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Bonkers Blog December 2016

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11 December - Weekend ramble

Fences down at Lesnes Abbey! Helpful notices down at Abbey Wood station
Lesnes No trainsThe past two weeks has seen the fence around the Lesnes Abbey Visitor Centre taken down, most of it anyway, which may or may not be a precursor to it opening.

The same period has seen steady progress down at the railway station. The Crossrail platform is taking shape.

Much to my surprise trains have been running this weekend. The list of engineering work on display at Abbey Wood station showed a big yellow loop from Deptford through Barnehurst and back via Abbey Wood.

After I realised my mistake I asked the man who puts up the notices at Abbey Wood station what his notice was all about. “Oh, I don’t read those”, he said, and very wise too. He was fooled by it too. Eventually he spotted the small print. Although the line is marked yellow on a notice that says ‘Engineering Work’, this yellow loop did not indicate Engineering Work at all, it indicated a revised timetable.

So what was it doing on the Engineering Works notice encouraging readers to jump to the wrong conclusion?

Things were simple when the station staff were allowed to be helpful and put up a simple notice that everyone could understand. (Expand Photo 2.) The practice was banned by Southeastern management who thought it looked untidy. Those in charge are clearly not interested in helping passengers, they would rather confuse them. nuts obviously. It’s enough to make me a convert to letting Mayor Sadiq Khan take over the franchise. He couldn’t make a bigger mess of things could he?

(I think I shall have to think about that given his lamentable performance so far.)

Engineering Work

Welling’s money box junctions
I don’t get on well with Facebook, to be honest I very rarely look, not even at Sharon Massey’s page despite her belief that various people stalk her, me and Councillor Borella included. She’s nuts obviously.

Someone tipped me off earlier in the week that there was a comment on the BiB Facebook page (which is run by a third party), that I should probably answer.

FacebookI twice penned a reply and both times it disappeared into the Facebook ether so I am going to answer it here.

I use Welling’s Central Avenue once each week. Last Sunday there was no room at the money box’s exit so I held back, first in the queue to cross. Someone behind me decided to overtake and possibly realising there was no legitimate place to go went the wrong side of the Keep Left bollards and down to the lights on the wrong side of the road. Bexley Council says that its revenue raisers are to make the road safer. They are a bad joke aren’t they? Nuts obviously.

Today I found myself in the same position after the car in front of me turned left towards the station. However the road was blocked by a van which for reasons unknown was parked broadside across the road blocking it totally.

There wasn’t even room for the admittedly quite large saloon to get its back end off the yellow box and the driver had to pull back, In doing so he was stuck in the money machine because I couldn’t reverse because of the queue that had developed behind me.

It is worth repeating that an offence is committed only if the box is entered when its exit is not clear. Bexley Council, dishonest as ever, will only give you carefully edited video that you stopped in the box. That is not sufficient evidence, it must show you entering the box while the exit is blocked. Anything less than that and they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

Thames Water
Bexley Council’s least favourite utility continues to get a bad press. Some people have resorted to writing to the company’s Director of Customer Service but like Danny Leamon, the Head of Metering, he ignores everything.

While several roads around the borough have seen their plumbing wrecked by mud, in Footscray they are lucky to get much of anything through their pipes.

Your mention of Thames Water is interesting for over here in Footscray we have had very low water pressure for about a month. Several of us have replaced showers thinking them to be faulty but it is a pressure problem.

We have contacted Thames twice daily for weeks and are fobbed of with lies and false promises. We have involved James Brokenshire M.P. who is doing his best to help but I think is just having the same dialogue as we are with them. They employ paid liars and are not fit to run a public utility.

P.S. Try reporting something in Crossway. The app will insist on the nearest building of which there are none - by design.

Very true. Maybe you will indulge my own experience?

When I first moved to Bexley and cheques were the standard form of payment I paid Thames Water’s bill in one go. Thames Water continued to demand payment and I eventually sent them a copy of my bank statement, but they persisted and eventually took out court proceedings. I was more than happy to show them up before the beak but just to be sure told my bank what was going on and sought absolute confirmation that the payment had been made. In my view they overstepped the mark by contacting Thames Water and settling the matter. My day in court was thwarted!

It transpired that I had accidentally overpaid Thames Water by one penny and their accounting system couldn’t cope. They said they would fix their computer to ensure it didn’t happen again.

About ten years later and being of an occasionally bloody-minded disposition I overpaid by a penny again and exactly the same thing happened.

After that I began to pay by ten individual payments (not Direct Debit) which was OK for a few years but I then decided to pay the whole lot in one go again. I paid on 4th April and at the end of that month received a letter to say that as I had paid after 1st April I was no longer eligible to pay by standing order. If they thought I was still paying monthly I was nine months in credit. Nuts obviously.

Their incompetence manifested itself in East Ham too but that story can wait for another time.

Digital by default
FingerThere is no way that Bexley’s plan to put all their services on line will not lead to inconvenience and a digital divide between the young and the elderly, the fit and the infirm and the poor and the better off.

But the Council will no doubt continue to fool themselves.

I really cannot be bothered to report broken street lights any more and when people block my drive waiting for someone to respond to a web form is never likely to be a practical solution to an immediate problem.

Unknown to me Bexley Council seems to have introduced on line fly tip reporting too. Maybe it’s because I haven’t got a clue what a mobile app is.

A reader sent me this message and it is probably a good indicator of the problems soon to beset us all.

I wanted to report some long term fly tipping in Thamesmead’s Crowden Way and given the move towards compulsory reporting by internet I logged into My Bexley (Report It).

It is impossible to complete the report as the application will not recognise either the address or the postcode (SE28 8HE).

So, being ignorant of the problem Bexley Council will ignore this fly tipping and claim at Council meetings that it doesn’t exist. Neither will it recognise my address in the neighbouring postcode SE28 8HF. This would make it impossible for me to report any future fly tipping or even defective street lighting should this ever be an issue in my Close. Seems like Bexley Council after decades of neglect of this area have now moved on to abandonment legitimated by ignorance.

NoticeLooks like it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they think that SE28 is in Greenwich. Bexley Council is not very good at post codes.

Street notices appeared in my neck of the woods a week ago which say that Abbey Road, Belvedere is in SE9. Well some parts are in SE2 but SE9 is Eltham and not in this borough at all. So what on earth was the Deputy Director of Regeneration (£112,005 a year plus £57·23 an hour overtime) thinking of?

Nuts obviously.


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