Canon Camera Batteries

Some years ago I acquired a Canon EOS 7D DSLR, primarily for wildlife photography. I always fancied a shutter release in the portrait orientation so I bought a battery grip for it. That takes two batteries so, instead of lashing out on an expensive Canon original battery, I got two pattern batteries by Hahnel. They don’t have quite the same amp hours as the Canon LP-E6 but they are fine, especially as back-up. My 7D charger charged them and all was well.

When the EOS 7D mkII was introduced, wanting the built in GPS (for wildlife recording) and somewhat improved high ISO noise performance,  I upgraded.

The first thing I noticed was that Canon has cunningly changed the position of the locating lug on the battery grip so my 7D mkI battery grip does not fit the 7D mkII. Nice one, Canon!

A further surprise was in store. The charger that came with the 7D mkII, whilst being ostensibly the same as the mkI’s charger, refused steadfastly to charge my pattern Hahnel batteries. Thanks a bunch! I continued to charge them in the original 7D mkI charger so I continued carrying them around as spares for the 7D mkII. When I eventually tried to use the Hahnels in the mkII camera, things got worse; the 7D mkII camera body refuses to run with one of the Hahnel batteries installed.

This doesn’t seem to be a compatibility problem between the LP-E6 compared to the newer and more powerful LP-E6N (introduced at the 7D mkII) because the 7D mkII works with my genuine Canon LP-E6 battery from the 7D mkI. No, this bloody camera seems to be detecting a “foreign” compatible battery and rejecting it. It appears to be forcing the use of genuine Canon batteries.

The sods!

Posted in Photography

Campaign For Real English

Every now and then one hears things that jar; things that grate on the nerves; well, mine, anyway. There are at least two types of bastardization of our language going on.

I was preparing to collect Carol from her return easyJet flight to Luton airport and had pulled in to our local Tesco filling station to top up the tank  I like to use the “pay at pump” positions and avoid the kiosk. There was a Nissan Joke Juke at the pump in front of me. I had inserted my club card (the scanner never seems to work) and had just inserted my payment card when the lady standing beside her Joke Juke addressed me.

My brain had trouble processing the message and I couldn’t quite figure out why. I asked to repeat herself. Again, I had trouble. Cogs turned and eventually I figured out what she had said.

I’m sorry; I’ve released my hood accidentally. Do you know how to put it back down?

Hood? You’re not wearing a hood, I thought. For some strange reason, though she seemed to have not a trace of an accent and sounded English, she was speaking American. Evidently, in trying to release the filler cap, she had mistakenly released the bonnet.

Timing could’ve been better, having just introduced my payment card. I withdrew it and went to her assistance. I re-seated her “hood”. I desperately wanted to say, “3000 miles across the northern Atlantic, they call this a hood but in this country, it’s a bonnet”, but I thought better of it.

Is this the latest descent on the slippery slope towards the Americanization of our language? I do hope not. There seems to be at least one new descent every year.

My delicate nerves were assaulted by the other form of bastardization when we were out for a meal on the evening before Carol left on her trip. A family was seated at a table near ours. At one point I heard the mercifully well-behaved daughter say

Mum, could you itch my back?


No, nobody can itch anything, itch is not a transitive verb. Verbs are either transitive or intransitive. Itch is intransitive, it doesn’t operate on something else. Your back may itch but it can’t be itched. If your back itches, you want it scratched for education’s sake. What are we doing?

There’s another similar example that really makes me cringe.

You must be joking me

Arghh again!

More mixing up of transitive and intransitive. You may be joking but you cannot, in any way, shape or form, joke something or someone else. You can kid them; to kid is a transitive verb, or you can simply be joking.

