Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear Odeon Greenwich... Thank you for your service.

Living proof that I am fair in all my words, here goes a positive to cancel out a negative, or at least to balance it.
I am currently seated back in the Odeon Greenwich, this time to watch Twilight. On sheepishly approaching the security guy near the ticket collections on the ground floor and asking what time we could go to the Gallery, we were informed now, and that we could go straight in.
On suggesting we didn't wish to jump any queue he informed us that it is policy that Gallery patrons do NOT queue with the rest of the screen patrons, and that they should go straight to the Gallery upto 30 mins before the start of the film.

I informed him this was not what we were told, and explained what had happened on a prior visit. He seemed offended and disgusted that we had been spoken to that way, and went on to apologise on behalf of everyone at the location. He said he was going to raise the matter at the next GM, as this was not satisfactory, and wanted to make sure it didn't happen again.

I thank him for his polite encounter, and clarification of the previous situation. Maybe if I could find out who the mystery poster was on my previous blog about the Odeon, they could speak to this guy and learn some manners.

So, thank you Odeon Greenwich. My faith is restored.
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Monday, November 14, 2011

aka Snazy, aka The Facilitator

For a long time now I have found myself as a moving part within peoples lives. Playing a part, be it emotional, sexual or physical, which is a piece of a bigger movement. Starting the ball rolling for a seperation, being supportive for a hard time, or just giving comfort at a time of need. One way or another I have somehow become a facilitator.

I am not quite sure how this role comes about each time. Big cuddly (ok fat) me pops up somewhere, becomes a part of a persons everyday life, and before you know it something is happening. My role changes to one of emotional support of some kind, and suddenly a ball is rolling, and there is no stopping it.

Over many years now I have found myself doing this, and have played a part in relationship breakups, helping people through confusing and conflicting times in their lives, right up to just being a friend til the end, giving strength and support to a person as they find their own way through a maze or conflict in their life.

Of course, becoming so deeply 'invovled' with someone has its risks, and emotional attachement is always present. If it wasn't I dont think I would be very good at doing what I do. Breaking that, or even just defining that attachement can sometimes be a bit of a pain, a heartbreak, or even a big arguement. I dont set out to mislead, nor to pretend to be someone im not, but in the blur of all the heat and action, sometimes lines get crossed.

There are people who I have encountered, and still remain in their lives. There are others that simply drift away, set back on course for what lays ahead of them, and on their proper path. Those who remain in my life are people of importance that have made a bigger impact on me, and people who I feel i have not yet finished being there for. Maybe I dont have enough faith in them to get it right, maybe the bond is too strong to just let them go, I dont know. But either way, I enjoy still having them about, so its not a bad thing.

So this joking title of Facilitator, just seems a little fitting for me. As I meddle in other peoples lives, trying to do what I can to make their situation right, I wonder to myself who is there to do the same for me. Or do I indeed choose people to help, who in some way return the favour as part of the whole situation. Maybe that is it. I have never felt like I have been hard done by, nor come out of the situation down on the deal. I guess it is entirely possible that the whole matter works the other way around, and I indeed choose people who I am needy of, and as by chance, in some way need me. In which case I guess that should be changed to The User then.

However you view this, from whatever angle I look at it from, I can only hope that those involved in these circles take away from the situation as much as I think they do. A little happiness, satisfaction, and direction at the very least.

As I have ponderd this entry over the past days, so many thoughts have filled my head, but none of them seemed worthy of putting on the final draft. I have many views on the whole situation, but as I look back over the course of my encounters, casual and emotional, I really do think more good than bad has come from it. So given the chance I will engage in facilitating as much as I can in the future.

