Monday, April 30, 2007

More dentists on the way for Lincs...

More than half a million pounds in Government cash is to be invested to help fill the shortage of NHS dentists across Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire Primary Health Care Trust have approved plans to spend this year's handout of Government cash to increase the number of dentists in the county. It is hoped Lincolnshire will receive over £800,000 to fill the gap next year.

Salute to the Vulcan and her pilot which led historic Falklands raid...

After the weekend announcement on the demise of the Jaguar jet over Lincolnshire skies, then the return of the wartime Lancaster, news of the Vulcan, another aircraft with strong links to Lincs.

On the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, a pilot who took part in the world's longest non-stop bombing mission in history tells his story in today's Northern Echo.

Twenty-five years ago today, Martin Withers was piloting the first of seven Avro Vulcans in an epic 16-hour mission from Ascension to bomb Port Stanley runway.

Martin's story is well worth a read, but I found his comments on the war itself most revealing.

He is right on when he says the conflict could have been avoided.

Martin says:
'Britain was giving strong signals that we were losing interest in the Falklands, putting very little effort into defending the place...I don't think they believed we had the will to defend the Falklands.'
He won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in the missions. Margaret Thatcher won the 1983 General Election on the back of Victory in the Falklands - despite huge blunders by her Government in the build-up to war.

The Vulcan of course is fondly remembered across Lincolnshire: it's long-time home was RAF Waddington near Lincoln: vintage Vulcan airframe XM607 still graces the airfield there. (I took this snap from the A15 a few months ago).

Now 61 and a civil airline pilot from York, Martin Withers hopes to captain a Vulcan for a fly-past over The Mall, in London, in June to mark the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War.

That will be a rare sight worth seeing!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Could it be Bryan...?

Another bizarre twist in the hunt for a Tory candidate for London Mayor: Yet another non-Tory is being touted to take on Ken Livingstone. The latest is the current deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Brian Paddick, according to Tory blogger Iain Dale.

Two minor problems: One, Mr Paddick's a serving police officer - though is retiring next month. Two, he's said to have Liberal Democrat, rather than Tory sympathies...


Major snub for muddled Cameron over London Mayor...

David Cameron's desperate search for a Conservative candidate for London Mayor hit the buffers for the second time in as many weeks when former Prime Minister Sir John Major rejected an invitation by the Tory leader to stand.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Cameron all-but invited Sir John to be the Tory candidate:

John Major would be an excellent candidate, I would be delighted if he put his name forward...I hadn't previously thought about it but I think he'd be a very good candidate.
Cameron, the fourth Tory Leader since Sir John Major said he still sees the former PM who 'organises some things for me, which is very helpful.'

But not apparently that helpful!

Sir John, retired as MP for our next door constituency of Huntingdon, swiftly snubbed Cameron's offer saying his political future was behind him.

It turns out that no-one had bothered to ask Sir John if he'd consider standing!

At least Sir John is a member of the Conservative Party (presumably).

Which is more can be said for Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, and the last person to whom Cameron offered Conservative endorsement to take on Labour's Ken Livingstone.

I found it astonishing that Cameron apparently wooed Dyke simply because he was well-known (with an over-inflated ego). The fact that Dyke has never signed up to Conservative beliefs speaks volumes about Cameron's desperation - and lack of principle.

So it is increasingly possible that Steve Norris may get a third crack at beating Ken Livingstone.

Shame. I was looking forward to the re-make of the famous 1992 election broadcast when John Major paraded through Brixton looking for his childhood haunts - but never actually getting out of his chauffeur-driven limo!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Return of the Lanc to Lincs skies...?

As the Jaguar jet bows out of local skies after three decades, it seems the famous Lancaster bomber is set for a return after more than half a century!

A multi-million pound remake of the 1954 classic film The Dam Busters is being partly shot at RAF Scampton, where the 1943 daring raid to destroy three Ruhr dams flew from.

There will also be footage of the county's two remaining Lancasters based at RAF Coningsby and East Kirkby, near Spilsby.

The Lincolnshire Echo reports that a dozen replica Lancasters have been built in China to recreate the flight scenes for the movie.