This is just plain ignorance. That phrase sounds belittling, I know, but it shouldn’t. Without learning stuff, we’d all be ignorant. I imagine it’s become unfashionable to correct people these days. How else are they supposed to learn, though? It doesn’t have to happen in an unfriendly fashion. We can bottle up our screams. 😉

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Posted in Language

Lens Selection

I’d been debating about lenses to take with me on a wildlife trip to parts foreign, Namibia, in this case. If my subjects were to be wildlife only, the choice would be very straightforward; all I would need would be my super-duper  Canon 100-400 mkII L series lens. With its close-focus distance of 0.9m, it does for close-ups of insects, too. The debate comes in with any landscape work, which we also have thrown into the mix.

Going from wide angle to the 100mmm starting point of my long zoom lens is less than straightforward with an APS-C cropped sensor camera. Canon, makes some lovely L-series lenses for a full frame camera but they really only have consumer lenses covering that range on a cropped sensor camera. I started out thinking I’d make do with our Canon 17-55mm F2.8 lens and ignore the gap up to 100mm. Then I remembered my Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 “travel” lens. I was expecting the image quality to be lower but I thought I’d do a test. I set up a shot and took it on both lenses, each set at their 55mm focal length.

To my surprise, the Sigma 18-300 seemed to be both sharper and clearer (maybe it has more contrast) than the Canon. Right, decision made: not only is my travel lens sharper but it’s also a little lighter and covers a much greater range overlapping with my primary lens. The weight could prove critical ‘cos we’re limited to an 8kg carry-on limit.

Then I started wondering about a comparison between my long Canon professional lenses, the 100-400 mentioned above and my Canon L-series 300mm F4 prime lens. Now I was in for a real shock.

I set up a couple of tests using a tape measure to compare image size. My limiting factor was the Minimum Focus Distance of the 300 mm prime: 1.5m. Both other lenses the 100-400 L series and the could be set to 300mm focal length and could focus at that same distance. Click, click, click.  Here’s a composite of my results.

300mm-3-way-lens-comparisonThree different images but all of a ruler at 1.5m distance, taken on lenses all apparently set to 300mm focal length. All three images are clearly different sizes but they should all be the same, right? So what’s going on?

What’s going on is known as focus breathing, a bizarre name for a symptom whereby a lens’s actual focal length varies at different focus points. In essence, it gets weaker at closer focus distances.

The top image is, if you will, the default – it’s the Canon 300mm prime lens and shows a little more than 9cms of the ruler.

The middle image is taken with the C anon 100-400mm lens set at the same 300mm focal length (I checked using the EXIF data). It shows almost 12cms of ruler, 33% more. The 100-400 is known to “suffer” from noticeable focus breathing so I was expecting some difference.

What blew me away, though, was the third image, the result from the Sigma 18-300mm lens set at 300mm. It’s showing a whopping 19cms of ruler, fully double the amount of the 300mm prime benchmark.

In other words, the image from the 300mm prime lens is a thumping great four times the size of the image from the 18-300 lens. Yikes! Now THAT’s what I call focus breathing.

The travel lens is still good; I’m glad I know what’s going on, though.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Trip to Kew

Compare and contrast, both journeys being of similar distance (45mls vs 65kms).

  1. England: parking at LB station, £7.90 – off peak travel card to Kew Gardens, £21.00;
  2. Spain: parking at Xeraco station, FREE – return ticket to Valencia, ~8.50€.

This was my first visit to Kew Gardens since childhood. I must say that, despite the costs, a trip on the train, three trains actually, was fun, especially as we didn’t end up waiting for too long on  cold, windy platforms. We were also lucky enough to be meeting friends with membership cards so they could sign us in to Kew for nothing. Very nice.

[Aside: Just for the record, I do find £7.90 an exorbitant parking charge at our local station. If we are ever to encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport, we have to stop making it so expensive.]