If you have not worked out what I mean by facilitating, its like this.
Being 'the other man' has given someone in the past the vision to realise they were not stuck where they were, there was more to life than the same old pressured routine, and this gave them the hunger to be away from their routine.
In other cases there has been call for a wingman. To be there as someone who could be relied upon to bounce ideas of, talk to when things got hairy. A good mate I guess you would say, but one that was not too close to all the intricate details of your personal life.
On other occasions its just been a shoulder, strength when needed, and on call 24 hours a day to get someone though a tough spot in their life. Usually short term, just to cover off a low point in life, but this seems to be the most common these days.

Just in case there is a misunderstanding... this is not about sexual conquests, bedpost notches, or anything crude like that. And the time scale I am talking on stretches 12+ years now, in fact thinking about it now, I have actually been doing this since I was 15-16, before I could drive.
The first time I remember, I would travel 6 miles a night almost every night to spend time with a girl who was really struggling with her life. Down about as low as a person can get before completely shutting down, I tried in vain to help raise her from this point, but failed miserably. Looking back that is probably my motivation for carrying on the way I do these days.

All round nice guy, or selfish predator, you decide. But I know there are some out there who have appreciated my time.

PS, Most cases have indeed been females, but there have been odd occasions that I have been there for male friends too. However I should point out that there were NO sexual favours there lol.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Financial folly

There comes a time in everyones life (well those of us that skate between the red and the black on our bank accounts monthly anyway) when you have to take stock, and see what the real ins and outs of your finances are.
Well I have just done mine properly for the first time since mum passed away, and its looking rather grim to say the least.

After doing all the adding and subtracting the numbers come up with -£50, so that's a bit of a pain to say the least. To make matters worse, that isn't factoring in any food for the month either, so my weightloss program may well be accelerated somewhat. Where there is a will there is a way, and somehow the numbers will add up somewhere along the line I'm sure. Just need to do a bit of juggling here and there.

On top of this there are a few things I am a little behind on, some of which is sorted, other bits are yet to be discussed and re-arranged, but I will get that done soon. Its just been one of those tough periods where grabbing the bull by the horns is far easier said than done, and hiding the letters away, and ignoring the phone has been far easier. You always know a phonecall from any creditor is bad news.

Good news comes in the shape of utility bills believe it or not. As everyone struggles to keep up with the huge, above inflation rises of fuel prices, my usage has plummeted. Using in some cases half the electricity and gas I was using this time last year. Because of this my accounts are both in credit, and my monthly payments have almost halved.

Then there is my mobile phone usage. Because of choices to arrange mobile phones for friends and family, as well as an addiction to having the latest handset, my mobile bill was huge, for a personal user, I had a bill of about 120- 140 a month. Thankfully with some rehab, a little common sense, and a rethink, I have managed to get this down substantially too. This month will be the first month I get an adjusted bill with the new tariffs etc, so I'm hoping that will half too. If all goes to plan anyway.

I have been in far worse situations than this before, and although its neck deep right now, I am at peace knowing my head is not heading below water, and I can stay afloat. Getting more buoyancy will of course be an improvement, and that is what I am striving for next. If I can pass my part 3 I will have the chance to increase income, so I need to knuckle down and get my shit together.

Things can only get better right... Bootsale time soon, get rid of some junk and get some cash for it.

Right, enough doom and gloom.
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2 men on one Erection

Hope its what you were expecting to see!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Guy Fawkes night (Nov 5th 2011)

Amoongst all the doom and gloom of all the recent events and my entries, there was a ray of light... Well more like multiple flashes of light actually.
Sat 5th Nov was spent on Blackheath Common watching the ever amazing FREE fireworks display laid on by the local authorities. Huge number attended, and the weather held out until the last bangs and flashes had passed.
So below I have linked the 5 videos I shot of the display. This year viewed from a different point to normal, but was just as good.
Congratulations to the hundreds if not thousands of people who managed to arrive at the top of the hill at 8.25-8.30 just as the show ended. And to the hundreds more who were still making their way up the steep slope of Shooters Hill.

