Nearly forgot the title …


Some people are really quite lazy. I had to take some bottles to the recycling bank in the village. The banks are Bottle Bankabout 300 yards away from the house so for me I have to use the car and I usually combine the trip with a visit to some local shops. I set off and as I approached the main road, a car reversed out of a drive at the end of our road. I stopped to allow him to get out and he waved a thankyou. He turned onto the main road and sped off quickly reaching 30mph (in a 20mph zone) before turning into the bottle bank site. He was out of the car, lighting a cigarette when I pulled up. He opened his car boot, took out 2 small glass Coke bottles and dropped them into the recycle bin. He climbed back into his car and sped of back the way he came. As I passed the end of my road on the way to the Post Office, I saw his car parked back in his drive. Considering that the recycle area is only about 100 yards from the end of our road, I thought it was amazing that he drove there.

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We had some hopeful news yesterday. Our youngest son, who is in lockdown at his residential CV19(3)care place my be able to come for a ‘home visit’ from 22nd of February. I say hopefully, as it all depends on there being no more Covid-19 outbreaks.  All the residents and staff will have had there vaccinations by then so it is quite possible. However I’m not that optimistic. Things like this have a knack of “coming up behind you and smacking the back of your head“, which was a phrase my ex-manager used to say. But we shall wait and see and keep everything crossed.

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screenshot_20210206-165022-1Looking like we are heading for a good week of snow and cold winds again. It is also looking like it might be a lot worse than last time. We are told that is very cold wind coming in from Northern Europe which will prevent the fast thaw we had before. Although the weather forecast seems to depend on which television/radio/app that you use. It also depends on what time of day you check the forecast. I have doubts on the accuracy of the outlooks sometimes. I’m sure the forecast on my phone app has changed more than once in the past couple of days.

From then to now … Things can only get better !


Things did start to get better as the next few years progressed. Staff realised that I was not the ‘bossy’ type that the previous occupier of the post.

In 1991 the Government decided to ‘de-criminalise’ parking offences. The Road Traffic Act 1991 (RTA), allowing local authorities to issue parking tickets for contraventions such as: parking on yellow lines, footway parking, not displaying valid pay and display tickets or parking permits within a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). Leeds were now starting to look at the pros and cons of this new legislation. But before that could happen, Leeds needed a new processing system. I was asked, More moneybecause of my ‘technical knowledge’ to be part of the team that looked at the different systems that were available. Unusually for me, I asked what it was worth? The manager had been expecting this and offered me an upgrade in scale to S5. I remember sitting there pretending to think about and then, even more unusual for me, I countered with ‘”Could you make it S6?” I think he had been expecting this and he agreed, there and then.

There were many trips out to various Local Authorities to see their systems and to talk to users before we settled on ours. One of the the things that kept cropping up, was residential parking, or parking outside your own property. As more and more Residents Parking signpeople had cars, and the cost of parking those cars increased, many drivers took to parking in residential streets, much to the annoyance of the local residents. To try and overcome this problem Local Authorities set up Residents Parking Zones which allowed the residents within that ‘zone’ to obtain a parking permit(s) for themselves and visitors. Leeds were using card permits that were hand written with any required details and they did not look very professional.

The new legislation would give the Council control over the parking in these Residents zones, and parking-permitit was decided that any new system would have to be able to cope with the issue of more accurate and professional permits. This also meant that jobs and job titles would have to change. Parking Attendants became Civil Enforcement Officers, clerks became Customer Service Officers and a new team called Appeals Officers was created. The new system used mail-merge for the first time to create individual and personalised letters. This meant that we could now send parking permits that were no longer hand written and could not be easily forged. It became one of my jobs to both design and implement these new style permits when we were ready to take on the new service. That new service started in 2005 and things started to get better for everyone.

Just weekend things …


About six months ago, I was preparing our Sunday meal when I had an idea. We were having tray bake (we don’t do traditional IMAG0817Sunday lunch type food) which was basically roughly chopped IMAG0816peppers, courgettes, onions with new potatoes and chicken thighs all mixed with olive oil and crushed garlic. I’ve got a picture somewhere but not sure where. Anyway, to the point. I was just about to throw the bit of the pepper that you don’t use, in the bin when I wondered if the seeds would grow. I’ve never had much luck with growing stuff from seed, but I thought I had nothing to lose. Within a week, the seeds had started to grow, and within a month I had nine small plants. Now six months on I have nine larger plants, with flowers and the first showing of some peppers. This has totally amazed me as I never even thought he seeds would grow. We shall see what we will get.

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Today is the first day of the 2018 “Leeds Festival” or as it is known locally “Leeds Fest”. It is one of the large music festivals that happen over the year and it runs at the same time as the “Reading Festival”. Both have the leeds_festivalsame acts over three days. Leeds is held at Bramham Park, which is extremely close to where we live. I have been back in 2011 and 2012 as local residents are allowed to purchase concessionary for the whole three days as part of a compensation pack. What happens is that the organisers donate a number of tickets to the parish council of Bramham, Clifford and Thorner (who are the most affected) and they sell them to the residents at a vastly discounted price. I think this year, the tickets were in the region of £40.00 for the three days in what is called the Guest Area, which is a much better camp-site then the general public get. So we get a few days of traffic disruption, a bit of disturbance during the night from the music and the local area gets some extra funding. As mentioned, I did got to the 2011 festival, and have great memories of dancing to Madness and seeing Ed Sheeran as an up and coming newcomer. There is a YouTube video of a band called “Bring Me The BMTH 2011Horizon” or BMTH, finishing their set with a massive ‘circle pit’. The sound is pretty bad but, I can say that I was in the midst of it and it was as scary as it looks. From what I can remember, I was towards the bottom right when you look at the video. The guy next to me, at the time said I was in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ and advised me that the safest thing to do was to run !! K*** says that it would kill me if I did it now … it nearly killed me then!

I had a ticket for 2012, but the weather was very wet, and I was not that desperate to see many of the bands so I gave most of them a miss. Although I did get to see Foo Fighters, The Cure and Florence And The Machine, so not all that bad.

And now, in time honoured fashion for ‘Leeds Fest’ … it’s raining !