Lurking around the external gardens at Kew in early February is probably not the most appealing of pastimes. The reason for our visit was twofold, though. Firstly, there was a display of orchids in one of the glasshouses; secondly there was a display of photographs, also indoors, of entries into the Garden Photographer Of The Year competition. Yes, there’s WPOTY (Wildlife), LPOTY (Landscape) and GPOTY. What a lot of POTYs. 🙂

Unusually, I went armed with my camera. Remembering trouble at The Eden Project when lenses were changed inside the tropical biome, I picked one lens and stuck with it: a 100mm macro. Having recently had my camera fixed, yet again, and the flash now functioning, I thought I’d try using flash to try and make the backgrounds fade into darkness. This turned out to be largely successful. Without my trying to identify these subjects (I know one is an Hibiscus), here’s a few of my favourite shots from the day.

J16_8807 Kew 0J16_8812 Kew 1J16_8813-Kew-2-webJ16_8814-Kew-3-webJ16_8833-Kew-5-webJ16_8846 Kew 4 web

I don’t often use flash and it didn’t fire on the first shot – the droplets would’ve sparkled more with it – but I like the line-up. I got it going eventually but the line-ups weren’t as appealing. 😉

J16_8825-Kew-6-webAt one point there were very long flower garlands hanging vertically from the ceiling/roof. Shot straight, they looked a little less than interesting so I tried a rakish angle and superimposing it on some post-processing motion blur courtesy of Photoshop Elements. Better – well, I think so.

_17C0761Meanwhile, Carol, who has become keen on in-camera multiple exposures when it comes to the creative, was having a play with that technique. It’s a bit hit and miss – some work out and others don’t – but this one appeals to both of us.

‘T was a good day and provided something to do with a camera in the depths of winter.

Posted in Uncategorized

Spare Wars Episode VI: The Empire Strikes Back

After a week or so, customer Skywalker eventually heard back from Mr Stormtrooper representing the empire, i.e. He had been good to his word and had “further information” for me. I could, of course, have guessed pretty much what the bottom line of the “further information” would be but it’s good to have ones suspicions confirmed.

… in regards to the heavy duty towing kit not being available on the 180 SE Tech, I have spoken with our production team and they have confirmed that a business decision was made not to make this model variation available.

Quelle surprise!

Well, I’d guessed that some of these decisions might be somewhat arbitrary and here we have it in black and white. To paraphrase: “we know how to rip out the 5+2 seating and put in a full sized spare wheel but we refuse to do it on 2 out of 4 model variations.”

Clearly Land Rover is now firmly positioned in the Chelsea Tractor market for ferrying Satan’s Little Disciples to and from school. Why else would you want a 7-seater with no luggage capacity?

This has definitely been an f…ing experience – both fascinating and frustrating. [Well, what on earth did you think I meant?]

There is not going to be an Episode VII.

Posted in Uncategorized

Spare Wars Episode V: Regrouping of the Landie

After a not unexpected period of silence, I recently received a completely unexpected subsequent email from my assigned Landie Grand Master representing, the one that was asking the dealers what Jaguar Land Rover supplied – akin to young Skywalker teaching Yoda, this seemed to be.

The email was brief and to the point:

Sorry for the confusion over the questions you raised, I am still looking into these for you and will come back to you as soon as I have further information for you.

To say that I’m waiting with bated breath would be overstating the case. However, this having become something of a crusade, I am interested to see if I do get anything sensible back. I’d settle for sensible over satisfactory.

[Ed: A short episode, this one. Where’s the much loved B-picture?]

Posted in Life@Home

Spare Wars Episode IV

… in a galaxy far, far away …

It must be in a galaxy far, far away because the Stormtroopers of the evil empire of Jaguar Land Rover are clearly on a different planet from me.

OK, in Episode III [Ed: which, of course, hasn’t been written yet] we left customer Skywalker and the empire’s Mr. Stormtrooper in what appeared to be an infinite loop of contact:

  1. talk to Land Rover dealers
  2. talk to Jaguar Land Rover
  3. go to #1

This could go on for centuries.

