Thursday, 10 October 2019

Chaos! Craziness! And a good reason for getting bus conductors back.

Roadworks! A couple of hundred yards from our house chaos has ensued. Well, organised chaos. And we did have warning that it was going to happen.

The work to replace collapsed and blocked drainage pipes all along our section of the road has begun and the road is actually closed off with a huge barrier a couple of hundred yards from our house, as I said. There are stacks of huge pipes, various pieces of large, heavy machinery, a temporary toilet for the workers and lots of those workers milling around in hi-vis vests! It’s going to go on for about six months.

A little farther away in the opposite direction there are large signs saying ROAD CLOSED AHEAD, which vast numbers of drivers ignore. It’s quite amusing to watch them realise that the signs were telling the truth. Everyone gets to practise their three-point turns!

There are also signs telling everyone that local businesses are open as usual. Access to the industrial park is available on one side of the barrier and access to the pub, The Old Bell Inn, on the other. I think the industrial park has the better end of the deal as more traffic comes in from that direction. The pub has been granted a huge official sign of its own: OLD BELL INN OPEN AS USUAL. The owner seems also have negotiated some parking rights with the industrial estate. As a rule anyone who parks there without having business with one of the companies on the estate is threatened with wheel-clamping. Now, however, there is a notice saying that extra parking for the Old Bell is available on the industrial park. A nice bit of local cooperation.

The pub owner is clearly still afraid of losing business. Some people simply don’t like walking more than a few paces from their car to the door of the pub/restaurant. So the Old Bell owner has organised for some unofficial to go up - OLD BELL DIVERSION THIS WAY, with an arrow of course - directing drivers around the village so that they can get to the pub from the other direction. After all, we have Hallowe’en (yes, I know it’s not really a party celebration event but still ...!!), Christmas and New Year, possibly even Valentine’s Day during the period of the roadworks!

 I quite pity workers in their hi-vis vests. Ever since the work began it has been raining intermittently and usually very heavily. This morning, for example, I got up and looked out at mostly blue sky and even some sunshine. I even considered going for a run without my waterproof. By the time I opened the door the rain was falling in torrents and I went back inside to change a light waterproof, which really works only for the lightest of showers, for a heavier duty waterproof.

If anyone wants to know where all the melting glaciers are going, I can tell them. They are being rained down on Saddleworth!

Onto more serious matters, the town of Halle in Germany suffered an attack on a synagogue. The gunman was frustrated in his efforts to kill more people than he did because his homemade guns kept jamming. It seems he guilt his firearms according to plans released by a British pro-gun activist from West Yorkshire. Philip Luty, who believed British gun control laws were “fascist”, devoted his life to publicising blueprints for making firearms from easy-to-obtain materials, with the goal of allowing private citizens around the world to flout gun restrictions by building weapons at home.

There is a lot of craziness out there!

The fight against obesity continues. Dame Sally Davies, in her final report as Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “Today’s children are drowning in a flood of unhealthy food and drink options, compounded by insufficient opportunities for being active.”

She is calling for the government to take further measures such as bans on promoting and advertising junk deals. No more sports event sponsored by snack companies. She also calls for a ban on eating and drinking on public transport, except for drinking fresh water and people eating and drinking because of a medical condition.

 I travel on local buses, trams and trains quite frequently and see very little serious eating but quite a lot of snacking, which I sometimes indulge in myself with, for example, a bag of mixed nuts and raisins on my way home from my Italian class on a Tuesday evening. On the whole it’s probably a good idea but I find myself wondering how it could be policed. Someone would need to check that the travelling snackers or snacking travellers had legitimate reasons for doing so or if they were just greedy guzzlers aiming to get fatter and fatter.

Is this the moment to suggest the return of the bus conductor?

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