Sunday, 30 June 2013

Need Help With a Computer?

As well as being baffled by Fleet St other things occasionally come along to make me wonder if there are some people in this world who sit in an office somewhere and work out how to make things harder for us mere mortals.

I am doing some work at The Pad in Paignton, two and a half days a weeks showing people how to use a computer. Now it is an urban myth that everyone under 25 can use a computer because a good proportion of those I help are under that age. Maybe they can tweet or network on Facebook but that isn’t all you can do on a computer. In the past I have like lots of people had periods where I have been out of work. The first time was back in the mid-sixties and I was one of 165 thousand, that’s right, 165 000 who were out of work. Basically the rules for getting the dole were the same, sign on and prove you have been looking for work. Back then you just went in, signed the bit of paper and when the guy behind the desk asked had you been looking for a job you would grunt and slowly nod your head. Money would then be handed over. I have to admit now, 49 years later that I wasn’t actually looking very hard. I had some money saved and it was a long hot summer and I knew when I needed to I would find a job no problem. That at least has changed.

What else that has changed is the looking for a job bit. Now when you sign on the government expect you to look for work and be able to prove you have been. So what happens now is you have to register on the DirectGov Job Seekers web site. This involves getting an email address and creating a CV. The CV is then downloaded to the DirectGov Job Seekers web site and when you apply for a job the CV is sent to the employer advertising the job you are, or maybe not interested in. Doing all this electronically saves hundreds of thousands of sheets of A4 paper that would have otherwise been produced by cutting down large chunks of the rain forest. Do we want to breath? Yes. Don’t cut down the rain forests then.

The other thing it does is produce an electronic record the dole office can check to see if you are actually applying for work. Handy for all. But if you haven’t used a computer it can, at first be a bit scary. And if you haven’t got as computer plus an internet service provider a bit of a problem. And that is where we at The Pad come in. We have a computer, more than one actually, and an internet service provider and a highly trained staff willing and able to help you make that first step to getting to grips with the modern way of looking for a job. Please note, if you just want to come in and learn how to use a computer, well we are just as ready and willing to help.

Actually the DirectGov Job search site is fairly straight forward once you have created your email address, registered, downloaded your CV and had 10 or 12 goes at it. You just click on the job you feel like applying for, remember the dole office want you to apply for lots of jobs, and basically 1 of 3 options occur. First is a phone number to ring. No problem there. Not everyone has a computer but most have a mobile. Second option is a box that says Apply. Click on that and your CV gets sent to the employer advertising the job. Easy. Third option gives an email address which can be copied. Then you open your email account and create a new message. Paste the address in the to Box, type the name of the job in the Subject box, type a short covering letter in the message box, attach your CV to the email and click send. The second option is recorded in your application history the third option is recorded in your Sent emails box. Dole office happy.

Then, in the last week I have come across a fourth option. Click on Apply and you occasionally end up on an agency web site. There you are instructed to Register, state your email address (so the web site can pester you with unsolicited emails to their hearts content), repeat email address, make up a user name, repeat user name, make up a password, repeat password and then go back to your email account to validate your email before being asked to Log on. Once into the site you will wander around for 5 minutes before discovering the original job you want to apply for requires you to log on to yet another site and then download an application form because the job advertiser will not accept you CV. This application form, which you then have to print out, fill in and post off, is inevitably nine pages long and full of fancy colours. Waste of paper and ink. It also asks daft questions like what university you went to and what professional bodies you belong to and what salary you expect and have you ever had sex with the principal?

Was the person I was helping looking a job with M16 or a senior lecturer at a top Oxford college or maybe assistant to the bastard still running the NHS?

No, not a chance. It was for a part time, 16 hours a week, job as a cleaner in a school.


Saturday, 29 June 2013

Why aren't buses using Fleet St?

All the contractor stuff has gone, well almost al, the bus stops are there, white line in place so does any one know why buses are still going round the diversion?

I expect there is a good reason but for the world, I can not imagine what it is. Do you know?

Does anyone know or did somebody in a council office somewhere just tick Monday 1 July in his diary without the least idea why?

Friday, 28 June 2013

Fleet St

Will be open from Saturday morning, or even earlier but buses will not be using it until Monday. That could change if Stagecoach decide they are fed up going round the houses for no apparent reason.

From The Herald Express

Here is a story from the local paper, just in case you missed it.

