Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Must do better, chaps

Headline from the Evening Post:

Notts Police still missing targets for house burglaries

I find that quite reassuring really. It's bad enough having burglars doing house burglaries without the police joining in.

And with that thought, farewell for another few days, as Mrs QO and I depart to another folk festival. Yes, Super-Disreputable Friend will be there, so there will be much crass and regrettable behaviour, too much drinking, probably a deal of mud and some blurry mornings. Still, nothing that a bacon buttie won't solve.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Some odd decisions

Superintendent Helen Chamberlain of Nottinghamshire Police (the cool blonde pictured left) was clocked by a fellow officer allegedly doing 79mph on the Epperstone bypass. Story here.

She has pleaded not guilty on the basis that she challenges the accuracy of the speed-gun, and the quality of the signage on the road. Her solicitor has also mentioned the decision to review the case after the event. The story is made more intriguing by the fact that the officer who clocked her and stopped her at the time felt able to deal it with by way of a caution, but an unnamed senior officer disagreed with this, and asked the Crown Prosecution Service to review the decision. They duly charged.

Doing nearly 30mph over the speed limit should see you summonsed to court. At the very least a fixed penalty should have been issued. So there's a questionable decision. But what I find most surprising is that she's now going to run a technical defence - something that frustrates the police when civilian punters try it on. She must surely have known she was driving over the limit. Even if the signage wasn't up to scratch (though I've driven that road plenty of times and have never been in any doubt it's a 50 limit), the limit on two-lane roads is only ever 60 at maximum. Unless the speed-gun was hopelessly inaccurate, it's hard to accept that a competent driver would not have been aware of going over the odds. And we note that there's no suggestion she disputed the roadside caution at the time.

Man up, Superintendent (if you'll pardon the expression, ma'am) and hold your hand up. The honest course of action would have been to enter a guilty plea but then argue that the speed wasn't as high as charged. "OK, I done it, but I didn't do it as bad as what they say", sort of thing. The court would then tailor its sentence depending on the outcome of a 'Newton' hearing to decide whether or not the alleged speed was correct. That would have been fair enough, albeit that a senior police officer would effectively be establishing her own force's technical incompetence, but as things stand it leaves a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Let's see if some beer will help.

Permit me...

... to apologise (again) for the lack of activity hereabouts. Busy times continue: more enjoyable social engagements and a bit of a work crisis brought on by too much laziness a few weeks ago and a batch of long weekends. And more of the same in the pipeline. Ah well, I hate being bored.

Now, talking of 'permits', one subject on our minds here in Lady Bay is the proposed residents' parking scheme. The County Council sent through some proposals, claiming that in an earlier survey the majority of residents were in favour. I don't recall that earlier survey, and I think I would have, but let that pass. At any rate, they want to bring parking restrictions, Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm, with only those cars showing residents' or visitors' permits allowed to park in the parts of our suburban village concerned.

I've lived here for nigh on 20 years, I work from home, and wander round to the shops or the Post Office (or, indeed, the pub) most days, so I venture to suggest that I'm better acquainted with the general state of things than the wonks up at County Hall. Apart from match days - and with all due respect to the Magpies, we only really mean Forest match days - there is no significant parking problem. Everyone round here knows that every other Saturday during the football season, it will be a bit chaotic. But neighbourly arrangements are made; next door knows that if the road is full, they can block in our car, because we know where they live, and they know that if they don't move their car when things have quietened down, then I will torch it, dance up and down outside their window screaming, and stuff the burning remains of their car through their letterbox. Fair enough, everyone happy.

During the week, no problem at all. The Council say that during the week, too many cars from "nearby office workers" use the area. The only "nearby offices" of any size whatsoever are the Council's own offices at Trent Bridge House and County Hall.

To solve this barely-existing problem, which the Council itself is responsible for (to the extent it's a problem at all, which it isn't, and anyway they seem to be getting ready to sack nearly everyone they employ) the Council proposal is that every household (it's not clear what they mean to do about the many multi-tenanted properties hereabouts) will be eligible for a resident's permit, at the cost of £25.

[We interrupt this tirade to award the previous sentence the Worst Sentence Ever Written in a Blog Award. Tickets for the awards ceremony available from all good alcohol rehabilitation clinics.]

Should you be such a social gadabout as to invite a visitor who needs a car to get there, or should you wish a tradesman to be able to park his van outside to work on your house, you will have to purchase a visitor's permit, also at £25. Both kinds of permits will be £25 each year, naturally. If you lose one, or need a new one as you've changed your car, or if a visitor or tradesman forgetfully goes off with yours, it will be... you guessed it... another £25. Ker-ching!

One fellow whinger has worked out that the income for the Council will be of the order of £50,000 per year. Obviously there would be legitimate start-up costs - we'd have to have all kinds of signage, lines painted on the roads, etc etc (all good reasons in themselves to object) but would it amount to £50,000? Would it buggery. And every year after that, it would just be a nice little earner for the Council - and doubtless on top of that there would be goodly revenues from parking infringements.

We are not happy. Mrs QO and I have registered our complaint, and conversations with other local malcontents suggests that a fair number of others have too. We wait to see the outcome.

Well, that was cathartic. If you've read all the way to the end, I thank you for your patience, and reward you with a glimpse of some superb parking technique.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lo, my children...

... I am come among you once again. I am sorely conscious of the hiatus or lacuna in my postings over the last week or ten days, but the salve is helping nicely, thanks so much, and I can therefore turn with refreshed intellectual vigour to providing the Observations without which your lives are bereft and hollow, as I'm sure you'd agree if you were sufficiently self-aware.

Life has been full of late. Various friends have invited themselves to stay, and you will doubtless appreciate that anyone calling themselves our friends will require more than the usual provision of food and drink. Especially drink, yes. I am palsied and trembling with the effort of heaving beer, wine and spirits up from the dank cellars of the Observatory to the habitable levels, while the good Mrs QO has been slaving away in the shambles and at the firepit to keep sufficient baked meats arriving at the humble board.

Over and above our self-sacrificing hospitality, we have jointly and severally created a 'princess dress' for a miniature person of our acquaintance, delivered a couple of guitar lessons, baked a birthday cake for the abovesaid miniature person, attended the party at which the cake was presented (I was strictly forbidden to drink or smoke in the presence of the younglings so sat in sullen silence throughout), Quarked a monthly magazine, brewed some ten gallons of beer, visited the excellent Riverside Festival:

and have also done a little breathing and sleeping. And this is meant to be the quiet time of the year...

But this is all good. Some of it was even lucrative, if only just. Catching up with friends is important, and so easily left out of life's hectic schedule if you're not careful.

OK, you'll have gathered by now that I don't have anything of real value to say, but I thought I'd just check in so you know I'm still alive. I know you were worried, bless you.