Eels Foot Inn

Eels Foot InnFancy choosing to leave home on a Bank Holiday. I’m glad I did as I went to Eels Foot Inn at Eastbridge, not far from Leiston and Aldeburgh, Suffolk.

It was a lovely day, and although traffic on the A12 was heavy, it was moving. Using satnav to East Bridge, IP16 4SN soon we were in single-track lanes, with grass growing through the tarmac along the centre. Dappled sunlight broke through the trees, and travelling quietly, we were in an hybrid Lexus, so at low speed there was no engine noise. Bliss.

Eastbridge is a lovely hamlet, with little more than the Eels Foot Inn at its centre. As we turned the last corner to find the pub the atmosphere changed. There was the Inn, small, with a row of tables in front. The car park is at one side of the building. We pulled in to find two petanque courts, with teams playing. The car park was packed with cars (what else?), so we drove around to the rear field – that was even more packed. As we searched for a place we could see many more people, a busy barbecue and signs that a band was about to start playing.

We had stumbled open the Second Eel Foot Petanque Championship. A van, set up to sell petanque equipment, had come from Wales! Lovely atmosphere. Lovely people.

The pub staff should have been flustered and overwhelmed, but they were courteous, even laughing at my feeble jokes, and very efficient. We chose baked crab (how often do you see that on a pub menu) and a lamb-burger. Both were excellent, served with a really tasty salad (and that’s extremely unusual anywhere).

I’ll go no further, except to say the menu was both extensive and attractive. The tenants of this pub deserve to succeed. If you want to impress take someone here. The petanque teams will have gone but there’s the chance to stay in the luxury bed and breakfast, or park your caravan in the adjoining field.

After lunch we went for a walk, making the short drive to Dunwich, and I suggest you do find the church because close by there’s a good garden nursery, with well-cared-for plants, that also has a cafe with cakes, one of which now fits comfortably around my waist. Sitting in the sun, in the garden, with a big pot of tea, was tranquil and glorious. OK, the walk – that was towards Minsmere walking through the heather, in full flower. No web site just for the nursery – but http://www.visitsouthwold.co.uk/establishments/557/Bridge+Nurseries+and+Tea+Room,+Dunwich

A wonderful day.


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Come Out! We Have You Surrounded

We have you surrounded posterA Celebration of People Power

A Celebration of the power of ordinary people to change the world for the better bought to you by the people that organised the 2011 Rebellious Media Conference. A cabaret evening of comedy, personal stories, poetry and music with a hint of the radical.

Remember Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, the anti-roads protests of the 90’s, the march that shock Tony Blair, the Arab Spring, the anti-austerity protests, and all the other times, recent and historical, where people have stood up against injustice? We at Peace News have been participating and reporting on these events since 1936. We’re having a celebration of the power of ordinary and extraordinary people (like you) to transform the world, and we’d like you to join us.

Confirmed performers-
Chris Coltrane
Hedgemustard
Tracey Curtis
Attila the Stockbroker
Songlines Choir

On Sunday 13 October 2013 at 6.30pm at The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH. 020 7258 2925

How Much for Spuds?

Just looking at one staple item sold at supermarkets: potatoes. For 650g they wanted £1.99, that’s means they can sell 1538 packs for every metric tonne. At £1.99 the supermarket makes a gross profit of over £3000, yet the wholesale proces of potatoes this week was, on average, £168 per tonne. £2800 gross profit for the supermarket.

Are we being ripped off?

Potatoes

Aggression

The Internet (in part) seems to have allowed terrible character traits to appear. Many examples areavailable, and I could have chosen most of the movies now made in Hollywood, which demands we watch more and more violence. I noticed that many comments on YouTube videos seem to attacking the comments made by other people. Weird. Why would you want to waste your life doing that?

There is energy out there – and it needs to be tapped, and put to better use. Get a spade and dig some land, then plant seeds. You’ll love it.

The Future

Do we ever spend any time, as Homo sapiens, considering where we are going? What’s it all about? That’s one question that’s difficult to answer but before that can be considered we need to look at what we have, what we are doing. The world is unequal. It is controlled by greed and the lust for power. Should we continue along that road? Is the USA really a world Leader, or is it doing more harm than good – and not just to the rest of the world.

I thought it would be useful to put down a few ideas. Today is just the start.

Divorce

Your own divorce is bad enough, full of pain and intense regret. It should never happen. It’s even more helpless when one of your children is forced into a Divorce Court. Sombre crows, mouths open, hover around hapless litigants anticipating the heavy thud of money into their accounts. It’s a lucrative game, and lawyers have it all sewn up. Administrative rules are complex, there’s little alternative but to employ one of these corvidae, knowing that they will immediately draw others into the team, and that costs will rise.

