Archive for the 'The Fight' Category


Shakespearian

I am feeling a bit icky, why is it that it only takes one despicable person to ruin a very nice day? I was having a lovely time, working for an old client who now has a baby, so I got to make silly faces whilst I worked. And then D breaks the spell by leaving me a rambling message, which is Bleak House related and I think not again. So some person who should know better seems to be behaving in an unethical manner and I feel like the whole thing has moved from Dickensian to Shakespearian, I can’t think of the play right now, but anything with a character who’s vile will do. Really and this is middle class England or maybe that should be, so this is middle class England.

[I want to add there are some nice characters in the play too, well at least one].

Third year

That time of year for this again. This year I was much more vocal, I even got to stand up against 4 x 4’s and was pleasantly surprised that I was not the only one, although someone did shout out what’s wrong with them and I’m proud to say I shouted the ‘environmentally unfriendly’ line back. It’s actually quite nice to talk to some of the neighbours, although I just wish the ‘Bleak House’ thing wasn’t always such a big part of it, but maybe I wouldn’t go if it weren’t for that. It’s quite stressful having the same conversation every year and not getting very far. It was at my old school again, this year in the hall and I was so ‘engrossed’ in ‘Bleak House’ conversation and drugged up, because it’s that time of the month, that I couldn’t switch my brain over to another topic to talk the Principle, so I just stood there looking a bit stupid and I’m disappointed because in theory I had been looking forward to talking to her again. As various issues were brought up, even amazingly our ‘Bleak House’ issue, even if it was in a way that I had to protest against, I realised that we were sitting on the same chairs that had been there in my time and I wondered whether my younger self had ever sat in the chair I was on, I imagined an image flickering back and forth of me then and now.

Days like this…

Where to start? What a day? Even pre-day; I dreamt I was crossing a big road, one with lots of lanes and I was carrying a gun, aware that the drivers were watching me to see what I would do. When I reached the other side it was actually our garden and I had to hide the gun. Powerful or powerless?

I had this big ‘Bleak House’ meeting in the morning (which might explain the dream), after stressing all week about it, it actually went OK. This is an odd thing to notice, but one of the people at the meeting had my Dad’s lips, they were a similar shape, which I took to be a good sign. He turned out to be half-Jewish, we are all related somehow, aren’t’ we?

Then I had a lovely lunch with a friend, because I knew that I was going to need to see a friend after that.

Eventually I ended up at an archive with not much time to do some work.

Leaving at the end of the day, I trotted off to the nearest Waterstones to look at an H. G. Wells book, because apparently there is a description of the character cycling near here – I skimmed through the whole book – my work is having this kind of effect – but didn’t end up buying it – I can’t bring myself to spend £7.99 on a book anymore.

With a migraine threatening to come on I somehow ended up going from Euston to Victoria on a bus, in rush hour, via Oxford Street, part of which was spent sitting opposite a rather drunk woman, only in her twenties, with rotting teeth…

Then 15 minutes to get a train ticket (pictures of serious queues to follow). [added]

I should have let it end there, but no. There was another person who was supposed to be at the ‘Bleak House’ meeting and had just disappeared… so with migraine still threatening, I decided to pop round and see if he was in. He did eventually open the door. We had one of those unsatisfactory circular conversations, which I’m not sure I understood. Then just as I was leaving, who should be at the door, none other than the ex- neighbour herself and part-cause for the ‘Bleak House’ meeting. I swear this is true – she just about looked at me and said, “oh that’s the girl, the girl from next door” just managing to say my surname, as if she was dragging it from the depths of her brain. I just stood there and nodded, I would like to think sagely. She looked like she thought she looked good, but actually she looked small and diminished. Feeling utterly overwhelmed, I went home.

Anna just called from Tesco’s where she is buying gluten free flour so she can bring me an Apple Crumble tomorrow.

It’s days like this that really makes me appreciate my friends.

Neighbours

Just came back from leafleting the estate; informing residents of the Gangster’s new appeal. It seems to be always an eventful experience. This time I had a lovely chat with a semi-retired biochemist (D I think they are the new winners of the longest residents award) our conversation covered hospital based infectious diseases, overdevelopment of the area, government imposed targets and privatization of the NHS. Then I walked by the new principle of my old school, we met last fall and I was supposed to get in touch and never did (and of course I’ve been feeling bad about it). She does seem like a lovely woman, I am thinking “why wasn’t she principle when I was there”, but then I’m not the same person I was then, so I probably wouldn’t have appreciated her… I wasn’t too good with authority figures. We talked about an experience she’d had on a Christian-Jewish program to Israel and Palestine, which sounded very interesting. I again promised to get in touch, I can’t quite see it, but you never know. She asked for my full name and I cringe imagining her checking out my yearbook page.

You know I also saw my old English teacher at the Opera last week – something is going on here.

