Monday, 29 April 2013

If you drive down Fleet St you arrive at this sign. Couldn't be clearer.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Livermead, Torquay's own fight against the wild, tempestuous sea

I went and had a look at what was going on down at Livermead. There I found an army of workmen working their fingers to the bone to get our sea wall up and running before Torquay is washed out into Torbay.

And a massive pile of rocks they are planning to dump in front of the existing seawall in the hope will indeed prevent such a disaster from happening.

I'm sure Fleet St is One Way

and it isn't that way. But it was Saturday afternoon just before the big match so maybe they were on the way to the rioting football fans down on the harbour. Or just didn't notice the signs.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Livermead and other problems

At present buses from Paignton to Torquay are going over the Ring Road, a 15 minute add-on to the journey. Well the good news is that part of the existing diversion by Wheatridge Lane is to be made one way from Monday ( fingers crossed) so the buses can use the short diversion. A 2 minute add-on.

The second bit of news isn't so good. It will be some time in the middle of May before the buses going up Fleet St will be replaced by buses going down Fleet St and the end of June before we get two way traffic in Fleet St. Not too bad when you remember that two way traffic was supposed to happen on March 19.

The third bit is a bit of a puzzle. The traffic past the Princess is as it was last week with a minor diversion in from of the old Palm Court hotel. This seems to be to allow construction worker safe access in and out of the building site. I expect we will just have to wait and see what happens next with this particular piece of road.

Penn Inn roundabout still seems to be giving drivers problems but the new link road, when it is finished will solve all those problems. I expect.

And finally, just a reminder, if you are catching a bus in Paignton for Torquay or even getting off a bus in Paignton from Brixham the stop across the road from the Post Office is no longer in use.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Letter to the Editor

This is a draft of a letter I am planning to send to the Herald Express sometime Monday evening. It is up for changes of a minor nature.

Stressed Out Bus Drivers and their passengers.
First bus for 50 mins and 4 came along.
Today I went down to the Stand to catch a bus to Paignton. Being Sunday I knew the 12 service only ran every 20 minutes but there was also the 12C I could catch. There was quite a crowd at the bus stop and I heard one individual say they had been there 20 minutes already. Someone else in the queue overheard and quickly explained that they had been waiting at least 45 minutes . Still no sign of a bus. Finally ten minutes later two number 12s, a 12A and a 12C turned up all at once. Now there are two reasons for this problem. The first is the road works at Penn Inn in Newton Abbot. Buses have to get into Newton and then get out again through these road works and the traffic they cause. The bus company, Stagecoach, must have known that the services would have been disrupted. Is it not beyond them to provide extra buses to run between Torquay and Brixham to save people having to wait so long? It is Sunday after all, there should be a few spare buses at the depot and some drivers glad for some overtime.

The second problem with our normally very good bus service at the moment is the prolonged road works at Livermead. Traffic heading from Torquay towards Paignton can take the usual route along the sea front but all traffic coming the other way is diverted at Wheatridge Lane to The Grand Hotel. That is, light traffic is diverted that way, the diversion probably adds 2 or 3 minutes to the journey time. Buses however are too big and have too many window to smash against the overhanging trees to take the short diversion and are forced to journey over the Ring Road. This can easily add over 15 minutes to the time it takes to get from Paignton to Torquay.

The journey time isn’t the only problem. There are bus stops at St Pauls Church, The Gasworks, Wheatridge Lane, Livermead Cliff Hotel, Livermead House Hotel, Seaway Lane, The Grand Hotel and Belgrave Rd where it is not possible for passenger from Paignton to alight. Nor is it possible for passengers at these bus stops wishing to go to Torquay and beyond to board a 12 or 12A. Some long walks forced on tired passengers is not giving any visitors a good impression of The Bay.

So why aren’t there traffic lights at Livermead. The council could arrange this and put signs at Wheatridge Lane and The Grand Hotel stating,” Delays Ahead. Please Use Diversion.” There might be a delay at two way traffic light but it would not be as long as that long tedious trip over The Ring Road.

Finally we come to Fleet St. At least it is working one way so not all the Torquay local buses are no longer going all around town to get to The Strand. But That was supposed to have been open for 2 way traffic by March 19. At a guess it could be another 6 to 8 weeks before all the local buses go back onto normal line of route. An over run of a week is bad enough but 3 months makes me hope Torbay Council never find the money to dig the rest of Fleet St up.

So finally three requests.

First, be nice to the bus drivers, it isn’t their fault and they are all working under a certain amount of stress. Running late isn’t something they want to do, it eats in to their rest time and they end up finishing their day’s shift late so get home late knowing they have got the same problems facing the tomorrow.