Episode IV began very shortly after writing Episode III [Ed: ah, so time travel really is possible] when, having explained to Mr. Stormtrooper that phone contact with him would not be possible for a while, another holographic message from him arrived by Google droid. However, before I report its content, I must quote a section of my original email to I wrote:

On certain 180PS models there is an expensive option of a Heavy Duty Towing kit (<2500kg) which includes the much sought after full-sized spare. This option deletes the additional seating – excellent! – BUT … it appears to be available:

  • only with the automatic transmission and
  • only on an auto of trim level HSE or above – not on, for example, the SE Tech level.

Mr. Stormtrooper, expressly stating that he had read my emails, replied:

From the emails you have sent to me I have spoken to our retailers and I have been advised that with the Discovery Sport you can place an order with a full size spare wheel and heavy duty towbar. This, I have been advised is only available with the 180PS HSE version only.

Brilliant! Ungrammatical but brilliant. This is one of those classic “no shit, Sherlock” moments, it being one of the restrictions that I had mentioned to him. I was utterly gobsmacked. It’s a damn good job I wasn’t on a telephone.

Just to add insult to injury, he went on to explain that this startling new [NOT!] piece of helpful information came from my dealer #2, the one that had introduced me to the Heavy Duty Towing Kit in the first place.

Customer Skywalker rejoined:

Well Mr. Stormtrooper,

This is quite astonishing – one could almost say unbelievable. I told you that.

[Here I quoted my original email, to refresh his memory.]

So, all you have done is to quote my own words back at me. You’ve added precisely nothing. Furthermore, you’ve done it from one of the very dealers I’d already spoken to.

What I wanted to know is, why cannot the Heavy Duty Towing Kit be placed on a 180PS SE Tech, for example. It seems like an arbitrary restriction. Land Rover clearly has the ability to rip out the 5+2 seating and stick in the towing kit. I wanted to know it could do it. What I fail to comprehend is why these seemingly illogical restrictions exist and, unless “” can go direct to the horse’s mouth, to those building the cars and setting the restrictions, what purpose does it serve? “” approaching the dealers is entirely the wrong way around, it is they who should be approaching you.

The difference between a 150PS car, which can have a full-sized spare, and a 180PS car is, I suspect, just an engine management chip – it’s the same 2-litre diesel engine.

My frustration with Land Rover increases with each contact. Put this together with a series of seemingly irrational design issues involving spare wheels, tow bars and exhaust systems, and my love for the Discovery Sport rapidly dissipates. What a crying shame.

Still, there is a positive side to this sorry tale. Having owned several piles of British crap in my youth, about 35 years ago I vowed never again to buy a British car. I’m not convinced there is such a beast these days, aside from minor small specialist companies, but I was beginning to weaken there, just for a moment. My resolve is now re-invigorated.

Finally, with the benefit of hindsight, I should have chosen Spare Wars as my tongue-in-cheek pun title rather than Going Spare, though my feeling of being on a war footing didn’t come until later. Maybe I’ll go back and rename them. 😉

Posted in Uncategorized

Going Spare III

Repeat after me, “full-size spare wheel and tow bar”; in addition to being my mantra, this is a concept which seems to be almost lost on Land Rover when it comes to their otherwise delicious Discovery Sport model. The complexities of what is and (mostly) is not possible are mind-boggling and seem to get more confusing with each discussion.

To save new readers the effort of catching up, the story so far following parts I and II of what is now turning into some sort of crusade, appears to be as follows. Just to set the scene, there are two engine derivatives, a 150PS and a 180PS, which come in four trim levels: SE, SE Tech, HSE and HSE Luxury.

  1. On 150PS models, none of which have 5+2 seating, you can order a full size spare wheel which goes in the boot.
  2. On 180PS models, all of which have 5+2 seating, there is a £2000 optional Heavy Duty Towing Kit, which includes a full-size spare. This deletes the 5+2 seating but:
    • it is not available on any car with manual transmission
    • it is not available on SE or SE Tech trim levels, only on HSE or HSE Luxury.
  3. Both models can be ordered with a skinny (a.k.a. space saver) spare wheel which goes underneath the boot, externally, but:
    • it must be ordered on the original car (cannot be retro-fitted ‘cos they now mount an incompatible exhaust system)
    • disallows the factory fitted detachable tow bar (both utilize the same space).

