Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Is Italian Coffee Best?

I got to like an Espresso - a very small, strong black coffee, when I was working in Romania. It always seemed to have a good flavour: a feature I didn't find in Italy. Even an Italian professor who was working with me grudgingly accepted it was good and, usually, hot.

Although the name remains confusing, a Polish Espresso with milk - a standard coffee from the espresso machine, as served in many restaurants and cafes, can match (and often beat) an equivalent coffee from anywhere.

Although I appreciate that few Italians would approve, I do think that the coffee from Trattoria Pepe Verde beats everything.

From 2011 10

It is Grannel coffee, which I have never heard of before.

As I am sure you can guess, it is in Poland at ul Lączności 1B in Łazy (pron. Wazy), on the border with and Magdalenka. Łazy lies on the Krakow/Warsaw road, some way before Janki and well after Grójec when coming into Warsaw.

It is a comfortable, attractive restaurant and the service by very friendly, helpful waitresses is astounding, at least for my cups of coffee.

I used to sit outside when the weather was suitable for tables on the terrace, but now stand Italian cafe style, at least as my Italian colleague used to describe it. The girls used to bring me a chair, but I actually prefer to stand and look around.

It is very convenient for me as Misia's school is just round the corner. I can just go out a bit early and have a relaxing refreshment break. On both this next and the last picture, Misia's class were cleaning up the graves of Polish resistance fighters and others executed by Germans in the forest nearby: it was just before All Saints' Day. Misia has a green jacket and a Union Jack hat.

Despite being a regular visitor I haven't yet eaten there, which will be reserved for an occasion for all the family or when no one else is at or due home, so Misia and I can eat together. However, from a quick look at the menu and a more detailed study of the board outside, it's the place to go for people who think that pizza is an overly complicated form of cheese on toast and that pasta is the Italian equivalent of potatoes.

The daily specials start on Monday with cream sauce, asparagus, cocktail tomatoes and parma ham; Tuesday has pork cutlet with mozzarella and tomato; and so on. They do have pizza, of course, as it wouldn't be an Italian restaurant without one ... unless it was in Italy. Misia likes pizza, so last time we were in Italy we left one restaurant that didn't serve it. The next had different entrances and different menus to separate the part that served pizza and the main restaurant, although the dining area was completely open.

I also remember being invited to a 'real' Italian restaurant near Victoria station in London. They also didn't serve pizza, but beef was instead heavy on the agenda. Would you expect that from an Italian restaurant? Well, there was an item on Polish teletext not long ago saying that Italians eat too much red meat. Not that I would expect such an emphasis from a Polish Italian restaurant.

On the other hand, I also used to know a restaurant in Camden run by an Italian called Luciano, who employed many Polish waitresses. The food was little more than English roadside cafe fare, but with prices to suit rock stars: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin members, etc. It was also the type of place where complaining about the food could successfully get it replaced with something freshly cooked, together with a secretly added salival bonus from an ill-tempered Italian cook. Still, that's someone else's story.

I think everyone in Trattoria Pepe Verde is Polish. They do seem to care.

It means 'green pepper', as in salt and pepper, if you weren't sure. "Dried green peppercorns are treated in a way that retains the green colour, such as treatment with sulphur dioxide, canning or freeze-drying." They are otherwise the same as black pepper. I just thought I'd check.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The First Hard Frost

Today was the first hard frost, sugar-coating the land.

From 2011 11

It wasn't that much colder than recent frosts, but the dip of around two degrees to -4C made a spectacular difference.

Still, it was cold enough not to want to delay my delivery home of Babcia's bread rolls, even though there was a particularly spectacular view of the trees along the road in Walendów. They were snowy white, quite unlike the autumn colours of a couple of weeks ago.

Although it's glory rapidly faded, the frost in places lasted through the morning. The birds in the garden seemed undismayed, feeding as usual.

A couple of weeks ago, Lidl had a garden bird selection of products, including the first ever in Poland, that I have seen, wild bird food. The peanut holder came from there a couple of years ago. This time I picked up a gravity feeder, which has also proved popular. I put it in a more open (and less easily photographed) area of the garden to see if it would attract different birds. Nothing new so far, although the greenfinches like it more than the birdtable and they don't use the peanut feeder at all.

