Thursday, 30 September 2010
Saturday, 25 September 2010
While on my daily wander round Torquay I noticed a poster advertising a forthcoming attraction concerning Rock Walk. Or as it is correctly known, The Royal Terrace Gardens. The Royal in this case being on of Victoria's daughters, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. She had an interesting life,click here to find out more. Anyway next Saturday is opening day as you can see from the poster on a nearby bus stop. Not a mention of the time though. Nick Bye will be there but don't let that put you off because Professor Iain Stewart together with a choir and all sorts of other attractions will also be in attendance. We might even get to walk up the steps and admire the view at last.
If you can't make it don't worry, I'll take a few photos and post them here.
This is from the Herald Express which does know what time it all starts.
The one-day festival celebrates the re-opening of the gardens after the three-year project to secure the rock face, restore the popular gardens, and with its flying staircases and viewing platform offering spectacular views and special lighting system, create a new attraction for Torquay
The festivities will start at noon and include street performances and live music by local bands, family workshops, and a spectacular 20-minute after-dark light and sound show. The day is topped by an 8pm concert performance by Seth Lakeman at the Princess Theatre.
As usual I went out for a walk this afternoon. When I got to Princess Gardens I came across this small group trying to obtain signatures on a petition. They are upset about proposed development due to take place soon that will involve building a 5 story hotel right next to the harbour where a car park presently stands. The group that wants to build the hotel, reported to be 4 star and 5 floors high, also want to build shops, cafes and other attractions on the Princess Gardens. The Princess Gardens are a nice, open green space with a sea view out towards Paignton and Brixham. We don't have all that many parks here in Torquay. The shops, cafes and other attractions would reduce the size of the gardens and wipe out the sea view. The problem is part of the harbour has been fenced off for years as it is unsafe and the people who want to build the hotel have offered to help with the cost of repairs to the harbour. They have also offered to help with the restoration of the Victorian Pavilion which needs millions spending on it. The total bill for all this restoration work is about £10 million so it isn't really surprising that Torbay council are anxious to do a deal even though it means the end result will be the loss of the veiw.
I did obtain a web address so I could put a link to this groups site and it is communitycooperative.org. The group will be down in Princess Gardens next Saturday if you want to sign the petition or just have a chat. Also next Saturday is the Grand openning of Rock Walk so there will be lots of people down there.
As usual I went out for a walk this afternoon. When I got to Abbey Road it was standing traffic only. As it is a one way street the cars couldn't turn round and find another way. They were stuck. Being curious and not going anywhere in particular I decided to have a look for the reason for the hold up which did appear to be serious. When I got near the lights half way up the hill I could see a police office directing traffic to turn left down Shedden Hill and just beyond a coach stationary at an angle across the road. As you can see from the picture the back end is very close to a wall and my first thought was it had hit the wall. As I got a bit closer I could see there was no damage either to the wall or the coach. What I could see were a couple of feet, human feet that is not feet as in distance, protruding from under the coach. It looked like the driver had been reversing out of the hotel and hit a pedestrian. Then the body got up and said, "No wires hanging down here". It was the driver, he had reversed and stopped by the wall and the engine had died and nothing he could do would get it running. After hanging around and offering unhelpful advice for a while I wandered off to continue my walk. Half an hour later, on my way home, and the coach was still there but the police had managed to get the traffic moving up Abbey Rd. There are some places you just don't want to break down and this is one of them.
Not too sure what time the coach was fixed.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Some guy in Buckfastleigh which is a few miles up the road is reported to have received a phone call from a total stranger who asked him to invest in some shares in a bussiness in Estonia that would pay a far greater return than your average shares.
Question; if you were the guy in Buckfastleigh, I'll call him Reg because it's his name, would you
a) hand over £340 000, your life's savings, or
b) hang up and go and make yourself a cup of tea at the same time muttering under your breath, "Do they think I'm stupid or what"?
Most of us the answer would be b; I hope, but Reg decided that handing over his life's savings to make a quicker buck than he was making seemed like a good idea at the time. Now before we go any further I should point out that Reg is 88 years old. Ah you are say, some poor old git coned out of his money but Reg worked asa personnel and legal adviser for a multinational group of companies before he retire so should have had more than 2 or 3 brain cells wandering about inside his head. A few of them should have come together and explained to him that at 88 years of age and £340 000 in the bank he could spend £35 000 per year for the rest of his life and still not run out of money.
As it is he will now have to live on £90 a week state pension poor chap. Like they say, there is one born every minute.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly is too good to be true.
