Sunday, 31 March 2013

British Summer Time Arrives.

So British Summer Time is with us once again.

I have two wishes, the first I suspect is shared by just about everyone in the UK, the second by a lot of people in the UK.

The first wish is for spring to turn up never mind summer. The second wish is that British Summer Time to be replaced by British Standard Time. Our belovered leader, David, says that British Standard Time would create problems in the winter for those UK citizens that live in Scotland and as he doesn’t wish to upset them, they might not vote for his party, the rest of us have to have darker nights than needed in autumn and winter. Well not for much longer because on Thursday 18 September, 2014 those UK citizens that live in Scotland will not be UK citizens anymore so they can have their own time and in October of the same year we can say "Get stuffed Greenwich Mean Time," for ever more and we can have English, Welsh and Northern Irish Time all year round. ( What are we going to call our selves when Scotland goes?)

And there is this bit of news from the BBC that will supprise no one.

  Easter Sunday has been confirmed as the coldest Easter day on record, with the lowest temperature recorded as -12.5C in Braemar, in the Scottish Highlands .The previous coldest Easter day since modern records began in 1960 was Easter Monday in 1986, which dipped to -9.8C, the Met Office said.
I was at Preston Sands 10 days ago and again two days ago and there was a big difference. The beach huts were back. Personally I think they are just one ugly pile of wood and I would get rid of them if I was mayor.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fleet St Latest

At long last we have buses going up Fleet St. 4 of them at once.

This state of affairs will last for 7 weeks while the pavement on the down side is finished. Once that is done, which on past history could be some time in the autumn, buses will come down Fleet St only while the pavement on the up side is fixed. That should also take 7 weeks so Fleet St, in theory should be open both ways in 3 months, or at a wild guess, some time in 2014/15.

Still blood cold here in beautiful Torquay.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Dangerous White Van Driving

This is a photo I got from the web showing the sort of driving that I had hoped people wouldn't do in such dangerous conditions. Now it could be possible that both vehicles were stationary when this photo was taken but the position of the windscreen wipers and the headlights being on suggests that the car and van are both moving.

Given that the road is covered by snow and probably ice then the position of the BT van less that 2 metres behind the car shows that BT still employ idiots.

If the vehicles were indeed stationary, or the van had broken down and being towed by the car, which I doubt, then my apologies to both BT and the van driver.

Friday, 22 March 2013

A Rainy Day in Torbay

A few days ago, on March 18, I mentioned that the sign on the bus stops going down Fleet St to the Harbour said the buses weren't coming along Fleet St due to road works until Feb 19. Someone at Stagecoach had forgotten to update the notices.

Well today when I went down I noticed that the sign had been change. It now says that buses will not be stopping until further notice. I was quiet pleased. In a small way I was still helping to improved the wonderful bus service we have here in the Bay.

If you don't think it is wonderful then try using buses in other towns the same size as Torbay and you will see what I mean.

Then on to the Strand where I caught a bus to Livermead to see if the sea was crashing over the sea wall. The sea front at Livermead you may remember was in line for some repairs due to it's fragile state. The work there should have taken 6 weeks and involved blocks of stone weighing 4 tonnes being placed in front of the existing sea wall. There was some work done there but no sign of blocks of stone of any size. And the sea was crashing over the sea wall. Dramatically.

However while I was on the bus I saw a notice relating to Fleet St which I took a photo of. A passenger asked me if I understood what the notice meant so I explained it to her. From Monday March 25 Buses will be going up Fleet St from the Strand, the 32, and from Cary Parade, the 12, 12A, 31 and 34 plus the Local Link buses. However the buses coming down from Union St would still be diverting via Abbey Rd, Tor Church Rd, Lucius St and Belgrave Rd as at present. Until further notice. Which is probably why the notice on the bus stops going down Fleet St had been changed. Nothing to do with me at all. Sad.

Remember, if you click on the photos it will enlarge them.
PS Personally I don't think the notice on the bus was all that clear.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Nothing to do with Fleet St.