Who gains from divorce? Rarely the people involved. There must be another way. Perhaps it should be harder to get married in the first place. Many now choose that route, and live in civil partnerships, is that still called ‘sin’ by the other family of crows, the holy apostolic? I care not.

Children always lose. They have lost when the partnership starts to fragment. They face uncertainty, listen to arguments, are unable to separate out the love they feel should be their inheritance. Never again will they truly trust another, that nagging doubt will remain. It is likely that they will repeat the pattern given by their parents, and fail themselves.

It’s a complex question. Is monogamy the natural state? If not how will children and property be dealt with?

For me this is not the day for such questions. I shall sit, ponder and wait for that telephone call. Let’s hope it brings resolution and is not just another stage in the game of egos with money.

NY4U launched

Buy NY4U for your Kindle

I publish books, well I’m back publishing after a long break, see www.braiswick.com. This is my new venture, helping visitors talk to New Yorkers.

NY4U is a new approach to learning a language. Designed to help visitors to understand the language of the streets of New York it describes 250 idioms, everyday phrases and sayings, used by New Yorkers. Putting these into sentences that reinforce understanding. Answers to all the questions are provided. (NY4U = New York For You)

Many students arrive in New York every year, and too many fail because they have not been taught these idioms. This ebook will help. Written by an experienced teacher of English who has worked with students in New York for many years we know this will become essential reading.

More titles will follow, each covering particular sectors of all our lives.

Students will need this ebook, but all visitors to New York will find it helps them to understand what New Yorkers are saying!

Buy NY4U for your Kindle

Local Authority Contracting

With money arriving at Local Economic Partnerships now is the time to get a real grip on the tendering for local authority contracts. A major obstacle for small companies, and social enterprises, is the tender application process which is often far too complicated. There’s been much discussion about simplification but nothing much has happened.

The LEPs could make a useful contribution by liaising with LAs in their area to create a recognised process, to register likely contractors, and to ensure that the basic bones of company structure are in place. Too often hard-working companies are put off from applying because they have to produce, yet again, health and safety docuemnts, work practices, insurance cerificates, certificates of incorporation, lists of directors, details of previous contracts (what if there aren’t any?), referees, bank statements, professional contracts: lawyers, accountants, advisors. There’s often much more before the work for that contract can be tackled.

A considerable problem is that the contract itself may be poorly constructed, it may not appreciate all the elements to be considered, it may impose unreasonable limitations. The process of selection suitable contractors is too often clouded in the secrecy of commercial provacy, in itself an encouragement to corruption. Once awarded it the requires that the Council monitors and supervises the work.

Beyond that I’d suggest we need Councils to find out how their local populace would like their money to be spent. Too often we see Council departments rushing to spend all their fund allocations towards the end of the financial year, often resulting in badly-planned, frequently irrelevant schemes.

Introduction to Rural Strategy

In Suffolk and Norfolk we have New Anglia Local Economic Partnership: http://www.newanglia.co.uk/, something of a contraction from the traditional region of East Anglia which includes Essex and Cambridgeshire.

This LEP now has £12 million to be used to encourage business growth in the area. What shall be done? The danger is that administrators will impose stringent restrictions that will deter small, emerging companies, and instead the money will be gobbled up by larger companies – who are often lethargic, even moribund, and will not produce what is required. To that we could attract EU funding.

There have been attempts to ask local companies what they suggest. The response has been, shall we say, theoretical, certainly it’s been posible to identify what lies behind many of the suggestions.

We now need to expand our mental horizons – and, at the same time, start to look at individual ideas and projects in more detail.

I’ll make a suggestions: we have http://www.producedinnorfolk.com/, and at least one competitor, and there are business directories of various sorts. In Suffolk a different approach has been taken, possibly with less impact.

Could we begin to create a business directory for New Anglia – not just to list the companies but also to sell their produce or services? A great start has been made with http://www.tastesofanglia.com/ and should be expanded, worked in a different way – this is not the place to identify specific projects – but to ask if a small part of that £12 million should be used to build online resources.

BBC Today programme

Why does the BBC R4 Today programme have to include items about or from the United States of America? There’s hardly any European coverage, and we only hear of elsewhere in the world if there’s a disaster with death and mayhem, yet USA tittle-tattle often dominates.

It’s clear the BBC is cutting back its programming, Dad’s Army is always there to fill in the gaps. Perhaps there’s been a deal with America: we’ll broadcast one of yours if you take one of ours? Considering the quality of most American broadcasting the BBC is under-selling this country.

If this country is to win back its Great Britain title we must take a pride in our achievements – and sell them remorselessly, and the BBC is the best marketing device we have, so push aside America and give our own people a chance.