3 July 2009 (Friday) - Phone calls, Margate, Lino...

Last night I griped that the gas people were digging up the road again. Because they had once more done the job wrong and had to put it right. They still haven’t filled in the holes further down my road, and I’ve heard rumours that next week work is starting in Christchurch Road. That will make parking far worse than anything we’ve seen yet. I’ve pictured the hole above. As you can see, after less than a day, people are using it as somewhere to drop litter.

So at 9am I phoned Kent Highways on 08458 247 800, and quoted the old reference of 16282635. “Desmond” had a look in his records, and reacted as though he’d never heard of the concept of road works before. He did his level best to deny any knowledge or responsibility about the hole in the road, and tried to pass all the blame onto the contractor. I wasn’t having any of that – holes can’t be dug in roads without the say-so of Kent County Council, and so surely KCC must have the responsibility of keeping tabs on what the contractors are doing. If not, what’s to stop the entire county being dug up? Eventually he conceded defeat, once more took down the details I’d given KCC so many times, and said he’d get back to me.

Clarice” phoned back at 10.15 to say she was now on the case, and would let me know developments as they occurred.

What are the gas board playing at? Until he retired, my father’s job was to inspect gas repairs and works in the road to check that the hole could be filled in. Doesn’t anyone inspect the work any more?

The latest missive from the chokey arrived today. It would seem that yet again I’d stuffed up a crossword clue – the “S” word had seven letters, not six as I’d put in the clue. Still, it’s not as though he (or anyone else) could have solved the crossword anyway – here’s a clue from the same crossword: “The journey to the toilet (having gambled and lost) with a waddle, a quack, and a very unhappy frown (4,8)”. Having said that, I’m not sure that I should say much more. “Plod” have intercepted other letters to HMP Slade and have made third hand announcements that I’m not supposed to discuss my mate on an open blog.

I had a phone call from the chokey last night. “Norman Stanley” phoned me to tell me to take no notice of the edict. He said that if “Plod” has instructions for me, they can tell me directly. I can’t help but agree with him.

To Ashford Cycle Centre to buy a pump for my bike. The shop was swathed in "No Parking" signs, so I parked outside the shop opposite which had loads of parking spaces. As I was walking across to the cycle shop, some bloke came out of the shop where I'd parked and told me that it was no parking there too.

So I went to Halfords and bought my pump there. And then I phoned Ashford Cycle Centre to ask where I should park in future. They said I should park outside their shop. When I asked about all the no parking signs, they told me these are to deter visitors to other shops from parking there. It would seem there’s no love lost between the businesses on that estate. I can’t be doing with that. I shall stick with Halfords.

Whilst in Halfords, “Clarice” phoned me on my mobile. She’d done some research and found that there was a department that co-ordinates digging of holes with actually doing work in them, and then filling them in again. I would have thought that such a department was an integral and essential part of Kent Highways, but what do I know? However there was bad news. There would be no one in that department until Monday.

Work was better than usual today. On a late start and straight into a meeting for an hour. Then to Margate where I was doing a tutorial on iron. Did you know that for all we’ll die without the stuff, it can be rather toxic? The tutorial went well – we got onto the body’s defences against germs, and I illustrated immunological physiology with new and old tattoos. Some people use big words from text books. Me – I use knob jokes and tattoos. I like to think people learn more from my way. As part of my secondment once a week I’m doing teaching sessions with a group of students in Margate. Having been so fed up with my job for so long, it’s really good to be going over there. They are really friendly, keen enthusiastic people – it’s a real pleasure to spend time with them. Shame I only have three weeks left.

Home at 8.30pm to find that “Daddies Little Angel TM ” has burned a hole in the lino whilst cooking cakes. I realise the obvious question is “how?”, but I find it best not to ask but to just accept these things….

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