A Good Weekend

It was a good weekend. I was quiet, saw the Carnival, heard the fireworks,   watched TV in the evening when I should have been mixing in with the local festivities. Never mind – the BBC had two programmes supporting anarchy. Very well done.

Fun ahead next week at the Peace News Summer Camp at Diss, Suffolk. See you there. Good food, interesting discussions, be part of a growing movement.

Felixstowe Recorded Music Society: Member’s Choice

3rd May 2017
YOUR CHOICE

Norman Sennington (Chairman) had kindly volunteered to present this programme of our choices. As he said, he enjoyed seeing other people’s choices. There was something of a shortfall, which he made up with some selections of his own. He started with an organ work that Heather had had to omit from her programme for reasons of time. As she would have said then:
“Early last year we visited both of Liverpool’s Cathedrals. Both really interesting buildings, great contrast. Didn’t hear either organ playing but when I got back I looked out a CD I had of organ music. The point of a cathedral organ (for me) is loud music, and the tracks from the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral were all a bit….muted: so I put the CD away again. However in October we went to Canterbury Cathedral for the first time (where it really went against the grain that there was an entry charge of £12.00 plus per person!) and I remembered the CD had some grand music played on that organ.
“Here is Scherzo in G minor by Mario Enrico Bossi (1861-1925). His father and his son were also composers and organists.”
It was played on the organ at Canterbury Cathedral by Alan Wicks.
It was followed by Ivan’s choice, and as so often he had come up with something unfamiliar. An opera by Francois-Joseph Gossec, 1734 to 1829: The Triumph of the Republic, first performed in 1793. We heard three short extracts, which Norman had chosen being given a free hand by Ivan, from Scene 2. (Ivan himself was at a special celebration with his wife.) The role of Thomas was sung by Makato Sakurada, tenor, (and Norman noted it is unusual to hear a Japanese opera singer), with Salome Haller, soprano, and Coro della Radio Svizzera Lugano, Coro Calicantus, I Barochisti and Diego Fasolis.
Norma’s choice came next, the much loved Trout Quintet by Schubert, the first movement. The Trout Quintet is the popular nickname for the Piano Quintet in A, D667, as the fourth movement is a theme and variations on Schubert’s song Die Forelle. It was composed in 1819, when he was 22 years old, but it was not published until 1829, a year after his death.
Rather than the usual line up of piano and string quartet, it is written for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass. The composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel had arranged his own septet for the same instrumentation and the Trout was actually written for a group of musicians coming together to play Hummel’s work.
It was played here by members of the Kodaly Quartet, with Istvan Toth on double bass and Jeno Jando on piano.
Like Ivan, Rosalie often finds something new for us to hear, as she often does at Christmas. Unfortunately, she was unable to be present this evening, but she had nominated an interesting piece: the Canzone by Bruch. Literally “song” it was written for cello and orchestra but was played here to lovely effect by Sergei Nakariakov on the trumpet. As Rosalie had written “It’s a beautiful melody, even more plaintive when played by brass”. The Philharmonia was conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Mike had elected Gottschalk his Misere du Trovatore, a operatic paraphrase for piano of Verdi’s opera. It was played by the Gottschalk specialist Philip Martin. Gottschalk uses a device perfected by his contemporary, Sigismond Thalberg, of playing the melody with the thumbs freeing up the fingers for ornate decoration.
On 30th March, our local cinema had shown by direct relay from the Royal Opera House, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, in a memorable performance directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, with Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho as Butterfly and Argentinian tenor Marcelo Puente as Pinkerton, conductor Antonio Pappano. Norman had seen it and said it had been a treat. He had chosen a recording of the Act I Love Duet, with Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufman. The Orchestra and Coro Dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia also conducted by Antonio Pappano. (A recording from 2009.)
Interval
Ann had nominated Gerald Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto, Op 31. We heard the First Movement, played by Robert Plane, with the Northern Sinfonia conducted by Howard Griffiths.
Alan Lott, who is due to give us a presentation next year, was unable to be present but he had also made a selection. Unfortunately, his preferred choice – the famous minuet by Boccherini – was not available that evening but we heard a movement from the same composer’s Cello Concerto, No. 2 in D, G479, played by Tim Hugh, cello, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Anthony Halstead. [A cynic might have noted that all four concerti on this disc have movements of almost identical length!]
Having run out of suggestions received, Norman chose the next few pieces. From Rosalie’s CD, No Limit, Nakariakov playing the Meditation from Thais by Massenet, also arranged for trumpet.
He also reverted to Mike’s CD of Gottschalk with a rather more energetic piece, Souvenir d’Andalousie. It is a piece that uses traditional dance patterns, including that used by Ernesto Lecuona in his Malaguena.
Norman recalled that earlier in the year there had been some discussion about Florence Foster Jenkins, about whom a film had appeared last year. She was, it may be recalled, the wealthy socialite who thought she was an opera singer. Stephen Frears, who directed the film, researched by watching films of her performing and had said: “You’re laughing and she touches you. It’s inherently ridiculous and courageous at the same time.” This was a recording originally made for Melotone Studios, (and financed by Jenkins) between 1941 and 1944, of Adele’s Laughing Song from Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. It was not easy to listen to!
Another Strauss closed our evening – Richard Strauss and At Gloaming, from his Four Last Songs, sung by Gundula Janowitz, with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