The story of the Dambusters led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson and the pioneering 'bouncing bomb' developed by Barnes Wallace is a wonderful tale of British ingenuity and heroism.

When I was a lad growing up in North Hykeham, I well remember cycling to Scampton to see the old Lancaster that was parked at the gates of RAF Scampton for many years and pressing my father to tell me stories of his days as a rear-gunner and wireless operator on coastal command Lancasters during the war and into the mid-1950s

If the new film shows the evocative image of the Lancaster flying over Lincoln Cathedral, I'm sure it will be a huge boost for tourism here in "Bomber County".

Deepings are champions at football and rugby...and not just the men!

Congratulations to Deepings Rangers FC and Deepings Rugby Club who have both won their respective league titles.

Alison Chambers, my colleague on DSJ Parish Council, proposed a vote of congratulations to both clubs on their success at our meeting on Thursday.

The proposal was of course passed unanimously.

I'm surprised that Alison forgot to mention Deepings Ladies Rugby team - otherwise known as Deepings Devils - who have also become champions of their league to match the achievement of the First XV men's team.

My photographs of Deepings Rangers and Deepings Rugby Ladies celebrating their successes are taken from the the club websites - see links on the left.

Well done all!

Time for a by-pass for UK's longest village...?

So, another tragedy on the A16 involving another student at Deepings School.

I'm sure everyone's thoughts are with the family of 18-year-old Katy Shields who's life, from all accounts, seemed so full of promise.

It would appear that Katie was driving her Corsa car at Hop Pole possibly intending to turn right when she was involved in a collision with a Grand Cherokee vehicle.

Of course, none of us know the full detail yet of what happened, so we are
not in a position to make judgements.

But we can all agree that problems of the straight fen-road through what is maybe the longest village in Britain need further attention.

Clearly, the length and nature of the road makes improving safety through engineering solutions challenging to say the least.

Personally, I have always believed that more serious consideration should have been given to the alternative option to the A1073 relief road.

The alternative would have have provided the added bonus of a 'free' bypass
for Deeping St Nic, hopefully taking away the fast moving through traffic -
but that option was rejected by the county council on cost grounds.

I beliieve the St Nic option would have required two bridges and from memory, the
projected cost - at the time - was a couple of million more than the Crowland option.

The irony is that the costs for the preferred option have virtually doubled
and the county council appears to be committed to what is now by far the
more expensive option (though the detailed engineering work on the Deeping
St Nic option was never completed, so we may never know).

Is it really too late for the county council to take another look?

I hope not.

Jaguar's bow out after 33 years...

A familiar sight over Lincolnshire skies for more than 30 years is to disappear according to the Lincolnshire Echo.

The last remaining squadron of 16 Royal Air Force Jaguars - based at RAF Coningsby is to be decommissioned and will be replaced next year by the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The Rolls-Royce powered Jaguar has given 33 years of service and has a distinguished career and even those not based in the county were often seen over south Lincolnshire as they used the RAF’s bombing ranges at Holbeach and Wainfleet.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Police crackdown on anti-social behaviour in DSJ...

Police have seized two vehicles in Deeping St James in the first few days of a sustained crackdown on bikers causing problems for local residents.

It's great news that our local Neighbourhood Police Team are taking tough action in response to a spate of complaints about young people riding mopeds, scooters and mini-motos wrecklessly, dangerously and illegally.

Our very own Police Community Support Officer Chris Clarke says:

So far we have issued six Section 59 warnings and seized two vehicles.
Section 59 Warnings are one of the new powers given to local police under Labour's Police Reform Act.

Police now have the power to issue a formal warning which means if either the offending vehicle - or the driver/rider - is caught being used in an anti-social manner a second time, it will be seized.

In his monthly report to Deeping St James Parish Council last night, PCSO Chris said:

We will only give one warning and after that it is too late. It's not just a case of paying the fine and recovery costs to get your vehicle back, but you will also receive a summons to court where you could get points on your driving licence.

Last week a mini moto was seized from a 13-year-old in Crowson Way, Deeping St James after he was spotted riding on the footpath and highway illegally.

