Tag: silly

Evasive action

If a lorry hits a house, set back from the road, so hard that it takes two hours for rescue teams to remove and afterwards the house has to be supported by six steel props, you’d suspect that something very serious must have happened to make the lorry come off the road. The police comment in the Adver’s report on such an incident in Stratton suggests not.

The lorry had to take evasive action from a parked car on the road, before it struck a lamppost and struck the house. There was also rain on the road with a puddle on the bend.

Someone in the local constabulary’s clearly striving hard to win an award for po-faced understatement.

A landlocked isle

Guernsey travels northMarks & Spencer seem to have got themselves a little confused geographically. Search for a branch near Swindon and the first three results are, not unreasonably, their not yet opened (for at least another seven weeks) Swindon Orbital Centre branch, their Swindon town centre branch and their Swindon Outlet Centre branch. Next comes Marlborough and then… Guernsey, then Cirencester! Follow the link for the Orbital Centre branch and you get a map… of Swindon town centre.

M&S, lost in SwindonNot so much “More to explore at Your M&S”, rather a case of more to explore to get to M&S.

Lightly confused: an essay in little boxes part 13

Drivers delivering to the Wichelstowe development works may be somewhat confused when approaching from junction 16 of the M4. The last stage of their journey is along a road clearly marked as ‘Unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles’. Perhaps the houses with which Swindon’s Front Garden is to be filled will just be rather lightly constructed….
No left turn

A double deck imagination

Always ones to make a crisis out of a drama, the Adver have excelled themselves, allowing one woman’s imagination to turn a minor accident (one wheel of a bus going off the road) into a near tragedy.

Melody Lyall, the landlady at the Red Lion Pub, in Castle Eaton, said it was a very near miss. “The only thing that kept that bus upright was a small wall that it wedged itself against, otherwise it would have tipped over into a flooded field. Because both the front doors were on that side things could have turned very bad very quickly. It was quite dramatic. I was in my conservatory drinking my morning coffee and I witnessed the whole thing. The field on the other side is flooded at the moment – it is under several feet of water. You can imagine the outcome if it had toppled over…. I would have said they were pretty lucky as it would have been tough to get them all out of that bus without it going over on its side.”

Wow! Children safely alight from a bus with one wheel in a ditch. Whatever next? I dropped a slice of bread on the floor recently. Perhaps I should ask the Adver round to see how close I came to starvation in the time it took me to cut another slice….

Spot the birdie

Not for the first time, building work in Swindon has been interrupted by a nesting bird. Whilst, naturally, komadori feels he should defend the right of other feathered creatures to nest where they feel it is appropriate, there are limits…. Delaying work on Swindon’s new library for one collared dove (out of a mainland population of over 200,000) is beyond that limit. The law that requires builders not to disturb any nesting bird is, though well-intentioned, distinctly bird-brained.

Relocation, relocation,… removal

Whilst others may be concerned about the disappearance of a cinema from one of the town centre redevelopments, there are other, smaller things that developers would like to remove elsewhere. It seems, if the supporting documents to their planning application are to be believed, that the Outlet Centre has previously been given planning permission for more shop space than their buildings can actually contain. Their proposal to get round this (as opposed to replacing some of the office and other non-retail space) is to remove — or as they put it relocate — the children’s play area.

Erection of a glazed enclosure and removal of existing canopies to provide additional retail area and relocation of the play area.

If you’ve got a spare half hour or so, have a look at their plans, in particular the ones labelled ‘Plan-Play Area Relocation’ and see if you can find where the play area has been relocated to. It is noticeably absent. The drawings do show an anonymous red rectangle on the east side of the centre that might be it, but there is nothing saying so. If it is, then it’s a small fraction of the size of the existing play area.

As an aside, I hope the Outlet Centre’s designers’ ability at building design is much better than their website design, where one has to chase a floating circle around the screen in order to navigate the site. There is an important balance that should be maintained between creativity and practicality. Sadly, it’s one that some architects and designers seem never to learn.

An invisible town

I don’t like the idea of 750 houses being built around Coate Water any more than Ms Saunders does. However, I do find some of her reasons for wanting to protect the area from development a bit odd.

