Saturday, 29 January 2011
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Monday, 17 January 2011
A few things from Torquay before I head off to sunny, I hope Australia. First is Banksy's "Boy drawing a Robot" seems to have been covered up for some reason. I haven't been down Belgrave Rd for a week or more and was surprised to find large boards had been placed over the drawing. Maybe they are there to protect it from the weather. It has been bad recently.
Second was an item on the local TV news. Twenty Kilograms of cocaine worth about £3m has been seized by police following a raid by police on an industrial site here in Torquay. There has been no mention as to where the cocaine came from but 6 people are being held in connection with the raid.
And a 3rd item from the Herald express tells that a 1960s building in Babbacmbe that has been derelict for at least 5 years is finally going to be developed. We really like to act fast here in Torquay. A supermarket chain are taking over the site and there are 6 flats also included in the plans. PS Even though the building is an eyesore and has been empty for years there are some people don't want the development to go a head. Torquay's biggest problem. Someone comes up with an idea and the money and someone else stands up and objects. Mind you, it isn't only residents of Torquay who have this dismaying trate. Lots of people are in favor of round the year summer time here in the UK but one or two government ministers don't like the idea and so it probably wont get off the ground. Such a change would make for lighter evenings and a boost for tourism.
And a bit of good news from Brixham to finish. A record £24m of fish sales last year which is £7m up on last year.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
I'm of to Australia next week for a family visit. In previous trips to Oz I have stayed in Sydney with my sister Ann then gone up to Tweed Heads to visit my other sister, Cath. Tweed Heads is on the New South Wales and Queensland border, only about 100km south of Brisbane. Recently though Cath has moved to Tasmania so I will not be getting anywhere near the flooded areas. How ever I received a photo taken in Tassie a day ago showing that even there flooding has occurred. Nothing like on the scale seen in Queensland and just recently in Brazil. The images from Queensland and Brazil show just how delicate the balance between nature in it's benign and destructive moods actually is. Some say it is all down to climate change while others put it down to weather patterns that throw up these huge climate anomalies purely at random. I can thing of such dramatic events even in my own experience. The winter of 1947, the long hot dry summer of 1959, the winter of 1963 when it snowed for months on end. Then 1973 when the BBC weather forecast consisted of three words, Hot, Dry, Sunny. The forecaster just moved then around the map. Even last year the cold and snow we had through out December were most unusual. What ever is causing the unusual weather the world seems to be having doesn't take away the pain and suffering of those people directly effected.
The question still remains. Do we spend billions to counter the possible effects of possible climate change, something that might not happen or do we sit back and hope the 'once in a generation' side in this argument are right. I wish I knew. But it's not my problem. I'm too old to still be around when the worst case scenario turns up which is a shame because I would like to have found out which side are right. Possibly that is the problem, most people, who are in a position to take the expensive action, that is the politicians, feel they are in the same position I am and don't want to spend money they wont see any benefit from. And because they would get voted of at the next election.
Friday, 14 January 2011
I had a ride on 19658 ( reg number WA60FHP 1375 miles on the clock ) today, from Paignton Bus Station to Torquay. First I went upstairs and have to report the seats were just as comfy as any other decker on the fleet. Later I sat down stairs and again the seats were OK, nothing like my earlier experience on a number 2. The seats across the back two rows are plastic so after the feet up on seats brigade have done their worse they can be easily wiped down. There are two seat right behind the door, great view of the road ahead and grand if you want to chat to the driver. (Please don't). The second shot is the carrying capacity, I make that a hundred and one passengers when full. The 3rd photo I took after I got of at Cary Parade and shows slight damage to the back nearside of the bus. Didn't occure while I was on the bus.
The buses have some connection with Marks and Spencer's, whether they have bought them outright or just contributed to the cost I am not sure. The 32 now runs all the way to the Willows when Marks and Sparks have a big store if you are wondering about the connection.
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Monday, 10 January 2011
Please note, bewarned this post contains a swear word. But it is about George Osborne so that makes it alright, almost.
