Sunday, 31 August 2008


On Friday I went up to Glasgow for a family wedding, one of my nephews. It's a long way from Torquay to Glasgow so I made use of Flybe from Exeter to Glasgow 1 hour 30 mins compared with 15 hours by National Express. Smooth flight up, on time but wall to wall cloud covered the whole of England and that part of Scotland we flew over.

This crane stood right outside the hotel where we all stayed. The wedding went really well, the groom turned up, the photo shoot didn't get rained off and the reception and speeches that followed were most enjoyable. One very good part was I got to see a cousin I haven't seen for over 40 years and she hadn't changed a bit.

We all went for a meal in the centre of Glasgow and let me tell you, city centre Glasgow on a Friday night is, compared to Torquay, frantic.

Be back in the Bay in a day or two. I'm having a couple of days in Manchester where my brothers live and one of my sisters is over visiting from Australia. I will hopefully have a trip on the borrowed catamaran when I get back and let you all know how wonderful it is.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Fire Station Tower Comes Down

Last weekend Sheffield pulled down two extremely big cooling towers that had stood by the M1 Motorway for the last 30 years. Millions of motorist had driven past the spot and it must now look a little empty.
Not to be out done Torquay pulled down the practice tower at the Fire Station. It had been there since 1978 but the concrete was cracking up. They will be replaced by a smaller steel structure.
Driving up the Newton Rd won't be the same again.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Torquay to Brixham in 15 Minutes

The boat arrived in Brixham yesterday and the service starts for a one month trial run on Friday. Fifteen minutes from dock to dock compared with 40 minutes by a number 12. Add £2.00 to the price of the ticket and you get bus travel around the Bay as well. So for £6.00 you can travel one way to Brixham and get the bus back to Torquay which isn't bad compared with £4.50 for a Torbay Dayrider. And 15 minutes isn't really long enough to get sea sick, well not too much anyway.
Not much route learning to do here, just leave the harbour and head a few degrees east of south and don't run into anything.

The boat is in Brixham now, it arrived yesterday.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Problem in Sherborne Road

When I got into Sherborne Road, the bus station in Newton, yesterday lunch time the first thing I noticed was the ambulance blocking the road. I am not sure of the details but it appeared that a lady had collapsed while crossing the road. The ambulance turned up and the crew positioned the vehicle so it protected themselves and the patient from passing traffic, ambulance crews are good at doing that, it makes sense otherwise the could be dozens of ambulances blocking the road as the casualty figures climb through the roof.

Anyway it blocked the bus station for about 20 minutes and several buses were held up. In the end passengers walked back to where the buses were waiting and boarded. There is a big road there on the left and with the assistance of other stuck bus drivers managed to safely reverse and drive out of the bus station without too much of a delay, though there were 4 number 12s waiting at one time So if you were somewhere between Newton and Torquay and there was a bit of a delay it was down to this incident. There was also the problem of it being Bank Holiday weekend when thousands and thousands of motorist ignored the bad weather predictions and headed, with hope in their hearts and raincoats on the back seat, for beautiful Torquay.

Notice on Buses

This notice has appeared on the buses recently. Please note it was issued by Torbay Council and not the company.

One of the problems with the concessionary tickets is the time it can take to issue a ticket with the correct destination on it when it doesn't greatly matter what destination it has on the ticket. I know the company would like all concessionary tickets to have the correct destination printed on it so they can keep and eye on how the free bus passes are being used, that is long trips or just a couple of stops but if there is a big queue and a paying passenger (rare these days) boards and asks for a single from Torquay to Brixham he/she will get the correct ticket, there is money involved after all. Now if the next passenger has a concessionary pass and asks for Paignton, which is closer than Brixham, the driver will be tempted to press the button to issue a concessionary pass without changing the destination. It saves time when they are rushed.

Now the passenger might look at the ticket and think that the company is making more money and therefore the council is being swindled. Not so, each journey nets the company exactly the same amount, a set fee, regardless of the length of the journey. And the set fee is negotiated along complicated, rocket science rules which mostly involve calculations done based on average single adult fares not on the average concessionary ticket. So someone boarding at Lowes Bridge on the main road and getting of at Lowes Bridge on the Newton Rd, a distance of 24.5 yards costs exactly the same as someone boarding an X46 in Paignton and going to Exeter, a distance of 24.5 miles.

Hope that has cleared that up.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Even though the wind and the rain have been the predominant words used by the weather forecasters for about the last month (something to do with the jet stream) the buses have been fairly full, the town centre has been fairly full, the land train has been fairly full, even the open top mystery tour bus has been fairly full. But down on the sea front where the balloon, the beach and the fun fair are situated full is not the word that springs to mind. Empty, deserted, sparsely populated, crowd free, where is everyone?

