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Bonkers Blog July 2010

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27 July - Bexley council - Pole axed

Yesterday morning I was at Abbey Wood railway station around 6.30 and saw that someone had pulled a No Entry sign and its pole out of the pavement on the Bexley side of the borough boundary. It left a little pyramid of dislodged paving stones with a circular hole in the middle and the pole was gone, possibly the latest example of scrap metal thieving. I reported it by email to Bexley’s ‘Works Direct’ at 06.53 and at 11.51 received a reply to say the hazard would be attended to. This morning I noted that the paving had been repaired and a new stone installed where the hole used to be. I don’t think I’ve had to say a bad word about Works Direct; how come they have a different attitude to most other departments?

While I am handing out accolades, I noticed on my trip down to Ruxley last Sunday that a speed indicator had been installed just before the speed camera on Gravel Hill. I imagine this fine example of common sense is the work of Mr. Filey who looks after that department and who responded so well to my enquiry about the Abbey Road speed indicators. One odd thing I’ve noticed about all Bexley’s indicators that I have driven past is that if I have my speedo on exactly 30 m.p.h. they register 31 but if I do the same in any neighbouring borough they register 29 or even 28.

If Bexley council was all like my experience of Works Direct and of Mr. Filey this website would quickly die but while we have malicious and idiotic councillors like Craske, Davey and Campbell, incompetent Team Leaders like Andrew Bashford and loons like Miss L. Cairns who twice threatened prosecution of someone who couldn’t find an open bank on a bank holiday, then it seems I won’t be out of a job any time soon.


25 July - Another Bexley council job creation scheme?- click any image for photo gallery (6 images)

Corner made more difficult Island made wider Corner made more difficultReports came in this week, liberally peppered with the word “idiots”, of massive traffic queues in North Cray Road so I nipped down there at 7 a.m. this morning to take a look. Sure enough, Bexley council has been up to its usual carriageway reduction tricks. I am not familiar with that junction and the last time I came down North Cray Road and turned left must be more than ten years ago. It looks as though it has been very easy to make that turn and clear the road quickly for following traffic and now it will inevitably be much more difficult and possibly result in queues. Bexley council loves queues. On the other hand the road must have been very wide for a pedestrian to cross. What is indisputable is that a lot of money is being spent at a time when everyone is supposed to be hard up. But when did Bexley council ever care about wasting your hard-earned?

My journey to Ruxley corner was circuitous because the whole of Bexley village had been cordoned off by the police so I returned via Sidcup and Welling. In Upper Wickham Lane I stumbled across yet more road disruptions and closures. A roundabout was being installed. To me it didn’t look as though it was placed where it was most needed. There are some photographs in ’the gallery’.


21 July - Bexley council - Evil little maggots!

Today’s News Shopper describes Bexley council as having been “taken over by a mob of nasty, evil people who seem to thrive on other people’s pain and hurt” and someone in the care department as “swine”, “a vulgar little maggot” and “a worthless bag of filth”. And I thought describing councillor Craske as a “malicious weasel” might be pushing the boundaries. The only time I came in contact with the council’s care department resulted in these pictures and some bragging that disadvantaged people needed to be punished.


19 July - Bexley council. They simply don’t care - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

Road obstructedLast week the road was dug up alongside the unlit pedestrian refuge in Abbey Road, a conduit installed , and the road surface left in a poor state. Over the hot weekend the pipe drooped across the carriageway already too narrow for buses to pass each other safely. I had thought that the bollard might not reach its first birthday in an unlit state but Bexley council’s continued negligence may prove me wrong.

Today I watched the traffic swerving to avoid the conduit so I have secured it in the hole behind the exposed kerb stones.


18 July - Accident & Emergency

Quite often I read about proposals to end A&E services at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup and to my shame, probably because I’ve rarely been there, and never to A&E, I’m not sure I know exactly what is going on. I believe that the proposals include shunting A&E patients to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, and yes I can understand why people may not like that! Six months ago exactly I briefly mentioned how I was taken by ambulance to Q.E.H., where they filled me full of morphine and saline and told me I would have to be kept there overnight. Then they threw me out five minutes before the Labour government’s four hour admissions target leaving me to writhe in agony on their waiting room floor without any treatment whatever.

Not unnaturally I complained and although they commented on various aspects of my treatment they neatly omitted any mention of my principal complaint. i.e. Targets before patient care. So I complained again and a mere four months later they replied. Along the way my times at A&E have been falsified when I and friends know exactly what my admission and throw out times times were. Other lies have led to the hospital’s letters being contradictory so there is plenty of scope to complain again. This time, because the contradictions have naturally led me to it, there is a more specific question about why I received no treatment at all for the condition diagnosed with the help of X-ray, beyond ever more powerful morphine shots. For anyone interested in the performance of Q.E.H. A&E I have put the correspondence on site. But don’t bother going there unless you have half an hour to spare and an interest in our health services. In another four months I may have another installment to report.

Anyone still stuck with a dial-up connection may wish to know that the correspondence page amounts to about a megabyte of data.


