Corona Virus and Devizine; Anyone got a Loo Roll?

Steve Marsh’s ball of masking tape has reached 60mm in diameter, some doughnut drove their car across the footpath of Marlborough’s green to avoid the pelican crossing; these Facebook posts are not about the corona virus, why are they appearing on my newsfeed?!

I’ve been in the “keep calm, carry on, and wave little flags at Europeans” arena of this current outbreak, but media flimflam is twisting my melon; I might actually have to wash my hands now. The very fact I found myself agreeing with Boris Johnson and his mob of insensible sociopaths must surely mean my lax perspective on the issue is wrong and I should start worrying, about stockpiling bog roll at any rate.

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So, yeah, in order to keep up with the Jones’ of mass-media hullabaloos, Devizine has succumbed to the clickbait and decided to write an article about the Corona Virus. Not that I’m in any way informed, or have found a substantial or even relevant angle in which to write; dammit Jim, I’m a writer not a doctor. Expect content from Devizine if I need to self-isolate, but without any subject; otherwise the better half will have me doing the gardening. Actually, quite fancy the self-isolation bit, stick a crate of milk outside my house for customers to take, conceal myself under the duvet till May with a Sandra Bullock boxset and family-sized packet of Frazzles.

Yet, we are here to promote and acknowledge events and things to do locally, that is our mission statement, if we had one, which we don’t, but if we did. Just broken my winter hibernation too, and what becomes of our calendar of events, and the one person who reads it? Fairly, many have ignored the advice of the government to ignore the advice the rest of the world is following, and self-regulate their events; all part of Cameron’s “big society.” We’ll be out in polypropylene suits fixing the multitude of Vredefort crater-sized potholes next. Wiltshire Council who now?

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I apologise that I’ve dragged you here, then, with the false notion you’ll gain some worthy advise about this mild-by-comparison epidemic, all I know is what I’ve been told; wash your hands, buy more bog roll and it’ll blow over in two weeks. All I will say in seriousness, which is rare, is take the precautions, take care, we really don’t want to lose our friends and family, but we do want to get out and about too. The effect on local business will be devastating if we don’t, but something for the government to blame recession on. Most promoters are going ahead with events locally, but it’s advised to check ahead as everyday the news gets worse; if Steve Marsh’s ball of masking tape gets any bigger it might still come under EU safety standards, for instance.

Both White Horse Opera and the Devizes Lions have sadly cancelled their Spring Concerts, here’s hoping for a mid-summer one. The Lions have also decided to cancel their sports coaching weekend scheduled for April, because of “uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus and to help mitigate the risk of it spreading.” Karaoke will be off until further notice at the Cross Keys in Rowde as they explain, “passing microphones to person to person could pass on any bugs.” It’s my personal opinion that banning karaoke is an upside from this virus, but impartially accept it’s a popular amusement.

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Other than this, many events this coming month are still going ahead. We must respect all decisions made by organisers, and I’ll endeavour to inform you of them, if I spot them. Though, I still believe, mostly, and despite it being in line with Boris and cronies, that we shouldn’t let it piss on our chips, for want of a cruder idiom, and provided we take care and abide by the cautions, hopefully, the coming months won’t be as dull as predicted. If you choose to stay in and post your twenty favourite album covers or movie scenes on Facebook that’s your prerogative. Me, I’m nipping out this weekend, making the most of it before it might be like the end scene of ET. If you see me horizontal, please put me back on the bar stool, phone home, and I’ll lob you a half-price bog roll as a thank you; just £8 to you, sir!


© 2017-2020 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Splashpad, I’m all over it, Pal!

Word of the week in the Vizes; Splashpad (apparently Word sees it as one word) So, who wants to splash and who wants to whinge? I ask Town Clerk, Simon Fisher the questions which need to be asked…….. 

