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My point of view

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My personal views on life and things that make me think twice.

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West Berkshire Funding Crisis

Latest Posted on Sat, February 20, 2016 02:10PM

I think we need to be clear that the current local
government crisis is not unique to West Berks but is a challenge facing
authorities across the entire country. This was always the writing on the wall
before the electorate made its choice – and the majority in our area chose that
Tory path and should be examining their consciences at a national as well as at
a local level. What we are seeing played out now is simply the end game of a
policy that the Conservative party made abundantly clear right from the

What we face in West Berks is compounded by the perception
we have of our council. Being perceived as a body of incompetent self-servers
making knee jerk decisions, often behind closed doors, who habitually promote a
lack of transparency has not done any of them any favours now the chickens have
come home to roost. That incompetence isn’t new. Those behaviours did not
suddenly manifest themselves in 2016 but many councillors were returned with
the electorate’s mandate all the same.

What we need is for the Newbury Weekly News to serve its
community by conducting and publishing a simple interview with each elected
councillor answering two simple questions. 1) What cuts do you support? 2) What
cuts are you against? No dissembling. No Benyon-speak. Just a simple ‘I support
cuts in funding the disabled / the elderly / libraries / the arts. I am opposed
to…(the same).

That way colours are nailed to masts. If your councillor (or
mine) supports kicking the disabled, isolating the elderly, closing your
library or hammering the Arts at least you will know and be able to act

Will this happen? I fear not. Some dedicated councillors
would no doubt embrace the opportunity. Most would not as very few of the
people we elected would be prepared to stand up and be counted whilst speaking in
plain English to their constituents.

10 things you do not want to hear from your Crit Group

Latest Posted on Wed, February 17, 2016 09:26PM

10 Things No Writer Wants To Hear From Their Writer’s Critique Group


Those J K Rowling plots are so serviceable aren’t they? I felt I knew your Garry Hotter the Boy Magician so well by the end of page one.


Which part of the phrase ‘short story’ do you have a problem with?


Has anybody else BUT Ian brought along something they would like to read to us tonight? Please? Pretty please?


You know I’m not the only one that didn’t think ‘Sh*te’ was the title Edna had in mind for her collection of romantic stories.


Well there is nothing wrong with a writer breaking new ground but you know I still think most publishers still look for a capital letter after a full stop.


No please carry on reading – it’s just my cold medication making me drowsy.


I’m not the only member of the group that thinks Jane Austen fans would struggle with the concept of Mr Darcy being a transgender sex offender.


Cheer up – you’re not the first person to spend three years writing a novel to be told it actually starts on Chapter 12.


We read your, ‘Hammy the Vampire Dormouse’ to our five year old grandson and I’m not totally convinced writing for children is your forte.


For heaven’s sake no! I’m not saying you should leave the group. Of course we’d miss you. However just think what else you could do with your monthly subscription money.

A wry and light-hearted look at why the odd million plus one writer have deserted Downton Abbey.

Latest Posted on Sat, October 04, 2014 05:40PM

A wry and light-hearted look at why the odd million plus one writer have deserted Downton Abbey.

1) It all happens too fast

Remember the days when Mrs Bridges making a raised game pie
could span a whole episode of ‘Upstairs Downstairs?’ Or when it took Evie at
least an hour’s viewing to choose a button in ‘House of Elliot?’ Even Soames
never raped Irene on the spur of the moment in the Forsythe Saga. But now, oh
dear, here we are crashing and banging through multiple sub-plots in Downton
with more acts than a vintage edition of TOTP. What next in series 6? Anschluss
to Hiroshima in under an hour? Stobe lighting? Pans People? Maggie Smith

2) Oh Robert!

Poor Cora. I bet Elizabeth McGovern must dread looking in a
new script. Losing her fortune, her husband having a pash on a comely
housemaid, treading on a bar of soap and even almost dying from influenza all
eliciting the same response. ‘ OH ROBERT!’ Still think of the money she saves
on high-lighter pens and the time it gives her to write songs whilst the others
are crouched over their lines. Still a
waste of a good gal though.

3) The wrong sister died in childbirth

What a tragedy when we lost Lady Sybil. Fair enough she had
a girl in the end and enjoyed a harrowing death scene which made us all cry but
what feisty plot lines we missed out on when we lost our Syb. Of course that
left us with Lady Mary – enough said really.

4) It should have been a girl

If only…if only Lady Mary had been blessed with a daughter
we could have started ‘Search for an Heir’ all over again. Maybe the production
team from X Factor could have got us all to vote or at least unearthed cheeky Barbra Windsor as ‘Bob’s’
long lost relative, the East End Pearly Queen pub landlady whose son The Artful
Dodger draws moustaches on the family portraits amid cries of ‘ Cor blimey me
old china look at them apples and pears!’ Sadly the lovely Penelope Wilton
would have had to go back to nursing but she could have consoled herself and
married the doctor.

5) Waste of talent

It’s getting a bit like East Enders up there in Downtonland.
Nobody gets enough footage in a scene to do anything but say lines (at least
they’re not screaming at each other – yet) – which is a shame considering the
talent on parade. Michelle Dockery could actually act if only the director
would let her. She is trained to do more
than nod her head every time she says yes you know. Perhaps one day when she stars opposite
Maxine Peake in a gritty drama noir we’ll all be able to finally say, ‘Wow look at that girl go!’

6) Oh Really O’Brien!

Yes I know Siobhan is doing a great acting job beyond the
lodge gate, ( because she is brilliant)
and I know the nasty Miss O’B added a certain Daphne du Maurier-esque frisson to the procedure but please, in a
house that’s so well run by Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes don’t tell me somebody
wouldn’t have left a note pinned to the gusset of Cora’s clean knickers spelling
it out. Signed ‘A loyal retainer @’

7) Things that go hump in the night

Considering what happened to that poor girl who had a bit of
rumpy-pumpy with a house guest and got herself pregnant our boy got off lightly
when he tried it on with one of the lads. Yes I know ‘Oh Robert’ had probably
suffered much worse at Eton but would the ‘pink’ off switch have been flicked
had the outcome been more in tune with the times? I doubt it – not with the
promise of Shirley MacLaine to come. No way!

8) Enter Shirley

And exit just as quick! Amongst everything else it denied us
the chance to witness two great actresses and rival ‘mothers’ having a Broadway
Melody sing-off around the piano and also lost the glorious Dame Maggie the
chance of a sparring partner worthy of her mettle. What next? The Kardashians coming to stay? Or
Honey-Boo’s dad inheriting the title? Maybe the Lizard Lick County gang will
drop in for tea?

9) All that chloroform

Lady Edith could have easily seen off her elder sister with
the quick application of a well-soaked rag in between tending to the
wounded. And who would have blamed
her? She may be a bit flighty but under
it all she’s just too much of a good egg to let the side down. Unless, that is,
she’s publishing a book in Series 6 with a chapter headed ‘Turkish Delight – my
sister bores a man to death in her bed.’

10) The girl that married a GI

Remember the English Rose who married a GI, became a war
bride and left the village? Remember how she came back years later wearing
capri pants, chewing gum, tried to make a Manhattan with Elderberry wine and told all the villagers how big her fridge
was back home in Placcid Flats? Downton went west, got lost and now stays in a
hotel when she visits the folks back in the UK because over a million of us are
not quite sure what to make of her any more…and what exactly is ‘jello’?