Second, to Stagecoach. If there is going to be more road works like todays that will affect traffic so badly please give serious thought to putting on extra buses. It won’t draw in any extra revenue but it will help passengers and staff to get through this difficult time.

Third to Torbay Council. There is still at least 6 weeks work, lowering 4 tonne blocks of stone onto the beach at Livermead. Please install traffic lights there at the earliest possible moment and save thousands of voters and visitors that tedious trip over the ring road and get our buses running to time again. This would also help relieve the stress the bus drivers are feeling at this time of seemingly endless disruption.




Thursday, 18 April 2013

Changes to Road Lay Out At Princess Theatre.

Something is going on along the Seafront by the Princess Theatre. There was an item in the Herald Express suggesting that the road lay out was going to change and that the council would be holding a consultation period before deciding exactly what the lay out would be. Yesterday there were workmen at the Palm Court end of the road removing the planters form the red section of roadway at the end of what is now the parking section of the road.

This morning on the bus on my way to work I saw these workmen blocking the right side of road and diverting the traffic to the left side of the carriageway which is presently used for parking.

Changes are happening so watch out.

If it goes back to as it was before work started on Rock Walk then in the summer expect buses to take for ever getting between the Strand and Belgrave Road due to cars taking for ever to find a parking space and then reversing into it. Several times over the years I have had to brake hard to avoid hitting a car that has seen a parking place and slammed brakes on with little regard for following traffic.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Meet the Mayor

Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver, will host the third Mayor's Forum with the theme of regeneration and job creation in the Bay on Thursday 25 April 5.30pm to 9pm at the Rosetor Room, Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay. The forum is an opportunity for all those who are passionate about improving life in the Bay to hear about new projects and future plans from the council and its partners.

The above is from the Herald Express.

Now a forum, if my dictionary is correct is a meeting to discuss matters of general interests. Last year it was hardly that, The mayor and sidekicks talked for what seemed like hours and then followed a short period of questions from the audience, some of which weren’t answered in any depth. My question concerning reimbursements to bus companies for concessionary bus travel was passed over to a council official who said he would answer the question after the meeting. Hardly a discussion.

Anyway, if you like being bored stupid, get along to the meeting. I will be there and ask the mayor as many awkward questions as you can, even if it is just to annoy him and let him know how unpopular he is.     

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Cars are also using the sea front to head for Paignton but those cars coming from Paignton only have the short diversion to negotiate, no trip round the ring road for them.

What I can not work out is why, if there is an enough room for a bus to get past the road works in one direction, the council haven't put traffic lights up. Surely it is better the be delayed for 5 minutes waiting at traffic lights then the 15 minute trip round the ring road. Also there are quiet a few bus stops not being served.

Anyone getting on in Paignton and wanting to get of at St Pauls, The Gasworks, Wheatridge Lane, Livermead Cliff, Livermead House, Seaway Lane and the Grand Hotel has either to get off at Preston Shelter and walk or take the tedious trip round the ring road to Torquay and catch a bus heading to Paignton. And of course those people wanting to get on at any of the above stops for Torquay have a long walk what ever they choose to do, walk to Preston shelter or to Torquay.

I was down at the road works this afternoon and the signs were clear, Road Closed and a diversion sign pointing up Cockington Lane.

This driver did a Chris Huhne, you know, driving rules are for other people type thing and ignored the signs and went the wrong way. And guess what 30 seconds late a police car turned up. This car wasn't the only one to plough through against the flow of traffic, he was the only one I got to photograph.

Torquay United. Here we go again.

Football league Division Two
17 Dag & Red     44   -5       51
18 Accrington     44  -15      51
19 Plymouth        43   -8       49
20 York              44  -12      49
21 Wimbledon    44  -23      49
22 Barnet          43  -10      48
23 Torquay        43  -10      46
24 Aldershot     43  -15      45         

Torquay have played 43 games, out of 46. Their goal difference is minus 10 and they have 46 points. The bottom two clubs go down so if things stay as they are then Torquay go down. On Saturday, they should have played Barnet but the pitch was waterlogged and the game will be played on Tuesday evening. At the moment, any of these teams could go down but if Torquay lose to Barnet on Tuesday, I wouldn’t put any money on them staying up. Torquay have an away game at Morecambe next Saturday (long trip up north) and the final game is at home the following Saturday, the 27th, against Bristol Rovers. Both these teams are middle of the table with nothing to play for except a winning bonus so anything is possible. Fingers crossed for Football League status next season.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Some Good News About the Weather, at last.

It’s Wednesday 10 April at 22:45 and I have just watched the weather forecast for tomorrow. Some rain but the wind is coming from the South West which is a big change. For the last month it has been an East wind which brings cold air from Siberia. My most often saying so far this year since the middle of January has been, “God, isn’t it cold.” The temperature here seems to have been stuck on a max of 6C with an overnight low of zero.