Once upon a time there was a slash-pad on the Green in Devizes, dubbed a drug-hatch, it was a public loo popular with vandals, in a pretty shabby state and kept closed much of the time. Now it’s a haven for the youngest of our community, who on summery days can play and splash until their hearts content. What a wonderful prospect if this could be a reality, yet despite a huge response to a Gazette & Herald article last week, which only stated “Devizes COULD get a splash-pad on the green,” both speculation and hope have seen an unprecedented online reaction.

Are we just “keeping up with the Jones’,” namely, Melksham, shouldn’t we be conserving water, is it an open invitation to vandals? There’s a sure quantity of negativity surrounding the idea, and personally I’d like to ensure a budget for children’s activities is equal for all ages and not just the toddlers, in an era where we’ve seen the closure of youth centres et all. Though my hand is swayed by my own fond memories of how the two mini-mes enjoyed splashpads, obviously me too, a little!

Hats off to Melksham, their largely Lib-Dem council have made a success story from the project. Water used in a splashpad is a tiny percentage of a town’s supply, no more than a swimming pool and no one is rallying outside the Leisure Centre, are they? There are two approaches to splashpad mechanics; a flow-through system and recirculating system. A recirculating system operates like a pool with chemicals, filters and pumps. Water is sent to the pad from a tank roughly four to five times the system’s flow rate; in short, it’s recycled, people.

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Splashpad in the Sham

As to vandalism, I have to cough. While it’s possible, and certain lengths will have to be introduced to ensure it isn’t, what we have now, a toilet block is a far cry from pristine. Litter, yes, litter happens there anyway, splashpad or slash-pad; surely, it’s a matter of trust and education, added on top the concept if you give the young something to do, rather than lounging on vacant grass bored, perhaps they’d repay it with gratitude and consideration. A long shot you may cry, but it’s a presumptuous cry, isn’t it?

Are we getting ahead of ourselves here though? I thought I’d play Devil’s advocate and fire some questions, Town Clerk Simon Fisher dared to answer them! “The project is still at a relatively infant stage,” he begins. “At the end of last summer, the Town Council was approached by a number of parents who asked if Devizes could have its own Splash Pad and therefore the Council needed to determine if there was a general demand for such a facility and also if a suitable site could be found. That initial phase of the project was completed just before Christmas, with a report to Council identifying a potential site, cost implications and evidence that a Splash Pad facility would be well used.”

“As you would expect, whenever we evaluate the need for a facility there will always be those who have no need for it and therefore resist its delivery,” Simon continued, obviously unable to name them fuddy-duddies who wouldn’t know fun if it came up and slapped them around the chops with an inflatable banana, but hey, I will! “But that is very much in the realm of public service provision, therefore whilst we must not ignore non-users, what is important is that we ensure that if money is spent on facilities they will be well used.”

I agree, we must not ignore them, we must splash them!!

“One of the comments you have raised, about the time of year it will be used and the assumption that it will only be used during the summer is a fair one,” said Mr Fisher. Oh, yeah, I did ask that; hardly Hawaii, is it? “However, this facility is not unique in this, with most of the outdoor facilities we provide seeing a massive drop off in use during the winter.”

See me screwing up my face, which is never a good thing, my Nan used to say I’d get stuck like it, but our other outdoor facilities aren’t a massive new cost; they’re football goals and swings. Sorry, that’s unfair; Hillworth park’s renovation is wonderful. Let’s look at that shall we? Summer days I go there, I see kids of all ages, really active, enjoying every minute, and I never see them dropping litter; coincidence? But money, innit, that’s what it comes down to.

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Artist’s Impression of how Devizes Splashpad will look

“There is clearly a cost implication attached to providing any capital project and we still have to determine how a Splash Pad will be funded,” Simon explained. “There are two elements to this, one is the capital cost, for which we will seek developer contributions and grants but this will need some Town Council seed funding. The other is revenue funding, ensuring any facility is well maintained and this will come from the Council; however, this funding may also support the upgrading of services more generally in the area and the Splash Pad will do this for the Green. Many of the services we provide are free at the point of delivery and a Splash Pad is likely to be such a service.”

