By the Grace of God

It’s been a while since I last blogged and if the driver of the Berryman’s recycling lorry had his way, then I would never have blogged again. I’ll come back to that later in this blog.

Well, since I last blogged, I have done no cycling. I drove up to Newcastle on Maundy Thursday (that’s the day before Good Friday for you heathens – oh and Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the son of God. Its not the festival of eating chocolate).  On Good Friday, I drove back down to London, along with Michelle, Josh and the two dogs. They were coming down for the week as I was off work.

A rather uneventful trip to London, but it was interesting that as soon as they got out of the car, the dogs knew where they were and obviously remembered the house from last summer. I have to confess to being surprised that dogs could remember somewhere from seven or eight months ago! If this is the case, then the dogs have a better memory than me.

It proved to be an expensive week, not due to Michelle, Josh or the dogs, but my TV broke and I had to buy a new one; this also necessitated getting a new TV aerial installed; then my camera broke and I had to go out and buy a new one. Finally, I also had to buy a new DVD player as both the ones I have had broken. The upshot is that I now have a nice 40” HD TV filling up my lounge wall (well the coffee table as I’ve not yet got the wall bracket!)

Sadly, the weather during the last week was not as good as we had hoped for and we were limited in our activities. We did get to see the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Golden Silk Cape made from silk spun by Madagascan spiders. The intricate needlework in the cape was incredible and was a sight well worth seeing. Thanks Josh and Michelle for making me see something cultural.

DSCF0021The Victoria and Albert Museum ( photos of Cape were forbidden)

The V&A museum is near Knightsbridge. It was sobering to look in the Estate Agents window and see leasehold properties selling for 60 times the value of my freehold property! Big houses? No, no bigger than this house. Its all about location location location.

We also went to Greenwich for an afternoon after earlier visiting the Olympic Viewing Gallery in John Lewis at Westfield Shopping Centre. I learned that all my extra council tax and the loss of the Eastway Cycling Circuit was worth it to see the huge pile of concrete and tarmac that has covered parts of Hackney Marshes and Lee Valley. More concrete and less grass and open spaces is exactly what we need.

Greenwich is one of my favourite places and I often visit there. It is home to the Cutty Sark, the Naval College as well as Greenwich Park and Greenwich Observatory ( Think Greenwich Meridian). Greenwich indoor market on a weekend is a great place for food. There are stalls selling food from all over the world. I recommend it!

On the North (opposite) side of the river to Greenwich is the Isle of Dogs and Millwall (the place- the football team is on the South side of the river!). This is also where Canary Wharf is and home to a lovely park at Island Gardens directly opposite Greenwich.

DSCF0057Island Gardens and Canary Wharf from Greenwich



Naval College flanking Queen Anne’s House and the Observatory in the background in Greenwich Park – viewed from Island Gardens

The scaffolding in the last picture is part of the scenery for the film version of Les Miserables which is being shot in part in the Military College.


Friday sadly brought the end of our week together and it was time to drive everyone back to Newcastle. The week passed far too quickly and it was not a pleasant thought that I was taking Michelle and Josh back to Tyneside.  Saturday morning saw me say goodbye to Michelle and head back south. However, not all the way to London, but to Barnsley instead where I was going to meet Tom and spend the night with friends after going to the Barnsley v Cardiff Game. Thanks to Matt & Lynn for the tickets, putting me up for the night and being such good hosts. They even had an extra lodger when Tom missed his train home and proceeded to pebble dash their kitchen before passing out on their sofa! I also got to meet Sue & John and their family at the game. They are such good hosts, that we finally left the football ground at 10:20pm. given the game finished at 16:50, that was impressive. I am not sure who was buying all the beers, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was John putting it on his account. Thanks John.

I met a familiar face to all Newcastle fans at the game.

Trelford 20120415

I believe he refereed the 1987 FA Vase Final and possible a certain cup tie in 1983 at St James’ Park


Whilst I can never agree with his decisions that night, I have to say he is actually a likeable chap and his football knowledge is second to none. Not sure many people on Tyneside will agree with me though! He’s only rivalled in unpopularity on Tyneside by Margaret Thatcher.

So, it was back to work today. Well it was nearly not if the driver of the Berryman’s recycling truck has his way. He tried to left hook me as I cycled to work. Fortunately, I ride very defensively and suspected/ anticipated he would turn across my path and without indicating. Fortunately I was able to avoid being hit by the truck and becoming yet another fatality at the hands of an HGV. The driver claimed he had not seen me because:

1. He was looking down the street to see if the school children were out in the street!

2. He claimed I was in his blindspot.

So its fine not to be looking at where you  are driving and instead are looking elsewhere. Oh and this was well before 08:15 in the morning, so why would he be looking at the school for children given the school doesn’t start till 09:00.

No explanation of why he doesn’t use his indicators to give people a clue as to what he was doing. Also, he seemed to think it was some form of excuse to say his lorry had a blind spot. Would it be acceptable to put a blindfold on and drive like that? so why do we allow vehicles with blindspots on the roads – especially when for only a few pounds mirrors can be fitted to greatly reduce or eliminate blindspots on these vehicles. Sadly it seems that to Berrymans a person’s life is not worth the few pounds these mirrors cost.


Their website boasts about their vehicles

We run a large fleet of specialist vehicles collecting from Local Authority bottle bank sites, other recycling stations, and many trade sources and organisations. The vehicles are clean and smart to create a positive impression, both on the move and when collecting glass. They are also used as moving advertising hoardings with panels being used for recycling messages. These vehicles service a wide range of bottle banks and skips for the various types of glass.


And under the Health and Safety Section

Berryman has all the procedures and checks in place to ensure that your bottle banks comply to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), which came into force on December 5 1998.

Regulations aim to reduce risks to people’s health and safety from lifting equipment provided for use at work

No mention of anything to do with safety of this large fleet of specialist vehicles or training to their drivers. Clearly profit is of far more concern than being regarded as a safe fleet operator.

I’m not going to mention the issues with the p*nct*re fairy visiting repeatedly today. It limited my cycling to only 45 miles today, BUT it had the advantage of delaying me getting home. Advantage you say? Yes, the house seems to big and too quiet now Michelle and Josh have moved out. So getting home late meant I had less time to rattle around this place on my own.

Hopefully they all will be down again soon for a weekend and then for a few weeks in the summer. The dogs certainly like the garden rather than their exercise yard on Tyneside.

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