Wednesday, 8 July 2015
Another good one from the excuse machine
WEYMOUTH rail commuters will no doubt be delighted to hear that they face a new potential source of delay.
From the excuse machine which brought you "leaves on the line" we are now told that trains could be delayed by "temperature on the track".
Apparently the recent heatwave caused such concern in the railway hierarchy that they issued a warning that some services might be delayed or cancelled altogether because of the extreme heat's effect on railway lines which could be distorted by the very high temperatures.
Surely this is testing travellers' patience beyond even railway company limits because, if sunshine is now a legitimate excuse to explain away train delays or services being scrapped, then what can we expect next?
How about the wind being in the wrong direction? That would be a good excuse to have up your sleeve to explain away delayed services.
It strikes me that all major companies, not just railway franchises, now expend a growing amount of effort not in getting things done but in providing themselves with a safety net to explain why they haven't been able to get things done.
A classic instance of this affected the whole of Weymouth only last week when a telephone provider lost its broadband service because of water in a fibre optic cable.
Imagine how frustrating it was for customers ringing the help line to try and find out what was happening to be told that full details of the problem, what was being done to deal with it and the expected restoration of services was all availble to view... on their internet site!
But a key element of the problem was that customers didn't have access to the internet unless they could somehow use someone else's computer or a different mobile via a different provider.
It is the little things which ratchet up people's blood pressure, so I'm afraid rail users probably haven't heard the last of "sunshine on the line".
NOW that I'm enjoying semi-retirement I plan to use a small piece in each future column for the GOD spot.
This has nothing to do with religion because GOD stands for Growing Old Disgracefully.
Friends being friends, I've had to endure a certain amount of ribbing about my semi-retirement which they claim is just another expression for old age.
One thing it did was focus my mind on others I know who have retired before me.
Quite incredibly, they all look healthier, happier and far more relaxed.
Of course it's far too early for me to be able to slough off the last 40 years of professional work but I'm going to give it a try.
So I'll start by following the observations of that great comedian, Jasper Carrott, who once said he was really looking forward to growing old so he could annoy people by pretending he was deaf!
I won't go that far, but I hear so much about those "elderly moments", incidents or occasions where elderly people are given a tough time that I now plan to share some of them with you so you can keep an eye out for them in your own lives. Watch this space.
Can you imagine David Beckham in a fish van?
DAVID Beckham's ability to kick a ball about with a bit of skill has seen him become a celebrity figure across the world.
That celebrity status brought Weymouth quayside to a standstill when the former England and Manchester United star turned up to do a spot of sea fishing with his son.
First there were wildfire rumours that he'd been spotted eating an egg sandwich or something like it in a supermarket.
Such is the power of social media that by the time he came back from his fishing trip there was an adoring crowd of fans waiting to greet him.
All this just goes to show that fame brings its own rewards... or does it?
A man who, in his 1950s-heyday, was easily a celebrity match for David Beckham was the Hollywood heartthrob actor, William Holden.
Holden, who famously appeared in the legendary film Bridge Over The River Kwai, was once on Portland for a filming session.
He needed to be ferried around and a local man got the driving job, but apparently one day he was running a bit late from work to pick Holden up.
Not daunted, he drove over and collected the mega movie star... in his MacFisheries van!
You can't beat a true professional and Holden didn't bat an eyelid but simply got in, sat down and was driven off.
YOU don't realise just how much you rely on a route until it is taken away from you.
North Quay in Weymouth - closed all this week to traffic for road works - is like a speedy back door for me into the town centre.
Other people know this as well, so having that door shut in their faces means those drivers who normally use it are having to join the only two remaining routes in to town along Commercial Road or the seafront.
This in turn is increasing pressure on those routes and the whole transport scenario is often descending into tears and chaos accompanied by tuneful horn blowing.
Let us all hope the works are completed soon and we can all get back to what passes for normal by Monday.