16 July - Parking permits

I see that councillor Craske is keen to persecute motorists again. He is raising the price of a resident’s parking permit from £35 to £100. The excuse is that the price of “non-core services” must be increased to cover their costs. Now I am totally sympathetic to the view that non-core services should not be subsidised by little old ladies living alone or any other tax payer for that matter. If that means paying more for a DVD borrowed from the library or to have an old fridge taken away, then so be it, it is the price we pay for Gordon Brown’s mismanagement of the economy. But parking outside your own house isn’t even a service. The permit is a penalty charge for having the misfortune to live close to a popular amenity.

It is as often as not the council’s idea to restrict parking to residents which is not always a bad thing but how can it cost £35 a year to issue them with a piece of paper to stick on their windscreen let alone £100? The restrictions are already just a money-making scheme through extortionate parking fines. One neighbouring borough that imposes far lower taxes than Bexley - I suppose that covers all of them but this one is across the river - doesn’t charge for residents’ parking permits at all, but then they do not have the expenses king Craske to contend with. If the malicious weasel was serious about cutting costs he would make the permits valid for two years and halve the cost of administering the schemes at a stroke. But we all know that such a dramatic increase in price of a paper permit is just a cynical ploy by the nasty little runt to help finance the ever-deepening expenses trough into which he can plunge his greedy snout.


13 July - Another Bexley council fiasco - click any image for photo gallery (6 images)

Pedestrian refuge Wet concrete Man at riskI had planned to feature a first birthday event for the unlit pedestrian refuge in Abbey Road but it seems the council has beaten me to it by five weeks. This morning was marred by the sound of a nearby pneumatic drill and when I found time to take a look just before 2p.m. I found the road dug up and a plastic conduit installed. Unfortunately the hole and been filled in with wet concrete and the traffic allowed to run through it. No workmen were in attendance and every passing vehicle sent a resounding thump through the ground.

Seeing me with a camera the nearest resident rushed out and told me he had phoned the council four times about the thump shaking his foundations and been given the run-around. Apparently no one knew of any work going on in Abbey Road. The resident told me his lunch time glass of beer had jumped off his table when a bus went by and it, the beer that is, went all over his carpet. I can well believe it, even small cars were making quite a thud. While we were talking a council man turned up and said he had come to investigate and he hoped the problem would be fixed before the day was done. It would have made more sense if he had supervised the earlier work and ensured it was properly done.

He was evasive when asked why it had taken best part of a year to address this safety problem but claimed it hadn’t been forgotten. If it wasn’t forgotten doesn’t that make the council’s failure willful and therefore a worse bit of negligence?

By 5p.m. nothing had happened but by six a Conway lorry and a single man showed up. To attempt to repair the road with no protection would be foolhardy and I watched from a distance as he made a phone call. Immediately afterwards he backed his lorry alongside the refuge and blocked the road. No traffic warning signs were put out and the rush hour traffic had to directly face that coming in the opposite direction. I don’t blame the man, he had been sent out totally unequipped to tackle the job and chose to take his life in his hands to try to stop the thumps rather than go home as he might have been justified in doing, leaving nearby residents with little chance of any sleep.

By 7p.m. a temporary resurfacing had been completed and Conway had gone. Totally unprofessional it might look but it was surprisingly effective at suppressing the thuds. Will it still be intact in the morning?

The unlit refuge was previously reported on 17 February and 28 January and last year on 18 December and 1 December.


4 July - Fencing Lesnes Abbey - What a total waste of money! - click any image for photo gallery (2 images)

Motorcycle LX05 XKD Motorcycle LX05 XKDOn 30 June I mentioned that Bexley council were bragging in their magazine about putting metal railings around Lesnes Abbey woods (and several other parks in the North of the borough) in a vain attempt to exclude motorcyclists. They are ugly and do not comply with disability law and similar fences in Bromley have killed motorists who collide with them. If the fences fail in their objective then this massive expenditure has to be a total waste of taxpayers’ money as well as being a considerable inconvenience to the law-abiding. Would any sensible person ever believe it is possible to allow most people free access to a park but exclude others without installing military style security permanently patrolled by armed guards? Of course not, but Bexley council is not noted for common-sense or logical thought.

This afternoon I was strolling through the woods with a friend who was carrying his video camera. As these two lads passed by he had the presence of mind to press the record button. The images are not perfect but they capture the registration number well enough. LX05 XKD. Look at the larger images to see for yourself.


3 July - Bexley council. ‘Courseworks’ - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

Adult Education - CourseworksA beautifully produced booklet has dropped through Bexley’s letterboxes this week and the vast majority, mine included, is headed straight for the recycling bin. Goodness knows what the cost is especially as my friends in Bromley tell me they have all received copies too. Obviously some sort of catalogue of adult education classes has to be produced but why can’t it be more carefully targeted? One to every household in the borough, and Bromley too apparently, seems grossly extravagant.

When I first moved to this borough some 23 years ago, when Bexley’s council tax (rates) was the third lowest in London and not almost the highest as it is now, the adult education booklet was produced entirely on telephone directory grade paper and served its purpose just as well. There is no need for such a publication to look as though it has come off the same presses as Vogue or Cosmopolitan. Such muddled thinking and downright profligacy by Bexley council goes a long way towards explaining why local taxes are five times as high as they were 20 years ago.

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