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Bonkers Blog August 2015

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24 August - From Lesnes Abbey to Sidcup via Abbey Wood

This is another multi-subject blog and due to time constraints it has appeared in dribs and drabs throughout the day. I think it may be complete now.

Lesnes Abbey
Mulberry treeTen days ago BiB referred to the delays affecting the creation of a new visitor centre at Lesnes Abbey. It was not possible to say much at the time because valuable artefacts had been found on the site and if the details had become known they would have attracted thieves and treasure hunters. However the historical remains have now been safeguarded and the truth can be told.

Fortunately I do not have to repeat it here because Bexley council has distributed another Press Release, read a copy here.

It wasn’t just a dead horse that had been found, but human graves and remains too.

Crossrail. Bostall Manorway footbridge
As already noted, the new footbridge over the railway at the end of Bostall Manorway was installed at the weekend. The old one will be returned to service on Thursday and the new one will be brought into use once everything is thoroughly checked. Then the old one will be demolished.

The new bridge did not come totally without problems. Balfour Beatty, Network Rail’s primary contractor at first said it would be lifted into place late on Saturday evening but the £25,000 a day crane didn’t get to lift it until around 5 p.m. Sunday. After waiting something like 20 hours to see it fly, it was lowered into place, a perfect fit in just 20 minutes.

The delay appeared to be connected with the joining of the two halves, it was receiving constant attention in that area throughout Saturday night and Sunday and any damage to the paintwork was instantly remedied with a paint brush.

The manufacturers’ team (DMG Steelworkers) from Wigan must have been exhausted. Meanwhile the various contractors’ men necessarily stood around doing not a lot.

As usual Balfour Beatty’s staff and Network Rail’s senior managers on site were very helpful and I learned a few more interesting facts about the project.

There are 41 photographs in chronological sequence in the usual place. Those viewing on mobiles with expensive data charges will probably want to avoid it like the plague.
More Crossrail related blogs.

An acceptable compromise has been reached with the code to display adverts. You have probably not noticed but blogs can be displayed in four different formats (and each of them in seven text size/ page width variants) and it will be possible to show either one or two adverts (or none) independently in each of the four blog formats.

Some more information may be seen on this page.

In typical fashion one of the two business owners who made the request that provoked adverts is now saying he is not ready, and the other one has not responded to email. Not a good sign.

In the meantime two have been invented for demonstration purposes.

Councillor Rob Leitch, Sidcup’s garden guru
I suppose that coming across so many Bexley Conservatives who are clearly in politics mainly to line their own pockets or perhaps for self-aggrandisement there may be a danger that I over-react if I come across one who clearly hasn’t read the Teresa O’Neill OBE (Oppress Bully Enforce) rule-book on how to be a disciplined disciple of the Great Dictator.

Walled GardenRight from the outset I have felt that Rob Leitch’s initiative to save Sidcup’s Walled Garden from the ravages of Bexley council’s cuts was a magnificent idea and deserved widespread support.

He seems to be getting some from local businesses digging into their pockets and residents are digging into the soil, but more of both would be welcomed. If you can lend a hand you should let Rob know.

I don’t seem to have the stamina for long gardening sessions any more so I asked Rob when I last met him if he had a bank account for donations. He promised to let me know when it was up and running.

It is now and it is The Sidcup Garden Project, Bank Sort Code 40-42-01, Account Number 51605674.

I think I will send him a few bob.

Electrifying stupidity
A month ago Abbey Wood suffered ten days of traffic disruption while UK Power Networks dug a hole in Abbey Road at the foot of Knee Hill and installed a three way traffic control system. I took some photos but it didn't justify a blog being no more than one of life’s annoyances that must be tolerated. The situation offered no alternative solution.

Last Friday UK Power Networks returned to dig up the other side of the road except that it wasn’t the road they dug up it was the central section of a wide footpath.

There was no real reason to close the eastbound carriageway and the adjacent pedestrian crossing but they did and justified it by dumping a single wheelbarrow load of dirt in the gutter and diverting pedestrians into the road.

There was plenty of room to divert pedestrians around the other side of the hole but they carefully blocked that by dumping their compressor in the way. It could have gone almost anywhere.

Throughout the weekend there were traffic queues as I learned to my cost while making eleven visits to Mottisfont Road to see the railway bridge replacement work. After the first two trips on foot I decided that the car was a more sensible option.

Abbey Road Abbey RoadToday there is some work going on in Abbey Road but the situation is basically unchanged. A heap of dirt in the road and traffic hold ups. I suppose it could be argued that the heap of dirt offers some protection to the workers but that doesn’t explain Friday Saturday and Sunday.

For some reason the eastbound carriageway seen in Photo 2 has not been blocked off and as traffic from Knee Hill has to be allowed to go straight ahead there is nothing to stop drivers unfamiliar with the territory going up a cul-de-sac.

I wonder if Bexley council has any staff left who might monitor the abuse inflicted on the borough by utility companies?

While speaking of electricity companies and amoeba-like brain capacities may I mention Scottish Power again?

Last month they raised my Direct Debit from £71 to £76 without any prior notification. They gave me £25 in compensation. Today they announced that my Direct Debit has been increased to £104.

Scottish Power’s website contains a wealth of information if you can find it. A nice graph tells me that my consumption has been steadily falling - gas and electricity (†) - all year and that my credit currently stands at £127 even though the latest consumption figures have been applied but not the corresponding payment. Yet they have whacked up the Direct Debit by very nearly 50%.

As I said, the brain power of an amoeba.

† Probably because I used to make it a rule to quit Bonkers by 19:15 each day and watch a DVD on a large plasma screen. It rarely goes on nowadays and it can be a bit greedy with the electricity!


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