A Week of Contrasts

I probably need to get rid of the black dog first. It’s right that you should do what you wish, not just respond to the demands of others. I’m a sensitive soul and two events this week were enough to through me off balance. When I was  sadly let down. Nuff said, time to move on. The rest of the week was good if I ignored the rest of the world. My government is now threatening Russia – what’s the matter with them? Not in my name!

Went to Leiston (location of nuclear power stations – ugh!) to see a group of shanty singers from Sheringham. Forgot where Leiston was so went sailing past the turn, nearly reaching Lowestoft! Turned round and got there eventually!

Went to an Indian restaurant Cinnamon My beautiful companion enthused so much promising to include a visit on her birthday. It was good. Not sure I’ll make the birthday guest list, from what she was saying she has a lucky victim already selected. It’s one advantage of being an old man, as I no longer pose a threat, or even a prospect!

Then to St Margaret’s Church, Leiston, a beautiful place, well worth a visit even without the singers. Magnificence in a small church – please visit.

That was Friday – excellent group of lads from Sheringham, so good that no-one bothered to smash in the head of the guy with a Nowich City  Football Club scarf (that typo is deliberate).

Saturday saw a different church, St John’s Felixstowe, different women and a change of atmosphere. My lovely friend Maggie played the violin as part of the orchestra for an oratorio about Hercules. Not my favourite work, and it lasted just two performances when originally performed. However the soloists, orchestra and the choir did a sterling job. We are so lucky that so many folk practise for hours just to receive a few claps from the audience, and a mound of personal satisfaction. Why do we waste so much money on foreign footballers and nothing on locally-created arts?

Shared lunch with Maggie at Bencotto’s before she left to rehearse. Surprised at the lack of vegetarian options, yet it remains my favourite place in town.

Fragile Life

Sidney George Forsdike, aged 90It’s been a week! (working from Friday)

My old friend George fell over dislocating his pelvis. George is 90, so was sent off to hospital where he received the best NHS treatment. Our health service is such a blessing, even though our present government is trying to destroy it so that private companies can make profits.

He soon lost consciousness and various bodily functions started to break down. Despite the best efforts of the medical team his body decided to leave this earth yesterday. A welcome relief. He’d had a good life. For all of us there’s a time to go.

George ran a flower nursery for over 50 years, with his wife Clare. Retiring they moved to Felixstowe, to a lovely apartment overlooking the sea. Only months later Clare died, leaving George on his own for the better part of twenty years.

He was a quiet, self-contained ole Suffolk boyo. Yet he took a lively interest in current affairs (was one of the few who read my blog) and was ‘computer literate’.

We created his biography ‘Cats and Chrysanthemums’  and later Ann Kearney recorded an audiobook version ISBN 978-1898030850 both available.

Good luck George. Nice knowing you.

 

 

Our Country: UK

Ken Loach was given a BAFTA this week for his latest film, I, Daniel Blake He has been making films since 1962, all of which have contained valuable social comments, starting with Cathy Come Home in 1966.

At the award ceremony Ken Loach said that the film highlighted the way in which the present government treated the poor. ‘

I was disappointed to see a Facebook comment from a man called John Smith (sic) stating that celebrities should not use a public platform to air controversial views. He was supported by a number of people.