Much more serious that that.

Torbay Council lose senior member of the Executive.

This is a serious blow to Mayor Oliver and to Torbay.

Cllr Hernandez is executive lead for involved and healthy communities. Cllr Hernandez said she offered her resignation with 'great sadness', but said it was 'untenable to carry out this role effectively when one is a working parent'.
The 39-year-old, who has a five-year-old daughter, said: "The lack of flexibility, lack of decision-making ability, lack of the use of technology, low allowances and extremely limited officer support has exacerbated this."

She said that unless the mayor changes working practices, she cannot consider being an executive lead again, but she will continue to be a ward councillor.
She said: "I support the mayoral system, but executive leads are advisors not decision-makers and nobody does anything unless the mayor says so. I recognise he's a very busy man, but it's Gordon Oliver who sets the standards and makes the decisions and I believe he is not driving change where it's needed.

"I can't see where we're going as a council and a Bay. We're all busy, but busy doing nothing.


Read more:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Trial Run

Well here it is, out of service but running up Fleet St at 15:21.

It did stop there and everyone got off and went for an extremely long chat. It the end I gave up waiting and went home before it made it's way up the rest of Fleet St.

Could be the end of the week or even next week before any other buses make their way up the road. There is some tidying up to do yet.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Wednesday Morning, Maybe.

That’s the latest on Fleet St being open to buses. After getting this little snippet of info I continued walking up Fleet St. As I went past the bus stop for the buses going down to the harbour I noticed 3 people at the 12 stop who looked like they were expecting a bus to turn up sometime today. So I went over and explained that the road was closed and they would have to go down to the harbour to catch the bus. Two of them wandered off at once but the third person pointed at the notice and I had a look. It is reproduced here so you can see why they expected the bus at any minute.

Click on the photo to enlarge.

Very remiss of Stagecoach not to change all the notices once it became clear that the 19th February date was of the pie in the sky variety.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Come on England?

Saturday lunch time I went for a walk round the harbour and found out that the Landseer didn’t sink, slightly sad about that, I was hoping for a scoop. I did find it tied up on one of the pontoons near the Haldon Pier with all the seaweed scrapped of its hull. Not sure why it was moved, maybe something to do with the fact that the inner harbour is going to be change slightly. The buoys that each boat ties up to at present are to be replaced by pontoons so boat owners will be able to walk out to their boats instead of having to get one of those plastic bath tubs from the slipway and paddle precariously out to their boat. Maybe more boats will get used in the future. This pontoon system is used in the outer harbour but somehow lacks the romantic look of small boats tied up and bobbing about on the waves.

In the evening I settle down to watch England beat Wales for the Grand Slam and Six Nations Cup. Half time came and I was beginning to concede that the Grand Slam was looking unlikely but still a bit confident the losing margin would be small enough for England to be top of the Six Nations. Then about 10 minutes into the second half I remembered that I had a Welsh grandmother which under International Rugby rules meant I could play for Wales, Well if not exactly play then at least support the winning side.

The other thing I did on Saturday was have a wander down our old friend Fleet Street. As the road is to be open to buses on Tuesday I expected there to be dozens if not hundreds of work persons beavering away in a desperate attempt to fulfil that promise. Did I find the place a hive of activity? Men and machines working in unison to archive to dream?

Did I buggery.


Friday, 15 March 2013

 The Landseer is, or maybe was a small boat with an outboard motor that has been moored, seemingly permanently in Torquay’s inner harbour. It has always looked forlorn, neglected and abandoned. I first mentioned the poor thing in a post dated 14 July 2010 .

This is a photo taken 11 Feb 2013, you can see what I mean about forlorn, neglected and abandoned.

Now scrole down a post and see how it looked on 11 Feb and where it was, and had been for years and years.

Anyone Know Anything about The Landseer 2

This photo shows the Landseer and where she was in relation to other boats in the harbour on 2 Feb this year.


If you scroll down a bit more you can see from the photo she has gone.

This photo shows the where the Landseer used to be and was taken lunch time 15 March.

