Archive | August, 2012

Chopper Squad!

28 Aug

How much? £10,000 each time it takes off!

How much? £10,000 each time it takes off!

Tuesday 28th August, about 10.30pm, the Police have been out doing their stuff in thier yellow helicopter in the skies above Great Barford, or more precisely above the bypass , that spiritual road that gives us the opportunity to avoid Bedford and go somewhere nice.

I’m going to write to the Chief Constable who amusingly enough is called Alfred Hitchcock (honest!) and suggest that to make their website more interesting they have a little slot with daily updates so when you’ve had the helicopter clattering above your house shaking the roof tiles and generally getting everyone out and looking at the thing, at least you can log on and find out what your money has been spent on this time as mots of the time it just annoys you for half hour, then fucks off and that the last you here. It’s usually kids on a stolen bike and if they do issue a press release it’s often dressed up to give the impression that if it wasn’t for the chopper squad we’d be murdered in our beds, this justifies the alleged £10,000 each time they set off!

I’ll let you know what Alf says and print it if its funny. On a similar theme, I’ve always thought that somewhere in town they should have a big screen showing all the activity going on in both the council CCTV room tucked away in Queens St car park and the police control room down Woburn Rd. This suggestion comes to balance things out if that whilst they watch us shopping we can take five minutes out just to see what they are up to. This seems fair!


Back in the land of no hope!

26 Aug

More grim news. I’ve been working on a potted history of music venues and big name bands that called by Bedford. People that have lived here longer than I recall various venues over time, all of which have slowly gone. The Angel on Elstow Rd had an ace pedigree, bulldozed. Esquires has for some years been the only genuine gig place left and it seems to have hit the rocks, not dead yet but it sounds to be in intensive care. This will leave the Corn Exchange with its tribute acts and people dressed as kids TV characters to entertain us.

The Hobgoblin never made it into the casualty ward, it reopened last year after being closed for some time but it was clear that it never recovered its audience, it always seemed to be trying to attract regulars from The Bear and if you know The Bear it takes a lot to pull them away. So that’s another empty pub welcoming the casual visitor to town! Porter Black the towns premier sports pub at the top has been borded up for ten years now! No one mentions this!

Mayor Dave told me our general stance towards Bedford Borough was “actionable” and I have suggested that he stay away from new shops opening up in town as he seems to be the kiss of death. Now this is tosh, to suggest that Dave can close a business down merely by welcoming them to Bedford implies that he has X Man type powers and anyway it was only a few shops that closed shortly after opening. He’s been giving awards out to town centre stores and the winner was the sweet shop in the Arcade which as I’ve pointed out more than once is a gem of a place. I’ve also pointed out that when a second sweet shop opened up all the local media rushed to welcome them and never mentioned the Arcade sweety shop, Bedford’s now got two sweet shops and my money is on one of them going under.

And the traffic wardens are being given mini CCTV systems that they can wear so everyone walking past them will be filmed. Now the Borough have screwed up previously when it comes to the Data Protecton Act and without wanting to appear to be “actionable” they appear to be hellbent on rivalling the Bedfordshire Police for gizmo’s and special powers.

Local whinger Cllr Colleen Atkins has been harping on about the local pornography dealers on Tavistock St who are trying to renew their licence and given that this particular road has more than its fair share of failed business’s it appears that the two local councillors (Atkins and Louise King) want to add Erotica to this tally!

We should have stayed on the beach.

From Chumba!

17 Aug

We are all going on a Summer (!) Holiday…

16 Aug

Yep folks! we are taking a bit of down time to go and look at the sea! Even Wiz the dog is coming though Debs is staying behind as she’s skint!

We’ll be back in a week for more cheap jibes at Councillors, ill thought out stuff about religious nutters, articles nicked from other websites and the like! We might even get round to revamping the site! See you soon!

S, Gill, Debs, “D” and “H” and Wiz!

Tittle Tattle!

16 Aug


Now me and the Mayor and myself exchanged pleasantries last night. I asked him about the council wasting £120,000 on an environmental campaign that failed to deliver and he’s asked me to send him a copy of the report so I will! I complemented him on finally pushing the ending of wholesale use of agency staff across the council for manual work (bins and gardening) and we then had a chat about all the skulduggery that hung round the council in years gone by and I will admit there’s been an improvement more so since the internal DSD outfit was terminated!
And then we started upping the ante and apparently I’m not that popular at the Town Hall! Now Dave did comment that “they” find some of the comments on Bedford Bypass to be how he termed “actionable” which made my day. Now when it comes to libel Dave is a good person to advise on this as he ended up having to grovel to the previous Mayor a few years back after proceedings were commenced after the Lib Dems got carried away in a pre election election leaflet. Thanks Dave, and before I forget I also need to thank one of his colleagues for letting slip that there is a council officer scrutinising Bedford Bypass for that glorious day when we go over the line.

