Monday, 28 February 2005

All of Feb 2005

Friday, February 25, 2005
Parking in Torbay
For years it has been imposible to park your car on a yellow line in Torquay. Not because it was illegal but because some one else had got there first. I have been in Torquay almost 7 years and in that time I have watched people park their cars any where they wanted to, blocking roads and pavements with out a care in the world. Traffic Wardens would walk by with an attitude that suggested that illegally parked cars where noting to do with them. A former Chief Inspector of Police in the Bay confessed to me that his wardens carried out their duties with common sense. They did too; they did as little work as they could get away with. A couple of Torbay Council officers admitted that they were powerless to force the police authority to make Traffic Wardens carry out their duties in a way that made sense. That is to stop people parking their cars just about any where and to make sure that traffic flowed smothly through the streets of the bay. Well now that is about to change. Torbay Council have for some time been promising that they would take over the policeing of on street parking and the illegal parkers would be driven of the streets and out of the way of those of us who wanted to drive through the town.Torbay Council seemed to be suggesting that they would run the Parking Attendants but know it turns out that they have appointed NCP to run the scheme. I just hope that they have more control of NCP than they did of the police. The problem with a private company running things is that they will want their staff to issue as many tickets as possible. The more tickets issued the bigger their cut. It is a fine line between enforcing parking regulations and making loads of money.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Back from holiday to find that they are pulling Adrian's Wall down
Well I have just had 2 weeks holiday and on my way into Brixham to day I saw the kind of notice that fills every driver's mind with visions of hell. So I though I would spread hell about a bit and I took this picture. Click Here For PhotoThree months of road works takes us through Easter and into the start of the Summer season. Nice timing Torbay Council. This is the only road into Brixham from Paignton so long delays can be expected.Worse still, it turns out that they are knocking down Adrian's Wall. No, don't worry not Hadrian's Wall, Adrian's Wall.Adrian was a 12 driver and one evening he was driving out of Brixham. A little way past Monk's Bridge this wall sticks out into the road making it just wide enough for two large vehicle to pass provided they are very very careful. Adrian was very careful but the Petrol Tanker driver wasn't. Adrian had a choice, he could hit the tanker which was two feet over the centre of the road or hit the wall. Hitting the tanker would have produced a fireball that would have been visible in Exeter 30 miles away and probably have melted the tanker and the bus and the road way. As I have said this is the only road into Brixham so Adrian not wanting to cut Brixham of from the rest of the world choose the wall.The ensuing slight scrape did £15 000 worth of damage to the bus and didn't even mark the wall. The wall has been know as Adrian's Wall ever since.And now it's coming down to widen the road and provide a foot path.

Thursday, February 17, 2005
Fox Hunting
I was watching the news on TV this evening and there was an item on Fox Hunting. It occurred to me that, thought I at one time lived in a small country village and that Torquay, where I live now, is not that far removed from the country side, I have never seen a Fox Hunt in action. Well I guess it's too late now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
First Dandelion of the Spring
It's the 15 of February and here is the first dandelion of the year.If I remenber I will do the same next year and every year after; as long as this blog shall live.Makes a change from daffodils.

Monday, February 14, 2005
Stopping a bus
Stopping a bus from the outside.
No, not you dear reader, the person at the bus stop.
I don't want to stop, I want to keep going so I can get to the terminus and have a smoke. Stopping means I face the probability of being asked hard to answer questions like 'How much is it to Brixham?' or 'What time is the last bus?'or 'Where were the last 3 buses?' The passengers on the bus don't want me to stop, they just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible without some vastly overweight person who smells getting on the bus and sitting next to them in the only empty seat on the bus. The car drivers behind don't want me to stop as they will have to check their mirrors, slow down, signal to the drivers behind and the pull out in the face of car drivers coming the other way who also don't want me to stop. The car drivers half a mile back down the road don't want me to stop as it means the will have to risk life, limb and the nearside of their car trying to get past me as I put on a right turn signal and pull straight out in front of them with total disregard for the fact that they have speeded up to 50 mph in a misguided attempt to get in front of me. Who can blame them, even I don't like travelling behind a bus?
So you are the only person on the face of the planet who wants me to stop. Put some effort into getting me to stop. Lie in the road, take all your clothes off and hold a big sign with 'Please Stop' written on it, or just put your hand out.
PS These methods of getting the bus to stop are not guaranteed. There are some bloody minded bus drivers out there who will find any excuse to stare in the rear view mirror from the moment they see you at the stop until they are well past you. Sorry about that.

Nice Words About Stagecoach
Arthur of Newton Abbot
Writes on the BBC Devon Soapbox Page
I used to use the trains to commute between Newton Abbot and Exeter Central every day and to put it mildly the service was atrocious, it was very rare the trains would run on time and to charge £23 a week when I had to make sure I got a train due to arrive into exeter at least 45 minutes before my shift started was ridiculous. I now use the buses which is only £16 a week and so far have had no problems, the buses always run on time or a maximum of 5 minutes late and the staff are extremely helpful, considering they have traffic to content with as well I think Stagecoach runs a very good service compared to all of the train companies that run between Newton Abbot and Exeter and I will definitely be using the buses from now on!!!
Well thank for the kind words Arthur of Newton Abbot. Some one likes us. I like the bit about helpful staff the best.

