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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Snow weather...


Over the years we've had a number of Volkswagen vans and campervans. We've also had loads of problems with them. Anyway, at the moment we have a big car and a trailer tent, but we're thinking of changing it again for a van.
You see, we just love vans... They're so easy to get Nic in and out of and they suit our lifestyle...
We can just throw all the camping stuff in the back of the van and head for the beach.
It's a big headache though, searching for the ideal vehicle. We know what we want, it's just that to get the van we want would cost a fortune, so we will have to compromise - but isn't that true for everybody? Well, No! But...
Jack wants us to get a long wheel based Transporter with lowered suspension and tinted windows and the whole thing painted in black. Nic wants a day van with a rock 'n roll bed and a picnic basket. I want a fully loaded campervan with a massive drive away awning.
Somewhere between the three ideals lies the compromise. For a start, I've already seen/located a low mileage short wheel base Transporter that's fitted with a wheelchair ramp and floor tracking and more to the point if we're being realistic, it's just about within our price range. So...
The downside to the van I've located is that the wheelchair ramp is at the rear, which means that we can't have a tow-bar, which in turn means that we can't tug the flaming trailer tent. I don't know if we can de-fix the rampage and enter by the side loading door which is what we have always done before, mainly because all the old Transporters we had, had the engine at the back. Anyway...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Life goes on...

You can clink-the-link to my really bad pub-poetry blog and watch my son Jack's film The Escape. The best action film ever...
We've mentioned recycling before on these pages and we/I most probably will do again. Recycling is one of those things that has crept up over the years until we can't remember what it was like when we threw everything in the dustbin. Well, in this little bit of Bohemia there are still some people who throw everything straight onto the street. We have had wheelie bins for more than ten years now and people haven't really got used to them here. They've got used to the fact that all the back alleys are littered with the filthy smelly rat infested things - but they haven't in general figured out what to do with them yet.
You see the problem is that if you put a wheelie bin in your back yard the local robbers and thieves will use it as scaffolding to help them break and enter into your house.
(1) They push the wheelie bin against your back wall underneath a window.
(2) They jump up on top of it and smash a window.
(3) They kick in the glass, pull down any curtain or blind, kick in any security grille.
(4) They enter through your smashed window, run into your house, kick down any locked doors.
(5) They grab your laptop, your mobile phone, any money, jewellery, bank books/cards.
(6) They exit, usually the same way they entered, almost before the alarm goes off.
(7) It all happens in the time it takes to read this.
Now the thing is, there are so many of these discarded wheelie bins in this neighbourhood that the robbers actually use them as get away cars. After they've robbed your house by first of all using a wheelie bin as scaffolding, they now use a second wheelie bin, that they find in the back alley, to wheel your goods away. The police know all about this trick and often check the wheelie bins to see if any stolen property has been dumped there. Sometimes, they even find a robber or two hiding inside one of them.
The answer in this area would be to use a different kind of wheelie bin. You see, not only are the wheelie bins a nuisance to the householders and an eyesore to the general public, but they are also a health hazard, when they are left discarded in back alleys and overturned. Once they are overturned they become overrun with mice and rats and the fly tippers discard their rubbish on top and before you know it the whole alley is infested. Individual wheelie bins should be scrapped in Moss Side and other areas of Manchester and replaced with those big wheeled bins like the shops have.
If you go out into the suburbs you'll see different coloured wheelie bins, green ones for one kind of mess and brown ones for another and black ones for this kind of rubbish and blue ones for that sort of muck and this one'll be collected on this day and that one'll be collected on that day and the other one'll be picked up every fortnight and the first one'll be emptied every other Tuesday etc. Well, I'm sorry folks, but that won't work here! Because, we still can't manage the one black plastic wheelie bin that is emptied on the same day every week. However, I do have a solution that will work for a non-suburban terraced house neighbourhood.
What we need is a big wheeled bin, like the shops have. Say one for every ten or fifteen houses. It would be neatly stationed at the end of a back alley and it would be for general household rubbish. Once this is in place and working, then you can introduce different big wheeled bins for different things. The trick is to have just one general rubbish bin at each station and one other bin. The other bin would need to be clearly marked for its intended purpose. At each station the second bin would be different to the second bin within a short circuit. So at the first station you could have say, a glass bin, at the second station, a waste paper bin, at the third station you might have a cardboard bin, at the next station a plastic bottle bin. etc.
Then the issue of collections needs to be addressed. The faithful council binmen do a great job in all weathers and get little thanks for their efforts from the public or their employers. It's not easy having to cope with some of the mess, filth, and vermin that these men must face on a daily basis. On top of that you must take into consideration the terrible weather, the wet and the rain in winter and the heat of the great British summer and the associated smell and sickly stink that goes with it for the underpaid Hygiene Operative. Most of the above could and should be a thing of the past. Instead of having weekly or fortnightly collections, I believe we should introduce daily collections. Why?
Okay, the reason why we need daily collections is to stop the filth and vermin and the fly tipping building up.
How to go about it? One way would be to allow the crews to go round a neighbourhood and empty the general household bins and then for the men to be paid a bonus for each tonne that they tip.
When? This could start as soon as the old wheelie bins are removed from our streets and the new big wheel bins are neatly put in place.
WHERE? You could start with my back alley, if you like.
"Alright," said the councilor. "But we already have recycling points at all the supermarkets and some roadside collection places in some areas. Also, we have a fortnightly doorstep collection of certain recyclable goods. So, I can't see your problem!"
Okay, my problem with the supermarket recycling skips is that they have little letter box sized windows that you have to push the cartons or the bottles into. That's fine on a sunny day, if you've nothing better to do and you've got time to walk or cycle to the supermarket car park and stand there in the wet and freezing cold shoving bits of tat through a fuggin sharp metal slit with the gas guzzling Cheshire set laughing at you from their heated and air conditioned Chelsea tractors on their way back out of the city.
The thing is, nothing will change, no one will listen to what I have to say. Why should they? They, the powers that be, didn't take any notice of what I said about how to solve the congestion issue. They didn't listen when I told them what to do about the metrolink, local rail and buses. They didn't respond when I suggested that the Manchester supercasino project could be replaced with a money spinning, job creating, economy solving Eiffel style tower, so why will they scrap the individual wheelie bins in inner city neighbourhoods and replace them with hygienic big wheel bins like some shops have, now? They won't? What do you think about all this nonsense?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On the buses..

