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Sunday, 24 September 2006
News from Oxted


I can’t find anything in the papers about the recent incident. However last week’s local rags brought some other news. The Surrey Mirror offered us our

new “friendly” parking wardens.

So it seems I spoke too soon when I said I preferred the current situation to one where traffic wardens are used as revenue generators. It seems the Surrey Mirror is not yet au fait with this internet malarkey, because the story is not (yet) up on their website. The Sevenoaks Chronicle is more 21st Century because it covers both the parking story and the police station closure.  Maybe it’s me, but I
detect a whiff of Pravda in both The Chronicle and The Mirror. These are two controversial issues, yet neither paper presents any controversy. I wonder if it is because neither of these papers like to say anything that might offend their advertisers.

If we start with the parking, am I the only cynic who thinks that this is a rather strange way to deal with a parking shortage? Instead of providing better accessibility, the council employs two attendants who will

generate revenue

penalise offenders rather than solve the underlying problem. Furthermore, in my experience the worst and most persistent offenders are local businesses.  And this gumpf about
the parking attendants being “friendly” and “giving advice and directions to the public”? What do they take us for? This is blatant spin: Are we suddenly to believe that there is a need for this kind of service when everyone has coped just fine up till now? I don’t have a strong desire to defend the motor vehicle, or inconsiderate drivers. By all means pedestrianise the town centre, ban cars from within half a mile of the centre, and convert half our roads into bicycle and skating lanes. However these are issues to be argued, and debated, not reported as bland council press releases.

On the second issue, of the closure of the police station, the same sort of argument applies. The Chronicle article quotes East Surrey divisional commander Guy Darby as saying that all of the officers who currently serve Oxted will remain based there, and that a front counter with the same opening hours will ensure that they are just as, if not more, accessible.  The unspoken assumption is that (despite cut-backs over the years) Oxted is currently well served. Or perhaps a cynic might say that the cut-backs have already taken place and the station closing reflects that these changes have taken place over the past years? There may be no point keeping a police station if you have all but shut it down several years ago, but now you are considering selling off the building shouldn’t you be reviewing the decision rather than restating it as fact?  I have no answer, but it seems that our local journalists don’t either.

Note: Still having problems with my web host, and am unable to submit posts the normal way. This is getting ridiculous, and I’ve started looking for alternative providers.

Posted by bigblue on 24/09/2006 at 05:38 PM
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Thursday, 21 September 2006
Problems posting!


I’m currently having problems posting to my blog. Apparently it is something to do with “over-zealous” mod security having being applied by my host. I am trying to solve the problem with them. I’m not sure how hard they are trying to resolve the problems from their end.  Normal service should be resumed in due course (even if I have to move to a different host).

If you can see this then my moblog settings are still working…

The photo above is of Boris Johnson‘s identical twin brother, who drives a bus in Hillingdon, London. Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to take a decent photo, so you will have to take my word for it.

Posted by bigblue on 21/09/2006 at 11:32 PM
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Monday, 18 September 2006
No justice for British Citizen in Brazil

free craig alden

I spotted this car recently sporting a sticker that contains both a Brazilian and Union flag, with the words No justice for British citizen in Brazil. In one of those strange examples of the way the brain works, I assumed for a few seconds that it must concern the case of the young Brazilian electrician who was executed by London police last year in an anti-terror investigation gone wrong. Some of the police blunders were only revealed due to the actions of a whistleblower in the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The most recent twist in this case is that the police officer in charge on that day has been promoted.

As the traffic stopped (and I reached for my mobile phone to take the above photograph) I noticed the smaller writing at the bottom of the sticker: At that moment by brain processed the information on the sticker and I realised the obvious: the case concerns an alleged injustice done to a British citizen in Brazil.

Posted by bigblue on 18/09/2006 at 08:07 PM
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Sunday, 17 September 2006
Police incident in Oxted

Police incident in Oxted

There was another police incident in Oxted. On Friday and Saturday a police officer stood guard outside this sealed crime scene in the Haywain. (Or more correctly sat guard in a car, reading cheap celebrity magazines).  As a reader of books, I fear the worst, however neither the police man (guarding on Friday evening) nor the police woman (guarding on Saturday morning) would give me any information about the incident. They both suggested that “it wouldn’t be fair” to do so. The latter suggested that I would be able to read all the details in the newspaper in the coming days, which made me wonder whether it would “be fair” for the police to give all the details of the crime to the newspapers.

Posted by bigblue on 17/09/2006 at 06:54 AM
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Saturday, 16 September 2006


Congestion on the M25 again yesterday evening caused long delays, and forced me to take an alternative route. I am thinking of getting a sattelite navigation system to assist me in plotting these cross-country journeys. The system would need to be linked to the Traffic Management System (available in UK, France, Germany) which would warn of upcoming congestion and road works and propose alternative routes. However I suspect that these systems are great when you are the only car on the road with one: what will happen when everyone is redirected onto the alternative route?

Posted by bigblue on 16/09/2006 at 01:15 PM
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Friday, 15 September 2006

hot air blower

I arrived at my client’s site this morning to find this man wielding a hot air blower.  I have noticed these units in operation before. Who could forget seeing Haguenau council workers both removing and replacing leaves on a road at the same time? It was the first time that I have seen someone using this tool to remove puddles from a road.

Posted by bigblue on 15/09/2006 at 08:44 PM
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Thursday, 14 September 2006
Burgh Heath Revisited

site of Burgh Heath accident

A week after the accident near Burgh Heath I took the same route to avoid another nasty accident on the M25.  I couldn’t resist taking the above photograph for comparison. As with last week’s photo, click on the photograph for a wider view.

Posted by bigblue on 14/09/2006 at 10:56 PM
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Wednesday, 13 September 2006
A Head


This head in a flower-pot can be found outside Sarastro Restaurant in Drury Lane, Theatreland, London.  The restaurant is named after a character in Mozart’s Magic Flute, and situated within a Grade II listed Victorian townhouse. The restaurant was designed by artist Richard Sleeman, and is sumptuously decorated in an Opera Theme from ceiling to floor. Fourteen opera boxes adorn three sides of the restaurant, accommodating from 4 to 22 people each. The restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine, specialising in fish dishes. Sundays and Mondays feature opera performances by up-and-coming stars of the Royal and National Opera Houses.

Posted by bigblue on 13/09/2006 at 11:06 PM
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