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Saturday, 10 October 2009

Latest on the Victoria Jubilee Allotments

John Tyrrell's copied me this from the City Cabinet member who deals with allotments, the latter having sent him an email from Peter Short, Senior Constituency Parks Manager - 0121 464 8728 - Birmingham City Council, Parks and Nature Conservation:
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 8:41 PM Subject: Victoria Jubilee Allotments Cllr Mullaney. The work on the site is progressing, and the building is due to be delivered next Tuesday, 13th October. We are hopeful ... given continued reasonable weather, that the site will be practically complete by the end of the month. Andy Hogben is working on an arrangement to allow us to begin letting plots in January 2010, so that the land transfer does not delay us any longer. As long as this is successful, we will begin notifying potential plot holders who have registered an interest towards the end of this year. We will keep you updated as matters progress. Regards, Pete. Sent from my Blackberry handheld.
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I'd not think of it as anything but perfect sailing. Yet as the wind increased until gusting over 7 off Trompetta - under a clear blue sky; not unpredictable, typically Mediterranean - the old boat was overpressed. So was I.
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Talking across an ocean by Skype to John and Annie in The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. We've four films from Australia; conversations between politicians and managers from Shire of Toodyay Council (Charlie Wroth, President and Graham Merrick, Chief Executive), Marion City (Mayor Felicity Ann Lewis and Chief Executive Mark Searle), Wyndham City (Mayor Shane Bourke and Ian Robins, recently retired as CEO) and Coffs Harbour (Mayor Keith Rhoades with Stephen Sawtell, General Manager) - prepared in readiness for the joint series of seminars John Martin and I are going to be leading in Perth, Darwin, Canberra, Brisbane, Launceston, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Alice Springs this November. I've done some editing on some and compressed the films so they can be displayed on the screen like thumbnails - minimised to share the screen with others - so that we can switch easily between 'conversations'.
Some forthcoming dates ~ City of Belmont, Brighton Beach, Adelaide Pavilion, and LGPro and more on the relationships that make government and some words...
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Friday I drove my young Japanese guests down to the Forest of Dean. I asked Dhiaa to come along to help and the university hired me a seven seater Ford Galaxy with darkened windows - not the kind of campus minibus I'd expected - but a nice drive. Everyone fitted in neatly and we sped south to Gloucestershire, to Ross-on-Wye and on to Goodrich to see a little of a village that seemed to be working - village hall, local shop with post office, new primary school, bus stop, church... .
Katsuyuki, Mami, Simon, Shinya, Mari, Eiichi near Kerne Bridge
I drove on via Lydbrook to Beechenhurst, had a talk from Derek Yemm of Forest Connections about running a business in the forest, about the role of the Forestry Commission and the local council. Then a swift visit to the Cycle Centre and then on to restored Lydney Docks to gaze over the Severn Estuary, with observations from me on the rural economy. After that a walk in the woods, a stroll by the river Wye - all under a grey sky and slight drizzle. I dropped everyone off at the university at 6.30, dropped off the car and cycled home.
With Dhiaa by the Severn at Lydney Docks
I asked Dhiaa for his impressions. He wrote today:
As for the English countryside, I was simply amazed at the richness of nature and the style of peoples’ living. This is the first time I had the feeling of being in the thicket of a real forest.
Trees and greenery everywhere, rivers and hills and people who are harnessing the wild nature to make their living. Frankly, it should not be a one-day visit. One must live for sometime in the countryside to be able to gradually regain his consciousness and awareness of nature. The first impression is that of amazement and shock especially for someone who has not seen a real forest before ( with every step I was saying in my secret “subhana Allah” – glory be to Allah; how great and magnificent His work is). I have seen high mountains and spectacular water springs in the North of Iraq; I have seen the great sea at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland; I have seen the Dead Sea, The Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, and of course Shat al-Arab and the Marshes, and many farms and fields, but the experience of the English countryside was a unique experience.
I have always wanted to see the English countryside and I had my own imaginative pictures of it; I am revising all these pictures now because reality sweeps away fictional realms.
Maybe the pictures I had in mind of the English countryside are of what it was in the 1920s or a bit later; the impact of modernity and mechanization can readily be seen and felt on it; the virginity of nature may have been lost due to man’s interference and persistence in harnessing and nurturing nature. My earlier conceptions of the English countryside were formed by my readings and by seeing the product of the Romantic artists, for instance. Nature, I was thinking, is the idyllic world portrayed by Pope, Coleridge, Byron, Keats and all other poets who were inspired by its brutal beauty.
I am sure you know what does it mean when you tread a route with the feeling that no one before you has trodden it. Well-trodden routes cannot arise in you the feeling of estrangeness and enigma that deserted routes can. I think nature – wild and brutal nature I mean – was not created to please. When I feel I am pleased in the midst of what is supposed to be nature, I feel immediately that there is something wrong. When calm and quiet, the sea is like a dumb child. When furious and turbulent, the sea gets back to its nature. So is the forest. There are people who love made-up beauty, with decorations and ornaments; and there are people who love brutal beauty. I am of the second type.
However, I am extremely pleased to have gone there and would love very much to go again and again; I would love to take my family one day, it is a place full of beauty. So, thank you very much again for your great company and your kind invitation.
At Lydbrook on the edge of the Forest of Dean
*** *** I was looking at this clustermap thumbnail - a year on. Lin says, to prick my ego, that that's mainly people looking up 'Democracy' and 'street'. She's surely right. It's been my assumption that I've the same number of readers as Prof Russ Ackoff told me long ago when commenting on the readership of the average academic publication - "two - and one's the author." The cluster map purporting to record visitors to Democracy Street is still fun to see, along with its global statistics.
I assume about six people drop in on this blog, with occasional additions marked by greetings in the village. I enjoy reading back over what I've published on the web over the last few years, adding occasional links I call - 'back to the future' - and looking at the pictures. The whole blog unlike my diaries, which I stopped keeping when I started on 'Democracy Street' is so easy to search. I like the way pictures, videos, graphics and links combine with text. But it's ephemeral compared to paper and writing.

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Simon Baddeley