Sunday, 19 July 2009

"I'm still waiting for permission for a poo"

You may remember this previous blog, in which I had a letter telling me the blindingly obvious, my water supply is going to kill me and Mrs. Beetwaste if we drink it untreated. Basically, the council had deemed it necessary to test the water, and inform us it was rubbish and they'll be testing it again soon.

Well, they've been back. We got a letter from Harrogate council. The envelope was addressed to 'The occupier', so someone must've had a word that some people have moved house. Mind you, when I opened the letter it was addressed to the chap down the road. It also stated that they'd been back on 14th June, which is strange because it's actually July.

Anyway, our water is still more toxic than the Sellafield waste outlet, and due to some 1991 'Not drinking really bad, poisonous water act", we have to have a treatment system fitted. We have to inform them when it's done, and they will come and test the water from our own house tap. No doubt we'll have to pay for having the water tested, even though they've been twice and not tested my house supply yet, just the supply from further up the road. They've even provided a nice list of people who can fit the system.

Well, here's the deal. I've already got a system fitted, that is meant to kill off 99.99% of bugs. No-one has actually asked me if I already have this thing fitted yet, they've just assumed I'm stupid. So, there's absolutely no chance whatsoever that I'll be getting in touch with them, especially seeing as they've not even managed to get my name and address details right yet. I'm waiting for the letter telling me that if I don't fit this thing, I'll have to go to court and get fined squillions of pounds for not having done it.

Is there any aspect of daily life that these idiots aren't involved in? GO AWAY. FIND SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO DO. Perhaps I should send an e-mail, saying only that sentence. And, I'll sign it 'The Occupier' as that's what they think my name is!

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Janet Street-Porter is tight

She is! Titter ye not, madam, obviously I mean in a financial sense. I got information through the post yesterday regarding the Nidderdale Show in September, and listed in there is a list of donations from last year. I was in there - we bought our tickets off the local farmer, £21 inc. parking. Most people are donating between £20 and £50. Janet Street Porter - who lives nearby in Upper Nidderdale - £5 donation. £5! Wouldn't buy you a hot-dog.

I don't know. Big celebrities eh! Although to be fair, I can't see her entering the WI Jam-making competition.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

National(ised) Express.

National Express' East Coast rail franchise has been taken back into public ownership.

National Express took over the old GNER franchise in 2007, to provide the rail services on the East Coast route. This includes Leeds, Hull, York, Newcastle - it's quite important. Now, GNER were actually providing a decent service, but the parent company ran out of cash. So up popped National Express. A company renowned for its excellent road-going coach service, but with limited rail experience - if you want to see what passengers think of their East Anglia franchise, look here. It's not nice reading.

I've used NXEC services, although infrequently. When I was finishing work at 7.30, there was a Trans-Pennine Express service from Leeds at 19:38, but the next one was not until 20:05. However, if I got the NXEC service which left 2 minutes later, I could change at Doncaster and still get home earlier than if I waited around in Leeds station for an hour and a half. To be fair, the trains weren't bad. Clean. Quiet. Loads of luggage space. At least, the electric trains to Kings Cross were, I have heard some bad stories of the old diesel services being poor.

But, the ones I went on were generally only 20% full. And no-one ever, ever, checked my ticket. I guess the guard just couldn't be bothered walking down 8 carriages of people to do this. Perhaps this explains why the service isn't making any money. Or, maybe it's because (and I've just checked this on the NXEC website) the cost of a return to London from Leeds, is between £84 and £223 (ouch!), if you don't book ahead. I could drive a car full of people there myself for about £50. I know, I've done it!

The other reason they are probably doing so badly is legacy services. For example. In the bad old days, there was one direct service from Hull to London in the morning, and one return service in the evening. Hull Trains changed all that by putting on a decent, regular, reliable service, which all but made the old NXEC trains redundant. Another example, in Harrogate I can get an NXEC train to London direct. But there isn't a service that goes all the way back. At all. So if I'm going to London, I might as well change at Leeds. If NXEC were allowed to scrap these types of service, and concentrate on providing a regular service between London and Leeds/Edinburgh, they'd save a fortune and allow other operators to take over these routes, operators who can, and do, make money on them and run them properly.

Now personally, I'd wouldn't have privatised the rail industry. I believe public transport is the responsibility of Government, as part of a national strategy that includes roads, rail, canals, planes, buses and the like. I believe that's the only way we can we sort out the awful mess that our transport network is in. But that's not going to happen. So, my suggestion would be plan B, which is to allow First Group to take over, as they have already tried to do. The reason being, First Group run the Hull Trains franchise, which I've used and is pretty good. They also run the Trans-Pennine Express franchise. Which I regularly used between Selby and Leeds. And, which was pretty good. So they've got the experience, and the services are good. They also own large chunks of the network anyway, including the west coast routes, which would reduce the confusing array of companies all wanting to transport me on the railways when actually, I just want to get from A to B.

We'll see. In the meantime, I'll take the bus.