The gravity feeder primarily had unshelled sunflower seeds, which I have used to refill it, but combining it with shelled sunflower seeds. These are respectively 8zl and 7zl a kilo loose from Tesco. (Having shelled seeds cheaper than unshelled seems particularly weird.) They get through a kilo in a few days, however. The best I can do for peanuts is the unsalted human variety. They get through the 450 gram packet in a few days at the moment, mainly because of the flocking sparrows, but everyone just loves watching them. (Stopping and starting in the film can be eliminated, or at least reduced, by pausing the film and letting it load before playing.)

The music is Psalm, recorded live in Vienna by a group of three Polish accordionists called Motion Trio. I downloaded a number of tracks from mp3.wp.pl, but they seem to have been deleted.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Warsaw by Night, OK?

Having written the last post, I was quickly reminded that some people prefer living in the city, at least some of the time. Sure: no problem. My preference to live outside partly reflects the fact that I no longer have to commute in every day, combined with the London feeling that much of the greater city's urban area is so grotty that would be better to travel further distances from more pleasant housing areas, if only one could afford it. This is standard commuter stuff in London, which applies far to less to the more pleasant conditions in Warsaw.

From 2011 10

Even living on the edge of Warsaw in Jelonki, I was only some 6km from the centre with the efficient tram service making the journey to work an easy task. Driving in outside the rush hour was very easy, whilst the rush hour just required a little patience. Parking can take a bit of time driving around at peak periods, but it is always possible. Living well within the urban London area, I was still some 11 km from work. Commuting train and bus services were appalling and leisure travel to the centre rarely even considered. Friends who came from outside did have problems with trains, but this was occasional rather than routine: falling asleep on the train and passing the stop on the way home was as much of a worry.

What I probably miss most about wandering around Warsaw centre is seeing and being enticed by new restaurants. It is now only some half an hour's drive into the centre in the evening and the effort isn't much greater than it was from Jelonki, but just not regulalry being there means that we don't know about and try different places. Although this is called the Brazil Brewery, it seemed to be a combined restaurant and bar: it looked great and the music was good. I was killing time on my own before going to the theatre when I saw it, so didn't try it. As it would need joint approval before we went there, the lack of ability to do this may mean I never go.

I'm greatly disappointed by Polish theatre, but am always interested to go: I never went in London so I can't compare it. I very occasionally attend opera, although again purely out of interest: it's not my kind of thing. Arranging these and attending is no harder from where we live than it would be in Warsaw and I do feel that "it's a long journey back so we haven't got time to go to a restaurant" is really just an excuse for getting home quickly: we have time if we want.

I do like the sights of the city, but that is made even more enjoyable be not being there continuously or, when I first went to Warsaw, by being in a different place. After 55 years living amongst brick, concrete and tarmac, a couple of years in semi-urban countryside hasn't diminished my sense of wonder in something new.

Whilst wandering around, I do like to find somewhere to get a cup of coffee. I'd stopped at a coffee shop when I arrived - the coffee and service neither being up too much, but I had time to wander further, with the pictures here resulting. I came across one of the new Ruch kiosks, which I have joked about in a previous post.

This actually has a coffee machine, which I had to try. The man was very friendly and came out to help me. Actually, it was just a matter of putting the cup in the holder and pressing the button, but I guess some people have problems. Chatting to him, he told me that these kiosks are being put all along Marshal's Road (Marszałkowska). They are light, open and friendly looking places and much more attractive than the old ones.

This picture isn't his kiosk, as there wasn't a good place to rest the camera to get even this fuzzy picture. The large glass front, allowing one to see both the person in the shop and the things they have to sell, looks much better than the old style letterbox access point. I wondered whether the heating had been improved, but even though the frosts had not then set in, he was already cold. It is probably not a good place to sit when the real winter comes in. On the other hand, the coffee was hot, which gave it a major advantage over the coffee shop I had visited earlier, no matter the quality of the coffee. I wondered whether they have a toilet, but didn't ask.

Whilst speaking of coffee and toilets, I was intrigued to find that a McDonald's coffee shop had been opened at Maximus near us. I do not like their food and their machine coffee isn't brilliant, so I was looking forward to being able to get a decent cup of coffee whilst everyone else was eating.

