Monday, 28 January 2013

Pimlico is open

If Pimlico is closed then this bus has found out how to fly. Still going to be trouble when it does close but at least the buses will be able to come up Fleet Street once that is open.
When I got down there everyone was at lunch which was lucky for them as it was pouring down. Not nice working in the wet.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Pimlico Not Closing

It would appear from information received (thanks Ben) that Pimlico isn't going to close until Fleet Street opens again next month. Even then it will be a mess, the only way round would be for the buses to go down the lower end of Union Street and I'm not sure that is possible. Other than that the buses will have to go along Tor Hill Rd to Lucius St from Castle Circus and down Belgrave Rd to the Strand but that will leave Union Street with out any bus stops. We will just have to wait and see.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Not something you see everyday

Not something you see everyday on a number 12 bus or any other bus for that matter.

Pimlico Closed

UTILITY COMPANY Wales and West Utilities Works Reference 3815

NATURE OF WORKS Due to position of gas main

START DATE 28-Jan-13



Street Name Pimlico

House Name or No. junction of Market Street

Local Area Name Torwood

Town Torquay


Road Closure All Day

This is going to make a complete mess of Torquay's already messed up bus services.

In case you aren't too sure where Pimlico is, it's the road that links the top of town, ie Union St, with the Post Office Roundabout. 12, 31,32, 34 plus local link services use this road. I can not find anything on any web site suggesting what if any diversions might be in place from Monday.

Good luck to all who travel on the buses effected and the poor drivers too.



Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Kingskerswell Bye Pass

There was no snow once again here in beautiful downtown Torquay so I decided to have a look at the area around Aller Brake to see what was happening with the Kingskerswell Bye Pass. Lots of trees gone on both sides of the road. It is in this area between Aller Brake Rd and the road that goes down to The Barn Owl pub that the most complicated part of the bye pass will be. If I am reading the plan correctly traffic coming out of Aller Brake Rd and wanting to turn towards the Penn Inn will have to turn left, drive towards Kingskerswell along a 14 foot wide road, with passing places and negotiate a right turn onto the existing Newton to Torquay road and then get through 3 roundabouts before ending up heading for Newton Abbot. There is an other way round so that shouldn't be too much of a problem
Buses coming out of Newton will have a fairly straight forward drive to get back on the existing road somewhere near the turn off to Coffinswell. Not sure about a bus stop at Aller Brake Rd though. The problem the 12 will face will be at the Scott's Bridge end where they will have to get onto a roundabout full of traffic coming of the bye pass and heading into Torquay. Coming from Torquay the 12 will have 3 roundabouts to get round, left at the first and right at the next two. Again no sign of a bus stop at Aller Brake Rd
Lots of tree gone as I have said to speed traffic up by a few miles an hour and a long time for drivers to make their way through the road works that will appear in the coming months. I shall watch with interest and my camera.
A link to the plan can be found here

Just found out that the bus stop at Penn Inn heading for Torquay will be bagged up until Easter.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Kingskerswell By Pass

I have no idea if there has been any visable work done on the by pass, it's been far too cold for me to journey that far to find out. After super hot Sydney, Torquay might not be getting the snow the rest of the country is but it's still bloody cold.

A New Tree

Much smaller than the other changes is this tree that has been planted on Torre Abbey Green. Shame the rest of the Green still looks like a mini swamp.

The Banjo

The top half of the Banjo has almost gone, as promised. But why it wasn't taken down when the original work was done last year is beyond me. It will look better when it's finished.

Palm Court

The Palm Court Hotel which stood empty while the council decided what to do with it has finally gone, an empty space is there now waiting to be filled. Lets hope it doesn't take as long to fill as it took for the hotel to be pulled down. It only closed as a hotel 6 or more years ago. More photos when building starts.

Changes in Torbay

There have been a few changes in the two months I have been away. The first is Fleet St. It's being dug up and nothing can get up or down other than contractors vehicles. There are notices on the two bus stops going down to the effect that the stops have stopped being stops until 19 Feb. There were still people waiting at these stops when I went past, mainly because the notice is above head height and difficult to see unless you are looking for them. Covering up the timetables with black plastic bags would be more noticeable.
Even when traffic is allowed through there will still be work continuing until some time in June.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Home just in time

Looks like I came home at the right time. Heathrow looks like a cheap dos house due to cancelled flight both in and out.

Getting Home.