Last Thursday afternoon a number 12 heading to Newton departed Cary Parade stop. 10 metres up the road it stopped at a set of red traffic lights. Stagecoach encourage their drivers to stop at red traffic lights. While the bus was waiting a 'lady' approached the bus door hoping the nice bus driver would let her on the bus. The driver quiet rightly refused, you can not have people getting on buses at traffic lights, it's dangerous and if you let one on you would be expected to let everyone on. (Why not, do any with bus stops).

Anyway the female person, having watch protesters lying down in the road in front of riot police decided to try that trick with the bus and lay down in the road in front of the bus. Me; I would have sat there all day sooner than let her on the bus on the grounds that if she got away with this stupid behaviour then other might try the same trick.

But, as the Herald Express put it, in order to defuse the situation the driver opened the door and let her on the bus.

Full story here

Fleet Street should, correction will be open to buses both ways some time today, Friday 28 June.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Final layer going down

Work is going on putting the final layer down in Fleet St. Hopefully by weekend all should be finished and buses will once again be terrorising pedestrians in Fleet St.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Predicting the Weather 20 years Ahead.

Up to 2009 we had really hot dry summers. Then suddenly God decided once again he didn’t like the way people in this country were living such sinful lives that he decide to punish us by filling the  summer months with rain.

Well that’s what opponents of same sex marriage said anyway. What really happened is the Atlantic Ocean warmed up, possibly due to climate change or maybe just something that happens from time to time.

A group of meteorologist recently ( May 2013) met in Exeter and decided that the Atlantic was going through a 20 year warming cycle. This warming has affected the Jet Stream, bringing it further south which produces loads of rain brought in by the persistent South West winds that blow over the UK. If this is true then the next sunny summer we will have here in the UK will be in 2030 or there abouts. I will be 87 by then, I could even miss it.

But I have set this post to re-appear in 2016, 2021, 2026 and 2031 so we can check on the accuracy of the Met Offices prediction.

Torbay Half Marathon

Today (Sunday) for one day only there were buses in Fleet St going both ways. Hopefully, if everything goes to plan the buses will be back in Fleet St full time next Saturday. But not much has gone to plan with Fleet St this last 5 months. We will see.

But only because this lot were blocking the sea front and there was no other way of getting to the Harbour.

A coach also made its way up Fleet St despite notices saying buses and delivery vehicles only. Mind you who can blame the driver with half the town centre closed down while the half marathon was on.

The winning time was 1hr 5mins which works out at 12 mph, the last runner made it back in 5hrs 20 mins which is just under 2 and a half miles per hour.

One item of news about Torbay you might have missed in the excitement, Millions of quid are going to be spent doing up our 3 mainline train stations. Paignton, Torquay and Torre stations are to get a make-over. Work should start in September and be finished for late spring next year. Goody.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Buses on Diversion on Sunday Morning

This Sunday 23 June Torbay half marathon will be taking place. The road between the Pavilion and Preston traffic lights will be closed to all traffic between 0800 and 1200.
For the duration of the closure the following diversions will apply:


Normal route will apply through Fleet Walk to the Harbour. When leaving the Harbour, services will exit via Fleet Walk, Abbey Road, Tor Hill Road, East Street, Newton Road and follow the normal diversion route over the Ring Road to Preston.


Normal route applies until Headland Park Road where buses will turn left and follow the diversion over the Ring Rd, Shiphay Lane, into town using Fleet Walk, picking up normal service at Cary Parade.


Monday, 17 June 2013

More About Fleet St

After being open for a few weeks, first for traffic going up and then for traffic coming down to the harbour, Fleet Street was closed this morning. It will be closed to all traffic for two weeks while a new surface is put down. Today and the rest of the week work will be continuing to get everything ready for the big re-surfing machines to turn up next week. Hopefully everything will be cleared away before 1 July (this year, fingers crossed) and traffic will once again flow in both directions. Until 9 September when the contractors will again descend on our much abused pedestrianized walk way through the centre of our beautiful town.

Oh yes, half marathon is on Sunday 23 June, starts at 09:00 in Paignton and makes it’s weary way to Torquay along the sea front, back to Paignton and then back to Torquay and the survivors then make their way back to Paignton for the end. So guess what, yes that’s right. Roads will be closed, bus services will be disrupted yet again.

I’m glad I ain’t a bus driver. Who am I kidding?   

Friday, 14 June 2013

Posh Car

There were a few other expensive cars parked up but this was the only one I took a photo of. If you like expensive cars, even if it's only to look at then Princess Gardens if the place to be this weekend.


