Monday, May 30, 2016

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 319

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. I can assure you it will not be like the staff day out last time.

9. They're all going to shine like stars.

8. You don't need directions with your built-in homing instinct.

7. It's all about friends and family, no work colleagues.

6. I would't piss on him if he was ob fire.

5. Forever and a day.

4. Come on with me and I'll show you that you do not have to go out with Chris to have a good time.

3. She let me feed her goat.

2.  I bought two boys last week, off Gumtree.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. They've had to put their raccoon on a diet.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 318

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. It's my greatest achievement so far, even my supervisor said.

9. There's lots left over for the people who work on a Saturday.

8. I didn't even believe what was written on the screen, I knew it must have been faked.

7. About the same when you take into account how much tax I pay.

6. Phil didn't even bother to keep me informed he been to the court.

5. They're living at his garage which he converted last September into a habitable space, all that means is he's sealed the up and over door.

4. Keep in mind she's a compulsive liar, that's what I've always heard, most of the time.

3. It takes as long to get the bus as it does to walk between yours and the shops.

2. Stacey reckons Jo has been married before.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. I apologise, I didn't realise quite how sensitive little old you was in relation to sandwiches.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 317

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. So the saga continues and for the third year running I don't care one little bit.

9. He was a keen student, then it all started going wrong.

8. They're shimmering, look, shimmering.

7. If he creates an entrance like that again, we'll be in for a good time.

6. There was a tinkle, but I tried to block it out at the time.

5. Thank you mate, I've just moved here.

4. I'm going camping, can you tell how excited I am?

3. I'm the only woman in the office, so the bar has been set rather low.

2. What about the rest of me, I'll be freezing wearing this to the wedding.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1.  I didn't vote for him, how can you trust a man with a nose like that?

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Long Lease In The Country

The deadline for submitting bits for the great Lydiard Park and House sell-off lease-off has been extended for a second time.

The deadline will now be on 8th July.

Holland 1 - 0 Mattock

Councillor Russell Holland has been appointed as the new Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council following the local election last week.

Labour won in Old Town and East Wichel causing Councillor Former Councillor Brian Mattock to lose his seat and his Deputy Leader title with it as well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An Artistic Interpretation Subsidy Versus Investment

The confident words of Robert Hiscox in his The Big Interview in the Adver in the hopes for a new museum and art gallery for Swindon will be a shot in the arm for the project which seems to have gone quiet since missing out on Heritage Lottery Fund money last year.

Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker has been appointed as the Director of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery Trust (which appears to be a first-class appointment) but details of what happens next are very quiet.

What is very 'now' is the mention of support for the museum and art gallery project as 'investment', whereas the support Swindon Borough Council gives to country parks and libraries is seen as 'subsidy'.

Will the wording of such change before a spade is put in the ground, and how does SBC square the circle of giving with one hand, but taking away funding for transporting disabled folk about, libraries, Lydiard and much more to residents and taxpayers on the other?

My Mummy Closed My Library

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has made no secret of his pride at being a local councillor when Swindon's Central Library opened. He also proudly tells us that his first debate in parliament was on the topic of libraries. He also proudly tells us that he and his wife are regular users of North Swindon Library and Moredon & Rodbourne Cheney Library.

He may be in the embarrassing position in the near future of seeing his mother, Councillor Vera Tomlinson, vote through massive cuts in the libraries budget.

'My mummy closed my library', maybe he can put that on his election leaflets in 2020.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Health Hydro Puts Swimmers In The Deep End

It's no real surprise GLL have decided to close the small pool at Swindon's Health Hydro due to the cost of repairing it.

But when GLL took over the Health Hydro in 2014, it would no-doubt have know the condition of the Health Hydro, including the small pool, so it's mystifying that just 2 years after taking over it's now having to close part of the building.

As the building is Grade II Listed, we can only hope that GLL don't find the rest of the building over the remaining 23 years of the lease prohibitively expensive to maintain, and shut other bits of it. The contract only binds them to keeping the Health Hydro open for five years after taking over.

Do they intend to invest at Milton Road for the long term, or are they simply seeing out the five years before handing back the keys?Did they know what they were signing a contract for?


A cut of £100,000 from £300,000 will have to be stomached by the good folk that run the Dial-A-Ride service.

As per usual, Dale Heenan just doesn't get it regarding the Swindon Labour's objections to the cut, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop the ruling Swindon Conservative top brass from objecting in principle to the cuts it is being made to impose by central government.

However, no matter how bitter the pill, Swindon Conservatives have been swallowing everything handed to them by Whitehall.

