Before I start waffling – these top-of- the -range boots are for sale – I’m open to offers. They’ve only got 30 miles on the clock and I cannot wear them. I’m not inclined to resort to e-bay and have somebody offer 50p – if it comes to that I’ll give them to a charity shop. Heaven knows I already give a load of stuff to various charity shops. Last week it was a load of old cricket gear I’ll never use again unless England really get desperate and call me up. Week before it was some golf shoes. Anyway, as a keen rambler (more later) I decided a couple of years ago to get some new boots – and to really splash out. So off I went to Cotswold, and asked to see the very best boots in the shop, and this is them. They are a pair of size 11.5 (11 1/2) Meindl Softline Goretex boots -cost me about £130 -more than double what I’d ever paid previously. They seemed very comfortable when I tried them on in the shop. What I had not realised is that I was developing a problem with one foot. I did a few local walks which seemed OK – but then went off to The Malverns, where I found that, frankly and sadly, I could not wear them. I saw a podiatrist a few times, but the poor foot will not get better. Now I have to buy larger, very wide-fitting boots and shoes. I can’t even get golf shoes off the shelf to fit me. In my younger says I jogged and I played various sports -albeit not very well. Then in 1986 I became a member of Camberley Arena, where I bumped into a strange bird, Peggy, who walked marathons. Until then I’d thought those odd folk who walked with sticks and had trousers tucked into their boots were a bit weird -but Peggy got a few of us Arena members out walking -and that is how it started. We even set up a furnished holiday let cottage business in Combe Martin (www.cottagesindevon.com). And we became founder members of the Surrey Heath branch of The Ramblers Association. I even served seven years on the board of trustees of The Ramblers Association, as Honorary Treasurer. And I still walk quite a few miles every week – but in pretty special hand-made boots -actually made in UK – in Northampton in fact -once the home of shoe making in UK. (When I was training to be a chartered accountant in the City I spent one week per month in Northampton working on the audit of Barratts Shoes) OK – don’t say it -I’m rambling! I’d really like to get some ££ for these very nice boots -to help me pay for some new ones, or even some specially hand-made golf shoes. ‘er indoors only allows me a limited amount of pocket money. So when you are walking -or even when you see people walking – or should I say ‘hiking’ – please tell them you know a poor chap who has some boots for sale. Denis
Yesterday we took our granddaughter up to see the Obelisk, via Camberley Park, in Knoll Road. Surrey Heath Borough Council not only created an excellent area for children to play in; they also constructed a nice pathway up to the historic Obelisk. Sadly to me it seems that graffiti has become socially acceptable – an opinion which I do not share. Having arrived at the top of the hill we discovered litter, bottles and cans lying around the area. I really cannot wait for news that litters have been caught and heavily fined.
We walked down the hill to the childrens’ playground, where we found broken glass near the slide.
Surrey Heath BC do a very good job clearing litter -but it should not be dropped in the first place! I visit Arena Leisure Centre on several mornings each week; usually there is litter around the car park, although there are ample waste bins on the site. Arena staff have to clear the litter away. Who bears the cost of clearing litter?
A few weeks ago I was stuck in a two mile traffic jam on the Hogs Back. As we crawled along I started to county the discarded cans on the central reservation. I stopped at 100.
If we continue to tolerate this lack of consideration and respect for other people, we are doing ourselves no favours. If litterers get away with their vile behavior, what else will they think they can get away with?
I want to read about cases where people have been punished. I want the message to travel far and wide, Enough is enough!
As a cricket lover since I first discovered the game at the age of nine I’d always dreamed of watching cricket in the West Indies. I was able to make that dream come true earlier this month. Our first stop was Antigua, where England were involved in a 50 over series with the West Indies. We stayed on Jolly Beach; (strangely enough featured in the ‘Discover’ section of the Sunday Telegraph , March 16th); the England cricket party were staying at the other end of the beach and could be seen in the nearby supermarket and beach restaurants. One of the ‘places to visit in Barbados is the old garrison – you’ll notice the racecourse -the venue for the Gold Cup, attended it seemed by most of the population of Barbados on March 9th -fantastic atmosphere! We stopped by to visit the garrison on March 7th, where I noticed a group of athletic looking young people being photographed holding a torch. On enquiry I discovered that they were the Barbados Olympic Team, welcoming the Queen’s Torch, that was on the Island for a couple of days on route to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – where I also hope to be. Seeing how interested I was they offered to let me hold the torch -in fact the official photographer snapped me with some of the athletes!