And before the videos, one more comments.
Thank you to all those working for London Fire Brigade last night. Your Tweetathon really did go some way to open my eyes and those of many others, and give us an insight of what you deal with annually. I am astounded by the number of idiots out there still trusted with matches, lighters and even petrol. For those wondering what I am on about, here are the totals that LFB dealt with last night...

Taken from London Fire Brigades Twitter page.
London Fire Brigade
Some grand totals on From 4pm to midnight we took 528 calls and firefighters went to 114 bonfire related incidents.

London Fire Brigade
That's more than a call a minute and, roughly, a fire every four minutes

London Fire Brigade
Just been called to an out of control bonfire on a park nr Ikea in Croydon

London Fire Brigade
If you’re reading this and still have a in your garden please take care. Another bonfire related incident in Mayeswood Road, SE12

London Fire Brigade
Bonfire out of control on East St, Walworth and another one on East Avenue, Hayes

London Fire Brigade
Yet another call to an out of control bonfire - this is nr Eltham High St, SE9

London Fire Brigade
Keep a close eye on your bonfires tweeple, just been called to one that's out of control on Bounds Green, New Southgate

London Fire Brigade
Out of control bonfire on Briar Road, Romford. You should always build your bonfire well away from buildings, sheds, fences, trees & bushes.

And so on...... Seriously, how stupid are people?

OK, video time, so here are my videos of Blackheath 2011, which thankfully the LFB DIDNT get called out to.

Remember, remember the 4th of November.

Ok the saying is the 5th, but for a small group of families, and many onlookers and other parties involved. Involved in what you might ask. Well it is the colossal crash on the M5 I am talking about.
A week of so ago I started to write an entry here about how we, the public, interact with the roads, and where our responsibilities lay. From speed to awareness, quite simply if we are not willing to take on these responsibilities then we should not drive, at all.
For a long time now the training of news drivers has seemed somewhat inadequate, and the permission given to a newly qualified driver seems a little too generous at times. After learning the basics of operating a car and passing a test, we then spend the rest of our lives honing our skills, and deciding how we will drive. Speed, mannerisms, respect for others etc, this is all decided way after passing our tests.

Sadly, after passing our test, most feel confident and competent, and as soon as that belief arrives the level of concentration dwindles. Mobile phones, maps, sat navs, drinks, sandwiches... The list is endless, but either way, what is actually happening on the road we are throwing 1.5 tonnes of metal down doesn't seem to matter too much.

What I am getting at is, the average driver is far too easily distracted, chooses not to pay enough attention, and most have the 'it won't happen to me' attitude.

So back to the M5. The first I heard was on the news late Friday evening, a multiple vehicle smash, mangled wreckage and fire... Never a good piece of breaking news. As it became topic on Facebook a friend who works as a medic out that way advised me he was on scene and things were looking grim for many. For Simon to say something like that meant things were clearly bad. As the news has continued to report, the truth of what happened and the more realistic death toll are slowly coming out. At this point there are 7 dead and a number left in critical condition.

So what on earth causes an accident like this, fog, stationary traffic hit by an out of control lorry, ice maybe? Well the usual suspects were first to be blamed, following too close, to high a speed for the conditions etc. However from early on I was privy to the true suspect... Fireworks. Those being treated on scene all spoke of a huge firework display just off the motorway seemed to have caught everyone's eye... Possibly even the drivers.

As the word finally filtered through to the media, and it became their focal point to blame for the accident, the reports and interviews started, as did the debates on the radio. And suddenly the idiots start coming out of the woodwork. The mainstream interviews with witnesses just added weight to the fact that the display was still going when the crash occurred, and the more who came forwards, the more that it confirmed that fireworks were going to be the main factor.

So the idiots that I speak of, who are they? Well last night while driving I was listening to a chat show on the radio, and one particular gent seemed quite convinced that he was the voice of the masses. He described how when driving at this time of year, fireworks are 'always' going off just above the cars or the carriageways, and the automatic reaction is to lean forwards, look up and ask 'what on earth was that'. Explaining that everyone does it.

