Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Day!

Leap Year Day, today ... and some things (thankfully!) have remained reasonably constant:

*  4-years ago, I was rotavating a newly-aquired Allotment plot
and this year, I'm renewing the Allotment fencing!

Just where would I be without that Allotment to keep me sane?

Please don't feel compelled to actually answer that question ;-)

9-weeks tomorrow

9-weeks tomorrow, or 63-days to be precise, until Local Government Polling Day on Thursday 3rd May 2012.

I posted about the main Parties' preparedness a few weeks ago now - see here ...

... but still not that much progress (if any?) I'm afraid, on the various Parties announcing their candidates and/or manifestos:

  • Lib-Dems; website seems to be updated now, but still no list of candidates or a manifesto
  • Labour; as before, everything has been in the public domain since 3rd November 2011
  • SNP; their local website now actually seems blocked, and still no list of candidates or a manifesto
  • Tories; don't see any change, no 'candidate-list' or a 'manifesto-process'
  • Greens; full list of 17 candidates now announced (hooray!) but no manifesto-process that I can see?

I can, sort of, understand the lack of manifestos at this stage - but no one seems to have even begun a public 'manifesto-process' ... maybe they're just won't be any outside of our own?

And as for candidate lists - we all know that several Parties have actually selected numerous candidates ... surely its not beyond their skills to get a full/current list into the public domain?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Policy and Strategy Committee

Policy and Strategy Committee meeting earlier this morning ... all the papers can be accessed here, with the main agenda here.

Most debate actually centred around the Transient Visitor Levy (bed tax) report, full text of which you can see here.
Believe it or not, there was broad agreement that a bed tax is the right solution for Edinburgh - with cross-Party agreement that it was a sensible way forward, with all political parties (expect the Conservatives) backing the policy.
Yet the local SNP and Lib-Dems - despite vocally backing the fact that the policy should be pursued - where unwilling to take the case directly to the Scottish Government?
There must be an election on the horizon :-(

Monday, February 27, 2012

Carbon emissions and energy generation

Been trying not to cross-reference to the main Edinburgh Labour site too much ... but please, if you're so interested, do keep an eye on that site in coming weeks as many of our Spokespeople are publishing articles expanding on our various draft manifesto commitments.

There's an article on carbon emissions and energy generation on the site today - here ...

... and several others have appeared in the last few weeks:

- to mention but a few ;-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Scotland V France

Managed to go and see the Scotland V France rugby international this afternoon ...

... somewhat depressing event; Scotland played reasonably well but still no victory on that final scoreboard :-(

Managed to compensate for the disappointment with a few beers either side of the match ;-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

COSLA and the Edinburgh Award

COSLA Leaders pre-meeting this morning ... packed business agenda, but most discussion/debate around wider political issues.

And attended the presentation of the Edinburgh Award this evening - to Professor Peter Higgs, who seemed a genuinely, humble man and a well-deserved 5th recipient of the Award :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Merchant Company hustings

Another hustings event this evening - organised by the Merchant Company, which took place in their grand Merchant Hall on Hanover Street ...

... fairly size-able audience, and an enjoyable debate between the four Parties represented.

And just like an earlier event in November, some food was provided after the actual hustings!

I'm obviously hoping that any remaining hustings-events will follow a very similar pattern and provide some suitable nourishment for their speakers ;-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

3,000 fewer affordable homes

Congratulations are due to the City Council for handing over some Council house keys - the PR-spin is here ...

... but, you won't hear too much about this;

Edinburgh's housing stock (annual) since 31 March 2006 to date (figures taken from Scottish Government returns)

2006                                  23,914
2007                                  22,996
2008                                  22,204
2009                                  21,859
2010                                  21,288
2011                                  20,808

Yes, over 3,000 fewer affordable homes in Edinburgh than 5-years ago.

A "desperate affordable housing shortage" - sadly, only too true :-(

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Local parking pressures

Transport Committee has now revisited the long-running saga of parking pressures in the local Shandon area ... affects me, both as a Local Councillor and resident!

The Transport Committee papers are all available here - with the specific Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) report here.

I did get along to the Committee Meeting and briefly spoke to the report (attached for ease of reference).