The second vehicle, a red Yamaha moped, was seized last Friday on the playing field off Thackers Way.
The seizures are good news. Only last weekend, I was in my back garden at dusk when a young lad roared his scooter - illegally and dangerously - up Church Walk. Anyone on the footpath would have been forced to jump for their lives...And for the next half hour, a group of lads took turns to race the scooter around the playing field.

Most youngsters ride their scooters and mopeds responsibly, but dangerous anti-social behaviour needs nipping in the bud and I'm delighted our local police are tackling the problem.

A couple of years ago when I first took action to recruit our own PCSO, I was delighted that my proposal was backed unanimously by the parish council.

I believe the move is now paying dividends in our community...

What's your view? Do post a comment.

Deepings School mourns driver Katie..

The 18-year-old Deepings school-girl who died in a collision yesterday has been named by police as Katy Shields.

Students and staff at Deepings School were in shock today at their sad loss and there has been a dialogue on the Deepings Exchange over the past 24 hours.

A news release from Lincolnshire Police earlier today confirmed the grim details of the accident:

At approximately 1.15pm yesterday (Thursday), emergency services were called to a collision on the A16, Main Road at Hop Pole.

The collision involved two vehicles, a white Vauxhall Corsa and a red Grand Cherokee.

The 18 year old female driver of the Corsa, believed to be from the local area was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the second vehicle was a 50-year-old male from Surfleet who was taken to Peterborough District Hospital to be treated for non life threatening injuries.

The road was re-opened at approximately 7.10pm last night.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision or who saw either of the vehicles and their driving manner prior to the incident to come forward and contact the Collision Witness Hotline on 01522 558855.

This is the 23rd fatal collision on Lincolnshire’s roads so far this year compared to 22 at the same time last year and a full year total in 2006 of 66 deaths.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Collision Witness Hotline on 01522 558855.
An inquest into Katy's death was opened and adjourned at Boston earlier today.

Deepings student killed in car crash...

A teenage girl apparently driving home from Deepings School has become the latest person to die on local roads.

The A16 at Deeping St Nicholas was shut for several hours Thursday afternoon following the fatal accident.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Parking at £1 a minute....

I managed to get ripped off in a car park the other day - ironically at the National Rail Museum.

I'd driven up north and a colleague called me to say he had an interesting news clipping he wanted to give me. He suggested the reception area of the Museum would be a good place to meet.

It was certainly well signed posted and easy to find and I quickly found myself in the museum car park. Alarm bells should have rang as I was funnelled (no pun intended) into the entrance and I saw the daily parking rate displayed. I put my car into reverse, but it was already too late.

I was already past the point of no return with a Chelsea tractor right on my tail and no ‘escape’ lane.

I was obviously in the wrong car park and made straight for the exit. Even NCP car parks allow motorists to drive through and make a sharp exit if you’ve made a mistake. But not the National Rail Museum.

I went to reception and explained my dilemma, but I was wasting my breath. There was no hourly rate for the car park – there was no other car park – and once in, the only way out was with a seven-quid exit token.

Seven quid for seven minutes!

It was no consolation when the nice lady explained that entry to the museum was free so they had to maximise parking fees. I didn’t have time to visit the museum, free or not!

It also didn’t help to be told that the fee was for all day – specially when a waiting car filled my space as soon as I vacated it - and handed over another seven squid.

On my drive home down the A1, I worked out that with an endless supply of customers like me, in a ten-hour working day, the National Rail Museum could rake in £600 a day for every one of the dozens - hundreds? - of spaces in their precious car park.

Sounds obvious, but I wish I'd used the train!

Senior social care officer suspended...

The senior officer in charge of implementing trebling home care costs for some vulnerable elderly people in Lincolnshire has been suspended pending an investigation.

Jean Lammie, assistant director of adult social care at Lincolnshire County Council, stepped aside earlier this week while an investigation takes place - according to last night's Lincolnshire Echo.

Ms Lammie is responsible for care services for vulnerable adults. It was Ms Lammie who was left to present the controversial home care charging policy to the council's Executive last October.

The paper should have been presented by the Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Christine Talbot. But Christine failed to show up for the crucial meeting, preferring to spend her time instead at a Conservative Party Conference.