My note on spreading the budget equally on all ages of youngster, Simon seems positive such a project would impact on the area as a whole. “The Splash Pad project may well see the provision of a café facility on the Green, which will enhance the area as a place to “hang out”. Many teenagers already do this; therefore, this will enable us to manage the space and keep it clean, which is a current criticism.” Yep, jobs too; a parkie, like Ranger John Smith; he chased bears smarter than the average, away from pic-a-nic baskets, though; we’d need Dwayne Johnson on the nightwatch!

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Keep off the grass!

He also expressed the projects already in place for older kids. “Whilst youth services remain principally the responsibility of the Unitary Authority, Wiltshire Council, whose budget for this purpose has been progressively cut in the last few years, Devizes Town Council does seek to provide facilities for all ages.” A major downer, as in another story, I’ve been waiting two years for a response from Wiltshire Council about when they’re due to repair a bouncy chicken and swing in a Rowde playpark; so I wouldn’t blow up your arm bands just yet.

“A few years ago,” Simon explained, “we built a large skate park for older children at our Green Lane site at a cost of over £150k and we are in the middle of a £1.7m investment for new football facilities, again aimed at older children and adults.” I have to take off my hat here, with or without Wi-Fi, satisfying most teenagers is near impossible, for the record I was a right stroppy one, though I’d imagine you’d find that hard to believe.

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You kids have got lots of splashpads already, be happy!

One thing is easy though, satisfying younger kids. Babies will play with a box, a set of car keys, toddlers happily play in a muddy puddle, why get a splashpad, just section off our road’s potholes?! Honestly, I’m certain that’s the pompous attitude of many of us. Toddlers though, soon learn how to whinge and whine to get what they want, or don’t want. Where do they pick this stuff up from? I’ll remind you, shall I? They get it from us, so quit your selfish whinging, just because you’ve outgrown your water-wings and spare a thought for the kids. Splashpad, I’m all over it, pal!


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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Doing it For Dan goes Vegas Style in Blunsdon

After tragedy can come a silver lining; Doing it for Dan encourages children and young adults to engage and partake in sport and leisure activities by awarding grants to individuals and organisations in Wiltshire and the surrounding area.

The organisation was founded in memory of eleven-year-old Daniel Climance, of Bridlewood Primary in Blunsdon St Andrew, Swindon, who was tragically killed in June 2015. He collided with a road sweeper whilst out riding his bike. Something, it is suggested by a witness, caused this stable and proficient cyclist to suddenly panic, and swerve under the sweeper. Daniel died from a traumatic head injury. A police examination found no defects with the road sweeper, and the driver passed a breathalyser test. It’s one of those terrible incidents we may never have an answer to.

Their website explains this caring, considerate boy excelled at a number of sports. It was his first season with Wootton Bassett U11 football team, that he loved and he was so looking forward to the next. He had also just completed his second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, of which he was immensely proud. He had taken part in School football and cricket events and had won the overall gold medal in an interschool sports tournament between four local schools.

How more apt and heart-warming than to create this wonderful charity in his memory, helping so many children get the access to the equipment they need to follow their ambitions.

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The website highlights many great sporting achievements made through the charity’s assistance, from Wiltshire School of Gymnastics, to the 2019 Superhero Tri at Windsor, the UK’s one and only disability sports series. And from Elliot Pinson, who won both of his race heats of the Dickies British Junior Supersport series at Norfolk’s Snetterton, to Katie Ovenden who won the U16 Singles Badminton championships.

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Still, fundraising is always needed and Doing it For Dan have an over 18’s casino night on Friday 27th September at the Blunsdon House Hotel, Swindon. It promises a ‘Night in Vegas’ with fun casino tables, roulette, blackjack, dice and poker. Followed by a hot buffet, raffle and eighties and nineties disco, tickets are £35pp, and include a £5 fun money voucher.

All money raised will enable their charity to continue supporting children with sporting activities in the Swindon & Wiltshire area.


© 2017-2019 Devizine (Darren Worrow)
Please seek permission from the Devizine site and any individual author, artist or photographer before using any content on this website. Unauthorised usage of any images or text is forbidden.


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