This evening Crawley Town, a team in the Blue Star Premier League defeated Derby County, a team in the Champions League in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. In case you aren't too familiar with the exact nature of English football it means a team in what is in effect the fifth rank of English football beat a team in the 2nd rank. What that means to us here in Torquay is our football team( in the 4th rank ) play Crawley Town at home on Jan 29. It also means the Torquay United have a very good chance of making it to the 5th of the most well know knockout competition in domestic football for the first time ever. If we win that game we are only two games away from appearing at Wembley in the Cup Final. So where do you expect I will be on Saturday Jan 29 at 3 o'clock? Got it in one. I'll be in Tasmania on holiday, that's where.
And remember George Osborne a year ago when he was Shadow Chancellor saying how the moment he came to power he would do something about the obscenely huge bonuses Banks were paying out. Well he's done it. He's done that something. He walked up to the door of the nearest bank to the Houses of Parliament and hammered on the door shouting,"Open up in the name of the Government." When the door was opened half an inch he politely asked, "Please don't pay big bonuses, I'll look bad."
"We'll think about it", was the reply. "Now go away, your letting the cold in".
The door was then shut in his face. And despite this polite request you can guess what are the banks going to do? They're going to ignore him completely and pay out extremely obscenely huge bonuses because they know there is shit all he can do about it.
Saturday, 8 January 2011
Years and years ago when the Roman Legions were marching around the known world enslaving everybody their commanding officers had a little trick to make sure the common legionnaire worked his heart out to the best of his ability. If a battle hadn't gone to plan or even something small like a days march had fallen below standard, 17 miles instead of 20 the boss man would walk up and down the assembled ranks and purely at random would point at some poor sod and say," You" then same again an other couple of times for good measure. Then these three luckless chaps would be taken away and crucified. By crucified I mean the full monty, the wooden cross, the nails, the hanging around for a couple of days waiting to die while the rest of the legion stood around and thought, "There but for the grace of God go I.". A scapegoat for the legions lack of effort. Thank God it's not the good old days anymore.
Which brings me to the poor ex MP who has just been crucified. True, no nails and cross but Wandsworth Prison could be pretty close. Now I am not saying thatDavid Chaytor didn't deserve to end up in court for swindling all us tax payers out of over twenty thousand quid. He did go to the trouble of forging documents to get housing benefits he wasn't entitled to but what about all the other MPs who made claims for expenses that would have had even the most hardened con man open mouthed at their outrageousness. Duck House
Man and one of our local MPs who had thousands of pounds worth of gardening to his house in Totnes done at our expense. He even said people were just jealous because he had a big house. There were many more such claims that had us all wanting blood last summer. There were in all over 500 MP had to pay money back once the dust had settled. Now many of them were genuine mistakes. Take my own MP. He had to pay money back but in his case it was an obscure rule that anyone could have missed. He claimed 3 months rent on his flat in London and paid his landlord the rent. Then Parliament was dissolved and a general election called so Adrian headed back to Torquay to try and get reflected (he was) but what he didn't realise was that he was wasn't an MP for the 3 weeks between disillusion and election and therefore no long able to claim for any expenses. The people in the office that deals with expenses thought this fact so trivial they didn't bother to tell him and he was as suppressed as the next person when he was finally asked for the money back. No forging of documents there so no need to even think of poor Adrian ending up in court. But what about some of the other claims that someone as clever as you would expect an MP to realise was not exactly a kosher claim like flipping houses and the married couple, he claimed rent on the house they lived in at the weekend and she claimed rent on the flat they both lived in during the week and £2500 for an electric toaster. Actually I think that was a flat screen plasma TV not a toaster. But so many MPs claims were out of order so why so few, 3, of them in court? Could it be that had they all have been dragged through the courts the justice system in this country would have dragged to a halt and a new prison would have had to have been built to accommodate all the new inmates. Or is the scapegoat system used by the Roman Legions alive and well in Britain today.
I hope all those MPs and ex MPs who were directly involved in the expenses scandal and haven't had the dread summons have at least had the good grace to say, "There but for the grace of God go I."