I have no idea why Ms Lammie has been suspended or what the internal investigation is about.

Ian Anderson, director for communities told the Echo:

I can confirm that Jean Lammie, assistant director adult social care (operations) has been suspended pending an internal investigation in adult social care.

It should be stressed that suspension is a neutral act and is being used solely to allow a comprehensive and objective investigation into the matter to take place.

I cannot make any further comment at this stage.
Adult Social Services has long been a troubled department at Lincolnshire County Council. Just last November, Lincolnshire was officially named as providing some of the worst adult social care in the country.

Then, Christine Talbot refused to resign - as she had promised to do if performance was not sorted out following a shocking inspection report a year earlier.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When sorry's the only word...

Well done to the Head of Waste Services at Lincolnshire County Council who was big enough to say 'sorry' after a bit of a cock-up over recycling of newspapers in Spalding.

Gordon Oglesbee complained to the Spalding Guardian that he had taken a pile of old newspapers "several inches thick" to the household waste recycling centre, but was told by an official to put them in the skip destined for landfill.

Martyn Hands publicly apologised, saying:

The household waste recycling centre is there to recycle all of the materials mentioned by the concerned member of the public, paper in particular.

The fact that he was unable to do so is a serious service failure and the complaint is legitimate. We apologise accordingly.

The situation has arisen because of problems with a transport contractor which have resulted in many containers not being emptied in a timely manner.

However, appropriate action is immediately being taken to address this.
Of course, Mr Oglesbee was quite right to complain. It sounds like more of a glitch that shouldn't have happened rather than a "serious service failure", but it was nonetheless refreshing to see that Mr Hands has apologised on behalf of the county council.

Now, I hope he gets his finger out and sorts the recycling debacle in The Deepings that I've posted on ad-nauseum!

Is the A46 the worst killer road in Britain...?

Does Lincolnshire have the worst killer road in Britain? Channel Four thinks the A46 Lincoln to Grimsby road is certainly among the worst.

I didn't see the Cutting Edge programme on Monday evening, but it has provoked a lively debate.

Film-maker Jonathan Smith showed how a split second decision on the roads can "cast a shadow over a family far beyond the tragic accident..."

Dave Poucher of North East Lincs Council, told ITV's Calendar News that he hopes those who saw the effects of a fatal accident on families might make people drive more safely.

Over on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Paul Coathup, a senior officer from Lincolnshire County Council highlighted what he called the success of the local Road Safety Partnership over the past three years.

He says incidents on the A46 north of Lincolon have been reduced by about 60% with over £100,000 being invested in low-cost, high-value engineering works, targeted enforcement and a full education programe.

I believe the worst "killer road" in Lincolnshire used to be the same A46 south of Lincoln.

But (fingers crossed), the road has become much safer since it was dualled (thanks to the Labour Government!) from the A1 at Newark to Lincoln - a major road building project which has put our county capital on the map and led to economic growth in the city.

But of course, roads are not killers - bad drivers are.

New member joins Tory "A" team...

I know you shouldn't laugh at this sort of thing, but....

look what's happened in Knutsford.

Well, in fact, you can only read about it, this is a family blog you know!

But if if it had to happen, Knutsford seems the most appropriate place.

I've no idea if this latest contribution to urban art was a comment on the performance of the Member for Knutford, Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne!

I wonder who now captain's the 'A' team these days....Aitkin, Archer or Ashford?

Rugby Club smash-n-grab...

If you were around the Linchfield Playing Field on Friday morning, you may be able to help police catch burglars who broke into Deepings Rugby Club.

Burglars smashed a window at the front of the clubhouse, forced an internal door and stole 50 bottles of alcopops (Smirnoff Ice and WKD), 60 bottles of beer (Budweiser and Becks) and 3 bottles of spirits (Quantro, Martini Rosso and Sambuca), in a blue plastic bin.

Police are appealing for witnesses to contact PC Ian Martin on 01522 558798.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Car driver arrested after biker and his lad killed in Lincs...

A motorcyclist and his 14-year-old son were killed in a crash on their way to a bikers rally at Skegness yesterday.

Lincolnshire Police say the dad and his lad, died after colliding with another bike and a car in Gainsborough.

