Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ode to Brookfield Plantation - decision day is 19th August, 2014

There’s a place near here where the white deer roam,

The stag and his herd, they call it home.

Tall trees grow here too, reaching to the sky,

The red kite cry as they soar on by.


It’s beautiful, wild and quite untamed,

Yet lurks beneath buried waste, unnamed.

An industrial past, buried deep,

But nature’s reclaimed it while we sleep.


It was green fields before then, and should stay that way

And should be forever, but sadly who can say?

Greedy developers want to build on it

To construct a waste plant to process .... rubbish.


The trees will be destroyed, gone for good,

A ‘resource recovery park’ instead, replacing the wood.

Where will the deer and the wildlife go?

Ask Corby Council, see if they know.


An industrial past, a waste plant future –

Corby a dumping ground – how does that suit you?

Please say ‘NO’ before the trees are gone for good.

Stand up for your rights, you know you should.


Wake up – save the deer, the birds and the bees,

Do what you can to save the trees.

We need green spaces for the future generation,

We need to save the Brookfield Plantation!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The positive challenge

I'm sorry to say but when I watch the news on television at the moment I find it very depressing.

The tragic plane crash in Ukraine, the situation in Gaza, the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine, world events in general really, it can get you down.

So I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to be nominated to do a positivity challenge by a friend on Facebook.

Every day for five days, I had to list three positive things, and nominate three other people who could do the same if they wished.

Sometimes, we just need to do this - to take stock, and be thankful for what we've got.

It's very easy to get caught up on the 'hamster wheel' of life, constantly chasing from one thing to another, keeping up with 'The Joneses', not being content with your lot in life.

But ultimately all that really matters is your family, friends and your health, because without that you've got nothing.

Yes, money can perhaps get you seen quicker by a specialist, but it can't buy you your health.

We all have little moans and groans about things, that's human nature.  But every day thinking about three things that you're thankful for really helps put things in perspective.

Another friend of mine posted a picture of a female Great Crested Newt that she and her family found at Brookfield Plantation.  Genuinely, I was so pleased to see this that I couldn't have been happier if she'd told me she'd found a pot of gold. 

Such a lovely little creature, living happily without a care in the world.  Yet further proof why we need to protect its home, and why I make no apology for keeping on talking about Brookfield Plantation and its wildlife.

Taking pleasure in our countryside and nature and appreciating what we've got is so important.

Our lives may not be perfect, but we don't live in a war zone, with rockets flying over our heads.  Our daughters can go to school without fear and discrimination.  Our children are educated and we have healthcare.  For these facts alone, we need to be thankful, and remember that there's always somebody somewhere worse off.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Following in Dolly Parton's high-heeled footsteps...

I'm a great believer in that you're only as old as you feel, hence why I'm not a big fan of people telling me that I'm too old to do something.

I read about a survey of 1000 Britons where they discussed the 'cut off' dates for certain things after which time it apparently becomes cringe-worthy to do them.  I'll share some of the findings with you.

They reported that the age limit for listening to Radio 1 was 29.  I can relate to this, as I think you get to an age when you outgrow it and switch to Radio 2 or your local station, but I will admit to sometimes listening to the charts on a Sunday afternoon.

It also stated that if you're getting a tattoo, get it done before you're 32, and don't wear a baseball cap after this age either.  Don't wear one back to front once you're 25.

Don't end emails or texts to strangers with a kiss or use abbreviations like LOL after you're 29 years old - especially if you don't know what they mean (giving the example of David Cameron, who thought LOL meant 'lots of love').

Men apparently shouldn't grow goatee beards once they're 32, nobody should wear very high heels after 34 or kiss in the street once you're 25.

The poll also said you couldn't wear a bikini once you're 48.  This particularly annoyed me - Helen Mirren looked fab in hers at 63, Elizabeth Hurley is 49 and Elle Macpherson is 50, so that's obviously nonsense.

