Thursday, 19 August 2010

A BIG welcome, as a follower, to Kim over in France, and thank you for the lovely comments. It's so good to have you on board. You mentioned, 'the tree'? Well this morning I went to the Town Hall, expecting to be there for half an hour; no chance! I must have been the last case on the list from about a dozen others. I had to sit through the, 'Penrith Pong' debate, an objection to a footpath going past an old folks home, a guy from the Castle Town area who had seen enough houses converted into bedsits,  and then, it came to, 'the tree'. I knew I was off to a good start when I stood up front and was handed the microphone. I said, "last time I held one of these I came fourth in a Karaoke contest". Everyone laughed, it was the first time they had that morning. Most people leave that room either disengaged or disappointed, but never happy.

I was brief and to the point, and when I had finished, nobody had any questions. I stood down after thanking them for listening and then the debate started. At that point I am not allowed to speak anymore. To my amazement, one after another, the councillors came out in support of the tree! At one point the chairman asked if there was a gap between the building and the tree. Planning said, "no". Knowing I wasn't supposed to speak, I had to, the guy had just told a big fib! I stood up and said, "there is a walkway, not just a gap"! He explained, "there is no gap on my plans", but the Chairman obviously preferred to rely on reality and sent someone up to the site, just around the corner, to have a look. He came back and described a scene very unfamiliar to me and that I would only fully understand when I looked myself later. The builders had filled the 'gap' with tons of hardcore! Well an e mail is on its way to planning, copying in the Council Chairman as I write.

So the council committee then voted....6 in favour of saving the tree, 2 against and an abstention. Yippee..I thought I had won, until the Usher explained what had just happened. He said, "because the council have voted against the advice of its own planning department, the planning department had to raise the issue again at the next meeting in a months time". Why? Because if the council committee over ruled planning and something went badly wrong, like the tree fell on the postman, the council would be liable. To be honest, I didn't fully understand, but it meant that the tree was now under protection still until the next meeting, when planing would have to come up with a better excuse to get rid of it. Like, 'it keeps sneaking into town for a drink every night', or 'it's too close to a school and hasn't had a CRB check'! I asked if I would be able to speak at the next meeting but nobody seemed sure. This was either because there was no rule on speaking if you attended a second meeting or, because nobody had ever asked to willingly put themselves through a procedure like that twice!

My sister Cynthia has been a great support again today, giving me a few bollockings on my thought directions and warning me to stop Internet researching. Thanks Sis, I know you're right and Beverley tells me as much every day. Sasha phones me up about every day too, which is really nice and thank you. You will pass your driving test :-) I did, fourth time!

Top tip for today, never buy 'square pillow cases'. The reason that they are in the sale is because nobody sells 'square pillows'. Unless you know different?

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