A year living with an electric vehicle

It was a taxi driver who convinced us. Aware of every penny, he assured us that his electric car had saved him many pennies, especially in London.

No congestion charge. And slow roads mean longer battery life.

Over the next few weeks we pondered the options, but when the price of petrol took off like a helium balloon, we jumped. The search didn’t take long. All we wanted was a car like the taxi driver’s, and there were still a few available.

The silence and the acceleration were the first big adjustments, then the control hub, with its central dial and switches. Once we had those mastered, we had to work out how to charge the car. Short day trips were easy. We’d just plug it in at night, and in the morning it would be ready. The longer trips were more challenging.

That first winter many of the longer journeys took us to charging points in strange carparks. At night most had shadows so deep it was impossible to read the phone numbers that held us hostage until someone answered. When they did, hope flashed, and usually managed to sustain us through the next half hour of trying to work out how that particular car charger operated.

No. We don’t have your app. Yes. We shall download your app. No. It won’t take our password. Yes. The car is plugged in. No. Nothing is happening. Yes. We’ll unplug it. No. It’s still not charging. Yes. The light is flashing. No. Yes. No. Oh … hurray! Thank you! Thank you!

That was the best bit, especially if it was followed by the discovery of a cafe or pub to take care of us while the car charged.

Now, a year later, we’re feeling more confident. Even range is not such a problem. Banks of chargers are blossoming everywhere, often under service station striplights which make it easier, but blander. At least it might mean progress from the air’s point of view.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

So what’s been happening here?

Well, January is the month to be glum, and thanks to the train strikes, we’re all being glum from home.

Nothing works. And to prove it, some of us are stopping work. So while the rain rains – and it is – and the wind howls – and it was – we’re moaning. We do pause occasionally. Recently it’s been to fret about the brotherly I-said-you-said, soundbites-at-dawn storm, that’s swirled our way. We’re still writing the chorus for that, and it’s proving darkly occupying.

This morning I was wondering whether any whales passing these islands can hear our song? And if so, what it sounds like? I imagine it sounds like a miserable humming, with crescendos here and there as we add the woes of others to our own. Perhaps that’s why there aren’t many whales around here – too glum. Although maybe not for walruses.

Thor, a fine young male, turned up in Scarborough at New Year. He didn’t stay long though, which leaves me thinking perhaps he’d been sent by the whales on some sort of reconnaisance mission to find out what’s going on.

Hope there’s a cheerful noise where you are.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

2020 – something to try at home

London during the spring lockdown of 2020

Hello out there (or in there),

I hope that wherever you are, all is as well as possible with you and your families.

My apologies for the long silence from The Phraser. My excuse is that I’m trying to write a novel. When I set off with this grand, novel-writing plan, I did not realise how difficult it would be. There has been some progress, but I’m still not sure in which direction.

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