Also controversially was not going to music festivals once you're 41.  Well, Dolly Parton's 68 and she rocked Glastonbury this year wearing very high heels, breaking at least two of these rules - she was fabulous, and the highlight of the event for me and many others.

So I'm going to follow Dolly's rebellious lead and attend Gretton Music Festival on the August Bank Holiday weekend, possibly wearing a baseball cap if we're blessed with sunshine, and high heels if I want to (but not a bikini!).

I'm just hoping that Jive Honey play their version of Nine to Five so I can sing along...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Decision day for Brookfield Plantation is looming...

Decision day for the future of Brookfield Plantation will soon be upon us.

The fate of Chalky, the white stag, his herd and other wildlife pals now lie in the hands of Corby Borough Council.

The councillors have to decide whether or not to grant planning permission for a 'resource recovery park'.  If this gets the go ahead, 50 hectares of established trees will be destroyed. 

These include significant stands of broadleaved varieties - oak, hazel, sycamore, poplar and elder - and coniferous trees including Scots pine, Corsican pine, European larch and Norway spruce.

Brookfield Plantation is home to 85 protected and notable species, including great crested newts, badgers, bats, red kite and grass snakes.

There's other wildlife too, with bumblebees, hedgehogs, lizards, dragonflies, damselflies, crickets, grasshoppers, butterflies, toads, frogs, rabbits, foxes and spiders.

Understandably, given all of the above, Brookfield Plantation is a designated Local Wildlife Site.

It's had what you might call a chequered past, in that there are said to be unknown materials buried beneath it from its British Steel days.  The expression about not digging up the past is usually meant metaphorically, but in this case I feel it might be wise to take it more literally.

Fortunately nature has reclaimed it over time, and it now supports a varied ecosystem, with the trees acting as a 'lung' to absorb pollutants.

Opposition to the 'resource recovery park' is nothing to do with NIMBYism - it's to do with protecting the environment and doing the right thing for our children and their futures.  We are temporary caretakers of this land - it's our duty to protect it and the wildlife it supports.

To this end I've written articles, a poem, a children's story, attended a protest march and meetings, written to the council, the MP and the newspaper, delivered leaflets, set up the 'Save Chalky and his Brookfield Plantation Friends' Facebook page, and proudly worn a 'Save Chalky' t-shirt.

If you also want to keep the trees, please tell your friends, family and neighbours, and make sure the council knows your opposition before it's too late.

Borrowing from Joni Mitchell, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, they want to pave paradise...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Alternative festivals to Glastonbury

The weekend of Glastonbury I attended two very different festivals - my local flower festival and an agricultural show.

Sadly the weather didn't play ball for either.  Despite sunny intervals being promised, the flower festival suffered from rain on both days which reduced attendance. 

On the positive side, the parish church looked lovely, the cakes were very good, and I managed to purchase The Best of Donna Summer on CD for just £1 at one of the stalls.

Sunday brought the agricultural show.  Although I've lived around these parts all my life, I'd never been to an agricultural show before.  It immediately reminded me of a scene from 'All Creatures Great And Small', particularly when the terrier racing was announced over the tannoy.

We were in attendance as a classic car run around the Welland Valley was part of it.  This involved us partaking in a 30 mile route through the picturesque Rutland and Leicestershire countryside, again raising money for the air ambulance.

But unlike our previous outing in this type of event, the roads we were travelling along were extremely rural - I'm talking grass growing up the middle, a few cattle grids, blind bends complete with tractors the other side etc.

In spite of carefully following maps and instructions, we ended up in a dead-end, and then found we'd been followed by an E-Type Jaguar, two Triumph Stags and a classic Mini, all of whom presumed we knew where we were going and had simply followed us!

So, understandably, my nerves were somewhat shredded by the time we reached the show ring to join the parade of vehicles.  Of course this was the point, when we were right in the middle, that our vehicle decided it had had enough, and proceeded to stall repeatedly.

For what seemed like an eternity - but what was probably only five minutes - we were stranded.  Fortunately we got it going again just in time for us to exit before the dog show started, or that would have been very embarrassing!