Monday, 25 August 2014

Some blasts from the Past

Today, I thought I would re-visit some of the subjects that I have covered before and bring readers up to date with any developments.

The Bonehead Saga

Last year I brought you a story about a post going around Facebook. A South African family had asked the popular portrait artist, Anita Stanhope to paint some family portraits including one of their Daughter. It isn't necessary to name them so I will not be doing so. 

Introducing the infamous Nazi troll, Joshua Bonehill-Paine. He runs a fake news site called 'The Daily Bale'. In it he publishes a series of made up stories of the racist, mysogonistic, homophobic, you name it, type. A Google search on the name will bring up many references and give you a pretty good idea of the sort of person he is. You can read quite a lot about his antics on the page here. It will also show just how stupid some people are to fall for his stories.

I recently reported his recent brush with the law after he published a fake story about how a pub in Leicester had banned military personnel in case it offended Muslims.

One day, our friend Joshua decided it would be fun to steal the portrait of the South African child off the artist's Flickr page and make up a ludicrous tale about how the child, now named Amy Hamilton, had been kidnapped from a shopping centre in Croydon by an Asian paedophile gang. This story eventually made it's way onto facebook and that's when the fun really started. You can read more about this hoax here.

It's perfectly true that I have been less than complimentary to our friend Joshua in the past and have been more than a little critical of some of his antics but the sad fact is, he is little more than a sad and deluded individual, more in need of sympathy and possibly, treatment. It's the real morons, the ones on Facebook that share these stories who cause the damage.

Now I know that all you readers of the Thamesmead Grump are a canny lot and would never be fooled by posts like this. After all, if a child ever was kidnapped from a shopping centre, the story would be all over the news and the police would be busy trying to solve the case. You would be immediately suspicious of any story like this just appearing on Facebook and the parents asking anyone with information to contact a private investigation company rather than the Police; and just typing the name of the alleged victim into a Google search would bring up any number of items about how this story was a hoax.

Incredibly, hundreds of thousands of total idiots did no such thing and shared the post, adding comments of their own about how dreadful this was. The story has cropped up again and is doing the rounds on Facebook, passed from page to page by the same sort of morons who did it the first time.

Another story, again dreamed up by our friend Joshua, this time appearing on his new website, National British Resistance featured a church in Carlisle. he took a picture of the Church, moved it to Wiltshire and announced that it was going to be turned into a Mosque and all the bodies dug up out of the graveyard and moved. You might wonder how anyone would be fooled by something so obviously a hoax but amazingly, thousands were.

It seems to me that having the law pursuing Joshua Bonehill-Paine who is probably more in need of psychiatric help and not doing anything about the real cause of the problem, which is the millions of half-wits on Facebook who pass these stories on, thinking they are real is something of a miscarriage of justice. 

At the very least, those guilty of sharing troll posts should be made to wear a sign around their neck saying, "I am an idiot".

Swan Upping 2014

Around this time last year, a family of Mute 
Saturday - the invasion begins 
Swans decided to take up residence in the Morrison's car park in Thamesmead. They then proceeded to cause mayhem by blocking the road and attacking shoppers who came too close.

It looks as though they are getting ready to do the same again this year. On Saturday they had made a start by leaving the lake and stepping onto dry land. By Sunday, they had moved into the car park.

Sunday - and the occupation bridgehead
It's now only a matter of time before they head for the supermarket entrance where they can harass the shoppers queuing at the cashpoints.

Interestingly, the mild summer meant that they are about a month earlier than last year as it was towards the end of September that the chicks were this big in 2013.

Bonkers Bus Lane

Following my report last week about the insane bus lanes in Central Way, Greenwich Council are not finished yet. 

They have extended it further West, to the roundabout for the town centre. This manages to catch the B11 and 244 buses that had been able to avoid the shambles earlier on. The B11 and 244 have to turn right at this roundabout and introducing a bus lane in the left side of the road makes it much more difficult for those buses to do so as the outside lane is now blocked by traffic forced into it by the bus lane.

On the left, you will see a 177 bus trying to get into the outside lane so as to be able to turn right at the approaching roundabout. This lane is blocked by all the traffic forced into it and eventually it has to give up. This means that when the bus gets to the roundabout, it will still be in the left hand lane and will have to cross the path of the cars in the outside lane that want to turn left into Bentham Road.

Here is a 244 bus approaching the shopping centre roundabout completely avoiding the bus lane as it needs to turn right at this point. The 472 will pull into the outside lane when it leaves the bus stop as it needs to turn right into Bentham Road.

Luckily, it manages to find a break in the traffic. The B11 will have to struggle rather more.

This 244 is turning right into Bentham Road. Note the completely unused bus lane.

Greenwich Council have managed to turn a perfectly serviceable dual carriageway into a single lane road for no reason that I can fathom.

Those Car Park Signs

While I was out and about in the town centre at the weekend, I thought I would take another look at the car park signs. You may recall, I did an article about them back in December last year.
The new car park sign compared to the old one
Having a look in the retail park car park, I noticed that the 'London Parking Solutions Ltd' signs seem to have vanished.The company was operated by a debt collecting agency called Roxburghe (UK) Ltd whose license the office of Fair Trade was 'minded to revoke'. Their website is still up and they still seem to be trading so I don't know what happened there. The good news is that their car park signs warning drivers that by parking there, they were entering a 'binding contractual agreement' without saying what the contract was have all gone. Perhaps the owners of the car park decided that allowing a company to make illegal threats to customers was not the best business practice. Anyway, they seem to have been replaced by Euro Car Parks, the company responsible for managing the shopping centre car park. They too make claims of a seriously dubious nature but are less aggressive about it. They only warn that drivers 'may' receive a £70 parking charge notice, although they don't point out that such charges are not automatically payable.

There has recently been some rumblings from the Government, recognising that the private car park management industry is largely an uncontrolled mess more resembling the Wild West than anything else and we may see some tightening of the regulations some time soon.

Advice online about what to do if you do receive a parking charge ticket vary enormously and some of it I don't trust at all. In my view, you should never ignore any demand for money, however suspect. The Money Saving Expert website is a good place to start if you are looking for advice on what to do if you receive a ticket.

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