Dear Reader: Problem with electric cars + seeing red at Paddington 2

A personal column by Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

Friday, 24th November 2017, 3:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 12:57 pm
Is the bicyle all our futures?

Bond End in Knaresborough, York Place in Knaresborough, Woodlands Junction in Harrogate and Skellgate in Ripon.

Such is the scale of pollution in these four particular areas of the Harrogate district, they’ve had to be designated “air quality management areas.”

The cause? Car use by you and me and everyone else.

The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.

Not that the problem is being ignored by the authorities.

Harrogate Borough Council is pretty keen on measures like cycle lanes, car sharing and electric cars.

Swapping petrol pumps for electric plugs would be a step forward and would certainly improve air quality but I doubt it would improve our quality of life.

I’m as wedded to the car as the next person but I also get the bus regularly. I’ve noticed over the past year the growing number of times buses have arrived late at my stop in clumps of two or three.

The Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers.

The cause, of course, is the traffic jams at places like Bond End in Knaresborough, York Place in Knaresborough, Woodlands Junction in Harrogate and Skellgate in Ripon.

It’s that daily scenario which has prevented anything like a mass conversion to cycling in our district - with the exception of the weekend lyrca warriors.

The question is, would you get on a bike to go to work in that traffic?

Ultimately the positive effects of the dawn of the electric car may be limited by the fact it isn’t the nature of four-wheeled vehicles which really needs to be tackled but the numbers of them.

The British will form a queue at the drop of a hat but it doesn’t mean we’re any good at it.

This much became obvious during a frustrating visit to the Harrogate Odeon on Sunday afternoon in what I’m calling ‘Paddington 2-gate’.

It was a simple situation on paper.

Two queues snaked into the foyer of the cinema.

One for people picking up tickets from an automatic machine.

The other for us poor mortals who hadn’t pre-booked.

The problem was the latter line was also the queue for snacks and drinks.

I’d been wondering why no one in my queue was moving when I noticed that people picking up their pre-ordered tickets were strolling to the top of our queue to load up on flavoured popcorn, cheese-dripping nachos, coca cola and the like.

Being British, no one complained, except to each other.

After 15 minutes or so, I’d had enough and decided to tell an Odeon staff member in forthright but polite terms exactly where their queuing system was going wrong,

The cinema staff member replied politely and sympathetically before plunging back with some courage into the melee of families desperately trying to get in to see the movie.

Nothing much happened as a result of my intervention.

I eventually got a ticket and a seat and watched the movie.

But I’d just like to make it clear that I didn’t nearly cry three times during Paddington 2.