Wednesday, 5 February 2014


A friend applying for accreditation to cover a European Summit was surprised to be asked for €99 to cover the cost of refreshments and Wifi. As he is a vegetarian there isn't much chance of him getting his money's worth out of the buffet table. Once upon a time events could be judged on the quality of the catering and other freebees. It depends on the sponsors of course, when Kellogs were involved in cycling everyone's camera bags were making a gentle scrunching sound as they left the venue. Times are changing though and last year covering the Boardmasters Festival at Newquay the press liaison demanded a compulsory media "donation" to Surfers Against Sewage". I was so taken aback that I paid up but thinking about I should have objected on moral grounds because I'm actually in favour of sewage. That's because the stuff they are campaigning against only becomes sewage when it's in a sewer and if we didn't have sewers...I can see that they have chosen their name to have a catchy acronym but the consequences of someone getting the wrong number when calling in the SAS could be too serious to contemplate. A sensible solution would be the adoption of something more accurate "Surfers Against Discharging Untreated Sewage" or S.A.D.U.S.

Dawlish Fights Back?

Dawlish town councillors have been implicated in a plot to win back media coverage of recent storms by giving waves a helping hand in undermining the railway line through the town. Witnesses report seeing activity on the beach last night during torrential rain but rather than works to protect the shore it appears that a large quantity of shingle was removed from around the foundations of the station platform. BBC television coverage this morning showed part of the station, which is right on the sea front, has been severely damaged. Suspicions have been raised because local politicians have been voicing their unhappiness about BBC bias in the coverage of the recent unprecedented bad weather. In particular the unfair emphasis on Aberystwyth where initial damage to a small Victorian shelter of the promenade was followed by reports on its subsequent repair, of the lifeboat "rescue" of a young photographer who hadn't actually been washed into the sea and the evacuation of students from accommodation on the sea front. Meanwhile the closures at Dawlish of the main Paddington to Penzance line have gone virtually unreported. No council spokesman was available to talk but a local tourist board representative commented that at least a few more people would know where Dawlish was now and she hoped that the railway would be fully up and running in time for the summer season. Whatever the cause of the damage the stakes have been raised in the jostling for attention between these two seaside towns.