Well dear chap, if this is how easily distracted you are, may I suggest you stop driving immediately. And if you are reading this now thinking I'm being unfair, may I also suggest you too consider your ability to drive, especially at speed on motorways. Yes of course things will catch our eye from time to time, but unless you are required to take immediate action, there is really no need to start staring at things when you are travelling great distances per second.
This behaviour can be tied in to a single category, rubbernecking. We are curious by nature, no doubt about it. However we can make the final decision about what we concentrate on. Everyday on the roads, thousands of people are caught in sometimes huge traffic jams, miles of tailbacks due to an accident. Maybe a multi vehicle, or just a single vehicle, but once we see those blue flashing lights we HAVE to know what's going on. The people sitting in the tailback I speak of are NOT in the same carriageway as the accident, no, they are passing in the other direction. However they are SO intent on having a 3 second glimpse at why there are blue flashing lights, they will slow down on a live flowing motorway from 70+mph to about 20-30mph to make sure they see the misfortune for themselves for a extra second.

Once the first car has slowed, its all over. The traffic behind has to slow too, and as the average speed up to the incident drops, it is only human nature to have a look for yourself, so the speed drops and drops until people are now passing at 5-10mph. Hundreds if not thousands of motorists caught in this never ending cycle now, all passing and feeling the need to catch a glimpse. Spending sometimes upwards of an hour sitting in traffic on a motorway carriageway what has NOTHING wrong with it, no blockage, no incident, just nosey people.

Going back to an earlier entry I spoke of observers and players. These people are 99% observers. No interest in stopping to assist if they could, no, they just want to see it. Once I was driving on the A217 and joined the tail end of a small tailback. Looking up the road there was a car on its roof, another heavily damaged car, and a whole load of parked cars. The strange part was there was hardly one person out of their car. The accident had just happened, but the traffic I was sitting in was purely people just looking on to see how it would unfold. No obstruction on our side, just nosey people. Being a player I found a safe point to stop, and got started helping the injured. With the help of a lorry driver, and a few other people we got everyone assessed, emergency services mobilised, and the scene safe. As for the others, well they stayed stationary watching us work.

Rubberneckers, nosey people, observers, call them what you want, but in this situation they are a liability. Not only because lack of concentration can cause an accident, but then by the nosey behaviour of them, the roads become snarled up, emergency services struggle to get to the scene, and in the worst case scenario, there is another accident.

In one incident quite a few years back there was a large multiple vehicle crash on a motorway (following are guestimates based on recollection) With somewhere in the region of 80-90 vehicles 'involved'. The main impact area then turned into a fireball, and there was loss of life. When I refer to involved, not all cars were in the main area, and some were damaged through taking evasive action further back up the carriageway. However, my point on this story is the reaction from the other side. Rubbernecking started, and as emergency services began arriving on the affected side, a crash began on the rubberneck side. From recollection this incident ended up with something like 103 cars involved, and a higher loss of life than the initial accident they were all so keen to see.

I will wrap this bit up by saying I know we are curious by nature. Nosey about everything, and that's what helps humans develop and learn, its 'human nature'. But we are also intelligent creatures, and can decide between the right and wrong time and method of learning. To understand burning or electrocution we accept what we read, and learn from experience of others and choose not to be involved just for knowledge. We can do that too when we are driving. A firework going off, an accident at the side of the road, or even an person we are attracted walking up the road (yes the number of rear-ending accidents spikes in the summer for this reason) , choose NOT to be distracted please, and maintain responsibility for your vehicle and your actions.

Next time you see blue lights at the side of the motorway think this instead, something has happened and help is now on scene, you are not able and probably not willing to help, so look away, move on and just be grateful we have these people in vehicles with blue lights to be there when we need them.

Since I started this blog last night (5th Nov) there has been another multi vehicle crash, details are as follows...

"Six people have been injured in a crash involving 11 vehicles on the M6 motorway in Lancashire.

