I had to drive around Bristol today, safe in the knowledge that I have enough petrol to last today and probably the day after, too. I am guessing that the people sitting in the long queues outside petrol stations around Bristol today have nearly run out of petrol or just gone out of their minds.
There were no queues at my local Sainsburys because there was no petrol in the pumps. There was no diesel at the Tesco store in Henleaze, although there was a substantial queue for unleaded petrol, and there was an embarrassingly long queue at the Asda garage at the top of Blackboy Hill. I drove past countless other queues and empty stations.
I’m almost too embarrassed to even think about queuing up for petrol later this week when I need to, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Always assuming I have enough petrol left to cross it.
This chaos is 100% due to Brexit. Britain needs a better deal that Johnson’s crap deal and what’s happening with fuel shortages is exactly what his government said would happen in their contingency planning for a no deal Brexit. And Johnson’s deal is little better than no deal. Much worse is to come.
If Brexit isn’t really done yet, then neither is the Covid-19 pandemic, although you’d never guess that if you’d been at the Mall in Cribbs Causeway today. Granted the place was quiet, as befits a late September Monday afternoon, but the few people who were there had not bothered with face masks. If you included people sitting in one of the food outlets, I’d estimate that barely 5% of people wore them, if that. Even though I am now triple-jabbed, I still wore a mask because – and I know this sounds awfully twee – I want to help protect my fellow woman and man.
It’s not an age thing either. I’ve seen some comments from the usual Daily Mail suspects who accuse young people as being the baddies with face masks. On the basis of my entirely unscientific calculations, I’d say all each groups were ‘guilty’, if that’s the right word.
One of these days, I’m going to say “sod it: if I’ve got Covid then you can have it too”, as so many of my fellow citizens seem to be saying, but not today.
As I no longer have any reason to rush from place to place, I drive more slowly than I ever used to. I feel I am the odd one out when I am driving in Bristol. But the southbound section past Eastville is the place where I am the oddest one out.
Just before the exit, the speed limit changes to 40 MPH. It has done for years. And I gradually slow down to 40 as the signs appear. No one else does! In fact, I am often overtaken by people who assume the speed limit to still be 70. Some of them look at me as if I have two heads. “Why is that twat driving so slowly?” Well, because it’s the fucking speed limit, that’s why. After the St Pauls exit, there are speed cameras so everyone slows down. Can’t they insert some a bit further back? Otherwise, the 40 limit is a limit in name only.
I went where I always go to buy some stationary today: WH Smith. It’s quaintly old fashioned – I mean, imagine actually writing things and reading books made of paper? – but they keep going and by and large it’s an enjoyable experience. But maybe not for the staff.
The Smith’s branch in Thornbury has been advertising for staff for what feels like years. I suppose the fact that their hourly rate for staff is a miserable £8.91 an hour explains why.
Bristol Bears rugby union team has done a kind of joke with a play on words about the current petrol shortage. They’re playing Bath this Friday night and are saying there is a shortage of tickets. All I can say is there must be a lot of wealthy people in Bristol.
The cheapest – cheapest! – tickets come in at an eye-watering £37 but if you want a view from where you can adequately see both ends of the pitch, you can pay up to £70. These are tickets just to watch the game.
I appreciate that you are paying to watch top class rugby union, even though Bristol have made a desperate start to the new season, and the money has to come from somewhere. Ashton Gate is a brilliant stadium (and I say that as a Bristol Rovers man) whereas Bath, who play at a ground called The Wreck (I think this is an accurate description, if not the proper name of the ground), charge much the same prices. And given the crowds both clubs attract, I guess they can justify such high prices. Nonetheless, I find it a little disappointing.
Many folk, like me for example, could not justify such an outlay on a single ticket, never mind all the extras one pays to enjoy a match day so I will be reduced to watching the game on BT. For people who can’t afford the extortionate ticket prices and can’t afford BT Sport, the news is that the rugby premiership clubs have ended free to air highlights shows, which used to appear on Channel 5. I guess they don’t really need to have the lower orders to become interested in the game when they can fill their grounds with those ticket prices.