"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Back from the Shires

Well, Somerset-shire. This was a combination of our first holiday visit to the our little cliff dwelling community this year plus the third and final part of the big move which was started with friends last December. We have had an unbelievably warm couple of weeks and caught up with friends and family - some of the latter whom we haven't seen for six months so lots of talking and laughing and a couple of tears at times as news was shared.

Of course most of us keep in touch by 'phone, facebook and twitter all year. I was slightly embarrassed to be told that one husband asks his wife 'what's Elizannie's campaign this week?' when she logs into facebook. But there is nothing like a good old face to face glorious catch up!

The wonderful weather resulted in really bad conditions for mobile 'phone reception and internet connection but provided breathtaking evening sunsets as shown above. National newspapers were also in short supply [due to my laziness about arranging to get them delivered] so due to relying on the radio for news I found I wasn't getting my usual reliable twitter- and blog-based information. I started worrying that if I stayed in Somerset much longer I would 'go soft' and lose my campaigning edge. However I soon found that the local papers were providing plenty of scope - the cuts in W.Somerset are swingeing. The small local library is threatened with closure and coupled with their very spasmodic bus service this will be a terrible loss to the village. The newly opened hospital cannot 'do' X-rays at night and a 16 mile trip each way to the nearest 'big' hospital is necessary - the new one is for minor injuries only. Who decides what is a minor injury is one of those questions one goes to a hospital for, I would have thought but we will let that question pass for another day perhaps.

Locally, a planning decision on a proposed supermarket development was causing the most uproar and the local election seems to be being fought mainly on this issue. I really can understand the furore as local traders are worried about their shops losing custom and the access of the proposed development onto the main holiday route is also very hazaradous. On the first point, currently living most of the year in a South Eastern village that lost nearly all its little shops over 30 years ago due to 'out of town development' I really sympathise with the Somerset villagers and traders. So many villages now are getting 'homogenised' - the same few shops hold sway and locals have to travel often many miles to buy larger purchases. Whilst we were in Somerset there was a riot in Bristol [about 30 miles away] which had its origins in a protest about a Tesco Extra which had been opened in the area.

This protest has become known as the 'Battle of Stokes Croft' and the whole issue does raise very serious questions not least about planning legislation, the role of the police and the blog linked above should be readas a balance to a lot of the items which appeared in the press over the last week-end.

On the second point raised by my local planning problem - again we have far so much road congestion in the East of England and know what a massive problem that causes that to deliberately introduce bottlenecks to a small Somerset village whose roads already gets blocked by grockles [tourists] in summer months seems unnecessary.

Holidays are good, and time away from the usual round gives one space and thinking time. Time also to learn truths about oneself and others. I learnt just how quickly I can lose a new front door key [under 24 hours] and how long in the countryside it takes to find somewhere to replace one [five days and a 16 mile each way trip] Inevitably the lost key is then found but it is always good to have plenty of spares... Eldest grandson [aged five] found that Nanny can beat him at a hole in putting when she isn't trying and doesn't know where the hole is positioned anyway so best play with the real grown ups. My friends found that if they encouraged me I will show off and make an Easter Bonnet holding all the aspects of spring including a full size toy rabbit, chicks, real flowers and chocolate eggs. Some things are best left 'undared'.

So back to the real word and an election next week and a celebration on Friday. No I haven't come over all Royalist although I wish everybody embarking on marriage on that day and any day peace and love. We have our own celebration with a granddaughter having a birthday on the 29th!

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