Friday, 24 June 2011

Sorry Nick, this is a stupid idea and you know it.

Nice try Nick, but it just wont work. The idea of giving 47 million people in the UK shares in a couple of banks will cost to much and be seen as a vote buying scheme, a chance to make your self as popular as you were before you became Cameron's puppet.

Even at the most optimistic costing of say £5 per person to give away the shares that will cost 47 000 000 times £5 = £235 million. Then there is the cost of the banks sending out all 47 million dividends even if that only costs £5 per person that comes to and other 235 million quid. Then there will be the group of civil servants needed to deal with those people who for some reason don't get their shares or have soon other complaint or questions. The most likely question will be, "How do I sell my Shares?" as 46.5 million people try to get rid of then and make a quick buck. At £5 per person these share dealings will cost £232.5 million. We are up to three quarters of a billion pounds so far without the cost of collecting the original value of the shares from all those people trying to sell their shares. On going administration costs that will continue for years to come will easily send the cost up to a billion pounds.

Hopefully a couple of gentlemen in white coats with Care in the Community will turn up at the Houses of Parliament on Monday morning and take you away to somewhere nice and quite and you can forget all about being Deputy Prime Minister (aka Cameron's lap dog) and have a nice long rest.

On a darker note; now Midsummer's Day has passed and the nights are getting darker sooner it still looks like the government isn't going to go for Standard Time all year round. If you, Nick, want to do something for the people before the men in white coats turn up then persuade Cameron to forget to put the clocks back in September so we can enjoy lighter evening in the coming winter.

And finally, it looks like the Jet Stream, which for the last few weeks has been sweeping in off the Atlantic over Devon and Cornwall and bringing cold, wet and windy weather down here has finally decide to head north above Scotland where it really belongs. When that happens we get a hot, dry sunny summer like we used to get years ago.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Torquay is still open for business

After the unexpected and, by Leicester council, unplanned for attack by zombies I am thinking of using the Freedom of Information Act to ask Torbay council what plans they have made in the event of thousands of people turning up in Torbay and expecting to have a holiday here. After the expected reply, ie, nothing, maybe thousands of people might turn up and have a holiday here just like the zombies turned up in Leicester.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Torbay Half Marathon

Today was the Torbay Half Marathon. The route takes runners (and walkers) from Paignton to Torquay, back to Paignton then to Torquay before returning to Paignton for the finish. The runners in the photos have already done one lap (10 miles) and have 3 miles to go. More than I could manage.
The road has to be closed to traffic, which does cause problems both for us, Devonian Motor Services and Stagecoach but it's only once a year and all the runners look like they are having fun. 

Tweenawy Cross

No photos, sorry but a couple of bus drivers on the 12A agree that traffic is very light in the area. "Sailed through in no time at all." was how one driver discribed it. Hope it's like that on Monday when I working again.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Beach

This is the main beach here in Torquay and it is only 3 days to midsummer and there are only 12 people on the beach. At least the town council can't be blamed for the weather. Shame.

Duck Pond

This is the Duck Pond in Torre Abbey Gardens, or it was until all the water drained away late last year. About 3 weeks ago there was an item in the local paper in which a council spokesperson stated it was going to be repaired at a cost of £50 000 and the water, and hopefully the ducks would be back by the middle of June. Well it's gone, the middle of June that is and no water and certainly no ducks. Just an ugly fence all round and a notice saying the work was being undertaken. Something is happening, look at the round marks in the concrete. Not sure what they are but they weren't there 10 days ago. The problem with council estimates as to how long a job will take is that the person who makes the estimate usually does it by throwing a dart at a calender while blindfolded and standing on his head. Tweenaway Cross is and example of the method. Why don't they just say,"We don't know how long it will take. We will let you know when it's finished.

Oak Tree

Every now and then I take a photo of this tree. I stand in the same spot and over the last year or so have taken photos in all seasons so I can watch it as it changes from summer to winter and back again.

When I first took and interest in this tree I understood it was about 600 years old but it turns out it is only 450 years old which for an oak tree isn't really old.
To see some of the others I have taken click on the label "Oak Tree" below.


Some time last year I took a photo of a painting on the wall of one of the hotels in Belgrave Rd and posted it under the Tittle Graffiti, Art or Banksy. I do believe it was the first time this piece of work had been published anywhere. Banksy hasn't actually claimed to be the painter but the image is on his web site.

A couple of weeks ago the Herald Express, our local paper, carried an item about the damage done to this wall art. The Hotel owner had done his best to protect the picture, covering it with glass in a strong wooden frame but some not nice person or persons unknown came along one dark night and poured paint remover over part of the picture. Not sure why.

