My sock drawer contains only long or short black ones; my wardrobe is just as boring. It contains six pairs of identical jeans and a similar number of khaki shorts. When I like something, I tend to buy several.
The endless rain and floods have become seriously boring, as are Wightlink’s late notice cancellations. The chain ferry and Islandline bore everyone rigid too, but surely local roadworks top any seriously boring list. Whatever did we talk about before road closures and temporary traffic lights? I used to think they were a leftist plot, designed to force us from our cars, but now I know better.
Years ago, the then Tory council delegated responsibility for our highways to an offshore-owned multi-national conglomerate; ‘Island Rogues’ was born. Subsequent councils were obliged to hand over many millions, despite knowing we’d never see half the upgrades promised by David Pugh’s Tories. Incredibly, the most highly-qualified council officers left to join the new organisation, leaving little specialist knowledge at County Hall to supervise the new contract. As a point of order, the council is still the statutory authority, although they don’t seem to like people knowing it. The Island must have more cones per capita than anywhere else in Britain, and we’re paying for them.
Thanks to the failed PFI, nowadays Island roads are rarely the people putting cones out. We have to blame the utilities, who use contractors, who delegate the actual work to more contractors! It’s all essential, of course, and the poor guys standing out in all weathers doing what needs to be done have my respect. We know gas, sewer, power, water and speedy wi-fi are an essential part of modern life, but who’s co-ordinating all the chaos?
Someone closed Colwell Common last week, directing all traffic to Yarmouth through Freshwater. Cars could have avoided the roadworks simply by using the east side of the green. That side is full of potholes but was completely unaffected by the digging.
After a few days of doing exactly that, suddenly, overnight, a plethora of extra signs and cones appeared, preventing anyone from passing. Those of us with local knowledge had been getting around the works without fuss. When workers were present, no one went anywhere near them. Whoever put up the new unnecessary ‘extra’ closure seemed to do so out of spite, to maximise the inconvenience caused. Perhaps pointless closures are thrilling?
There’s a YouTube clip of an old boy (on the mainland) asking a road contractor to move some cones. He just needed to leave his tiny country lane to join the main road. Not only did the petty Hi-Vis hard hat wearer refuse to let him through; he physically prevented him from doing so by standing in front of the car. Letting the elderly gent pass would have taken seconds, but Hi-Vis man had his traffic regulation order and created a needless confrontation. Unfortunately, the old boy lost his temper and hurled the cones aside before stupidly creeping towards the worker, making light contact with him. The old man was later cautioned by the police, but surely Hi-Vis man was equally responsible.
We’ve all seen temporary closures and traffic lights set up and left for days, sometimes weeks on end. They even do it where the proposed works aren’t interfering with the carriageway at all, when the digging is on the verge.
Unsurprisingly this sort of ‘elf n safety’ madness infuriates drivers. They’re as annoying as the barmy theory that the slower you drive, the quicker you’ll get there!
You know those digital traffic message trailers they put out for ‘information’? I’m not sure how easy it would be to change the text, but I do have a few ideas about what they should say. Probably the least offensive is ‘Why are you letting us do this to you?’