Wednesday, 19 November 2014

EU rules make problems for Santa

TODAY there are just five weeks to go until Christmas Eve, so you’d better get those presents ordered now.

Worryingly this warning has nothing to do with Christmas getting closer and closer, and everything to do with those nice regulators in the EU.

They have somehow decided to decree that lorry drivers now require a Certificate of Professional Competence.

You only have to go on a reasonably lengthy drive to realise that those behind the wheel of lorries that you meet are usually in their 40s and 50s and they’ve had enough practice.

This latest piece of cutting edge EU legislation is proving to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back because it is seeing drivers leave their profession in droves.

Too many regulations, too much red tape, too much paperwork. It all adds up, so lorry drivers are retiring early or taking up other professions and all that is creating a shortage of drivers to haul Christmas goods.

This in turn has created a battery of warnings for consumers not to leave their orders to the last minute or even the last month because they may not get what they want delivered in time for the festering season.

Leaving an extra letter for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph won’t solve this particular problem and it will be interesting to see how the big shopping chains, transport firms and supermarkets react. You have been warned.

We’ll keep right on remembering

THIS year more than almost any before there was an upwelling of public memory and connection for Remembrance Sunday.

It came in a year which marked the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, but it was more than that.

The whole commemoration of everything just seemed to strike a chord with everyone. The weather was fine, there were big crowds of young and old alike and there were cheers and applause for the veterans taking part in the service and big parade.

No veteran of the First World War, also known as the Great War, is still alive today and if the same passage into history follows with those who fought in the Second World War then all those service people will be gone by Remembrance Sunday 2039.

But the tradition of “lest we forget” will continue on because conflicts since have included Korea, the Falklands and Iraq and remembrance respects will continue to be paid even if the world can somehow gather all its countries into peace.

Sleep trashed

COMPLAINTS rumble on about the new rubbish collection measures in Weymouth and Portland, so here is another.

In our road we previously could set our clocks on a Friday to just after 7am when the rubbish lorry used to come down the road.

The new regime has seen our collection date change from Friday to Thursday, but it is the change in collection time which is starting to be a bit annoying.

Sometime after 7am didn’t bother me too much because I’m a morning person, but I’m not that much of a morning person to somehow welcome the new collection time which has consistently been about 6:05am-6:10am.

Now that is early and when you add to that the sounds of glass, tin and plastic waste cascading into hoppers there is precious little chance of going back to sleep after ten minutes of that.

My question is this. If our rubbish could be happily collected at about 7am why the need to wake people up at 6am.

I’m not complaining too loudly because any new system needs time to bed in, but if this unwelcome “dawn chorus” still continues in say six weeks time then I’ll be asking questions with slightly more of an edge. I’ll keep you all posted on how I get on.

Charity takes the mickey

WE all know that you get what you pay for, but this may no longer be so.

If figures available for a forthcoming London charity event at a top hotel are accurate then some of those attending from Weymouth may need smelling salts.

Naturally the service will be “absolutely top drawer” and I’m sure the chef masterminding the meal will have more stars than the Milky Way, but you reach a point where the basics have to be considered.

Those basics include a scallop on a lettuce leaf for the starter, a piece of cod of between two and four ounces enhanced by five or six artistically placed chips, and a dessert.

Now you might be prepared to pay £14-£15 for a meal of that nature in Weymouth, but this is London where everything is much more expensive, so adding a 50 percent increase to bring the bill up to £22 probably won’t surprise you.

What may surprise and, I venture to say, probably shock you is that the actual bill being charged for this meal is an appetite-losing £220 each! Still hungry?

Charity begins at home and if I was facing that sort of bill for that sort of meal then that is where I’d stay, spending the £20 on a decent meal out in Weymouth or Portland and buying a week’s holiday abroad with the £200 I’d saved.

Bet most of you would too!

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