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Alan Franklin's personal opinion

Here's a true story to cheer you up.

Here's a true story to cheer you up.

Once upon a time a lady of mature years was widowed. Determined not to vegetate at home, she decided to get out more. On a motorbike.

Soon, equipped with a full set of motorcycle clothes, she was off touring Britain. This is when she ran into the prejudice that many bikers will be familiar with.

She rolled up at seaside hotels in her weatherproof coat and trousers only to be told "we don't accept bikers."! Despite protestations that she was not about to run amok, get drunk or smoke noxious substances, the ban usually held.

So our lady, who still has many active little grey cells under her white hair, developed a strategy to beat the system.

She parked up out of sight of the hotels, took off her helmet etc. and booked in. Only when they accepted her did she march in wearing full motorbike gear.

For many happy years our great-grandmother roared round the country, only to be finally persuaded that her time to use the bus pass had finally come. If I tell you that her son in law, who did the persuading, is 64 you will see that she really did prove that almost anything is possible at any age provided you are fairly fit and determined.

She is still happily living locally, so I will not reveal her name. But it's not my mum…

Hampshire County Council's leader Ken Thornber is high profile in our letters columns of late, first defending the Fleet chicanes and now batting for the "Hampshire Now" magazine his council puts out three times a year.

Hampshire Now costs £88,000 an issue, or £264,000 a year, including all costs such as distribution.

This is an easy target, but unfortunately it is true that this hyper active government requires constant swirls of paper going out in the form of public information. Our fax regularly runs out of paper because of this excess of "initiatives" and new regulations, all of them requiring companies to spend many hours of unproductive time in compliance.

Here are two suggestions for cutting the costs to Hampshire ratepayers. 1) Print in newspaper format, on cheaper paper. 2) Sell some advertising space to those who want Hampshire-wide coverage - perhaps people who would normally go on Meridian TV.

This should save at least half the outlay, which could then be spent on removing the chicanes in Fleet.

These are a truly awful idea, Coun. Ken -everybody knows it. Absolutely nobody but Fleet's County Councillor John Stocks has spoken up in favour of them and it is time to do the brave thing and admit the CC was wrong to inflict them on us in the first place.

Admitting you are wrong is the mark of true leadership.


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