bird's eye view
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by the Hawk • Down the river?
There will be some fury among managers, I guess, at the way in which the TML committee has decided to withdraw all its proposals. for a statutory licensing scheme and substitute a toothless education plan— with the possibility of a sort of central register of eligible managers for employers to consult.
At the Guild of Transport Managers conference last weekend a delegate suggested that the trade associations had killed the scheme at the behest of employers. I would have thought that was pretty obvious. What infuriates me is that the whole thing was done in such secrecy, without the managers affected having much idea of what was going on, and also that there has been no public outcry by the professional bodies. If I were a member of one of the professional institutes I should have some pretty sharp questions to ask about what my representative was doing while the TML scheme was being poured quietly down the drain.
• New owners
Several people at the Show asked me whether I knew that Bonallack had been taken over by Alcan. I must admit that I was vaguely aware of the fact, and for those who are interested I have been digging out the facts of the situation.
A few years ago James Booth Aluminium bought out the family business of Bonallack; in the spring of this year Alcan Industries Ltd, part shareholder in James Booth, bought the remaining shares of that company and became Alcan-Booth Industries, a subsidiary of Alcan Aluminium UK Ltd.
Sir Richard Bonallack remains chairman, but the new managing director is R. J. Dean, from Freight Development Ltd.
Transport men are reckoned to be in a class by themselves when it comes to getting about. But four Northumberland one-vehicle hauliers must have begun to wonder about that talent when they made their journey to Earls Court Show, determined to arrive in time for the opening ceremony even though it meant giving up part of a hard-earned holiday.
They elected to drive to Grantham and pick up the London train, but car trouble caused them to miss the train and they decided to drive on. Forty miles outside London the gremlin struck again when the car began to gush petrol. Even four hauliers couldn't solve that one on the spot, so they had to leave the car at a garage—whose proprietor, learning of their occupation and destination, ran them swiftly to a station a few miles from London in time to catch a train to Euston.
At Euston not a single member of the party understood the labyrinth of the London Tube, in which they soon became lost. However, their first really lucky stroke for the past six hours was that in the Tube there chanced to be a member of CM's editorial staff. With knowing ear and eye he placed them as transport men bound for the Show and conducted them safely there in time for the opening.
His reward came as they• parted at the entrance. With a cheery wave one of them remarked in broad Northumbrian: "Y'know lad, we all read Commercial Motor!"
• Food for thought
The cuisine of the lorry driver, the "gourmet of the transport cafe", is not always limited to the traditional "egg, bacon and slice".
The final of the national food and cookery competition sponsored by the Food Information Centre has been won by Frank Barrow, a lorry driver from Thorntree, Middlesbrough, against tough competition from 38 other finalists, all women.
To win the competition, Frank, who claims he is unable to boil an egg, had to identify different cuts of meat, name various pieces of kitchen equipment and identify spices.
Mostly, he attributes his win to his speed at the buzzer that showed he was ready to answer the questions.
Frank's prize; a ,E130 self-cleaning oven.
"In the world of transport people learn to help each other". It's still true and it was rewarding the other day to hear the proprietor of the Aero Transport Cafe, at Staines, Bruce Brims, say so.
A coach party of old-age pensioners from a south London club had gone to Windsor on a sightseeing tour. The rain and the cold had thoroughly ruined the day and the party stopped at the transport cafe on the way home to drown their sorrows with a cup of tea.
The proprietor and his mother, Mrs Jamesina Brims, together with the drivers in the cafe at the time, went to some lengths to console the old people.
Last week the OAPs returned by coach to the cafe with flowers and chocolates to say "thank you-, only to be surprised by the "overwhelming" efforts that had been made by Mr and Mrs Brims to make them welcome again. Plenty of good food, sherry, entertainment and a gift for everyone were just a few of the surprises that awaited the old people.
• Self raising
We all know that a pound of feathers weighs less than a pound of lead (don't we?). Now I can tell you that a ton of bus weighs less than a ton of lorry. My authority for this is a sign at the approach to a railway bridge at New Eltham, South London, which has a big 7-ton weight limit sign followed by the intriguing message: "except buses up to 10.5 tons".
Perhaps the passengers get out and carry them across?