There is a big show on this weekend at Princess Gardens. Part of the show consists of posh, expencive cars.
Also somehow involved is the ex London Green Line bus, used in the catering section if the downstairs layout, stove, fridge and sink, is anything to go by.


The other thing that I noticed while I was in Princess Gardens is that the work on the Bajo seems to be almost finished after being closed of for ages. Looks much better that the old two decker thing that was there before. You can even has a walk round but watch out for the sound system that is being set up for the week end's bash.

Concrete is all it's cracked up to be though. Hope these cracks don't get any bigger.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Fleet St, yet again

Well, here it is, buses are coming dowm Fleet St and people were waiting at the bus stops in Abbey Rd near the cimema even though Stagecoach have put notices on these bus stops.

I did ask a couple of drivers how they were coping with the turn into Sheddon Hill and the had a good laugh.

This arrangement will last until the end og this month.

Still busy at The Pad in paignton on the computers.


David Banks

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Notice on Bus Stops

Don't wait at the bus stops in Abbey Rd

Don't wait at the bus stops near the Central Cinema in Abbey Rd, not if you want to catch a 12, 12A 31, 32 or 34. Finally, 19 days after the council said buses would stop coming up Fleet St it will happen on Monday 10 June. Actually this is 123 days since the council first indicated that buses would be back in Fleet St going both ways, but that was when the work first started. Roadworks anywhere and in particular in Torbay have a history of taking longer than planned so why don't the council put penalty clauses in their contact so when a contractor over runs by not weeks but months as has happened here we get some or even all the money back.

So where do you wait for your bus? You can either undertake the long uphill walk to the Casino at the top of Abbey Rd or walk down hill along Fleet St to Cary Parade for the 12, 12A, 31 or 34 or over to the Harbour for the 32. Please don’t blame Stagecoach for this inconvenience, write to your MP or the council instead. Stagecoach must have spent thousands, if not tens of thousands in extra fuel while this farce has been going on never mind the extra strain on their drivers and the poor passengers.

Word is, if the contractors haven’t finished the work by 30 June, this year, they will just walk away and leave everything as it is until the summer season is over. People will travel for miles just to marvel at how a simple job can end up being so screwed up.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

6 June 2013

Fleet St still a mess. The council said that work would have reached the stage on May 22 to allow buses to come down Fleet St. This still hasn't happened two weeks later. Now the talk is that once buses do start coming down Fleet St as opposed to going up the diversion will not send bus numbers 12, 12A, 31, 32 and 34 down Union St to serve the stop at the bottom of Abbey Rd near the cinema. So anyone wanting to catch a bus from there will either have to walk down to Cary Parade, or the Harbour for the 32, or walk along way up the hill to the stop on Abbey Rd at the Casino. Personally I think this is a bit too far for some of the people who usually catch the bus at the cinema and some thought should be given to leaving things as they are until Fleet St is fit for two way traffic again. Why confuse everyone. Mind you the speed that the work is proceeding in Fleet St that day could be sometime next year.

I do hope Torbay Council never find the money to rip up the rest of Fleet St, so far it just hasn't been worth it. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Better than hanging wall paper

Just checked my emails after watching the movie Pearl Harbour. When the Yanks go over the top the sure do it “Ad nauseam”. Something else the Yanks do is send me an email whenever the International Space Station will be visible from my back garden. This morning’s (early) email said it would be visible at 00:27. As it was just past midnight I went on one of many sites that show where the ISS is right now. At a minute or two past midnight it was just left S. America and was heading our way. The route would take it over Paris but at 200 miles up it would be visible but only if it wasn’t in the Earth’s shadow. Looking at the map of the route I noticed that it should come into the sunlight at 27 minutes past twelve. So it is a clear night so I’m off to see the space station.

Back in a few minutes.

Well there was a thin , hazy cloud cover that wasn’t there an hour ago and I checked the time, 00:26. I kept looking to the east, hoping to see it fly over. I mean this thing has just flown over the Atlantic in about 20 minutes and one thing about the ISS is, it is never late. It is travelling so fast it could do the trip from Brixham to Newton Abbot Bus Station in 3.25 seconds. Wouldn't be able to pick too many passengers up at that speed though.

Anyway, dead on time it appeared, not over the horizon but right in the middle of the sky. One second, nothing. Next second there it was bright as anything as it came out of the Earth’s shadow heading for Paris and beyond.