Now we start doing what should have happened 9 months ago!

Today is the day that a note is given to the USE to say that we would like to leave as the great British public cannot remember being asked to become part of another country – only a trading partnership. Wonderful thing memory. The SNP leader has also forgotten that the Scottish people voted to remain a part of the UK. They were also part of the UK following that vote when the UK decided to leave USE. I believe that even using proportional representation might give the same vote as only choices were available, so exactly where does the Scottish parliament get the idea that they could run their country independent of the rest of the world.

They have already been told they cannot have the pound, they will need to make agreements for all services currently supplied by the UK and yet they expect yet more elections until they get what they want (like the Irish did, so must be in the blood). I wonder what the reaction would be is Mrs May simply said, ‘OK, You can leave as you are so determined so no more funding (they’ve just been given a few £million to keep them going) and border controls and passports will be necessary if they wish to leave Scotland. I would expect the bailed out Scottish based banks to refund the money given to them and the idea they will simply replace the UK on USE without any discussion has already been ruled out.

Being realistic they will simply have to negotiate agreements to pay for things they take from the UK as will we for things we have from them (until we can produce our own, of course). Not sure if they have an army, navy or air force, but they must have considered all these little details. Ahh, I hear you cry, the Brits didn’t when the decided to leave USE. The big difference is that until the 1970s we managed ourselves, but it’s been a few centuries since Scotland did anything on that sort of scale. At PMQs today, the SNP are still forgetting that the majority of Scottish voters opted to remain as part of the UK, for good or ill!

The letter has gone to Brussels and we will be leaving USE no matter what. Even Mr Tusk almost had a tear in his eye as he spoke to the USE parliament saying he will announce the guidelines for the members to work to when negotiating over the withdrawal of the UK and I suspect trying to work out where the money we give them will now come from as no politician likes to increase taxes before an election, remembering that a number of members will be having elections over the coming months and next year which will concentrate their minds as to their own economy as we buy quite a lot of goods from them.

What can I say?

Wasn’t it a lovely weekend – just spoiled by losing an hour early Sunday morning. It’s just less than a year ago that the duck pond was moved from under the trees to on top of our garage, but those stupid ducks are still wandering round the lawn trying to do evil things to each other. Even the tree has lots of birds trying to catch each other amongst the branches, because of a lack of suitable branches that were there last year. Stupid things as everyone elses’ trees are still in abundance. Our mole has been busy, the dogs are doing their best to catch all the insects I stirred up by mowing the lawn. The plumbers came for a conference this morning ands discuss exactly what to do, so more promises have been made.

I’ve filled up the form to become a Parish Council Councillor and the Borough Council has suddenly got a vacancy due to a resignation. As there were two parish council meetings this evening, I thought I would go a see how they do things up here. I mat as well have not bothered as the planning meeting lasted all of 20 minutes with the Councillors talking amongst, themselves followed 10 minutes later by the estates and recreation committee which lasted all of 18 minutes. The most discussed item was the wording on the car park sign. I did say talking, but it was more of a mumble and any members of the public really had no idea of what has going on as nothing apart from an agenda was available. Even spending taxpayers money was a secret. Those readers or attendees of the Berkhamsted Town Council may remember that the public were informed and came to make their views known. Indeed, they had to move to larger Council chamber after having to decamp at short notice to the main Civic Centre hall. Getting involved was the order of the day mainly due to lively discussions at committee meetings with 3 political groups all wanting for attention. Yes, it was an active political scene in those days. Here it sweems the apathy party is doing well!

It could have been worse.

I suppose that the events of yesterday were on the list of things that would happen sometime although a lot of effort is put in in the hope it wouldn’t. Sadly, four people lost their lives in the event with members of the public and security forces performing in the best way they know and expect. All rallied round within minutes and kept the consequences down to the minimum. Decisions have to be made in seconds and the security forces, members of the public as well as MPs acted with little regard to their own safety. One has to admit that this is exactly the way the British frequently act in times of the unexpected. It could have been much worse had it not been for the steps already taken as a reaction to previous threats coupled with the bravery of those thrust into the front line. To them, we all give our thanks.

Due to a primary electricity transformer failing on Wednesday, large areas of northern Leicester suffered a power cut (we heard the bang!), although one has to admire Western Power to restoring supplies so quickly – ours came back within 20 minutes as did Anstey (another place we’ve found).