I ordered a large coffee with milk. The man serving took some time and effort in producing a very large cup of coffee, which in size and looks appeared to be halfway between a normal coffee with milk and a French style cafe-au-lait: a large bowl of coffee tasting milk. The result turned out to be cold and tasteless. Having drunk about two thirds, I decided to compare it with the machine coffee from behind the main food counter. This was hot and stronger and the coffee itself seemed to taste much the same. I didn't even bother with the coffee counter the next time.

It's a nice looking place, though.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rusiec's Urban Park

Back last year I gave some pictures of the western end of Rusiec, showing that the building area is really countryside. I took the opportunity on Independence Day to go for a walk round the eastern end.

This is Gravel Road (ul Żwirowa), which, according to my mobile phone map, is a built-up area.

From 2011 11

The road leading off to the left is Torquoise street, a model of urban tranquillity.

The other side of the road being no less an escape from urban life.

Fox Road (ul Lisia) is the southern end of the built-up area (to the left), whilst the forest is on the right. Fox Road provides an east/west back road from Rusiec, but it is virtually impassable for normal cars.

The built up area on the map ends at Radar Road, with the left side of this picture being outside it.

There are some houses already built in the non-urban section, however.

This cross immediately over the other side of the road, marks the planned site for a new church: currently open country.

The stone chip surface is new and was presumably laid for the church - other busier roads are just compacted earth. Not many people live there, from the view south further up the road.

Looking north.

It's hard to tell where the side roads are along much of Radar Road, so I turned back along the first clear track. Even this was closed by a branch railing to stop cars. I think it it is Amethyst Street (Bursztynowa), which at the Radar end is still undeveloped. The houses start further to the west.

I think this is the northern end of Gravel Road. Quite a lot of houses have been built in this part.

Even so, there are wide open spaces. Amethyst Street doesn't appear on the map. The yellow sign in the distance shows a building plot for sale. There are many such signs all over the area.

There are also houses for sale. In this case, however, the plot is said to be for sale rather than the half-built shack. I would guess it was originally intended as a summer house in the country for a city dweller.

I have this pet theory that one of the reasons that Poland is statistically a poorer country than places like the UK is simply the easy availability of building land. The UK's paucity of space creates premium disposable wealth in buildings and property, with major multiplier effects throughout the domestic economy eg the need for high incomes to pay for housing. Paradoxically, the ready availability of space provides better, more spacious living conditions in Poland, whilst having a far lower multiplier effect. People have a better quality of life even though they are poorer. Imagine what all these plots of land would be worth if they were an hour's drive from London rather than Warsaw.

Returning home along the southern main road of Rusiec - Estate or Settlement Road (Osiedlowa), I passed the rather strange collection of buildings that seem to be the oldest, still inhabited dwellings in the area. They are poor people in Poland, although they seem to have a large area of land. They grow vegetables in the empty space beside the house, so I think it is their property. I would guess that it could hold eight to ten new houses, which in England might each be worth half a million pounds or so. The land itself might therefore be worth half a million in England. It is probably unsellable in Poland except at a rock bottom price: it just has an unforcastably long-term investment value.

Finally back home, we have our own view of Rusiec.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Fear and Shame in Translating: Poetry or Prose?

I feel I'm opening my soul to public scrutiny. This is about my 5th attempt at writing this, as I get paranoid about translating something I feel deserves quality work. Is it right? Is it the right style? Is it worthwhile for the audience?

Sometimes the things I have done are trivial, so it doesn't matter. There must be past translations on this blog done for myself, for which the result is not important. Most weirdly, I have done "no one is gong to read it, but it's a condition of EU grant that there is an English summary" sort of thing, which I have been calm about.

There was even something I did helping someone in their English written work about Churchill, where I knew that I could help her improve, so there was no qualm of conscience on my part.

However, my first real test was in improving the English for a website on Saint Faustina. I was so enamoured by her story, that I wanted to recreate her words in a style that would be easily accessible to English readers so that they could easily understand the wonder of her vision.

I was very worried about some of the terminology I was using in making the story accessible, but this I could forgive myself: my attempts to discuss this with the nun who asked that I do it met continuously with prevarication: we never met. The biggest upset I had, however, was that I changed the words of the Saint. This was absolutely true, as the complexity of her language could not be translated word for word into English and make sense, even less get over her character and mission. Sentences needed to be rearranged and shortened: I particularly remember the phrase "the painter who painted the painting", which made sense in Polish, but sounds stupid in English.

