ON THE BUSES: DAY 5 - HOBSON'S CHOICE
Passengers on the WMESB/Driver Knowledge: 2 (The driver, who used to work on the Yellow Taxibuses, asked us which way to go!)
Queue jumpers: 0 (Bizarrely, the Ferrytoll was rather empty and I was the queue)
Journey Home: Not Applicable - off out 'on the town' tonight.
Media Mentions: 1 (My colleague Nikki managed to get through to "The Word Is Out" on Forth One but her answer, "Basic", was wrong. If it's not won by the time it gets to £5000 they're gonna make an announcement. I managed to get on "Beat It" again but my guess, actually Julie's idea, was wrong).
It was back to the bus today and I didn’t mind it too much because I could have an extra 20 minutes in my bed and I would get to work at least an hour later than I had been. The bus doesn’t seem so bad when I don’t have to use it all the time. Having the car has been a godsend, although the early mornings are taking its toll.
The painting of double yellow lines and dashed boxes continues on Fettes Avenue and Carrington Road as Edinburgh Council continues to squeeze the number of free car parking spaces. They were supposedly going to change the way cars parked on Carrington Road so as to get more spaces but that hasn’t happened. We had hoped that the free parking area in two thirds of Fettes Avenue would be 'bayed' off but alas they’ve just made one big box in each part of the road. We thought that if proper bays were put in then more cars could be fitted in because some of the parking, which I can see from my window, is shocking. However, the Council wouldn’t want that because it would be less likely that drivers would use their Pay and Display bays. Why they need Pay and Display in a non-residential area is beyond me. It’s nothing but a moneymaking exercise. Parking charges in local hospitals have been a topic of discussion since they were brought in and this blogger thinks it’s disgusting that emergency services staff has to pay to park at their place of work.
Lothian and Borders Police have been in the new themselves this week as this link to “Anger as police complaint becomes net hit” shows: http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1775082007 A colleague forwarded the much-discussed e-mail to me and I forwarded it to the GLW. Why? Because the language used is funny. That’s not to play down the issues raised or the seriousness of the complaints. As someone who had a similar problem when I lived in Leith I have a lot of sympathy with the original complainer. I don’t know that I would complain with quite the same language (as tempting as it is I don’t feel that it achieves anything) but I feel for the complainer’s frustration at the apparent disregard for his concerns. What has become apparent is that his e-mail and the ensuing publicity has brought the issues to the world’s attention and you can be sure that action will be taken in the area.
As to the issue of how the e-mail got into public domain, I think it’s no different to any other viral e-mail that contains a joke, or cartoon, or amusing story. Thanks to the information super dual carriageway, these e-mails spread quicker and it really is no surprise, having read the e-mail in question, that this one has spread so fast.
Some of the many comments (they stopped comments after 199) on The Scotsman’s version of the story are obviously from police staff and they make valid points about the Force Communication Centre and the dissemination of police officers. They have too much red tape and paperwork to get through and this negates any efforts to be where people want them to be and that is on the streets.
The complainer will have got an unexpected response to his e-mail (worldwide publicity – it even made the Scottish news) and I would hope that common sense would prevail and that no member of police staff is disciplined over the distribution. I believe this would only occur if the e-mail writer made an official complaint.
The GLW and I engaged in a very cultural pursuit on Friday night and went to the theatre. If ever a man was born to play Henry Hobson in "Hobson's Choice" it was John Savident. John is most famous, I say, most famous for his role as Lancastrian butcher Fred Elliott in the nation's favourite soap Coronation Street. His booming voice and larger-than-life persona filled the auditorium at the King's Theatre without suffocating the rest of the cast, who were excellent. I must give a special mention to Dylan Charles, who I thought was superb as Will Mossop.
As to the venue itself, I've never liked the seats there and tonight was no exception. Kirsty had got us seats at the side, right by the exit, so I could stretch my pins but I just couldn't settle in seats that would've tested the hardiest of bottoms. I don't know if there's any insect problem there but I found myself scratching a lot (even now, as I think about it). But it was just good to get out and about in Edinburgh on a bustling Friday night. Our move to Dunfermline was borne out of financial necessity and a falling out of love with the capital but on nights like this I really miss Edinburgh. I especially miss the Cameo Cinema, which is just across the road from the King's. The only cinema in Dunfermline is one of those multiplex cinemas that is more interested in downmarket Hollywood cack that usually stars Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan or Adam Sandler. No chance of seeing "Sicko" or "Control" in Dunfermline, I'm afraid.
