Archive | February, 2013

And the Winner is…Viridor

27 Feb

If you are a regular visitor to Bedford Bypass you might have seen regular blogs about waste company Viridor who managed the recycling centre on Barkers Lane, Bedford. I say managed as the council got a better offer from another company last year so Viridor went bye byes!

Unfortunately at the same time as Viridor were filling in all the paperwork to carry on in Bedford they sacked the three longest serving staff at the site. Some really serious charges like smoking outside of an invisible box, taking a second hand strimmmer home. Guilty!

We went to an employment tribunal in January and given the formality of the set up and Viridors obvious ability to draft in expensive legal suits I wasn’t really expecting good news so when it didn’t arrive its business as usual. For me at least!

There are some serious outstanding peculiarities as to several aspects of this saga, one Viridor manager say one thing and another totally contradicts him, yet the Chief Exec of the company (Colin Drummond who made our hearts melt when he went working undercover with people who shovel shit) seems unwilling to provide a clear answer as to why his staff can’t agree on something relating to Health and Safety.

The other thing thats not been answered is the blanket use of CCTV at the this a public site filming US, the public. It seems that the Borough take a view that it was nothing to do with them yet the Information Commissioner cleary states that a local authority can’t glibbly divest themselves of data protection responsibilities. So just like in Star Wars…the saga continues!

Visiting Proudhon!

25 Feb
Hanging out with Proudhon!

Hanging out with Proudhon!

Whilst in Paris last week we wandered casually into Cimetiere du Montparnasse. Pierre Proudhon is buried there in the family tomb. The French plan there graveyards different to us as there is hardly any room between plots so you have a real squeeze to get to a particular one. If you clambered over gravestones in Bedford cemetery I dare say you’d be fined, mind you if you die in Bedford I’m sure the Mayor will come up with some way of adding extra cost to this special event. Bit of a dear do already. Meanwhile back in Paris.
Proudhon is regarded in anarchist circles as a “geezer” as he was the very first person to say “ I am an anarchist” and his book “What is Property encouraged a young German lad called Karl Marx to write in a similar theme. He also coined the phrase “property is theft” meaning “labor” and the way we sell our lives to further others and he also ushered in the term “mutualism”.
Unlike us modern day anarchists he wasn’t perfect, he supported national service and could be anti semetic at times. But there he rests. He’s quite close to Simone deBeauvoir and Jean Paul Satre.
We messed up. We’d actually gone looking for Jim Morrison’s grave but he’s in Cimitiere Pere Lachaise. Oops. I did spot one tomb of the Famille Marsaud. Now these must be the mortal remains of a French family that were forced down the throats of British school kids throughout the 70s and 80s in books and crap slideshows. They were like a very dull Simpsons even to having a raggedy son, a clever young daughter and a daft dog. An elder daughter Marie France (like Luane from King of the Hill) hung around a lot with her teacher. This was the 1970s. Anyway I don’t know what disaster befell them but they are all in a neglected grave in Montparnasse. I don’t know about the dog. Maybe he survived. Maybe he killed them to get the royalties.
Top Tip: If you go into a Paris chemist with a weezy cough and are after Night Nurse, be careful. What I asked for it seems was “a lady of the night” so the shop lady went red and gave me some cream. I read the er..instructions…Then I went red and gave it her back. I learned to say “Non” from the Marsaud family in 1973. That’s the link!

Train News

25 Feb

Lets get into train travel mode! We get some enjoyable feedback from our pal over at http://commuterrant.wordpress.com/ although he’s been a bit quiet of late so if you are there say hello! Rich P, another commuter commented on the Ed Bland visit to Bedford last week saying that he can’t have come on the train as there were three hour delays between here and the smoke! We are occasional train travellers. Mostly for gigs, visit my mum when she comes over from Belfast, that type of thing!
We did something totally new last week. We came back from London first class. Legitimately. We didn’t pay I must add, it was a freebie from Eurostar so given the fact that I’ve spent the last 20odd years travelling cattle class between Bedford and our capital city it was quite a novelty. Given what they usually charge I was expecting some sort of floor show, maybe a magician or a fire eater but no, what you get is a slightly comfier seat, a little table mat with a few cups on and a plug socket at your disposal.

 

Look, I'll never get another chance!

Look, I’ll never get another chance!

A very pleasant chap came along and gave us a cup of coffee and a particularly tasty coconut biscuit as we whooshed through St Albans scaring the people on the platform who had ignored the yellow line,. Rather bemused by the sign about the plug socket I took a piccy which you can see below. Now the novelty of realising what exactly first class travel is like plus several little bottles of Chardonnay between Paris and London, well it made me a bit giggly. I was imagining what else you’d be likely to want to do (electrically speaking) on the train. Bit of light soldering perhaps, cooking a recipe from Saturday kitchen although if you were following from your PC you would need two sockets. Or a double adapator which might not be allowed, inscribing pewter, using one of them WEE things and pretending to play golf skiing. Go on, see if you can think of something absurd that you could do on a train that warrants them putting a little sign up to stop you doing it.