Why did I care? Sister Faustina's story is worth knowing by those who believe in the miraculous power of the individual, whether religious or not. She was a lowly nun who was thought to be crazy by her religious colleagues around her, but yet created one if the great religious paintings known to the modern world.

One of my 'still to do things before I die' list of pending work is to write her story to my satisfaction.

I am avoiding the issue, however.

Bożena Trabulsje is the mother of a long time friend of ours, Mariola. Mariola suggested that I look at the professional translation that, with long delays, Bożena had received for her book. Since then, Bożena has become our friend as well.

I had realised some years before, when working in Poland, that I could not understand an English translation without looking at the Polish original, but even so, this professional translation was the worst I had ever seen. I started from Bożena's original, but I found that I was reading more than descriptive text, it seemed to me to be poetry. It was purely instinctive on my part, but a short time ago, after a recent visit by Bożena, I put this to the test. Taking two sentences at random, I found the following blank verse poetry:

Wiele z nich,
rozsypanych w proch,
z wolna wtapia sie w pejzaż regionu,
okrywając się płaszczem
stepowej flory
czy zwałami piasku.
Inne stawiają opór
niszczycielskiemu działaniu czasu
oraz beztroskiemu często człowiekowi,
dzięki czemu jeszcze dziś
urzekają pięknem starożytnej kultury i sztuki
zamkniętej w kształtach świątyń,
bajkowych wręcz kolorach mozaik
czy w pięknie ikon.

My translation for this is:

Many of them,
scattered like dust,
slowly settle into the surrounding landscape,
covered by a coating of plants
in the Syrian steppe
or overwhelmed by drifts of sand.
Others stand resistant
to the destructive work of time and,
too often unconcerned humanity,
and bewitch us still today
with the beauty of ancient culture and art,
held together in churches,
fabulous coloured mosaics
and beautiful pictures.

I could work on this for ages trying to get it better, but I think it is a fair reflection of the original.

Bożena's original text is straight forward prose:

Wiele z nich, rozsypanych w proch, z wolna wtapia sie w pejzaż regionu, okrywając się płaszczem stepowej flory czy zwałami piasku. Inne stawiają opór niszczycielskiemu działaniu czasu oraz beztroskiemu często człowiekowi, dzięki czemu jeszcze dziś urzekają pięknem starożytnej kultury i sztuki zamkniętej w kształtach świątyń, bajkowych wręcz kolorach mozaik czy w pięknie ikon.

My normal text version became:

Many of them, scattered like dust, slowly settle into the surrounding landscape, covered by a coating of plants in the Syrian steppe or overwhelmed by drifts of sand. Others stand resistant to the destructive work of time and, too often unconcerned humanity, and bewitch us still today with the beauty of ancient culture and art, held together in churches, fabulous coloured mosaics and beautiful pictures.

Knowing that Polish is structured very different from English and knowing that poetic English is very much of narrow interest, I don't know if this is even approaching an acceptable translation. However, failing to get across the beauty of the words, would in itself be a failure.

Information about Bożena's book is available from this PDF document.

I haven't read the book in English even though I have a couple of copies. There are some completely stupid mistakes in the English that I immediately see accusing me of incompetence. I have worked hard in my mind to make excuses. I think they are fair and valid excuses, but I knew the potential at the time ... and ignored it.

There is an easy question for me: why do I care? Bożena is a friend. Her language is beautiful and I want to reflect that: an ego thing. However, she has depicted what was, before recent revolutionary fervour, a Syria and historic Greater Syria as the centre of the evolution of much that is valued in modern civilisation. I see a kindred about my feelings for Poland with what Bożana, a Pole, feels for Syria.

Apart from this, it's all a miracle. The idea of someone with the Polish speaking capacity of an imbecile being able to translate beautiful, complex Polish text into any sort of acceptable English remains a mind-boggling concept. Thank you Kompas.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Death Bend

Although I've got used to most of the idiosyncrasies of Polish driving, what can really scare me is the practice of going round blind bends on the wrong side of the road. I figure that, if I'm sitting in the passenger seat with the best view of what's lies round the corner, but can't see what's coming in the opposite direction, we haven't a chance. However, the ability to miss the car heading straight at us seems to be a demonstration of driving skill. I tend to close my eyes or look out of the side window.

