Firmus to raise gas prices by 12%

Since Firmus energy is to raise gas prices by 12% we can no doubt hear howlings of outrage from our MLA’s and the regulator! What’s that I hear? Silence?

Whither it is gas, oil or electricity the response or lack of it is always the same. Nowt!

What puzzles me is the similarity with the electricity prices rises, it’s almost as if the rise is mirrored whether justified or not. If one provider increases prices and get away with it the others adopt a me too policy.

I also find somewhat curious is the comment in their letter about wholesale gas prices and the mysterious distribution costs. What are they, and are they justified.

Firmus energy will get away with this scandalous increase because no-one in authority cares.

Bangor’s under resourced resource

The Long Hole, Bangor

Where else would a resource such as the long hole not be utilised to the benefit of the boating public?

Not everyone can afford Marina prices and simply want to potter about in their boat. There has to be a better option than to allow the Long Hole which served the less rich folk for decades to remain unused.

No doubt the elf and safety folk as well as imagined competition for the Marina is at play here, but lets have a real world solution to suit the less well heeled boating community.

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Impact on others

Sweeny Todd

As many of you know I don’t buy the local rag but am forwarded old copies which I sometimes scan before chucking in the bin. Catching my eye was an article about a pop up barber in Bingham Street.

It appears the Green Party candidate is disturbed that this new business was denied planning permission being outside the core retail area in Bangor. The article goes on to downgrade the rest of Bingham street and presumably other businesses.

The other businesses is what gained my attention. Although I have not used this particular business I am aware of another Barber less than a stones throw away. There is no mention in the article of this competing business or the fact that a barber has used the premises for many years. Nor is there any mention of the impact the new pop up barber will have on the existing business.

One Visit?

Larger chemists with better stock levels?

It seems that one visit to the chemist is never enough.

Over the last year I have had to visit the chemist rather a lot more than usual. I’m finding that as often as not the prescription cannot be fully filled  necessitating another visit in order to collect the balance.

I don’t have knowledge of how chemists are regulated but it seems to me a smaller number of larger stores  who could have a more in depth stock could be the answer.

Homage to the Green God

Waste of high quality water.

At this time of a hosepipe ban thoughts are naturally drawn to water wastage and perhaps how it is happening without us realising.

Take for example the requirement to rinse tins etc before placing in the appropriate waste bin, that is a considerable usage of highly compliant EU directive water.

Surely there must be a better way rather than this waste through paying homage to the Green Party  Gods.

Don’t blame gardeners — Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh has hit out at water companies blaming gardeners for water shortages and bringing in a hosepipe ban. Such a ban is already in place in Northern Ireland but Titchmarsh has reportedly stated  “A hosepipe ban would be galling when so much water is not properly managed and leaks. And when they blame gardeners, that really is galling.”

Many gardeners in the Province will fully support his comments. Nationally Ofwat reports Three billion litres of water simply drains away every day, a shocking amount. The statistics for us would also perhaps make interesting reading.

Do they think we are stupid

Ulster Plank – Help doesn’t matter

The Bank tells me :-

“We currently send paper statements through the post for your personal Ulster Bank current and/or savings account(s) – but we’re going to change this. We’ve noticed you use Anytime Banking, so to help reduce paper waste, you can now view your statements online instead”

Reduce paper waste my foot, it’s simply a means of reducing costs in order to maximise profits which in the process reduces the service to customers. For many the grasp on internet banking will be tenuous, this latest diktat will increase pressure on such folk. Bottom line it is to make fat-cats even fatter.

The Bank has abandoned its customers in Bangor leaving us with a sub branch at Springhill which is totally inadequate to serve a town the size of Bangor.  In addition it appears to be putting unsustainable pressure on the staff who are making valiant efforts to provide a service in what appears to be an impossible situation.

The Bank needs to recognise their loyal customers, some like myself lifetime customers, deserve better. #UlsterPlank

Weeds for Rates

Park weeds -paying more for rates, getting less

When I was in Council the South end of Castle Park was kept in a reasonable state of maintenance. Sadly as with so much of the Borough of North Down the new council has allowed standards to drop dramatically. The part of this park towards the Abbey area of Bangor is now a weed ridden mess and where grass cutting does occur it done to such a poor standard it can only be described as hacked, leaving ugly clumps of grass behind. It seems, at risk of repeating myself, that AND council have lost interest in how this North Down is managed.

Walkway edge thick with weeds

A far cry from the days when myself and others within North Down Borough Council were keen to see Bangor at the highest levels of achievement within the Britain In Bloom competition.

Once there was grass – now weeds

I appreciate that some of the disturbance in the Castle Park is due to recent Water Service works, but that is now completed. Besides much of the area I refer to remained under Council control.

It seems that within AND council we see increasing rates with diminishing return for the ratepayer.

Cancer, cruel waiting time for first treatment

Cancer cells
Cancer cells

Following a GP referral for suspect cancer the waiting time for first treatment has a 62-day target.

That is 62 days of despair, misery, uncertainty not only for the person affected but for their entire family.

Surely there must be a faster turnaround following indications of this devastating  disease, in my view such a wait is simply cruel.

In reality In March 2018, 345 patients commenced their first treatment for cancer following an urgent referral for suspect cancer. 75.4% (260 patients) started treatment within 62 days which is at least encouraging. The 62 day target, however, must be reduced.

Lycra Lemons

Middlepath Street in Belfast is shrinking

Middlepath Street in Belfast

Despite having paid for decades to fund our roads, motorists are being squeezed out. Some Lycra lout, no doubt sitting behind a desk somewhere, has decided to remove a lane from Middletpath street to provide a cycle lane.

In doing so seems to have squeezed the remaining  lanes, that big pink bus (no doubt the creation of another lycra lout) seems awfully close. We really must stop this war against the motorist!

Elsewhere in the city we see massive disruption and potential lane stealing to accommodate “bendy wendy” the latest brainchild  of those who were not up to the task of providing a decent tram system. Were bendy buses not already tried and failed?

Back to lycra! Cyclist rises along the A2 towards Bangor at the edge of the road. Why? there is a dedicated cycle  lane provide at great expense, and much ballyhoo, but not used!

It is too much to expect politicians to stop this madness against car users but you would think the motoring organisations would take up the challenge. I wont hold my breath.