Wednesday lunch time in Sydney and the temperature was 28 degrees which was exactly the same temperature in London when I arrived there on Thursday morning. The difference was the Sydney value was in Celsius and the London one was in Fahrenheit. Big difference. I had 4 hours from getting off the plane at Heathrow till my train left at 10 am. I wasn't in any hurry and was even slightly miffed when the plane landed 30 mins early. Now those of you who have taken plane rides know, just about everyone stands up the moment the plane lands and starts getting their hand luggage down from the rack. Me, I never bother because you can't go anywhere till they have got your bag out of the hold so I firmly believe it is better to remain seated in a nice warm plane than standing at the luggage carousel slowly freezing. Anyway there was a technical problem with the door and it took 20 minutes before anyone left the plane and we still got through passport control and beat our luggage to the carousel. 6;15 before I went through customs and I could have been smuggling anything because there was only one person on duty and he was already searching some one else's bag. Long slow cup of coffee in the airport before walking out into the cold London morning just to see how cold it was. And it was cold. Then down to catch the express train to Paddington. A bit of luck here, I had just missed one and had a 15 min wait for the next one, in the nice warm station. Got to Paddington and found a café with free

wi-fi. Full English breakfast, two cups of coffee, several emails and an hour and a half later I re emerged into the cold. Back to the station and a look round for the warmest place to sit.

Now at Paddington they don't tell you which platform your train is going from until ten minutes before it goes. I was in coach A which means it is either the first coach you come to or the last. Finally it was announced, Platform 3, miles away. Guess which coach appeared first. That's right H. Even more miles to walk. I had just sat down at the very front of the train when it set of dead on 10 am. 3hours 33 later it arrived in beautiful Torquay. Too cold to wait for a number 12 and there were 4 taxis waiting so a taxi home. A bit of luxury now and then is OK.

In 35 hours I had travelled half way round the world and gone from just a bit too hot to much too bloody cold but I was home. It's always nice to get home.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Fire Risk

After yesterday's trip over The Bridge I thought I would try somewhere new today. Redfern. When I first came here almost 20 years ago I was warned not to even think of getting off the train in Redfern so I didn't, being at times a prudent person. I never thought about the place again until a few weeks ago. When I arrived back in Australia from my trip to New Zealand my sister invited a few family and friends (17) around and one of  then was all for me making the effort this time around. I have to admit that Redfern does not deserve the reputation it was given all those years ago but I also have to admit it didn't live up to the glowing description it had been given. Some nice old houses, well looked after and the area has a cared for look but so do many inner city suburbs.

The photo show  what you can do if you are determined not to move and the style of the house is typical of many in Redfern parts of which are moving up market.

As I am typing this it is 9 pm on Monday evening and we are 11 hours ahead of the UK time wise. I mention this because we are in  a bit of trouble, by we I mean New South Wales. Last week Tasmania had extreme temperatures and suffered serious bush fires. These bush fires seem to be getting worse, more extreme and more sudden as well as longer lasting. The long hot summer if the time for the fires and any really high temperatures sends the fire risk right up to Catastrophic. Here in Sydney it is only Very High Risk, there are still Serious, Extreme and the afore mentioned Catastrophic to get through yet. I had planed to go to the Blue Mountains tomorrow but the fire risk is the one starting with C so I have decided not to bother. The NSW Rural Fire Service are telling people to leave camp and caravan parks in the area and to make sure every one has a fire plan should the worse happen. Here where we live in Sydney we are in no danger though some outlying parts of the city are.

The problem we have is the forecast is not good, sunny all day long and wind from the west and an expected high of 43 degrees Celsius. That is for the city, here it is usually 2 or 3 degrees warmer. I do not expect to go out doors any time tomorrow. My sister was going to cook a leg of lamb for dinner but there is no way the oven will be switched on in that kind of heat. The nearest place to us where the temperature is below 30 degrees is Tweed Heads which is 800 km north. Not going.

All together there are 98 fire burning in NSW and 30 of them are out of control. 

