Category Archives: The Environment

Windy and Judith

Well, where does the time go? It seems to be 12 months since I last blogged or thereabouts. Thanks for all the hits on the Tedious Tantrums blog. The star, of course, is the one and only Judith Ralston the weather presenter on BBC Scotland.

A short detour at this point. Here, in Scotland, we also have a fairly spiffing independent weather watcher who provides a daily weather forecast. Give him a wee check out. He’s none other than Windy Wilson along with his son Wee Windy Wilson and his wife Gusty Wilson.

Now the BBC have the MET to provide them, including huge computing power, with daily forecasts costing millions of pounds over a year. Windy has a laptop and he manages to get the weather right more often than the BBC.

Now back to Judith. It would seem that Judith and Windy have met and not just once. I’ve no idea if they trade forecasting tips etc. But I’m sure they must discuss the weather. Don’t we all…

Judith was a vision in a white and black ensemble earlier this evening. I’m fairly sure that she gave a forecast, I may not have been watching as closely as I should have been. South winds were included possibly?

Anyway give Windy a look. You may well notice that an odd swear word may appear but stick with it.

Meantime, I’ll try to blog a bit more frequently .



Financial tricks..

Once upon a time there was a building, a rather splendid and imposing building which was named The Custom House. It was a building paid for by the local taxpayers and it served the various sea borne custom which came in and out of the fairly large docks close to it. Over a long number of years the building served the purpose it had been designed for, but as it is with many things, times changed, the docks were much less busy and The Custom House was closed.

The building lay empty for some time and after a few possible uses were discussed and then rejected a temporary use was agreed. A public organisation was given leave to use the building for storage whist a larger new facility was being for them. It wasn’t in ideal building for storage and neither were the items being stored but at least it was in use.

Once the public organisation using it for storage they were them granted ownership of the building. Now that’s a bit odd. They were given ownership of a building which didn’t really suit the purpose they were using it for.

When the time was right for them to begin to seriously plan to move out they put the building up for sale. Now isn’t that a bit strange? It was a publicly funded building, which had been given to them free, and now they were selling it?

The local community council were shocked and a group was formed to take over The Custom House so it could be turned into a local museum. But they only had a month to find over £600,000 so they could buy it back for the local taxpayers.

The local City Councillors wanted to help and be the saviours as is their want. They found a way to save The Custom House. They decided that they could use the Common Good Fund to buy The Custom House back from the other public body. Everyone was happy with that. (Not the taxpayers though).

Now at this point you will be looking for the “living happily ever after” ending. Alas no. Within a few weeks the City Council had changed their plans for the building. Yes it would be a museum but a museum which had a foot print the size of a single tennis court.

The City Council were now going to sell most of the building to developers. Isn’t that clever? Money coming from the Common Good fund, which could only be used for supporting the local community council, was used for buying a building, which had belonged to the public in the first place.

And here is the wee sting. The developers would pay a much higher price for the building, less the small museum space. And where would the money that the developers paid end up? Well, the City Council of course. Isn’t that a surprise?

What a slick wee scheme is it not?

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Edinburgh, Justice, The Environment


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Liverpool bus lanes…

I’ve never been to Liverpool although I’ve seen it on TV, which is the best I can do. It may well be one of the best places in the world! I don’t know and I haven’t got an opinion about it.

I was interested however, when I saw an article in the press a few weeks ago. It was one of those headlines which grab your attention. It basically said that bus lanes in Liverpool were going to be suspended for a few months to find out if traffic would be better or worse without them.

That sounded like a great thing to do. As drivers, we all sit in traffic at times and it is very frustrating when a bus glides up the bus lane and gets preferential treatment. Well it’s the bus passengers who get the preferential treatment.

A certain Mr Begg used to work here in Edinburgh and introduced bus lanes. He’s long gone onto better things but his bus lanes still remain. The buses here also have transponders in them which over-ride traffic lights so the buses get through quicker yet again. Mr Begg didn’t like cars.

Taxis are also allowed in bus lanes and cyclists but not motorcyclists. A few months ago Edinburgh Council put up some new cameras to catch drivers using the bus lanes. It was the biggest fiasco that the council had carried out for probably at least 10 minutes. They are prone to continual fiascos, which would be funny if it were not for the fact that we have to pay for them at some point. The council doesn’t like cars.

Anyway, the cameras were installed. The number of drivers caught was HUGE. It wasn’t that they were using the bus lane it was more the fact that they had to cross the bus lane or get around a corner or even get into their own drive. They still got the paperwork with the fine of course but most of them complained and got the fines dropped.

The council then switched some of the cameras off and things are better but far from ideal. The council doesn’t like cars.

In Liverpool the bus lanes are now just a part of the road that everyone can use. The Mayor has been interestingly supportive of the removal of the bus lanes albeit that it’s just a trial at the moment.