The visit

We just had our visit from the planning inspectorate for the appeal for next door. It was all very matter of fact; the inspector was not allowed to talk to us other than us pointing out factual things. It was four guys and me, when the inspector talked about the procedure for coming onto our property, he looked at David and not once at me (I imagined waving). There was a guy from the developers, not the gangster, but someone else, checked shirt, too much beer, he didn’t make eye contact with me either, which was just as well, because I couldn’t help but give him my ‘if looks could kill’ look at every opportunity. Then someone from the architect’s office, a suited estate agent type, who seemed friendly enough and a council guy in trainers and T-shirt, those two seemed very buddy, buddy. The architect allowed us onto our neighbors property, I don’t know if I’d ever been in the garden before, what struck both David and myself was just how tiny the gardens for the proposed development would be, much smaller than we had even imagined. We all walked around the estate, the inspector ahead and us straggling behind.

I realized for them and the inspectorate it’s as S said, just business, but for us at the very least it’s our home and our privacy, and emotional issues that connect with my Dad. The butterflies were doing their damnedest in my stomach and I couldn’t eat until everyone had left. Now we have to wait. But in the meantime they have appealed their second application. They waited until they had a date for the inspectors visit so the two could not be linked, an example where government imposed deadlines will lead to a waste of tax payers money, as the whole procedure has to start from scratch and we have to again let our neighbors know what is going on. It seems common knowledge that the system is designed to wear down any opposition to developers and strikes me as a form of government-sanctioned harassment or at the very least bullying. Why for example, are they even allowed to appeal an application that was unanimously voted against, if there had been some ambiguity, then fair enough and why if we lose at any stage do we have no right to appeal at all?

And they can keep putting in similar applications ad infinitum.

Brownfield sites

Politics here: At the moment there is a loophole in the government’s policy that allows gardens to be classed as brownfield sites, thus making it easier for developers to build on them. The developer who bought our neighbors property is trying to use this loophole to get his plans through, so unfortunately I have first hand experience of how this is working. Greg Clark MP has an Early Day Motion to close the loophole. Read more.

Can I urge you to write to your MP and ask him/her to support the Motion.

You can copy and paste the following and send it to your MP before 14 July (find your MP here):

EDM 2130 Removal of gardens from brownfield definition

That this House shares the concern of communities throughout the United Kingdom over the scale of residential development on garden land; recognises that the density and speed of such development can cause irreparable damage to neighbourhood character and cohesion; notes that the loss of garden land threatens urban biodiversity and environmental sustainability in our town and cities; further notes that garden land developments rarely exceed the threshold at which affordable housing must be provided and displaces the regeneration of derelict land; believes the official classification of garden land as brownfield to be inappropriate and misleading; and therefore urges the Government to amend all relevant planning guidance to remove gardens from the definition of previously developed land and thereby return decisions over proposed garden land developments to the discretion of local planning authorities.

Name: …………………………………………………………
Constituency: ………………………………………………
Date: ……………………………………………………………

Please return to the Table Office / fax to 020 7219 5245
/ email clarkg@parliament.uk

Greed

I’m feeling rather disenchanted with the world. Our neighbours had already put in an appeal – knowing something we didn’t? A touch of what it must be like to live in a tin pot state. The way the planning process works is that the applicant, otherwise known as the developer, even if they loose have a right to appeal to the Secretary of State, the opposing side on the other hand has no right to appeal – so it’s a stacked pack of cards and I thought I lived in the civilized world – silly me, yet again. Not only that, but there is no end to the madness as they can keep putting in applications and appealing until the cows come home. Me think’s the law was devised by a rather shrewd developer, but if someone would like to tell me otherwise I’m willing to listen.

Out of this world stress…

We won – we went to the council meeting this evening and all eleven councillors voted against the application our neighbours had put in. It was simply amazing. I wanted to go and shake the hand of every single one of them.

Guy Fawkes

I was already to go out there knocking on doors again when it started raining… So instead I managed to trick myself into starting to do my tax return, it ended up consuming the rest of my afternoon, but I feel rather pleased with myself. Still have a fare bit to do, but at least I’ve made a good start.

Forgot to mention yesterday that when I was talking to one of our neighbours (a couple of blocks away) I was looking at her thinking she looked rather familiar, when she asked if she knew me. Well, we worked out that we had known each other from junior school, which is going back some. It happened once before when this woman walked up to me on the street in town and said my name, I couldn’t place her, but then her name just popped out. I’m not sure I’d remember people I’ve met more recently as those I knew as a kid.

Stayed in with the dog for Guy Fawkes… we have had fireworks all week and Sandy (the dog) is petrified, she tries to make herself as small as possible and lies there visibly shaking. Poor thing, I’m sure it’s traumatizing her.

Cold and hungary

Well, it did turn out to be an adventure after all. I met lots of people who have been neighbours for years. I spent hours and came back rather cold. Expecting the worst I was pleasantly surprised to find most people were friendly. Just hoping after agreeing to do something, that they will. Simon went to get a take away which was waiting for me when I got back. Still have lots of houses to cover so I guess it’s a busy weekend.

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