Post Office Queue Unacceptable

Queueing is a part of modern life, but when does it become unacceptable? Certainly I felt this was so at Post Office on Main Street. The queue stretched outside the inner door when I joined, but immediately afterwards reached the outer door. Surely by any yardstick this is unacceptable.

For elderly folk and those with mobility issues standing for such extended periods can literally be a pain and presents an unacceptable face of customer service from Post Office. Since privatisation Post Office overriding concern is for profit , service to its customers is a mere inconvenience and it shows.

It is somewhat ironic that whilst Post office takes on more banking functions, perhaps one reason for extended queues,   Ulster Bank is to close which can only exasperate the situation.  Perhaps like the banks, Post Office would rather we did everything online. Never to darken their door, not sure how that is going to work with letters and parcels! Is that an Amazon drone is see hovering outside my front door?

Must always finish with “our postmen are wonderful”

Imposing Structure on Coastal Path.

Having not visited the coastal path for a while I was somewhat shocked to see this imposing structure under construction in close proximity. Couldn’t help asking myself how did it receive planning permission without the usual uproar from local rag, FABB and the rest. Unclear at this stage how tall the finished product will be but it certainly seems substantial. Blot on the landscape?

An evening of musical celebration

 

Join the fabulous Bangor Ladies Choir for an evening of musical celebration with guest artist Brian Kennedy.

Hailing from the Fall’s Road area of Belfast, Brian Kennedy is one of Northern Ireland’s finest artists, carving out an extraordinary career in Music. His work with Van Morrison has been well documented. He is a Natural TV & Radio host as well as lead performer on diverse international stages, from New York’s Riverdance on Broadway for 9 months of over 300 performances to Eurovision 2006 in Athens.

Remarkably Brian also found time to publish two fiction Novels that were as instant success and he continues to receive  many prestigious awards, including the 2010 Ireland Meteor Lifetime Achievement Award for Music, and an even rarer Honorary Doctorate Degree of Letters by the University of Ulster, for his contribution to the Arts.

With a Choir of 62, backed by the extraordinary vocals of Brian, the musical prowess of night will be superb!

Tickets available from Bangor and Ards Visitor Information Centres, North Down Museum in Bangor, The Wool Shop in Bangor and Newtownards.

It’s very dark in here

Dear Mister Council man can we have our lights back please, the ones on the path from the  toilet block in Abbey Street to the entry onto Abbey Park.

We have asked nicely before but it seems we have been ignored. Its very dark in the evening beside those black painted walls around the  water service works making it very frightening and dangerous.

We already know the fault lies within the works so please have some consideration for the residents who use this path in the hours of darkness and have it sorted.

 

Another death on the A2

On Monday 23 January the A2 claimed another life. Another family ripped apart by this killer road, when will it end?

Politicians are understandably shocked and saddened by this fatality calling for investment along the A2 which carries 45,000 vehicles per day.

Transport NI are called upon to take steps which will lead to improved safety and to stop further tragedies occurring. Honourable sentiment where it not for the fact that the A2 is tinkered out and needs to be replaced.

When an accident does occur and the road closed the surrounding country roads are overwhelmed causing widespread misery as far as Ards where already at capacity roads are swamped..

As we have seen from the RHI scandal money can be conjured from nowhere to feed such schemes. The brutal truth is the A2 needs to be replaced something that can only be achieved with political will. As we saw with the terrorism in our province there appeared to be an acceptable level of violence, similarly, there appears to be an acceptable level of death on the A2. Only when this mindset changes will we see the badly needed alternative. Until then the condolences from our politicians will continue.

Amazon versus Royal Mail

rm

I am quite happy that delivery services do not deliver on a Sunday, I can wait until Monday. I only mention this as a result of last Sunday’s experience with an Amazon delivery. As we were out for most of the afternoon it was not a surprise to receive notification from Amazon that a delivery had failed and that another attempt would be made. What was even more surprising was to receive another notification that afternoon advising that the item had been left with a neighbour. Amazon had not only delivered on a Sunday, which I am not fussed about, but they had actually returned to make a second attempt the same day.

