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The JCBs that only future generations will find

This tale has more than a whiff of urban myth about it. What I mean by that is that it is a believable tale, but I’m not entirely convinced of its accuracy, or truth. Here goes: apparently, millionaire owners of swanky properties in London’s more fashionable streets lavish millions on the construction of vast underground extensions to their homes.

What we’re talking of here is much more than damp-proofing the cellar and installing a few power points. Instead, they craft what are sometimes vast underground caverns, sometimes more than doubling the size of the property above. Where possible, they go down a couple of storeys into the earth, creating space for swimming pools, home gyms and even cinemas. The result is, at its most extreme, something resembling the lair of a villain from a James Bond movie.

All that earth shifting needs, of course, an earth shifter. So it’s necessary to drop a JCB digger, or similar, down into the basement. To do that, it’s necessary to create a big hole out front, hire a huge crane for the job and also, like as not, arrange for the road to be closed for a few hours. The cost of this alone runs into thousands of pounds.

When the digger’s work is finished, it’s cheaper and less faff to leave it where it is and bury it. The vehicle’s value, typically £5000, is considerably lower than its removal costs.  According to the New Statesman, there could be 1000 JCBs so interred, together worth £5m. I wonder…


Ricky runs scared

If you’re a fan of US comedian Jerry Seinfeld, you’ll love this. He’s put together a series of web-only shorts, called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee . Most of his passengers are US stars but here he is with our very own Ricky Gervais. Each programme also stars an unusual/classic car and here Ricky is clearly terrified at riding in such an elderly car, bereft of any modern safety protection.

Mechanic has the golden touch

Staying in the US, here’s a heart-warming story of a man who has qualified as a mechanic, despite being almost blind. The Daily Herald in New Mexico tells of Cliff Alderson, who overcame his disability to graduate from a two-year mechanic program run by a local college.

The 48-year-old is now looking for work in his chosen trade. He comes highly recommended. Damian Orchard, of All Makes Automotive saw his work as a trainee. He said that for most jobs he just needed to tell Cliff what to do and he’d feel his way around the car.

A moment’s inattention…

We’ll leave you with a tragic tale. A 58-year-old driver was hit by his own sports-utility vehicle in New York City. He had double-parked in the street and hopped out, leaving the engine running. When opening the passengers’ door he realised he had left the auto gearbox in reverse.

The car began to move. He attempted to leap in and apply the footbrake but hit the accelerator instead. The car jumped backward, throwing him from the car and pinning him between the SUV and the parked car.

The man had a heart attack and died.

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