The Committee did agree to recommendations a) b) and c) - thus abandoning the CPZ-process - but did adjust recommendation d) so that some actions can still be continued for consideration. The actual text agreed was as follows:

Committee agrees recommendations a) to c) and to replace recommendation d) with:

"Instructs officials to work through the existing Parking Panel and Neighbourhood Partnership to discuss with residents living in the area bounded by Harrison Road, Slateford Road, Shandon Crescent, the South Suburban rail line and the Union Canal - to develop a package of measures which are designed and tailored to relieve the specific parking pressures affecting the Shandon area throughout the day and night.

Agrees that the Director of Services for Communities should report to the Committee on the proposed measures by the September TIE committee and that this report outline the regulatory alterations and non regulatory changes required to bring into effect the proposals along with a timescale for their implementation.  The report to also include detailed costings and supporting parking survey data analysis that examines the potential impacts on the internal network and surrounding areas of parking alterations.

Instructs the Head of Transport, in consultation with local members, to write to residents informing them of the outcome of the consultation and decision of the Committee."

Any actual  'reduction' in the current CPZ-Order would have meant re-advertisement, which would almost certainly have led to further objections from the surrounding area.

I also raised the issue of the 'equalities impact' of the abandonment of the current CPZ (as several of you had asked me to do) and this issue was acknowledged as particularly serious, by Officers present, and there was a clear (oral) commitment to further consider any impacts when developing recommendations flowing from the new d) as above.

So - whilst the CPZ has been dropped, other controls will be investigated and hopefully implemented.

One can only hope that the next 5-years will not see the interminable-drift of the last :-((

Monday, February 20, 2012

Party-flats and some hope for consensus?

Down the Royal Mile at Holyrood earlier this morning for a meeting which Sarah Boyack had organised, on the seemingly intractable issue of Party-flats and the deeply distressing trouble they can cause for local residents.

Sarah has long-campaigned on this issue, but I was really pleased to see an SNP MSP present (Marco Biagi) as well as a Labour MP (Sheila Gilmore); along with three Councillors - myself, Alasdair Rankin (SNP) and Joanna Mowat (Conservative) - and several City-Centre residents who are directly affected by this problem.

Joanna Mowat had a motion on this - at the December Full Council Meeting (see Agenda item 10.11 here) - which was referred on to Health and Social Care Committee, and that body now meets imminently on Tuesday 6th March ... optimistic, following today, that some cross-Party consensus might just see the Motion approved and a report brought back to an early meeting of the new Council post-May 2012.

Here hoping, as it really struck me today that the residents deserve nothing less.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Its Sunday, so it must be the "Allotment Update" :-)

In the midst of what seemed like endless data-entry, following a great few-days campaigning, I did manage to sneak a couple of hours down at the Allotment :-)

As you can see from this picture THE WHOLE of the old & damaged, perimeter fence is now removed ...

... its only taken me seven months :-(

Lets hope I can get those second-hand fencing posts up with a bit more alacrity!

Actually thinking of abandoning the idea of the 'wooden straps' all the way round and might go for a run of old shipping-type rope ... if I can locate enough of it - any suggested suppliers welcome??

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative 'Brewing New Life’ event

Managed to get along (for a short while) to an event organised by the 'Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative' this aftenroon - entitled "Brewing New Life into Fountainbridge" ...

... now, I hasten to add, this had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with alcohol :-)

It was in fact a very impressive, consultative meeting organised by a new(ish) local group who are looking to influence the upcoming development of the Fountainbridge Canalside area: more details on STV-local here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Edinburgh South West NP Transport sub-committee

Edinburgh South West Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) Transport sub-committee earlier ...

... well attended and good, involved discussion about all the agenda items.

Rather sobering realisation that the next meeting isn't now until Friday 11th May 2012 - a lot will have changed by then; one way or the other!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elections Consultative Group Meeting

Elections Consultative Group Meetings now becoming a little more frequent ... not long to go, after all!

Pleased to see that some sense has prevailed and the Local Government Elections count isn't going to take place until the Friday morning ...

... one has to wonder, given that both the Scottish Government in 2007 and the UK Government in 2010 took several days to form, just what is the compelling rationale for counting "any" election immediately after the close of the poll??

Now I think about it - there just isn't any compelling rationale ;-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The number one priority?

Deeply depressing employment figures out again today - more details on the overall position in Scotland here and here ... with Edinburgh now having nearly 12,000 people on the claimant count; that figure having more-than-doubled in the last 5-years :-((

Almost as depressing as the figures (well, not quite!) is the constant 'blame game' going on amongst politicians of all colours. I'd just like the Government/s in charge - both at Westminster and Edinburgh - to make employment their number one priority and use every waking-hour to stop this being a repeat of the early 1980's.

