Yesterday, I headed over to Chopwell Woods for the Woodfest hosted by Land of Oak and Iron. Lots of woodland skills on display, especially for those like me who are aiming to be self-sufficient.
Monday, July 10, 2017
In between two visits to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Saturday to visit my friend who was on the emergency assessment ward, I managed to get up to Marley Hill Community Centre to call in on the funday. The centre has been transferred to the Vineyard Church. They will continue to run it as a community centre but they will also invest in the building and use it as a base for their own activities. They already appear to be making a good job of it.
The funday had been organised to bring people into the centre and introduce residents to the people now running the centre. There seemed to be a large number of bouncy castles at the event. I resisted the temptation to try one out!
I thought when Dad died in May, I wouldn't be visiting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead for a while to come. How wrong I was. A friend who has been in poor health has been staying with us recently to help him recover. Last week he deteriorated significantly. On Friday, I called the 111 service and by the end of the call, an ambulance had been ordered. I went with the ambulance to the QE Hospital, blue lights flashing and siren sounding. I spent four hours supporting my friend on the emergency assessment ward but at 10.30pm I returned home. It now looks like I will be visiting the QE every day for some time to come.
Thursday, July 06, 2017
Whickham Library has been closed as a facility directly provided by Gateshead Council. It is to open instead as a volunteer library on Monday. I have joined the volunteers and have become a trustee as well. We had a meeting of the volunteers last week. Today, we met up to look at some of the practicalities of the building. We are all set for the launch on Monday morning (doors open at 10am).
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
It was good to see renovation work taking place on the entrance to Whickham's Chase Park yesterday. The Heritage Lottery Fund is investing £1 million to bring the historic park back up to scratch. The renovation work includes restoration of the entrance and stone gateposts on Rectory Lane. All great stuff. But.......
Some of this renovation work could be in vain. Labour in Gateshead are eager to sell part of Chase Park for housing. They have declared the former depot and stable blocks as surplus to requirements. They've thrown into the deal the entrance to the park as well.
This is a prime location in the heart of Whickham and it is unlikely that there will be a lack of interest from developers. The key to any development is the entrance. Without that, the development will never happen. The entrance is a single lane so it will have to be widened. That's why Labour are flogging off the verge to the right of the lane, right up to the high boundary wall on the right of the entrance - see photo above.
That means the lovingly restored gatepost on the right will need to be demolished. This is a conservation zone as well and the gateway is an historic part of the area.
Lib Dem councillors are fighting the plans to sell off the people's park and stop Labour's heritage vandalism. The issue is relevant across the whole Gateshead. If Labour get away with selling Chase Park for housing, other parks will come into their sights as well.
Sunday, July 02, 2017
When I visited the Swalwell Fire Station open day yesterday, there was a demonstration about what not to do with a burning chip pan - never pour water on it! I filmed the demonstration which rather brings home the message.
Last year a lorry hit the Blaydon Footbridge. A section of it had to be removed. Yesterday, the replacement section was installed, resulting in the eastbound A695 being closed for much of the day. I had a look at the site in the early afternoon. Work was coming along well. Fingers crossed that the bridge will be open for use in the near future.
My second visit yesterday was to the Dunston Festival at Dunston UTS football ground. Richard, my friend who accompanied me, won 2 prizes on the tombola - both makeup remover. Not the most useful of things! Nice to bump into the mayor, Pauline Dillon (in whose ward Dunston football ground is based).
Yesterday, Swalwell Fire Station had an open day so I popped down to have a chat with people and watch some fire safety demonstrations. The most shocking one was the effect of pouring water on a burning chip pan. Fortunately that was carried out at a distance!
I also bumped into Liz Twist, the Labour MP for Blaydon who expressed her condolences about the loss of my Dad during the election campaign. We had a chat about offices in Westminster and the joy of not having to be based in the actual Houses of Parliament building. It brought back all my memories of working in Westminster a decade ago.
Saturday, July 01, 2017
In February last year, Labour on Gateshead Council moved the following motion:
- Job creation
- Investment in the North East
- Protecting consumer and workers’ rights
- Supporting peace and security in Europe
- Improvements to the environment
Friday, June 30, 2017
One of the first acts of the Lib Dems in the Coalition in 2010 was to allow councils to set up energy companies. I'm pleased to say that Gateshead was one of the first councils to take up this new freedom. The Gateshead Energy Centre has been built. It is a combined heat and power plant and will sell electricity and heat to public and private sector buildings in the central Gateshead area. The Gateshead Energy Company has been set up to run the plant and sell the electricity and heat and it should be running at a profit in the near future, once the plant is up and running and the network of wires and pipes is completed.
I visited the plant yesterday to have a look around. I'm looking forward to proposals for new plants elsewhere in Gateshead.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
On Saturday the damaged section of the footbridge over the A695 will be replaced. Expect lots of disruption to the road as the east bound carriageway will be closed. The bridge was damaged when it was hit by a lorry last year. I did ask about who is paying for the repair (surely the lorry driver's insurance should cover it) at a council meeting recently but I haven't yet had an answer.