Friday, 31 October 2014

Great news on the Brookfield campaign - Chalky has a son, Chalky Jnr!

Great news on the Brookfield campaign front - Chalky is alive and well.

Not only that, he has a son, a white buck that's been named Chalky Jnr.  OK, no prizes for originality, but what else could he have been called?

In fairness, without a DNA test we don't know Chalky is the biological father - this conversation is getting a bit Jeremy Kyle-esque for my liking - but the two have been pictured together and are part of the same herd, so it's fairly likely.

Local people tell me that Brookfield and the surrounding woods have been home to white deer for many years.  In many cultures, white harts are prized, valued and considered lucky.

It's a shame that some people around here don't value Chalky and Chalky Jnr more.  Their home at Brookfield, as I'm sure you're all aware, is under threat from developers wanting to destroy it and replace it with waste plants.

Why is this even being considered?  You've got beautiful woodland, home to a whole host of wildlife, and somebody comes along and says they want to cut it down and build waste plants instead.

Why aren't we encouraging visitors to Brookfield?  Thank goodness for people like Lee and Corinna who are voluntarily showing people the beauty of this area - sticking to the public right of way, as yes, we know it's private land owned by Tata Steel.

In an ideal world, and once the contamination question is settled, I would like to see this land given to the people of Corby and its surrounding villages so it can be enjoyed by everyone, especially schoolchildren for Forest School projects etc.

We need green spaces, our children need to be able to see trees, birds, wildlife, and to have clean air to breathe.

Northamptonshire is reportedly only 5% woodland, the UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe.  It's time we valued our trees and stopped the destruction.  Leave the trees for Chalky, Chalky Jnr and our children please, and stop concreting our countryside.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Which politician would you trust... to bake a cake?!

There was an interesting survey I read about the perceived trustworthiness of our politicians.

It was unusual in that I'd never seen these particular questions asked before, and it really made me think.

Instead of the usual who do you trust over the country's finances, immigration, crime etc, it asked more everyday questions like who would you trust to babysit your children, pay back money, fix a shelf, feed your pet or bake a cake.

This survey asked about the leaders of the four main parties in England, and then ranked them in order of trustworthiness.

My default response when I read the categories was 'none of them', but fortunately the people they'd questioned gave more forthcoming replies!

It turns out that David Cameron was the most trusted to perform all of the tasks except fix a shelf.

If you need a shelf fixing, people think Nigel Farage is your man.  I expect you'd have to hold his pint and cigar while he did it though.

The second most trusted person was Ed Miliband, except in the shelf-fixing category.

Nick Clegg was third for babysitting, feeding pets and baking cakes, tying equally with Miliband over shelf-fixing and - rather worryingly for the Lib-Dems I imagine - coming last in the paying back money category.

Which leaves Nigel Farage first choice for shelving, third for paying back money, but trailing in last for babysitting, feeding pets and baking cakes.

Now, I appreciate that some of you will think that this perhaps isn't the best way to decide who should lead the country.

But I would argue if you can't trust people to do seemingly simple, everyday things, how they be trusted to do the major things either?

I'm not sure yet who all the candidates are in my locality for next year's General Election, but I might well apply the above test to see if they're worthy of my vote. 

Better still, perhaps the candidates could perform a Great British Bake Off-style technical challenge and we could taste test the results!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

First Aid courses

I was really pleased to hear that my daughter was taking part in a first aid course at school.

I've long thought that this is the sort of useful information everybody needs to know, and it's great that basic first aid techniques are now being taught to children.

Safety was emphasised to them, and they've been told not to practice the Heimlich manoeuvre on each other - they've seen Mrs Doubtfire and the scene where Robin Williams saves Pierce Brosnan's character's life by throwing him around like a rag-doll.  But they've been warned that you can really injure people if you don't do it correctly.

I took a 'first aid at work' course a long time ago - there was lots to learn and remember, but I enjoyed it.

One of the reasons I'd volunteered to do it was because I was in a pub one evening when another customer started choking on their meal.  Sadly, somehow nobody there was first aid trained and none of us knew what to do. 