They, in turn, had all used a public platform toput across their arguments. We must presume that their real complaint was that Ken Loach had a wider audience. No mention was made of the cause of his complaint, and the subject matter of his film, or that he’d been a social campaigner for many years.

This defence of an awful government policy is now part of the changing public scene. Don’t defend but instead attack the character of the person making a complaint.

This is but a small step away from dictatorship. Disagree with the status quo and be damned.

I started a community radio station, and wanted to question local politicians. Very quickly I was attacked, my character maligned and most politicians would not agree to being interviewed by me.

Living in an area that had returned a solid Conservative majority for many years they were not used to having their decisions questioned. It was surprising how quickly members of my team turned against me.

Today the radio station has a director who has a very dubious reputation, who has tried to run a commercial station in the past and left behind a mountain of debt. He has removed most of the voluntary presenters, refuses to allow any community diiscussion and believes he will make money from advertisers.

He will fail – again.

The shame is that the town will also lose a valuable platform. Discussion is vital if we are to live and work together. The station did that. It also encouraged emerging talent, allowing school children to have teir own programmes, to run talent shows, and be involved in local events.

The station now breaks OfCom rules every day. The people are no longer able to coplain.

 

Sizewell C response

Sizewell C

This is my submission to the Consultation: Trevor Lockwood BSc FRSA

I have read the Sizewell C Stage 2 Pre-Application Consultation document and the Summary document.

Before addressing the substance of these documents I wish to comment:

1. The UK spends over £2 billion every year at its main research establishment at Sellafield.

In that case why are we allowing two foreign countries to build our new nuclear power plants?

2. These consultation document are produced by the contractor: doesn’t the government, on behalf of the people, have a Response to Consultation with a more detailed specification? Work is now planned to start, largely on the speculations stated in these documents, and that raises great concern. Not just the speed but that the contractor seems to be driving the project.

3. No alternatives have been considered. We are presented with two, not one, but two EPR reactors. These raise questions:

3a) Are these the best, most reliable nuclear reactors available?

3b) How much will they cost – assuming that estimates at this stage are likely to at least double (in real terms) by the start of production and continue to rise throughout their life.

3c) It will be raised again but the waste from this facility is to remain on site – yet the eustatic effects to this stretch of coastline will affect the site before it is planned to end.

4. Alternative systems

This contractor’s outline assumes that this is the only decision to be considered. However with a ten-year construction time frame other options need to be considered.

4a) Better location: a safer location needs to be examined. What evidence is there to categorically state that Sizewell is the best site in the UK? Or is it just the cheapest? At least eight locatons could be viable.

4b) Russia is now building a Tesla Tower. If this works it will produce unlimited power, and nuclear power will not be required.

4c) Alternative fuels, namely Thorium, could be used. It will not make plutonium (weapon grade fuel) but is inherently safe and renewable. No serious objections have ever been raised, and it has been tested and found to be workable.

4d) Renewable energy: Several countries, including Holland, are creating local area linked power units using alternatives, such as solar panels -solar-battery powered cars are now being used to store excess energy. The comparative costs, flexibility and safety make such systems viable alternatives.

4e) Hows wll the generated power be transferred to points of us? We now now that copper is not the only transfer vehcile, and other formats could allow different system: local generation, long-distance transfer fro (say) desert areas.

Let me now turn to the Consultation 2 Document

References shown here refer to the paragraph headings of the Consultation Document. These are only the most obvious questions raised, and I’ll admit that by Section 8 I’d become so diillusioned that I couldn’t continue. Clearly there are too many variables that have not been examined, and too many assumptions made, so that the whole document is not more than the rablings of an undergraduate essay.

1.2.1 EDF is described as one of the largest energy companies in the UK. That a foreign company can make such a claim, during a time when we are planning to leave the EU, is inherently dangerous.

1.3.1 The NPS-EN1 and NPS-EN6 are now outdated, and will certainly be before this project is completed. They can no longer be relied upon.

3.3.1 If there is an urgent need for energy then nuclear power is not the answer. Alternatives are available, for example: all new housing should be energy efficient – with solar panels or other renewables.

3.3.3 Nuclear power is not clean, secure or affordable when its lifetime is considered.

Sizewell is only one of eight sites considered. It is by far the most dangerous. With a crumbling coastline, too close to Europe and in the middle of a tourist area and AONB.

