Posts Tagged ‘Surrey’

Surrey snouts in the trough

May 9, 2014

When you contrast it with the sort of pay rises ordinary working people are receiving, if they are getting pay rises, [and] in particular our staff, it does not look good. — Helena Windsor, UKIP councillor

It’s totally unacceptable, totally – almost ugly – in today’s climate that we can be leaving a £19 million hole in the adult social care bill, taking £200,00 out of local community charities, and then awarding councillors another £170,000. — Jonathan Essex, Green Party councillor

Yet another example of the low life we have as councillors, ever keen to get their snouts in the trough.

Surrey County Councillors vote themselves an increase, for the leader, a whopping 60% increase.

To make matters worse, the increase was voted through with no advance notice.

The increase will see the leader’s pay rise from £27,000 to £43,000, while his deputy would see his pay rise from £19,500 to £31,250.

For what? Does anyone believe these people act in the public interest?

People in Surrey have seen services cut, their own salaries shrinking in real terms.

It is not only Surrey, where the snouts are in the trough.

Former Essex Council leader, Lord Hanningfield was jailed for nine months in 2011 for fiddling his parliamentary expenses. Then, he was convicted of six counts of false accounting relating to nearly £14,000 of claims. He was suspended from the Lords in November 2011 and returned to Parliament in April 2012. He is now under investigation for turning up, clocking in, to claim his £300 per day then leaving the building. Why is even in the Lords?

Why do we tolerant this low life scum in public office?

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Afternoon in Godalming

August 3, 2012
Pepper Pot

Pepper Pot

It was a pleasant day, and so train to Guildford, walk along the River Wey, lunch at The Keystone, then bus to Godalming.

It is a pleasant bus trip to Godalming. Or to be more accurate, the bus passes through pleasant countryside, the bus itself a clapped out, rattling, bone-shaker.

Godalming has an excellent bookshop (and no I do not mean Waterstone’s). But it usually closes at 4pm and I rarely find it open. It was almost 4pm as I alighted from the bus and so it was not even worth trying.

It was therefore to my surprise that I found it open, or at least there was a sign outside that indicated it was open. As I tried to walk in, a woman closed the door in my face. She then relented, and let me in, but locked the door behind.

I queried, were they now open later. No, I was rudely told, and we have homes to go to. I could not resist pointing out she had left the sign outside that they were open!

Well that is one way to encourage customers, must be a novel marketing technique.

Strange shop. Central section marked ‘Popular Authors’.

Does that mean the others are unpopular authors, I asked, handing over three Paulo Coelho books shelved with the unpopular authors.

My question did not go down well with the rude woman, who told me they were less popular.

I pointed out trash, may be a better description for the so-called popular authors, whereas Paulo Coelho shelved with the unpopular authors was actually popular and rattled off the number of weeks The Alchemist in the New York Times best seller list, copies sold. Had I though of it I could have rattled off followers on twitter, facebook, but sometimes I wonder what is the point, so picked up my books and left.

Why is service such an alien concept in England? The only way small shops can survive is through offering a superior service.

Godalming is a relatively unspoilt small market town south of Guildford through which flows the River Wey.

Relative is just that relative. Compared with a few years ago, it has been ruined, lots of High Street retailers have muscled their way into the town. Compared with other towns which have been completely ruined, it is unspoilt.

I walked the town and ended up in the museum at the far end of the town. Worth a visit, though easily missed as a small entrance is the only visible presence of the museum.

In the museum copyright reared its ugly head. You cannot take photos, I was told. Or more specifically, I could not take photos of an art exhibition.

Having taken photos before, I pointed this out, that permission had been granted. That was then and now is now, I was told by a woman who gave the impression of being in charge, or as she pointed out the others were volunteers and they do not always get it right.

Why is it that volunteers always seem to have an inferior status, should it not be the other way around? It is the same at the Guildford Institute in Guildford and yet there it is the volunteers who are always helpful, courteous and better informed.

An offer was made to call the artist, to see if it was ok to take pictures.

Although they were trying to be helpful, I pointed out the situation was ludicrous, and gave the example of a London red bus and Le Corbusier furniture. I suggested that for future exhibitions, they ask the artists if it was ok, or even make it a condition.

It is ridiculous. Obscure artist exhibiting in a public place and then getting excited someone may wish to take a picture. What do they think we are going to do, raise them out of obscurity?

In Puerto de la Cruz, all the exhibitions I went to, all the artists I spoke to, were only too happy for me to photograph their work. Why? Because I was showing an interest in their work and it got them better known.

The irony was, I had no interest in photographing the exhibition.

Later they will have an exhibition of woodwork, from the same guy whose excellent woodwork I saw last year. I suggested that as they had a lovely garden out the back, would it not be a good idea if he worked on some of his wood out in the garden.

This idea sank like a lead balloon. I think I will contact the guy myself.

As I walked out of the museum, I remembered my reason for being there. I wanted to go upstairs to take a photo of the Pepper Pot, the lovely old town hall.

It was now 5pm. I had wished to walk down to the church, but probably not now open, and the greengrocer the other end of town told me he shut at 5pm.

