Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A few things been happening over the last two weeks. First there were wild fires sweeping through New South Wales. They were so bad that Sydney, where my sister lives was covered with a thick blanket of smoke and people were warned to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed. The temperature has been up in the thirties and it is still early spring so it is really hot for the time of year and the new prime minister of Australia says climate change is crap. He is also busily dismantling the system put in place by the previous government to work to reduce carbon emissions in Australia. The moral of this little story is politicians can not be trusted to save the world, just to win votes.

One of my nephews is a member of The Rural Fire Service and he has been out fighting the fires over the last few days.

Then we were warned by the Met Office to expect a major storm to hit us on Sunday night. From what I have seen the storm missed Torquay. Other places weren't so lucky.

It's Halloween tomorrow and there is a party at The Pad in Paignton where I work. I'm not a

great believer in Halloween but a party is a party.

I caught the Gold service home from work today and tried to connect to the internet with my tablet. Didn't work for some reason. Shame.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Odds and Ends from Torquay.

The building to replace the Palm Court Hotel is beginning to take shape. Looks like the back end of a ship.

The shark, not a real one is part of an exhibition being held at the Spanish Barn here in Torquay. Here is a little extract from Torbay's publicity for the event:-

Afloat is a FREE exhibition at Torre Abbey Spanish Barn open until 18 October. By the end of last month over 2500 people had been to see the exhibition, and it is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Monday and Tuesday.

Afloat is the culmination of the Arts Council funded visit to Torbay by Lone Twin's Collective Spirit, a beautifully crafted sailing boat made from people's wooden memorabilia.

Collective Spirit is the centerpiece of the water-themed exhibition, which also features work by some of the region’s best artists, including Paul Riley, Alan Cotton, and Bob Grimson, and includes art from a range of disciplines including painting, ceramics and sculpture
Well it looked interesting enough for me to make my way over to The Spanish Barn to have a look. Sorry to say but the fish, made of fibre glass and priced at £3000, was the only thing that was even remotely interesting there.

Dumb Bird

Not quite sure why this seagull was trying to eat this guy's fleece jacket. It must have the same nutritional qualities as a Big Mac.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Autumn Has Arrived at Hollicomb Beach

Hollicombe Beach, on the boundary between Torquay and Paignton. No one out there swimming or sunbathing, just a few people walking their dogs on the beach. Something they can only do once September is out of the way.

And one of those badgers who moved the goalposts and got away.

The badger cull being held in Somerset is said to have only shot half the badgers needed to stop the spread of bovine TB from the badgers to cattle. Some scientists, those working for the government, say killing badgers is the only way. Others, who don't depend on the government pay cheque have other ideas. Personally I believe culls on this scale are a waste of time, effort, money and a lot of badgers because all that will happen is those badgers around the edge of the cull area will notice a lack of badgers over the hill as it were, Hay, that's prime badger territory they will say and move in, bringing or not bringing bovine TB. (Depends on who you believe.) 

Friday, 11 October 2013

Gold, the bus not the metal

Since the Gold started I have been taking my tablet to work, not to use it there. I have 5 computers to play with at work. No, I want to try out the free Wi-Fi system the Stagecoach boast about on their new service. Now I don't get the Gold to work. It leaves the Harbour at either 15 minutes past the hour or 15 minutes to the hour. So the 09:15 is too early for me, I would have to pay and the 09:45 would get me to work a bit late. I start at 10:00 at Eat The Frog, opposite Victoria Park in Paignton.

It's coming home that I am interested in. But the 12 and 12A go past 10 times an hour and the Gold only twice an hour so it's a good chance the first bus along won't be the Gold. Then on Wednesday the first bus along was a Gold. Guess what, for the first time in two weeks I hadn't taken my tablet to work so no chance to check the Wi-Fi.

