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Inaccessible Places

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Spud McLaren
766954.  Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:00 pm Reply with quote

You should be OK as long as you're as pissed as a newt.

767254.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:23 am Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:

Whoever put up the roadsigns evidently had the attention span of a newt. Whoever made the road plans had the planning ability of a newt. Whoever decided not to label junctions from the ringroads had the brains of a newt

Coventry has the singular distinction of operating a ringroad in which the rule is that traffic should normally travel in the offside lane (the nearside lane being reserved for entering / exiting traffic). Not that anyone actually follows the rule but that is how it was intended. Coventry doesn't see the need to inform citizens of fundamental rule changes - we're all intelligent people aren't we?

Coventry also boasts the only tower block (afaik) which was built from the top down. The top floor was built first then raised using hydraulic ramps, whereupon the next floor was completed and so on until the whole structure was completed. This seven-storey building is still in use as a residential building (I say residential - I'm told it's mostly occupied by prostitutes).

Other (sort of) interesting info about Coventry. The symbol of Coventry is an Elephant - and the Sports Centre is designed in the shape of an Elephant (if you squint at it - but seriously, it has the legs and trunk and was clearly designed on an etch-a-sketch with that idea in mind).

The centre of Local Government is officially called The Council House leading to some confusion (and not a little disappointment) amongst incoming workers upon being informed that they were being allocated a council house.

There is an area of Coventry called Stoke Park which despite being close to the city centre seems to be a completely different world. Visitors to this village-like area are known to have become disoriented when leaving and finding themselves inexplicably transported to a busy metropolis instantaneously.

When redesigning the city after WW2 (incidentally, the verb "to coventrate" does appear in the OED) planners prepared a series of inelegant structures which blight the city to this day. Revenge on the planners has been taken by esconsing the Council Planners in one of the worst designed of those buildings (currently designated as CC4).

It's not all bad though - the Museum of Transport is an extensive (and worth visiting) exhibition of all kinds of vehicles. The original entrance gave the impression of a small terraced house which belied the actual museum (which takes several hours to traverse and is fascinating). The new entrance errs on the other side - being introduced by a tribute to Saddam Hussein (well, it kind of looks like those triumphal swords), a rather ridiculous light display which is only interesting after someone explains what it means, and benches bearing plastic name badges of benefactors (much prized by drunks who seem to be seeking fake delegate badges for a convention).

And the City does have a commitment to the disabled. Three of the city's most prominent buildings have lights attached which show the prevailing weather - by a combination of colours and speed of illumination you can determine the direction and speed of the wind, and whether it is sunny or raining. To enable the proper interpretation of the usefulness of this information which, of course, goes far beyond the primitive method of standing outside, CCC have delivered an easy to use guide to this visual information to blind people by means of a braille document. Never let it be said that CCC neglects its' duty to inform the blind of current developments. (It can, of course, be truthfully said that CCC is patronising the blind and avoiding its actual statutory duties - but that's another story. It can also be said that the councillors who were involved in this decision have a collective brain the size of a pea).

In an orgy of planned development (and with a blank slate) the town planners also managed to construct the city in such a way that the main bus station has been placed as far as was realistically possible from the main rail terminal. We must applaud this early attempt to encourage passengers to use their own motive force (and descry those who continue to selfishly use taxis - there being no direct bus link - to avoid their civic responsibility). Coventrians are also not impressed by the excuse sometimes given that anyone attempting to navigate on foot between the Bus and Rail termini are faced with the obstacles of having almost no direction signs, a series of dimly lit underpasses and several sets of steps. Where's your sense of adventure?

Coventry boasts two universities - Warwick (which is inside the city but in a leafy suburb) and Coventry (which makes do with whatever buildings it can grab in the City Centre). The former is primarily arts based (which it does tolerably well) and the latter is primarily engineering based (which it also does tolerably well).

However, both Universities suffer from a split personality so that Warwick (arts based) thinks it has some "hard science" skills to offer and has established a science park - whilst Coventry (engineering based) thinks it has some pretensions at art. The result of the latter is particularly sad as it has led to the establishment of a major part of the University in a non-descript ex-cinema which hampers any creativity (and is thorougly impractical for use) whilst perpetuating the idea that "if it was built before I was born it is of historical significance".

It is rumoured that the original proposed entry for Coventry by Ford Prefect was "Could do better" - later edited to "Do better".

