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No More Westcountry TV

westcountry-badge_smallI found out by chance the other day that ITV have shut down Westcountry TV and made most of the staff redundant.

I worked at Westcountry TV from 1990-1993, straight after University. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had and I’m rather sorry to see the old company disappear.

Wikipedia gives a good potted history of the station, which underwent quite a few acquisitions over the year – although when I was there it was under the original small company that won the ITV franchise. My bosses were Ray and Sim Harris

The company had made a commitment to local news in the franchise award, which meant I had the good fortune to be based in Exeter for my 3 years. Since there is now only one ITV Plc, I  guess these commitments have been thrown out of the window now – there’s is apparently no way ITV can be run as franchises with all the benefits of competition this entailed.

Westcountry TV - Exeter
Westcountry TV - Exeter

The team in Exeter was small, just 4 of us most of the time, and we really felt we were our own little TV station – we put out our own little 2 1/2 minute “opt-out” from the main local 6pm news, broadcast live from the Exeter Arts Centre where our offices were based.
Steve ‘Buckets‘ Jennings, David Whitbourn, Broni Lloyd-Edwards and Sarah Windsor (from Barnstable as was made clear) were my first set of co-habitees in Exeter and we had a fantastic time there (when not being ordered about by the big bosses up in Plymouth!). Steve in particular was a mentor to me. His humour, intelligence and technical skills, along with unstinting kindness taught me so much in those 3 years.

After 3 years I was ready for a change, and drove off to France in my lovely old Triumph Spitfire.

Sarah Wedding

ian_sarah_wedding_20My youngest sister Sarah tied the knot the last weekend, to her lovely fiance Ian.

Sarah’s a teacher near Bath and Ian’s a successful property developer – making money “selling houses to the English” as his best man put it.

However their future plans revolve around more pastoral pursuits and Ian’s keenly interesting in goat farming.

When I was young we had goats on the farm, usually only two, and they were a right handful. Always escaping and eating my fathers latest garden plant. So what happens when you get 50 of them together I don’t know.

Anyway back to the matter in hand – it was a beautiful wedding, held over Saturday (church) and Sunday (music, food, dancing) and we saw lots of old friends. The marquee was on the back lawn where almost 10 years ago Jeanette and I had our lovely wedding reception.

A good time was had by all!

Reservation fees at Wandsworth libraries

bookwormI am really disappointed that Wandsworth are introducing fees for book reservations. I think it will reduce the amount of people using the library system.
If there were problems of abuse of the system, there are other ways of
dealing with it, such as banning those that don’t play fair, not all the innocent people who do not abuse the system.

Plus, the fee itself is so high.
Many supermarkets sell books outright for as little as £3, and Wandsworth are charging half that just for reservation!

Why is the fee is so high compared to other libraries in  the same london libraries consortium?
e.g. Richmond 60p adults, 30p concessions
http://www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/4-libraries/reservations.html “You
can only reserve items in stock that are available for loan. There is no
charge for reserving in stock items.”

The latter is not introducing a charge for items in the Library consortium as far as a I can see.

Why not have a consulation with local people to see if they want the reservation fees to come back?