The simple solution to the bus pass fiasco that is sweeping Manchester and other places is to make the blooming buses free for everyone. You think I'm joking? Think again! If this city is seriously worried about congestion and pollution then the future, as far as the buses go, must be free. Not just for people over sixty years of age. Children in Manchester need free transport Now! Shoppers in Manchester need free buses Now! Workers in Manchester need free buses Now! Buses are already free for kids and senior citizens in London, why not in other areas too?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Much too much...

When is too much not enough? And other questions of this ilk might be asked of those who don't know when to quit. I am of course talking about the Manchester Supercasino! The problem is that it's political and there's no easy answer. It's one of those, just when you think you've won, you've actually lost, situations. But that's what gambling's all about, surely. Okay, 3,000 prospective jobs have been left uncreated and another eyesore site in east Manchester remains on the drawing board. So, what's the answer?
If you want a quick-fix to get the economy moving in an unemployment blackspot and severely deprived neighbourhood, then looking to the skies is the quick-fix solution. Of course, when I reveal my little plan to you, you'll come up with a dozen excuses of why it won't work. You'll reject it out-of-hand and you'll be amazed when another City, town or village takes the idea on board and profits from it. The quick-fix solution is build an Eiffel style tower. You only have to go to Paris to see how many tourists flock to this attraction.
Over a hundred years ago Blackpool built their scaled down version of the Tour de Eiffel, and the landmark that still stands today, is the reason why the Lancashire seaside resort remained such a popular destination throughout the last century.
The Parisian tower has four lifts, (elevators) one in each leg, whisking the never ceasing line of tourists to the viewing platform, some six hundred feet above the ground, and another lift takes people even higher, although not quite to the top, which is reached by steel steps and is over nine hundred feet up in the air. Which is of course equivalent to the height of a ninety plus storey building.
So Manchester, this is your big opportunity to cash-in and make a profit from the Supercasino site by using my quick-fix remedy before some other local authority sticks up their version of The Trifle Tower! or maybe The Eye-full Tower, perhaps The Awe-full Tower or would that be too awful to contemplate? Anyway, whoever does it, (and someone will) will profit and big-time too! Why? Because it's a tried and tested method! Of course the next version of this steel construction will have to be higher and have some super facilities. But, build it and they will come, in their hundreds and in their thousands with all their tourist Dollars, Euro's, Pounds and Yen. A project of this nature will create many many jobs and it will secure the economy of the whole area.