Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Sign of the Times

Mission accomplished this morning, although it's much hotter inland today as you might expect. From a working pilot's point of view, the temperature means that the equivalent density altitude makes it closer to 4,000 feet, which in my job, can make life awkward, when there's little or no wind and the drag of a large banner behind the aircraft.

In fact, I managed to knock the line off the posts on the first pass this morning, which then led to a mad and sweaty scramble, to land again, reset the equipment and get the flypast back as close to time as possible for the waiting group at Headcorn.

On the way over and before just about anyone else was flying, I heard my old instructor on the London Information frequency, 'Captain Clive', flying himself in from the Channel Islands where he now lives. He's now a training captain on much bigger aircraft these days and by the time I had finished my own short job, he'd landed and we managed a brief catch-up in the airfield cafe.

This morning's sultry heat rather reminds me of Cuba and so I settled down with one of my remaining two Partagas cigars to unwind, before writing this entry, pretending for a few brief moments, that in lieu of a summer  holiday, I was back in my favourite spot in Havana but without the benefit of one of Ernest Hemingway's favourite Mojito cocktails at the La Bodeguita del medio.

It's quite remarkable how many people must watch BBC South-east news because total strangers appear to recognise me out of my suit and tie and either comment on Thanet's seaweed problem or last night's story on on 'fly-posting around the island.'

You can watch it here if you missed it and I thought the BBC did quite a good job presenting the facts, which are not that the council is in any way unsympathetic towards the needs of local business but that the law clearly states what any business can and can't do outside its premises to promote itself.

As one chap this morning commented after recognising me: "I think I will go down to Westwood Cross and stick up a sign on the roundabout advertising my upholstery business. (sic) You've got to draw a line somewhere."

The fact of the matter is that residents, like the elderly lady from Westgate in the BBC report, who came out to have a cross word when we were filming, are quite understandably outraged when abandoned vehicles are used as mobile advertising hoardings for months on end, obstructing their roads. I'm told the council have had a great many complaints about these and other examples of fly-posting in its different forms around the island.

People will hold different opinions on whether this should be tolerated or not but as the BBC report points out, it's classed as a criminal offense rather than a nuisance and in the circumstances and when complaints are made, the authorities have little choice but to take action or in this case, remind businesses what constitutes acceptable and legal forms of advertising and what doesn't. The law, which changed in 2003, is quite clear on the matter and the BBC summarises it quite neatly.


Anonymous said...

As you turn into St Mildred's Road from the traffic lights, heading towards the railway bridge, there are usually several vehicles for sale parked on the side of the road. This was the first thing I noticed when I first came to Westgate 6 years ago and I note it continues to this day. The seller might well be a very nice person, however, he might consider moving his 'business' to proper premises and freeing up parking spaces. I have made complaints to TDC many times, all to no avail, maybe another complaint will get his 'business' moved on. Let's hope so.

Peter Checksfield said...

Abondoned vehicles are one things, but we're not just talking about that are we?

In the BBC report TDC workers can be seen taking down posters & banners from outside The Winter Gardens, where THEY (the winter gdns) put up posters and banners of exactly the same size! So all this "dangerous distraction" business is complete nonsense!

DrM. said...

Peter 'Distraction' is simply one soundbite thread of a wider argument. I take it this is a semi official complaint on your part and I will explore this with Leisure Force in the morning.

Peter Checksfield said...

It's TDC policy I'm complaining about, not Leisureforce advertising events outside their buildings (why shouldn't they?). But my point is that these banners & posters are exactly the same size & in exactly the same place as the ones that have been taken down, so therefore must be equally as distracting (or undistracting) in TDC's eyes.

DrM. said...

I have forwarded your comments by email and plan to take up your argument in the morning by email if tme allows

Peter Checksfield said...

Thank you Simon.

Readit said...

I hope the crackdown includes impromptu roadside shrines and puts them back into cemeteries where they belong.

Peter Checksfield said...

I wouldn't like to be the one trying to enforce it Readit... For better or worse I think this will remain part of modern society, though I agree they can be far more distracting than posters & banners.