I have just been reading the local news on BBC’s website. Two items caught my eye. The first – “About 150 train passengers were told to leave an overcrowded train because of safety concerns”. The second – “Football fans missed an away game after being stuck in traffic chaos”*. Then there were the reports on Good Friday of long tail-backs on the M5 southbound, and as I type this, I see that the southbound lanes of the M5 are again blocked thanks to a vehicle fire. Once again, our much loved visitors are on the march, and, once again, they are blocked because our transport systems are stuck in the Stone Age!
Easter will be here soon, and already we are seeing an increase in the number of visitors to our lovely town. I must confess that one of the nice things about winter is that the town is briefly our own, but we must never forget that many of the things that make the town so special rely heavily on the presence, and money, of our visitors. Our Cornish neighbours call the tourists “emmets”, which, in the Cornish dialect of English, means “ants”. We call them “grockles”, and I wondered what this word means. So, I did what anyone would do nowadays and Googled it. I assumed I would find it was an ancient Devon word meaning something like “stranger bringing bags of gold”. No such luck!
I recently saw a list of the top ten wealthiest men and the top ten wealthiest women. Without exception, the men were all founders of major companies or CEOs of such companies and closely associated with their success. The list is headed by Bill Gates, who, as is well known, founded Microsoft. It also includes Warren Buffet, an astute investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and whatshisname, who founded Facebook. The women’s list contains names I have never heard of, but, without exception, every single one of the women is an heiress, i.e. they inherited the money that someone else made. Why on earth is this the case? Look around Ilfracombe, and many of the most active and aggressive (in the nicest possible way) people in our community are women. It can't be because of raising children, since not all women choose to become parents. And I can't quite see how the “glass ceiling” can stop someone from having and pursuing a good idea. Indeed, in my career as a patent attorney, I met several successful women, two in particular went on to found successful companies, and one of them is now the head of a multi-million pound company which she founded in her twenties. So what is the reason? Any ideas?
So, the day I post my first blog moaning about Devon County Council’s decision to scrap lollipop people, they change their minds. All credit to them for doing so. It takes a brave politician indeed to admit that they might have been wrong. Good for you, DCC!
I wonder if the Northern Devon NHS Healthcare Trust will ever be similarly brave and admit that their decision to close in patient beds in the Tyrrell was a mistake. Don’t hold your breath!