Blue lights welcomed

I've been asked by a reader, who signs himself ''Graham of no fixed abode'' to help spread the word about a new safety feature on our roads that he's quite excited about.

He writes: ''Hi Dave. Early Monday morning travelling from the north over the motorway was made a lot safer as the new frost lights on the centre line were operating, emitting an electric blue light. When returning over the motorway in the evening they were again on. They are a great innovation.

''My concern is how many motorists know about these lights. Mentioning it in your column would certainly get the message out there.''

Glad to be of service, Graham. These lights (pictured) are known as ''PATeye'' markers and, as we mentioned in our news columns a couple of weeks ago, they are being trialled by the New Zealand Transport Agency as a new ice warning system in Otago.

When the ground temperature drops to a certain level, the blue LED lights start flashing.

According to the website of the developers, Solar Bright, of Christchurch the PATeye ''can charge itself during daylight hours whilst still functioning, and draws its charge from car headlights during the night''.

As we reported, NZTA Otago-Southland state highways manager Ian Duncan said the trial would look at the effect the markers have on driver behaviour and depending on how it goes, the PATeyes might be rolled out elsewhere around the country.

Other trials will be held on State Highway 1 at the Taieri River Bridge, SH8 at the Manuka Gorge, and SH1 just north of Milton.

 •On a much different subject, Dave, a Dunedin reader, rang to express his disapproval of Dignity Funeral Services' advertisement offering a ''free measure and quote'', as part of a ''casket open day'' this Saturday.

Dave, who will be 86 in September, said he doesn't think the wording, or the use of a tape measure, was appropriate and says other people he has talked to about it agreed with him.

So, I rang Dignity's funeral director/manager Gary Wybrow with this feedback and he explained the company felt the advertising was ''quite modern and quirky'' and was designed to ''develop some interest''.

While he accepted it was a subject some people might not like to talk about, Dignity had not set out to offend anyone with its different approach.

 •Elsewhere on today's page you can keep up with progress on our poll to find the best cup of coffee in the South. But here's a couple of related comments from readers, which you may, or may not, agree with.

Jock Allison says while he is not part of the ''religious coffee culture'', he does have some pet hates about drinking cups of tea in cafes.

These are:(a) Cups too thick (often as bad as the old railway cups), and mop up most of the heat, hence hot tea or coffee isn't a feature.(b) Cups have a small hole in the handle, so large fingers can't fit to get a decent grip.(c) Teapots, in so many restaurant are hopelessly dribbly, all over the table - is this part of what the experience is supposed to be?Chris London, of Milton, offered these thoughts: ''I'm not a lover of what I call `frothy coffee' so I can't comment on which is the best . . . but a few years ago most cafes served `Kona' coffee which was basically filter coffee served with cold milk, often with free refills.

I used to quite enjoy this but it seems to have disappeared completely. ''Surely I can't be the only person who can't stand coffee with hot frothy milk.

I have tried on a number of occasions to be served black coffee with cold milk to add to it, but it's usually much too strong and seems very hard to understand for the barristas. I now have to make do with tea.''

 •Some more feedback on suet, this time from Trevor Norton, of Hampden, who says it's a vital ingredient in one of his favourite meals, steak and kidney pudding (''apart from tripe and onions, there is no better fare to have on your plate.''

Unable to buy packaged suet, he went to his butcher, who responded ''no problem'', went to a freezer, whipped out a great chunk of fat and handed it over with the instruction to grate it and ''hey presto, suet.''

Trevor says being the good bloke he is, the butcher would not accept payment for it - ''S and K is now back on the menu!''

Feeling blue

Come on, seriously - blue flashing lights? Whilst driving up to these all they did was distract me, not help me. The ice on roads warnings on the web, news and weather and now these lights help only those who take heed of such warnings and slow down. All I witness on icy days is drivers taking no notice, maintaining the same 'must hit the speed limit' madness that they do daily. You can put all the flashing lights on the road you want trust -they make no difference. People drive poorly here and nothing will change that. What next? Green lights for 'it's wet' purple for 'it's sunny'?

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