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Friday, 29 September 2006
Stranger Danger

stranger danger

Earlier this week this man swore at me (the f word) and threatened to kick me in the teeth. He later denied it. His daughter then arrived, and also denied it. He threatened to call the police to report me for taking photographs (in which he and his wife appeared) in a public place. He accussed me of taking a photograph of his (grown) daughter (which wasn’t true) and suggested I might be a paedophile, adding that there was a nursery school around the corner (!). He said I must be a stranger, not from around these parts, which is an ironic accusation from a man who is is part of a multi-ethnic family. He asked me to hand over the film in my camera and seemed surprised when I told him there was no film in the camera (welcome to the digital age - ask your daughter to explain).  For about 15 minutes a very polite bystander tried to explain the law of taking photographs in public places to this aggressive individual.  It didn’t sink in - clearly the man with yobbish tendencies (and his family) believed that they enjoyed the rights of privacy that celebrities expect when on private property. The polite bystander left, after suggesting to me that I wasn’t doing my own case any good. Other bystanders suggested to me that the problem might go away if I left.  I did leave, after taking a close up photograph of the man’s car.

stranger car

So how did I not do my own cause any good? I didn’t shout back at this individual, accuse him of any crime, or threaten him with violence. I simply refused to give him any explanation for what I was doing.  He had come at me shouting and threatening me, and I therefore felt I didn’t owe him any explanation whatsoever. In fact I had popped out to pick up a prescription from the chemist and was taking some photographs of the parking situation in Oxted town centre. (See upcoming post/posts). I wonder if the fact that this man was parked illegally, and partially blocking access to the childcare nursery (e.g. for emergency services), had anything to do with his unpleasant and aggresive behaviour?

Posted by bigblue on 29/09/2006 at 07:24 AM
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Thursday, 28 September 2006
The Maze

Oxted Health Centre

Rumour has it that when they built the play area in Master Park in Oxted, they neglected to take into account the needs of disabled people. The local council is now rectifying this by building an obstacle course for people in wheelchairs at the Oxted Health Centre, next to the public library.

Posted by bigblue on 28/09/2006 at 07:26 AM
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Wednesday, 27 September 2006
Clear Cone

Clear Cone

The saga with my webhost continues ... this site was completely down for about 20 hours yesterday. I have also had a couple of problems since upgrading the software that runs the blog. I have mostly sorted these out.

I spotted the unusual vehicle pictured above on the hard shoulder of the M25 last week. It is apparently not an ice-cream van, but is used to survey the road surface for maintenance projects.

Posted by bigblue on 27/09/2006 at 09:01 AM
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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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