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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
County lengthsmen

county lengthsmen

The meanies were driving around Kent this afternoon when they noticed the truck ahead of them with a strange sign on the back. Whatever could it mean?

According to an article dated 21 June 2005 on the Kent County Council website:

Kent County Council is reviving an old idea to send out a mini army of road workers this summer. Their mission? To restore and maintain highways around Kent.

Armed with shovels, brooms and shears, they will be going out to repair potholes and carry out other highway maintenance work.

The County Lengthsmen will be dispatched in small teams of two or three on a fleet of 20 identifiable lorries. They will patch and repair roads, cut back overhanging trees and hedges, replace and repaint signs and clear gullies.

Until now road workers have been sent out following highway inspectors’ reports. But under the new arrangements County Lengthsmen will also be relying on residents, parish and town councils to report problems.

The aim is to develop stronger links between the workforce and the local communities which they serve. In this way the scheme will revive the old idea of men being responsible for a specific length of road where they work.

Kent Highway Services is expanding the task force after a successful trial in Tunbridge Wells. The crews will begin operating from depots around the county between June and September.

Kent has some quaint traditions and laws. Calling a gang of road maintenance people, some of whom may be women, lengthsmen seems just daft.

Posted by bigblue on 16/05/2006 at 07:45 AM
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Monday, 15 May 2006
Another curse

come on England

Another curse for an English sporting summer, this time from a local supermarket.

Posted by bigblue on 15/05/2006 at 09:09 AM
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Sunday, 14 May 2006
From the ladies room

poster in ladies room

Bluemeanie found and photographed this poster for me in the ladies toilets at the Odeon Cinema in Guildford.  We went to see Prime.

The words on the above poster read:

To ensure high levels of cleanliness, we would like to make our customers aware that male attendants may be carrying out checks in the female toilets.

It provides a clear example of a fallacy, probably a fallacy of the consequent as one does not need to use male attendants to ensure high levels of cleanliness in toilets.

Posted by bigblue on 14/05/2006 at 12:34 PM
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Saturday, 13 May 2006
Disabled Parking

disabled parking bays

I often wonder if there aren’t too many disabled parking bays at shopping centres, railway stations, etc.  Even when all the other bays are completely full there seems to be a plethora of disabled bays available.

Not at Sevenoaks railway station: Here there is a stop-and-drop zone that accommodates about four cars, 20-minute parking bays for six cars, 5 disabled bays and a taxi rank that accommodates about 40 vehicles. To be fair there are probably several grounds to complain about the above allocation, but one should bear in mind that there is a long-term parking area a short walk away.  If the figures on the Sevenoaks station website are correct, this long-term parking area contains only two additional disabled bays (out of over 500).

This afternoon, at about 5 o’clock, when we had a sudden thunderstorm, you could not complain that there were too many disabled bays.  As pictured above, all five disabled bays were fully utilised whereas the stop-and-drop zone was free as were three of the 20-minute bays.

Is Sevenoaks one of the most disabled towns in England? If so they hide it well: all five drivers looked fully abled to me.

Posted by bigblue on 13/05/2006 at 10:39 AM
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Flooding at Four Elms

flood in Four Elms

Driving back from Sevenoaks, I passed through the village of Four Elms, in The High Weald an area designated as being of outstanding natural beauty.  In Sevenoaks we had had some rain, but here there was flooding from the sudden thunderstorm.  Ten minutes later, back in Oxted, it was dry and sunny: there had been no rain whatsoever.

Posted by bigblue on 13/05/2006 at 09:56 AM
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Friday, 12 May 2006
Lost dog

lost dog

Following last week’s feel-good posting about a dog that was lost, and found, I spotted another lost dog poster near Oxted.  Unfortunately this dog is still missing.

I’m getting quite impressed now with the Lost Dog website.

Last year I went through a phase of publishing found grocery lists.  See here and here.  Yesterday I found (via Boing Boing) that there is a whole website devoted to found shopping lists.

Posted by bigblue on 12/05/2006 at 09:26 AM
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Thursday, 11 May 2006
Found in Oxted

Station Road West, Oxted

Found: One large hole in the road in Station Road East, Oxted.
The hole seems to have been abandoned by its owners, who were seen to be paying it much attention earlier in the week but have now vanished.  The only clue to their existence are the two British Gas vans parked on a yellow line, which are causing a further obstruction to traffic and pedestrians.  At about 12 noon yesterday, three men with reflective yellow jackets walked up to the hole and stared into it fondly for several minutes. However they did not seem to recognise it as their hole, and left shortly afterwards.

Please would anyone with information about the owners of the hole, kindly inform them that it has been found and they can collect it at their earliest convenience.

Posted by bigblue on 11/05/2006 at 09:37 AM
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Wednesday, 10 May 2006
Parking crimes

Parking problems

I stopped for fifteen minutes in Sevenoaks high street yesterday morning. The fifteen minutes turned into 2 hours as I was wedged between two cars and couldn’t get out.  The annoying thing is that the parking area has a limit of 1 hour’s parking (with no return within 2 hours).

As you can see from the photograph above, there is also a car parked on the right hand side of the picture, on a yellow line (registration LV55UDW, sporting a disabled parking badge). This car effectively turned the street into a one-way road whenever a lorry passed.

My car is pictured second from the left. Behind it is the Sevenoaks Cleaning Company transit van (registration HK03EKF). I phoned the company to complain but they asked me to look around for someone cleaning windows while they tried to contact him on his mobile. Eventually their driver materialised out of thin air (1 minute before the traffic warden), and moved his van.

In front of my car is a black Peugeot 307 (registration NU52WKF).  This driver also materilised from thin air within 30 seconds of the traffic warden arriving.  I presume the driver works in an office/shop on the high street. I saw him drive to the (pay-and-display) parking area on Blighs Meadow.

In front of this car is a red Daewoo Kalos (registration LV54UVG), and in front of that a black Volkswagen Driver (registration H638DTP), and in front of that a black Landrover Discovery (registration GF05EKW), followed by a silver Honda (registration RJ53SHZ).  All of the vehicles (not only those blocking my exit) were parked there continuously for well over the one hour limit.

After waiting for one hour I phoned the Sevenoaks District Council to request the presence of a traffic warden. I had intuited that if a traffic warden appeared my problems would rapidly disappear. It took 30 minutes for the warden to arrive (which I am not grumbling about, considering that he had to come from the other side of the district).  However I had to work very hard to persuade the woman at the Council that a traffic warden would be of any use. She pointed out that he would have to note down the registration numbers and then could only issue tickets after another hour had elapsed. I said this was fine and suggested that if a traffic warden arrived and started writing down the registration numbers I was convinced the drivers would appear and the problem would evaporate.  Strangely enough, that is exactly what happened.

The photos below show some of the parking offenders.
parking offenders

Posted by bigblue on 10/05/2006 at 11:58 AM
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