Happy Crimble

I’m working (well thinking) about how to present this site in 2019.

Until then, let’s all keep drinking and be merry – and spread love everywhere.

Stop, Search and Detain

Back in my day (watch the blue lamp swinging) in London (the Metropolitan Police) we used S66 Metropolitan Police Act 1839 which with reasonable suspicion allowed police to stop search and detain anyone suspected of committing an offence.

It was the most valuable method we had of detecting lawbreakers.

It was surrounded by case law. Every possible situation had been dealt with before,and a case stated that could be relied upon.

Over recent years that power has been reduced. Often because of that oft-quoted phrase, ‘You are only doing this ‘cos I’m black.’ That was rarely the case, although I’ll not defend the occasional racist. 

It had an important influence. Everyone knew we had that power. It was rarely questioned. It helped to continue the reputation that we then enjoyed, with cries of ‘Aren’t our police wonderful!’

As a police sergeant I had an important duty. A person brought before me, having been detained  was taken to the Charge Room. There the arresting officer would describe the actions taken before the arrest, and the reason for the arrest. I would question both the officer and the arrested person.

At that point I would make a decision. Should this person be charged, and for what offence? Was there sufficient evidence to justify that charge?

If there was, in my opinion, insufficient evidence the person would be released. On some occasions they were bailed to reappear at a later stage, if further enquiries were needed.

Or they were formally charged and cautioned.

They would appear at the local Magistrates Court as soon as practicable.

My part in the operation normally ended at that stage.

As I left the police, to go to university, I was interviewed by my local Commander. Asked why I was leaving I said we were losing touch with the people. Young officers were no longer walking the streets, getting to know people. Instead they were, in pairs, in cars responding to emergency calls. The young officers believed that everyone they met was stressed, or a criminal. Decent folk did not enter their lives.

My Commander told me he’d mark my papers, not to be re-employed without a fundamental change of attitude.

So ended my career as a police officer. Months later my marriage collapsed.

Weekly Moan

Doesn’t time fly – and I’ve not been well. Busy day today, Had breakfast, put first load of washing in machine. Discovered that a similar version of my little hovel was on the market for over twice the price. No idea why. Estate agents suggest it’s in a better area. That’s not true: they may have a convent up the road, but we have a Catholic Church, a restaurant, and a wine bar just 200 metres away. They have a long uphill walk into town, and it’s on a main road.

Never mind. I pumped up air on car tyres, checked oil and water. I know there’s a brake bulb blown but that will have to wait until the car is serviced next week.

Joy of joys. I bought a replacement key for my Smart car on eBay. It was quite simple to split the old key apart, clip one piece of the new key into place, and, bingo, I’d saved £200, that’s what Mercedes Benz had wanted to charge me. To make life really sweet I went to see the Parts Department at the local Mercedes-Benz garage, and they have repaid the £70 deposit I’d paid way back in August.

Second lot of washing is about to go on. Just discovered that the ‘Vanish’ stain remover I often use (blackberry juice this time) have another product; deep clean carpet cleaner – I have two bottles, that I’ve been using as clothes cleaner. Ah well/ Probably shouldn’t use either as they may be pollutants.

Trimmed back the plants outside my door as a neighbour had complained. Without moaning about it really being the gardener’s job I had snipped the heads off the offenders within seconds of receiving the complaint. Trouble with old ladies is they have short-term memory loss. No doubt she’ll remember my groping her at a dance forty years ago. That’s why I will not stand a chance of working for Donald Trump.

That’s a relief!

Jeremy Corbyn

Our mainstream Press and broadcast channels are frightened. Every day they unearth a story about Corbyn, most of which is untrue.

Why this bias?

Several reasons: our Press are foreign-owned. The owner of the Daily Mail – which doesn’t deserve to be called a newspaper is owned by a 30-yr-old billionaire who doesn’t live in the UK, nor does he pay taxes in our country.

A socialist government has tended to produce policies that benefit the people. Bad news for the rulers, who want to dominate and subjugate the majority. How can our world accept that ten people have the same money as Three Billion? It’s unacceptable.

Over the last years, since 1979 when Thatcher came to power, we have seen the steady erosion of our rights. Thatcher started the process, pretending to sell us national utilities that we already owned. Speculators seized opportunities and now most of our national assets are foreign owned, and we are exploited daily.

I keep saying, ‘I’m glad I’m old’ but I have children and gradnchildren. When will they revolt against this ghastly regime?

