15/06/2010

Full marks for a job done quickly and well

Posted in Ambulance Service, Emergency Alarm system, Paramedics, Thurrock Council at 3:26 pm by henrysgauntlet

Henry had planned to go to the Oyster Fayre in Colchester on Sunday, but, as bad weather was forecast, decided to go on Saturday instead.   Just as well as it turned out.

At about 1.15pm, the telephone rang.   A female voice said, “This is the emergency alarms service at Thurrock Council.”   It turned out that an elderly friend had fallen over in the house, and Henry was contacted as a keyholder.  

Henry reached the house in about ten minutes.   It was clear that the ambulance service would be needed, as his friend was sprawled on the floor just inside the front door, with cuts and abrasions on the face, (quite a lot of blood dripping down), and hands.   He asked for help to get up.   Henry couldn’t have moved him because he was a dead weight, and, anyway, it is better to leave him in case any bones are broken.

Henry dialled 999, and asked for the ambulance service.   A very pleasant, helpful lady came on the line, and talked through the situation, whilst assuring that the ambulance had already been alerted.   She said to leave him as he was, reassure him, and have all his medications ready to show the paramedics.   She ended by saying the ambulance was on its way.

A couple of minutes later, a lady from the Council’s service arrived, just to check that everything was OK.   She waited until the ambulance arrived, which was in under ten minutes.

The paramedics examined Henry’s friend carefully, and decreed there were no broken bones.   They cleaned and dressed the cuts, and checked everything, including blood pressure, and sugar levels.   They then helped him up, and got him into his armchair in the sitting room.   They were so confident, friendly and reassuring to him.   They said he did not need to go to hospital unless he wanted to  –  he certainly didn’t.   They left a paper giving details of what they had done, and emphasized that we were to call 999 again if there were any recurrence.

Henry’s friend was very white and shaken, but a good cup of tea and a visit from a neighbour helped, and soon his colour came back.

Not what Henry had planned to do on that Sunday afternoon, but  –

Full marks and all credit to Thurrock Council’s emergency alarm system staff and to the Ambulance Service paramedics for a quick response and a job very well done.

25/02/2010

Villagers do their bit but it’s a bit too much for the Council

Posted in Litter, Thurrock Council, Volunteers at 4:27 pm by henrysgauntlet

“Sofa and no farther” that is the headline in today’s Times.

It seems the villagers of attractive North Stifford decided to do their bit for the environment and their own surroundings by clearing up litter.   If the sides of the nearby A13 are anything to go by, there would be plenty to clear up.  

They obtained bags from the Council to use for their voluntary effort, and a Council lorry came to pick up the results.   In three hours work they had gathered up 43 bags of rubbish and an old sofa to be taken away.   And that’s when Thurrock Council informed them that their efforts were excessive and should be curbed.  According to an e-mail from the council the results of the clean up were excessive and filled up the bin men’s lorry so much that they couldn’t then go on and do their normal round.

The story has also been noticed by the Nanny Knows Best blog, which highlights ridiculous political correctness and similar matters, and has given Thurrock Council its “Prats of the Week” award for this week.  
 
It seems Thurrock Council has now apologised, and claims the email was sent in error.   I wonder why.   Perhaps they don’t like us all calling them Prats of the Week for their treatment of  keen volunteers;  or perhaps they were just getting too many calls from the national press!

17/09/2009

Pity the Council does not take its own medicine

Posted in State of the footpaths, Thurrock Council at 6:01 pm by henrysgauntlet

So four weeks ago Henry received a letter from the Council.   It said that inspection had shown that Henry’s shrubs were overhanging the highway, or to be more exact the footpath, and it gave Henry 28 days to cut them back.

The letter invited Henry to telephone the writer to discuss further, and gave the ‘phone number.   As it happened, Henry had already arranged for some work to be done on trees in the back garden, and that was scheduled for yesterday, ie four weeks after the date of the letter, and two weeks after the deadline imposed.   So Henry decided to ‘phone the nice lady who had invited such a telephone call.

Thus began a battle with the Council’s telephone system.  Henry, “may I speak to Ms ??? please.”   Operator, “what do you want to talk to her about?”   Henry, “I’ve received a letter from her this morning, and she says I should call her to discuss it”.   Operator, “right, I’ll try to connect you”.   Pause.   Operator, “she says what do you want to speak to her about?”     And so it went on, for some considerable time.

Why do they bother to invite residents, (who are Council Tax payers and voters, and therefore their bosses), to telephone if they don’t want to speak to them, and are going to make it so amazingly difficult to do so?

Eventually we did speak, and the lady said she would note on Henry’s file that the work would be done in the week beginning 14 September.

So yesterday Henry’s two tree-cutters arrived and spent most of the day attacking the overgrown and self-sown trees at the back, and then cut the front shrubs.

Meanwhile, Henry had to make a short visit to Grays Town Centre, and, as the tree-cutters’ van was in front of the garage, Henry walked and went via Cromwell Road.   And it was there that the double standards really struck home.  

Cromwell Road at the Hathaway Road end is almost impassable.   There are two massive trees on the footpath, and the roots of both have pushed up the tarmac to a dangerous extent.   The surface really is most dangerous, so uneven and with humps and cracks.   Treacherous even for the sure of foot and unacceptably hazardous for the elderly or infirm.  

Then, to make matters worse, there are trees overhanging the footpath from the property alongside  –  and that property is Robertson House, a Council block of flats.   It is they which make the footpath impassable, they stretch for ten or twelve feet and are so low that Henry had to bend double to get through.

So it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the Council’s Housing Department to get one of those letters from the nice lady about its shrubs overhanging the footpath  –  or is it just, as we all think, one law for them and another for us!