Take my bass guitar if I get invited back!

Take my bass guitar if I get invited back!

The guard came to check or tickets. He eyed us up, I felt nervous, just as I had at the passport booth back at Gare du Nord, authority in its full glory, “Got one” I bet he was thinking as I hammed up my levels of “furtive”. Grabbing our tickets he slowed and passively handed them back although he must have realised that four kids sat a few rows up had legged it back to where they belonged. Leaving just five people in a carriage of about 40 seats.
Through the glass door and into second class bit, the faces of the deprived, the coffee- less masses without a plug socket, peering with envy and scorn. As I looked at them I dunked my biscuit and ate it slowly!

Don’t Call the Midwife!

25 Feb

Great news! Chummy comes back next week to the hit BBC 1 series about the NHS in post war London when it seems every delivering mum to be had their own nurse on standby just a few streets away.
Back to the future, the group Maternity Action and the Refugee Council have released a report entitled When Maternity Doesn’t Matter which completely screws up any notion of cycling nurses. What we get in the real life situation are pregnant asylum seekers being separated from their partners, being placed some 50 miles and with no readily available transport away from specialist treatment centres. One rape survivor and carrying the child of her attacker was forced to share a hostel in Yorkshire with five men and not allowed to register with a GP or a midwife so not much sign of the happy Sunday night ending there.

Total fantasy!

Total fantasy!

In fact it gets worse, after 21 days she was moved to another hostel in the North East, had her benefits (aka money to feed herself) stopped then given an eviction notice the day before she went into labour. As ever the UK Borders Agency have fluffed their way through and come up with neutral bland responses whilst at the same time ruling out moving any pregnant woman in the four weeks before and after the due date.
Almost a year back an asylum seeker and her 10 month old baby starved to death in a squalid Westminster flat (yes, an oxymoron??? Squalid and Westminster???). She had won her case for asylum but officialdom lost all the paperwork leaving her with nothing to feed herself on. The baby died in the flat with the leaked post mortem stating “no evidence of food in the gut at all” the mother died in hospital again through chronic starvation. No point calling the midwife here. The report will probably feature in a few selective areas, maybe Newsnight and then it will be shelved. In the meantime we can all look forward to Miranda Hart as Chummy next week.

Reality!

Reality!

Caring Council!

18 Feb

Photo courtesy of Bedford Borough Council. They never say thanks when they use mine though!

Photo courtesy of Bedford Borough Council. They never say thanks when they use mine though!

The Borough Council has kindly sent us a press release, another fly tipper has been identified and fined. So before you start thinking we are boo hissing the council for being horrid we aren’t. Council’s throughout the UK do likewise, some have been doing it for many years which reflects the fact that it’s an anti-social activity. Bedford Borough is new to this, it’s a bit of a novelty as previously they would just clear it up. A few years back I (that’s me, the Bedford Bypass bloke) identified the source of over £5000 worth of flytipped asbestos down near St Martins Lane. I found the address and the “owner” confirmed to me (a council officer at the time) that it was his. A chap called Mike McKever at Bedford decided it was easier to just ignore it. So the council helped subsidise some builder’s house renovation which later sold at £350,000.
So when the Mayor comes on bleating about how determined they are to stamp it out, that’s why I’m dismissive. More so because the Mayor is as ever using every opportunity to get his name in the frame for every simple act. It’s spin, turning a negative i.e. sitting on their arses for decades into a positive. Vote for Dave the Mayor. It’s the Hokey Cokey!
Where they keep quiet to the point of it being a vow of silence are those high impact whacks that the public suffer. A close friend has a life limiting illness and is no unable to work. Total. Not even Poundland would have him as his condition is that serious. So that’s that. 31 years old and connected to an emergency buzzer for the rest of your timespan.
Now as a result of changes to the various benefits that you can get to keep a roof and food close by, our friend has been told that times up on all these luxuries and that he’s got to find an extra 25% of his council tax, this amounts to over £300 a year. Look there’s a recession going on, we are all in this together. £300 isn’t much, cut down your food, were a few coats, turn the heating down. Oh, your already doing this. Look.. your medically exempt, be grateful, if you had to pay for them drugs you’d really be in the shit.
Your mum’s got a car, she drives to work, its only 17 miles. What’s wrong with the bus, they are reasonably regular. No problems, if you keel over, press your medi-alarm and she’ll be back in an hour. Or thereabouts. And there’s a bus to Addenbrooks Hospital. It’s a nice trip out to see the specialist, there’s a coffee shop. And your mum has a day off as well. Oh, she works for an agency!
I’ve scoured the Borough website and it’s all there, tucked away so the only ones that will be aware are those in the firing line. But instead of our elected elders, our community champions actually sticking their bloated heads above the parapets and screaming, all’s quiet until someone drops a fag in town or another tosser dumps a load a crap near the country park and then the machine kicks into life!