Previously I’d apologised to the Chairman of Surrey County Council for having to miss the flag raising ceremony at County Hall on March 10th, Commonwealth Day. I was sorry to miss the ceremony; however to hold the torch in the company of a team of athletes in a Commonwealth country was an altogether better experience!
I’m not alone in thinking that we don’t pay enough attention to our friends in the Commonwealth. I expect most of us in UK will have heard about St Patrick’s day this week -but how many will have known about Commonwealth Day?
Parentdish are campaigning against the higher cost of family holidays over the holiday periods. As a parent, and a grandparent, I am sympathetic. I cannot agree with parents who think it is OK to take children out of school in order to save a few hundred pounds -a decision which might affect their later examination results, career prospects etc. A decision to have a family should be taken in the clear knowledge that children are expensive -but are worth every penny.
I’d like to make few points from the perspective of a part-owner of a Furnished Holiday Let bungalow in Combe Martin, North Devon. My business partner is a lawyer; I’m an accountant; we were both keen walkers; we thought that we could create a little holiday-letting business in the fantastic walking area, close to Exmoor and the South West Coastal Path. Once the mortgage is paid off, the bungalow, (‘Carpenters’) , may contribute a small amount of income to our retirement pots.
In the meantime we still have the mortgage to pay – £7000 pa. Other costs (rates, light, heat, water, caretakers and cleaners, website, advertising and marketing, repairs, travel costs etc) total a further £6000 pa approximately. But for the fact that we handle our own bookings we would face the additional costs of agents fees. Then we have the capital costs of replacing furniture and equipment and keeping the property up to scratch. Visitors expect a couple of modern flat-screen televisions,etc. Last month we replaced the en-suite bathroom, put new carpets in the three bedrooms, replaced the bed in the double bedroom with a king sized bed, and replaced the tumble drier.
So we need letting income of approximately £13,000 pa minimum to cover the ‘revenue’ expenditure plus more lettings to cover the ‘capital’ costs. We’ve owned ‘Carpenters’ for twelve years and we expect to have to keep paying money into the business until the mortgage is repaid.
Sadly there are fifteen weeks or so in any year when people just do not want to visit North Devon. We use some of these dates to carry out maintenance etc. Just last week we experienced the spectacular, if (for some) devastating tides. Fortunately most of Combe Martin is nor affected by these freak events. Combe Martin is fantastic at any times of the year.
So we have to earn our income over – in a good year – thirty five weeks – which is not always achievable in view of the competition from other properties, hotels, caravan parks and holiday camps. Furthermore we know that there are only ten or so ‘banker’ weeks, when we have to earn almost half of our income.
Much as we’d like to charge £500 for this, the first week of February, we know that, in reality, anyone interested in booking ‘Carpenters’ would laugh at us.
Those are the facts of life. But do please have a look at our website (www.cottagesindevon.com) and our Facebook page and Twitter site. we need all the followers,friends and re-tweets that we can get
…………There! I knew that heading would make you look! Well; on this rainy windy morning my wife, Carol, picked me up from my appointment at FPH and she drove to Camberley, where Carol was hoping to buy some gloves at the wonderful HM Supplies on the slip road. Carol said we might park in the ‘Permit Holder Only’ bays for a couple of minutes, as they were sure to be empty, and it was unlikely that we’d bump into any traffic wardens on a morning like this, and for so short a time. Oh Yes? Carol got out of the driving seat and I opened the passenger door to get myself into the driving seat and move off to a legal parking area. However I was confronted by a lady who warned me not to even think about parking there as I’d get a ticket. I looked round and- guess what – the parking wardens were walking down the road putting tickets on windscreens. I though to myself are those wardens ever not on the slip road? The kind lady told me where she lived, said she was disgusted with the council, and would never vote Conservative again. I offered to pass on a message to her councillors if she would send me an email, but she refused, saying even thinking about the issue made her too cross.
Some weeks ago I discovered that elsewhere in Surrey, in Permit Holder Only zones, there are bigger signs, at a more readable height. We now have those signs on the slip road, yet people are still parking there! We are all creatures of habit; I confess that I don’t walk around an area where I’ve parked for many years looking for signs. Are the new signs sufficiently clear I ask?
Rev. Bruce Nicole’s petition, which closed on February 2nd after being on the SCC website for a month, attracted almost 900 supporters. The petition will be heard at the Surrey Heath SCC Local Area Committee meeting at Collingwood School on March 13th. Petitions are normally heard soon after 6-00pm.
