City Street Chaos

I have two entries concerning wasted public money for the weekly WordPress challenge: Chaos

Southampton City Centre's uneven pavements cause chaos.
Southampton City Centre’s uneven pavements cause chaos.

Southampton City Council spent £4.6million revamping the civic centre’s main square and pavements which was completed in 2010. But just 18 months after a private contractor completed it (with no expert investigation) large parts of the road began to sink, leaving its surface uneven and cracked.

I don’t know how many times I have fallen over in the City myself – it’s no good just looking where I am going as the shadows create optical illusions, it would be easier to walk on gravel or loose earth. So many have been hospitalised and had their lives ruined. It is cheaper for the Council if pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to claim compensation for their injuries from the contractor than have the street repaired. I think coloured Tarmac would have been a better option for the street and was even better left as it was. Cutting corners always works out more expensive and money always seems to come before people.


The back of Old Northam Road, Southampton
The back of Old Northam Road, Southampton

The street where the Developer has run off with the cash

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Resotoration of Old Northam Road

Southampton City Council granted £1.4 million of public money to Grays Developments in the early 2000s to refurbish Victorian properties in Old Northam Road. This was to regenerate what was once the antiques quarter of Southampton, England.

The man who owns Grays, bought up 30 commercial properties and 68 homes within Old Northam Road had promised to invest millions restoring them within 13 years.

So far there has only been ripping down and dilapidation. No work has actually started, leaving residents and businesses in chaos. Some who lived above shops have had walls to their property removed and just left.

The traders insist that he has spent the money on a house for his mother and ran off with the rest of the cash. Here is a YouTube video of promises from the project manager: Restoration of Old Northam Road

 

 

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Southampton is a Cool Cat

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Southampton is a ferrel catp1170655

stretched out on a grand, green lawn

of broad summer sunshine

Fatted on battered haddock

grappled for against gulls

conquests behind nightclubs

kicked-over street bins

reeking of curry and booze

She cleans her face but not Her furp1100615

Who does She need to impress?

 

Southampton is a cool cat

catch the rat between two rivers

acrobatics at gas works

parkour-flipping around the old town walls

From hooks of port cranes

She sees it all.


Southampton is a wise old catp1090073

hoisted up quick and sailed close-to-wind

Her kittens roam world-wide

thirst knowledge – take notes

stalk students on side-streets

hide beneath Ford Transits

 

Southampton is flatteredp1100968

by the kindness of strangers

You’re fun – She likes to play

Curl up with Her by the coal fire

Stroke, purr, snooze,

Come dawn She’ll yowl you out of bed

Howl and holler ‘til She’s fed

p1120095Southampton is the eternal cat

you will never own

She’ll still be here

when you’ve sneaked out

by the back stairs

never to be forgotten

so longed for on your return

 

p1110933You will find Her asleep on tombs of sea captains

who dutifully sank with their vessels

You will find Her at the dock-gates

preening Her paws for sailors

from mighty merchant boats

who came bearing gifts

in big metal containers

For this ship’s cat

that can stare at Queens

 

p1140027Call Her names across the pitch… Scummer!

But don’t come looking for a fight – Mush!

Or She’ll give you War

Southampton. The great Defender

She sees you in the dark

She will hook out your eyes

with Her steel claws

One Spitfire pounce can kill

Wounds licked  –  She’ll be on her feet again

This Cat has nine lives

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Poem and Photos © Southampton Old Lady

Zebra Go

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Print Primary Zebra contrasts with Southampton’s freshly cleaned Bargate

While the world plays Pokemon-Go – the people in Southampton are walking around and searching for painted zebras. A few years ago it was rhinos in collaboration with Marwell Zoo. It was such a success that we now have these zebras with sponsored themes.

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Judge Zebra Below Bar – with reference to when Southampton’s Bargate was once a court.

So here are some photos of a few of my favourites – I must confess I did not take the details of all of them – one of the best bloggers for these is on the WP site “I Walk Alone” so seek her out for some lovely walks.

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The Wheels on the Bus Zebra en-route from West Quay shopping centre
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Abbey Road Zebra by Watts Park entrance

Vandals have stolen some of them; one also with a Beatles theme, named Ticket to Ride featuring buses, was found floating along the River Itchen and rescued by a youth sailing team.

