Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Problems great and small!

We have an ongoing parking problem on our street.

There have always been occasions when you had to park a fair distance from the house, most notably every year on Whit Friday. Whit Friday is one of the few occasions when we have something close to a fiesta. For years and years there has been a brass band contest taking place in all the villages around here on Whit Friday, originally celebrating a long tradition of all the cotton and woollen mills and collieries having their own brass band but later involving brass bands from far and wide, including from continental Europe. There was even a film in which it featured: Brassed Off. Because of the band contest on Whit Friday all sorts of parking restrictions came into play and I would return from work to find I had to park almost a mile up the road.

Nowadays, this problem is not just a Whit Friday, come-day-go-day problem. To begin with there are simply more cars around. Many families have two or three vehicles to park. And this in an area where most of the housing was built before cars really came along. Then the industrial park which opened a little further down the road has been a great success but simply does not have sufficient parking space for all their employees and visitors. And finally, a new, would-be posh housing estate has been built on what used to be fields, or at least open land, with an access road about 50 yards from our house.This led to immediate parking restrictions and an argument with the construction company when our promised allocated parking spaces failed to materialise.

They never did materialise. And now, to add insult to injury, there are projected plans to paint double yellow lines on sections of the road, making the very limited parking immediately outside our row of houses even more in demand. Designated residents' parking has been denied us. If there were a school nearby causing problems, then such parking would be a possibility but the proximity of a thriving industrial estate does not count! We expect a visit from a local councillor some time soon to
review the situation.

Of course, in the wider scheme of things our problem is quite minor. George Monbiot frequently writes at length about environmental problems. Today it was about proposals to extend British airports. Proposals to fly planes using some other form of energy than fossil fuels are apparently untenable. So, says Mr Monbiot, if our airports are full, there is one solution: fly less. He personally restricts his flying to once every three years. We would find that hard. But then, it crosses my mind that perhaps he makes one long-haul flight every three years, whereas we make much shorter flights on a more frequent basis. Does that sort of even it all out?

Making his suggestion that we should all fly less often, George Monbiot asks, "Is this beyond contemplation? Are we incapable of making such changes for the sake of others? If so, our ethics are weaker than those of 1791, when 300,000 British people, to dissociate themselves from slavery, stopped using sugar, reducing sales by one-third. They understood the moral implications of an act that carried no ill intent, that seemed sweetly innocent."

Who knew that such ethical protests were going on all that time ago? However, I bet there are lots of people today who would find it easier to fly less frequently than to stop using sugar!

I keep seeing exhortations from famous people to please not let Donald Trump get into the White House. I have already written about Loudon Wainwright's "I had a dream" song. Bruce Springsteen has been on interview airing his negative feelings about Mr Trump. Now Michael Moore, film maker, indeed protest-film maker, has added his but. He has made and released a film: "Michael Moore in Trumpland". It is described like this: "he thinks his way inside the head of a dejected working-class citizen from, as he puts it, one of the “Brexit states” of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or Ohio. All states that couldstill swing to Trump and lead to to an upset victory."

(As an aside, isn't it interesting how "Brexit" has extended its meaning ?)

Another anti-Trump celebrity is the actor Charles Dance, in Washington recently to receive the William Shakespeare Award forClassical Theatre. He finished off his acceptance speech in this way: “Finally, if I may, I would just like to wish you all a Trump-free future.” 

Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, here's a little news item that made me smile: "According to members of Trainspotting’s film crew, Oasis turned down the opportunity to feature on the soundtrack to the seminal 1996 film because Noel Gallagher presumed the film was about actual trainspotters rather than a black comedy about escapist, economically crippled heroin addicts living in Edinburgh."

It's not just voters who misunderstand things.

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