As I strolled home after a trip into town yesterday, I saw something I have never before seen in this country. I thought, for a moment, that I had been transported abroad, until the weather conditions reminded me I was still in good old Blighty!
As I approached the mini roundabout made famous in an earlier post (Patience And The Pedant), I saw a workman in the middle of the road repainting the lines. Now, when we in this country undergo road works of any kind, we normally close off a carriageway at least a mile ahead of said works, even if our workmen are just cutting the grass verge beside the road (see How Many Men…). And if there isn’t enough road to close off a mile ahead, we set up a series of warning vehicles/signs and put out thousands of traffic cones.
So, as I approached this workman, I was somewhat taken aback not to have seen any such warnings. Could I have missed them? Unlikely, as I am fairly observant, however, I did check over my shoulder at the road behind me to see if I had merrily skipped through the cones or clambered over a lorry with flashing lights warning of the imminent danger ahead. To no avail! There was nothing behind me but vehicles approaching the painting man.
All this workman had was one temporary caution sign on the side of the road adjacent to the area in which he was working. By the time a driver had seen the sign, the workman could well have been under the vehicle!
Up ahead, vehicles were squeezing (if a vehicle can squeeze!) between the said man and the white van (not his) parked on one side of the road. This in itself was odd as the highways agency had not even restricted parking in the zone being painted.
Were these, then, emergency paintings? Paintings that were so urgent all health and safety was suspended. And what could possibly constitute an emergency painting?
Moments before I reached the workman, the driver of a large juggernaut tried to negotiate his way passed. There was, however, no room for him to safely continue his journey without the painting man stepping away from his work of art!
Once I had cleared the repainting zone, I saw the vehicle which was accompanying this workman, however, it was parked round the corner and was only really there to heat up the paint the workman required! And across the road from this vehicle, were two other workmen. One was painting whilst the other was topping up his paint reservoir. And this pair didn’t even have the caution sign the other workman had beside him!
2013, what changes/dangers are you bringing. Are we, as a nation, throwing out the Health and Safety booklet? My good friend My Plenty will be upset!