We’ve just had car free day but few people took advantage and it passed pretty well without anyone noticing. However, the French dusted off their pushbikes when Paris held its second car-free day, or ‘la journee sans voiture’, although people had no choice because cars were banned from 11am to 6pm in practically every city neighborhood, including the Champs-Élysées and Eiffel Tower. Only bikes, delivery tricycles, non-motorised scooters and skateboards were allowed with exceptions like ambulances because the day aimed to promote greener commuting and encourage people to ride pushbikes. France has also been trialling a scheme with companies paying their employees 0.25 euros (36 cents) a kilometre to ride to work. That’s not a bad idea because Orange people are copping it in a big way with yellow bombers issuing 4354 parking tickets in the 12 months to June this year, which cost drivers $505,735 in fines, or an average of $42,200 a month. July (405 tickets) and August (515) brought in another $109,179 in fines so why not copy the French.
We can get rid of more than 400 single occupant cars parked in streets around the CBD every day by convincing bosses, like the French, to pay staff, say, 40 cents a kilometre to pedal to work rather than drive. That would free up our streets and cancel the need for new car parks. But can you imagine the traffic chaos every day with hundreds of bike riders trying to dodge our aggressive drivers? Knocked over injured cyclists lying on the road everywhere. Brown’s cows trampling them in Anson Street. Our under-strength police tearing their hair out. Not enough ambulances to cart them off to hospital. Long waits at emergency. Quelle horreur. It’s definitely not worth the risk so is best left to the French.
Plants enjoy you singing to them
It’s spring so next time you’re in the garden, try singing to your favourite geranium or tomato plant and then watch them take off because experts say they grow better with tender loving care. Prince Charles chats with them because he says they respond while a German professor reckons plants, like humans, not only enjoy the sound of music but will thrive if you sing to them.
So what would Orange people sing to their plants? Mayor John Davis might come up with Frank Sinatra’s hit “I did it my Way’ while council’s general manager Garry Styles could boost his plants with Dolly Parton’s ‘Everything’s Beautiful’. Tom Jones’ Green Green Grass of Home would suit city councillor Neil Jones while Doris Day’s ‘Whatever Will Be Will Be’ is a must for Cabonne mayor Ian Gosper. With the Orange by-election looming the Nats’ candidate Scott Barrett could be a fit for Abba’s ‘Take a Chance on Me’ while Labor’s Bernard Fitzsimon might woo his plants with Elvis’ ‘It’s Now or Never’. Maybe the Everly Brothers’ ‘All I have to do is Dream’ would suit some of the other candidates.
A few flowers make everyone happier
Talking about plants, if bosses want to get more out of employees, those nothing-else-to-do researchers say indoor greenery can boost productivity by 15 per cent. It makes staff happier and more physically and emotionally involved in their work with a few pot plants around the place. The researchers say enriching a previously spartan space with the plants pays off through an increase in workers’ quality of life and productivity.