TV Adverts Tour de France

I’m really old-fashioned, and only watch BBC TV – which doesn’t carry adverts.

For the past three weeks I’ve been glued to ITV4. It carries the Tour de France, and I love the drama of it all. It starts innocuously, then a few riders will break away from the Peloton (technical term meaning the main body of riders). Each day they cover 150+ kilometres, travelling at 30-45km/hr. Exhausting work, and that continues for three weeks. I’m full of admiration for all those involved. Not just the riders; there’s a horde of support vehicles, dozens of motorbikes, who provide support, water, cameramen, and police, and at least five helicopters. All of these folk buzz around the cyclists (they are much more than that, they are superb sportsmen) all day. It’s incredible that they don’t bump into each other, more often.

In this heat the Tour de France gives me the opportunity to fill a jug of water, perhaps the odd snack and to sit on my backside for about four hours. Constant attention is needed you never know when there will be a breakaway. Collisions do happen, and can be both damaging to the riders and spectacular.

It can be annoying. Given half a chance they will break for adverts. Not only are these banal they are repeated again and again. It makes me question the logic of TV supported by adverts. It’s even more ridiculous when you realise that companies like Sky charge monthly fees and then also force its customers to watch adverts. Who has gone mad?

ITV clearly buy the coverage from another company. That lucky bunch also give their signals to about 200 other TV companies worldwide. It makes BBC’s licence fee such a joy. Another way, used by many of my friends, is to pre-record the event, then replay without adverts. Some recorders will do that automatically, others allow you to revel in not watching adverts as they flash on the screen as you scoot towards the next portion of the show.

Whilst I’m in a moaning mood I’ll just mention the commentators. They are all experts, knowing all about cycle racing. They tend to forget they have an audience. The TV pictures move around a lot, hopping from one group of riders to another. The commentary does two things I dsislike. They don’t link their chat to me, and they assume that I know all the riders. Giving out rider numbers would help.

Must go, the Tour starts in a minute.

Felixstowe Future

We’ve been asked for our views of the future for Felixstowe.

When you live in a town it’s not easy to be objective. Generally most of us will say we love this town, especially those who were not born in Suffolk.

Housing

Like everywhere we have a fair majority of incomers. Not sure it’s local government planning to encourage well-heeled newcomers. There is a lack of so-called social housing, making it very difficult for our young folk to stay in the town. The old-style Council housing helped to ensure that link that allowed people to move as their lives changed. Market forces don’t allow for such flexibility.

We have the spectre of Trinity College in our vision. Trinity are the third-largest property owners in the country, having been given all the lands once owned by the Church by King Henry VIII. Every decade they have arrived in Felixstowe and built a housing estate, making a lot of money. None of that income is returned to the town. I have suggested, in the past, that the college should provide bursaries for Felixstowe children and 20 acres of land be set aside to create a Centre of Building Excellence. Both ideas have been rejected. Thats a pity because Trinity should form closer links. One French example is now printing houses, much cheaper than conventional methods, and this region has a real need to examine a range of options, and not, as at present, rely upon national housebuilders. They do little to enhance an area, and estates usually lack facilities, encouraging more traffic and failing to build communities.

The Council should encourage self-build. That will encourage local initiative and create character.

The Council gave Bloor Homes 17.5 acres of coastal land. As far as I am aware no money changed hands. The Council has consistently stuck to its line that this was a commercial contract, effectively meaning that the true owners of the land should never know.

It could be argued that too many of the Felixstowe South dwellings are now used as second homes. We’ll never know. The Waverley Hotel development produced a number of apartments. I understand that the whole development was bought by one foreign concern. A good indication of the state of our country today.

The Bartlet complex was left to the community by Dr Bartlet in 1918, built in 1928 to provide respite care for elderly people. That’s now gone without any substitute in place. We have ‘bed blockers’ in our hospitals instead. Many of the patients in our Felixstowe Hospital are from elsewhere. The Bartlet meanwhile has been tastefully developed.

Infrastructure

There’s a decline in all services. Transport does not improve. With our town, and the Kirton and the Trimleys, together with the new developments, all using the same exit routes we are in danger of being strangled by traffic. It’s hard to leave town in the rush hour. With the increasing encroachment by the Port upon our railway it can only get worse.

That difficulty can be turned to our advantage. Once here it’s not easy to leave, so stay. Use our local facilities. Still too many shops are closing, even the charity shops are finding it more difficult. We need a local bus service that never leaves the peninsular. Too much emphasis is allowed for the needs of commercial operators. It’s time our local needs were acknowledged.

