The calm before the storm

The last few weeks have been quite tense. On a number of fronts there are pools of tension and anticipation bubbling away, just waiting to boil over. Next week should be interesting, particularly if these various strands of intrigue reach their climax simultaneously. I will do my best to ensure they do.

First up, we have the ongoing saga of high speed broadband marauding its way through the village. The usual poorly constituted roadworks appeared last week, and the characteristic delays were seen for drivers passing through the village. Tailbacks of 15 to 20 yards, were seen with journey times extended by up to 5 minutes in some extreme cases. I personally found it quite amusing watching two confused looking men in high-vis trying to operate a Stop-Go board system whilst simultaneously trying to synchronise some temporary traffic lights.

However, the moderate impact on local traffic flow is not the enduring issue filling my inbox. Instead, the installation of an above ground junction box has clearly upset the masses. Audaciously placed immediately alongside the ‘Welcome to’ sign as you enter the village (and obscuring it from some angles) the parishioners are in uproar and demanding action. I have to say, I can see their point. The 4-foot high green cabinet is clearly designed to be discretely tucked away against a hedgerow or fence line; as was the approach taken by the previous two fibre optic installation teams.

It would appear that the relentless campaign of resistance prior to the work being undertaken, and I suspect abuse shouted at the workman from the slow moving traffic during its execution, may have resulted in a deliberately offensive siting of this new street furniture. A 4-foot high, green finger up to the community that so resented their presence and hard work. At the next meeting we will discuss what measures can be taken to relocate the eye-sore, resulting in more roadworks no doubt.

Secondly, the Village Hall hearing loop continues undelivered and yet increasingly expensive. In expectation of a briefing to the Council on progress so far, and reasons for the delay and cost escalation, I have taken the trouble to research the general concept and technology involved. As a recovering engineer, I do find tremendous interest is discovering how things work. As is typical, there is a broad spectrum of capability when it comes to electro-audio installations; from the ‘bare bones’ to the ‘Rolls-Royce’ solution – and I suspect we have crept into the latter.

I look forward to asking ridiculously detailed questions, and challenging the contractor on why the Village Hall needs a grade of equipment that would be more at home in Birmingham NEC. I’m sure I can rely on one of my colleagues (who is genuinely hard of hearing) to sprinkle some comedy gold dust by asking us to speak up during the exchange.

Thirdly, and more excitement than tension, we are combining forces with a neighbouring Parish to undertake some Councillor training. They say that those who can, do; and those that can’t, teach. I cannot wait to experience those that teach Councillors. Add the ‘them and us’ dynamic between us and the delegates from the next Parish along (with whom I hope there are long-standing frictions and unresolved disputes), it should be quite an entertaining 2-hours.

All of the above will play out early next week. Please comment if you have specific questions about hearing loop technology or by-laws pertaining to the placement of communications infrastructure, and I will do my very best to bring you an answer in future blogs.

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