Friday, 2 May 2014

Re cycling


Greetings from the Independent Democracy of Coldharbour Lane. The Two Grumpy Old Sods are so fed up with the general stupidity of life here that we have decided unilaterally to secede from the autocratic dictatorship of Harpenden Town Council (mission statement: Closer to the community - but not yours) and form our own free and totally democratic small state.

We have a badge, we have a motto: Floreat Helix Pomatia and our flag will be striped green and white with a snail rampant. We're working on our national anthem, finding rhymes with snail that do not involve silliness - though on that score, have you actually studied the words of some national anthems? We are also taking it in turns to be in control. Currently it is my turn, and my fellow citizen is making the coffee.

The decision, not taken lightly, to secede has been forced on us by the latest piece of folly. In the header pic to this post you can see it for yourself: a large chunk of our main and very busy road has been carved out to create a cycle waiting zone. No consultation, except with local Sustrans people. From the moment of its inception, there have been minor crashes, lucky misses and confrontations between drivers who are baffled by the new priority system. Oh, and some cyclists have nearly been knocked off their bikes as they assume they now have precedence over traffic. At night it is badly lit, adding to the confusion.

The whole thing got worse last week when one of the roads running parallel was closed so that the friendly local developer could finish off its latest piece of Tesco School of Architecture overpriced housing, meaning all traffic was diverted down my narrow un-pavemented lane and straight into the curtailed road area.

A brief highlight moment happened when the 366 bus was challenged at the cycle extension by a Harpy (portmanteau word coined by me to describe Harpenden Mummies: the ones that drive big black 4x4s and think they own the road). Harpy refused to back up. Bus refused to back down. Passengers cheered the driver on, (we know which side our free passes are buttered). Eventually the Harpy had to back, a manoeuvre she singularly wasn't happy to perform and performed badly, and we sailed through the gap, waving cheerfully. Nothing so sarky as a bus full of pensioners.

I have suggested to the local council in the past that they need to revisit their mission statement as I do not think it is fit for purpose any more. I suggest it again. Something like: May contain nuts would fit the bill nicely.





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34 comments:

  1. So pleased to see you're still causing chaos Carol! Keep up the good work. : ) x

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    1. Always...while there is waste of taxpayers money & arrant stupidity, I will be there!

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  2. All power to you and your fellow citizen! I am glad to see some real independent thinking. As Amanda says, it's good to know you are out there highlighting not only injustice and corruption but also downright absurdity. Loved the Harpy stand off! You go, CarolStar!!

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  3. Do my best!!! Thanks. WWill let you know when you can apply for citizenship

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  4. Oh traffic mayhem! Our High Street was closed the other day because a bus caught fire. Traffic should be used to the High Street closing - it happens for the fair. But this time there were now diversion signs, so buses and lorries tried to find their way ... round tiny streets and country lanes ... I've no car and didn't need to get anywhere, so I saw the funny side. But think I was the only one!

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  5. What are cyclists supposed to be waiting for? Godot? Can we have car waiting zones too, so that I can also wait? Very entertaining. Thank you.

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    1. This is what happens when you have a very vocal Cyclists Group....I agree..

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  6. Reminds me of the old Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico - sounds like you will be independent before Scotland at this rate!

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  7. *Passes Hi Viz Vest*....If you MUST take to lingering on corners...best to wear this and be seen....wouldn't want anything to happen to you pre DD sequel being published!...( oops...did I type that out loud? )...

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    1. Hahaha .... if the cars don't get me, the council probably will..

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  8. Please can we twin with you? We live on a single track rural lane with no official passing places, some potholes you can fish in when it rains and regular flooding in the dips when there is a spot of rain. Thus it of course makes perfect sense to direct all the traffic off the main road (the ONLY road) into Durham from the South down our lane when there is some minor flooding on the main road. Cars from the south meet cars from the north, nobody can pass, nobody can reverse because (a) the lane is 3 miles long and has lots of blind corners and (b) there are about 50 cars in both directions. Then of course one line of cars meets the flooding and everyone is stuck until the flooding subsides. It provides hours of amusement for us, and my traffic directional skills are unsurpassed we managed to get over 16 cars in our drive one year as we unpicked one particularly stunning example of local authority stupidity.