I now drive some 11 km from Młochów to Łazy on the school run. From Falenty to Walendów, there's a clear, straight stretch of downward sloping road with no hidden outlets, which allows you to get up a good turn of speed: 80/90 kph - the speed limit - in my case, but faster for others. This photo looks in the other direction up the hill.

From 2011 11

However, down the bottom, there's a blind bend. It's one of those bends that is just sharper and longer than you expect, but it is signposted. Even so, I misjudged it when I first went round, having to use the brakes rather than relying on changing down gear and using the engine vacuum to slow the car down, part of my current attempt at economy driving. (I suspect there's a slight optical illusion making it seem further to the bend than it actually is.)

There is the inevitable possibility, just as you get to the bend, that another vehicle will suddenly appear from the opposite direction, cutting the corner short, according to standard driving practice, on your side of the road.

Seen from the other side.

It's also standard to take a corner wide and just going a bit too fast, again standard practice, will send you well out across the road, not that the driver below has done so. Even so, comparing the pictures, you can see how tight the space is.

Still, having got used to driving the route, I thought that it might be just me being overcautious. However, after about five weeks, a car and van had collided. Since then there has been another crash, with a section of the railings by the side of the road being demolished, whilst the ground on the side of the road shows this, just near the curve.

These a bit further down.

And this, the latest, crash site. Almost all the ground marks are on the outside edge of the corner, but seem to be made by vehicles coming from both directions. This is well down from the bend and must have been the result of someone coming down the hill and around the turn at extreme speed.

Fortunately, there's a crossroads just at the bottom of the hill - the car has stopped there in the picture below - where the priority is against the crash route. Even fast drivers should not be doing more than 70 or 80 kph going up to the corner. My recommendation would be 50kph maximum. (Signs each side showing a 40 maximum limit might be helpful, but I really doubt if many drivers would take any notice of it.)

So, with the safety features in today's cars and the limited space for acceleration in one of the directions, maybe I'm still unreasonably scared. The closest I have been to having an accident was to see the rear of a car that appeared round the corner ahead of me sliding across my path, but the driver recovered well before I got there. There are no flowers or crosses beside the road, so maybe no one has died.

Even so, having turned the corner, narrowly avoiding the oncoming car or just side-swiping it, just around that bend there may be, as I have seen them, a mother with pushchair and baby, school boys larking around or someone peddling along calmly on their bicycle.

Death lies there waiting.

There are times when I feel quite happy about dangerous drivers committing suicide in their cars, but this is the sort of place where murder is just as likely. Perhaps it's just because I'm now doing a longer journey at school time, but I've been surprised recently at just how many of the very fast drivers I now see are young women (mothers?) with their children in the back seats of the car. I know that Polish women are often very tough and strong minded, but I thought they care enough about their children to think of the danger. Stupid of me, I guess.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Wonder Cars

It's strange how even people like me, who think a car is just a means of transport, can still have affection for national cars. As I never had enough money to afford a decent car in England, I have little nostalgia for the cars I had or even that friends had.

There was one near thing, though. My mate John was a motor mechanic who I helped when he was repairing cars for neighbours at the weekends - I wanted to learn how to look after my own. Many of the parts were bought from local scrap yards, who he therefore got to know. He took me one day to show me an Austin 3 Litre, a bigger, luxury version of his own 1800.

This was as near to Rolls Royce class that I could ever aspire to: they even thought it had a Rolls Royce engine. It was in good condition overall, but "needed some minor mechanical work", which I think was intended as an honest appraisal. However, the parts were difficult to get as the car was so rare, although John was eager to get to work on it. The scrapyard man just didn't want to break the car up, so it was very cheap - only slightly above what I would otherwise have thought of paying to replace my stolen Austin 1100 (in which we had just put a factory rebuilt 1300 engine, adding an improved Japanese carburettor - the thieves must have thought it was their lucky day when they opened the bonnet). However, I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the maintenance, insurance and petrol, not to mention the impossibility of finding a parking space big enough outside my house.

Another car I really liked the look of around that time was the then new Austin Princess. It seemed at the time to have a radically new wedge shaped look, although the pictures I have looked at don't give me the same impression now.

Except this one, that is.