They were among a small group of bikers on their way to a rally at Butlins Holiday Camp.

The 41-year-old man died at the scene. The 14-year-old who was riding pillion behind his dad, died at Lincoln County Hospital.

The rider and pillion passenger on the other bike were also taken to hospital.

A police spokesman said the driver of the car, a Vauxhall Corsa, had been arrested.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Speed camera set on fire...

A speed camera on Deepings bypass has been set on fire, causing damage estimated at more than £20,000. The camera is currently out of action.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

SKDC shamed on regional TV over waste failure...

I'm told that the shocking story of SKDC's failure to recycle its own waste (which I posted here a couple of weeks ago) made the regional TV news.

The Lincs Free Press also headlined the story of hypocrisy by our Grantham-based district council.

It seems the council simply land-filled tons of their own waste paper - at the same time warning of hefty fines for the rest of us if we fail to follow the rules on recycling.

And the councillor in charge of waste at Grantham is, er, Ray Auger of Deeping St James...

What a shambles!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The right to bear arms...

Every American's 'right to bear arms' is being debated around the world in the wake of the worst ever killing spree by a young madman who was able to pick up a lethal firearm with the weekly groceries. No questions asked.

Such guns of course are designed for the sole purpose of killing people.

Yet only hours after the latest mass-murders, the all-powerful American gun lobby was fully fired up telling the world that the best way to stop such atrocities is to make sure answer everyone carries a firearm in self-defence...

The madness is that millions in America believe the influential lobbyists in the National Rifle Association who are not even regarded as extreme by middle-America.

I understand that President Bush's words of sympathy for the latest victims were even prefaced with a statement that affirmed American's "constitutional right to bear arms".

Which is of course no less than might be expected from a President who is reported to be a member of the National Rifle Association which has four million members and has its headquarters in Virginia.

Thousands of members of the NRA have just held a national convention which they hailed as "a show of force by gun owners" and "a celebration of freedom".

Even as America woke to the senseless blood-bath that was Virginia Tech, the NRA were warning gun-owners to "stand firm" against calls for a gun-ban.

And the sad thing is that the NRA will win the day, as they have for more than a century.

A few years ago, I was driving through Virginia on a family holiday - we took the spectacular Shanandoah Drive: mile after mile of picture postcard Blue Ridge Mountains and rainbow autumn leaves.

It was the day after a similar mass murder and we were flicking through the local radio stations. A local DJ asked listeners to phone-in with their reactions to the shootings. One voice quite reasonably (in my view) suggested that guns should be banned and the DJ cut her dead, angrily asserting that the station was only interested in hearing from sensible people...!

Over the past 24 hours, I was almost amused to hear one pundit inform me that Virginia has recently introduced "tough new gun laws".

Apparently, you can now only buy one gun a month from the supermarket.

Progress eh?

Ever seen a farmer on a bike...?

Farmers whinging about delays in Government handouts made the top story on BBC East Midlands Politics Show on the weekend.

Once again, no-one actually explained why millions in public money is still paid to farmers in the first place. It's no longer fashionable for Governments to hand out cash to manufacturers of widgets to protect jobs, but it seems there are different rules for farmers.

One East Midlands farmer made his point by showing the camera the paperwork he had to fill to get his annual bag of cash...he had the cheek to lay out his file across the bonnet of a what appeared to be a flashy top of the range 4x4...

In Lincolnshire, they say there's two rules about farmers:

The first is you'll never hear a farmer telling you he's had a good year.

The second is you never see one on a bike...!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The spirit of Shirley Porter lives on...

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree is standing as a council candidate in a council by-election in Conservative-run Westminster.

Under the inevitable headline From Blur to Blair, Rowntree wrote in The Guardian:
Westminster is a constant reminder of what happens when the Tories get into power…The spirit of Shirley Porter lives on here. Anyone who wants reminding of what the bad old days were like: go along to a Westminster council meeting. You see these arrogant, puffed-up people shouting other people down. It's ghastly.
Should he win, he'll no doubt demand a recount...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lewis Hamilton, the next Tiger Woods...