Have they formally objected once and asked for a better deal? The ability to raise council tax above and beyond the approved level? To ask for a reexamination of the local government grant?

No of course they haven't. They may wield all the power, but none of the courage and compassion of their office.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Rodbourne's Bridge Not Too Far

Congratulations to Network Rail for completing the work on the Rodbourne Road bridges a whole week ahead of planned, for reopening tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Swindon Borough Council's enlightened plan to open the bus gates on Penzance Drive certainly did a lot for drivers in the evening rush hour.

On several occasions in the past few weeks, Swindon Centric has been stuck on Wootton Bassett Road in the rush hour crawling towards Mannington Roundabout with hundreds of others. The cause of the logjam was the opening up of the Penzance Drive bus gate at the Wootton Bassett Road end, clearly no-one had retimed the lights being triggered by a small number of cars every few minutes, turning from Penzance Drive east towards Kingshill, meaning all vehicles heading east and west on Wootton Bassett Road had to wait for the lights to change every minute or so to accommodate the small number of drivers taking advantage of the opened-up bus gate. Once past this spot, the traffic flowed fine.


A bus gate designed (traffic signal-phasing included) for a bus every five minutes will operate very differently (and alter the flow of traffic on nearby roads for the worse) if you throw a constant flow of cars at it instead and don't account for that with altering the phasing software.

As far as Swindon Centric and Swindon's buses are concerned, Network Rail can shut Rodbourne Road again if it wishes, just please let SBC remember that bus gates are designed for buses and not cars. Don't just cover the 'bus only' signs up and hope for the best.

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 316

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. You could boil or steam, but if you fry, you're frankly asking for a badge saying 'I haven't got a clue'.

9. You've given me license to do what I like.

8. I have no idea how long the delay will be.

7. It was all I could do from going straight home and not bursting into tears.

6. I'd love to learn how to keep my anger under control.

5. They'll include the cost of your travel, which you can fiddle.

4. I hear he lost, got his just desserts then.

3. There should not be any ill-feeling, but you just know that Nigel will hold a grudge.

2. How are you feeling, I haven't seen you since he left you.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1.  It's so offensive I make him cover it with a blanket when we're not using it.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Mechanics' Trust No One

Despite all the talk (that's been going on for a long, long time) from the Mechanics' Trust about working together with others to secure the future of the building, they seem to have retreated back to their own turf if recent news is anything to go by.

Despite Forward Swindon carrying out an options appraisal for Swindon Borough Council, the Trust have got a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to carry out their own viability study.

The Trust still do not own the building and do not have the financial backing in place to buy it, pay for it's restoration, or the day-to-day costs of running it.

Many years ago Swindon Centric paid a pound to the Trust to be a member (probably along with many others) and never received or heard anything more from them, ever.

I suppose it's foolish to assume that pound was put in a bank account and has earned a healthy interest in the pot for the building.

If the Trust had put as much effort into fundraising as it's done into getting itself into the Adver every month or so to report that things are either progressing well/it's still at risk/the council don't take it seriously or a combination of these (like here, here and here), the building would be in use.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Swindon Elections - Labour, Lydiard and Losing Mattock Man

Labour gained two seats from the Swindon Conservatives in last night's local elections, and it all couldn't have been more local if you'd tried.

Lydiard & Freshbrook went to Labour from the Conservatives because they campaigned hard on Lydiard Park and House, getting the message and the groundwork right.

Up on the hill, Jane Milner-Barry won for them on pushing the parishing issue (which no-one, even many in the Swindon Conservatives fully understand), but also the Lydiard sell-off/lease-off issue was big too for voters in Old Town.

Worse for the Tories was that Milner Barry took the seat from the Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council  Former Deputy Leader, Councillor Former Councillor Brian Mattock (or as we like to call him, Mattock Man after 'his' astonishing list of achievements in his leaflet). But this picture of him is priceless (scroll down to 12.15am)

Once again Stan Pajak retained Eastcott, despite a very strong push by Labour (the Lib Dems won it by 228), and despite being the man who campaigned on being the local candidate, but actually doesn't live in the ward.

Now, you servants of Swindon's people, don't disappoint us.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Swindon Tories Get Hooked On Their Own Fantastic Fiction On Swindon Libraries

Swindon's Conservatives may be about to hack at the core of Swindon Libraries, but they're not going to let that get in the way of capitalising on Libraries to win votes at tomorrow's local election.

However, some Tories seem to be having great trouble following their own plot.