Anyone got any idea what has happened to her?

There are likely 3 possibilities.

One; the owner has taken her out for a day’s sailing. Not very likely as there is a strong, cold wind blowing with heavy seas out in the Bay.

Two; the council decided to remove her as she was a bit of an eye sore and could sink at any moment and contaminate the water in the harbour.

Three; most likely given the strong wind and bad weather we have been having, is that the poor thing has sunk.

If you have any information as to what has happened to her please let me know.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

More on Fleet St.

It is hoped that Stagecoach will be able to run a bus or two along Fleet St early on Tuesday afternoon. This will be a risk assessment run to make sure everyone got their measurements right. God knows what will happen is they haven’t; buses running up and down Belgrave Rd for all eternity I expect.

So it is possible that services buses will be running up and down Fleet St some time on Tuesday. Once that happens work will continue on the pedestrian part of the street until June. Then everything will be cleared away until September 2014 when the next section of the street will be dug up and repaired.

The big, ugly, green planter with it's big, ugly dull green tree opposite the escalator up to Fleet Walk has gone, thank goodness. Apparently there were people down there protesting at it's removal. I can not think how anyone could mourn the passing of these awful monsters.


Talking of repairs. I cannot see much going on at Livermead sea front. Four tonne rocks were supposed to be making an appearance by now but all we have got down there is a few bits of railings to block the footpath and two bus stops they are out of service for no apparent reason.


Friday, 8 March 2013

Kingskerswell By-Pass

I took a ride up to Aller Brake this afternoon to see how the work was progressing on our long awaited by-pass. From the main Newton road there wasn't much evidence of change since I was last the a month ago. But there is work continuing out of sight from the road. And there have been more history dug up with fresh finds at a buried medieval settlement as well as the finds around the Roman settlement site at Aller Cross which was unearthed last month

Lots of big,old trees have been cut down for this road but the contractors say they will replace them once the road is finished. It will take lots of years before the area look like it used to though.

Read more in The Herald Express Here :

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Paignton Bus Station

Looks a mess right now (nothing changed). This is the canteen end. The canteen is closed, no idea where the drivers are spending their meal breaks. Only about a third of the old concrete roof has gone so it will be a while yet before we get to see the new style roof.

Whilst I was waiting on the Strand for a bus over to Paignton a 12 went by heading for Newton. Now the Newton bus doesn't stop on the Strand, too many buses stop there as it is and if the Newton bus stopped there too many people would end up getting on the wrong bus. However there was a couple standing there who put their hand out to stop the bus and flagging desperately for it to stop when it became obvious that it wasn't going to stop. I could see them muttering as the bus sped of into the distance, probably something nasty about my former colleagues.

So when a 12A came round the Clock Tower with Castle Circus on the front and they again tried unsuccessfully to get it to stop I had a quiet word and explained that the buses were on a diversion and those going to Newton or Castle Circus didn't stop on the Strand. They looked at me as if I was mad so I wandered off. An other passenger told me he had tried explaining the problem to them but they took no notice of him either. I was hoping the next bus that came round would also be going to Newton just to watch them give their futile wave at it. Sadly the next bus was a 12A heading to Paignton. Our heroes got on and gave the driver a few seconds hell. He just smiled, he had heard it all before.

Fleet St Latest

As you can see there is a lot of work going on here in Fleet St. The pipes on the left carry various cables and will have a metal plate put over them and then a layer of concrete and finally the curb stones will be laid on top of that.

I am not the only one concerned about the position of the 12/12A bus stop with it's limited view up the road but that's what the plans said so that's what we have got. The only reason I can see for putting the stop so far back is to give people queuing for the bus plenty of room and will keep them away from the shop windows, That is if they queue where the digger is parked outside Sports Direct.

The consensus of opinion is that March the 19th is possible but don't be suprised if the buses don't get to use Fleet St for a day or 3 after that date.

This planter, with it's ugly tree has to be removed yet. The tree then has to be planted elsewhere. Tree roots can go down a long way so the tree's safe removal could be tricky.

