The passport saga has now reached its inevitable conclusion. As some of you know, I had applied for a new passport. What I did not realise was that it costs £77 +. Given the broken window bill (see:Bang Out of Order!) and the prospective 2CV bill, we can't afford it. And as I rarely venture abroad - well, I did go to St Helen's the other weekend without a passport, but nobody deported me, I maintain that I do not need one. The passport office, having received the application, have decided that I do. And they need the money. Now.
Cue several letters demanding it and then a phone call. BH fielded it. I could hear his voice getting colder and colder, until icicles were dripping off it. Finally he put the phone down. No, they cannot, apparently, save my info until we can afford a passport. And they don't do pensioner reductions. And they're probably not going to return the photos that we sent and had to pay for. Is it any wonder that we are turning into Two Grumpy Old Sods? Banks, insurance companies,water utilities ... we are rapidly running out of organisations that haven't annoyed us off to industrial strength.
|Roman Snail on allotment site annexe|
Which brings me, with a sad inevitability to Harpenden Town Council and my campaign to stop them building on our former allotment site. Having successfully got the Town Green Application turned down, even though it was supported by practically the whole community, they are now going to ''consult'' the same community about new play equipment on the field next door, which was devolved to them by the District Council in March 2011. They couldn't do it before because of Bad Old Me and my Town Green - though I have checked the legal position, and they could.
Be that as it may, we are all going to be asked what we'd like. Which is good. Whether we get anything is another matter altogether. My finely tuned irony-meter is currently in the red zone. When the field belonged to the District Council, we asked both councils regularly for new play equipment. Nothing to do with us, we were told by the District Council, the field was in Harpenden so they weren't going to fork out. Nothing to do with Harpenden, we were told by Harpenden Town Council, the field was owned by the District Council so they weren't going to fork out either. O tempora, o mores!
|Allotment site in background, behind fence|
The allotment land has been deliberately neglected and allowed to overgrow, and is now home to Roman Snails and, we believe, some badgers. What is going to happen to it? I put this to one of our local Tory Councillors as he was manning the Conservative Party Stall on St Albans Market the other week. Plans are going ahead for the development, I was told, despite opposition from 4 major wildlife societies, and the whole community. And the badgers, I asked. If there were any badgers, I was told, he'd go and put cyanide down. Of course, I was immediately reassured that this was just a joke. Funnily enough, I'm not laughing. Are you?
|Allotment on left. All this will be cut down to make way for access road|
Democracy Harpenden Style http://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/democracy-harpenden-style.html