Between planting potatoes this afternoon, I managed to watch snippets of Lewis Hamilton blistering his way to second place in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

I'm not a Formula One fanatic and would rather watch bikes than cars any day...But what a sensation the British driver Lewis Hamilton is...the first racer in the history of F1 to earn a place on the podium in his first THREE F1 drives of his career.

If he keeps going at this pace, he looks likely to do for motor racing what Tiger Woods did for golf!

Tory councillor refuses to remove golliwog...

Red faces at the top of the Tory Party as one of their councillors in Henley-on-Thames refuses to remove a golliwog from a window display according to today's Indy on Sunday.

Will be interested to hear Cameron's reaction. But probably more interesting to hear from the Henley MP on the subject - the ever colourful Boris Johnson.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Labour wants tougher terrorist laws than Tories...

A poll for theIndependent reveals that most Labour MPs want police to be given powers to detain terrorist suspects without charge for longer than the current 28 day maximum - while most Tory MPs want no change or a reduction to 14 days.

It's difficult to see who's softer these days - the LibDems or the 'hug-a-hoodie' Tories.

Honour among thieves after dispicable burglary...

A teenage burglar from Lincolnshire is starting a three-year prison sentence after he was shopped by fellow-criminals disgusted that he stole Christmas presents from a one-year-old disabled baby.

A young single Gainsborough mother on low income spent months saving to make sure her baby had a decent Christmas. She was devastated when a burglar entered her house a fortnight before Christmas and ripped open the presents she had collected.

The burglar even sat on her son’s bed and consumed chocolates wrapped up for the child before fleeing with as much as he could carry - and the baby's money box.

A member of the public rang police to identify the offender. Forensics later found his fingerprints on some of the discarded wrapping paper.

After further tip-offs, police discovered the culprit hiding under loft insulation.

Lincolnshire Police say some of those providing information had even more convictions than the buglar himself, which shows how sickened the local community felt about his dispicable actions.

Bet he won't be bragging about his crimes to fellow inmates.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tories don't work for our community...say Tory councillors!

All-out war has broken out on the political right in Essex after eleven Conservative councillors resigned en-masse from David Cameron's party.

In a bitter wrangle reported in the East Anglian Daily Times they complain that the Tory Party no longer works for their local community.

They quit the Conservative Party after months of bitterness between rival factions inside local Tory associations.

Now they are publicly taking on the Conservative Party by standing in next month's local elections under a new party banner Tendring First.

The official Tories are rising to the fight with a new set of candidates who have stepped up to serve the Party.

The Conservatives admit their new slate is inexperienced and set the tone of the campaign by saying they haven't been around for ever and a day...

Strange how the Conservative Party only seems to have noticed that their councillors had apprently passed their sell-by dates after they left the Conservative Party!

If Tendring Conservatives are looking for a campaign slogan, perhaps I might suggest: Put Tory First, Tendring Second...?

It will be interesting to see what impact the split has on 3rd May.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On our side...?

Another photo that the current leadership of the Conservative Party would rather you didn't see emerged at the weekend...

Here it is.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Local man deliberately crashed car then dangled baby over flames to hide shocking injuries...

One of the most shocking cases of child cruelty in Lincolnshire has ended with a Stamford man sent to prison for seven years.

The Stamford Mercury website reports that a 4-month-old baby suffered serious burns when it is thought her hands were placed in boiling water.

She was then left in agony for two days with her burns left untreated.

A 23-year-old man then staged a fake road accident to cover up her injuries, driving his car into a tree, then setting fire to his car, to cover up the baby's previous appalling injuries.

But even worse was to come for the helpless mite.

The man then dangled the baby over the flames of the fire he had started, causing her even more severe burns to her hands and to her feet.

He then flagged down a passing motorist and claimed she had been hurt in a road accident.

Hospital doctors were immediately suspicious when they found several rib fractures, some of which were weeks old.

The man denied causing the original burns but admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent as a result of the burns she suffered in the fake accident.

He also admitted a charge of neglect after failing to seek medical help for 48 hours after the baby's hands were severely scolded.

In the 1980's, I worked for the NSPCC so often saw the results of awful child abuse, but few as appalling as this one.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

GNER announce more trains from next month...