But not tomorrow, the South West wind brings warmer air and the day time temperature is forecast to be 13C. A heat wave at last. If the forecast is correct then Thursday 11 April will be the hottest day so far this year.

People say global warming isn’t happening and point to the cold weather we have been having and the complete lack of spring. However I happen to know that in Australia they are wondering what has happened to autumn, temperatures in Sydney are still in the mid to high twenties so something is definitely happening to the world’s weather.
If it isn't climate change, what is it?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Maggie, let her rest in peace.

Maggie is dead. Now I didn’t much like Maggie when she was Prime Minister. She did and said things that, at the time seem to suggest she was completely uncaring about people. All she wanted was for the machine, that is the state, to work. The fact that millions lost their jobs and that manufacturing, mining and heavy industry appeared to vanish overnight while she was prime minister didn’t seem to bother her. This was made worse by the rise of the get rich quick yuppie class who made money and spent it just as fast on wine, fast cars and more wine. The poor ex workers meanwhile spent their time in dole queues and hanging about on street corners, when they weren’t out on strike that is. True there are two sides to every story and to some Maggie’s greatest achievement was curbing the power of the unions and her transferring how Europe and on the world saw the UK.

Whatever people feel about her and many are aggressively nasty on twitter and other web sites she is dead and like Hitler and Stalin is beyond any harm.

Let history decide as it will.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Grey water and Foul water. What's the Difference

According to figures released yesterday there is 21 000 cubic metres of Raw Sewerage being pumped in to the sea at Hopes Nose. Now for those not completely up to date with the beloved metric system a cubic metre of water is 1000 litres and weighs 1 tonne ( which is more or less the same as 1 old ton). So 21 000 tonnes of raw sewerage, that’s 365 litres a second, is heading for our golden beaches to cover centimetres inches deep in brown sticky smelly stuff that we, and any brave holidaymakers (brave for being out in the bitingly cold wind) just don’t want to see, or walk in while strolling along the above mentioned beaches. Well not quiet. 95% of that 21 thousand tonnes of mostly water being pumped out to sea is exactly that, water. True, it’s been used for washing both ourselves, our clothes, our veggies, our dirty dishes, the kitchen floor, the windows, the car and so on. Its' known as grey water and can be recycled or used to water your garden. It isn’t what we think of when the word sewerage is mentioned. Though some of it is. About 1000 tonnes is foul water, which is not good, but does sound a bit better than imagining 21 000 tonnes of crap all over our lovely beaches.

One other point. According to my water bill I use 70 litres of water a day and almost all of that ends up going down the drain either as grey water or foul water. Twenty one thousand cubic metres of water is 21 million litres. Do a little sum, 21 million divided by 70 = three hundred thousand. Now remember it only sewerage from Torquay going out to sea. Paignton and Brixham are still connected to the sewerage works hidden away in Churston.

What all the sums mean is that given the population of Torquay was  63,998 during the 2001 UK Census and we need 300 000 people to produce 21 000 cubic metres of sewerage then we must have at least two hundred and thirty six thousand and two holiday makers in town which must be good for someone. It’s an ill wind, as they say.

Or maybe I use less water than most or I’ve got my sums in a twist. Or someone else has got the figures wrong.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Torbay Rd Closed, Buses on Diversion

This is the main Torquay to Paignton road at Livermead. Sometime on Easter Sunday the sea broke through the seawall and damaged the pavement and the road had to be closed.

It is likely to be a week before the road is open again. At first there was concern that the main sewerage pipe had been damaged but at the moment it does appear to be intact.

There were repairs scheduled to take place a few weeks ago but they were put off for some reason. The result of strong east winds lasting over the previous few weeks put a more than usual strain on the weaken seawall and something had to give. The Bay is normally very sheltered, except when the wind is from the east.

So if you are using the 12 or 12A service to get anywhere and it turns up late don't have a go at the poor driver, it isn't his fault.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Malta to scrap Arriva!

A couple of years ago Arriva took over the running of the bus service in Malta. They got rid of the iconic yellow buses and brought in a brand new fleet of modern low floor air conditioned buses, including a few bendy buses. Bus enthusiast were reported to be booking flights to Malta to photograph the old buses on their return to the congested streets of the island.

Today, 09:51Old buses, drivers to return

The Government is planning to remove the much-maligned modern buses from Malta’s roads and bring back the old buses in a drive to boost usage, The Times has learnt.

The surprise decision will see the return of some 150 of the old yellow buses,...



A friend of mine sent me an email this morning. It refers to an item that appeared today ( April 1) in The Times of Malta.

Over 1000 comments were added to the story by readers, most but not all of the earlier ones suggesting that this was the best thing since sliced bread. Only later in the day did the more awake commentators point out what day it was.