Police said the crash involved seven cars and four lorries and happened close to junction 29, near Leyland, south of Preston, at about 01:40 GMT."

This time thankfully a lot smaller and no loss of life. But the big question is, why does everyone drive so bloody close together! That's another story!

RIP those lost on the M5

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

In a second you were gone..

At 38 years old I have experienced the deaths of quite a number of people now, some might say maybe a few too many in fact. From all walks of life, in different circumstances. I am not one to be affected by grief as such, but would be ignorant to say someone's death does not bother me in any way.
The role of honour gets longer by the day, but for the record here are a few, just to give an idea of what my mind has dealt with.

Adam King - Road accident (pedestrian)
John Littlebury - Traffic incident (motorcyclist)
Kevin Flanders - Traffic incident (motorcyclist)
John Weston - Traffic incident (motorcyclist)
Mary Lunt - Short illness, cancer
Graeme Breen - Long term illness, inc cancer
Ann Snasdell (mum) - Long term cancer
Tas Hossain - Brain tumour

That's a snippet of it all, but gives you the right idea, its not like I have never known anyone who has died. And this point is important for what's coming now.

In all the deaths I have dealt with, I have never been in a situation where someone was snatched from my grasps within seconds. I was there the day mum passed, in fact for the moment she passed. I had spoken to Graeme and John days before they both died etc, but it has never seemed instantaneous to me.

What provoked this thought is the shooting of two people in SE22 today, quite local to me. Ok they are not the first people to have been shot locally, let alone nationally. I didn't know them, nor would want to I don't think based on their apparent gang affiliations, however the way they went made me think. Put the affiliations aside and you are left with an individual surrounded by friends and loved ones. In a split second they are pierced by a shard of metal which instantly takes them away from everyone around them. Like a light switch, turned of, lights out, life extinguished, gone forever.

This is not about me mourning the loss of this individual, but more about my curiosity about how you cope with such a thing. Within 5 seconds you can go from talking to someone like there is nothing wrong, to cradling their lifeless body in your arms, helplessly.

Yes I have dealt with death, and it is not pleasant to watch your own mother take her last breath, then depart. But knowing she was ill, knowing she was weak payed a major role in dealing with this. Losing a friend in an accident I was not present at again doesn't compare. How can it, I heard the news much later and dealt with it the only way you can.

I think the combinations of surprise, presence, and helplessness makes losing someone you love in the blink of an eye, the most unbearable way to lose a loved one possible. From murder to sudden medical issue, from road accident to accident at home, each is as traumatic as the next, and as I sit on the train, surrounded by strangers I am left wondering how many people on this train know what that feeling is like.

The closest I have ever witnessed was a motorcycle accident on Chelsea Bridge where a man was killed in an instant. A complete stranger to me, however the shock of it and the sudden way it occurred probably affected me more than any other death I have knowledge of. To watch a perfectly healthy person transition from life to death in a heartbeat is astounding, shocking and down right upsetting without a doubt. Trying to make the subsequent 999 call was proof enough that it has affected me.

So to go back to the funeral today, as its the most current example, I can't imagine what it was like to have someone's life extinguished before your very eyes. Remembering that they were at an event to say farewell to another fallen loved one. Factor out the gang and the behaviour, and remember for a moment that parents, relatives and other friends would have been present.

I hope that for each person I lose along my journey in life, that no one I love is lost in such a cruel way. I wish never to be present at a loss like this. And I also hope that I will not pass in such a way either. In fact I'm sure we all think that way.

Life is a gift, death is a certainty. Dignity throughout is something we all wish for, and happiness for our loved ones is a must.

My thoughts go out to anyone who loses a loved one from their company in a second like this.

Phew.... I need chocolate!
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pawn, Observer or Player.. What's your role in life?

The more time you spend mixing in the public domain, the more opportunity you have to participate in the lives of others. Being a player. If you commute you probably spend a lot of time around people you see everyday. You may not interact with them much, if at all, but given half a chance would you offer a hand, intervene or step in?

