Saturday, 22 January 2022

Bullying whips. Highway code. Cycling and walking improvements ahead. And birthday parties.

It seems to be a very gloomy Saturday, not quite so misty and damp as yesterday but still very gloomy. Not a lot we can do about it!

The latest government scandal seems to be all about Whips bullying members of parliament. Why are the Whips so called? Surely the name suggests a bit of violent behaviour. According to one of my sources of information, “the name comes from the term “whipper-in”, the person who, in hunting, would keep the hounds in the pack using a whip”. There you go. It’s another of those terms that goes back to people of privilege!

It seems there is a new version of the Highway Code. I wonder how many of us have read the Highway Code since we passed our driving test. Much is being made of a new rule about which had you should use to,open your car door. The new rule is that you should use the hand furthest away from the door. What this does is to force the door-opener to twist their body around and, hopefully, look over their shoulder to see if opening the door is going to knock a cyclist or a pedestrian for six. Maybe it explains it in the Highway Code. Ikve not actually read it. But all the news reports are talking about possible fines for opening the door wrongly. Really it seems to be a case of a large fine if you cause harm to someone by opening your car door. Surely the new rules should say to look over your shoulder and check before opening the door! 

Meanwhile cycling champion and medal winner Chris Boardman is going to be working to improve things for cyclists and pedestrians by being in charge of Active Travel England (ATE), which will hand out funding for cycling and walking schemes and oversee designs. He points out that about a quarter of households in cities have no car: “These are their roads and streets, too. Kids don’t have a choice to drive – they have to be driven. And these are their roads and streets, too, and they have the right to use them.” Quite so.

I spoke to my daughter-in-law last night. We are trying to organise getting the little girl cousins together for her daughter’s 8th birthday. Two years ago my daughter and I drove down to Buckinghamshire with her two small children to celebrate the 6th birthday of the Buckinghamshire cousin. It was a great success, even though we drove home through a monster storm. We would like to repeat the experience, but without the storm on the way home. Last year we all stayed at home.

My daughter-in-law told me that she has had her small girl home-schooling all week because her class bubble had been sent home because of Covid. Daily Covid tests showed she wasn’t positive and so they were able to go out and about, to the park, to the swimming baths and so on. Even with a daughter who is very good at getting on with things and who will entertain herself happily, it was still time-consuming for someone who is working from home. Maybe all of this will change as restrictions are lifted. We shall see!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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