Ed pays us a visit!

15 Feb

Always last with news! That’s Bedford Bypass. Ed Miliband current Labour Party LEADER
was in Bedford yesterday, we had an advance tip off earlier in the day when someone on the Radio 4 Today programme told us. And millions of others.
One of the biggest surprises was that on his quite brief visit Mr Milibland told us how bad the current economic situation was and how much better it would be provided we vote Labour. I was quite staggered by this and feel much better already!
Another big shock came when Mister Ed Bland praised Labour Parliamentary Candidate Patrick Hall saying how much he cared and how passionate he was to get his job as MP back so he could look after us all and much much better than we are currently being looked after. I was quite staggered by this amd feel much better already!
And then they all went away leaving us feeling much better already!

Everyone has the right to look like a dickhead!

Everyone has the right to look like a dickhead!

Spike Milligan in both real life and as Eccles on the Goon Show when asked “what are you doing here” replied “Everybody’s got to be somewhere”. And so Mr Ed is probably somewhere promising another audience of bruised and battered folk that things can only get much better. Providing we …..

Kate Middleton on the Beach!

14 Feb

Apparently this is what all the fuss is about!

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The H Men

14 Feb

Horse / Human hybrid. Don't scoff!

Horse / Human hybrid. Don’t scoff!


The first human / equine mutant hybrids have been created as a result of eating chemical soaked horse burgers. This will eventually lead to conflict as Professor H with his bald head riding about on a floating fairground horse leads his band of horse styled mutants into the battlke against evil. If I had a bit more time I dare say I could have made this a bit better!

Fun on the river!

14 Feb

Apparently some group called the “bosses” are spearheading a competition to name the new town boat which often gets tagged with the word “community”. I’m cautious about the whole boat concept though I can see its potential, it’s being developed by grants and so on with Bedford Borough Council putting up £40K as a loan and expecting £48K back by 2017. The Bedford Bid are also putting funding to the project. Pardon the pun but it will sink or swim depending on its business case. Which isn’t readily available. A similar project at the heart of the Manchester Canal network, a boat called Still Waters arrived with a fanfare a lasted three years before was sold to pay off mounting debts.

I don’t know who’s going to actually manage the boat in terms of bookings and navigation, there’s a staff budget of £15k a year so it’s only going to be a part time thing and realistically with the public on board she/he is going to need back up, there’s also moorings which I can say with certainty will be circa £1300 minimum per annum then running costs, fuel and licences to factor in and that’s before you mention public liability insurance. The river is one of the town’s assets although of late its most popular use has been suicide giving the public the opportunity of seeing the police and fire chaps dragging someone out!

Looking for someone, Bedfordshire Police take to the water!

Looking for someone, Bedfordshire Police take to the water!

There’s one current pleasure trip boat operating further down river that ventures into town from time to time though the fact that the boat has sunk in recent floods might curtail this venture.  The last time someone tried it on the top river the guy found the costs and “interest” from the council so intense he gave up. Those who enjoy boating will know that the top river is pretty limited as you can only go so far either way, it’s no more than half a mile with cheaply built flats and a large building site on one side, any further and  you grind to a halt as the river isn’t deep enough up the Kempston end. If you want to go further afield the other way and look at the gravel pits and sewage works there’s two locks to get through one of which is an absolute bastard as you head downstream and I know plenty of experienced boaters who have clunked bits off as they try to get in the lock. A few years back a security guard had to be stationed at Cardington as the local kids from the estate took to robbing boats and stealing keys. Luckily the ring leader was sent down for using a knife in a robbery.

Bosses!

Bosses!

What I was most amused about in the article was the definite proof that Bedford is leading the way. I have been cynical about this claim but as you can see  from the picture while the rest of Bedfordshire shovels snow away the town centre trees are in full leaf, there’s sunshine and ex MP Patrick Hall (he lost his seat three years ago and wants his job back) has scored a real coup by sneaking into the frame. Either that or it’s a very old picture. Your choice!

As I said I can see the merits of a properly managed pleasure boat providing its accessible to all but it needs to fit in with the greater project to link the Great Ouse with the Grand Union rather than a sop. Everyone got very excited about this ten years back and then another whizz bang idea came along called Nirah, an Aldi version of the Eden Project and the canal got kicked into the long grass.

Public Service Broadcasting

13 Feb
The War Room

The War Room

Nothing short of brilliance. Every so often I blunder into new soundscapes, they turn my view of music inside out and upside down and my head becomes a juke box!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu4Rr07bgVQ

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