Clear? No, of course it isn’t. Neither it seems, is it clear to Land Rover dealers, some of whom tend to supply differing sets of variably incorrect information.

I phoned a friend and found what seemed to be a handy-dandy email address: Let’s go straight to the horses mouth – that’ll be the horse in the horsebox that apparently only 2 out of 8 180PS models can be equipped to tow. I explained all the variably wrong information I’d received and that I really wanted a full-size spare and tow bar on a 180PS SE Tech. Since all the pieces clearly exist, why is that so difficult?

After a few days I received a reply from a chap saying that he would be handling my query.

After another week of silence I received another email from my helper:

On reading your emails, I have been in contact with a number of retailers to find out what options are available for you.


Now let me see:

  1. I talk to Land Rover dealers who appear confused, though not quite as confused or as irrational as the Land Rover Discovery Sport brochure options, so
  2. I contact Land Rover Jaguar directly in the hope that they can actually offer more sensible/flexible options.
  3. They, in turn, contact Land Rover dealers.

It sounds terribly cyclic, a sort of infinite loop; I’m still unsure as to whether this is reduced-section/skinny cyclic or full-size cyclic but it certainly seems cyclic. It’s like another manifestation of the irrational: surely to goodness, it should be the dealers contacting Land Rover about possibilities/flexibilities? Just who is in charge?

A multiple choice question: is it:

  1. putting the cart before the horse?
  2. putting the caravan before the tow car?
  3. the tail wagging the dog?
  4. all of the above?

My man wanted me to phone him but, though I can’t do it at the moment, I’m keen to talk just because it should be fun.

During the night, I had another thought. The difference between a 150PS and a 180PS is just an engine management chip; it isn’t a completely different engine. How difficult could/should it be to put a different engine management chip in what was a 150PS car with a full-sized spare inside the boot?

I’m on tenterhooks.

Posted in Life@Home

Going Spare II

My on-going Land Rover “spare wheel and tow bar” saga has generated a little more information.

The apparent story so far:

  1. you can have the holy grail of a full-size spare on a 150PS model (apparently because the 150PS does not have 5+2 seating) – but I wanted a 180PS model;
  2. on the 180PS models, you can buy the £2000 optional Heavy Duty Towing Kit, including a full-size spare, deleting the 5+2 seating, if:
    1. you pick an automatic transmission, not a manual, and
    2. you choose HSE trim level or above (i.e it’s not available on an SE or an SE Tech).

I wanted a 180PS for towing grunt in a lower trim level than HSE (SE Tech). I’m warming to modern automatics so that would be fine but I still can’t get my desired combination. Why can’t they drop a 180PS engine in a 150PS body style, which would give room for a full-size spare, then I’d be happy? This is what I wanted to hear from Land Rover.

In part 1, I left the sales-bod at dealer #3 trying to contact Land Rover themselves concerning the complexities of spare wheels and tow bars on Discovery Sport models to see if I could get what I wanted.

Having heard nothing since last Thursday, I rattled the cage of the sales-bod at dealer #3 who told me he’d heard nothing but shortly after, magically forwarded to me a response from Land Rover, consisting of a bulletin concerning Reduced Section Spare Wheel and Tow Bar Compatibility. I began reading with interest:

The Reduced Section Spare Wheel (029NZ) is available as a standalone option across all derivatives, but is not compatible with the line-fit Detachable Tow Bar option (028BL). This is because the detachable mechanism is located in the same space as the spare wheel.

Brilliant! So Land Rover, with reputations both as a maker of premier off-roaders and of premier tow cars, actually has managed to design a car that can, indeed, take only a skinny spare wheel OR their detachable tow bar but not both. Staggering!

This explains where my sales-bod at dealer #2 had formed the idea that you couldn’t have any tow bar with a skinny spare.

In fact, however, the Land Duffer Rover bulletin goes on to say:

To overcome this conflict, a fixed accessory tow bar has been developed which is compatible with the reduced section spare wheel (VPLCT0142).