Full story in theHerald Express.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
We have an elected mayor here in Torbay. There was a referendum 4 years ago and we the people voted to have such a position created. There are those who were against the idea in the first place but I suspect there are many more against the idea now. The present holder of the office, Nick Bye, has not been the most popular politician ever to walk the earth.
Part of the setting process was that the mayor would be elected for a period of 5 years. He could stand again after that if he wished. Then after 10 years we the people could decide that the position was, or wasn't working and, if we wished get rid. There are some out there who wish we could get rid now.
The next election for the mayor's job will be in May, at the same time as the council elections. Already someone has said he will be standing. He is Patrick Canavan. He was the Newton Abbot Labour Party candidate in the last general election. Nick Bye, conservative, says he will decide if he will stand at the end of October.
I might stand myself, I would have a straight forward manifesto. For the first 3 months after I am elected I will dismantle everything to do with the office of elected mayor and let the council run the town like they are supposed to do. During the next 3 months I will sit in my office just to make sure I haven't left anything still running that needs an elected mayor. Then I will take a 95% pay cut which should save the Torbay council tax payers £250 000. For the next 4 and a half years I will discharge those duties I feel like doing such as opening church fates and planting trees and cutting the ribbon to open the new Kingskerswell by pass (should be built by then). After that people we see we can manage without an elected mayor and vote to get rid of the position.
PS Four years ago I voted yes in the referendum, I thought it was a good idea at the time. Maybe there are places in the country where it would be a good idea but not here in Torquay, it's too progressive for us.
Torquay today honoured a war time hero. Eileen Neame who lived in Torquay died of a heart attack aged 89. She was set to be buried by the council in what used to be known as a paupers grave as she had no known relatives. Then it emerged that during the Second World War she had worked as a Special Operations Executive and had been sent into occupied France where she sent much information back to the UK using the code name 'Rose'. She was captured and tortured but managed to escape only to be captured again. She was again captured but escaped a third time. She spent the last months of the war being sheltered by a priest in Leipzig until the Americans arrived.
She lived in the Lisburne Square area of the town and neighbours said she was a quiet, kindly lady who liked to sit on a bench and would talk about her cat but never about anything she had done in the war.
She was buried today following a Requiem Mass at Our Lady's and St Denis RC Church here in Torquay. The funeral was attended by a representative from the French Embassy and mourners from across the country.
A four email headed for the council computer trying to prod someone into doing something. They did, the deputy mayor said he would bring the matter to the attention of the person (above) who had just played pass the parcel with the pond. Then a week later came the email from the parks department which stated there was nothing the council could do about the lack of water which was due to the 'dry' weather we had during July and August. Parks did say they had been down and see if there were any uneaten fish that could be moved elsewhere but couldn't find any.
I started this item saying I hadn't noticed the lack of water in the pond until last week as I haven't been that way for a few months. But in the past I used to go that way every day. In the last 11 years I must have been by thousands of times and even in the driest of weather I have never notice the water level so low which makes me think the problem is there is a leak in the pond. Fixing such a problem is not going to be easy and given the current financial state of affairs it could end up beyond the Park Department's budget and we end up loosing the duck pond. Which is a shame for those who visit the park regularly. And for the ducks.
In case you are wondering what happened to the ducks, some of then are living on the nearby beach and can here be seen drinking from the stream which is supposed to keep the duck pond full of water.
No sign of it drying up thank goodness or they would have no where to get a drink.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Click here if you don't want an other copy Yellow Pages to end up on your door step. Mine makes the short journey to the paper recycling box and probably gets recycled into next years Yellow Pages. A reader, thanks Central user, sent me this link which will stop not only Yellow Pages but various other items of unwanted junk ending up being shoved through the letter box and then carried out to the recycling bin to repeat the journey, probably for ever.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
The new recycling system started last week to great fanfares of derision from some. Me, all I was going to say was give it time. We, the people have to get used to it and the TOR2 operatives have to learn to use the new system. It will all settle down in a few weeks.
Then last Friday afternoon I noticed this pile of rubbish in a nearby street. Now Friday used to be collection day round here but it has been changed to Tuesday. As I walked passed I consoled myself with the thought that it would be collected on Tuesday morning.
The photo was taken on Tuesday afternoon. So why wasn't it removed by the TOR2 operatives on Tuesday morning? It's not as if is easy to overlook is it?
A week ago our council started a new recycling system, one of the changes that was brought in was their ability now to deal with Yellow Pages. Which the couldn't do in the past. So 75% of the paper in the paper recycling box was old Yellow Pages that had been gathering dust and taking up space under the stairs. 5 of them. 4 of which had never been opened. Bit like my copy of War and Peace.