To see the original post click on the label "Banksy" below.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Gridlock ( Continued) & Please, Join the Real World

Gridlock Day 7

Once again Tweenaway Cross roadworks played havoc with traffic flow this morning, Queues of traffic every where all going somewhere but very slowly. The photo was taken on the Totnes road about half a mile before the roadworks. Resurfacing is going ahead but there is still 22 days, provided it all goes according to schedule(sic), of work before we find out if it has all been worth it. In fact there are a lot more than 22 days to go because even though the work will stop on July 8 it will start again once this summer has passed into history. For me, more road works in October doesn't really matter, my job is only for the summer but for thousands of people in the Bay it must be a bit of a nightmare. After I had got thought the traffic in the picture I headed for Windy Corner which is the first major junction on the road coming out of Brixham. At 10:30 in the morning this section of road is usually more or less empty but today it was full of more or less stationary cars all heading for Paignton and Torquay. I turned on to the ring road and that was also full of slow moving traffic. Any visitors in the Bay from big cities must be wondering why they bothered coming. Not a good advert for Torbay.

And now a complete change of subject. "Welcome to the real world." That's a message to all those poor public sector workers who have just been told that a) they will have to contribute more to their pension, and b) it wont be quite as generous as they expected and c) they wont get it until they are 66. Now I worked as a teacher for 15 years and do in fact get a public sector pension. When I left teaching I received a letter stating that I could get my teachers pension at 60 provided I wasn't working. So when I got to 60 and was driving a bus (ie working) I didn't bother about my teachers pension. Then I got a letter from the people who run the pension scheme saying I should be getting my pension as I wasn't working 'as a teacher', fill in this form and we will send you money every month which they have been doing ever since. Very nice of them, thank you very much. Please keep sending it. It is more than my Stagecoach pension and I do remember that 6% of my teachers salary went to fund this pension which was considerably less than I paid into the Stagecoach fund but pays quite a bit more. Now public sector workers, well about 20% of them have voted to take industrial action to try and get the government to change their minds and let them retire at 60 and draw a generous pension for the next 30 or 40 years. If they do then they will receive more money as a pensioner then they drew as salary while they were working.

The question I would like to ask them is this; Where exactly is all this money going to come from? I know, we'll borrow it from Greece.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


On Tuesday evening on my last trip coming back from Cockington I got to the Redcliff Hotel at 16:45. That meant fifteen minutes to get to the bus stop in Torbay Rd to do the 17:00 trip to Beverley Park via the Zoo. On all the earlier trips it had taken only 2 or 3 minutes to the stop from the Redcliff but I hadn't realised that Paignton was just about to shut down, a real serious gridlock. I finally got to the bus stop at 17:05, loaded up and headed for the Zoo. 17:15 I made it to the bus station which is a two minute walk from our bus stop. The whole trip to Beverly Park took an Hour. Now I know covering two and a half miles in an hour at rush hour would be good going in some places in the world but this is Paignton, not London or Tokyo or Mexico City. So what had caused this attack of gridlock in the middle of beautiful Torbay. Tweenaway Cross is being resurfaced and no more than 3 or 4 vehicles can move through the lights at anyone time. The matter is made worse by the fact that in the evening most traffic entering Paignton is coming from Torquay and heading for either Brixham or Totnes and alternative routes don't exist. So we either need a speedy end to the roadworks or better still some one with a bit of traffic management know how to get the traffic moving a bit faster through the roadworks. But that's too easy and isn't going to happen.

I get a lift to the depot in the morning and this involves going through the roadworks. Early in the morning it is usually fairly clear but a couple of hours ago I got a phone call. "I pick you up half an hour earlier than usual in the morning, it's been hell getting to work." said my lift provider. That is bad. And it6's going to rain as well. Will not be fun.

Friday, 10 June 2011

A Dream or Nightmare

Ever got a parking ticket and found the excuse, "I was only a minute", didn't work. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could drive into town and park anywhere you liked without having to worry about getting a parking ticket. No more driving round looking in increasing desperation for a legal place to park, thinking I should have taken the bus. Finally after hours of looking the now frantic motorist thinks, "No traffic wardens about, I'll be alright to park that loading bay." Like this car.

If traffic wardens didn't exist then this car and others could park here all day and we would have to park out in the road to pick up our passengers blocking the road to passing traffic. Then a truck would come along and stop, also in the roadway and start to unload. How long before the centre of Paignton became gridlocked?

Now imagine a town with no traffic wardens. Well you don't need to go far, just to Aberystwyth where all the parking wardens have either retired or been done away with under the spending cuts rule and it will be a year before they will be replaced. Now it's a waste of time driving into town as it is almost imposible to actually drive round the town due to parked cars on yellow lines blocking some of the streets and making most of the others really hard work to drive down. Full story here.

