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Martin Kirby Column; The Cost Of Selling, Fool's Gold, Run For Life and Losing Your Shirt

By Kirbso  |  Posted: April 04, 2014

  • Gone but not forgotten Royal Mail at Eastern Avenue

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I don't pretend to understand the ins and outs of big business deals but it's obvious to even a financial dunderhead like me that investors who bought Royal Mail shares were on to a more of a bargain than you'd get in any pound shop.What's done is done but the annoying thing is that the bloke in charge of this almighty cock-up, namely Business Secretary Vince Cable MP, is still in his job. In any other sector apart from government (and of course, banking) anybody who lost the company £750 million in a single day would be shown the door. But we're talking politics here and as we all know, politicians don't live in the real world. Here in reality-land Royal Mail intends to cut 1,300 jobs as part of its ongoing drive to reduce costs and modernise its business to "better perform in a market rapidly shifting away from letters to parcels". As I've said before, there won't be any 'knock, ring, letters through your door' from Postman Pat for much longer. Gloucester has already lost the Eastern Avenue sorting office which is leading to inconvenience for Royal Mail customers. But for those who worked there, a way of life has disappeared - as highlighted in a poem by Janette Taylor;

 No more to pass through mail centre door No safety shoes upon shiny floor No sound of banter between work mates Abandoned scales for parcel weights No more the well-earned tea-break Where sweet beverages flowed like lakes No more the full lorry bays The shared mince pies of Christmas days A deserted canteen once filled with hungry men Gone is the gossip from the smoking den. No more to hear the fire bell blast Here friendships built were forged to last Gone the rivalry of football club The end of week gathering in local pub No more the uniform worn with pride The managers in suits with garish ties All industry has left this place Nothing left but an empty space.When the fuss over the sell-off has died down, I'm sure the privatised Royal Mail will provide us with a reliable, inexpensive service, just as the privatised electricity, gas and water companies are doing.

Many people think the 1957 Panorama report on the 'annual spaghetti harvest' is the best April Fool joke ever. But my choice would be the one perpetrated by former Citizen Reporter Hugh Worsnip, many years ago. Hugh organised a photograph to be taken of some men with shovels and wheelbarrows standing around the section of spire from St John's church that is placed in St Lucy's Garden, Hare Lane. The core of the joke was these guys were digging-up a church that had been buried at the time of the Black Death in the 14th century. The gag was so successful that national newspapers took up the story and scientists issued dire warnings about the possibility of reviving the plague if the 'buried church' was disturbed. Classic!

Meningitis Now, formed when the Bristol-based Meningitis UK and Stroud-based Meningitis Trust, united in 2013, is preparing for its annual Bristol 10k run to help beat meningitis. Runners will join Meningitis Now's team for the popular race that passes iconic landmarks such as the harbour, SS Great Britain, and twice under Brunel's historic Suspension Bridge, on Sunday, May 11. In the past, runners from Gloucester have supported the event and the trust is hoping for a good turn-out from our area this year. If you want to take part, call Emma King on 01453 768000 or email emmak@meningitisnow.org.

I see the Football Association has been criticised becuase new England replica shirts cost between £60 and £90. The way I see it, there's a simple solution - don't buy them. Nothing reduces the price of goods faster than shops having shelves full of stuff they can't sell.

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