Will Portsmouth's streets be car-less soon?Â
Techie folk are predicting that within the next decade, many of us will decide weÂ no longer need a car and that, within 20 years, personal cars will be a thing of theÂ past.Â
Easy to scoff (I am), but apparently the combustion engine is likely to beÂ replaced by self-driving electric cars in an Uber-like network, and it will be soÂ cheap that we'll all condemn our engines to the scrapheap.
But what about road-trips like Route 66? Or will we just hire a car for those?Â In 1908, the first Ford model rolled off production lines. The streets were full ofÂ horse-drawn carriages still.Â By 1930, there were no carriages in sight and the roads were full of cars.Â Â ItÂ doesn't take long for things to change.
Portsmouth's new streetlights could burn your retinas
As the nights draw in, the time of year approaches when we confuse ourÂ offspring completely by telling them it's fine to not only go to the homes ofÂ strangers but to also accept sweets from them.Â
The amber glow of theÂ streetlights falls upon the pavements in puddles of light against the gloom, and '¦
Oh, nope, rewind. Did I say amber glow? Thereby giving the impression ofÂ something warm, perhaps cosy, suitable to have outside a small child's bedroomÂ window?
What I meant was a stark white light, bright and luminescent andÂ downright intrusive.Â Instead of the traditional golden glow of the streetlights, many in Portsmouth areÂ being replaced with what appears to be bulbs stolen from Fratton Park'sÂ floodlights.
I'd imagine that some streets in the northern end of the city areÂ probably now visible to the International Space Station (as is, I half suspect, theÂ vast quantity of dog poo on them).
In fact, perhaps that is why the streets now resemble a prison yard. Have theyÂ been day-glowed so that not only do small children refuse to sleep, butÂ pedestrians can actually see the dog mess before squelching their winter welliesÂ in it this year?
Personally, I'd rather the council had spent the cash on monitoringÂ and removing the fetid sea of faeces and left the lights alone.
I noticed the change last Friday, when my forecourt went from the usual sleepyÂ orange glow to police searchlight in full force.
We assumed this was a car'sÂ headlights or even several cars, until we peered outside and risked burning ourÂ retinas.
Who wants bright white lights in the street at night? Much as this is a bit first-world problems to be moaning about, it's also legitimate from the point of viewÂ of younger kids '“ fussy sleepers at the best of times, let alone when they thinkÂ it's actually 9am outside '“ and also for any adult without a blackout curtain.
I can't imagine that this is a crime-fighting initiative (it would be useless), soÂ what is the point? Aside from giving middle-aged moaners like myself furtherÂ fodder.
ManyÂ schools deserve praiseÂ I just can't fit them all in!
A couple of readers commented about other schools thatÂ should have had a mention in a piece I wroteÂ about education improving in the city.Â
Undoubtedly there are many schools that have improved '“ which was myÂ point '“ but due to the word count I chose two of the schoolsÂ that were once Special Measures and are no longer.Â In particular, the statistics behind award-winning nurture group TheÂ Rockpool, at Manor Infants and Nursery, stand out.Â Exclusions have fallen from 31 to zero, and part-time timetables have fallen from eightÂ to zero.Â
The Progress 8 benchmark was something elseÂ I looked at when deciding which schoolsÂ to write about.Â