Rail operators GNER are pressing ahead with plans to increase frequency of trains serving the main East Coast line through Peterborough and Grantham.

Today, GNER placed ads for 65 new jobs including drivers, chefs, station staff and maintenance workers.

The improved service is due to start next month. GNER plan additional weekday services which will deliver a half-hourly frequency between Leeds and London and 1.6 million extra seats a year.

There are to be more stops at stations in Wakefield, Doncaster, Newark, Grantham, Peterborough and Stevenage.

Good news from Iran: sailors to be released...

It appears diplomacy has paid off in the Iran crisis:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says 15 British naval personnel in the Gulf will be freed immediately as a "gift to the British people" according to the BBC.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Shocking record of council which says 'do as we tell you, not as we do' on recycling...

Thousands of pounds of our money is spent by our local council urging us to step-up recycling. But guess how much waste produced in South Kesteven Council’s own offices is recycled...?

Here's a clue: Last year, the council's offices at Grantham, Bourne, Stamford and Market Deeping generated 390 tons of waste - most of it paper.

The shock answer is that not a single ounce was recycled: not even one solitary sheet of paper.

That's the dismal record of failure from a council that constantly lectures its residents on, er, recycling.

The Grantham Journal reports that instead of practising what it preaches, all 390 tons last year went straight to landfill – transported there by contractors hired by SKDC.

It’s an absolute disgrace and a shocking example of the arrogance and blatant hypocrisy of SKDC which constantly wastes public money and treats the residents it's supposed to serve with outrageous contempt.

Ray Auger, the DSJ councillor responsible for recycling and waste management at SKDC in Grantham, should hang his head in shame.

It's another case of 'Do as we tell you, not as we do!' and it's simply not good enough.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Female sailor is Leading Seaman, not a Wren...!

I've been taken to task for describing the only female among the sailors kidnapped by the Iranians as a Leading Wren.

My colleague on Deeping St James Parish Council Alison Chambers says on DSJ Exchange
...they haven't been called wrens for a long time. Faye Turney is an equal member of the British Navy, her rank is leading seaman - which may seem a little strange but does at least suggest she is equal to her male comrades.
I found this history of service by women in the Royal Navy which confirms that Alison is right of course.

But I also discovered that there are still many wrens both male and female (see below!)

Meanwhile, Alison's comments have sparked a lively ongoing thread on the Exchange.

Rev. Mark Warrick - also a DSJ parish councillor - points out:
I did wonder about this word and whether it was still appropriate. Perhaps it's because Phil hasn't been in the Army for a little while either .... ;-)

It is interesting, though, isn't it, that the fact that one of the kidnapped sailors is a woman is remarkable still?

She is the one the papers are concerned about, the one who had recently been interviewed, the one the Iranians first said they would set free (even though they didn't).

Equality of opportunity to be shot at (pardon the grammar, please), but still expected (by the media, at least) to receive special treatment. Equality is a long time coming (especially for 14 men who are being ignored - is any of them a father, for example?).
Self-employed DSJ builder Stuart McCabe criticises the Royal Navy for the kidnapping. Stuart is is a former professional soldier and raises a number of questions about the British operation.

I've no doubt Stuart's questions and many more will be examined closely once the crisis is over and all our sailors - male and female - are safely home.

Personally, I fear that the crisis appears to be shaping up for a long haul, cold war style.

Oh, yes, male wrens? Well, here's a photo of a male fairy wren!

Outrageous plan for compulsory MOTs for lawn-mowers...

New regulations to make MOTs compulsory for petrol and diesel lawn-mowers are likely to prove hugely controversial.

The plans have just been revealed on BBC Gardeners Question Time.

The idea is to cut down on carbon emissions, which seems fair enough. But the new rules are also likely to hit owners of ride-on mowers who will be forced to wear seat belts and have airbags fitted...

A spokesman for the Lawn Mower Manufacturers Association points out that if the measures have the effect of making gardeners revert to manual push-pull mowers, it will be a case of one step forward and two back...

Meanwhile, the BBC are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their famous story about the Swiss spaghetti harvest threatened by late frosts.