Ding, ding, Peterborough calling

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.ukThornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
I '˜ve been known to hurl a four-letter word at my fellow cyclists as I pedal across the city.

The word is “bell’’. That’s B-E-L-L, I thought it best to spell it out for my fellow pedallers as most of them seem not to know what that shiney thing attached to their handlebars is for.

I have to admit several other four letter words spring to mind as I witness this irritating sound of silence on Peterborough’s pathways.

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Most bikes have them, but most riders seem relucant to use them. Or maybe they don’t know what they are for. City cyclists don’t appear to be the brightest – they struggle with concepts such as ‘keep left’.

Yet on shared pathways where the two-wheelers occupy the space with the likes of dopey dog owners they are a vital safety feature... for both rider and third parties.

Anybody who uses the city’s paths/cycleways knows there are plenty of blind corners and overhanging bushes (thanks, city council) that mean care should be taken. But my experience is that city cyclists just don’t care about pedestrians and their rights. In fact they are the two-wheel equivalent of the stereotypical BMW driver (who no doubt any cyclists who venture onto the roads complain bitterly about).

I looked for a pattern to establish which cyclists are contributing to the bell hell.

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But there isn’t one – the guilty range from the full Lycra saddoes to the ones that inspired a famous Queen song. I admit you have to be bold and possess a fairly thick skin to ring your bell. So many people are either engrossed in their phones, listening to music on their headphones or showing how inept they are at controlling their dogs, that a bell startles them.

It often results in an angry glare ... I’ve even had a few four-letter words hurled at me.

Snow joke

Somebody has a sense of humour in the Lincolnshire County Council recruitment team. As we all melted in the heatwave they put out a press release aimed at recruiting gritter drivers.It was headed “Join the snow patrol!’’

Transfer talk

I’ve never been a fan of having a police and crime commissioner. Cambridgeshire’s first incumbent’s performance was underwhelming and the jury’s out on his successor.

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But credit where credit’s due, the new commissioner’s decision to relocate his office from Cambourne to the existing police headquarters is spot on.

Jason Ablewhite, said the move would allow him to communicate better with the police top brass and also save the taxpayer £30,000 in running costs. Makes you wonder why his predecessor hadn’t thought of this.

Bishop and Noel

Here’s a quiz question for you... what do motormouth rock star Noel Gallagher and the Bishop of Peterborough Donald Allister have in common?

And it’s not that they both come from the north west of England.

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The answer is they have remarkably similar views on the recent EU referendum.

The bishop said before the vote: “I regret that we are having one (a referendum). We elect a government and it is their job to govern.’’

It was pointed out to me that around the same time Noel was telling the NME: “I don’t think we should be given a vote. I see politicians on TV every night telling us that this is a ******* momentous decision that could ******* change Britain forever and blah, blah, blah. It’s like, okay, why don’t you ******* do what we pay you to do which is run the ******* country and make your ******* mind up?’’

Same sentiments, although admittedly the language is a little different.

Walk on by

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I followed a PCSO down Bridge Street the other day. After a few paces I wondered if she would do anything if anybody cycled along and flouted the ban. A bloke went by pushing his bike and then two others sped by on the opposite side of the street. Even if she’d been so inclined the PCSO wouldn’t have been able to do anything. But then fifty yards along she was passed by a cyclist who was so close the PCSO could have stuck out an arm and knocked the cyclist off her bike.. had she been so inclined!

I know it’s not the crime of the century, probably not even crime of the lunchtime, but if the police see this sort of anti-social behaviour and literally walk on by, what hope is there?

It’s only a game

I resisted the temptation to stroll along to London Road to see my boys Leeds United take on Posh. With a ticket on the day costing £15 for what is essentially a training session, it proved to be money well not spent.

Especially as we lost!

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I used to love the sun – even though I have skin that goes from translucent to traffic light red after a few minutes’ exposure.

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I’d head for the shade, slap on the factor 50 and grab a good book and a cold beer. Ahh, those were the days.

Now I’m a parent I’m praying for a traditional English summer. The stress of keeping Preschooler T and her sidekick Toddlernator the Terrible safe, healthy and happy in a heatwave is considerable. I thought I could just blow up the paddling pool and that’d be it.

But the minute you’ve turned the hose pipe off you realise you’ve just created another health hazard.

Then there’s the constant fear of dehydration (I don’t think you can get dehydrated by not drinking enough beer– Mrs T) and don’t even start me on hat patrol.

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I finally cracked and shouted at Preschooler T after she attemped to help her brother beat his personal best for holding his breath underwater. I apologised and she forgave me but admonished me: “When it’s this hot I don’t need that kind of behaviour.’’