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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

 

Dead boots

Have just ‘retired’ my last set of boots after 10 months (See photo) and have been doing a bit of simple arithmetic which produced the following slightly scary results;

Based on an average day I reckon my average speed is something like 2 and a half miles an hour. Max speed is around 4 mph (When I’m in a hurry) and lowest average speed something like one and a half miles an hour, so as a rough guesstimate two and a half miles an hour is a reasonable compromise figure. Using this as my baseline I actually patrol (Walking time) something like 7 hours a day (Breaks are not included in this 7 hour figure); ergo 7 x 2.5 = 17.5 Miles a day wearing ‘safety’ boots. This does not include a total of thirty minutes walking to and from work every day or any 'off duty' walking during breaks.

Now; I’m actually on duty excluding holidays and rest days something like 248 days a year. 17.5 x 248 = 4340 miles a year (Ye cats! That’s more than some people drive!). Each boot weighs in at a shade under a kilo (Just over 2lbs) each. This I can verify (I weighed them when they were first issued). No wonder my feet ‘burn’ and my knees get a little creaky after a long working day.

We have to wear these heavy boots because ‘elf ‘n safety’ policy dictates we must, yet none of us have had anyone run over their feet, nor, I think ever will. To cap it all, no-one has ever adequately explained why heavy footwear like this is necessary. Nevertheless, we are told we have to wear them. Half the guys lose sick time to foot and lower pedal extremity afflictions every year, despite every insole known to man and pharmacist. Personally, I’d like to get hold of whoever did the risk assessment and make them do half our mileage in this footwear on a treadmill every day for four hours. Pain can be a great teacher; at least according to some people with sadomasochistic tendencies. For myself, I could do without it.

No wonder I feel knackered after every working ‘week’. My boots tell their own story more eloquently than I ever could.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

 

Another day

I’ve just had one; a day that is. From an ‘all quiet on the western front’ to ‘shit incoming’ situation. Basically it began as a day when I booked a car for being slewed across two parking bays (Code 86, not parked within bay markings). The young mother driver (Should be banned by international treaty) returning just as I had slapped one on the windscreen; then she gave me five minutes grief over the lack of ‘Mother and child’ spaces in our car parks (Which cannot be enforced under the 1991 Road Traffic act). Next was a guy who swore (On a stack of holy books and then at me) that he had been loading in a ‘no loading’ zone. Next was a man who claimed to be disabled on the same ‘no loading’ area then refused to let me check his blue disabled badge. I think he was a fake, so I’ve reported his disabled badge number in, and if his address on the badge doesn’t match his cars registration - the badge gets cancelled with a £1000 fine for ‘misuse’. So calling me an ‘unfeeling cunt’ at least twice is not going to win him any friends. This is not to mention the two times I got threatened with being thumped; I ostentatiously called up CCTV and watched with schadenfreude as their faces went pale when they saw the cameras swing and ‘lock’ onto them.

After days without a cross word in my direction, I more than made up for that respite before lunch. Those New Year resolutions must have worn out then. Rather like those to visit the gym more regularly. Mine to visit the sauna once a week have been stymied by the fact that the local leisure centres ‘Steam ‘n Sauna’ facility is shut because it’s broken with no date on it’s reopening. Bugger.

On my way back to end of shift I took one of my regular short cuts through the municipal park, and in the burgeoning dark and cold was reminded of the final stanza of “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” by Robert Frost.

The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep


I have things I must do. TTFN.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

 

Today

Apologies for the lack of posts and all that, but what with the rough weather, catching up on my viewing and various diverse domestic alarums and excursions like dislodged windowframes and trips to and from Universities etc. I have been sorely neglecting my vicarious blog life.

Any old road up. Despite the snow and the storms, I've been out on beat, plodding away and annoying that particular section of the motoring public who think it is their god-given to do what they please and sod everybody else. According to one of their number; today I have been a "Pig ignorant, jumped-up uniformed nothing."