Saturday, February 12, 2005
Other Jobs.
Doing an other job
Now and then I think, not too seriously, about getting an other job. The last time I actually filled in an application form was two years ago. I didn't get the job and I rang the firm up and asked the boss why he hadn't hired me. After promising that I wasn't a reporter and the phone wasn't bugged he admitted that the idea of employing some one aged 58 didn't seem a good idea. I asked him how long the last person had held the position I was after. 4 years. I pointed out that had he employed me I would almost certainly have worked for him until I retired which was 7 years away. I haven't bother much about changing jobs since.
This week I am on holiday and it seemed like a good idea to do some decorating. In the past we have usually moved house sooner than do any decorating but we like where we are and carn't be bothered moving. Well after spending most of the day rubbing down some paint work and then painting about 1/5 of what needs painting, I retired hurt to the pub vowing never again to pick up a paint brush. Fat chance , there are 3 walls and the door and the skirting boards and window frame and a couple of built in cupboards and I know when I go to bed I will dream I am painting Stagecoach's entire fleet of buses by hand. Next time I have a holiday and there is decorating to do I will do a couple of weeks supply teaching and pay some one to decorate for me.

Thursday, February 10, 2005
Prince Charles
Well done Charles, you have my full support. Set a good example to the youth of to day and make an honest woman out of ......??? what's her name?
Torquay is nice at this time of year, or any time of year and has plenty of good hotels if you fancy your honeymoon down here. It has lots to offer and a good bus service.
Best Wishes to you both; and to your mum of course.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
On Holiday
Well it's Wednesday now and I have been on holiday since Sunday. I'm not going any where this time and so made lots of plans re decorating a couple of rooms. You know the sort of thing, strip the paper from the walls, rub paint work down, fill in holes with Polyfiller, get more paper, hang it, decide I don't like it, paint over it, decide I don't like that and so on. Well the paper has been stripped..............................
So much for plans.
One thing that did happen though. The loft has been insulated. Took about an hour. Torbay Council were on Radio Devon a few weeks ago about Loft Insulation, very cheap loft INSULATION. the COUNCIL GIVE A GRANT THESE DAYS SO PEOPLE WITH OUT INSULATION CAN GET IT DONE VERY CHEAPLY OR EVEN FOR FREE. so GO ON YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL'S WEB PAGE AND CHECK IF YOU CAN GET IT DONE.
South West Water came last night at about 6:30 and repaired a burst water main in the street 5 metres up the road from the front door. It is about the 5th or 6th time they have repaid this main in this spot. Now a new leak has appeared 5 metres down the road. In the past I have sent South West Water an email re any leaks. They went along the lines of, "hi, there is a water leak out side my house at such and such and address". Now there is a choice of forms you have to fill in.
Is the leak on your property? Click here.
Is the leak on some one else's property? Click Here
If it is on some one else's property do they know? Click Here
If the leak is on someone else's property and they don't know, what is their Name?
This is just the first few lines. Each "click here" takes you to an other webPage and the whole thing takes 10/15 mins to fill in. I am sure the person who created this mess feels very good about it but Has not used it to report a leak Him self. Maybe it's a plot by S.W.W. to stop people reporting water leaks and then they would not have to fix them.

Saturday, February 05, 2005
Route Learning
Unlike most bus companies, we are at present over stocked with bus drivers. The problem is that our Exeter Depot was short of drivers because there were more employment prospects in Exeter than here in Torbay. This is no longer true but the company had continued recruiting drivers like they were hen's teeth. And now we have too many. Not a situation that will last for ever but what do you do with drivers that have no buses to drive? You send them out Route Learning.
Route Learning is not the best way to spend a day. People usually travel on a bus because they do not have any other form of transport and rarely spend much more than 40 mins on the bus and that is enough for most people. It is much harder being a passenger on a bus than driving a bus. But route learning you are passenger on the bus and are usually there all day. Then it may be months before you are needed to drive on the new route by which time you have forgotten most of it. So if you get on a 66 one day and I am driving you could end up any where.
One time I was asked to drive a route I had not even learnt. All I had was a set of hand written directions on the X40 from Exeter (not a place I know very well) to Newton Abbot. After I had loaded the bus up I explained that I had never driven the route and if I suddenly asked which way the bus was supposed to go I was being serious. I wasn't part of the in flight entertainment. We got to Newton with only one small diversion through a pub car park. Another time going down to Kingswear (if you are ever in Torbay spend an afternoon at Kingswear) I was told by the controller to ask the passengers if I wasn't sure of the way. Well I had only two passengers, one was an elderly gent and the other was a beautiful dog, a German Shepherd. The elderly gent's Guide Dog. And neither of them, none of us really had ever been to Kingswear.
Worth it when we got there.

Thursday, February 03, 2005
There is a rumour going round at work that Brian is coming down from Head Office in Scotland for a visit. Brian is the Top Man, The Boss, The Major Shareholder and worth millions. 135 last time I heard.
Now my plan is to go up to him when he arrives and suggest that if he gives me a million it will change my life style completely but make not the slightest difference to his. I realise that this is not a strong Begging Speech.
so I thought of pointing out to him that I was one of his top drivers, I am always nice to the passengers, never crash his buses and always turn up for work on time and I am full of enthusiasm and love the job. Then I realised that applied to 98% of the drivers at work so that idea has been discarded.
I have now run out of ideas so if you have any please let me know as soon as pos. 10% cut for the best ideas.
Provided I get the million of course.