3.3.9 Replacing an SSI does not provide a workable substitute – you can’t serve notice of ejection upon wildlife.

3.5 The National Police Statements provide too many objections, particularly defence interests; – less than 40 miles from the European coast, coastal change; changes daily, with flooding as a risk. Traffic with only the A12 (an unimproved A road0 already overloaded in summer, landscape and visual and aircraft movements all in danger.

4.2 It\s assumed that only 1,500 of the planned 5,000 workers will come from the UK. The back page of the Summary lists contact details for Portuguese, Polish, Bengali, Lithuanian and Romanian potential workers.

The assumption is that these foreign workers will form the greater part of the workforce. No training for UK workers is seriously considered. Cheap workers from abroad will do nothing to increase the skills base of UK workers.

4.2.10 Daily movements are not properly considered. Weasel words and phrases will not suffice. This is beautiful countryside that cannot be replaced once ruined.

4.2.13 Landing wharfage has been reduced from Stage 1 – to reduce costs. A better strategy would be to insist that all materials are brought by sea. Both Felixstowe and Lowestoft are equipped to handle larger vessels and to part load to Sizewell.

4.3.2 No mention is made of the long-term storage of nuclear waste – for perhaps thousands of years. It is to remain at this site! Just to save the contractor money, and leave the problem to the local population.

4.4.4 Rail route seems an excessive cost for a temporary structure – as it cuts across farmland. What will be the cost of re-establishing and compensation?

4.4.10 and 4.4.15 exit and access is plans unclear, and will slow traffic on A12 considerably – turning right or left will be a problem.

Figure 4.10 seems a better option but I’m unable to judge.

5.3 and 5.4.5 Employment, skilled employment, is vital to this area. At this stage temporary and long term tasks should be identified – those having long-term potential should be reserved for local people, and the appropriate training systems put in place now.

5.4.16 Remembering the problems at Leiston of Sizewell B workers there must be concern that this is prevented this time. It is proposed that temporary accommodation for some 3,000 workers will be constructed.

Why can’t this be planned as a permanent village to help with our housing crisis? I suspect it’s about cost – 4-storey portacabins are cheaper. Very short-term thinking. Costs of restitution will be considerable – why not think ahead.

5.5.13

This will have an adverse affect on tourism. During construction there will be excess traffic, pile driving, civil disruption by young workers. Towns, like Aldeburgh, may never recover.

5.5.21 Community safety plans are inadequate. Reporting events after they happen do not restore confidence.

6.5 Traffic management – this is an old-world agricultural community. It will not react well to disruption. The modelling graphs (Figure 6.2 etc) are inaccurate (no weekends shown, no daily flows).

6.8.15 Air quality measures should also consider the continuous easterly polluted air flow from Felixstowe’s 3.35 million TCU movements

7.3.2 This is nonsense – build a pond beside a sea that is likely to flood until a UK Geological Disposal Site is available – that is NOT going to happen. We shall leave this nuclear waste for future generations. That is wrong.

7.4.14 put beside the hedgerow removal we have seen in Suffolk over recent years this is a disgraceful restoration.

7.4.41 A cut-off wall is currently being modelled? What will happen when you pump away all the water needed for agriculture? What volumes are you considering?

7.4.51 fishermen now fish close to the warmed water outlet. Will CEFAS study really provide assurances required? It needs clarification.

7.4.66 As an ecologist I’m really concerned that you believe a mitigation strategy is all that is required.

SSI Crossing

The Thames Crossway project has eight tunnel boring machines – rent one for here, the Options given will not work.

7.5.36 et al That’s OK then. God has spoken sea wind and tide have been warned – there will never be another event like 1953, Dunwich will be returned. EDF marketeers have decided.

You state that a jetty will cause no problems nor will any dredging – how much spoil will be removed – can we sell it to the Dutch? Analysis is required.

For much of the remaining sections of the document I am too close to apoplexy to be safe to continue.

A four-storey accommodation block is to be screened by vegetation. Noise will be prevented. Modelling is continuing, environmental areas will be replaced – so it goes on. This is all written by a team of skilled liars.

We don’t need these constant references that the contractor plans to look at this problem – there are far too many.

There’s no appreciation that this is the closest portion of coastal land for most people. That it is a tourist area – visited by millions every year. That there is an internationally important nature reserve, which is just a stage in development of wildlife access that will stretch to Lowestoft,and link to the Broads.

