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Saturday, 26 May 2007

The most pleasant place

From: Linda Baddeley Date: Sat, 26 May 2007 10:21:03 +0100 (BST) Hi George, Thanks for lending money till we get there. We owe you a drink or two! Thank Ben for sorting out the electrics. We owe him a drink too. Yes, we would like the window please. Good idea about the temporary plaka on the drain, but only if it's not going to cost much extra. Really can't afford to do things to be undone later. We're not rich like that lady you garden for! LOL Enjoyed seeing pics of arch jig. Shape looks good. It's looking so much better with that wall gone. I'll see if I can get any more info on sealing wood floors. Must admit that when we did one years ago in our previous house we just used normal satin finish polyurethane. Seemed to work OK, but don't know how long it lasted before it needed redoing. Could you give an estimate of how much we're going to owe you, so we can make sure we have enough to pay you when we come. You'd better add on the price of a saw blade! Thanks for keeping up the updates and pics. Regards to all. Lin
Big Pond Originally uploaded by lindabaddeley1.
As mid summer approaches and we are time richer the garden's looking good. Quite a lot of animals are living in or visiting. A young rat passes through on the scavenge driving the dog potty with its scent. Grey squirrels try to filch nuts from the birds. The occasional city cat passes along the gardens. The fish - orfe, koi, goldfish, tench - are stuck here, so we net their ponds against herons. The list of birds we've seen - Parakeets, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, (can't be bothered with more caps), jackdaws, rooks, magpies, great, blue and coal tits, hedge and city sparrows, an occasional thrush, a chattering jay, a wagtail, nuthatches, jenny wren, robins, starlings, blackbirds, fat wood pigeons, ring doves and - passing overhead now and then - Canada geese from the pond in the park. Our pond gives us dragonflies (but no frogs) and skaters and many other little beasts we don't see. The garden's full of insects, spiders and worms and snails and soon there'll be more butterflies to complement the bees. This weekend feels busy with a meeting later this morning of the Friends of St.Mary's Churchyard, followed by a wedding at Bethel United and one of my history tours around Handsworth Park - 'meet at the Park Lodge off Hamstead Road at 1300 on Sunday afternoon'. Yesterday I was doing a workshop for members of a Police Authority and some of its senior officers. Issues I suggested they consider: 1.Following the Police & Justice Act 2006 can Police Authorities develop a broader ‘conversation’ about service delivery with the public? 2.Central targets have created an Authority geared to delivering its performance figures to the centre. Can that process be about-faced? 3.By advancing their capacity for scrutiny, could Authority members have greater influence on the direction and nature of policing in the area? 4.How may Crime and Disorder overview, the spread of a habit of scrutiny among partners and ‘community calls for action’ influence relations between the Authority and the Service? 5.Can Authority members adopt techniques pioneered in Overview and Scrutiny, e.g. chairing, scoping, questioning and weighing evidence? Could scrutiny uncover the unknown unknowns? We noted a paragraph sent me by the person who'd invited me. It was in Mike Bichard's 2004 Inquiry into the murders of two children in an English village: '2.135 Nonetheless, the Police Authority appears at the time to have monitored police performance primarily by reacting to matters raised by the police themselves. Unless difficult or probing questions are asked about matters beyond those that the police choose to raise, no problem will be uncovered. There was, in my view, sufficient in the HMIC (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary) reports to have caused the Police Authority to start asking more difficult questions. There is no indication that this happened.' These people - a mix of men and women between 30 and 60 (I'd say) were bright and conscientious sharing a wealth of experience. What a pleasure to work for such a group. I had a gentle row the evening before with a friend - a professor at Cranfield. She reflected perhaps no-one was to blame but the murderer; that Mike's remarks were perhaps untoward. I mentioned this on Friday morning. The most senior officer said "A difficult decision was made about what to do with information. What followed was consequent upon that judgement." As always I enjoyed cycling through London between rail stations on my way to this work. Being part brought up there I can't get lost in the capital. On my bicycle I travel almost as the crow flies, passing through static traffic like a butterfly, respecting those on foot, acknowledging the courtesy and skill of those who still drive in London, helped by the new cycle lanes. Lin's Mum just phoned to remind me to wake her for her Saturday visit to Cannock. The book I ordered has arrived. Lawrence Durrell's 'Prospero's Cell'. I've not read him since University ('The Alexandria Quartet' - spellbinding introduction to the same overlapping events told by different narrators; Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea). At the start of this 'Guide to the landscape and manners of the island of Corfu' written in 1945 Durrell quotes Anthony Sherley, His Persian Adventure 1601 'A Greekish isle, and the most pleasant place that ever our eyes beheld for the exercise of a solitary and contemplative life ... In our travels many times, falling into dangers and unpleasant places, this only island would be the place where we would wish ourselves to end our lives.' [Flickr news: 439 images and 117 members in the group I'm administering on 'International flytipping'.]

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Simon Baddeley