It was a solid, well deserved ticket. In a bus stop no less.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

 

alluc.org

Excuse the paucity of posting recently, but I’ve been catching up on some TV viewing. Not the BBC, ITV or any other British TV channel, but Internet television. The frame rate may be a bit shaky on my less than wonderful video card, and the picture quality not so hot as a normal TV, but considering what the analogue signal is like in my neck of the woods – well, it’s good enough.

Have watched, amongst others, the excellent adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Hogfather’ and caught up with another few programmes I don’t usually get to see because of the interminable godawful soaps and reality TV that my kids insist on watching. At least I get to watch what I want to watch for a change.

More about the wonderful wacky world of parking restrictions and enfarcement when I’m up to date on all my favourite shows. To paraphrase Captain Oates; I am just going to watch a little and may be some time.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

 

New Laws

“When you criminalise things that aren’t real crimes you still create real criminals, but what does the government want to do with the criminals it creates?”

- Penn & Teller

Discuss

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 

Believe this one

Occasionally a friend will e-mail something over from another local authority that really sums up the confused mindset in which they operate. Now this quotation is taken verbatim from a Council suggestion scheme leaflet, I’m not saying who sent it to me or which Council it is, but would other readers confirm or deny that this is the kind of thing they have to put up with. Incidentally, the italics are mine

Criteria for staff suggestion scheme

Any suggestion should;
  • Enhance the quality, speed or cost of a service provided to the public
  • Improve the way we operate internally by reducing bureaucracy or cost, saving time or energy
Suggestions will not be accepted if;
  • They fall within the scope of a persons job i.e. should not be an idea that they could reasonably be expected to put forward given their role. Only suggestions by staff about the working practices and services provided by other sections, services will be accepted.
  • Another member of staff has already put if forward for consideration
  • It is already happening, being considered or in the process of being implemented by the Council, one of its partners, agents or other associates.
  • It is unaffordable (Suggestions that require a service bid in order to implement them may be accepted. Only suggestions that we could have no hope of ever funding will be rejected as unaffordable e.g. build a cinema)
  • Made by the scheme co-ordinator
Right, now the first bit, fine, no problem; improve quality, reduce cost and bureaucracy, save time and energy yadada yadada. Good criteria.
Now here’s the big but; your suggestion won’t even be considered if it is to improve the way you do your job. Say you come up with a brilliant way to save your organisation yay much by streamlining what you do; they won’t want to know. On the other hand, if you want to ‘improve’ some other poor sods lot without knowing anything about what they have to do in their working day; well come on down.
Duplicate suggestions will be discounted, yes, fine; so long as no chair polisher nicks my idea and passes it off as their own.
Unaffordable; yes fine. No problem with that.
Made by the scheme co-ordinator; Well, that goes without saying.

Sounds to me like they don’t really want the suggestions from the front line council workers at all. Well they’re all just a bunch of thickie jobsworths anyway, aren’t they?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

 

Buy this book – Now!

Tonight I wish to post on the subject of one of my blogging heroes. Cass Brown, the author of ‘Cancergiggles’ who finally succumbed to his illness today. Those of us who regularly lurked around his blog and occasionally posted mildly ironic comments will miss him. God rest him. There are far too few men of his mettle. The world needs more people with his type of wry bravery.

Cass was one of the guys who inspired me to blog. Although I cannot claim to have known him personally, I started reading ‘Cancergiggles’ long before beginning my own. One could quite justifiably claim that he provided the inspiration for my own brand of raving lunacy. Yes, ‘Walking the Streets’ is all his fault. Sorry mate.

Now to the purpose of this post. Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your wallets; you will all go out and buy this book; “Mountains are easy”. It’s an absolute bargain at £8.95 and chock full of his idiosyncratic wit and wisdom to lighten your darkest hour. He leaves behind a wife and daughter who will probably need a bit of extra financial support and if not; appreciate your decision to commemorate his legacy of laughter in a practical way.

Sorry Cass. I’m sure if there’s a heaven you’re up there royally taking the piss and laughing uproariously; perhaps at the resultant consternation in the Angelic ranks because you’re playing heavy metal riffs on your harp and deafening the cherubim. Who knows?