I was a surveyor that worked on the Sizewell B training centre at Cliff Quay, Ipswich – which was an afterthought to the Sizewell B construction. A similar facility is not even mentioned here.

My patience ran out at this point. Here we are at Section 8, still writing about temporary works. Where’s the long-term development? Where’s the discussion about alternatives.

Why is this just a speculative document produced by a foreign contractor?

What are the implications of Brexit? How will the UK develop its own skill base? Why can’t we build this ourselves.

Can we see a financial comparison of the different energy options before assuming that this nuclear plan, using outmoded ideas, stuck alongside this environmentally sensitive coast is the only option we have.

I’m convinced it is not

Bank Holidays

Fiona Bruce: photo Karen StoneUsually they are cold and windy – it’s a corporate plot to make you feel like going to work on Tuesday. Thia year it’s likely to be cold and wet on Tuesday -l that may make more people stay in bed?

Nothing much has happened. There’s a new crew presenting Top Gear, not that I watched it – challenging Fiona Bruce and antiques? Who do you think I am? There’s hardly any programmes about antiques on the BBC, certainly no more than two a day. I wonder we have any antiques left in the country, and how long we are meant to suffer the stupidity of shows such as Antiques Roadshow where an ‘expert’ teams up with a ‘celebrity’ as they tour the country to find antiques in a selection of junk shops. When I worked in the antique trade it was the other way round. We went to auctions to buy stuff that we then sold to shops.

You can see the weakness in the programme as the poor shopkeeper is forced to give a discount to this motley TV crew (are they the ones paid over £150,000? I hope not), usually knocking off half the price. Whenever I’ve tried to do the same the shopkeeper has usually turned grumpy. Continuing this facade the get their loot to an auction, which has very few potential customers so that often means that they sell at a loss. It’s at that point I realise they are spending the BBC Licence fee on this daily diet of rubbish, and start to fume.

The BBC remain scared of this government. The Culture Secretary, Whittingdale, clearly has an Australian friend who’s keen to knock the BBC off its perch. I can’t understand this insane belief that somehow a company intent on making a profit for its shareholders, above all else, can do a better job than other systems – for example; the present BBC being a better idea than allowing an ancient Aussie dominate our media even more, even though he’s now receiving regular injections of a youth hormone from another wife (is that the right way round?)

There’s a terrible suspicion that, for some reason, this government are intent on destroying the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. All they talk about is finding foreign investors, and now we find that much of London is owned by these foreigners, most of whom have the places as an investment, and just leave them empty. Yet we have a housing crisis. Where are all the new immigrants going to live?

Biggest shock for me this week is that we are buying new tanks. That’s a shock for several reasons. Are we about to invade somewhere? That’s what tanks do. They help us to dominate local areas, usually by blowing the opposition apart, then breaking down. Sometimes (invariably) that’s the other way round.

Is that why we are not making these tanks ourselves? Can’t trust the Welsh to produce steel . No expertise left in Birmingham or Sheffield? Who knows. Probably has something to do with price and Gideon (our Chancellor of the Exchequer) believing it is cheaper to get the steel needed for these tanks from Sweden, and then employ the Spanish to build the tanks. It’s madness. Penny-pinching stupidity. Hope they ealise it’s all decimal over there. I once supplied loads of ductwork to a government establishment whose planners had not moved from Imperial to Metric – every duct was a little short. We made a fortune from the variations to that contract.

It’s not long since I helped UK businesses to sell stuff to Spain. They were always excited when we turned up with a new machine – and they would buy. Usually they bought one. At the next exhibition they would arrive with a new piece of kit. Looking closely we could see it was based upon our own product, the one that had appeared at an earlier show. Their version was cheaper, of course, but usually poorly made.

It’s why I remain single. To be good at something you have to keep trying, I think I’ve given up. Great Britain kept trying, and we were Great. Drive down to the Chinese-owned port at Felixstowe and you’ll see a notice emblazoned over a bridge saying ‘Port of Britain’. The Chinese recognise our worth.

Last week in November

It’s been a week. Having moved home I now have a small kitchen which doesn’t have a dishwasher.That’s a minor disaster, after decades of just shoving dirty plates and crockery into a hole in the wall. Remis of me but I’ve discovered that the sink does a very similar job, except it wants me to wash everything. It’s not that big so after a few days I have dirty dishes balanced everywhere. This week I decided to be brave, and tackle the problem.

