Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Chocolate Teapot Train Station.

After many years of discussion and planning, more discussion and more planning, Coventry's latest railway station is due to open.

Located on the Coventry-Nuneaton line, the station is meant to service the Ricoh Arena (home to Coventry City FC, Wasps RFC and location of many high profile concerts including Bon Jovi and Pink) and the adjoining shopping centre which contains such stores as Next, Marks & Spencer and New Look.

Photo courtesy of Coventry Telegraph

Firstly the opening of the unmanned station was delayed due to staff needing training to use it.

Now it has been announced that only one train that will be running per hour with a maximum capacity of 75. There is apparently a problem sourcing further trains.

Also, the service will be suspended for an hour following any major event at the Ricoh.

Initially the timetable was to be trains every 15 minutes, but according to London Midland, who operate on the line, they advised five years ago that this would not be possible.

The station has been built as part of an almost £14 million scheme to update the Coventry-Nuneaton line, a joint project between Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and CENTRO.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Who's on your freebie list?

Being chronically single I have no need of a freebie list, everyone is a fantasy, but in a typical Friday afternoon type conversation, the topic came up in the office today.

Emma Watson seems to be top of the lost for the males of the department.

One of temps announced that she was supposed to be in his year at Cambridge, but chose to go to Brown instead, then stared wistfully off into the distance for a while.

Other contenders were Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue and Cameron Diaz.

Us girls definitely had a longer list!

Nathan Fillion, more so in Firefly/Serenity than Castle.

Alan Rickman, but only as Severus Snape or The Sheriff of Nottingham.

Jimmy Nail, Dennis Waterman - these were the guilty pleasures of the older lady (me).

Jason Statham and Bruce Willis also made the cut.

Do you and your partner have a freebie list?

Who made yours?

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Farewell Coventry Co-Op, hello even more student accommodation (probably).

After nearly 150 years in the Coventry city centre, the Co-Op is due to close on the 24th October 2015.

From its humble beginnings in Cook Street in 1867 it moved to its current, multi-storey location, in 1956.

For many locals, born and bred in the city, the Co-Op is the first point of call for many things, from electricals (if you are a member of the Co-Op which costs £2 for lifetime membership you could get some great deals), to school uniforms, to suites and beds.

It was Christmas, however, that the 'Co' really came into its own.  Theirs was THE Santa to visit.

There was the sleigh, sitting ride behind reindeer whilst scenery rushed past.


The tinkling bells on the harnesses.

The exit into a decorated hut.

The authentic fat, jolly Santa.

The wrapped gift.

It was fantastic.

I went every year, my friends went every year.  My friends are now taking their children and grandchildren.  

But it will be no more.

According to the Coventry Telegraph a plea has gone out for someone to carry on the tradition and take over the Co-Op Santa experience.

So what will be built in place of the shop?  My guessing, and many people seem to agree, is that it will be yet MORE student accommodation.  

According to a report on the Coventry Council website, there are currently more than 4000 purpose built student accommodation units in the city, mostly in the centre.  There are also more than 8000 units on or around the site of the University of Warwick on the outskirts of the city.  There is extant planning permission for a further 3300 units across the city.

This does not include the recent change in plans for the former sorting office in the centre.

Nor does it include the great swathes of the suburbs where houses are converted to HMOs and operated by private companies or individuals.

I have posted before about students taking over the city, and the influx shows no sign of abating.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

My ideas for cost saving in the NHS

The cost of running the NHS is in the news again today, Monitor (the sector regulator for Health Services) have asked the 46 Foundation Trusts within England to review their finances due the expected deficit by the end of the current financial year.

We should stop providing free healthcare, other than emergency treatment, to non-residents.  Residency would be proved with an ID card which can only be obtained with proof of continuing employment.  Tourists would still receive cover as their insurance companies would be billed directly and automatically.

I have several friends in the Ambulance service - one of them told me a story of their dispatch receiving a call detailing a case of electrocution.  They arrived at the property under 'blues' to find the patient sitting drinking tea.  Asking when the electrocution happened they were told 'oh, about 3 weeks ago, but when I arrived in the country I was told I could get free treatment so I called 999'.

We are constantly being told that there is a shortage of doctors and consultants leading to vacancies in hospitals.  This is clearly not the case as those vacancies are able to be filled with expensive agency medics.  The Government should make the decision that with effect from the 1st April 2016, NO agency use will be funded within NHS hospitals.

Similarly with nurses and support roles.

Non-clinical supplies should be purchased from wherever gives the best price, not just from an 'approved list' of suppliers who charge 2, 3 or even 4 times the amount available on the open market.

Stop using taxis to transport notes and drugs.  No-one is discharged instantly, so there is time to have any prescribed drugs ready for the patient to take with them.  If notes need to be moved across sites, there are porters who would be able to do this using a pool vehicle.

Stop restructuring!  It costs millions to implement new structures which could go on patient care.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

I'm not having a good day.

It's been a while since I mentioned my depression, or at least I think it has.  But today has not been a good day.

I did not sleep well, waking up every hour or so until midnight, which was when I received a text with my exam results (we have to wait almost 2 months for the results so why they have to be sent out at midnight I don't know, another few hours wouldn't hurt), at 6am I gave up but felt more drained than I did when I went to bed.  I failed, by the way, but this was not unexpected.

I dragged myself out of bed and went to do the 'big shop', I had decided to try a different store today and it really threw me off my shopping stride - I seemed to buy half as much as usual, but paid twice as much.

The rest of the day has been a bit of a blur.

I have managed to wash my work clothes but nothing else.

I wanted to sort out the downstairs cupboard/junk room.  I haven't.

I should have gone and collected my prescription.  I haven't.

I needed to go to the bank.  I haven't.

I haven't attended to my vegetable patch for weeks.

All I have wanted to do today is sleep or eat or read or gamble or drink.

This may be a reaction to everything going on at work at the moment, or it could just be an escalation of my usual summer blues, or it could be a mixture of both, but I don't like it.

I want to go to bed and not get up.

I want to run away and not come back.

I just don't want to be here.  Alone.