There have been complaints. It takes longer for bus passengers to get to where they are going. The bus companies are complaining that it now takes their buses longer to get where they are going. Really? No brainer actually.

The majority of people on the road now get to their destinations a bit quicker. There’s another surprise. Who would have thunk that?

The bus companies have become grumpy. Their advantage over all the other road users has been eroded. They no longer get priority treatment. They are going to complain.

There is no good reason to expect road users to have to put up with some people getting preferential treatment. It will be wonderful if the lanes are dropped for good.

Down with bus lanes I say!


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Prince charming…

The floods. I feel for the people anywhere in the UK who have been affected by the floods. It must be horrible to have your home or business flooded and then have to wait months for things to dry out or be repaired.

You may want to take a little stroll along to the EUreferendum blog. If you have a look through the most recent posts you’ll find one, which is, dedicated to the issues of the floods and in particular the “Levels”.

Just to provide you with a flavour of the content may I draw your attention to the fact that the EU, the Environment Agency and the previous Labour Government are behind the floods. You don’t believe me? Check the facts in the blog.

It’s abhorrent. The UK press is also abhorrent in not reporting the truth and of course the BBC is one of those who should be, if they were operating as an independent organisation without any political bias, to get the “facts” out there.

I’m not going into the details here, just look at the blog, which I’ve linked to above.

At some point we have crossed a line, well I say “we” when I really mean some people in positions of power and influence. The environment is now rated above humans. Animals and the wider environment are now far more important that us humans.

If only we could sort out humanity we could then move onto to better ensure a reasonable way in which to deal with the environment. But, alas, there are so many lefty, greenies out there that it’s pretty unlikely at the moment

No matter though.

A man of some standing visited the “levels” yesterday to see for himself just how much devastation had been done to the area. He wore his wellies, sat in a boat, waded through the floodwaters, and provided his off and on the record opinions. It’s a terrible thing sums it up. That was his take. He sided with the poor people who were flooded. It’s the government’s fault. They should have sorted it.

Well Prince C is of course one of the worlds biggest environmentalists. He speaks fluent plant and significant amounts of brown stuff. His favourite pastime is making hedges at the weekend in his well worn but tasteful jacket according to Countryfile who filmed him recently whilst ensuring they tugged what was required and bowed as directed.

Global warming is alive and well in his wee world. People who don’t agree with him about that topic are the lowest of the low; so much for freedom of speech and democracy. Of course the biggest issue is that he may well be the next “King of England”.

Isn’t that a warm thought to hold onto?

Perhaps not.


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Two pedals and a prayer…

Back in the decade that was the 1980’s mountain biking or all terrain cycling became the new fad. Men who shouldn’t have, like myself, donned brightly coloured lycra, bought new bicycles and seated much more than they should have.

Up to that point cycling had been a child’s activity or a way of getting to work but the bikes themselves were pretty dull, apart from the dyed in the wool bicycles ridden by male (anorak) club cyclists. Sure we had the Chopper and bikes with tiny wee wheels etc. but it just wasn’t cool to cycle.

Like most things, or perhaps too many things, some guys in the USA started cycling in a more dangerous and exciting manner. They cycled off road, not just on the dirt in general but rushing down pretty steep mountain trails at speeds, which were fairly exhilarating. They then started to build bikes that could stand the punishment and had big tyres and great brakes.

I cycled for five or more years. Normally I’d go out most evenings and weekends around 6:30 pm and do at least 8 miles, more often 12 miles and sometimes 25 miles on the road and on the dirt. I had a fairly heavy bike to start with and then sold it and replaced it with a very light and strong bike indeed.

Riding on the road taught me a lot. Like there is no such tihng as a flat road and non-windy day. I’d been a motorcyclist a number of years before cycling so I know that it was my responsibility to make sure drivers around me knew what I was doing and where I was and I think that helped me enormously.

I stopped cycling because of work pressures although I might return to it at some point.

I’m horrified by the antics of cyclists in Edinburgh. Some are fine and know how to cycle safely but the majority don’t seem to recognise their responsibility to keep themselves safe and stay within the Highway Code. They seem to see cycling as another badge they wear as part of their green and environmental credentials.

It is unusual for me to be out driving or on the Harley and not see very dangerous cycling. Very poor road positioning, riding on the pavement, cycling across pedestrian crossings to beat traffic lights, using earphones to listen to music as they cycle, carrying stuff inappropriately, going through red lights, cycling on the wrong side of the road, no lights or feeble lights, almost running pedestrians down at crossings, cycling two or three abreast, and the most worrisome – cycling up the left hand side of queuing traffic.

I’ve lost count of the number of times a bicycle has whooshed up my inside whilst I am in the process of turning left only for them to go straight on.  To be fair some of the car driving around cyclists is pretty poor too. Giving cyclist 6 feet when overtaking them which means the car is in the oncoming traffic lane, getting way to close to cyclists and not actually seeing them at all.