Now right from the start we took the whole issue of on line publishing seriously. We have specifically not printed some serious, some funny and some seriously funny stories because of their invasive and personal edge and in one case because third parties were involved. As a taster here’s one…a council contractor pushes a council officer down some stairs at a jolly that the officer had been advised not to attend, white powder is found in the gents loo, big kerfuffle trying to keep plod away, a Councillor is the third party. Probably the best one we scotched because the council employee would have been reprimanded possibly sacked. Hard but we all agreed that it was a non starter!
For the record I would dearly love Bedford Borough to have a go back even if it’s just in the papers with a gripe as Bypass could do with a publicity drive. Libel laws from a local authority are fraught with difficulty not least of which it has to be down to individuals and we have on our team sufficient resource to show us the way and some blogs get passed around and rewritten from time to time. If I say Bedford Borough is a pile of poo, no issue. If I say a particular Councillor asked a contractor to take him to a particular art gallery in Italy…..again no issue as I have the proof. If I say Councillor XXXX headbutted someone in The Bear I have problems as a) I can’t prove it and b) It never happened. Get my drift? Its called being able to make a story stand and when I leaked a story to the local media on the County Council trying to cut corners with an incinerator without following due process I ended up with (oddly enough) a Lib Dem Councillor and the Beds on Sunday’s legal team for several hours one Saturday morning trying to get the green light. We did. Front page storm of a story!
From a professional perspective my sister was involved in a libel case some years back in which a notable figure with bogus qualification (PhD bought from Taiwan) was acting as a character witness and assisting dodgy types and actually succeeding in several being acquitted. He brought proceedings after claiming defamation in a journalistic article stating that his pedigree and ability were fabricated however in court he had to admit that his qualifications were as real as Father Christmas. Unable to meet full costs he had to declare bankruptcy. Talking of which someone at Bedford Borough Council knows all about being declared bankrupt as well!
But we carry on regardless!

An optrical illewshun!

14 Aug

Now here at Bedford Bypass we have no truck with religion. We are though reasonably polite to people who quietly get by through believing that someone upstairs is keeping an eye on you and sorting your bad stuff out. This politeness doesn’t extend to people that insist on knocking you up on Saturday morning! Them with big black bags and even bigger smiles! Nor does it extend to people that would impose their religious views by force on others. In fact these types are positively dangerous!

Jesus as a BeeGee!

Jesus as a BeeGee!

I must apologise to a church type lady I met a week or so back who was going on about some magician called Dynamo she had seen on telly. Marvelling at his tricks, one of which was walking on water and how good he was I suggested that he’d better watch out as last time someone did stuff like that they nailed him up. Not very diplomatic and as she makes nice cake I’m sorry for upsetting her and hope she makes a full recovery.

Dynamo on the water!

Dynamo on the water!

Always willing to embrace the marvels of the world, its fantastically brilliant and awe inspiring when natural phenomena gives an unexpected result. Think of those turnips that appear to have male genitalia, a little cock and a pair of nuts between two roots! Brilliant.
Here’s something similar. You might have to struggle to see it and I guess it’s a bit like that picture of the old / young women, you can easily miss it if you either look too hard or not hard enough!
Now I can see it but some of the others just couldn’t get what I was looking at. It’s a picture of some clouds and if you look very carefully you might just see an outline, a very vague formation that could I suppose be interpreted to some as our Lord Jesus of Christ out there cloud surfing, an afternoon meander across the skies of Bedfordshire!
Try it and see if it appears, if you do your luck might well be in and it could be you that wins some unfeasibly if not ludicrously large amount of money on the next rollover lottery. If you do and we shall be rooting for you, remember it was Bedford Bypass that made it all possible and a bit of a leg up would be appreciated!

Game Over!

14 Aug

It’s been a strange sort of mass hypnosis, a huge “love in”, anyone taking a dismissive view of the whole Olympics, expressing a contrary opinion, questioning the costs, the so called legacy was made to feel a pariah!
People carried a mass produced torch round the country and we wet ourselves with anticipation, and now courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act and some spoilsport journalists we are slowly finding out what the additional cost to the public purse for providing police support was, £1million for Northern Ireland and £750,000 for London and this doesn’t include costs for council input and street closures. OK it’s a snippet compared to the £billions that have gone into the games themselves. How much exactly? Well it varies from a low £9billion, averages out at £11billion and depending where you look it’s up to £13billion and I guess we will have to wait some time to get a precise figure and it won’t come easy!