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    1. You may. I have also told the council they should consider twinning us with North Korea rather than Jambon-sur Pain or whatever the French place we're currently twinned with. Welcome. Please send ambassadorial staff and gifts.

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  9. This looks like the bit of road which was being decimated when I came to see you. If this is what they were doing, then for once I'm speechless. The road was barely wide enough as it was. Our council has made some pretty half-baked decisions over the years, including widening the pavement through the centre of our village so that the road is now too narrow for the dreaded 4X4s (yes, they're a curse here too) to drive along without straddling the white line down the centre. But this one knocks all of them into a cocked hat!

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  10. ... I lived in Harpenden for three years about 35 years ago... you may have planted the seed of temptation to return as a new ‘national’... can I be Deputy Minister of Irreverence, reporting to you, m’Lady ?

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    1. I will put it to the citizenry and get back..

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  11. Ooh, Carol, can I suggest your national flag be two digits, rampant? Perhaps on a luminous purple background?

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    1. hahaha ..as you know the snails have a particular importance - as they live on a bank that our beloved council wants to destroy for ''affordable housing''

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  12. Good on you Carol! Love the Harpy monniker. Here we call them 'aso', an abbreviated form of 'anti-socialite' as in the city they are generally young glamourous women who have borrowed daddy's SUV to go clubbing. How they manouvre those things in 6 inch heels is beyond me.

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  13. Indeed! Power to the pensioners! Those 4x4 drivers in cities can be a pain. They're much more respectable in the country!

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    1. They used to be Volvo estates...and Jo, I know ..some of my students(!!) have 4x4's

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  14. As a cyclist and runner that uses that path as well as a motorist I can also say it defies all logic, I just can't see any purpose to it at all. Another application to join please.

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    1. We may consider it! Apply to the embassy...

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  15. Please may I be your Ambassador for Cheshire?

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    1. We shall discuss the protocols when we next meet.

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  16. Replies
    1. Nope..they just get killed.... sadly

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  17. Go Carol *whoop! whoop!* :)

    All hail the rampant snail,
    Following is easy it leaves a trail,
    Better than breadcrumbs, they go stale.

    Well, there's a beginning of a chorus...just not a very good one ;D

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  18. Go Carol! *punches the air with fist and simultaneously checks for snails* the 4x4 lot in my part of the world could do with running the gauntlet with your bus driver! :-)

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  19. The comments are a brilliant complement to your rebellious post, Carol, and both make great reading! 'm afraid theIshenanigans of addled bureaucrats are beyond the comprehension of sane people - but good luck with campaign!
    Here's my recent bus story: There we were on a brand new bus, just up the road from the central police station, and the driver was obviously still finding his way around the fancy array of buttons, when by accident he pressed some emergency button setting off a very loud siren. Passengers and passing pedestrians alike, shrugged their shoulders, assuming it's got a nothing to with me expression, and stoically ignored it. Next thing we know the bus is surrounded with three police cars, lights flashing, their sirens adding to the cacophony and we're boarded with the local equivalent of the anti-terrorist squad. Yes, we - the passengers that is - had a good laugh - and the police took it all in their stride. As for the poor bus driver, he now knows better than to press that button!

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    1. Brilliant story!!!! We had a funny bus incident recently...whereby the 657 to St Albans had a new driver who didn't know the route.Thus every now and then he'd shout:'left or right here?' At one point, you could sense that certain passengers were contemplating ..maybe... directing him to Brighton....for a day at the seaside...Hahaha.

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    2. Lol! Or pop over to a friend or relatives not seen in a while...the possibilities are endless...and could make for some funny stories.
      A friend's son told her that the night bus, often full with drunk students, sometimes detours and drops them off at their houses. Now that's what I call public service!

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  20. Makes you wonder what qualifications one needs to become an urban planner (a cycling proficiency certificate, perhaps?) Hope your campaign is successful Carol, somebody needs to stand up to the bureaucrats. Harpys, beware! We know who you are and you can't run in those heels. PS Alex Salmond is interested to know if your democracy has its own currency (if yes, please keep schtum, he just wants his fizzog on a twenty pound note...)

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  21. "Nothing so sarky as a bus full of pensioners" - hunting in packs? :-\

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