Firstly, take a look at a section of two leaflets sent out by Barbara Parry, who's standing for the Conservatives in Covingham & Dorcan. The first leaflet was received about 2 weeks ago, the one below that, just this week :

Reading the first leaflet, you'd be forgiven for thinking if you live in Nythe you were about to get your own new library. Candidate Parry has confused that with a table-top SBC exercise to look into Liden (along with 5 other areas, it's in section 3.45 and 3.46 here) at the range of community facilities they each have (including libraries).

An SBC asset stock-take and a new library are not the same thing, as are these two election leaflets.

Meanwhile in Lydiard & Freshbrook , Councillor Tim Swinyard has gone one better on this election leaflet :

He proclaims that the Link Centre library is safe and even says we'll end up with a "greater variety of locations and provision".

Seems foolish to prejudge the public survey which has just closed, but maybe he knows what's good for us and we don't.

It doesn't stop there!

Over in Wroughton, this section of an election leaflet has also been shoved through doors by Swindon Conservatives :

The leaflet claims only the Adver has said libraries would close or move. But even though this has been admitted in SBC documents if others don't take them over or the funding goes. 

Yet another nonsensical twist.

And finally over in Highworth, they've promised the earth to voters, with 'Facts' and 'Not' and 'Will' (in capitals and underlined and bold and everything) :

Their first 'fact' is incorrect, there is a saving of £300,000 for this budget year sat against the Libraries budget, of which Highworth is funded from. 

Their second and third 'facts' is quite a thing to promise, not to move or close it if SBC push through with the current plan to 2020, look for your parish tax going through the roof to pay for it!

It reads like a reactionary leaflet from an angry resident, but is actually an election leaflet for the same party that have proposed the cuts in the first place.

In short, from Covingham & Dorcan, to Lydiard & Freshbrook, via Wroughton and Highworth, it's clear that Swindon Conservatives haven't got a bloody clue what they're going to do with Swindon Libraries and have twisted themselves in such knots with this plot, they'll be hoping to do a Dallas and wake up to find it's all a dream.

Because at the moment, it looks like a nightmare to the residents and voters of Swindon.

Swindon Election Leaflets - Your Cookie-Cutter Conservative Leaflet

Nothing stands out in this leaflet, it's not groundbreaking. Indeed if you take out the candidate's name and picture, it could almost be a leaflet for anywhere by Swindon's Conservatives.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Swindon Election Leaflets - Lights, Cameras, Matt-action!

Very little seems to stand-out in Councillor Brian Mattock's election leaflet. It's a very Swindon Tory leaflet, listing 'achievements' that would have happened anyway, refurbished playgrounds (carried out by SBC staff), more class spaces (undertaken by the schools involved), footbridge replacement (hopefully done by an engineer), putting Christmas lights up (maybe Councillor Mattock is the spirit of crimbo? Doubt it), road resurfacing (does he have his own steam roller?), and finally the achievement of a private organisation spending it's own private money on the Croft Sports Centre.

What a jack of all-other-people's trades!

But it doesn't stop there, voters of Old Town and East Wichel. It's time to recycle some previous announcements, in the very best Swindon Tory election leaflet traditions :

- Prudent use of council tax (the mantra now for over 5 years).
- Vision for Swindon (an updated version of the 'promises', in some cases so vague, they're meaningless and immeasurable).
- A new bus station (promised and announced many times since 2008).
- Aspen House redevelopment (same as above, since 2012).
- The Oasis redevelopment (same as above).
- Support for Old Town Library (so vague it's meaningless, and contrary to SBC announcements on what it wants for libraries, as in only pay for the Central Library).

Well done Councillor Mattock, what a leaflet, such 'achievement' by the Mattock Man!

Swindon Election Leaflets - Of Parishes and Politics

Trying to explain the ludicrous proposals on parishing the whole of Swindon (to save Swindon's Borough Tories foundation-stone of their time in office of not raising council tax, it seems it's the only thing they really do honestly believe in) is difficult.

However Jane-Milner Barry, standing for Labour in Old Town & East Wichel has done it well in her, well, can it be called election leaflet if it was sent round in February? 

Okay, pre-election leaflet.

If there's a single voter in Swindon that thinks it's a good idea, chances are they think the Bruce Street Bungle works were efficiently done.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 315

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. I think it's moving pretty slowly.

9. To be fair to him, it was good chicken.

8. I've confused everyone around me by saying that.

7. If you just sit down for a minute, I'll get it out for you.

6. Hang on, that's not mine, I think you've got the wrong bag.

5. I always eat them with one hand.

4. It stacked back all the way to the last stop, such a mess.

3. Don't get me on talking about migrants, you're not catching me out on that one.

2. It turns out she was warned about sexual harassment, but that didn't seem to stop her.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1.  You know when you get this sinking feeling and you just know that you're just about to get a smack in the face?

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.