I had to find my own, first full-time job in 1984 - it wasn't easy; and I don't particularly want my own 14-year old (or any other young person, for that matter) to go through the same travails ... or even worse ... in the near future.

And the last thing I'm sure any young person wants to hear right now are politicians constantly decrying each other :-(

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Listening and responding ...

Managed to get along to a small presentation event this afternoon where the Council was awarded the "2011 Adoption of Best Practice Award" by the charities Refuge and Respect, in relation to the Local Authority's Domestic Abuse Policy. The award was being made in recognition of good practice (inside the Council) in increasing the safety and welfare of employees in relation to Domestic Abuse.

The presentation session involved the screening of a very powerful video, which was basically a personal testimony from a lady who underlined the crucial importance of just having someone to listen to - and respond to - the terrible personal situation she was in ... and that 'person' happened, in her case, to be her employer.

It was thus very good to hear that the Council appears to be leading the way in this area --- many congratulations to all those concerned in achieving the Award.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Keeping the Capital prosperous

My colleague, Councillor Norma Hart (our Economic Development Spokesperson), has a piece up on the main Edinburgh Labour website today which outlines how we would work towards keeping the Capital prosperous ...

... all part of the wide-ranging proposals contained within the re-draft of our Local Government Manifesto --- which you can view in full here.

Most importantly, details of how you can comment on any of the proposals are here.

I'd really welcome any further feedback prior to Sunday 19th February.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

STV, snowdrops and snow

Back in Edinburgh after an enjoyable few days down in London - so much colder down there at the moment!

ERS Meetings on Friday/Saturday as scintillating as ever ...

... and on Sunday we managed to fit in a family-visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden - I'd never been before and was very impressed with it all.

Was a special 'opening-week' for the emerging snowdrops, some of which where on sale as pictured here. Didn't buy any for transport Northwards!

East Coast train journeys, in both directions, absolutely on-schedule despite fairly significant amounts of snow in Northern and Central England.

Edinburgh is positively tropical by comparison at the moment ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2012

London-bound & Council-reflections

Half-term starts today: Junior and my Better-Half now off for a week :-(

So - down to London (to the in-laws) for the weekend ... Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Meetings on the Friday and Saturday mornings ... but some family-time in-between ;-)

Back up in Edinburgh on Sunday night.

Meantime, some quick reflections on yesterday's Full Council Meeting where the City of Edinburgh Council 2012/13 Budget was finally set ...

... not as much drama as Glasgow (thankfully!) but a fair degree of farce nevertheless: actual SNP/Lib-Dem Budget Motion wasn't tabled until 10.15am --- the meeting having started at 10am! --- with a 'missed' page being later-tabled at 1pm near the end of the debate :-(

On top of that, a last-minute adjournment was called to sort out the order in which the final vote/s were to be taken --- it all had the vague feeling of a bad comedy about it ... but sadly, it was all too deadly-serious ...

... because no amount of spin can hide the deeply, depressing facts underlying the finally agreed SNP/Lib-Dem budget:
  • The City of Edinburgh Council now carries over £1.5billion of debt, an amount that has risen by a staggering 66% over the last 5-years
  • That amounts to over £3,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the city
  • It’s costing the Edinburgh Tax-Payer some £110million every year to service that debt
  • Which equates to over 11% of the revenue budget going into debt re-payments every single year
  • Yes – more than £1 in every ten, of Edinburgh Tax-Payers money, that the Council manages goes on servicing a debt burden that’s been increased by 66% since 2007
  • And of the 32 Local Authorities in Scotland, Edinburgh now has the 4th highest debt-to-revenue ratio of any Council in the country

Glasgow may have grabbed the press attention, but here in Edinburgh there's a quieter ... but much more serious ... slow-burning, financial crisis stalking the City Chambers.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


Budget Day - in Edinburgh anyhow! - and some slight tweaks to our earlier Amendment ...

... essential nature still exactly as was, when we published a week ago.

Still no sign of any SNP/Lib-Dem Administration Motion, and there's only a few hours until the budget-setting meeting starts?

Open, transparent and inclusive? - I'm afraid not; old politics reigns yet :-(

... but hopefully for only another 84-days.

The City of Edinburgh Council
9th February 2012




Council agrees that the protection of front line services remains an important priority, and acknowledges that every effort should be made to rationalise back-office functions.

