Letters: Gimme shelter

20:31, Oct 25 2012

Gimme shelter

During the recent school holidays we had a lovely couple of days in Blenheim visiting relatives and having a look around. We were very impressed with the courtesy of drivers and were served beautifully by people from our shuttle drivers to retail staff and enjoyed seeing how nicely the township is progressing.

The only thing that put a damper on the trip was the terrible facilities at the railway station, where we ended up having to wait for the bus to Nelson, with the only seating being right in the teeth of a bitterly cold wind.

Behind the station on the platform where it was slightly more sheltered, there were no seats at all and families with young children were forced to sit on the cold concrete platform while others huddled in any nook or cranny to keep out of the wind.

The public toilets, where one could warm their hands under the dryers and sit on a bench inside, were the only other options.

Rather than put ice on the tourist it would have been nicer to put the icing on the cake - a little bus shelter would do.





Work, work, work

We've just "celebrated" Labour Day to mark the 40-hour working week, implemented in 1900 to ensure a balance between work and leisure.

My guess is many just flopped and welcomed the long weekend to part-recover from the stress of the rest of the year.

Frankly, celebrating Labour Day is a hypocritical farce. The reality today is that most work 50, 60, 70 or even more hours.

Ironically, back in about 1972, politicians predicted earlier retirement and more leisure time. But today the push is for retirement at 67. Such myopic thinking ignores school leavers, and teenagers are forced on to the dole as job positions evaporate because older people keep working. It should be optional.

Since 1984, governments have slyly eroded the public's economic standard of living. An average household cannot exist on a single income but needs two average incomes to sustain a comfortable family living. The result is over-work, less family life, stress and erosion of quality of life.

Society is at a multi-crisis stage, economically, environmentally, socially and health-wise, both physical and mental.

American conservationist Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) may have had the right idea, if somewhat extreme, that the order of things should be reversed: "The seventh day should be a day of work for sweat and toil, the remaining six days should be free for individuals to fill their souls with sublime revelations of nature."

As Thoreau asked in his book Walden, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?".



Bike lanes

I'm sorry, Alan Hall [Letters, Express, October 22], but at least to a point I must agree with Mike Pink [Letters, October 17]. I get to see the bike lanes in Seymour St and Maxwell Rd every morning around 8.40. So far since their inception, at those and other times and places, I have counted a total of 24 bikes in the cycle lanes, and on one occasion I was riding the bike.

The lanes seem pointless. They start nowhere and end nowhere, are not placed anywhere they could be considered to have any safety advantage, and as an experiment, I would class them as a resounding failure.

There is, however, one bike lane in Blenheim which is very useful as a safety feature - that being the one at the side of the Grove Rd Bridge.

Why, then, is there one bone-headed clown who (and I've seen him several times) insists on riding his bike on the vehicle lane? Am I missing something?




The Marlborough Express