In the town were posters for a free music festival the following Saturday.

I looked in one shop and signed a petition opposing Tesco opening a store. But when I asked for more information no one knew anything, apart from a customer who seemed to believe it was a foregone conclusion as far as the local council was concerned.

Then it was bus, train, bus, home.

Farnborough patients denied patient choice

October 11, 2011

This institution belongs to the people and the people do not want it run on a competitive model. — Baroness Bakewell

The NHS is an icon for British people. If you sign the death warrant of the NHS you will not be forgiven. — Baroness Billingham

The British public fear losing an altruistic health service to one which is market based. — Baroness Williams of Crosby

There is a failure towards any responsibility of equality. — Baroness Williams of Crosby

Patients living in Farnborough are being denied patient choice, they are being told they have to go to Basingstoke not Frimley Park which is just up the road.

Patients are not being told they have a choice. If they try to exercise patient choice they are told no, you have to go to Basingstoke. If they really push hard, they may get referred to Surrey PCT but not Frimley Park which means they could be sent anywhere in Surrey.

Instructions have been handed down from Hampshire PCT telling local doctors and dentists they must send their patients to a hospital in Hampshire, not their nearest hospital Frimley Park.

This instruction has nothing to do with medical needs or what is convenient for patients but to satisfy the market.

This is a farce. It is claimed Hampshire PCT has told doctors and dentists in Hampshire they must refer patients to hospitals in Hampshire. This is to ignore medical need and convenience of the patient.

This is market forces determining patient care!

Frimley Park no longer local hospital for Farnborough and Aldershot

It begs the question why local doctors and a dentists are going along with it when it is not in the best interest of their patients.

I have requested a copy of the instruction that Hampshire PCT has issued.

Is what we are seeing a sign of things to come, the final destruction of the NHS?

Block the Bridge

Frimley Park no longer local hospital for Farnborough and Aldershot

October 7, 2011

I wonder how many local residents in Farnborough and Aldershot realise that Frimley Park Hospital in Frimley is no longer their local hospital, that local doctors and dentists have received instructions to refer their patients to hospitals in Hampshire not Surrey, that patients are being sent to Basingstoke not Frimley?

This is the infernal market gone mad, it is to ride roughshod over patient choice.

The first many patients learn they are being sent to Basingstoke not Frimley is when they receive written confirmation of their hospital appointment. They are not being told they have a choice, let alone given a choice.

No one I have spoken to is aware this is going on.

From Farnborough it is a ten minute ride on the No1 bus to Frimley, then a ten minute walk from Frimley to Frimley Park.

To a hospital in Basingstoke, it is a 20-25 minute train jorney Farnborough to Basingstoke, then what as the hospital is not nearby, it is not in the town centre.

I have spoken to Basingstoke Hospital, they are baffled why patients in Farnborough are being sent to Basingstoke not Frimley. I have spoken to Frimley Park and they are equally baffled.

For people living in Aldershot, a much worse journey by public transport to Basingstoke.

This would be like living in a village outside Lincoln and being told you cannot go to a hospital in Lincoln because you reside outside the city boundary, instead you have to travel to Pilgrims Hospital at Boston!

Bus trip to Godalming

August 26, 2011

It was raining in Guildford so I hopped on a bus to Godalming.

Godalming is a classic example of how to destory a small market town. Inappropriate buildings, inappropriate shop fronts.

Greed writ large. Corrupt and incompetent planners writ large. Clone town writ large.

But it is well worth a visit.

As you approach it on the bus, you cross the bridge over the River Wey and pass by water meadows. On the edge of the town centre small independent businesses, and down the side streets, especially Church Street leading down to the Parish Church.

Inside the church remains of an old Saxon font, believed to be the oldest in the country.

A lovely little museum which is well worth a visit. There was an exhibition of hand-carved furniture and musical instruments. Fantastic craftmanship using wood from native trees. I was even able to pick up an album of beautiful haunting music made on the instruments, Out of our Woods (instruments made and played by Mervyn Mewis and Kathryn Young). Walk through the museum into a lovely little garden. I was very surprised to learn the spherical flowers were hydrangeas as they are usually flat umbells.

In the centre of Godalming a Waterstone’s bookshop which just happens to also be the Post Office. On the chalk board of new releases no mention of Aleph by Paulo Coelho due out in exactly one week’s time on 1 September 2011. But to their credit they had far more releases chalked up than Waterstone’s in Guildford. The girl I spoke to was very helpful but sadly did not know of Aleph. [see Paulo Coelho unknown author]

Godalming still has a baker, greengrocer and butcher.

The River Wey runs alongside the back of Godalming with watermeadows beyond.

Getting to Godalming by bus was easy, getting back problematic. It was a pleasant evening and I went and sat by the river and as a result found that I had missed a bus by 20 minutes. The next bus was over an hour wait, being the last bus at 1954. Not wishing to wait, I walked to the station and caught a train.

Godalming is a small market town south of Guildford on the River Wey. It can be reached from Guildford by either bus or train.