Cyclists should need to be insured, need to pass a test of some description and need to stick to the Highway Code!



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He’s at it again.

Our good friend Mr George Monbiot is now telling us how to get rid of all those pesky floods. He knows stuff you see and he has his column in the Guardian loss making newspaper, his wee blog bless him and the BBC where he is treated like a demigod, quite a small demigod but a demigod nonetheless.

If you’ll remember a wee while ago he was against nuclear power, he was against eating meat and he was also against people with large houses not taking in complete strangers to fill their otherwise empty bedrooms.

But then… suddenly nuclear power was really a good idea as far as George was concerned. Why had he not noticed this before he mused? Suddenly (again) meat eating was also a very good thing to be doing. Why hadn’t he noticed this before he again mused? He had repented on both and had been humble about it apparently.

Next of course was another turnaround but not as dramatic as the other two, and there are others of course if you care to look. This wasn’t as dramatic because the problem for George was that he had a large house and he hadn’t filled it with people who needed a roof over their heads. Oh dear.

Still, better having an opinion is better then not having an opinion even if wee Georgie Monbiots opinion was complete pants. Free speech is so important don’t you think? I am a great believer in free speech especially when it’s complete bollocks provided by wee Georgie Monbiot.

This time he has another theory. It involves sheep. Doesn’t he live in Wales or thereabouts? He may well know a lot about sheep as well as everything else. Anyway the floods will go away if sheep stop walking on the grass in the uplands and compressing it so the water doesn’t sink into the ground it just runs off.

There you go. Very simple. Done deal.

So where have all the sheep to go then? Well they’ll no doubt go the giant sheep dip in the sky. Some people are going to miss their lamb chops soon. Oh dear. What about woolly jumpers? Greenies like their woolly jumpers and knitting and such like as long as they are gaily coloured and maybe have a political message on the front. “Stop sheep walking on the hills”. Not particularly catchy but it’s never stopped them before.

He must have missed the big news about all the rain and the floods. The amount of rain hasn’t been exceptional and neither were the surge tides. So it’s not down to weather or even climate and Georgie likes a bit of climate now and again. He used to like it more but then he found it wasn’t nearly exciting as he thought it was since it wasn’t getting warmer and stuff.

Poor Georgie. He may well be campaigning soon to have the rivers dredged and having farmers who know the land look after it again. Such a pity that Georgies friends at the Environment Agency have been cuddling the countryside instead of looking after the environment which, and this will be a surprise for Georgie, includes humans.

Come on Georgie you’re  late with another U-turn.

Hey!!!!! There’s the very thing for putting on the front of his home knitted jumper.

“U turn if you want to, Georgies not for turning”


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Food recycling…

There was a minor scandal here in Edinburgh a week or so ago. When I heard I was appalled. Edinburgh Council had managed to mistakenly thrown some food waste in the landfill tip rather than going through the process that food waste goes through. It cost the Council £800. It was mistake apparently.

I don’t know if you have food recycling in your neck of the woods. I’d imagine you would because all the councils are always bragging about how green they are. We were given a black sort of bucket thing and a smaller “caddy”. We have to fill the “caddy” using a green plastic bag liner, which rots away. The bag then goes into the black bucket thing and twice a month some guys turn up and empty the black bin thing into a lorry.

Now, this whole system sort of works. We don’t have much food waste apart from peelings and maybe the odd bit of bread etc. The system isn’t great. It’s pretty smelly and nasty and we also had an infestation of the black bucket thing by some creepy crawly things.

After trying it for a while we decided that we would stop doing it. Recycling has some benefits, I think, but I don’t think the way the food waste is handled is ideal. I think it actually is a health hazard and it seems like we’re going back in time, which I suppose is what the greenies want really.

When I was young we had a brock bin. All food waste went in it. It was metal and had a metal lid and a local farmer emptied it once a week. The brock bin was for the pigs, which lived in one of the local small holdings. They seemed to really like it, the pigs I mean. The waste was put into a big drum thing and it was cooked or boiled or something and it was a bit smelly but the pigs loved it.

We aren’t allowed to do that now because it’s bad for the pigs. This is according to the EU, which knows about loads of stuff and is really good at telling us what to do on many, many subjects. I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge improvement in pork or sausages. Neither have I seem any immensely happy pigs although I should point out that I haven’t been seeking any pigs out as it were.

Anyway back to the Council. They apologised to everyone although they took some stick at wasting £800. The Greens were a bit annoyed, well they are always at least a bit annoyed but they were annoyed a bit more than usual.

Now that’s a bit odd. You see the Greens were pretty happy about the trams which cost at least 1 BILLION pounds whilst the rest of us, who are paying for them were pretty ticked. £800 versus 1 BILLION.


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