Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
There are few things in life that bring a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes, but this episode brought both, along with the twin responses of compassion and anger. Compassion for Amy, of course, and anger that her father will one day be free to walk the streets of this country again. I don`t mind confessing that I sometimes wear my heart on my sleeve and that this ghastly tragedy was one of those times. I defy you not to be equally touched and angry too. Sometimes it`s ok to let your feelings show. Especially where children are concerned.
Friday, October 24, 2008
- Rising unemployment
- Rising energy prices
- Seve battling with yet another operation today
- Halloween just around the corner
- Bonfire night
- Children in Need
- Saints going from bad to worse
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
.....Well, they probably are if you`re one of our 658 Members of Parliament. It seems that while the real world concerns itself with the economic downturn, the threat to jobs, homes, savings, pensions and prospects, our MPs have been told they can now look forward to a 24-day Christmas holiday. Of course, they already have their generous salaries, allowances, expenses, subsidised travel, catering and all the rest and now their absence from Westminster from 18 December to 12 January comes on top of a 10-day break in February, a 17-day break at Easter, another 10 days at Whitsun and no less than 82 days for the summer recess.
Sour grapes? Maybe. But I do get a little tired of shelling out a small fortune in tax and not getting very much value for my money. There are exceptions, of course, with some MPs studiously working hard on our behalf, but that is no more than should be expected for the rewards of their office. I may have to include my own local MP in that exception, for an exchange of correspondence I had with him earlier in the year produced the assurance that, during the long summer break, he would be having two weeks holiday with his family but the rest of the time he would be diligently pursuing the interests of his constituents, myself included. So that`s alright then.
Now, there are those who may suggest that the longer MPs are away from Westmister, the better. And there are others - among them some MPs themselves - who believe they should spend more time there than the current holiday schedule allows.
But I wonder if an answer may lie in the notion that there are simply too many of them - do we really need 658? - and that if they are only sitting in Parliament for 150 days in the year, then maybe their self-awarded salaries and other benefits should be scaled down proportionately. Trouble is, they are the ones who decide and whilst some of them may indeed be turkeys, they`re hardly likely to vote for Christmas, especially as they`re not going to be there anyway.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
I spent many happy, formative days exploring its heathland, streams, woods and glades. Our boyhood days in the forest were captured by Bill Scammell in his poem `Green over Blue` -
But the rights of the commoners (turbary, pannage, estovers, marl etc.) by which the people of the Forest have maintained their way of life have been guarded by the Court of Verderers from their offices in Lyndhurst, the acknowledged `capital` of the Forest, whilst the Agisters have looked after the welfare and management of the Forest animals.
These days, whilst those traditional forms of `authority` are thankfully still in business, there is also the Forestry Commission, with responsibilites for the good management of the Forest and, of course, the usual suspects of Parish, District and County council. But more recently, yet another form of authority has arrived on the scene - the unelected National Park Authority. And it is this outfit that is the cause of `down in the Forest something stirs.`
All roads led to Wilverley Plain, near Brockenhurst, on Saturday as the Forest staged one of the biggest protests the area has ever seen. An estimated 2,000 protesters staged a demonstration to show their anger at proposals they claim would destroy their way of life.
The massive show of strength was organised by the newly formed pressure group Forest Uprising, which is battling ideas put forward by the New Forest National Park Authority. These ideas, forming part of the Park Authority`s 370-page long Recreation Management Plan, include creating `dog-free` car parks in the Forest, introducing yet more stringent restrictions on equestrian activities and charging motorists to use the Forest roads. All of which is severely miffing the British Horse Society, the New Forest Tourism Board, local MPs, local councils, residents and businesses. Just about enyone, in fact, who lives, works or visits the Forest for whatever reason.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Off to Heathrow`s new Terminal 5 later today to meet our youngest son (pictured above) and his wife, along with our two grandsons, aged 7 and 5, who live in Hamburg and who will be staying with us for a few days.
It will be my first visit to Terminal 5 so I`m quite looking forward to perhaps a more civilised and welcoming atmosphere than exists in the other Heathrow terminals, although reports of computer glitches fouling up the baggage handling service yesterday are worrying.
Mrs. Snopper and I don`t do flying - the last time was the helicopter from Penzance to Tresco. It`s not that we have a fear of flying....more a fear of crashing. And I do wish they wouldn`t call them `Terminals.`