Wednesday is cooler so I might have a trip to a place called Putty, I kid you not. There isn't anything there but it is all on it's own on HWY 59 and miles and miles from anywhere.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Harbour Bridge and Manley

I went for a walk today over the Harbour Bridge here in Sydney. I always have a walk over the Bridge. It's a bit like the 3 coins in the fountain song. Throw a coin in the fountain of trivia in Rome and one day you will return. With me and Sydney it's walking over the Bridge. Not the arch, that costs a fortune, those people you see climbing the arch so far number over 2 million and even if each one had paid $100, well it's too much for me to pay and you can't even take your own camera just in case you drop it through the roof of a passing bus. But I take the walk seriously. I have been to Rome 3 times but only dropped the coin in the fountain the first two times. Unless the Catholic Church goes completely mad and appoints me Pope I don't think it at all likely I will ever get back to Rome. Actually the walk shows me that I still have some enthusiasm left for Sydney and if I ever can't be bothered then it will be time to pack up coming.

After the walk it was into the Australian Hotel in the Rocks for a beer. An other tradition I take almost as seriously. It was in that pub that I had my first beer ever in Australia. Back then in 1993 the place wasn't all that fashionable and the barperson even confessed to me he expected the place to close down any time soon, but he was wrong and the place is now busy. The only thing wrong with it is there is a 5 a side football pitch across the road and there are always mad Australians playing football even in 35 degree heat. It's a bit of putting when you are having a congratulatory pint at having walked a half mile, stopping every few yards to take a photo and these clowns are running round like the fanatics they must be.

Then on to Circular Quay, so called because the quay is 3 sides of a square, the 4th side open to the sea so the ferries can get in and out. Lots of street theatre there and one act caught my eye. That box is 47 cm cubed and she did climb in side. Must have been some kind of trick, an optical allusion or something.

Then on to my favourite ferry and judging by the people waiting to get on most other peoples favourite ferry as well. But this ferry carries over 800 people at one go and has the best views of the Bridge and the Opera house and Sydney. Manley is a small town totally geared up for visitors and the beach was full to overflowing. Would be nice to see our beaches so full. While I was there the public address system put out a warning, not about sharks, crocodiles or box jelly fish or even dangerous rip tides sweeping swimmers and surfers out to sea but bluebottles. Bluebottles here have a ferocious sting, pain like you have never come across but only last half an hour. I have heard serious things about Aussie bluebottles, worse than child birth I'm told, and half expected the tens of thousands of people on the beach to run madly for cover but not a soul made a move. Brave people our Australian cousins.

And talking of cousins, one of my second cousins twice removed, a young lady aged 6 showed me her finger yesterday and said she had cut it. It was indeed cut and being a kindly uncle I asked her if she wanted a plaster. She starred at me, slightly puzzled for a few seconds before saying she wanted a band aid. Two people divided by a common language. 

Still bloody hot.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

It is hot

Saturday Jan 5 and it's 34C outside with the gentlest breeze, just enough to move the superheated air around. Mad dogs might go out in the midday sun but this English man is staying inside. After 10 days beside the sea it's pretty hot. So what does the Sydney Morning Herald say about this weather. On page four there is a story headed, "State's coast spared worst of hot blast." The item starts by saying that a 'Quirk' of weather and geography will spare Sydney from the scorching temperatures searing much of the country. It goes on to say that the temperature here will only just reach 30C. I'll repeat that, the temperature here will only just reach 30C. Well thank God for that. If this were Torquay in August we would consider that to be a 'scorching temperature' and a major problem.

The hottest place in Australia this week has been in Wudinna in South Australia, 47.7C.
To give that temperature a bit more bite, that's 117 Fahrenheit.

Lower down the item it goes on to state that it is expected that the highest record average temperate of 40.17C will be topped this week and even the highest temperature ever recorded in Australia, not counting when we were testing atomic bombs, of 50.7C at Oodnadatta Airport will be challenged.

One serious problem that arises  when it is so hot and dry is fire. Much of Australia is under serious threat of bush fires and there are whole areas of Southern Tasmania burning with so far one loss of life and hundreds of properties burn to the ground. People were  taking shelter on beaches to escape the flames. Tassie is to the south and usually much cooler than the mainland but even there temperatures have been above 40C. What do I hear when people tell me there is no such thing as global warming?

An other big story from the paper is about the planes  and helicopters that  fly up and down the beaches at this time of year looking for sharks. It would appear that this system of preventing sharks from eating people isn't all that effective, a test carried out using dummy sharks found that lest than one in six sharks swimming under the pilots are spotted and there are calls for the money to be spent else where. In the last 200 years there have been just over 200 people killed by sharks around the beaches of Australia, that's one a year but in 2012 one hundred and twenty people drowned on those self same beaches. Swimming lessons might be an idea.