Monday, 20 February 2012

The Willows, Torquay

The Willows shopping complex just out of Torquay has only 3 Shops, M&S, Sainsburys and Comet and an enormas car park. Every car her parks for free while in Torquay town centre it is £1 for just 40 mins. Make your own mind up, is it cheaper to use petrol and drive out of town or feed the Pay & Display machine nearer home.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Concessionary Bus Passes

That Torbay Council should not implement the planned 30% cut in the reimbursement paid to bus companies for concessionary bus rides taken in Torbay as this will almost certainly lead to serious cuts in bus services in The Bay.

Bus companies are profit making concerns, running at a loss is not an option. Reducing the reimbursement will cause many of our bus routes to run at a loss and once gone they will never be replaced.

The action The Council are planning has extremely serious long term consequences for all of us here in Torbay.
The above is a petition I have placed on Torbay's e-Petition site. This link will take you to the page so you can sign this petition; but not yet as each e-Petition has to be approved by the council. So far as I can tell only one e-petition has been approved. The site if fairly new so maybe it is the only one that has been submitted apart from mine.
I would urge anyone who lives, works or studies in Torbay to sign this petition even if they never use a bus.

Stagecoach, The largest bus operator in The Bay have already stated that should the planned reduction take place they will be forced to reduce their services. Fewer bus services first of all means fewer bus drivers, more unemployed people to add to the already large queue at the job centre and for Housing and Council Tax Benefits. Then, because there are fewer bus there will soon be more cars on the road at a time when every right thinking local authority should be looking for ways to reduce their number.

You do have a job and use the bus to get to work. Get used to the idea of leaving home much sooner each morning, less frequent buses mean fuller buses, I hope your boss is understanding when you tell him for the nth time the bus went straight passed you at the bus stop.

Your children use the bus to get to school. Getting them up even earlier than at present could be come a serious problem. If there isn't a suitable bus any more you will have to drive them to school and pick them up again in the evening, think of the difficulties that will cause you and the traffic jams it will cause around just about every school in The Bay.
Do you live away from a main bus route, i.e. the 12 or 32. At present there might be a bus every 30 minutes or every hour. Those routes will be the first to go or at the very least reduced even further. How will the elderly and infirm get out or does the council expect them to sit and stare out the window of their living rooms for the rest of their inactive lives.
Holidaymakers have often commented to me how easy it is to get round the area using our bus services, Paignton, Brixham, Totnes, Babbacombe, Exeter, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Buckfast even Kingswear and Dartmouth . Next time they come here it is likely that that attitude will change, as will the destination of their next summer holiday. We don't get enough holidaymakers as it is, we can not afford to drive them away like this. Foreign language students, love them or hate them, they bring their spending money into The Bayand they don't just spend time in a class room chanting irregular verbs. They want to explore the area, and do so by bus. Reduce the bus services and visitor numbers will sink out of sight.
Councils have a duty to care for the well being of all the people who live in their area. It would appear that our council has forgotten this fact. Please sign the petition and get everyone who know to sign it as well or we could end up with only the 12 and the 32 services running in Torbay.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Yet An Other Hotel Fire

Yesterday I was down on the Strand waiting for a 32 up to St Marychurch, I haven't been up there for a while. The bus driver suggested I should catch a number 12 up to the Grand Hotel instead as he had heard it was on fire. Ever the one to get a dramatic photo of a hotel burning down I took his advice and hurried over to The Grand. Not the most dramatic hotel fire I have ever been to, just a bit of smoke from a chimney on fire. There were about 6 fire engines there, I expect the Fire Brigade has to cover all eventualities where hotels are concerned.

We have a history here in Torquay of burning down hotels, 3 have gone up in flames in the last 2 years. Usually we wait until the hotel has been empty and derelict for a couple of years. It known locally as getting planning permission to build apartments. The council doesn't like hotels being turned in to apartments for some reason and would sooner see a derelict building slowly rotting than nice new apartments being built. I am sure they have good reasons but I don't know what they are.

The Grand Hotel certainly does not come into the category of wanting planning permission to turn into apartments so one can assume the fire started by accident. Having said that, chimney fires usually start because of a build-up of soot in the chimney caused either by burning unsuitable items in the fire place or not getting the chimneys swept regularly.

