Sunday, 31 July 2011
Thursday, 28 July 2011
This photo was taken on Monday on the Totnes Rd about 200 metres before the lights at Tweenaway Cross. Big queue of traffic suggesting that the millions spent on improving the traffic flow at this world famous junction had been wasted. That was what I was going to write when I took the photo. However I then heard there had been an accident on the ring road and the road was closed in the direction of Brixham and traffic was backed up to the junction so the millions weren't wasted after all.
Then to night at 5 pm I came out of Paignton heading up the Totnes road and came to a stop at the junction of Hayes Rd which must be 300 metres from the traffic lights. 10 minutes late I drove across the junction, coming from Totnes there were no cars waiting, from Kings Ash 3 or and the same from Brixham. Behind me there was a queue of traffic going back to Hayes Rd still.
Time for the council to either admit that the millions spent on the improvements to this junction could have been better spent buying everyone in the Bay a few pints as a consolation to not having a decent ring road or better still doing something to the timing of the lights. At the moment traffic coming out of Paignton seems to get about half the time the other 3 roads get which isn't fair.
Saturday, 23 July 2011
I heard yesterday that the lad who collapsed on the Strand last week (13 July) is called Elliot and was on a work experience week with Stagecoach. I have also heard that he is still in hospital being observed but should be out soon. Elliot is known here in Torbay for his contribution to torbaybuses, a site ontwitter which provides information on any delays in bus running times or diversions that may be operating. He also has a web page torbaybusroutes.co.uk/ that provides comprehensive information on bus routes in the Bay and a blog at torbaybusroutes.blogspot.com .
All these sites are still running thanks to Allen who runs them with Elliot. Hopefully Elliot will be back ASAP.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
A little incident the other day just to illustrate that telling untruths isn't just confined to people connected with phone hacking and politicians. I was driving along Paignton seafront toward the terminus in Paignton, only two stops to go but running slightly late due to congestion. I noticed a man standing about 40 metres past the bus stop looking at the bus. I wondered if he wanted the bus and as he was standing in a lay-by considered stopping for him. I watched him as I drove past but he gave no indication that he wanted the bus, no wave of the hand or arm outstretched so I continued to the terminus without him. I them loaded up my next load of passengers for Cockington and set of. Forty minutes later, it takes that long to do the complete round trip, I was back at the stop near where I had seen the man and he was at the stop with his arm out so I stopped. As he got on he complained he had been waiting an hour for the bus. Obviously this wasn't true and I knew it. As I gave him his ticket he then told me the previous bus had driven passed him without stopping even though he had put his hand out. I asked him had he been standing at the stop. "Right there." he said pointing at the bus stop. "With my arm out." Again not true.
As he made his way down the bus to sit down he told everyone on the bus he had been waiting for at least 2 hours and continued to complain all the way to the terminus which thankfully was only 2 minutes drive away.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Clarkson said Salford, which he has never visited, was "a small suburb with a Starbucks and a canal with ducks". he has also stated that he will quit Top Gear if the BBC decide to move the program to their new studios at Salford Quays.
Please BBC, I have never asked a favour of you before but could you please decide at once to send Top Gear to Salford.
Monday, 18 July 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
I went out for my daily walk this afternoon and ended up on The Strand. I was standing near the Clock Tower roundabout looking at nothing in particular when I noticed that a car had stopper in an odd position on the roundabout. As I walked over to see what was going on I noticed a young lad, a teenager, lying in the road with the car stopped just before him. I at once went over to see if any one had dialled 999. Two people were already in attendance and of them, a Stagecoach driver had and was talking to the ambulance call centre who were questioning her about what had happened and were giving her instructions as to what action to follow until the ambulance arrived. The other person was moving the lad into the recovery position and I went to help. Before the ambulance arrive two cyclist stopped and they appeared more medically knowledgeable than me so I moved away and helped direct traffic along with a couple of bus drivers who were on the scene. In a few minutes a rapid response vehicle arrived and the driver got out and began administering to the lad. I was told then that he hadn't been hit by a car as I had first believed but had fallen while starting to cross the road and had hit his head. Soon an ambulance arrived and the crew administered CPR to the lad before getting him on a stretcher and taking him to hospital.
I have no idea how he is but when I find out I will let you know.
Happy birthday to Neptune. It's 164.79 years since Neptune was first discovered by astronomers with some considerable help from a French mathematician. And that 164.79 years is how long it takes Neptune to orbit the sun just once which is why it's happy first birthday to what is now, since Pluto fell out of the favour as a planet, the most distant planet in the solar system.
An other item that caught my notice today that mentioned years was a comment by the Senior police officer in charge of the latest investigations to the phone hacking. She was asked was she going to get the investigation right this time. Considering the failures of previous attempts to sort this on going mess out, it was a fair question. The answer given to a Parliamentary Select Committee was, "I hope so. I don't want to be here in 5 years time trying to explain why I didn't get it right." Does that mean we have to go through all this again in 2016? Mean while, with everybody's attention drawn to this growing and semmingly out of control scandel there is a question that should be asked; "Is anyone actually running the country at the moment?"
And finally, someone in the UK has just won £161 million on the Euro Lottery. Hi there who ever you are, you couldn't spare a couple of million could you? OK only asking. Seriously though, what would you do with 161 million quid?
Thursday, 7 July 2011
A couple of days ago a backbench Tory MP sidled up to David Cameron in the House and hoping to cheer him up said, "Don't worry David, It can't get any worse." David's reply is not known but he must have known that it was about to get much worse and it has.
