Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dangerous for Dogs

On Friday a number of dog walkers met on Firs Field (see photo) to highlight the poor condition of the perimeter the Field.

On a number of occasions dogs have run out of the field and on to surrounding roads. Cherry and I were contacted by Louise Chambers on behalf of the 'dog walkers' on Firs Field to try to get the perimeter of the Field made secure, as it has been for many years before the work site was constructed.

Louise told us about seven places where there is a need for better security and maintenance:

o The gate on to the Avenue is broken and has been open for some time
o The new gate on to the Firs is not fixed to the fence on either side and in any case this may not be an appropriate gate
o The other gate on to the Firs is also broken and does not shut properly and the fence post next to the gate is broken
o The place where the two large gates were for the old Vet’s car park is not secure
o The fence in the top corner of the Field is so low that it is easy for dogs to jump over
o The temporary barriers at the new entrance to the work site have been removed and dogs have run on to North Road because of this – it is here that we have asked for a new gate to be placed so that school children can walk along inside the Field and be safer than walking on the very narrow pavement
o The double gates to the Library car park are left open all the time, making it easy for dogs to run on to the Firs

The work site is excellently kept, access to the War Memorial is also much appreciated and the play area and equipment is very good, but the rest of the Field has had very little care and attention. The Field needs to be secure to make it accessible for dog walkers, a group who probably use the Field more that anyone.

On ThursdayI sent an urgent email to the Parks Department and to Mary Stacey, the Stone Mines Project Manager asking for urgent action.

Cherry and I feel that it is vital that what is left of field for the public is useable by the whole community throughout the duration of the project. So far action has been taken to restore the temporary gate next to the work site entrance. (Photo by kind permission of the Bath Chronicle)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Off in the USA

This is the first post since October. I have been to see my sister and her family in Idaho in the North West USA.

Blanche, my eldest sister was a GI bride in 1946. Like a good many young women just after the second world war she made the 6000 mile journey by sea and by train to California to marry an American serviceman.

She has been there for 60 years and this, to my shame, was my first visit. I went with Nic, my partner and my son and daughter Tom and Erica.

Emmett and Horeshoe Bend are the two towns where the family live. Well out in the country with no buses or trains, so a motor vehicle is a must - everyone drives and no one walks.

Horseshoe Bend has 770 people living there and Boise the capital of Idaho has about 180,000 population. Boise is about an hours drive away from Emmett where we stayed.

We happened to be in the USA at the time of the mid-term elections, which saw the Democrats gain control of the Senate and the House of Representatives. In Idaho though all the main posts went to Republicans. However, the Mayor of Boise is a Democrat. TV political adverts are something to behold - incredibly negative. I hope we never get to that stage here!

What a country though - mountains and valleys to die for and everything from cars to meals much bigger than I have ever seen before.

I thought of Combe Down and the efforts made voluntarily by individuals to keep the village clean when I discovered that Families, groups, companies and institutions can 'adopt' a highway. Signs at the side of the road give the names of who has volunteered to pick up litter at that particular spot. They get about a mile of highway to clear about once every 3 months and it seems to work quite well.

In the land that invented chewing gum, there is very little gum litter on the streets. In some of the pedestrian areas, as a way of financing the paving, people can pay to have their names inscribed on small paving blocks.

Altogether a different culture, but up in the 'wilderness' there are hot springs (see picture) just coming out of the hillside, where people can bathe in all weathers, very much like our own waters.

Local news will get back to normal just as soon as I recover from 'jet lag'.