And a follow up to yesterday's post on the level crossing. The ITV Western report can be viewed here, I don't actually appear but if you look carefully you can see my bus. And no it isn't parked on the level crossing.

Oh no; not the level crossing again.

I have mentioned our level crossing once or twice recently. That's because I go over it about 30 times a week. To day there was a bit of extra activity down at the crossing, police activity. British Transport Police together with civilian members of staff were out in force for much of the day with a film crew from ITV Western highlighting the inherent dangers of level crossings. Basically there are two main problems that can result in hundreds of tonnes of speeding train coming into violent and usually fatal contact with the human body. The first is the obvious one of trying to beat the barriers as they start to come down. They might lack the weight and speed of a passing train but if the action is mistimed they can make a nasty dint in the roof of a car. The barriers here in Paignton are full barriers so no chance of anyone trying to drive round the barriers, if you have half barriers where you live then don't be tempted. The second less obvious danger is driving on to the crossing without being able to drive of the crossing and that is the main problem here.

The two photos illustrate this, the first shows the young lads on their scoters keeping the crossing clear and the second shows a car sat with wheels on the rails. I’m not too bothered if a train comes alone and redesigns this car but if it did happen it would tend make a mess of our schedules; and the car and the train and traffic through Paignton for the next few hours. Keep the crossing clear.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Not happy when something like this happens.

At 2:35 I stopped at Holbourne Park and picked up a group of people. The person with the money explained that they wanted to go to Broadsands, get of the bus there and catch a later bus back to Holbourne Park. I explained that on this leg of the journey I was heading for Paignton and would, after a ten minute wait, be travelling to Broadsands, arriving there at 3:20 and that the last bus would be leaving Broadsands at 4:20 so they would only be in Broadsands for an hour. This was acceptable to the person with the money so the money was handed over and tickets given in return.

At the due time we arrived in Broadsands and the group departed the bus, checking the time at which I would return. As well as telling them 4:20 I also pointed out that, due to the usual increase in the volume of traffic as rush hour approached it might be possible that I could be late and they shouldn't worry too much if I wasn't there at exactly 4:20. I also assured them I wouldn't run early and if they were at the stop at the appointed time I would arrive and pick them up. As I had presumed I was a few minutes late, arriving at the stop at 4:26. No sign of the party. Now in Broadsands I go round a loop and come back to the stop where I had left the people an hour and 5 minutes earlier. It takes 3 minutes to get round this loop and I set of hoping they would be there when I got back. Still no sign of them. I waited an other minute just in case but they didn't turn up. I wonder what happened to them.

And to change the subject completely. There have been notices around Tweenaway Cross for the last week warning us drivers, that on top of all the roadworks going on at this difficult junction, resurfacing work was due to start today and would last 4 weeks. No sign of any resurfacing work but much less traffic about.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Stagecoach are now running an Open Top service between Torquay and Paignton. As far as I can remember this is the first open top service Stagecoach have run for a couple of years; correct me if I am wrong.

Monday, 6 June 2011

I Love Level Crossings

Once a week I get to drive the Cockington Clipper instead of the service 500. This is so the full time driver can have a day off now ond then. The departure point is the same for both services, Torbay Road in Paignton. Sixty metres in front of the bus stop is probably the bussiest level crossing in the country and it is common to get stopped at this crossing 2 or three times a day. The Cockington route then goes round in a circle and passes back over the rail line via a slightly less busy level crossing in Sands Rd. This crossing is used mainly by the Paignton to Dartmouth Steam Railway, web page here If you are into steam trains then take a ride between Kingswear and Paignton.

The engine in the photo which I took after being stopped at the crossing is call the Torquay Manor and I haven't noticed it before. The barrier to the crossing goes down well before the train arrives for safetyu reasons so there is plenty of time to stop the bus, switch the engine off and get out and up close to the track. The train then takes a minute or so to pass so getting stuck at both crossings can add 5 minutes to the journey time. Does take a good photo though.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


I went for a ride on our service 50, Paignton to Cockington. I wanted to take a few photos along the way and I had the camera ready as we approached the bend at the end of the Esplanade when the blue open top tour bus came round. I took this quick shot. It was only when I downloaded the photos on to my computer that I noticed the somewhat unusual passenger sitting up stairs. None of the other passengers seem to have noticed him sitting there ready to jump up and eat some passing vegetarian passer-by.

The other photo was taken in Torquay where the road lay out at Rock Walk has recently been changed. Traffic used to use the seaward side of the duel carriageway and the cliff side was used for parking. The council were concerned that people parking their cars would get run over while crossing the road to the beach so traffic now runs by the cliff and parking is on the safe side of the road. To get out of the parking area traffic is supposed to turn left only as this is much safer and quicker than trying to turn right against two lots of traffic. Not everyone sees it that way though.