I remember in the early sixties the so called Profumo Affair, a government sex scandal that seemed to go on for ever with each new revelation being slowly but inevatively dragged out until the government minister, John Profumo, finally admitting he had slept with a prostitute, the same prostitute had also slept with a Russian spy. There was no suggestion that Profumo had told the prostitute, Christine Keeler, any state secrets she could pass on to the Russian spy but he had to go and the Conservative government almost collapsed following this affair.
There have been other scandals concerning government ministers including Cherie Blair's friendship with a known crook while her husband was Prime Minister and of course the MP's expences incident which senior government ministers knew about but only came out and did something about after a lot of pressure from a newspaper.
Now it seems the present Prime Minister has got an even bigger skeleton in his cupboard in the shape of Andy Coulson, his former director of communications. It would appear that at a trial held in Scotland a few months ago he stated under oath that he was not aware that The News of the World had paid police for information. Now it seems there are emails that prove he did know. That is perjury and better people than Andy Coulson have ended in in prison for perjury. And that isn't his only problem. He still has to clear himself of any involvement in phone hacking. That is looking an increasing difficult task.
Compared to all this, The Profumo Affair of 1963 is beginning to look the rather tame affair it actually was. Come back John all is forgiven.
I did suggest that not buying the News of the World this would be a good idea. I still think it's a good idea but closing the paper down shows the world what a mean bastard Rupert Murdoch is, putting hundreds of people out of work in cynical, and lets hope futile attempt to save face.
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
In all the phone hacking items I have listened to on the news over the last few months one point never seems to have been mentioned and that is how easy it is to hack someone's voice mail or answer machine messages. In case you don't know how to do it then type "how to hack a mobile phone" in your search engine and find out. I tried it on Google and got 45 million results in 0.15 seconds. All you need is the persons phone number and their PIN number for that phone. Mobile phone companies and land line phones all have a default setting of "0000" for the PIN number. In the instruction book for my phone it says "To change PIN enter new PIN and press OK" It doesn't make any attempt to stress how important it is to change this or warn that if you don't then not nice people who work for the News of the World can listen to your voice mail. Most people will not bother because they don't expect to have to access their voice mail from an other phone. How many of you have changed this PIN? Imagine what would be happening if all credit and debit cards were sent out with "0000" as the default PIN. How much money would have vanished from thousands of bank accounts before the card issuers would have been forced to change the system of issuing PIN numbers. So why haven't mobile phone companies changed the way phones are made so as soon as you set up your new phone you get a text message telling you what your PIN number is and the need to change it as soon as possible for your own security?
PS Even if you have been reading the News of the World for the last 25 years why now give it a miss this Sunday, and next Sunday and every Sunday from now until the sordid rag folds for good and all? Or you could click here and sign a petition to stop Murdock getting full control of BSkyB and even more power and influence.
A lady boarded the bus and showed me her fare, £3.50, and then instead of putting the coins on the cash tray she looked around with a slightly puzzled look before settling on the big red box hanging in the driver's door. The one with Used Tickets printed on it in big white letters. Now this is strictly speaking for used tickets so the passengers don't litter the streets when they get of the bus with thousands of used tickets. Generally speaking it is used as a litter bin for small items such as used tickets, sweet wrappers, empty coke cans, apple cores, chewing gum and anything else you can think off including greasy plastic bags that once house sandwiches. I know all that lot were in the Used Ticket receptacle because the lady I mention a minute ago dropped her fare into this bin. Now this is a throw back to years ago on their buses. I know it was an idea used on Manchester buses in the sixties and discarded quite quickly. There was a Perspex box into which the fare was dropped through a slot. The driver then examined the money and if it was correct pulled a lever and the coins dropped into a strong box below. It was unpopular with the passengers because no change was given, it was unpopular with the drivers because there were arguments about change and it was unpopular with bus companies because the buses would run late while passenger stood on the platform trying to swap change. The idea soon vanished which shows the lady on my bus hadn't been on a bus for years.
It was also handy because it meant the Used Ticket box got emptied, probably for the first time in weeks while I sorted through the rubbish for the £3.50.
The second story came a day or two later. It had started sunny but by 9:30 thick black clouds covered the sky from horizon to horizon, a cold wind from the south west had turned up making the backs of leaves on the trees visible ( a sure sign of rain to come) and the temperature fallen by several degrees and as I pulled up at a stop a few drops of rain were making their presence know by splattering on the windscreen.
The first passenger, again a lady got on and showed her pass and I issued a ticket. She then asked, "What is it going to do today?" I looked out the window at thick black clouds covered the sky from horizon to horizon, a cold wind from the south west had turned up making the backs of leaves on the trees visible ( a sure sign of rain to come) and the temperature fallen by several degrees and the few drops of rain were still there splattering on the windscreen but joined by many more of their comrades.
"It's going to rain," said I. Well my mother told me always to tell the truth.
"Well you're a miserable sod," said my passenger before lurching down the bus.
I smilled sweetly. What else could I do.
PS it did rain.
PPS it was fine for the next 4 or 5 days after that.
After a few days of fairly speedy traffic flow through Tweenaway Cross and hopes for a clear road the cones were back yesterday. I left Paignton at 5 pm last night and went across the traffic lights at 5:40. The journey time should have been 10 minutes at the most. The road surface has been relaid and maybe this little hiccup was caused by something simple like painting white lines. Though it could be the council have discovered the whole thing has been set out incorrectly and are just about top dig it all up and start again. Even if it is all cleared away to day there is still work to do and the road works will be back in October.