The shared space doesn’t work. Imagine being a three-year old breathing in so many noxious gases, to what advantage? There was an inspired suggestion made by the previous owner of the Wharf who saidt the ‘shared space’ area be turned into a covered esplanade, allowing open air restaurants and other facilities. She wanted to emphasise our Edwardian roots.

One fatal mistake made by the Council was to reject the escalator to bring people from beach to the town.It would help to keep the town alive, and could have generated income.

Another lost opportunity was the sale of the Spa Pavilion for £1. It is now clear it was a wasted opportunity, that could have encouraged much better use of that building. There is now no publicly owned public space where we can all assemble, although a large hall at the Leisure Centre could be upgraded, perhaps turned into a small theatre.

Plans now seem to include a new sports centre. A good idea, although we do have interests beyond football. The sailing club at the Ferry needs proper training facilities.

There’s a plethora of yellow lines most of which are, quite rightly, ignored. They are not necessary, and should be removed. In any event our police service no longer really exists on the streets.

There is a feeling that the Councils no longer represent the people. They have instead become intent on saving money or making money to cover their own expenses. We need a more active opposition, or a public forum where available money to be spent should be publicly broadcast, with public meetings where voters decide on the allocation of resources.

We had a Blue Flag Beach taken from us to save money. A form of madness, that was no better than the coastal engineering works designed to save our beaches, which are already showing that they will not work.

The pier development and Mannings Amusements are legacies left by a bygone age. They do little to attract people to the town. The Sunday Market is disappearing, probably for the best. Very few stallholders came from our town. A choice has been made: the southern end of the beach attracts traditional ‘kiss me quick’ hats whilst on the other side of the pier with the Alex, the Fludyers, the Golf Club and Felixstowe Ferry bringing a different clientele. How long that can persist is questionable.

Commerce

There’s a naive belief that the Port is the lifeblood of the town. The Chinese owners are not interested in our town, but in exploiting the commercial opportunities offered by our location. In recent weeks we have seen the first moves towards automation with new cranes and container handlers. Look at Rotterdam to see the future for Felixstowe. As an employment centre it will now diminish. We need to create a business centre that does not rely upon the Port.

As retail shops decline online sales increase, which means a swarm of delivery vans, who cause disruption. Why do we allow such chaos. No home delivery vans should be allowed in Felixstowe. All should be sent to a warehouse, built to handle part-load shipments. From there we need a fleet of pollution free vehicles (are you listening Royal Mail?) that deliver to every house, every day. Reduce pollution, increase local employment, set a national standard, revitalise Royal Mail.

That’s enough. Ask again if you think any of this helps.

Relaxing Sunday

That’s what I hoped. It’s not really working out that way. I moved here nearly three years ago. Having some time to spare I decided to spring clean! It’s a bit late but I’m always slow. Started in the airing cupboard, where I’d thrown a lot of boxes, stuffed with those last-minute odds and ends I’d found as I was rushing through my old house on the last day. They’d not been touched since.

What a delight. As I took each item out of a box memories came flooding. There was a super-slim me selling books to a beautiful woman. Taken when I was at university, and we had just published ‘A Students Guide to Success at Geography’. A joint effort by five students at LSE.  I made the Guardian newspaper with an article I’d written about how boys and girls should apply to their college of choice. The Guardian had a feminist page in those days, and its editor regarded my entry as sexist. It wasn’t. That didn’t matter, the publicity meant we sold all our print run. It was my introduction to publishing. Sitting on the floor cutting and pasting copy to send to the printer, having written articles during college lectures.

There was a lovely bunch of photos taken when I led a scientific expedition to the Lake District. We surveyed all the upland water bodies (small lakes). We did a plane table survey: take two points to triangulate to a third unknown point. It’s a slow process, but accurate. In the Royal Geographic Society library I’d found a handwritten account of a British surveyor, with two Indian helpers, who’d walked from Peking up into Mongolia, in about 1880, surveying as they went. Fascinating. If I still paid the fees I’d use my Fellowship to find that text, and republish it.

We’d also taken a canvas boat, all rolled up in a tube. Looked OK until we had to put it in a rucksack, on someone’s back and walk up steep hills. Image a ten foot tall person, with no stability. It was perilous, and dangerous. As a result I designed a small catamaran, four pods, each of which fitted over a rucksack, and two poles. Back home I worked with an engineering student to make a prototype. We used galvanised tin, used to make ductwork, as I was then working as a quantity surveyor and had access to such material. Never did get it made commercially. It’s still an option, for one day.