Monday, 13 February 2012

New Enviro 400 On Show

PS I couldn't persuade the Parking attendant walking by to put a ticket on the bus. Shame.
This Enviro 400, 15792 was parked in Union St, Torquay this lunch time to advertise that Stagecoach had got some new buses. Not quiet the dramatic effect of 20 buses parked on Paignton Sea Front when the last lot of new buses arrived.
There was a free entry in a prize draw for anyone who risked having a look around. I was going to put my name down but the prize wasn't a job as a Stagecoach bus driver so I didn't bother. Actually the prize was worth winning, as you can see from the 2nd photo.
Then I got a 12 to Paignton and took a photo of a broken down number 12 at the Grand. An hour later on my way home I noticed it was still there, blocking the inside lane at the traffic lights. Note; the photo was taken while I was on the bus, but I can do that now, no worries.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

An Interesting Week

It's been an other interesting week, Harry Wales went to the most far flung corner of the world and didn't take any bananas, Harry Rednap went from being a tax dodger (alleged) to being Super hero and the England Football Manager in all but name in the length of time it took some unnamed person to say, "Not guilty".Fabbio had a bit of a misunderstanding, (should have gone to 'English for Beginers' classes) and went home to be given the Italian equivalent of a wooden spoon. Then, closer to home came the a)scandalous b) embarrassing c) non news item d) so what? (take your pick) news that 1300 Torbay Council workers have parking permits, provide free by the council, that they, the workers can use in any car park in the Bay.
Scandalous because the council have just increased the number of Pay and Display parking areas in the Bay causing traders and motorists and an anti Parking Meters group to be up in arms saying no one will come to the Bay because they have to pay to park on the sea front.
Or embarrassing for the council because they have just put all these extra pay and display machines up and their staff can park for free all over the place.
Or a non news item because the council have been providing these permits for years. I can remember an item about 4 years ago in the Herald Express about people complaining they couldn't get into the car park by the Town Hall because it was full of council workers' cars.
And so what? I imagine most councils give their worker similar permits as do private companies. If you work up at the hospital and don't get free parking in the hospital grounds then it's your unions fault, not Torbay Council's. Also, from my point of view it's a so what attitude as I don't ever put any money in those pay and display machines, AKA parking meters and I have never got a parking ticket in all the years I have lived in Torquay.
And to round of with a sporting matter lets feel for all those people effected by that French Farce that was played out on Saturday evening in Paris. It probably cost about 20 million euros to stage and had it been tried in say, South America would probably have ended in a riot. Personally if I travelled from Dublin to watch a rugby match that was called of 4 minutes before the kick off I would have been tempted to throw the odd can of Guinness (empty of course) on to the pitch. Which says a lot for the restraint showed by rugby fans.
Then there was the restrain showed by a certain Liverpool player who should have shown less restrain and shaken hands with all the Man U players. Then there was the lack of restraint shown by the hand shake less Man U player celebrating his team's win in a style players usually employ when pretending to be injured, i.e. overacting to the nth degree.
Hope next week is just as interesting.
And one other small anniversary, on Friday my partner, Geoff and I had a nice meal and a glass of champagne to celebrate 43 years living together.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Paignton Level Crossing

Wednesday, second week. All the barriers and traffic lights are now in place and it looks like the work might even be finished ahead of time.

A government department has just spent £8 million in an attempt to recover about £5000. Does that make sense? If that money had been given to Torbay Council we would not have had all the cuts to care for the venerable and libraries closing and parking charges going up. We could have even given it away in the street to passers by which would have made more sense.

Friday, 3 February 2012


On Mastermind this evening one of the contestants was asked who was Energy Secretary in the cabinet? He didn't know so passed. At the end of his round of questioning the quizmaster revealed the answer; some guy called Chris Huhne. Shows not all telly is live.

My wildlife photo for to day is this little birdie. Cute isn't he?

Cockington Village

Cold but sunny, so I wrapped up warm and headed down to the Strand. I wasn't too sure where to go so I decided to let the first two buses go and get the 3rd. It turned out to be the Local Link 62 to Cockington and turned out to be a good choice. Usually when I go to Cockington I walk in the direction of Cockington Court but today I decided to walk up Cockington Lane. Next week it will be closed to traffic while the council dig the road up to, I think, put in new drains. I came across a footpath that looked slightly more interesting than the road and decided to see where it went. I almost gave up after 20 metres, trees and bushes on both sides and it was a steep climb but I had a rest and carried on. At the top of the hill I took this photo. Well worth the effort. He gave me a good hard look for a few seconds and then decided he would like to be somewhere else and ran off in the direction of Marldon.