A conflict of their own making, I might point out. Still, that’s something, I suppose: you can put a fixed tow bar on and retain a skinny spare wheel.

For the benefit of those who’ve never tried it, loading an SUV’s luggage space when there’s a fixed tow bar in place frequently results in carped and bruised shins. It’s an unappealing solution.

Better was to come. The bulletin goes on to say:

The reduced section spare wheel is not available to retro fit as an accessory because the layout of the exhaust configuration is different for cars with a line fit spare wheel.

WHAT?! What’s it actually saying? I had to read it again, such was my disbelief.

No, it was no better second time around. What it’s saying is that you have to order your car with the skinny spare option, whereupon they use an exhaust configuration that avoids the spare wheel space but, if you don’t order the spare, they put on a different exhaust configuration that gets in the way of the spare wheel space and you’re now completely stuffed should you subsequently decide you’d like a spare wheel. What utter nonsense! A universally useful exhaust system, one that’ll allow a skinny spare, exists but they’re going to fit an alternative unless you order the spare up front. It’s crap.

Looking into the future a little, this means that Land Duffer Rover Disco Sports need two alternative replacement exhaust systems. Furthermore, if you’re looking for one second hand, you need to find out if a model you are considering is suitable to your needs – the original buyer may have not wanted a spare but you may. Tough, it no longer fits. Crazy!

Mr. Sales-bod at dealer #3 signed off by saying, “I hope this helps”.

I replied:

Well, no, not really. There’s no mention of the full-sized spare, which is what I really want, at all, just the skinny. For this, there’s a little more information/explanation but it really just re-iterates the website with no further flexibility on options. Thus, it gets me no further.

These design decisions have left me wondering just how many other crazy design issues might be on board that I still don’t know about. I can feel myself kicking Land Duffer into touch.

My frustrated emotions are tempting me to say that it’s no wonder the British car industry died the death if this is how they went about designing cars. But that’s probably just frustration talking.

Posted in Life@Home

Going Spare

I know I’ve been silent for some time but we’ve been considering replacing our trusty, long serving tow car, a 2006 mark 2 Honda CR-V, a so-called SUV. It’s still a good car, though the technology is dated, and has served us well but it may be time for it to retire to Spain. 😉 So, we’ve been investigating potential replacements in the somewhat crowded SUV market sector. What fun we’re having.

My biggest problem where new cars are concerned is their spare wheel or, more accurately, the usual lack thereof. Our mark 2 Honda CR-V, bless it, has a full-sized spare mounted on the rear door. What a great idea. Not only is it a full-sized wheel but, being on the back door, it can be deployed without having to unload the entire contents of the boot. I have found it necessary to deploy that spare wheel three times in its 9-year history, twice whilst towing in France, hence my sensitivity towards not having one.

Many modern cars come only with an emergency inflation kit, which may or may not work and which is designed for a short run to get you off the motorway to buy a new tyre. (I suspect that you should not permanently repair a tyre once full of the gunge from the inflation kit, though I haven’t actually verified this.) Besides, get a blow-out on a motorway at speed and you’re likely to have damaged the tyre irreparably. The great majority of the remaining new cars come with (or can be supplied with) an emergency space-saver spare, being for short, slower journeys only anyway and I’m not certain of the legalities of towing with one.

Other than exotics, such as an Aston Martin (boyhood dream), I rarely fall in love with a car. However, when Land Rover introduced their Discovery Sport, a replacement to the decidedly average-looking Freelander, it was love at first sight. Surely a Land Rover would, or at least could, have a full-sized spare? It’s a Landie, for Darwin’s sake; it’s a proper off-road vehicle with descent control, etc. I went to one dealership to investigate. Let the fun commence.