I’m frustrated at present: the web site software is posing problems, and I can’t load any pictures, but I will soon.

The airing cupboard has left me a great assortment of gear. At the bottom was a box of kitchen cleaning materials and shoe cleaning brushes and creams.

I hope you’ll excuse me stopping now, as I have plenty of work to do in my kitchen, which is deserves a good clean.

World Cup

Immediate Reactions: Day Two

Over-excited

BBC radio commentators should not get so excited. They are there to communicate.Keep calm, talk with urgency and strength. Stop shouting.

On ITV there’s been a Scot (I presume) whom I find very difficult to understand. I’m lazy, and don’t want to concentrate upon speech when my eyes are watching football.

Can anyone tell me of a World Cup team (so far) that doesn’t have a player linked to our football league? Does that tell you something? How can we win when our league is peopled by foreign players? Anyway, are they allowed to take our money abroad?

Professional fouls

These continue to happen, and are increasingly tolerated. They spoil the game. Either

1) Send the offender off immediately, perhaps to a Sin Bin for a period of time, or

2) Allow all fouls without penalty. No matter what is said, some players and teams seem to rely upon such fouls.

3) Praise to Russia. They look as if they will do a good job. There’s no real reason to regard Russia as the enemy. They have a bad human rights record, but so do other countries; USA, North Korea, and Israel spring to mind.

4) Such international events should always be shown on the BBC. That remains our national broadcaster, and if you own a TV or watch online, you must have a licence. There’s no reason why other TV channels should be able to exclude the BBC just because they pay huge sums of money.

The Party’s Over

My dinner party was a great success. Snippets of that will appear as I scrawl my latest thoughts.

This week has seen the awful results of this Government’s decisions rising to the surface like plastic waste. Inward investment has been described as relevant, my local BBC TV Look East boasts that 59 new projects have been financed by foreign investors. The same day Jaguar and Rover announce they are moving production to the Czech Republic. The Czech’s are jubilant. British jobs, and our invaluable skills, will be lost in order to satisfy the short-term profit of a small coterie of investors.

Is it wrong to suggest that the national interest should come first? This is an era of globalisation. It has become one of exploitation. Privatised industries do not work. The much maligned nationalised utilities provided a better service at a lower price, even though the Treasury routinely stole any profit, allowing them all to degrade. Our NHS is slowly being starved, and privatisation allowed to creep in. Our retail industry is creaking, and will collapse unless action is taken.

It’s not a happy situation, and you all know I could rabbit on about the inequalities that are an ever-growing threat. Remember it’s not that many years ago that the industrial revolution condemned the poor to increased penury and the rich owners were allowed to wallow in their estates. Now they pass their mansions over to the National Trust, and charge the poor to see the results of their forebears labour.

National pride has been lost. There are glimmers of hope. Gareth Southgate may bring home some kudos from Russia. I hope he does. My dinner party this week was very successful. I now have a clean and shiny home, after 3 or 4 days of intensive domestic labour. Local shopkeepers have made a few bob, although restaurateurs are shaking their fists.

Shopping has been interesting. Supermarkets hide food. They want to sell ‘added value’ so everything is now gaudily packaged to attract the overworked customer. ‘Don’t wait in a queue’ a lovely sales assistant urges, ‘come here to the self check-out’. She doesn’t realise that her job will be lost as a result. We will buy online so that programmed slaves, like those stuck in a booksellers warehouse, can be exploited and make greater profits for owners and investors.

My antipasta went down well, even though my fridge and store cupboard now contains all the stuff I forgot to serve. Today I shall feast on asparagus, chicken kebab, and left-over mackerel. The slow cooker worked wonders on the shoulder of lamb, even though the young butcher made a hash of removing the bones. Herbs from the garden, a bottle white wine, and garlic (always garlic with lamb) had my guests cooing with delight. Just shows what eight hours sitting on a light bulb can do for their taste buds.

There is still joy in the world. The sun is shining. Young birds are exploring the garden. Cats provide sport for a water pistol (cats must realise they cannot kill 250 million birds without personal cost). I’m off to an old-time musical, at the local sailing club. Last week it was a bluegrass band.

Look local. Buy and enjoy local food. Relish the talents we have in our great country.