What saddens me so much, as a councillor, is that people like me do a considerable amount of work for our residents, our community, the Borough and the County. SHBC and SCC on the whole do a pretty good job, under quite difficult circumstances. Yet the issue over the notice and signage of these newly created Permit Holder areas has caused an enormous amount of bad feeling against the councils and the councillors.
There are serious lessons to be learned. In the meantime I hope that this blog will save a few more people from an unwanted parking fine
… and I know much of it pretty well. My favourite stretches are through Wiltshire and the West Country. As for the rest of it – it is grossly over-used and can be a nightmare. This afternoon, driving (legally) down A30 Camberley in the much-hated Bus Lane I was almost side-wiped by a car in the centre lane. Why? He wanted to turn left into The Avenue. Clearly he had not seen a peak hour programme on National TV a couple of years ago which described the A30/Avenue junction as one of the most dangerous in the South of England. In December 2009 I arrived at this junction just after a bus had collided with the passenger door of a Ford Focus. The Focus driver was clearly making the same mistake as the driver who may well have collided with me – but fortunately I’m all too familiar with the perils of this accursed stretch of road, and a BLAST of my horn prevented the accident today. There have been many such accidents at this junction; there will be many more until the powers that be have the commonsense to rid us of this nightmare.
So what mistake was the other driver guilty of today? I’m pretty sure that he will be telling people about the idiot who today nearly caused an accident because he was driving in a bus lane. He probably does not know that the bus lane only operates on weekdays for a few hours in the morning and evening. He believes he cannot use it -so he turns straight off A30 from the middle lane into a side turning -regardless of who is on the bus lane -which may well have been a bus!
Shortly after becoming the county councillor for this area I had some white arrows painted on the bus lane to encourage people turning left into The Avenue to get into the bus lane before turning left. Few do it.
People, understandably, are very upset at being inconvenienced by the Bagshot A30 roadworks. Fortunately this should be all over by the Summer. But – consider this: the powers that be decided that a perfectly usable two lane stretch of A30 along the edge of Camberley should be reduced to one lane – to allow buses to reach their destination earlier. So if you are held up by the A30 Bagshot roadworks, do not expect sympathy from the poor working people who have to endure the traffic queues on the A30 approaching the Meadows Roundabout -every evening! And do not expect sympathy for the residents of The Avenue, Woodland Road etc. who have to endure rat-runners trying to get away from the A30 queues.
And take a look at who are occupying the buses – indeed when they are occupied. Schoolchildren and people of my age -probably not paying much of anything for their ride. And who are being inconvenienced by this political bus lane? The workers who are paying the taxes and contributing to the UK economy.
I have no problem with bus lanes in London. If I choose to drive in London I must accept being inconvenienced -there are enough trains and buses for me to use instead of my car. However, most of us who use our cars to and from Camberley do so because we have no choice. It is practically impossible and definitely impracticable for me to get to County Hall Kingston other than my car.
I hope we have the sense and courage to rid ourselves of the A30 bus lane. let’s follow the example of Liverpool!
I’ve not played since before Christmas. The weather has been dreadful! My family have had to deal with the illness and subsequent death of my 28 year-old niece , Samantha – she fell ill with the very rare Wegerers in November and she passed away on Christmas Eve. And then I’ve been ‘crusading’ along with several colleagues and residents, not least the excellent Rev. Bruce Nicole, to sort out the awful problem of unclear parking signs in the new Permit Holder Only areas. I believe that between Mid October and 31st December nearly 1400 people have broken the law on the London Road Slip Road – a stretch of road long enough for only about 35 cars. The Permit Holder only area has space for about 12 of those cars. 1400 offenders? This is beyond fiction!
So after a decent lunch at my Rotary Club (Farnborough) I drove through the downpour to meet my old mate Pete at Blackwater Golf Centre. We decided to drive a couple of buckets on the range, by when the rain had eased – so we tossed a coin and decided to slither round the waterlogged course. Two equally barmy people were ahead of us -we were the only four players using the course this afternoon.
For Pete and I we actually played pretty well! Peter potted an impossible put from the edge of one green; he lost one ball at the second but found two more -he remained in credit all the way round – very unlike us! Then we reached the short but difficult eighth -about 130 yards but narrow with a lake on one side and a ditch on the other; and the hole on a small raised plateau. Pete hooked left. I actually drove quite straight, using my six iron. Pete found his ball plus another one in the undergrowth -so drove them both. Then – wait for it…………….
…………I chipped my ball straight into the hole! A birdie!! I very rarely par this hole. Often I’ve lost so many balls in the trees on this hole that I give up in disgust.
We teed off on the ninth – it was almost dark -the heavens opened -we picked up our balls and left. A good afternoon!