Some readers may recall we moved here about a year ago and now I’m eligible to be a Councillor on the local Parish Council, so watch this space. The ‘hamlet’ where we now reside has just a village committee to oversee thingsand even organised a litter pick on 1st April to cleasr up the rubbish thrown out of vehicle widows as they try to miss the A6 jams. An empty MacDonalds’ drink container nearly hit a couple of days ago but I suppose I should be thankful it wasn’t half full! Perhaps we ought to put a sign up on the Friday suggesting that motorists come to help – they cause most of the rubbish anyway.

Made it to the end – but only just!

My last day of treatment could its’ usual course. Michael called in to finish the drive, plant a few hedging plants and generally complete the work. Then picked up by Roger and dropped of my Gate 9. Short walk through to the Radiotherapy suite, register and as expected off to ‘Foxton’ and all running to time. Joked with the waiting victims and we compared notes. Then I went in and – bet you cannot guess – OK you are right. After being repaired it seems I was the 13 victim and it stopped! A nice lady told me not to move as they are on their way with big hammers and the instruction book saying where it hit it. After a few minutes on the board, the decision was made to shuffle off to ‘Charnwood’. On the way past the gang I suggested they may have to follow. I was right as I entered the portals of a working radiotherapy machine best known as ‘Charnwood’ and my last treatment was completed. It’s really not me gov!

For those following the waterworks saga, the man from STW came on the 17th and pronounced that our water supply is within the legal requirements. Privately, he suggested that if the manufacturers recommended pipe sizes had been installed, it may well have worked correctly. Reading the tank/system manufacturers instructions, it needs a 22mm lot of pipework and a flow rate of 20 litres a minute. He found just 17 litres/minutes at the mains supply so it will be interesting to see what ideas the installers come up with to solve the problem.

I’m not going to get involved with the Scottish question apart from saying it seems someone is just making waves without any real substantial reason by simply forgetting that Scotland voted to remain within the UK which means, in my book, not picking and choosing and suggesting democracy has lost out. Politicians!!

Talking about which, some may recall I mentioned a while ago that I reported to out local councillor the fact that we still have stiles on local footpaths and that a tree had fallen down across a footpath after Storm ‘doris’ on the Thursday before I popped into the local ‘councillor surgery’ on the Saturday. I know how lonely they can be from my time down south on the Council which happened to have a more active political situation as most seats always had a number of candidates for each seat, whereas up here, there are vacancies even after more than 3 years since there was an election. Not to be outdone, our local councillor had a report than a ‘local resident’ had reported to her about the tree, and naturally had to have her photo taken complete with said tree but seems to have forgotten that this occurrence is a devolved function from County to District council rather than a ‘shared responsibility’ as the monthly councillor report suggested.

I suppose I’d better go and lie down now seems that although the treatment has actually stopped, the effect can linger for a few weeks (like a microwave cooker – and it feels like it!), so I must go and contain myself otherwise I may run out of words and that really would never do.


It’s a railway!

So the bill will go for the royal signature as is, the Chancellors’ budget with David Gaulks’ (see 9th March) fingerprints all over it is in slight disarray and still the opposition cannot capitalise on yet another misjudgement. Still the SNP are making up for it by having the idea that most Scots are really looking forward to yet another referendum which could mean them leaving the UK and joining USE, borders and the Euro. I think not somehow and for once the polls are correct. Perhaps their leader is on an ego trip (more like it) and trying to wind Mrs May up. Still it’s only Thursday, I have just one more day to go!!

Whilst on the subject, it’s surprising what you learn whilst waiting for a radiotherapy machine to breakdown/get repaired. Browsing through ‘Rail’ magazine of last March (subscription only, I’m afraid) I got the impression that the reason that HS2 was being built had something to do with a number of rail operators all wanting access slots on tracks between London and other strange places such as Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester or even Newcastle. Obviously the existing operators didn’t want to let them have them and the government couldn’t get new franchise offers without some assurance that tracks would be available to run their new trains on. Sounds too much like landing and take-off slots at airports to me as both have lack of ‘capacity’ as reasons being put forward to extract taxpayers money to kick start projects for financial institutions to invest in so profits can be made overseas and tax paid elsewhere. Yes, I know it’s a bit complicated but only because no-on dare admit the real reason whilst a case could be made on the grounds of either infrastructure improvements on helping the economy. Mind you, the construction industry isn’t that small and I tend to believe that homes should be higher up the ‘demand’ scale, closely followed by manufacturing and employment.