The council also has to consider the beautiful views from Liddington Hill and the area of outstanding beauty. These views are equally as important as the views from Coate Water.

Ms Saunders seems to be suffering from an affliction common amongst campaigners: an inability to see existing large developments. For those that haven’t noticed, if one looks from Liddington Hill in the direction of Coate Water, rather prominent in the background is a town called ‘Swindon’. In comparison with that backdrop, another 750 houses are not going to change the view from the hill that much.

Be aware, be very aware

Yet another bright idea from Swindon Community Safety Partnership has been announced today, just a week after their last act of genius. Their latest idea is to give revellers boozing themselves to oblivion on Friday and Saturday nights a pack containing a bottle of water, a lollipop, a personal attack alarm, condoms and flip-flops. This ‘survival kit’ will, if the title of the news item on Swindon Borough Council’s website is to be believed, increase said inebriated revellers’ awareness of the effects of alcohol. According to Mr Lovell,

This project is a demonstration of the holistic approach we take when dealing with the night time economy in Swindon to ensure it is a safe place to enjoy.

I have an alternative suggestion for making the Fleet Street area of Swindon safe. The pubs could, as licensing law requires, stop serving those that are clearly drunk, and the local judiciary could take a more serious approach to those found guilty of drunken violence. Just those two things would be far more effective in making people feel safe than a lollipop and bottle of water ever will.

The chill wind of reality

It’s difficult to know where to start when attempting to comment on the campaign by Joanna Lambert against a new windfarm… especially when plenty of others have already subjected her to plentiful dose of ridicule. Never mind, I’ll try.

When Watchfield air base was started it was a heavy drop air base, and the reason for this was that they found there were exceptionally low wind levels around Watchfield.

Remind me of that later please….

My reaction when I came over the hill on Friday to see they had gone up was that they are so much bigger and more dominating than I imagined.

So dominating that you didn’t see them until you went over the hill. Massive, then.

I was someone who thought they wouldn’t be awful, but they are and have completely devasated the landscape.

Err… to the west, Swindon; to the east, Didcot power stations. Blinkered vision is a dreadful impediment.

They are so enormously tall and move all the time so the eye is drawn to them, not like a building which is static and you learn to look beyond it.

So you’d prefer five 50 metre high blocks of flats to be built there would you? No? Thought not.

Millions of people over the last 4,000 years must have walked along the Ridgeway marvelling at the intimate beauty of the Vale.

For most of the last 4000 years, walking was more a necessity than a leisure activity. I suspect they had more pressing thoughts on their mind than “Isn’t it pretty here.”

Until that awful day ten days ago the walker’s eye drifted to the church towers, to the tall poplars and oaks.

And to the six cooling towers of Didcot A power station in the background.

Yet now five massive industrial turbines with angry noisy blades cutting the air will dominate the landscape for decades to come, and shatter the peace and serenity for those around.

I’d never realised the traffic on the A420 and the trains on the Great Western mainline were so quiet until you mentioned it. And what was it you said about it being an air base? Guess those aircraft were silent too. Oh yes, and did you say something about there not being much wind? That’ll be the meek and quiet variety of ‘angry noisy blades’ then.

Even when the blades are turning, electricity is not necessarily being generated unless the wind blows at the right speed. Because of this irregularity this plant will have to be inefficiently backed up by fossil fuel power.

It’s fortunate that we’ve got Didcot power stations sitting so prettily in the background then, isn’t it?

It seems a cruel trick that 10 to 20 per cent of all our energy bills in future will be a hidden levy to fund this ongoing rural destruction without any serious clean electricity produced

I trust you’ll be submitting a letter in support of a Watchfield nuclear power station then? No?

All campaigns need publicity. I suspect this sort of attention wasn’t quite what Ms Lambert had in mind.

Thamesdown in clean bus shock

Thamesdown busIf I were responsible of publicity at Thamesdown Transport, rather than making a fuss in the local press about the fact that they now clean the interiors of their buses more than once a day, I’d be rather ashamed that they’ve been allowed to run in such a filthy state for so long. The drivers of buses of some other companies (admittedly not local ones) have swept their buses regularly between journeys for many years. In comparison with the cost of a new bus, a broom and a couple of minutes of driver time would be insignificant.