Anyway, God bless and keep you me old china.

Regards

Bill

Monday, January 08, 2007

 

Two tickets and a break in

Curious day on Sunday. I was out on the leafy suburbs beat, dodging the rain and ever so slightly bored out of my tiny little mind. Don’t ask me why we bother to do this beat on a Sunday because most of it is inactive restrictions which run Monday to Friday or Monday to Saturday. Notwithstanding, my masters decree that these streets must be patrolled so I heave a heavy sigh and go and do.

Fortunately for my averages this beat overlaps with one of the busier streets. Two of my forays into the more active area netted two people who had decided against all the evidence; that the restrictions did not apply to their cars on a Sunday. One on double yellows and another who chose to plant their vehicle on an area of yellow cross hatchings within a free car park marked ‘Restricted’ in four foot high letters. In a free car park, with half the bays free. Don’t ask me why, I’m beginning to stop being amazed at the continual stupidity of some members of the general public.

Now the interesting part of my day was back on the leafy suburbs beat. Just before four pm I’m meandering down one street and turn a corner. Half way down (About a hundred metres away), there are two youthful figures at the side of a vehicle who took one look at my looming bulk before legging it. My suspicions aroused I lengthened my stride and headed for the car they had shown such an interest in.

Thirty seconds later I took a look at a pile of smashed car safety glass on the kerbside. “CCTV this is 515.”
“Receiving 515.”
“I’m on Tolkein Avenue. There’s a vehicle with a smashed drivers side window, looks like someone’s tried to break in.”
“What makes you think that 515?”
“Broken glass on the driver and passenger seats and a pile of broken safety glass on the kerbside. There’s a broken bag of shopping on the back seat and it looks like the ignition’s been interfered with. The plastic cover around the steering column is cracked.” I reel off the damaged vehicles registration number and location.
“Roger that 515.” For once CCTV is right on the ball. “Dispatch are sending someone, you can move on.”
“One more thing.” I add. “Two kids hanging around the car when I turned the corner. They were too far off to get a decent look at but I can let you know what I saw.” I gave CCTV the details, such as they were, and passed on by.

An hour later, I pass the same spot and the car and most of the broken glass is gone. I presume the owner has returned and found the damage. Well at least if they phone the coppers they’ll find out it’s already been reported, for all the good that is. I only wish I could have gotten a closer look at the nasty little scrotes who did it. As things stand the car looked repairable and the driver hadn’t lost their groceries or radio, so I suppose it could have been worse.

As there is no CCTV coverage in Tolkein Avenue, it’s unlikely that the people who broke into the car will ever be caught and convicted without a spontaneous confession. I console myself thus; maybe the kids I saw were the people who had smashed the drivers side window and my presence prevented them doing worse.

Well, that thought brightened my day anyway.

Friday, January 05, 2007

 

Weirdness personified

I’m out on patrol, trying to use a bit of bullshit to clear an unregulated bus stop which some inconsiderate people have parked in, meaning that the bus has to stop in the middle of the road and block the traffic. Because the bus stop is unregulated i.e. not covered by a Traffic Regulation Order I cannot issue a ticket, but can only rely on my own natural powers of persuasion. Inconsiderate driver begins to move, but this is too late as the bus has blocked a good tranche of traffic, leading to much elevated blood pressure on the queue of drivers behind the bus.

One driver makes a rude gesture at me and sounds his horn as he finally gets past the blockage. I think nothing of this as I am quite used to gratuitous abuse coming from all points of the compass. The bus stop gets cleared for the next bus and I move off, job done.

Five minutes later as I’m heading round a corner the self same driver who made the insulting gesture and sounded his horn collars me on foot. I explain about the restriction not being enforceable and how I’m stuck using my wits to clear the congestion. Following my (Patient and detailed) explanation self same driver spends the next ten minutes apologising to me for his ‘rudeness’.

Today has been like this all over. I think someone’s trying to confuse me to death.
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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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