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A beautiful Ocean Zebra in St Michael’s Square
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Jigsaw Zebra. You never know who will be dropping by while you are at a Mettricks having coffee in Southampton.
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Sharknado Zebra outside the old town walls at Western Esplanade
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Foxy Zebra in front of Southampton Guildhall

For more zebra photos and an interesting article from a ‘crazy’ tourist who flew to Southampton on a day trip click: here

For an avid walker who seems to be getting them all (though you might need to register on her site) – I Walk Alone – click: here

Titanic Southampton Remembers

Things are busier than ever with our attempt to move and live on a boat at the moment. I haven’t time to devote to well-researched thought-out posts. Instead I have found a lot of what I want to write about already out there.

Four years ago Southampton had a big commemoration – 100 years since the sinking of The Titanic.

Why is it so important to us? Well, out of over 900 crew members 750 were from Southampton. Unless you were in charge of a lifeboat – most of them drowned.

Repercussions of that event over a Century ago are still felt in Southampton today.

If you are interested here is a BBC Documentary presented by Bernard Hill, the British actor who played Captain Smith in the Cameron film. It’s about 25 minutes long, so unless you are interested in Southampton or The Titanic, you are forgiven if you don’t click:

http://wp.me/p6jveM-zH

Holyrood

There is a plaque on a large anchor outside a derelict church in Southampton’s High Street (QE2 Mile) which reads: The Church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors, the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea.

There are many memorials in this peaceful place to those lost at sea. From mediaeval captains that went down with their ship to those bombed while bringing supplies during WWII.

There is a special corner dedicated to the crew who drowned when the Titanic sank. Of her 1,517 victims, Southampton was home to 538 of the 685 crew members who died on this White Star liner’s fateful crossing to New York on the 15th of April 1912. It was like our 9/11 – our city lost a generation.

gospel choir singing in the Merchant Seamen's Memorial (this was once Holy Rood Church) during Music in the City festival, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Gospel choir singing in the Merchant Seamen’s Memorial (this was once Holyrood Church) during Music in the City festival, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Holyrood bells, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Holyrood bells, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady

I have been meaning to write about the Holyrood neighbourhood of Southampton for some time.  In the 1960s a new area of council flats were developed on that which was raized to the ground by the Blitz. In the last decade Southampton council has employed mural artists and sculptors to reveal the history of the area. However, Marie Keats, another Southampton blogger I follow, has been able to do this so much better than I on her ‘I Walk Alone” wordpress site – so if you are interested in her lovely mural walk around the area please do visit her blog: http://www.iwalkalone.co.uk/?p=22590

Southampton’s Christmas Festival

A few snaps taken at Southampton’s Christmas Festival. This year our Council hosted a big German Christmas market from a new company that Sponsored the Festival in the city’s centre.

Santa flies above the German Christmas market in Southampton
Santa flies above the German Christmas market in Southampton
Santa heads for Southampton Bargate on his sleigh
Santa heads for Southampton Bargate on his sleigh. “We march on” is our football team’s banner
Santa's sleigh pulled by reindeer heading for Southampton Bargate
Santa’s sleigh pulled by reindeer heading for Southampton Bargate

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German Christmas market stall in Southampton High Street.
German Christmas market stalls in Southampton High Street.

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Smoking salmon at the German Christmas Market, Southampton
Smoking salmon at the German Christmas Market, Southampton

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Remembrance

Poppies

Watts Park leaves fall softly from tall sycamores

fluttering like wounded birds

perch briefly on broad-shouldered uniform

before landing on sodden ground

conkers and grass compressed in to mud

by platoons of polished black boots

Remembrance poppies

Our Civic Centre clock chimes:

‘O God our help in ages past

Our hope for years to come…’

Bishop of Southampton delivers solomn sermon,

and there’s poppies, poppies, poppies…

But my thoughts slip away to you dear Father

medals

I have recycled your values

composting leaves, endlessly reprocessing

The earth reminds me of your grave.

I think of battle fields

bomb craters and dugouts became giant puddles

and there’s soldiers, soldiers, soldiers

Who would volunteer to become a soldier?

You did dear Father

Lied about your age so you could enlist

to join your regiment of pals

blasting out ‘Reveille’ or ‘The Last Post’ on your bugle

marching bravely in your correct-angled beret

through streets of England and Malta

through deserts of Egypt and Burma

over mountains in India and Italy

for Crown and Country

for your neighbours and family

for us that we may live in hope of peace

Southampton Cenotaph

November 11th,  2013