To briefly spring to the defence of Coventry - Mike's assertion that
Whoever decided not to label junctions from the ringroads had the brains of a newt

is unfair. The roadsigns on the ringroad are entirely clear and easily seen provided you follow the (admittedly not stated) expectation of the original planners to disregard the normal standard of travelling in the left-hand lane.

The exception is for any destinations built after 1995 so don't expect directions to the main sports stadium for instance. The planners early embraced the idea of sat-nav and anticipated that they could save money by assuming that everyone would have one by the time the roads were opened.

But let's not forget to applaud the achievements. Until fairly recently one of the major open squares of Coventry was covered by a "canopy". I say canopy - it was placed in such a way that anyone sheltering under it and simultaneously occupying a bench would find themselves drenched. Nonetheless, after a mere decade of complaints this offensive structure was removed. Never let it be said that CCC doesn't listen to the residents.

On the social side of things - let's not forget that Coventry leads the way where others fear to tread. It's CCC after all who, having been named as a local authority who's actions were thoroughly reprehensible, continued the good fight by seeking to restrict reporting that it was CCC who were the authority named. CCC - never knowingly restricted by accusations of out-Stalining Stalin.

Coventry - where the past is always present - and where we've tried it so that you don't have to, and where you can rely on the local authority to outstrip any actions envisaged by Stalin to present you with a Glorious Future.

Last edited by bobwilson on Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:36 am; edited 1 time in total

767259.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:30 am Reply with quote

Bob, you have to stop building up Coventry to me or I may have to move there straight away rather than waiting 'til next September!

Truth be told, there's a slightly better chance I'll live in Kenilworth or thereabouts. But I'll still get to enjoy all the wonders that Coventry has to offer!

767261.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:40 am Reply with quote

Sj - there's more - there's much more. Tis a place I know too well - and particularly the eejits that run the place. Corrupt is too small a word - and I fully intend to see all but 3 of them imprisoned.

767264.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:49 am Reply with quote

Well, carp on a salmon and paint me mauve! That's my kind of town!

::packs a suitcase::

767267.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:59 am Reply with quote

I look forward to your being "on the spot" - (you'll be disappointed in Kenilworth - Leamngton's a better bet)

767268.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:04 am Reply with quote

That sounds a bit as though you can't wait to see me suffer what surely awaits me!

Leamington's on the list of possibilities--we shall see.

767269.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:09 am Reply with quote

Don't take my word for it - have a chat with the Cov Uni and Warwick Uni students.

767324.  Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:42 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Inaccessible Island, St Helena has to be a contender.[/url]

Nooooo! I saw a white boat at 4 o'clock on the beach... Or it could be a shipwreck, or a sunbathing walrus...

Wow, and I have friends living on St Helena; it is a swampy strange place: Maglan, Princess Dinizulu, an Angel who told me fairystories when she babysat for me when I was 9. I was later able to book her to sing at one of my Festivals in Saffron Walden. I cannot find her on Google now...

It is a small world, but it is scary to find info inaccessible on the Internet...


767530.  Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:28 am Reply with quote

Which Inaccessible Island ?

there are 2 (or 3)
1 Near St Helena
1 Near Scott base Antarctica
1 group in the South Orkneys ....

767533.  Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:36 am Reply with quote

Jaster wrote:
Which Inaccessible Island ?

Neotenic wrote:
Inaccessible Island, St Helena has to be a contender.

Let us know if you want another clue.

767542.  Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:17 am Reply with quote

OOOH, get you!

767744.  Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:18 pm Reply with quote

sjbodell wrote:
That sounds a bit as though you can't wait to see me suffer what surely awaits me!

Leamington's on the list of possibilities--we shall see.

I lived in Leamington for a few years a while back, and quite liked it there. It's an attractive regency town with some nice parks and decent selection of shops, bars and restaurants, and reasonably convenient for Warwick and Warwick Uni. Warwick itself has some nice parts, also. Kenilworth and Coventry made little impression on me (I didn't spend much time in either).

Hope you find somewhere you like, anyway.

767748.  Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:11 pm Reply with quote

Excellent! I know my husband hopes to work in the video game industry in/around Leamington, so perhaps it should be bumped up to first choice. :)

768186.  Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:46 am Reply with quote

The computer games industry seems to have really taken off in Leamington since I first lived there. Back then, I think CodeMasters were still a fairly small company at the south end of town, making budget games for the ZX Spectrum. They seem to be well on the way to world domination now :)


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