Council further agrees that economic regeneration is vital to ensuring Edinburgh’s prosperity and future prospects; and recognises the Council’s duty to lead on both issues.

Therefore Council notes:

  • The current budget position as contained within today’s report/s.
  • The imbalance in revenue resources over the next 3 years due to the allocation of funding from the Scottish Government.
  • That future years will be extremely challenging based on current allocations / forecasts.


Council now agrees:

  • That the introduction of the Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for Council workers is necessary to ensure social and economic justice and will also support the local economy.
  • To plan for the payment of the Living Wage to be a condition of future contracts with external suppliers.
  • That in future the highest paid Council employee shall earn no more than 12 times the salary of the lowest paid Council worker.
  • To establish a “PSC / Service Improvement Fund (Spend to Save)” of £11million to develop Council services and achieve efficiency savings; whilst noting that some £4.25million of abortive expenditure, plus extensive internal costs, has been sunk on the abandoned privatisation alternative.
  • To establish a “Co-operative Development Unit” (CDU) with an initial fund of £250,000. This unit will be resourced by the redeployment of senior staff from elements of service restructuring; noting that this restructuring has been called for in the previous 4 Labour Group Budget Amendments.
  • The CDU will work with Council departments, communities and partner organisations to develop sustainable co-operative models which will deliver excellent public services in a cost effective and cooperative manner. (i.e. childcare, renewable energy production, housing)
  • That £3.4million funding in 2012/13 will go towards the ‘Change Funds for Health and Social Care and Early Years’, to support the wider alignment of budgets on a preventative basis, with provision of £6.8million by 2014/15.
  • To allocate an additional £1.534m towards various Health and Social Care initiatives.
  • To reinstate £826,000 of Voluntary Sector funding to ensure that all Voluntary Sector Grants are maintained at current levels, throughout 2012/13.
  • Funding of £740,000 to Edinburgh Leisure for specified works and services.
  • To reinstate £550,000 to the Libraries Service, which would secure existing Sunday opening hours.
  • To allocate £2.5million towards Employability Services in the city, ensuring that every school-leaver has a positive employment/education destination, and agrees to review the effectiveness and deliverability of these services in view of their importance to jobs and economic success.
  • To call for an urgent report, within 2-cycles, on all potential solutions to provide long-term stability for the funding of these Employability Services/Programmes.
  • That, recognising the need for ongoing schools maintenance, an additional ‘School Fabric Repairs’ fund of £4.326million is established.
  • The allocation of £700k towards energy and carbon reduction measures
  • That an additional investment fund of £3million is allocated to Neighbourhood Partnerships (more than trebling their existing discretionary spend) and those local communities are thus fully consulted on the best use of these one-off resources for infrastructure or community improvements, and also local co-operative developments, such as:
          1. roads and footways improvements (Right First Time [RFT])
          2. expansion of ‘Real Time Information’ for local bus services
          3. cycling infrastructure improvements
          4. local Play facilities
          5. local Sports Pavilions
          6. local Community Centre facilities


Council further agrees to the following areas of significant saving:

a.    Restructuring of Senior Management (Heads of Service) Posts
b.    Reduction in the Q.I.O. Teams
c.    Removal of various Council Publications
d.    Absenteeism management


Council notes this budget allows the following areas of continued investment:

a.    Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Special Schools
b.    Health and Social Care Services for the Old and Vulnerable
c.    Voluntary Sector, and third-party, grant support
d.    Sport and Physical Activity services
e.    Neighbourhood Services and local infrastructure
f.     Libraries


Council notes that the budget process is an internal exercise which culminates in the setting of the Council's budget in mid-February each year. Spending plans are set for at least 12 months and sometimes up to 3 years.

Council agrees to establish a new Council Budget Committee to improve the scrutiny, and effectiveness, of the budget process. The proposed committee would be made up of Councillors and external groups representing wider civic society in the city. Such a dedicated budget committee could radically improve scrutiny and transparency of the budget setting process.


Council thus agrees to develop the concept of a ‘Co-operative Council’, positively promoting local decision-making, and rejecting the now, failed privatisation alternative.

Council thus acknowledges that this budget has focused on proposed areas of targeted savings to enable both continued investment in essential front line public service priorities, and the achievement of longer-term sustainable savings.