They were coughing and gasping for breath for what seemed like ages, and then eventually coughed up the offending article.  They were OK, but the incident made me think that we all should have some first aid knowledge for such an occurrence.

I never needed my first aid training at the workplace that sent me on it, but it's come in very useful several times since. 

The first time was when my father-in-law was bitten by a dog on the inner thigh - there was nobody else available, so I dealt with it in a very efficient manner, we just don't mention it (until now)!

I've also known what to do and dealt with people during and post-seizure, various burns and wounds, and other minor health crises. 

In fact, my first aid training was called upon twice in the last few weeks, and I was glad I had some knowledge to be able to assist.  I would recommend that everybody do a course if you get the chance.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Brookfield - what's in the new information...

I've been reading through the new paperwork submitted for the proposed development at Brookfield Plantation.

There are items in there which I need to bring to your attention.

Contamination has been 'scoped out' of the report - that means it's not being considered.

From what I understand this is because the landowner, TATA, says that this land isn't contaminated. 

I want much more than somebody's word that land around here isn't contaminated.  I want proof - independent evidence to show us for sure that there's no toxic materials buried beneath Brookfield Plantation.

People who previously worked for British Steel claim that all sorts was buried there.  We don't want a repeat of the birth defects that occurred when contaminated land was dug up.

Also, the new paperwork discusses another renewable energy generation facility processing waste in the 'Resource Recovery Park'.

So despite the developer insisting that it isn't a waste plant, plans definitely include one - it's there in s4.3.8 of the Environmental Report.

With NCC having already granted planning permission for a gasification plant on Gretton Brook Road, and a pyrolysis plant and an anaerobic digester at Shelton Road, that would bring us a total of FOUR waste plants just in Corby.

There are health concerns surrounding these waste plants, from their emissions and also the increased HGV traffic transporting the waste. 

Depending on which way the wind is blowing and routes taken by the lorries, the emissions potentially affect a large number of people living in Corby, Gretton, Priors Hall,  Deene, Weldon, Rockingham, Great Oakley and Stanion.

But the bottom line is, how can this development ever be in the interests of the environment, as is being claimed?  To create it 120 acres of trees - equivalent in size to 70 football pitches - will be destroyed; this is a designated wildlife site, home to numerous rare and protected species. 

Please e-mail or write to Corby Borough Council by 16th October 2014 to let them know your opposition before it's too late.  Thank you.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

So no-one told you life was gonna be this way...

There's been a lot in the papers lately about the 20th anniversary of the TV series Friends.

This has served two purposes for me - firstly, to make me feel old, as I can remember watching it when it first appeared on Channel 4.  Secondly to remind me how great the show was in its heyday.

In those days it was 'appointment television', hard to believe for younger readers I imagine, but we didn't have fancy catch-up TV then - if you were lucky you had a video recorder to catch your favourite programmes if you were going to be out, otherwise you had to make sure you were in to watch them.

So Friday nights for me meant Friends followed by Frasier, another great US comedy.

But whereas I loved the subtle humour and sophistication of Frasier, I struggled to relate to him as a person - him being male, middle-aged, a successful psychiatrist and radio presenter - and me being a twenty-something student and female!

Friends was a fantastic programme, funny, clever, quotable - I watched the shows when they were first on, then the seemingly-endless repeats.

The Ross/Rachel saga, Joey with his 'how you doin'?' chat-up line, Phoebe with her kookiness, Chandler with the job that nobody quite knew what he did and Monica with her cleaning obsession. The births, deaths, marriages, break-ups, and even guest appearances by famous faces - being a Magnum P.I. fan, I loved the fact that Tom Selleck guest-starred as Monica's boyfriend Richard. 

All of this was underpinned by the idea that there's a point in your life where your friends are your family and are always there for you, hence The Rembrants' theme song.

And before anyone asks, no, I didn't have 'the Rachel' haircut, but I know a lot of people did as it has been named the most requested hairstyle ever.

I'm pleased to hear that a new generation is now watching it on Comedy Central.  It's good to know that great comedy never dies, it lives on somewhere on a Satellite channel.