Friday, 27 September 2013

Consultation, Harpenden Style

A further frustrating week at Hedges Towers. As predicted, the 2CV has failed it MOT. One piddly little brake light, which if I'd known, I'd have fixed myself, and rust. Rust is to 2CVs what icebergs were to the Titanic. In this case, it is under the chassis, driver's side, rear quarter. This means the other dreaded word: Welding. Merely to say the word raises the spectre of a three figure bill. For the last week, the car has been in bits in Big Dave's garage, and I have been in bits here.

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
However, amid all the promises of future largesse, there remains the inevitable question of the future of the allotment site, as the field was only returned to Harpenden Town Council on the basis that the allotments would be developed and an access road run right across the field. A ''deal'' which we were not told about until it was secretly signed off. Yes, I know most councils don't do it like this, but then when you rule the school and the District Council Cabinet also, and no other political group in Harpenden can be bothered to object or show the slightest interest in getting involved, you can virtually do what you like. Or so it appears.

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
See also:   Localism,Harpenden Style http://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/localism-harpenden-style.html
                  Democracy Harpenden Style http://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/democracy-harpenden-style.html

33 comments:

  1. So sorry about the car, and the passport issue, Carol! That's wretched. I so hope the car can be repaired without it costing you too much. As for the Passport Office, I'm not sure what happens in the UK now, but I'm afraid here they would hound you and keep adding to the costs. Wretched horrible officialdom. I was wondering about the snails the other day. It seems nothing works, does it? How depressing can things be. Do let us know if we can do anything more to try and stop these developments.

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    1. Their time is up, I think...two major housing developments planned in this area and school on greenbelt. Building on our greenfield is looking less and less viable..

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  2. Don't tell him, but the way to get rid of badgers is for a bloke to pee around the place - they don't hang around near the smell of a dominant male animal. And it sounds as if some of your councillors are behaving as it their domain is the world!

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    1. OHO!! what an excellent comment!! Yes, they are going all Alpha male.....and making complete asses of themselves. Type Harpenden into any search engine..you get my blogs. What impression is that giving of the town? Quite.

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  3. Great post, as always. Good luck with the council, the garage, and the Passport Office. I can lend you some money if you get stuck.

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    1. Kind. I shall manage....may have to sell cats.... or possibly turn this fiasco into a bestselling book: The Vacant Casualty comes to ind as a suitable title...

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  4. OMG! I now have a mental picture of all your stupid councillors peeing all over the place. It would be ludicrously funny if it wasn't so sad...
    But I see you are coping with your usual irony Carol, good to hear.

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  5. Sorry about the 2CV and its rust (and the additional expenses that are mounting up). I once drove a Landrover from which I could see the road - not through the windscreen but beneath my feet... It was (almost literally) hanging on a thread before its MOT!

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    1. Had a boyfriend with a Triumph Herald like that!! Nice car though.

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  6. On the basis that bad - and good - things come in threes, Carol, you'll have no more unexpectedly large bills for a while. As for HTC, they are exactly what has made this town grate.

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    1. Hahaha...brilliant. Thanks Gill...and so true!!

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  7. I think if your car dies you should still keep it on your blog page as a kind of memorial :-)

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  8. Luckily...I picked it up this morning! Whew...but feeling very broke!!

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  9. I like the blog post, but I hope you are OK. I was without a passport once, and the experience was horrible.

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    1. Really don't need it at the moment..though my daughter tells me I must get one when we can afford it. So I will. Just resent the COST of everything!

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  10. Can you still go to Europe on a visitor's passport, Carol? Was a time you could go and buy one for a fiver at the post office. So glad the Duck is back home where it belongs. You should set up a Christmas box for it for next year's MOT. We could contribute…after all La Hedges blog without the 2CV…unthinkable! :-)

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    1. I shall get one when funds permit. DD has said I have to as there will be ''family'' holidays upcoming...at which babysitting will be required!!

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  11. What do badgers eat? I mean is there any chance that your Tory Councillor will attempt to "mark" his territory and get a nice nip on his party membership card?

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    1. Hahaha...... don't give them ideas...(I think we may have to install CCTV>>)

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    2. Hahaha...... don't give them ideas...(I think we may have to install CCTV>>)

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  12. Modern life is expensive, maddening and frustrating but we must battle on. Besides, I love a good fight! ; )

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  13. One Hell of a week, Carol. A friend of mine has a 2CV and I know about his rust problems (the car has rust as well). Politicians and councellors never learn when not to crack a so-called joke. You've only got to listen to a UKIP MEP!
    Hope you get the passport siutation resloved.

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    1. Thanks Debs and Richard. Yup, I love a good fight also..and the more this goes on the gooder it gets!! I thought Mr Councillor was having a UKIP moment also..am hoping my good editor acquiantance on local paper will agree!!

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  14. Yikes - sounds like it's been a trying time. Hope the weekend has been better!

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  15. That reminds me, while we were in Provence we drove past a 2CV rally. It would have warmed the cockles of your lovely car's heart to see the long row of his cousins being treated with so much love and respect. I tried to take a photo but the coach was travelling at such a speed that I missed!

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  16. I kind of expect to pay a fee for a passport because they tax you one way or the other and that's life. However, it was slightly annoying to have to get a passport for a baby - at the cost of £46 + cost of photos - and only lasts five years - just to go to France.

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    1. Gosh that seems unreasonable! I just can't afford it. right now.2CV cost over £900 to fix. I'm not even on a basic state pension. Crazy.Maybe in a few months. But will have to go through whole procedure again coz they wouldn't scan my docs.

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  17. I often wonder when the building will cease and people will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature again. :(

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  18. sorry to be a pest Carol, but I have a question. How do you get multiple pics on your posts? I'm on blogger too but it only lets me use one, is there another way? (much appreciated)

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    1. Tool bar ...Click Image ...select a file...click choose file..should be able to upload 5/6 pics at a time..click on one you want, then delete after use.

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  19. Hope your car is now well again and as for that council ,well I have no words,none that I could use on here anyway.

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    1. Quite. I could use some, but do not wish to be sued..

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  20. Sorry to hear about the car and the passport-these things come in waves. As for the allotment...It must get better. I mean St. Helens almost Widnes but not quite.

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