Bank Holiday week end is coming up and it would be nice if the sun put in an appearance, cheer us all up a bit as it were.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

A Year Ago Today

12.00 and the rain started, Ten minutes later and the centre of Torquay was under a foot of water. Many shops in Union Street and here in Fleet Street were flooded out, some remained closed for weeks after.
The state of the drains were blamed but so far no extensive work has been carried out to said drains with the hope of preventing a similar flood.

Has NCP been a good thing or a bad thing for the Bay?

Councillors launch in-depth review of Bay's traffic warden operation.
This is the head line in the local paper. OK, now I know this is picky but we don't have traffic wardens here in the Bay, we have Parking Attendants. Lets get the details right. We used to have Traffic Wardens who were employed and run by the police, Devon and Cornwall Police. They did bugger all, the wardens not the police. So Torbay Council threw them out and called in NCP and their team of parking attendants to walk round, and sometimes drive round

and stick tickets on cars parked illegally and some times on cars that weren't parked illegally. Lots of the cars that got tickets for parking on yellow lines had been parked on those same yellow lines for years and had never got a ticket. I did say the traffic wardens never did anything but NCP were charging Torbay Council an extremely large, some would even say obscene amount of money to place all these tickets on cars that had never had tickets placed on then before and they really needed to make lots and lots of money in the shape of parking fines for Torbay Council. Otherwise someone might think it wasn't worth bringing in NCP in the first place. So there was a lot of fuss about a lot of tickets. The biggest fuss was on the sea front where there used to be parking restrictions May to September. But this confused so many drivers. I mean they have manage obtain a provisional driving licence which meant filling in a form, to pass a driving test, fill in a form, buy a car, fill in a form , get car insured, fill in a form. But "No parking May to Sept" baffled them. The local paper and those readers who wrote letters to the editor blamed NCP and they got a more bad press than sea weed on the beach. Come to think about it, sea weed on the beach never gets a mention.
When NCP were brought in they got a five year contract which ends in 2010. So in 2010 the council are thinking of giving the contract to someone else who will charge less or run the scheme themselves. Now as I mentioned a day or two back the local on line edition of the paper are having a vote suggesting buses should be banned from Fleet Street. It's not exactly generating much excitement so it might be time to change it to "Should NCP, who have improved the flow of traffic around the Bay out of all recognition, be asked to 'Move on.'
Yes the white van is parked on a bus stop and was being used by NCP at the time.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Abbey Bank (On Line)

I was reading an article about on line banking and identity theft last night. Then this morning I needed to pay a bill so I went on line to our Abbey account. £888.68 was missing. Now a sum like that you would remember spending and neither of us had any recollection of nipping into the local off licence and buying a few bottles of beer to see us over the weekend and we can still get into the kitchen without falling over 30 cases of Tennent's XXXX .

Being Sunday I have not been able to contact Abbey to find out what is going on. But the bill still needed to be paid. Not to worry, I have a second account with Abbey. I keep a few pounds in there for the odd emergency, and this does sound like an odd emergency. Guess what? When I first checked all was as expected. Enough money in the account to pay the bill. So a cup of coffee later I went back to pay the bill and it wouldn't work. Back into the statement and £888.68 has now gone missing. Do I see a patten emerging somewhere?

So if you have an account with Abbey, or any other on line banking, I would check it NOW.

My credit card still seems to be functioning but I haven't tried it in a hole in the wall yet.

I will keep you posted.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Vote Now

The Herald Express is running a vote on it's on-line version. The question people in their thousands, well 210 so far have been voting about is Fleet Street and buses. Fleet Street is part pedestrianised and part bus lane,45 buses a hour run up and down it. The Herald is trying to jump on the perennial bandwagon once more and lead a crusading campaign to get rid of the buses. Anyway at the moment the vote is going badly for the buses with 67% voting against buses in Fleet Street, that's 140 out of a population of 145 000 in the Bay. The vote has been running for over a week which would suggest the idea is a dead duck. It just isn't going to happen; not unless the roadway collapses suddenly under one of the poor unfortunate buses.

That's 33 tonnes worth of buses very close together there outside the Ed Wool Shop. Any sign of any cracks?

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Thank You 200 000 Times

Sorry I haven't been blogging recently, not exactly been on top of the world. In fact it took a reader to point out I had gone over the 200 000 mark. Thank you to all of you and I hope to be up and posting in a few days.

Friday, 1 August 2008

From Reuters

In case you missed this item from the nation newspapers about an incident on a Greyhound Bus in Canada.

Bus Overturns In Poole, Dorset.

It is very unusual for a bus to overturn as most of the weight is low down but in Poole which is just up the coast from Torquay and like Torquay is a holiday town an open top bus went of the road following a collision involving two other vehicles. The driver of one of the other vehicles was arrested on suspicion of Dangerous Driving. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt in the incident.

Click here for an account and video provided by the BBC.