And so it all came to an end on Sunday with what was described as the best of British music, the only positive thing I could discern was that if London was a safer place it was because George Michael wasn’t driving around outside. Reality does however seems to be sneaking back with that recognition that away from the cycling, running, jumping, that girl being smacked in the face (slow motion) and more, an increasing number of people are being plunged into misery and perpetual despair as the full meaning of austerity starts to bite. Hard! Hit someone outside the pub and you end up on the news, maybe crimewatch if you overdo it. Hit someone in an arena and everyone applauds! Sorry I digress…
One oddity is a mantra that’s being pushed or foisted onto us is that the route to our future prosperity as a nation (their words) rests in us all embracing the Olympic spirit and all taking up some form of sport! As if groups of kids hanging round outside sink estate corner shops and kebab palaces will suddenly become engaged with the Tory buzz slogan of all in it together by taking up trotting round on horses or getting on a £20,000 bike!
Maybe it’s just me. I lack the gene that otherwise would get me excited over sport. A gold medal in Olympic “dog walking down by the river”. Maybe not, the dog’s got a touch of arthritis so it’s more leisurely strolls these days!
Meanwhile to bring us back to Bedford, we mentioned goings on at Borough Hall and its proposals to improve public services by closing places down and hiving off sports facilities. Note the connection!

One of the cost saving measures is to close the Bunyan Sports Centre down. This place can be found on Mile Rd on the border between Kingsbrook and Cauldwell Wards which regular readers will recall rank as area of high social deprivation. I don’t know what the closure timescales are as it’s all gone quiet but given the almost religious fervour about the torch, our embracement of sport and zzzzzz! Wake up at the back! It seems a bit odd to close a place that might assist our local yoths get super fit and consider a future in which they run about in some hot country in the future. And if they don’t fancy the army then they might try netball!

Mars Rover beams back amazing panorama images

10 Aug

Mars rover Curiosity has taken a break from instrument checks to beam back a stunning 360-degree view of its home on the Red Planet.

Park and Rob!

10 Aug

The council are up to their usual trick of “manufacturing consent” for things that ultimately transfer money from you and I to council coffers without us actually seeing anything for it!
Me and Debs went for one of our urban rambles last Tuesday evening in search of the site of the former lunatic asylum that once stood off the Ampthill Rd. Lasting just short of 50 years the impressive building was pulled down in 1860 leaving just an equally impressive 12ft wall next to the railway line.
We reached it by ambling down Maryville Rd which is some considerable distance from the town centre, a bit further and you start seeing fields! Now up the top of the main road is Bedford Hospital and it’s a busy place with a sizeable car park mostly made up from old bits of railway sidings. The Hospital decided some years back to jack the price of parking up considerably and started charging the staff (nurses and trolley pushers) for the privilege of looking after the sick and dying plus the wee ones in Cygnet Ward (babies not dwarves). The consequence is that in the immediate streets you get people saving themselves a fair bit of dosh by parking outside someone’s house. Then the residents themselves quite often have more than one car and to be frank it resembles Camden town in the three of four immediate streets. I’m guilty as hell in that if and when I attend the diabetic clinic I’ll park up down the road, help my blood sugar down by running there, getting a good result, buying some crisps and running back to the car. Or I might stroll!
Enter local ex policeman and now Vicar Cllr Reverend Royden who’s fast becoming a sort of Brough Council Ninja. Rev Royden has apparently been approached by residents who want to see the free parking scandal stomped on and a permit scheme imposed on every house in the area. Just to be fair they are having a consultation. I know because it was in the local paper. Problem is there’s sod all on the council website. It says to ring a Diane Hale at the Town Hall and all you get us a fairly blunt answer service that like much of the council’s thinking, leaves you high and dry.

Diana Hale. Too busy to answer the phone!

Diana Hale. Too busy to answer the phone!

So my assumption is that the council having recognised that they can use the parking situation as a means of making money are going to extend the Controlled Parking Zone well beyond the actual core of the problem and it really does come across as an additional tax on car owners.
That length of Ampthill Rd and Kempston Rd was once the industrial heart of Bedford, houses on one side and engineering / manufacturing on the other. Today its increasingly becoming mass compact housing with more and more appearing each month. Guess what! You all need cars one, two, maybe three per house because you work miles away and the bus service is crap. Under the CPZ it will cost you £25 a year for the first, £73 for the next and £94 for the third! If you are a business and I guess that includes the shops and people that sell chips and so on it’s a bargain at £180 for car one and £250 for each for the rest! It also makes it possible for the Council’s camera snappy van to fine any heinous evil villain that parks up outside Europa Foods to by a samosa or bhaji. So mor than enough to help the local shops as they slide into decline!

The face of Bedford!

The face of Bedford!

But fear not, there’s a new Waitrose opened up across town and whilst you are over there spending your money you won’t be parked up in the Parking Zone and so won’t be fined! Also you won’t be putting your money directly into the local economy either but don’t worry too much!

And now over to Syria!

8 Aug

Iran says retired Guards among hostages held in Syria

The Iranian foreign minister says a group of 48 Iranians abducted by rebels in Syria include a small number of retired Revolutionary Guards and soldiers (approx. 48).
Ali Akbar Salehi said they no longer had any military role despite being dressed in military uniform and heavily armed and that they had been in Damascus for a pilgrimage and annual rally of armoured vehicles when they were seized on Saturday. Fighting continues in Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, with an unconfirmed report that rebels have pulled back.