Friday, 7 January 2011
Plymouth, an nearby town, like Torquay has fallen on hard times recently. Being so far away from London it tends to get forgotten by those in charge of the nations purse strings. The amount of work done at the Navel Dockyard at Davenport has fallen dramatically over the last few years and there has been a constant on going fear that the plug will be pulled and the lights will go out. Then came the news that the UK had lots of old nuclear submarines to pull apart and Devonport could have the job. At once a protest group jumped up and said, "Not in or back yard". They may need the work but not if there is a chance of Plymouth becoming a nuclear hot spot to rival Chernobyl. The government are still going to take the bloody things apart and have promised that safety precautions will be taken and Plymouth wont end up glowing in the dark. Cautionary note; governments don't always manage to keep their promises. See Bankers Bonuses out tomorrow.
Now there's a bit more for the protestors to join forces about. The Devon Rubbish Partnership, Torbay is a member, have decided that as the local landfill site is just about full to overflowing, an alternative method of getting shut of the rubbish is needed. And so they are going to burn it. Beats dumping it in Tor Bay. The advantage here is the ash that comes out is smaller in volume that the rubbish that went in and the heat will produce a small amount of power. The disadvantage is the incinerator has to be built in someone's back garden. Well not exactly in the back garden but you know what I mean. I hope the planers have thick skins, they're going to need it.
And now for the good news. Plymouth Argyle, the football team of that fair city currently owe the Tax Man loads of money. Probably less than most senior bankers manage to avoid paying each year but the bankers can afford a team of tax avoidance lawyers. Plymouth can't even afford a team. They have sold of a couple of their best players and may even have to sell more so the tax man gets his money. It was going to write the tax man always gets his money but that simply isn't true. (See above). Anyway Plymouth Argyle have managed to pay a chunk of the money they owe and are in line to pay the rest any day now. And on Saturday they managed a rare win after being two nil down with only a few minutes to go. Not all doom and gloom in Plymouth.
PS. Just a thought about those nuclear subs and the smelly incinerator. The prevailing wind here is from the west and if my memory serves me right, Plymouth is to the west. We could end up with all sorts blowing in on the wind.
Say no to nuclear subs; say no to an incinerator.
PPS Torquay take on mighty Carlisle United on Saturday for a place in the 4th round of the cup. Worth lots of money getting to the 4th round. Best of luck boys.
Monday, 3 January 2011
Couple of items from the news, first is the confusion regarding the arrest of a man in Bristol on suspicion of murder. Now this is a serious charge. Photos and life story of the suspect were displayed in the papers and on the TV and the www which isn't usual. Then after two days he has been released on police bail. What does that mean? A little later the police issued a statement saying the murderer was still at large. Now there is an old saying, "No smoke without fire." Not true, but now there are a lot of people out there who believe the police arrested the right man but don't have enough evidence to convict and so had to release a murderer. Myself I am keeping an open mind but I imagine Mr Jefferies life will have changed in ways most of us can not begin to contemplate whether he is or isn't the murderer. So what are the police playing at.
Second question is about looking at the rule book and following it no matter what. This can be a mark of a person with high principles or is just pigheaded or maybe even stupid. Imagine what you would have don't in this situation. You are in charge of an open prison and you suspect some of the prisoners have been drinking. It is New Year's Eve after all and experience should have told you how easy it is to smuggle alcohol into the prison. So the rule book says you should breathalyse those you believe have been drinking. Fine. Go ahead. Do it. But first ask your self what chance, realistically, do you have of succeeding considering there are 500 of them and 6 of you. Time to close the rule book and nip down to the off licence and have a quiet drink to celebrate the new year like everyone else.
PS I know all 500 of the inmates weren't all drinking and responsible for the couple of million quid's worth of damage that followed. But who was?
And finally if you have an Apple Phone then you could always chuck it in the bin and get one of these. The alarm always works and it has a couple of other advantages too. One, you can use it as a phone and two, you can send and receive text messages. That's it. Nothing else to play with. Think how much spare time you will have without having to work out what all those apps do.