 One thing I did notice though, people all the way into Torquay were getting on and off the bus, using it just like a 12 or 12A. There were a number of pupils from Paignton Community College on the bus as well. It looks like the Gold service will pick up passengers along that route in a way the X80 never did. Anyway FirstBus are stopping running the X80/X81 at the end of the month, on the 27th I hear.

The Gold has just the same ticket machine and prices at the other Stagecoach buses and one added attraction, you can use a Torbay Day Rider (cost £5.10. Please have a ten pence coin handy if you pay with a note) as far as Totnes and onto Dartmouth. Going to Plymouth is extra unless you have a "free bus pass".

Bloody cold yesterday morning, looks like autumn is finally on it's way.

There was an item in the Herald Express during the week. Our wonderful mayor (elected) wants to give Torbay to Devon County Council. Good idea or bad idea?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Visit from the Police

At work the other day in Paignton’s Eat That Frog we were slightly disturbed by a helicopter hovering overhead. It wasn’t visible out the window but it was there for a while making the usual noise a hovering helicopter makes. Looking for bad guys one assumes.

Then in walked a policeman and asked if he could have a look round just to make sure none of the above mentioned bad guys were taking refuge in our workshop.

Fortunately no arrests were made.
Later on I was just about to leave, at 3:15 so I could catch the Stagecoach Gold service when someone asked me if I knew what the police wanted. By the time I had answered that question plus the discussion that followed The Gold bus had left Paignton Bus Station on time, mostly empty, and was just going past the stop at Victoria Park, too late, missed it again. So I caught the Hop 12 instead. Which was full, standing room only 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Working For Your Benefits Not Mentioned Here

So The Tory Party have had their little get to gether up there in Manchester. A couple of items that came out of this little junked at the old central railway station that may at some time in the future affect me. The first was the tax break for couples where if one partner is earning less than their personal tax allowance then up to a £1000 can be added to other partner’s personal allowance. The maximum benefit this arrangement will bring is £3.85 per week. If only one partner is working and earning £10400 then that will be a 1.9% increase in their combined income. For a low income family that could be welcome. But for most couples whose income is probably higher than the increase becomes less noticeable. My partner and I will benefit but only by a good deal less than 0.5% increase in income.

Am I against or for this idea? Dead against. Why? It will cost almost 1 billion pounds to implement. Do you live in a medium sized town that needs a new hospital? A billion pounds would get you your new hospital. Fewer people will benefit but the benefit will be much greater if we built a new hospital somewhere in the country every year for the rest of eternity.

Second item was the added number of job applications out of work people have to make every week to continue getting their benefits. Sounds good, make sure the lazy bastards are looking for work. But hang on. I spend 3 days a week at a place in Paignton called Eat That Frog. I help people who are not familiar with computers get familiar with computers. What that means is I help people negotiate their way through the complexities of creating a CV, setting up an email address, setting up a Government Gateway account and showing people who have never used a computer look for work on the Gateway site.

Most of the people who come in are regulars, one guy told me the other day that he had applied for 45 jobs in the last 3 months and he hasn’t had a single job offer. He hasn’t had a single invitation to attend an interview. Actually he hasn’t had a single reply from any of the 45 people he has emailed his CV to. Not one prospective employer has had the curtsey to even email him back with the sad news that someone else has got the job.

But hang on a second before you say, “Miserable bastards.” for not emailing back. As well as the guy above sending the prospective employer an email with CV attached, so are other unemployed people in Torbay sending emails with CV attached because Government rules say unemployed people have to apply for 3 jobs a week. Sad to say there aren’t all that many jobs out here in Torbay but there are hundreds of unemployed people all trying to find 3 jobs a week to apply for. The poor prospective employer must be snowed under with emails with attached CVs. Sorry guys, it’s going to get worst when the number of jobs applied for goes up to 5 a week.

We only have 5 computers at Eat That Frog, trying to find 5 jobs to apply for will take longer so we could end up with a queue of people right round the Milk Bottle.