Tomatoes. Up to our ears.

We seem to have a glut of tomatoes and not a single fruit has set yet.  I don’t think I should have taken those cuttings – if they all take, I’ll have 22 plants and there are only two of us.  A lot more tomato relish, I think.  Wince the gardener cleared out the end greenhouse for me today (as you know, I’m terribly lazy and hadn’t weeded) and I’ve put out the ones I bought, plus three more that I grew from seed.  There’s still room for four or five, but the rest will have to go outside.  There is room, but I’ve run out of canes, nearly.  I’ll have to scout around to find something they can be tied to.

Wince also cleared away the swiss chard plants that had overwintered, so I picked some young leaves and stalks first.  It is a splendid vegetable to grow from seed – the leaves can be used as spinach, but they don’t shrink down so much, and the stalks are a vegetable in their own right.  And the first of this year’s crop will be pickable in another couple of weeks, so they will go pretty well all year, though you can only pick in winter if you’ve got them covered over.

Back to the footpath – Blue Witch left a helpful comment, which I passed on to my friend.  He’s replied, Norfolk County Council doesn’t deny that it’s a right of way, but they are keen to emphasise that it’s a “permissible path.”  They can’t have that.  If it’s a right of way, that’s over and above a path used by permission.   And the quoted prices are highly suspect too.  Trying to claim that removing the old bridge will cost £20,000 is overstating it, but not by that much.  A new footbridge would cost a few thousand.  So they’re trying to justify not doing the job on the grounds that better foundations will cost over a quarter of a million pounds?  You can build a house for less.  Something is rotten in the state of Norfolk.


8 comments on “Tomatoes. Up to our ears.

  1. Blue Witch

    Next idea – do a FOI request to Norfolk CC asking for full details/copies of all the surveys done, meetings held (formal and informal), discussions, costings etc etc in relation to the footpath/bridge issue (in whatever format, including official minutes, recordings of telephone calls, copies of individuals’ notes etc etc). You’ll need to put a date range too – and be as specific as you can about exactly what you require (eg include the OS grid reference of the bridge and number of the footpath, if you can find it) or they will throw it back at you as being too vague.

    Under the new GDPR they have less time to respond (from memory I think it’s now 20 days).

    This will ensure that they have followed correct procedure (‘compliance’). My guess is that they haven’t.

    It might also be worth doing a separate FOI request (not in the same envelope or they can consider it as one request and say it is too broad and/or would cost more than £450 (I think again, from memory) to process the request, so can therefore be refused) for copies of the policies that they work to regarding footpaths (especially pertaining to restoration for damage and wear and tear maintenance over time).

    1. Z Post author

      Thank you, BW. I’m getting sleepless nights over this now, but I can see I’m going to get drawn in. There’s now a site meeting. Not for another ten days, and I’ll hold my fire until after that, but good advice, and I appreciate it. I’ve got another friend who knows about the regulations regarding tendering, so I can ask awkward questions there, I think, as well.

  2. Blue Witch

    Sorry if my ‘contributions’ have upped this issue to a level you’d rather not be at.
    (We can all do lousy grammar!!)

    But… it is just so important that people who are able (articulate and confident enough) do take on Local Authorities as so many really important things are now done in ways that are neither compliant (with laws, rules, regulations and agreed policies) nor in the public interest.

    The more one finds out about the ‘system’, the more horrific it is.

    What we have uncovered recently about maladministration in our own locality would horrify any right-thinking person. Un-minuted supposedly secret meetings, ex-gratia payments to ensure silence/speed up decisions, and attempts to cover up maladministration through bullying, being just a few examples. Hence how I know far too much about the underlying processes and ways Officers, paid from the public purse, attempt to ‘wriggle’ and abuse their positions, while Elected Members look on bemusedly, while doing absolutely nothing.

    This may be too much info, but it’s interesting – especially the very last paragraph of the ‘conclusion’:–curtis-mccluskey-freedom-of-information.pdf

    From previous discussions, I know that we share a dismay over the way things have ‘developed’ in Education over recent years. Compared to issues pertaining to the LA Highways and Planning processes, Education stuff is just pre-school. *deep sigh*

    But we shouldn’t give up trying to make things better. Because if we don’t, who will? Good luck.

    1. Z Post author

      I realise now that my friend is actually trying to persuade me to allow the footpath, not solve the problem, and I’m really quite offended. I agree with all you say. I think they’re going to try to make me feel guilty – that I’ll let people in the village down if, because of me, there isn’t a footpath. But it’s their problem, not mine.

  3. Blue Witch

    Absolutely. ‘Offended’ is a great word for this situation, and I shall apply it liberally in my thinking henceforth!

    It’s amazing how many people we know have done exactly the same thing with our (not dis-similar) local issues. So many people have no principles (or have such woolly notions of what is right that they can’t be bothered to stand up for them) and believe that ‘the system’ knows best, even when ‘the system’ is often run/staffed by poorly-educated (often young, inexperienced) people who do not understand the context, or the issues, let alone their implications (in the short, medium or long terms).

    My favourite questions of late are, “Why are you saying that?” “Why do you think that?” and “Do you think that is the only way to solve the issue?”

    I think the reason that I keep coming back to you on this one is that I felt very uncomfortable, from what you were saying, at the outset.

    I know that you are a principled person, who believes in fairness, and common sense, and I know that you understand ‘systems’ from all your work over many years as a school governor. Don’t give up! I strongly believe that the future of the country depends on principled people who will stand up to ‘the system’ and its nonsense. Otherwise we might as well all give up now.

    1. Z Post author

      Well, I have to admit that I think we might as well give up. Incompetence seems to be all around us and I don’t think many people even recognise it, let alone think it matters. I really don’t want to get involved here but they’re clearly trying to manipulate me. That doesn’t work with me, and I’ve been straight with them, but I don’t really care to be taken advantage of.

  4. Blue Witch

    Incompetence seems to be all around us and I don’t think many people even recognise it, let alone think it matters.

    Yes, exactly. Hence why the country is where it is currently. And I think it’s not (yet) as bad where you are as it is in many other areas.

    1. Z Post author

      Well, we can only keep plodding on quietly, being good to each other and hating the bastards in charge. I’m tired of being angry though. It isn’t really me.


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