Some time later, working in Poland, I drove my father-in-law's Maluch - Polski Fiat, which was a fun car to drive. I don't have any pictures of it, but it was something like this, rust and all:

Warsaw roads were much clearer in those days and drivers tended to leave the right hand lane clear. My English driving habit of staying in the slow lane let me drive past everyone, especially, but not only, at traffic lights. The Maluch's acceleration was appalling, although my change-down-gear and stoke-up-the-revs got it going, with the valves hammering the camshaft into, I suspect, shreds (assuming that's how the engine worked). I was likened to a taxi driver, intended as a compliment. Who needed a new, two halves welded together Mercedes? I have tracked Maluchs doing 120 kph on fairly flat roads, which isn't bad either, given the 90 speed limit. (The Yaris still had better acceleration and another 40 or more kph, so 'Bye Bye, little one'.)

Although I never drove a Polonez, I was impressed by the wide diversity of body works, from the standard saloon and estate, to pick-up, small and large vans, including a refrigerated version. There was quite some excitement when the Rover engine was fitted, so we went to see one in the showroom. I was asked incredulously whether I wanted one, to which the politic answer was that of course I didn't, although a more honest answer would have been that I would love to have tried it. Although they largely seem to be relegated to poor people's cars these days - you can tell poorer areas by the numbers in the car parks, they still provide the backbone to many small businesses. (The only car picture of my own on this post.)

Its days were clearly numbered, but I did think that there was one niche market that it could have been adapted to. Its heavy use as a rough use, land and road vehicle for farms particularly fired my imagination - conditions very familiar on many 'roads', paved and unpaved, in Poland as well as private dirt tracks. If the Polonez could just be given a much higher chassis clearance without exorbitant cost, it had great potential to be a cheap, no thrills, but completely practical rough use private car and commercial vehicle: not just in Poland, but everywhere. (I don't know if reliability was a real problem, as was its reputation, rather than, like Austin etc, a legacy of the failure of early models even though these were subsequently rectified.)

This is Sweet Flag Street (ul Tataraków) in Walendów after a long, dry autumn. You can imagine driving conditions in the wet and snow.

From 2011 11

I was wondering for some time how I could depict my vision of the Polonez, but I came across something similar: an official prototype called the Polonez Analog. This version was produced in 1993/94, but development ended when the company was taken over by Daewoo in 1995.

I suspect the difference between my vision and that of the creators of the Analog, was that I just envisaged adapting the existing vehicle variants to have higher ground clearance, whilst they were trying to develop a new version of the car that would compete directly with other all-terrain vehicles. See this 2009 Suzuki Equator as a comparison: its how the Analog would look like with today's rounded body look.

Not that I had any idea what technical problems there would have been, but it couldn't have been that difficult. Four wheel drive and luxury equipment could all be developed later. I'm no expert on cars, but I don't know anything in the economy bracket even today, whilst I can see the market for it around me here. Oh well, I'm only dreaming.

'Around me' being a literal truth. I think this is a public road (Upper Street), but it is primarily used by tractors and farm vans, as the housing plots are empty. It had got into the state where even small tractors had difficulty going along, but they bought a huge John Deere tractor, which can easily plough it - twice this year: modern road resurfacing in action.

From 2011 10

What would the Polish public's reaction to this change to the Polonez have been, though. The following photograph is labelled "funny pictures and photos".

Isn't it brilliant? Its described as a "Polonez, Audi and Jeep in one" on the website, but one comment suggests it's basically a Polonez cabin placed on a Jeep chassis, with an Audi front. Although I wouldn't have contemplated replacing all the drive components in the initial product, this would be something like how a pick-up version could have looked.

Still dreaming, still dreaming, still dreaming: not quite the right words, but 'lay back and dream'. There's some great portrait photography and artwork in this video, even if you don't like Jimi Hendrix, but if you do, separate your speakers and turn up the volume:

I just wondered if the full version of Voodoo Chile was available.

No it isn't quite, but you can switch quickly to the last 5 minutes.

No naked ladies from the original Electric Ladyland album cover, for some reason. I remember them as being strangely unerotic: they were an odd looking bunch. Since this post was supposed to be about cars and every knows that men link cars with sex, I really should rectify the omission.

I'm now trying to remember the name and author of the book that ... Crash' - just remembered - by err ... I might have liked the book better if I'd understood what the car/sex link was. Him?Really? I think of him as a science-fiction writer.