Council notes the following:

  1. Report no. CEC/86/11-12/PS and CEC/87/11-12/PS by the Director of Corporate Governance, setting out the overall resources available for revenue expenditure.
  2. Report nos. CEC/92/11-12/CG and CEC/89/11-12/CG by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the proposals for funding services from third parties in 2012/13.
  3. Report no. CEC/88/11-12/PS and CEC/90/11-12/CG by the Director of Corporate Governance setting out the overall position on capital resources for the period 2012 - 2016.
  4. That the latest Audit Scotland annual report stated, in regard to Equal Pay provision, that 'the Council has been overly prudent in estimating the level of provision required at 31 March 2011'.
  5. A further report will be submitted to seek approval of revised charges for Council services, the outcomes of which are contained in Annex 1 to this amendment.
Council approves the following:

  1. The revenue budget set out in the reports, subject to the adjustments set out in Annex 1 to this amendment.
  2. A review of all Council Reserves with any un-required funds being allocated towards Statutory Repairs.
  3. The grant recommendations set out in report CEC/89/11-12/CG together with additional investment set out in Annex 1.
  4. The 2012 - 2016 capital budget as set out in reports CEC/88/11-12/PS and CEC/90/11-12/CG by the Director of Corporate Governance.
  5. The Council Tax and Rating Resolutions as set out in Annex 2 to this amendment.
  6. The recommendations contained in report CEC/91/11-12/SfC by the Director of Services for Communities to increase rents by 7.9% in line with the agreed rent strategy in the HRA approved business plan.

            Signature of Proposer ……………………………………………………

            Signature of Seconder ……………………………………………………


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

No way to run a City

Less than 24-hours to go now, until the Capital City of Scotland sets its budget for 2012/13, and still absolutely nothing has been formally published by the current SNP/Lib-Dem Administration :-(

As regular readers know, Edinburgh Labour put the full detail of our alternative proposals into the public domain a full week before budget-setting day ...

... just how any serious scrutiny, of what's going to be proposed by the local Administration tomorrow, can now take place is hard to see?

In a Council of minorities - it's just no way to run a City.

UPDATE - everything is fine (not) ... outline plans have now been 'leaked' to today's Evening News. But, sadly, still no Administration Budget Motion available for scrutiny.

State of the race?

Bit of a 'twitter-bet' going on at the moment about a clutch of Edinburgh SNP Councillors who have all just joined twitter, but have yet to type a single 'tweet' ... try #tweetless and you'll see what I mean ;-)

It has though led me to think about a much more serious point --- and, of course, all of this has to do with a little event some 84-days away, which I'm sure isn't unconnected (sorry!) to the recent upsurge in the local SNP's interest in new media ...

... and that point is the preparedness of the main political Parties in Edinburgh for the upcoming Local Government election. Here's a quick summary, with apologies in advance if I've got anything wrong:

PARTY - Lib-Dems
No. of Councillors - 16
All new candidates selected/announced - No
Manifesto (or draft?) launched - No
Website presence -
last web update - 18th August 2007
2012/13 Budget announced - No

PARTY - Labour
No. of Councillors - 15
All new candidates selected/announced - Yes
Manifesto (or draft?) launched - Yes & now
Website presence -
last web update - 7th February 2012
2012/13 Budget announced - Yes

No. of Councillors - 13
All new candidates selected/announced - No
Manifesto (or draft?) launched - No
Website presence -
last web update - 18th August 2007
2012/13 Budget announced - No

PARTY - Tories
No. of Councillors - 11
All new candidates selected/announced - No
Manifesto (or draft?) launched - No
Website presence -
last web update - 20th January 2010
2012/13 Budget announced - No

PARTY - Greens
No. of Councillors - 3
All new candidates selected/announced - No
Manifesto (or draft?) launched - No
Website presence -
last web update - 2nd February 2012
2012/13 Budget announced - No

Now, I do know of course, that all of this isn't a predictor of the results that will be announced on Friday 4th May --- but, it surely is a small indication about who is mounting (so far, at least) a serious Local Government Election effort ...

... personally, I think it is of some significance.

But, I would say that, wouldn't I ... would be interesting to know what others think?

UPDATE - Edinburgh Labour last web update now 8th February 2012 :-)

UPDATE 2 - Greens have got 8 candidates selected, with more to come, all listed here:

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Edinburgh Labour revised Manifesto published

As regular readers will know, back in November, we invited the Edinburgh public to join us in developing Edinburgh Labour’s manifesto for the Council elections in May.