I know its a weird question for some, the thought of becoming involved in something that is originally nothing to do with you may seem totally alien. However to others, like myself its a part of everyday life. It might not be life critical, it might not change the world, but even helping someone with their buggy up some stairs, giving directions, or just checking someone is ok, is truly playing a part in life.

To me there are 3 types of people in this world, pawns, observers and players. Call them what you like. But this is my breakdown.
A pawn is a person who lives a simple life, head down, gets on, never gets involved and aims to do as they are told. An observer is someone who is more active in life, aware of their surroundings, adapts to what's going on, but still keeps themselves very much to them self. Then there are players. Fully involved in life, willing to step in if they can help, always aware of what's happening around them, and never shying away from the opportunity to make an impact on someone else.

Regardless of morals or intentions, no matter what drives you in life. In general you will slot onto one of the above categories.

When I look back and reflect on past experiences in life it is easier to see how the groups operate, allow me to offer an example.
A few years back I saw a rather crazy or deranged looking man walking down the main road with 2 axes in his hands, merrily chopping away at lampposts etc. Clearly realising he was a danger to the public I immediately called 999 and kept him in my sight while guiding the police in to my location. However.... As I talked to the police on the phone I realised 80% of the people on the street were oblivious to his behaviour, too consumed by their own lives. These Pawns left themselves vulnerable to all sorts of dangers by being unaware of what was going on outside their bubbles.
On previous occasions when a major incident is occurring, the police operator will advise you they have received a number of calls, and being on the scene of such an incident you will usually see others on their phones, observing and reporting... But on this day, nothing. Suggesting the other 20% were observers. Aware enough to avoid the matter, possibly able to tell the story to people at work (as one of my colleagues was) but playing no part in the matter, no 999 call, no warning of people around, just being aware of what was going on outside the bubble, to avoid it bursting.

Maybe such an event is a little too extreme to use as an example, let me dumb it down a bit.

OK, a recent redevelopment of a road near me has caused concerns about how to cross it. I know, we all learned to cross a road as children, but for the less aware amongst us, crossing the road is seen as a right, and not something that takes care and consideration. So this road, its only 2 cars wide, give or take a couple of feet, but apparently still a challenge to cross for some grown adults.
The arguments posed by our 3 groups are simple, a pedestrian crossing should be installed to allow commuters to cross safely, a zebra crossing should be installed to allow safe crossing, or people should just be more aware of their surroundings and learn to cross a bloody road properly.
OK this isn't a similar example of our 3 groups, but its another angle on how the mindsets of people work. Those wanting a pedestrian crossing want to hand over total responsibility of who says its safe to cross. Our pawns want a little green man to tell them the decision has been made for them, cross without thinking outside the bubble at all.
Our observers however, a little more savvy, and confident of things outside the bubble, wanting some control over their decision, but ultimately still looking for something to stop the bubble being damaged. Then there are the players. Capable of interacting with the world around them, able to make an informed decision and not requiring something physical to give them the reassurance that it will all be ok.
On a side note, and as a secondary observation, put all three groups on an open road or zebra crossing and only 2 groups would be able to assist or consider assisting someone else across the road. Elderly, carrying an object etc. The pawns would be blissfully unaware that there was even anyone else there.
Needless to say, in this instance the majority want some form of crossing to use for this tiny yet terrifying piece of road, with only a small minority able to comprehend that it is not practical to have a crossing on such a small piece of road.

I have many more example of how the 3 groups behave. In an emergency situation, after a car accident maybe. Pawns won't notice what has happened, however may feel their way is being blocked so become irate and sound their horn. Observers will be aware of what's happening, maybe advise others, almost certainly complain to friends, maybe even take pictures. But it is only the player who will become involved and check for injuries, make calls, and try and help.

