Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Don’t worry - just ride on the pavement
THOSE in charge of our surroundings frequently mystify us with their decisions and the new cycle route on Chickerell Road in Weymouth is a case in point.
A cyclist drew my attention to it because he was so confused by all the work that he wasn’t sure where he should be pedalling.
Now you may think there should be little confusion over a nice clearly marked lane for cyclists along what is a very busy road.
But the reason why the cyclist was so confused was because the new cycle lane is marked out... along an existing pavement!
The stretch from Granby to Fiveways is dotted with little white cycle symbols but they are all on the pavement not the road.
This masterstroke apparently combining pedestrian and cycle traffic on the same stretch of pavement didn’t just bewilder the cyclist but seriously worried him.
As he pointed out, there are numerous old people’s homes, bungalows and facilities just off this part of Chickerell Road.
They must have struck a chord with those installing the new cycle route because, where the pavement dips to allow cars access to be parked outside these homes, a green “carpet” has been laid on the entry road complete with a glaring white bicycle symbol painted on it.
Cyclists clearly don’t need to be alerted to the presence of pedestrians because they are riding on a pavement but, to use the words of the worried cyclist who talked to me, he had nightmare visions of speeding cyclists meeting less than speedy octogenarians thrusting zimmer frames in front of them.
The carnage this could potentially cause when you delicately stir in an occasional vehicle crossing both their paths at right angles makes your eyes water just thinking about it.
Perhaps the authorities know something we don’t... or perhaps we’ve spotted something the authorities have missed.
Whichever, everyone using this particular stretch of pavement has got a bit more to think about than they did before the works!
Messaging the council from the bottom of a pothole
I’M having to text this story to the outside world in the hope that someone sees it because I’m currently marooned in Weymouth at the bottom of a pothole in Chafeys Avenue.
It was my own stupid fault. After all, when you drive down an ordinary residential road these days you must expect to have your car occasionally disappear without trace into something the size of Jeremy Clarkson’s mouth.
I’ve tried shouting for help, but I’m so far below ground level that it could be days before anyone hears or several years before help arrives if I’m pinning my hopes on being discovered by a passing council pothole repair crew.
Experts tell us that so little has been done to finance staying on top of pothole repairs that it will take years and cost billions just to catch up to where we are now. By that time it won’t be roads with holes in but holes linked by small bits of road.
There are boneshaking experiences to be sampled from Upwey to Easton and it is no wonder garages across the nation are reporting a sharp rise in damage to vehicles caused by potholes which, in some instances, can run into thousands of pounds.
So watch out for a particularly big pothole in Chafeys Avenue and, if you are feeling charitable, could you alert the council to my whereabouts while throwing me down a sandwich or two because I haven’t eaten since last Tuesday.
Definite cause for celebration!
SOME of you may have been wondering why all the churches were ringing their bells in celebration the other day.
So I’d better announce that my new run of blackberry wine has been a great success and seems to promise many delicious glasses to come once all 17 gallons have been allowed to settle for a month ready for bottling.
There were a few hiccups along the way, not from tasting or imbibing but through mistakes I made while racking the wine off to get rid of sludge.
This saw everything happen from wilful jets of wine suddenly squirting free of tubing all over the floor to one nasty scenario where a demijohn was nearly full of racked off wine only for me to realise I hadn’t cleaned the next one to take overflow.
Still, more than 90 percent of what I started to make last August has proved to be just as good as I hoped it would be while the rest is borderline cooking wine-paint stripper.
This wild disparity does happen and I can’t for the life of me work out why since everything was clean and every demijohn of wine tucked away to ferment all came from the same mixing tubs.
Anyway, I tried to keep my success topical and went out to burn a few council press releases, hence all the church bells being rung when they saw my white smoke... at least I think they were celebrating my wine.