Its gone well except I need to change the taps (you can call them faucets if you wish, but I don’t see why). At present I have two taps: one is hot, very very hot, the other is cold. My hands need to make a choice.That’s just another job, I’ll get a plumber to sort that out. Except I’ve now redesigned my kitchen (in my head) and if I get a combination oven/microwave, do away with the oven, then there may be space for a dishwasher.

That’s my domestic problems solved.

Went to Norwich to the Northern Ballet’s production of Nutcracker http://northernballet.com/the-nutcracker. Good performance from a company that gives opportunities to relatively young dancers. Scaling productions down to fit into theatres for which sets have not been designed can be difficult, and the full corps de ballet often had to enter the stage in smaller sections. They all did a splendid job.

The Norwich Theatre Royal has just announced that the Russian State Ballet of Siberia will perform, Giselle, the Snow Maiden and The Nutcracker between 18-20 February 2015. As that covers my birthday I’m tempted to go to each ballet. Perhaps stay over in Norwich – that’s an exciting prospect; foreign travel.

Normally I choose the matinee performances, as it’s so much easier to catch the train from Felixstowe: 9.28 is first cheap-day return. That allows for a stroll around Norwich, a spot of lunch then to the theatre. Catching the 5pm train home allows me to get home before the wicked weasels start to roam the dark streets.

As I write I’m about to leave for tonight’s performance of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya by Open Space Theatre at the Fisher Theatre, Bungay. I shall take my delightful companion to the Three Cooks restaurant, just a few steps away from the theatre. Exciting stuff.

You may know that the new owner of the Spa Pavilion has been trying to wrestle the website www.spapavilion.co.uk away from me. The mediation procedure has failed, so now he must go to adjudication. We shall see what happens.close_of_mediation_registrant3393828251733907405

I’m also involved with the Corey Tyler Foundation (CRF) who have been served notice to quit their facility in Laydens, the former WRVS kitchen, by the owners: ABLE, who are a community interest company apparently controlled by the United Reform Church. I say apparently because they have been very difficult to contact. CRF must quit by 30th December – which does little to help all those who were looking forward to food, and entertainment, over the holiday period.

People must learn to communicate.

Do Keep Up Felixstowe

Just a quick catch-up. These are the blogs about Felixstowe that I’ve added so far this year. There will be more – and Deben Radio should start to carry more content – that will interest you.

Bread Shop Chat local chit-chat about David Cameron

Diesel Pollution bad in Felixstowe

Felixstowe Super Distribution Centre just the start of Port-Centric behaviour

Getting Close: Elections

Forward Felixstowe

Spa Pavilion the lost cause.

Felixstowe Democracy There is none

Felixstowe – my town

Recovery: a medical experience how to respect your Practice Nurse

Corey Tyler Community Centre

Abbey Grove Felixstowe

Ombudsman refuses action A Bloor Homes continuation

Bread Shop chat

Bakery 118C Hamilton Road FelixstoweThere’s fear in the air in my town. Nobody is afraid of a bear, lion or even a spider jumping out. It’s more insidious. Partially summed up in the bakers this morning: a lady suddenly said.’that Cameron is from the Dark Side.’

We all looked at her and waited. ‘People think he’s OK, nice and smiley, but he’s dangerous.’

Another voice chipped in, ‘Either that or he’s bloomin stupid.’

‘Yea that’s more likely, he’s just a front man for the real devils.’

‘We’ve not seen nothing yet,’ chipped in another voice. This time it came from a big lad who’d just bought a big piece of chocolate sponge.

‘That should be £3.50, but I’m only charging £1.75,’ said the baker’s wife, tossing her head so we could all see the latest colours in her hair. Beautifully Bohemian our baker and his wife. Lovely to see a young couple making it work, and filling their shop with customers every day.

‘Heard him on Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. He didn’t answer one question. Turned it round to accuse the other side,’ a very small voice broke in,

‘It’s not right. He sounds like the school bully.’

The big lad had opened the chocolate sponge bag, ‘I expect he was. Wouldn’t have got away with it at my school.’

We all looked at the big lad, and could see what he meant.

‘There’s one consolation for us old ‘uns. They’ll never take away the bus passes. They’d not dare. I just came in from Trimley, the bus was full, but all of us used a bus pass. There’d be a revolution if they took that away.