What I am trying to get at here is we need to break out from our bubbles once in a while and become involved. In countries stricken by disaster 99% of the population instantly become players, seeing to their own needs and the needs of others. Karma, give and take, call it what you want, but one good turn deserves another, and usually someone involved will receive as much as they give, in thanks or out of respect. But instead all we do in the UK is expect, demand and assume we are entitled. Rather than earning and working for things society teaches us that the less we do, the more we deserve. The social scrounging epidemic is just one example of that. We don't have to be involved in life, we don't have to participate or do a single thing, raise a hand to help another person, in fact nothing at all. And in return we will receive a place to live, beer money, bus passes and all sorts of other concessions.

Its time to stop being a pawn, and at least step up to willing observer status. Stop standing and staring when you see someone struggling, don't just watch on as a man struggles to get their broken down car off the junction, don't assume someone else will make the 999 call for the suspicious person you saw, or the smoke you can see coming from the window. Play a part, stand up and be counted, and feel that you belong, and made a difference.

I have spent years getting involved, from fires in woodlands, to serious road accidents, weirdo's with axes, to concern for wellbeing. Its empowering, it gives you a sense of being, has no real recourse, and makes a difference to someone elses life. One day you will hope someone is there for you, looking our for you, or willing to help you.... So be that person for someone else today.

Take a moment to think which of the three you are, a pawn, an observer or a player...... At the end of the day I'm not judging anyone, you are what you are, its for you to decide if you could me more.....

Yours sincerely

Michael Snasdell
Player of Life
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M25 impressive.... Tent City... not impressed

I refer to the accident on the M25 today that caused a 19 mile tailback. First question really is, how few people really check the travel news before heading out in the morning. Given that the accident occured at just after 03.00 this morning, and the worst of the traffic was building up some 3 hours later.... Fools.

The accident itself was a lorry striking the central reservation rupturing his fuel tank, spreading diesel all over the carriageway. From there is becomes a bit of a blur. Apparently the diesel caused a reaction with the tarmac, causing the surface to melt, making it unsafe to drive on.

From the time of the accident to the estimated time of repair, a tiny 12 hours would elapse. 12 hours for a clean up I hear you say.. but no! In that 12 hours they get the equipment to the scene to tear up the surface, remove the debris, bring in new tarmac, and re-lay a whole new road surface, planning to have the road back open by the start of the todays rush-hour. Which when you consider the magnitude of re-laying a larger section of motorway, 2-3 lanes for a hundred yards or so, thats some epic task to achieve in twelve hours... Let alone with no notice of the job. To just jump into action, get the troops and equipment together and sort the logistics of trucks, materials and manpower... Now thats really going some. So well done to the Highway Agencies for making that happen.

On the flip side there is the annoying bastards at St Pauls. Still not going anywhere, and getting slightly confused in their own direction now. All of a sudden the purpose of setting up at St Pauls was to get the church behind their efforts. Hmmm. You wish to enrole the support of the amazingly wealthy Church of England, and want to get them to back you in your anti capitalism campaign ? Or is it that you just want to befriend them now to apply pressure so you can stay irritating the hell out of the Corporation of London for even longer?

Someone quitting their job because they CANNOT condone physical action against you is NOT a show of support. Its being pushed into a corner by selfish arseholes who demand the religious members of the St Pauls organisation choose one side or the other. Their choice to walk is not a sign of support, in fact if you think of it from another angle, the only thing it offers support for is physical intervention by the police. By not being able to say what they really feel, leaves them no choice but to quit. So stick that in your peace pipe and smoke it.

I believe one of the men of the cloth said last week to the protesters, you have had your say, now its time you moved on.... Then quit shortly thereafter. Do you still consider this support.

My point is, everyone knows your cause, everyone understand the plight of the 99% (except the illusive 1%), and everyone knows where you are. The problem is, the only thing people are talking about now is how damn irritating it is all becoming. Its costing the tax payer, the 99%, their hard earned taxes to keep you all looked after, clean (as clean as can be expected anyway) and managed by the police. And before it is said the police dont need to be there..... Dont be so stupid, firstly you lot cant be trusted, and second of all there are a LOT of people who are sick to death of you now, and its not long before it becomes something the public decide to act on in person.