Next day guess what turned up on my door step. Right in one, an unwanted copy of Yellow Pages. I took the above photo a couple of days later so you can see that I am not alone in wishing that the person who dumped the copy on my door step had asked first. If you walk around you will notice that there are copies of YP left lonely and unwanted and a massive waste of money as well as shortening the life expectancy of the planet by years. (This mindless distribution of YPs takes place every year through out the "civilised" world.
Isn't it time to stop?
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
The new recycling system started in Torbay this week. If you look at today's Herald Express there is a head line, "Thousands ring hotline". People haven't had their rubbish and recyclable items taken away. We have gone from putting all our rubbish into black sacks, putting the black sacks into a seagull proof bag and placing said bag on the pavement every Thursday evening, when we remember, to putting glass, paper, tins, plastic bottles, aerosols, textiles and cardboard into the right box (there are two boxes) plus all food waste in an other box. Anything left goes in the black bin liner and then in the seagull proof bag. The idea is that we have done some of the sorting out and now the bin men will sort out some more by putting the right recyclables into compartments in a BIG brand new dustbin cart. While they are doing this sorting out, all done to save the world by the way, there is a bit of a traffic jam of cars (all with their engines running) building up behind them.
Well all I can say, because my diner is on the table going cold is "Give it time." But more later.
Monday, 6 September 2010
Saturday, 4 September 2010
There I was, walking up Belgrave Rd on my way to an appointment, more about that in a moment, I was passing the now boarded up Sherwood. I paused for a second or to, just for old times sake when an elderly gentleman spoke to me. He recognised me from a previous visit to Torquay when he had stayed at the hotel. He told me of the phone call from head office in Dunoon telling him that the holiday he and his wife had booked would not now take place due to unforeseen circumstances. I asked him which hotel he was staying at, The Rainbow which is the next hotel up the road. I had plenty of time before my appointment so I walked slowly up the hill with him. I asked him where he was from and he told me "Cannock, lived there all me life. Except for the seven years I spent in the army. Should have been 6 but I stayed for an extra year because of that trouble in the Med." I guessed Cyprus but he said no. I tried to remember who else Britain had been beating up in the fifties in the Medertarainian Sea as my companion was struggling to remember. After a while he said, "The place with a canal." Oh yes, Egypt, that's in the Med.
Then as we got closer to the hotel he told me he had lost his wife. I put on a suitably sympathetic face and started to say how sorry I was to hear that. "Just recently?" I asked. "Yes," he said. "just this morning. We were on the beach and I told her I was going to the shop for a paper. When I got back she had gone. He had looked along the beach for her and not finding her had gone back to the hotel but she wasn't there. The police were called. As we entered the hotel two police offices were just coming out. He spoke to them and they said they hadn't found her but had all available officers out looking for her. I hope she turns up safe and well. If I find out any more news I will post it here.
Back to my appointment, It was with a driver from a holiday coach firm, one I had emailed begging for work. It seems my services could be required as a part time driver which is fine by me and I was to prove that I could actually drive a coach. And to show my driving licence and tacho card so they could be photocopied for insurance purposes. Anyway the drive went OK, nearly knocked a cyclist of his bike when he tried to get through a 6 inch gap between me and a parked car (are cyclist mad?) but no other problems except the tacho machine. I have only ever driven coaches with a digital tacho but this coach had an old fashioned paper style thing so I needed a bit of help filling it in.
Finally, if you are wondering what to do on Sunday then get along to Shedden Hill car park just up the hill from Torquay sea front where loads of old and oldish buses will be parked, some will be taking passengers for trips round the bay and I will be there with my camera, provided it doesn't rain. Forecast is for sunny intervals.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Then a text message from one of the other drivers I used to work with at McColl’s saying he had just put in a good word for me at his new place of work and hoped I got the job. Nice.
Later I rang the company and got through to the man in charge of hiring and firing (though I am only interested in the hiring bit). It's a part time job which is really what I was after but I would have to take a coach out for a drive just to make sure I can handle it. Right. So Friday morning I have a little road test. I'll let you know what happens next.
If I don't get the job maybe I'll write a book and get interviewed on telly, if Tony Blair can get away with it any one can.
Tomorrow, Thursday, I am going on a roof top tour of Exeter Cathedral. If the weather is fine I should get tons of photos though I am not looking forward to climbing all those steps.
And if all else fails.