|Created by 'Other Metaphors and Symbols'|
Take this French example. When holiday supplies need topping up, we'll look out for those ubiquitous, useful posters that they have over there giving precise directions to the nearest supermarket. They also tell you the time it'll take to travel there. But, unless you're the pilot of a Harrier jump jet flying as the crow flies or in the type of vehicle designed to break land speed records, forget trying to match this, especially in a lumbering, under powered motorhome. You'll probably need to multiply the time stated by three AND add your lucky number to work out the real duration of the journey to pick up your bargain wines and emergency Kouign Amman.
I've partly made decisions about acquiring a couple of things over the last few months based on manufacturers' figures that seem like complete fantasy now. Let's start with my six month old motor, the Ford Fiesta Econetique. It's supposed to have a combined mileage of 76.3 mpg. However, even though I eco-drive for 95% of the time, I'm averaging about 55 mpg after 5,000 miles. That's only a shade above what I used to get out of my last car, the Skoda Fabia 1.9 turbo diesel which had a more oomph and hadn't had its weight shaved by forsaking alloy wheels and a spare tyre. Maybe if I was a barefoot and naked size 6, never had any passengers or stuff with me and always drove downhill on empty featureless roads at 50mph in a hot, dry climate without turning on the radio, air-conditioning or phone charger, I could achieve somewhere near this figure!
And let's move onto that phone which requires emergency top ups on the move far more often than my old device with its clapped out battery ever did. Theoretically, my new Samsung Galaxy S can go for a maximum time of 576 hours between charges. Yet, even though my average call rate comes in between one or two a day, I rarely text, download files or need the GPS and use the Internet sparingly, I reckon my standby time is only 3% of its quoted figure. Perhaps it's time for Jiminy Cricket to have a stern work and rein in those who've been making some rather over-enthusiastic claims.