Protesting is about having your say, spreading your message, and making a good case for yourself and your cause. NOT being a pain in the arse, costing the tax payer money, and costing people their jobs. Your cause has lost its fire now, and the public have lost interest. Look at the news reports, and all anyone is talking about now is legal action, and how much of a beating you will all get when you are finally moved out.

How the hell....

Small 20mph residential road with traffic calming measures, wet surface, early morning 'must get there' state of mind and most of all SPEED... That's how the hell you get an accident of such magnitude on a small road like this.
I walk this road daily while walking my dogs, sometimes straight up from where the distant shot was taken from, and other times emerging from the side road where the accident begun.

So let's hypothesise how all this happened shall we... Here is my take on it.

The Saab enters from the bottom of Kemble Road, picking up speed as it travels up the road. This road is a rat run, and the poor traffic calming just encourage it really. As the Saab approaches Loxton Road, about 75 metres up on its right, a Mini begins to emerge. I can only assume at this point there was a misjudgement of intention and speed, and the Mini is now 45 degrees into the path of the Saab.
The first impact occurs Saab offside front to Mini nearside door, punching the Mini off to the right, and causing the Saab to veer to the left (more than it already may be doing for evasive action.
As the Saab moves left it now makes a second impact with a parked Fiesta, this time Saab nearside front to Fiesta offside door. This impact heavier that that to the Mini, joins the cars together for a moment, causing the Saab to drag the Fiesta up the road a little causing the Fiesta's frontal impact with the tree. This impact frees the cars once again and the Saab now missing its nearside drive components, grinds to a halt.

Meanwhile on the other side of the road the Mini comes to rest quite firmly in the rear end of the 4th vehicle involved, this time a parked Micra.

My biggest worry is I know people who live on this junction, and I quite frequently stand and chat on the adjacent pavements. The sheer scattering of cars and debris could have caused nasty injuries to passing pedestrians.

The next concern is speed. I would say I'm not pointing fingers here, but the fact is I AM! Given the speed limit on the road, and the position of the cars post-accident, I would have to say the manner the Saab was driven is was almost reckless. Travelling @ 20mph, the impact with the Mini alone would have been almost enough to stop the Saab in its tracks. The fact it managed to punt the Mini so hard, and so far out of its way suggests there was either no time to react, or there was speed involved..

But that's not all. Not only was there such a violent punt, but then the Saab managed to carry enough speed (one would assume now under braking) that it struck a parked car further up the road. Again, under normal circumstances I would expect the second impact with a this time stationary object to end the motion of the car. However once again it doesn't. The impact is violent enough to embed the Saab in the Fiesta, transfer motion into the stationary and one would assume secured Fiesta. So much energy transfer that it managed to propel the Fiesta at a great enough speed into a nearby tree to cause extensive damage to the front of the vehicle.

NOW... The Saab is STILL carrying enough inertia to keep going still, separating from the Fiesta and continuing another car length before finally coming to rest. Assuming throughout this accident a reasonable reaction was made to try and stop the vehicle, the distance travelled and damage caused is quite astounding.

So, people of Forest Hill, and those who travel through it or to it for work.... Slow down eh!

I'm not for one second here saying the Mini didn't fail to look left, and pulled straight into the path of the Saab, causing an immediate, heavy impact. But I would say the damage from the subsequent impacts indicate the Saab was doing more than the posted 20. Maybe its time that Kemble Road was furnished with full length speed humps.?

OK, so just for a little clarification of the start and finish positions of the vehicles were, here is a little diagram.

Arrows are starting points of cars, rectangles end points. Stars are impacts (pink 1st, red 2nd.) Colours of symbols refer to the colour of the vehicle.
Hopefully this demonstrates the distance travelled by the Saab in total, and the road layout and markings.