inflation right down.
Sadly, Russia has likely buggered up this plan.

However, the bank did highlight an obvious problem that I see every day at work. An issue in France is Inadequate labour supply. To increase potential growth, we do not lack public spending or capital overall, we lack labour. In France, more than 50% of companies are experiencing recruitment difficulties whereas there are still 2.4 million unemployed, including 600,000 young people: this paradox is socially unacceptable.

I have mentioned before that a lot of the new employees at work are Romanians, more than a few of whom have approximately no understanding of French beyond "bonjour".
Whilst, at the same time, there are currently twenty two pairs of shoes/boots in the corner of the female changing room, from people who came but did not stay. The front door is practically a revolving door of people coming and going. And since the hours suck (for the line workers) and the pay is unimpressive and the perks don't kick in for a few years, it tends to be the foreigners who turn up and stay, and the Frenchies that don't stick it.
So, within this respect, I understand Macron's statement of him being able to cross a road and find somebody a job. France's unemployment isn't due to a serious lack of jobs, it is due to people not being willing to do the jobs that are on offer, for whatever reason but likely a combination of "it's hard work" or "seriously unsociable hours" or "lousy pay".
But, you know, you're one of many. Nothing special. Even if you have BAC+2, well, so do loads of people these days. That sort of thing doesn't open doors any more. And, no, we can't all be influencers on social media. Wait, I think the term these days is "content creators"? Very very few people in life have easy money. The rest of us have to go and do something. Some people are lucky in that they get paid to do what they love. The majority of us get paid for a job we tolerate in order to have money for what we love.

However, regardless of the employment situation or whatever, the inflation in France is 4.5% (March 2022), so the country is trying to keep a handle on the situation. Given that Germany's inflation is around 6-7%ish, the same sort of region as the UK, one cannot blame the inflation purely on Brexit, as Covid and Russian aggression will both be factors. But Brexit is not going to be helping, at all. Essentially, in times of crises, the British government has successfully sanctioned itself.

But, an article like that in any part of The Mail, you know it was going to trigger the hopeless and inept. ☺



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David Pilling, 30th April 2022, 17:19
Good luck with the car, carrots, spuds. 
I've only ever seen ABS take effect once, and that was doing an emergency stop on my driving test, which took place in torrential rain after a long dry spell - slippy roads. 
BOE - not everyone's friend. Their job is to control inflation. They have spent 10 years letting the value of savers money evaporate. All the forecasts have been wrong - possibly deliberately - they are all subscribed to the idea - if people think things are going to get worse they probably will. 
Can we buy futures that will pay out if French inflation is not 2% in 2 years time. 
J.G.Harston, 30th April 2022, 21:52
The sight of employers flabberghasted saying "what, we have to actually *PAY* people if we want them to work for us??!?!!?!??!?" is indescribeable. Literally. I gave up trying to finish that sentence. 
In that one aspect, Marx was right. In times of labour shortage, evil capitalist employers have to pay workers more if they want to actually have any workers.
Rick, 30th April 2022, 22:03
Yup, I can picture it as an elderly English gent with his double chin rippling as his mouth moves. 
Absolutely aghast at the idea of offering more money for the same work. 
(easier to picture than trying to imagine the French equivalent)
Rick, 30th April 2022, 22:11
The problem is, there isn't really a shortage of labour, there's a shortage of people willing to do the work. 
Subtle but important difference. In the latter case, there will always be a steady trickle of people who have to work a little bit in order to keep their rights active. So it's pretty much a case of "if one person goes, we'll just pull another out of storage", even if it does tend to resemble a revolving door (and impact staff morale). No rises to wages are necessary. 
That's different to, say, a post war situation where a significant chunk of the populace is missing, which would be a genuine labour shortage. And in that case it would indeed be necessary to raise wages to attract employees. 
J.G.Harston, 1st May 2022, 21:18
"...there's a shortage of people willing to do the work" 
I try to avoid digging too deep into that argument, as it leads to retired colonels spluttering into their brandy "cut their benefits, that'll get 'em working!" 
But there *are* people unwilling to work... at the rates employers are prepared to pay them. I've been on IT projects where staff have left to take up work shelf-stacking in supermarkets because it pays them more. On one project one of my colleagues freely admitted to me that the only way he could afford to work on the project was that he was drawing his pension. In my town we have the hospitality industry fighting the care industry for workers, each trying hard to pay crapper wages than the other and perplexed as to why they don't have any staff.

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