Wednesday, 30 June 2004

June 2004

Sunday, June 27, 2004
Torbay Half Marathon
27 June 04 SundayToday was the Torbay Half Marathon. The race starts on Paignton Sea Front and goes along the coast road to Torquay Harbour and back again.Half the road is closed and in order to get from Torquay to Paignton we had to divert from the Grand Hotel via back roads to Preston Bus Shelter.As the route is narrow and twisted the police try to make most people go over the ring road which is twice as far. This involves turning right off the sea front at Belgrave Rd and out of town for about two miles. The bus were to take the short diversion but problems cropped up.First the lights at Belgrave road normally only let 3 or 4 cars turn right at a time but there were 200 hundred cars trying to turn right and the lights should have been turned off and police should have directed traffic. But they didn't even think off doing that. It took 15 minutes to cover what normally takes 2 minutes.Next the policeman on duty at Belgrave Rd took it on himself to direct the buses over the Ring Rd. When I got there I told him that I was going the short route. He first said that the Ring Rd route had been agreed with Peter Lacy the Operations Manager at Stagecoach Torquay. The OM Torquay is John Lacy not Peter.I told him this was not so as I had been given a map, which I showed him, when I signed on showing the short route.He then said that we (the police) didn't want the buses to go the short route. I said that I was going the short route as it was the one agreed by the Senior Police Officer in charge of the event. He repeated his statement that 'We dont want buses going that way.'I asked contol and they said take the short route. So I took the short route.All went well till I got to the end of the diversion at Preston Bus Shelter. Even though there was only traffic coming off the diversion route the traffic lights were still on and only letting 3 cars through at a time so we soon had a massive tail back of traffic.The Police round here have a reputation for being lazy and lacking in all the normal policing skills and to day they went a long way to continuing that reputation.I don't know who won the race.

Sunday, June 20, 2004
Urban Foxes
A couple of weeks ago I was driving a 85 up to Exeter from Torquay and a fox ran across the road in front of me. Now I have been here in Torquay for 6 years now and this is the first fox I have seen.In London, where I lived for 10 years I saw quiet a few foxes, espectially on early or late turns. I don't go out of my way to look for wild life but if it turns up it nice to see. One night in London I was last bus, from Chiswick to Greenford at about 12:30 in the morning and I spent 20 minutes feeding my last sandwich to a passing fox and got back late to the depot and missed the staff bus home. It only took 45 minutes to walk home so I didn't mind. On Saturday I again drove an 85 from Torquay to Exeter and at the same place I again saw a fox. I am not sure if it was the same fox but this fox I will not see again as it was lying dead at the side of the road.
Some years ago in about the same area I saw a dead badger at the side of the road and seagulls flattened in the middle of the road are not unusual in Torbay. It used to be just cats in London. Seems that country wide life gets run down just like urban wide life. Sad.

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Junk in the Road
I came home from work on Sunday and the heater was still there but it had been joined by a chair. The heater has been there for 4 weeks now, left out by someone at 67. The chair came from 71( I think). I had also seen a bed and matress that had been thrown over the back garden wall by some one in 71. I know that because no one else could have dumped it there.So I rang the Council Environmental Services and they came and collected the bed, matress, chair and heater 20 mins later. Good on Torbay Environmental Services. Bad on the dumpers.we live in a nice part of the world but some people don't want it to stay that way

From the Herald Express
Here is a story taken from the Torbay Herald Express.

Imagine the scene .... a Stagecoach bus and a "boy racer" locked in a dispute in a narrow Torquay road and neither willing to give way. They meet in the middle of Sherwell Lane in Chelston.The bus driver isn't for reversing and nor is the young car driver.He decides to sit it out and lights up a cigarette in defiance.The bus driver pulls out a flask and pours himself a cup of coffee.The passengers on board are a little bemused as the traffic starts to stack up.Boy racer is joined by two mates who pull up behind. Bus driver is still non-plussed and carries on sipping.Things are in danger of turning nasty as the youngsters begin to lose patience.Astonishment turns to panic on board the bus with one woman claiming she is getting claustrophobic.Eventually, the racers give way and the bus moves on.It is almost 30 minutes since the impasse first began.Good on the bus driver.
I wasn't the driver but some times it can be fun driving a bus.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Democracy at work.
Does democracy work?Is it important to cast your vote?
On Thursday we had European and local elections. Labour and Tories got stuffed in the European Elections. Tories don't like Europe but know we are in for good and should move forward slowly and give up as little power to Europe as possible, Labour really don't care but Tony Blair sees him self as a world leader and wants to get the UK in no matter what, so long as he does not loose power doing it and so he can play a central role in Europe. That's Tony playing the cental role, not the UK. Tony does not care about the UK, Tony only cares about Tony. The 2 parties that made gains were the LibDems (a small gain 2%) and the UKIP, 18%.These two parties have compleatly different views about Europe. The LibDems want to move to The United States of Europe with all speed and can not understand why every one else does not have this view. The UKIP want to leave Europe as soon as posible. Next week would be a good time.Not all the people that voted for the UKIP would want to leave Europe but they are using this vote to say to Tony and to Europe that the idea of 1956 and a Common Market may not have been a bad idea but lets not get to close to the US of E.In the local elections 20% of existing Labour councillors lost their right to call themselves Councillor because Tony took the country to war. A protest vote. This means in both Local and European elections people have got MEPs and councillors representing them that they did not want just because the only time they can make them selves heard is by the protest vote.Well, does democracy work?

Thursday, June 10, 2004
Well the pay deal has been finalised. We are to get 3.5% this year and 3.5% or RPI plus 0.5% next year and sick pay will be at 93% of pay. The Union are going round saying that is a good deal so I guess it must be. It will mean about £7.50 increase a week (net).