We did that through the press, meetings and a leaflet through the door.
Our central idea was that the Council must change fundamentally; it must stop working for local people and start working with local people in the way we run the city and manage local services.
That idea has been welcomed enthusiastically by the many people who have responded to our invitation. They agree the way forward is for Edinburgh Council to work towards becoming a ‘Co-operative Council’.

We’ve changed much of the detail in the light of what people said and have revised our draft Manifesto: “Moving Edinburgh Forward – Together”.

It’s almost in its final form but we would really welcome any more thoughts, comments and reactions. Please do get them to us by Sunday 19th February ...

... our News Release follows below, and the revised Manifesto can now be found at:

And many thanks to all those who have responded to date - it really has been appreciated.


Labour’s manifesto for the Council elections in May has now been published in draft form for further consultation with the public.  Councillor Andrew Burns, Labour’s leader in the Capital, says “Consulting the public on our early ideas has had a terrific response from Edinburgh people – almost without exception they’ve been enthusiastic about Edinburgh becoming the first Scottish ‘co-operative council’ and they have added lots of ideas of their own.”

A co-operative Council would see a new relationship between citizens, communities and public services where power and responsibility is shared more equally.

Labour went public in November last year, with its ideas and the draft manifesto is now open for further public comment until 19 February.  The party will then sift through all the ideas before it publishes its final plans in March.

“Consulting the public like this is a first for a political party in Scotland,” says Councillor Burns, “but it seemed to us that if we are to be serious in making the Council truly co-operative, working with people and sharing decision-making about services and the future of our City with them, then we had to do the same with our manifesto.”

Councillor Burns said the Labour manifesto contains no big spending plans.  “I can’t promise to spend more,” he says, “money will be tight and we’ll need to economise.  But I can promise to be better.  I’ll set out to change the way the Council works and, if we are the largest party in the Council, I’ll seek the best talents from all parties to form an administration with us.”



Monday, February 06, 2012

Full Council (secret budget) this Thursday

As alluded to last week, it is the 'local budget-setting' Full Council Meeting this coming Thursday (9th February).

The main agenda for the day can now be found here; with all the individual reports available from here.

Our proposals were published a full week before Budget Day, giving plenty of time for constructive scrutiny and criticism ...

... and at last week's Council Meeting I did ask the Council Leader when the SNP/Lib-Dem Administration (you know; those folk who have run the City for nearly 5-years now) proposals would be published - she couldn't give me a date?

I am entirely (and sadly) confident that I won't see the detail of their proposals until 10am on Thursday 9th February.

Its just no way to construct a properly scrutinised budget for the Capital City of Scotland :-(

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Middle age is upon me

Been a bit sore today - after all those allotment exertions ...

... middle age is clearly upon me :-(

Anyhow, didn't stop a busy morning of campaigning - lots more envelopes stuffed and delivered :-)

There appears to be a never-ending stream of them to cope with ... only 87-days to go, after all :-))

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Allotment-fencing update :-)

Spent all afternoon down at the Allotment today ... and MAJOR progress has, at last, been made with the long-running fencing project :-)

This first photo shows the pretty poor state of parts of the plot perimeter fence; and its particularly bad at the 'fruit-cage' section as shown! You can just see a very 'squashed' hydrangea right on the fencing edge :-(

Well - five hours of very hard-graft later ... with the help of a small bonfire! ... and the whole of the remaining perimeter fence and the 'fruit-cage' is down and all the wood that I couldn't re-use has been burnt.

Third picture shows how its all looking now - you can see the hydrangea (bottom right) has much more freedom ;-)

And the plot definitely has a much better, more open, feel to it than before ...

... plan now is to put up some round fencing posts (I've managed to locate enough second-hand ones to circumvent the whole site!) and then to put a single (maybe two?) strap/s all the way round. Aiming to keep it around 3-foot high maximum and it will really be there to 'mark-out' the site and a lot more open than all the old 6-foot high fencing and wire mesh.

The site won't be as secure, but it will definitely feel better. And there's nothing much worth nicking from the shed/s anyhow :-)

On a slightly separate note, you can just see the rear-wheel of my bike in that last photo ...

... well - cycling home, along the canal, just as it was getting dark, with the wind at my back; masses of broken-ice on the canal slowly moving and sounding like a thousand small chimes; near full-moon reflecting on the canal; with the solar lights all shimmering --- was totally magical.

Perfect end to a successful Allotment-day :-))