Saturday, 3 March 2018

Where to live?

According to this website Oldham, where we live in the UK, is the 9th worst place to live in England. Dover comes top of the list. Oldham has always struck me as a place trying desperately to improve itself and never quite managing it. The bit where we live, Saddleworth, is not at all bad. Mind you there are some residents who still consider that they do not live in Oldham at all, nor even Greater Manchester. They are still living in the early 1970s when Saddleworth still belonged to Yorkshire and they adorn their houses with white roses accordingly.

It doesn’t really matter which county it belongs to; the young people still cannot afford to buy houses in the place where they grew up. As houses go on sale they are increasingly sold to people fleeing places like Oldham and looking for somewhere nicer to live.

Meanwhile, we need to do something to provide accessible housing for our young people.

 I read that Finland has been successfully tackling the homelessness crisis. Last year, in fact, Finland was the only EU country not currently in the middle of a massive homelessness crisis. The number of homeless there has been decreasing year-on-year. How have they done this? By introducing an initiative to get people off the streets: it's called Housing First. These radicals from Finland had the crazy idea that giving people a permanent home gives them... well, gives them a place to live and get off the streets. And they provide individual support to help people to sort out the issues that have led to them becoming homeless.

Having a place to call home actually helps people sort out the rest. The people pay rent and are given housing benefits. And while a lot is paid for by the local government, if they earn enough the people given shelter will eventually pay for the help they probably saves the government money in the end.

Back in the UK it was suggested by some that the borough of Windsor should clear the homeless off their streets in time for that wedding. That caused something of an outcry. Now it seems that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are inviting 2,640 members of the public to the grounds of Windsor Castle on their wedding day.

The lucky commoners, 1,200 of whom will be chosen “from every corner of the United Kingdom”, will get to watch the arrival of the bride and groom as well as their wedding guests, and then the carriage procession as it leaves after the service. The happy couple apparently want members of the public “to feel part of the celebrations too”.

But they don’t want them to attend the ceremony inside St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle on 19 May, or the reception. But that’s okay because after the ceremony there will be a carriage procession through Windsor before the couple join their guests for a reception at at St George’s hall.

You have to be nominated for an invitation. Nobody had better nominate me!

Time for a weather report. Last night we had strong winds and thunder and lightning! I wasn’t sure whether I had dreamt the thunder and lighning bit but Phil assures me it was so. Storm Emma was finally hitting us.

On the previous night a stretch of the M62 between Rochdale and Huddersfield , in other words just up the road from us, was closed and drivers stuck overnight. At one point 3,500 vehicles were stuck. Our daughter reported that our road, the A62 was also closed. Saddleworth may be a nice place to live but it has been a little inaccessible in the last few days.

And here is an unusual consequence of the cold and snowy weather: in West Yorkshire, the snow unexpectedly led police to discover a cannabis farm. Two officers found an estimated £80,000-worth of the drug at a property when they noticed that only one house in a street in Keighley had no snow on its roof.

I bet the growers hadn’t planned for that eventuality!

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