Contrast the service from Royal Mail, the all to familiar “something for you” card through the door. No chance of a second attempt with them, in fact I cant even trot down to Post Office without waiting until tomorrow.

Yesterday I visited main Post Office in Bangor at around 2pm for some stamps. The queue was out the main entrance with only two serving, third dealing with foreign currency. I felt for people who may have spent much of their lunchtime queuing for service.

Post Office, if it is to survive, needs to adjust its working practices to suit the customer. Otherwise I can foresee a future without the presence of Post Office.

As always,  our postmen are great.

 

Better Representation?

Down Hospital, County Down
Down Hospital, County Down

Recently I made my first visit to Down Hospital, Downpatrick. A remarkable facility in what was probably a green field side on the other side of Downpatrick from ourselves.

Contains an emergency department, day procedure, cataract, Children’s,  and many many more. In addition there is provision of Doctors and Dentist surgery.  It even has a shop of sorts and a restaurant.

It is however, a long drive from Bangor and would require a number of bus journeys perhaps even a taxi service. Only suitable, for us, if there is personal transport available.

We in Bangor have by contrast a closed, never to open again hospital. Patients are forced to travel, in case of Downe, some considerable distance for treatment. Considering the population of Bangor and surrounding areas it is simply scandalous that such a facility is not available on our doorstep.

But it does beg the question as to who receives the Better Representation from the respective politicians?

Better never than late?

grass-cutting

Grass cutting is under way along Bangor’s ring road. So what you say, that is as it should be. Trouble is that it’s some months to late, the grass should have been mown over the summer when it was at its peak. At that time our roads were in a disgraceful state, weeds everywhere. Put simply it was an embarrassment to our town, we can only imagine what our visitors thought.

Now it appears the mechanisms of government are in action, but is it too little too late? The weeds have already gone to seed ensuring a bumper crop next year. The grass has already fallen back ready for winter.

Weeds and grass are now firmly established within every crevice on our roadside leaving it, in places, impossible to distinguish the division between road and verge. It is a future maintenance nightmare.

So why cut now when all is lost, the only people to gain are those at the receiving end of the contract. If the money was available why was it not spent when needed? Or, were the roads in other areas simply more important.

 

Streets paved with gold

wjm_2759

Yet again the money flows to Kilcooley, this time in the form of a proposed £80,000 new play park. We will all agree that money allocated towards playgrounds for children is money well spent. But I believe there is already provision in Kilcooley, at least two playgrounds.

Over the years I have tried to be advised on the sum total of money flowing into kilcooley but cannot be told, certainly the streets should be paved with gold by now and a child’s playground on every corner. If not where are the millions going?

However the main thrust of my concern, as it has always been, is the inequality of funding especially towards the Abbey area now part of Bangor Central.  Shipperstone Hall has received a new roof yet what was really needed was extra space. What electors, or other visitors, will have noticed is that is simply a one room affair and cannot accommodate two events at once.

The Skipperstone playground is a meagre affair fitted into a corner adjacent to the hall and without the protective fencing evident in other areas. It is well used, I visited it four times to take the above photo without children, (even then this girl turned up but the time I got out of the car).

Perhaps it is time for a redistribution of wealth!

Considerate Constructors?

considerate In today’s world it is sometimes difficult to be sure where responsibility lies. In a given contract with perhaps many sub contractors confusion can reign.

The new sewage works in Castle Park could be an example. The boarding displays a very prominent banner proclaiming that the works are being carried out by a Considerate Constructor who protects the environment.

Such catchy logos are perhaps the norm in the corporate world suggesting a cosy relationship with the client which is sometimes open to interpretation. “Every little hurts” is perhaps an example.

“Considerate constructors protect the environment” Yet, a centuries old tree was felled to make way for the project. Considerate or what?