October 2018

1 October

Spot the Bird

As I walked from the Council Offices towards Christchurch, there were quite a few people on the bridge. That isn’t unusual, it is usually a great view, with the willow weeping into the river, but today there was something special. Can you see it in the picture below?

Grey heron at Christchurch

It was a grey heron. I spend five minutes there, waiting for something to happen, but it was completely still, presumably waiting for a tasty fish to swim by.

To find out more about the grey heron, see the RSPB website here. To see a better picture of the same bird, click the picture below (opens in a new window).Grey heron at Christchurch


4 October

Thank You Highcliffe School

On this rather dull Thursday my mood was brightened by seeing the new Silent Soldier near to the Hoburne roundabout.

As you can see from the picture below (click for a larger version, opens in a new window), the sign tells us that it was Sponsored by Highcliffe School.Christchurch Silent SoldierHere is a link to that on the Fountain Roundabout in Christchurch, taken on the Carnival day in August.

Here is a brief description of the project, taken from the Royal British Legion website.

To mark the final year of the World War One centenary, The Royal British Legion is inviting the public to take part in a movement to say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation who served, sacrificed, rebuilt and changed the nation. In support of the Thank You movement we are offering for donation a variety of silhouettes to symbolise the communities that took part in WW1, they shaped the nation as we know it today.

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5 October

Advice for Older Drivers

Picture from The Christchurch Times. Reduced in size.

Those who visited Waitrose early in the week may have been surprised to see a display at the entrance, with Police, Emergency Services, Wessex Driveability and DVLA. According to their website, Wessex Driveability is ‘… a charitable organisation offering a professional advice and assessment service to individuals with a disability, medical condition, accident or injury to drive independently.’ It is worth having a look at their website, I had not even heard of them! As well as advice, they also offer driving assessments.

It was possible to talk to and ask questions of the representatives, and even take an eye test. All of this was particularly aimed at older drivers, though all were welcome, of course.

In the Christchurch Times this week (October 4), there were another nine informal interviews. Many of the comments referred particularly to what a good idea the roadshow was. To me, however, these stood out:

  • Sometimes we don’t like using it [the car] at all, but sometimes there is no option …
  • It is promoting a good message and the police are there to provide support for drivers.
  • We would be quite happy not driving. There needs to be more stringent tests for older drivers.

To see the rest, do get a copy of the paper, and read this article in The Echo.

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6 October

Tories dropped me in it, says MP

Though this is not strictly a local matter, and probably not an Oddment, it is included now as it involves our local MP, Sir Christopher Chope, and the issue of his objections, in Parliament, to the Upskirting Bill. In this article, in the Christchurch Times, he also criticises the lack of support from colleagues, and explains why he did not attend the Conservative Party Conference. He makes, however, no mention of the result of the merger with Bournemouth and Poole.

I make no comment, but they are welcome from you at the bottom of the page.

Below, Sir Christopher (centre) opening Highcliffe Post Office in November 2017. Click the picture to go to that article on this site.

Sir Christopher Chope

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The Article:

CHRISTCHURCH MP Sir Christopher Chope has slammed his own party for failing to support him during the ‘upskirting bill’ controversy earlier this year.

The veteran Conservative politician came under fire on social media and from his colleagues after he objected to the private members’ bill in the House of Commons.

Sir Christopher told the Daily Echo that he would have expected his party to defend him if social media descended into mob rule.

He also said fellow Tory MPs who sought media attention to criticise his objection were totally out of order – an issue he raised to the party whip.

The Christchurch representative also said one of his fellow Dorset MPs had apologised for their behaviour back in June, but two others were yet to do so.

Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Show, Sir Christopher said his party was frightened to stand up to the social media and press barrage.

He claimed the Conservatives thought it would be “easier to pander to what was seen to be cheap public opinion”.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Sir Christopher said: “If social media becomes a mob rule then you expect or hope your own party will stand up to the mob rather than appease the mob. If one of my colleagues in Dorset was accused of some crime I would see they were innocent until proven guilty. For them to go out seeking the media to try and take a pot shot I think is totally out of order.”

