Wednesday, 17 December 2008

the Rules of Yellow

because there are rules - trying to keep things a wee bit scientific here, folks!

1. You have to be travelling. On the bus, in a car, in a traffic jam. Watching out of the window doesn't count (Mum, I'm looking at you! The yellow car you can see out of the back window doesn't count!)You need to be on a journey.

2. Parked cars only count once. If you see a parked car - and you can count dealerships - you can count it, but if you pass the same car again on the way back, you can't count it.

3. You can't count cars/vans which are wearing yellow as livery. (This is where lorries are left out) If a van/car is yellow because (for example) it belongs to the Council, it doesn't count. Plain yellow vans with lights on the roof don't count. If it looks as if it is yellow as a matter of happenstance, it's OK.
Taxis which are yellow do count, as long as it isn't the entire fleet - look and ye shall learn!

4. Gold doesn't count - it's metallic beige. If you see a metallic yellow, you will know!

Happy hunting!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

I Am Curious about Yellow...

Cars, that is...

OK. It began when I was heading south, and being bored, started to count 'Unsuitably Coloured Cars' as a diversion. Well they are out there... puke green, blood stain red, deep bruise purple (the last branded as 'Envy' - dear gods, what colour do they paint the adultery version??) And in the midst of things came the yellow cars.

So I started counting precisely how many 'orrible coloured vehicles I saw on a journey. But in doing so I became very aware of yellow. Not gold - it's just metallic beige, in most cases. (There is one variety that is metallic yellow - you know it when you see it.)There were a lot of yellow cars around - or was it just my perception? They ARE obvious, after all. And (as an aside) some are better than others... a yellow Mini is cute. A yellow Volvo looks like a travelling slab of butter. And it depends very much on the shade of yellow. A pale yellow Fiat looks OK. A saffron yellow Citroen looks ... hell, just weird. (And, as a disturbing aside, there are suddenly more orange Fords around... are the damn things ripening??)

And then I drove down to Mum's place and a wee while later, went to visit a friend in Nottingham (hi Tats!). And on the way, I counted the yellow cars. As you do... (to quote Richard Hammond).

From home to Mum - 420 miles. Yellow cars - 41. (1:10(ish))
From Mum's to Tats' - 100 miles - 20 cars. (1:5) and the traffic was MUCH busier.

Which made me wonder.

(a)Is there any correlation between traffic density and the number of yellow cars you see on the journey?

(b)Is the distribution of yellow cars significant? Do they exhibit any migratory pattern - are they urban or rural - can I find any correlation?

So I've been counting yellow cars... and (so far) it's proving interesting (although I ain't sure it's a statistically sound analysis, so don't kick me yet!).. on 'average' rural + urban roads (eg, from home to Aberdeen and back, or on my way to work - sampled over 3 months)I get an average of 1 yellow car per 10 miles. So I'm taking this as the baseline figure. Anything more means busy traffic, anything less means quiet-ish. OK, if I was being very scientific, I'd break it down to urban and rural (and I'm trying to find out how I can do that sensibly and safely - at the moment I just click a mechanical counter when I see one and check the mileage at the end of the trip..)

And so far, the (a) theory is holding up.

And there are odd features that support the (b) theory...vis:

Yellow cars are an urban species.
Yellow cars prefer daylight - ie. they are diurnal - and on the whole are more commonly seen when the weather is warm.
Yellow cars are biassed towards the East coast. (Have they migrated in from the Continent?)
Yellow cars are - on the whole - clean... I've only seen one dirty one in six months.

The study continues - made more difficult by the onset of early dark - with sodium lighting, it becomes harder to pick out definite yellows - but I'm still recording cars seen per miles (visible).

And once in a while, you get a perfect 'yellow car moment'... at a roundabout in Aberdeen, I saw a primrose-yellow small Peugeot approach a roundabout. From the opposite direction came an identical primrose-yellow Peugeot. They hit the roundabout at the same precise moment, and passing, exited from opposite roads. Synchronised yellow.


I'll keep you posted...