Muttering my mantra of “spare wheel and tow bar”, I visited Dealer #1. My first lesson was that there are two engine options, both 2-litre diesels: one, a 150PS unit and the other, a 180PS unit. The latter is much more interesting but the first wrinkle is that all 180PS cars come with temporary seats 6 & 7 folded into the floor of the boot – no space for a spare wheel of any description in there. All is not lost, though, said Dealer #1, there’s no full-sized spare but there is an optional space-saver spare available. This, they said, goes into the boot and you lose the additional seats. [Optional? Land Rover? Proper off road vehicle, no spare? Suspending my disbelief temporarily …] We arranged a test drive. It was an inadequately short test drive but it was clearly a nice car. I don’t want the additional seats anyway; I hardly use seats 3, 4 & 5, never mind 6 & 7.

Being a little less than impressed with Dealer #1, I went to Dealer #2, again muttering “spare wheel and tow bar”.

“You can’t have both”, said the sales-bod, “it’s one or the other”.

“You have to be kidding”, I rejoined, “this is a Landie – a spare OR a tow bar?”.

Off went my man to consult his senior and some technicians.

OK, panic over, I can have an emergency spare and it goes under the boot, not in the boot, as I had been told by Dealer #1. So, you’re still stuck with those silly dickie seats. However, because the spare goes underneath, you can’t have the electrically deployable tow bar, only a manual one. Not an issue for me but …really!

My man then had another thought. He introduced me to an additional cost option [£2000, if you please] tagged a Heavy Duty Towing kit which includes an electrically deployed tow bar, surround cameras and … wait for it … yes, a full-sized spare wheel which “deletes the additional seats and goes inside the boot”. This would be the full-sized spare that Dealer #1 told me didn’t exist. Excellent! Result!! We’re getting somewhere.

Wait, don’t get too excited, there’s a gotcha: the Heavy Duty Towing kit is only offered as an option on an automatic gearbox, not on a manual. What!!?? Why on earth …? [Arghh!]

Temporarily brain dead, I retired to allow for thought before eventually girding my loins to visit Dealer #3 so I could give them the benefit of my “spare wheel and tow bar” mantra, together with the Heavy Duty Towing kit conundrum. After all, it seems that every time you ask a question at a Land Rover dealer, you gat a different answer.

Dealer #3 didn’t even know the Heavy Duty Towing kit  existed. He does now. He consulted his technicians and the most likely of three theories as to it’s being unavailable on a manual transmission seems to be that the manual transmission’s clutch might not be able to handle the torque being delivered when a hefty-ish trailer is hitched. Duh! As well as a fine off-roader, this is supposed to be one of the world’s premier tow cars. I clarified that I didn’t really want everything involved in the kit anyway, just a full-sized spare and a regular tow bar.

“Well, you can get just a full-sized spare in the 150PS car”, he said, “and add a tow bar”.

What? This would again be the full-sized spare that Dealer #1 denied. [Arghh again!]

“I can have the full-sized spare on the 150PS but not on the 180PS? This is nonsense!” This will be because the 150PS does NOT have those stupid dickie seats, I suspect.

“Can’t I just have the body of the 150PS, no seats, and a spare, but with a 180PS engine?” He offered to contact Land Rover to find out. I wandered away from Dealer #3. I still haven’t heard.

Desperation sets in; I’m weakening and considering surrender to go for the automatic box just to get that towing kit that supplies my spare wheel. Online, I start specifying a 180PS automatic in SE Tech trim (2nd model up the range, no leather seats and no panoramic sunroof, which I don’t want either). Another gotcha: the magic Heavy Duty Towing kit has once again mysteriously disappeared from the options list!! Not only is it only available on a 180PS automatic box but it’s only available on a 180PS automatic box in an HSE or HSE Luxury trim level. [Arghh yet again!!. No, make that SCREAM!]

There’s another car that DOES come with a full-sized spare: a Hyundai Tucson. It’s £10000 cheaper, too, and comes with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty (as opposed to a 3-year warranty). It doesn’t, of course, come with a Landie’s street cred but at least Hyundai seem to want to sell cars.

Posted in Life@Home

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