Look, it’s my last day of treatment tomorrow before they start wondering if they have been wasting taxpayers money trying to keep me alive, so what do you expect from me today?

It was broke before I got there and squabbling politicians

The LRI radiotherapy machines are having their own hissing fits today as when I got there, there were no delays, then it went to 15 minutes but they hoped to catch up, then it went to 30 minutes delay and suspect a patient from another machine came and went and I ended up 15 minutes late. Could be worse on my last week, I suppose.

The Scots are also looking to leave the UK again. The Turks (they who want to join the USE) have fallen out with Germany, France and Belgium so far, over demonstrations organised in these countries over Turkish politics.

The SNP are doing an ‘Irish’ inasmuch as if you ask the same question enough times, you will get the answer you want. Then the question arises as to who will pay the costs as it shouldn’t come out of the money that we give them to run Scotland (was it some £300m in the last budget?). The UK government has to give approval, so I expect they are looking to us to foot the bill for some reason.

To be honest, I believe the devolution referendum was filled with unkept promises and at that time, the Scots should have voted to ‘leave’ the UK if the government hadn’t interfered. Fortunately, residents saw through that little game over the USE referendum and. Surprise, surprise, the ploy didn’t work the second time. Aren’t politicians (or perhaps their advisors) clueless?

Today brings the Commons vote as to the Lords amendments to the ‘leave the USE’ bill, so things could get quite lively later this week.

I think I’m becoming obsessed with the machinery at LRI

Today started well, with half the radiotherapy machines having faults when I arrived at the Royal, so a lot of shuffling around of patients was taking place but they managed to get one going again so I was only an hour late in the end. Today was a clinic appointment as well, so I was duly called in at which time they discovered I’d had a day added (should be lost earlier and added to end) and the clinic should be in the last week – which is next week. In the expectation that I will make it to the end of the course, I am reprieved for three months before they start checking to see if I’m better (note, not cured). I think they are a bit upset as the ultrasound result came back earlier this week (come up, keep up reader) and that bit was no cause of concern, so they are going to want me kept an eye on for the next three years, so unless something really awful happens that’s that for a while, so let’s find another subject, shall we.

It’s either USE concerned about the money they will lose if we leave or a car park in the middle of Berkhamsted. The USE financial problem has been swept under the carpet by the ‘remainers’ even though the likes of UKIP made the point that it really does cost the UK money to support this flawed organisation with suspicious benefits and anything Berkhamsted related really isn’t of interest to anyone outside the town unless it can related to the wider world, so let’s leave it for today and see what else we can find over the next day or two, shall we?

More rubbish to make you go to sleep

Let’s get the good bits out of the way first. The radiotherapy machine was mended Tuesday afternoon, so it was back to good old Foxton on Wednesday morning! Naturally 12 hours later it finally bit me to the extent that I may as well have had my innards microwaved and believe me it was not very pleasant – however I’m pleased we had an en-suite installed so it was just a case of falling out of bed and attend to both ends at various times in the following 7 or 8 hours. No matter how much they suggest you might suffer, I can only compare with giving birth (OK, I’m using my imagination for this!) when some wonder what the fuss is about and others know exactly what it’s about, but I have a good excuse – I’m a bloke!

The drive is progressing very slowly, but as we all know this ‘Wanlip Towers’ place resists all efforts to change it. Why not simply use tarmac? you ask, to which I refer you to an earlier column! Likewise the plumbing but progress is being made on that front. You remember I mentioned at a similar situation happened two or three years ago 2 doors down, well they actually contacted said customer (same plumbers) who said that STW had improved the main water supply. Now the story goes that between us and two doors down there must be a problem so next week, STW are coming to disprove this idea.

It was the last of the spring budgets yesterday and it was funny to see SWH MP (David Gaulk) sitting on the front bench as it he who comes up with cunning ideas to raise money without upsetting big business or financial institutions. I get the feeling that the idea is to concentrate on raising a lot of little amounts from lots of taxpayers as they are unlikely to get together (obvious really) and make waves, whereas the larger bodies can afford to lobby government and threat to take their bat and ball home. As they tend to keep the Conservatives afloat, you can understand them not wishing to bite the fingers that feed them. To be fair, that is the basic problem with the Labour party who need to be pliable under the control of the Trade Unions. The SNP are obsessed with the idea of having yet another vote regarding devolving sovereignty to the north and not prepared to accept the Scots already made the decision. It’s a bit like the Lib-Dems keep going on about proportional representation. Unfortunately, our system is first past the post and so we don’t keep having elections to get the result the powers that they want (like the Irish did over joining USE) otherwise we will end up having coalition after coalition resulting in decisions being made that the majority are not happy with.