What Torquay does today Cornwall copies.

It seems the Torquay habit of burning down delerict hotels has spread to Cornwall.

This is from the BBC news site:-

A fire at a derelict hotel in Newquay is believed to have been an arson attack, Cornwall's fire service says.

Emergency crews were sent to the four-storey former Cedars Hotel in the Mount Wise area at about 16:30 GMT on Wednesday.

About 30 people were evacuated from neighbouring properties which were affected by smoke in what police declared a major incident.

Residents were later allowed to return home. No injuries were reported.

Newquay station manager Stuart Whitworth said: "It's a derelict property and there's no power to it, so we can be fairly confident this is arson."

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Fleet Street Work Continues

As you can see from the photos the work is continuing with asphalt being laid at the lower end and curb stones at the top end near where the bus stops used to be.

I have a bit of a problem with where the curb stones are being laid which seems to indicate that the 12/12A bus stop will actually be about 35 feet lower down Fleet St. There is a bit of a bend just in front of where the bus stop used to be but will now mean that buses setting off from the position the new stop will be in will not be able to see very far up the road to find out if there are any buses coming down. Mind you, I am sure this was looked into at the planning stage, measurements would have been taken and the bus company consulted and so on, so who am I to be worried the lay out might be horribly wrong?

Will it be ready for 19 March? Time will tell.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Look at the guy up on the top right. You don't get to do things like that when you drive a bus.

Tree Felling on the Road to Brixham

To day the road down to Brixham was closed while 4 large trees had the tops chopped off.
Then guy in the photo is climbing up one of the branches to secure a chain to the top of the branch so it doesn't just fall 80 feet down onto the road. This could damage the road and be messy to clear up. A crane will gently lower the branch which weighs about a tonne into a field at the side of the road to be cut up into smaller pieces for later removal.

Single decker buses ran between the Park and Ride and Brixham so the place wasn't cut off from the rest of the world while the trees felling was going on.

I did take some video which, once I have edited it will appear on Youtube. Will take a day or two though.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Services Affected: 12
Sunday March 3
The main A3022 to Brixham is being closed at Strawberry Bend on Sunday 3rd March for
 urgent tree felling.
Whilst this road is closed a shuttle service using smaller buses will operate between
 Brixham Town Square and the Brixham Park and Ride site at Churston in both directions.
These journeys will connect with the Service 12 double decker buses at the Park and Ride
 site, as we are unable to operate the larger buses over the diversion route. The shuttle
 buses will leave Brixham Town Square at the normal Sunday timetabled times.
Our staff will be on hand in Brixham and at the Park and ride site to assist you.
Unfortunately the bus stops at Churston Village, Lupton House, Laywell Lane and
 Monksbridge Road cannot be served whilst the road is closed.

This is from Stagecoach South West's web site, I hope they don't mind.

Friday, 1 March 2013

The work in Fleet St continues, the curb stones are presently being laid down and one good thing has emerged. The bottleneck that was created outside Banx's pub has gone. Before the work started the plans were on display in a disused shop in Fleet St and I had a look at them. On those plans the bench that had been in place just before the 31, 32 and 34 bus stop for donkeys years and had been causing problems for just as long was still in place. I spoke to the council official and suggested strongly that leaving the bench there was not the best idea any o0ne at the town hall had ever had. He didn't seem to understand what the problem was so I took him by the hand (not really) and lead him outside. The shop the [plans were displayed in was just by the above mentioned bus stop. Luckily a 12A and a 12 had stopped at their stop and a 31 had pulled into the 31 stop but hadn't got all the way in. Coming down but unable to get past were a couple of buses and there were also a couple of buses waiting to come up. Could not have timed it better in a month of Sundays.

The council official agreed that removing the bottleneck might actually be a good idea.

Will the road be open for buses on March 19? I did ask someone who should know the answer to that question but they were unable to speak coherently due to being doubled up with laughter.

Congratulations to Ryan Giggs tomorrow on 1000 games. Beat that if you can.