Every trip into Edinburgh for a night out is planned like a military operation and almost always involves a babysitter. We were determined to enjoy "Hobson's Choice" although we could have easily fallen asleep through the whole play such was our mental state after a long week. The GLW's parents, my outlaws, are off to see it tonight. They'll love it as much as we did. Next morning, the GLW, The Flickster and Granny headed off to see The Gruffalo's Child and I went drove home.
A PEACH OF A MATCH
When I got home I was all set to have a shower and get on with some "stuff" (boys are good at doing "stuff") when I made the fatal error of switching the television on. I love pool and the 2007 World Championships (held in Manila) were on and there were two Englishmen in the last eight.
When I tuned in Blackpool's Daryl Peach was up against local favourite Francisco Bustamante in his quarter-final and was leading 9-8, however the momentum was with the Filipino and in this winner-breaks-off format he was looking good for the victory. However, the match changed completely thanks to a rather controversial incident in the 20th frame, after Francisco had taken a 10-9 lead.
Bustamante was at the table when he found himself snookered. He played a kick shot off the cushion in an attempt to hit the 3-ball. He appeared to have struck lucky by playing the 3 and hitting the 9 into the top right hand pocket, thereby "winning" the frame and match. However, referee Nigel Rees thought it was a foul and brought the celebrations to a halt, much to the bemusement of the local and very partisan crowd. Numerous replays, including a decisive overhead shot, showed that the Filipino had indeed struck the 9-ball first and the "foul" call was the correct one. Peach asked for a break to compose himself and then Bustamante asked to see the Tournament Director who agreed with the referee's decision.
Bustamante, who'd been tetchy throughout the match could do nothing as Peach, under tremendous pressure, cleared the table to bring the match all-square at 10-10 and then held his nerve through the chaos to pot a difficult 9 in the last to win the match 11-10. The locals weren't happy as they booed the outcome and neither was Bustamante who barely shook hands with the victor. Peach went on to win his semi and faces Filipino qualifier Roberto Gomez in tomorrow morning's final.
After the tension of that controversial pool match, I swapped channels and sports as I taped the Joe Calzaghe fight for the GLW (we have to watch the channel we're taping because we don't have a hard drive or Sky+). Although the fight was last week, it was only shown on Setanta and the BBC were able to show the whole 12 round fight again. Calzaghe was always in control as he unified every belt in the 12st Super Middleweight Division. Well done Joe.
By the time the pool and boxing were over I had achieved nothing. I popped out to get a couple of newspapers, including the Daily Record, which I was only buying because it had a free CD featuring up and coming Scottish bands. The CD featured tracks by The Green Peppers (new band of ex-Soup Dragon and Superstar guitarist Jim McCulloch), Our Lunar Activities, Joe Kennedy, The Goldenhour, The Ronelles, Daniel Wylie, The River Detectives (yes, they're still going), The Fast Camels, Ally Kerr and Water School. The Green Peppers actually feature twice with guest appearances from Del Amitri's Justin Curie and Isobel Campbell, an established solo artist following her departure from Belle and Sebastian. The CD is to promote the rather wonderful Neon Tetra Records, home to some of the finest independent artists in Scotland. There's a couple of these artists that I don't have on the Jock 'n' Roll site so I'll need to add them and give the CD a mention and links to the bands.artists websites and/or MySpaces.
I picked up Flick and the GLW from Dalgety Bay station, just as close as Dunfermline Town, and brought them home. I then took the decision to cut the grass out the back. It hadn't been done for a couple of weeks due to the weather (the drainage is poor in the back garden and it needs a sustained period of good weather to dry the grass before cutting) and I was determined it would be neat and tidy before winter appeared. A job well done although the lawn will need some work on it next year as it's a bit patchy and even muddy in places. It's not too bad, compared with each of my neighbours whose had their grass savaged by big trampolines, but I'd like it better. Check me out, Alan Titchmarsh!
I got my second Media Mention of the week as my e-mail to the Fife Herald and Post, amongst others, featured heavily in another story about our bus problems. The article, entitled "Bus timetable changes remain controversial" includes the usual quotes from Stagecoach plus Fife Councillors Tony Martin (Lib Dem) and Mike Rumney (Labour). These are two of the four councillors who cover my Ward and not surprisingly they have differing views. Mr Martin has, in previous correspondence with me, come across as a Stagecoach apologist and as he's the head of the Transport Committee that's not a good thing for the Eastern Expansion. Because Mr Rumney is on the minority in the Council he's obviously taking on the role of the "good guy". It was certainly a different story when he was in the majority but I'll let that pass for now.
Right, I have a small child to bath and stories to tell. I suspect it'll be The Gruffalo's Child tonight, so sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.