After blocking the private members’ bill, the Government brought forward its own legislation, which Sir Christopher said was his objective and ensured it was properly scrutinised.

He added: “The Bill will go to the House of Lords and they will make amendments, I am sure. It was a badly drafted piece of legislation.”

Sir Christopher did not attend the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham this week because there was no opportunity to debate or put forward motions.

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7 October

A Silent Soldier – with a Difference!

You may have seen the article in the Christchurch Times (4 October) about the wooden Silent Soldier which Robert Hancock has made and installed in his garden.

I remember this garden from Christmas, when even the snowmen which had been constructed were truly impressive. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph it, but I will this coming winter, snow permitting.

if you want to look, his house is on the corner of Edward Road and Somerford Road, opposite to the Meteor Centre. Robert is a full-time carer and makes these figures for relaxation. If you look at the first picture below (larger version available), you can see that he has also produced a display of AFC Bournemouth in the background (well done this weekend, by the way, 4-0 v Watford!)

Click for a large version

Finally a small picture looking the other way. The current project is Peppa Pig, and I look forward to seeing it.

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October 8

Dorset Blind Association Charity Shop Opens

Dorset Blind Association Christchurch

As you may have been aware, the Dorset Blind Association charity shop opened at 9.30 today. It is opposite Argos in the precinct.

There is a report about the preparation of this new shop here.

As you can see from the picture (left), when Gary came to open the doors for the first time he had a bit of a shock seeing the ‘press’ there! Tracey, behind him, merely looks intrigued.

There was no need to worry, they were delighted to be opening after the weeks of hard work, as you can tell from the picture below (click for a larger version). I was a bit concerned, as I expected a crowd for the opening. However, two or three minutes after this picture was taken, the shop was very busy. There had some good stuff, too, including a box of 12″ LPs!

Dorset Blind Association Christchurch

Don’t forget to visit the shop to donate, buy, or even just have a look. You won’t regret it!

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October 14

More about the New Crossing on Somerford Road

The following article appeared in the Christchurch Times (11 October):

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Highway planners have rebuffed claims a new pedestrian crossing in Christchurch is dangerous and breaches regulations.

The puffin crossing in Somerford Road opposite Meteor Retail Park was installed in the past month, but remains not in use.

Resident Nigel Brooks wrote to Dorset County Council to highlight that the location of the Crossing goes against guidelines from the Department of Transport.

The government body recommends that sites should be a minimum of 20 metres from a side road for signal-controlled installations.

Mr Brooks says the puffin crossing is 12 metres from the retail park entrance, 12 metres from the junction with Wilverley Road and 4 metres from the junction with Edward Road.

His letter to the Council adds: ‘The crossing should not be authorised for public use due to its dangerous location and also because of the legal ramifications of a highway accident at the new crossing point.

One can see from Google Streetview [see below] that there was already a perfectly adequate crossing point at this location, with a central refuge island. Why was this seen as inadequate?

Google Streetview - Crossing

Further, a pelican crossing already exists some 100 metres on Somerford Road to the north.’

A Dorset County Council spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that the traffic-signal controlled pedestrian crossing fully complies with the standards set out in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges and LTN 2/15.

The pedestrian crossing was a condition of the planning permission granted by Christchurch Borough Council for the retail development with the aim of providing safe, sustainable transport links.

‘All efforts were made to co-ordinate the works in a manner that reduced the impact of traffic on Somerford Road. However, we acknowledge motorists did experience some disruption, give the location of the crossing.’

Also see September 2018 (opens in a new window)

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October 16

A Silent soldier for Highcliffe

I was surprised this morning to see my third local Silent Soldier, in remembrance of the end of the First World War, very nearly a hundred years ago now.

This is by the main road, near the recreation ground.

Highcliffe Silent Soldier

Sponsored by the Highcliffe Charity Players

You can see the Highcliffe Charity Players’ website here.

If you know of any more Silent Soldier pictures, please send me a message, or even a photograph! confer@ThisIsChristchurch.com

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