I’m trying to work out how we can get an effective opposition so that the government cannot just walk all over everyone pushing their doctrines, strangely it looks like the House of Lords may be picking up the mantle but they will need to be careful as the elected assembly does not like its authority overruled even when it’s wrong. They do not seem to realise that effective government needs a thoughtful and effective opposition to make them think things through.

I’ll be back soon, so do pop back you hear!

The City Council has some bright ideas!

I forgot to mention yesterday that the city council have been busy beavering away in Mandela Park. Those of you who know Berkhamsted know that the Borough Council installed some ‘fitness’ equipment in canal fields near to the skateboard park. Very laudable, but not quite the overwhelming success the Council thought they would be. Not to be outdone, the city council have not only installed separate cycle roads along city streets (excellent for vans to park on) so that cyclists can have short stretches of tarmac down one side of one way streets to use prior to and after using normal roads – I did see a cyclist using one once!, but now a super outdoor ‘fitness’ area complete with wonderful bits of kit so that while the kids are playing in the play area acros the footpath, parents can be keeping fit and building up their muscles ready to stagger to the A&E across one of the main rounds surrounding the park to get a fix of oxygen to counter all the fumes from the diesel trains and vehicles all around them.

Meanwhile, here in Wanlip Towers, the bathroom replacement is progressing, the garage roof still leaks (but only when it rains) and the cat has moved up from mice and rats to rabbits. For some reason he leaves the fur (skin) and some evil looking black curly stuff. He wasn’t very hungry this morning and still not learnt how to tidy/clean up after himself so job number one in the morning is removing the remains and wash the floor, Nice!!

Whoops, that was published on the 8th February – the bathroom is still progressing but they have realised the water is a problem and STW are actually supposed to be coming today to commiserate and say there is a problem. The cat proudly bought in yet another rabbit last night and dumped it in the middle of the kitchen floor looking pleased with himself. Must be the problem with living next to a wildlife park. I don’t seem to be able to get him to sort out the moles. The new drive is progressing slowly due to the blocks still not been delivered although the silver sand should be here on time.

On the LRI front, I’ve now been treated by the Charnwood machine since Friday, although Foxton (the one that doesn’t like me) was due for a good talking to yesterday afternoon at 2pm, so today it will be either fixed (once again) or Charnwood will have the pleasure of Foxton victims. I’ll let you know later after I’ve digested the budget.

Machine still not right – nor is our water supply!

The machine that was broken last week, is still not suitable for the treatment I’m receiving, so Friday, Monday and today we are using one of the other ones but it’s supposed to be being mended this afternoon – we shall see. I say we, as there is a group of us all meet up each day to have the treatment and compare notes. Every day is a different time for some reason such is the logic of the NHS!. In case you were wondering, those patients who were scheduled to use the machine we have been moved to are using the one we can’t as I think it’s only one bit that is faulty – so much for multi-purpose machines.

Meanwhile at Wanlip Towers, the bathroom is almost done, the water problems are at the ‘ we can fix it’ stage (if they ever decide what the problem is) and as for the drive, on Sunday we had a very wet man plonking down the blocks only to find only about half had been delivered (coming today), so he happily went home early. It look good so far and I might be able to get the car out of the garage this weekend.

The grass and rhubarb are growing well so all I need now is some decent weather so I can hobble out to the vegetable patch to plonk in some potatoes and assorted seeds given the time constraints I’m under – but treatment should be completed by the 17th.

As I write, we have found out that it’s not only us with poor water flow, it seems the road has a similar problem, so all the talk about simply increasing pressure internally could be just that – talk! All it needs now is for STW to sort out the supply or us to return to the 1960s requirement of having at least 24 hours water supply from a tank – like what we had in Berkhamsted. Naturally, that could mean altering all the plumbing installed over the past year, which should be interesting.

Now where was I, oh yes, the property next door, which as been on the market since shortly after we moved in, dropped his price again last month and we think he actually had a viewing yesterday even though I think the price is a tad high for the area. The problem is that estate agents and the like, think it’s a nice place to live but I used to live in a nice place until the commuters moved in. Not much chance of that happening here as we have no pub, shop or restaurant – essential requirements for commuters in my experience.