How Was It For You?

Now that our doorways are safe from grinning politicians, our letterboxes from reams of “Printed on recycled paper” leaflets and headlines are slowly returning to hamster eating puns, we can raise our heads and take a look forward into the unknown.pol

For regardless of whether the “General Election 2015” resulted in how you would favour, this is how it is going to be for the next half decade. Again, rights and wrongs of the election process are brought into question, causing the cloud of politics to loom over us a little longer and speculation into the honesty of the incumbent government will no doubt rage on.

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But, rest assured you are not likely to see your “New” M.P until they require your vote once more, so, sit back and enjoy the journey and maybe, just maybe we can continue our daily lives without a stakeboard telling us what to do.

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Wait Watchers Soup

How are you coping with the daily diet of politics at breakfast, dinner and for tea? If you have managed to avoid it then I applaud you, but alas most of us mortals are living in a snow cone of blinding false facts and untruths, these of course used to be called lies, as with everything, did not meet the criteria of our hopeful candidates.

polWatching these events constantly are the world media, producing a full menu of flowcharts, graphs and polls, and we are slowly becoming numb to any revelations in this mudslinging to and thro banquet of hypocrisy, when the reality is we have already made up our minds regardless of any new titbits that is revealed to us among the feeding frenzy for the top job.

Our only saving grace is that we have not long to go, and although they are bound for the final push, our thresholds will soon be safe from that smiling, baby kissing and reassuring member of parliament, who undoubtedly you will not see for another half decade.

Feeding National Pride

Food banks are becoming more and more common in the UK, helping struggling families to meet a basic standard of living, and I am embarrassed that we should need them. These charities are kept running by either a sterling donation or one of food directly, with support from the public, some supermarkets and local churches, and quite apart from fixing the problem, politicians are more than happy to pose for the camera supporting their great work.

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In order to qualify for this support, generally, you have to be referred by an agency or such like, social services, Doctors and in some cases the Church. On arrival you are given up to 5 days of food stuffs in relation to the size of family in question, in some cases clothes and footwear are offered, which have also been donated. We are reminded daily by media puppets and their parliament string pullers, of the benefits culture, but some of these families are just low wage earners, who are quite literally working themselves into poverty.

Historically governments have treated the poor and the reliant with an appalling attitude, entire families in workhouses, orphans shipped off to countries in need of labour, and asylums locking away the mentally fragile, and yes, all this in the 20th century. Hopefully the mistakes of the past will not be repeated in this century and to provide help where it is needed domestically before outpouring our resources to the rest of the planet.

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Britain-Back To The Drawing Board

When you look back to the 1950’s and 60’s it would be impossible to imagine that our economy today could sustain such a lifestyle, with station masters on train platforms, a Matron on every hospital ward and Police houses dotted around our countryside, of course then we lived in a nationalised Britain, but is that why we suffer today?

brStreamlining and consolidation are words that we have come to define as cuts, and these are to be made on the only industries that remain in the public domain, health, education and policing, all else was sold to private companies in order streamline and consolidate our transport system, electricity, gas and water, leaving us with a pot full of money, but no revenue.

And the money has gone and we are left to pick up the cost of privatisation, whilst supporting those very companies with tax breaks and other subsidies. So now you would be hard pressed to find a porter on a platform, a Matron in ten wards and the police have to move in to fire stations or supermarket broom cupboards to save money, while boardrooms get more crowded.

Perhaps a simplistic view, but, maybe that is what is needed, to take a step back and look at our situation from a child’s perspective, we may discover a few answers or at least realise you have to work from the top first.

Pave The Way (The Final)

Google maps

Google maps

It is with great delight and gusto that I report that Eastleigh Borough Council have seen the light, engaged some common sense and have finally repaired a set of steps that could have caused injury, within only weeks of being notified. A triumph for the pedestrian users of the once unsafe and bedraggled path blighting their shopping area. But lets just save the victory dance for a while whilst we analyse what has been achieved.

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As you may or may not know, I decided to track the progress of a report of a crumbling stairway in the public domain, So I set about this journey using the official routes and directions, It soon became apparent that ownership of this piece of land was in some kind of legal limbo, and EBC were refusing to repair it regardless of their duty of care, which they also disputed.

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A battle of words ensued with various people of varying status within the halls of power, all of whom would impress upon me their unwillingness to provide their parishioners with adequate footings, other than a vain attempt to exclude the area with barriers. I did however manage to become somewhat of an irritant, perhaps only outdone by a well known laxative chocolate, and caused slight discomfort among our peers in a position of power that we gave them.

You must understand that I am fully aware that I was not the only person on this trail for clarity and safety, so I will not take all credit for a well produced result for local inhabitants, but I will reiterate that the powers to be had great reluctance in acting upon it, also my belief is that in the meantime an injury was sustained at this spot, which may have prompted action sooner than it would have.

So safe in the knowledge that the people of Hamble are once again safe from suffering, I will fall back into the shadows until stirred again and say my farewells to all my new friends like Mr Bright of the EBC.

pv2pv1pvFor the full in depth story, scroll down and start from the beginning.

 

Botleigh Grange, Southampton

Once the centre piece of sprawling estate the Botleigh Grange hotel is now nestled in the middle of local businesses and offices on the outskirts of Southampton. This 17th century former family home has 55 rooms and a modern spa and is rated with 4 stars, and also is ideally suited to cater for weddings or large celebrations in style, but how does it fair for the one night stay customer?

Booking a room out of season was relatively easy and offers were available, one such offer that we took was dinner, room and breakfast for around £72 each per night in a double room. On arrival the reception staff were very polite and helpful, almost pre-empting questions I had prepared to ask, and we were told where to find the different areas and our room, as we had turned down an offer of help with our small overnight bag.

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The room itself, although pleasant, was quite tired and furnished by more than enough antique looking wardrobes and bureaus, more than the average traveller would need, but was clean and with coffee making equipment at hand. Other facilities available were hair dryer, iron, ironing board, but no obligatory trouser press, and fresh white bath towels.

The “fine dining” experience, I feel quite honestly was that, delivered in my opinion by a talented chef and kitchen team, not only presented, but well thought out. The elusive bar staff were able to be found after time, perhaps embarrassed at the prices being charged behind it, also open to the public.

Although we did not visit the spa, we discovered that it was modern and well maintained, in comparison to the main hotel. So in general, the food was Michelin star, the staff 4 star, but the rooms were perhaps a little above 3 stars, but do still need improving.

The Village Inn, Swanwick, Hampshire.

Whilst looking for a venue to celebrate an 18th birthday with a meal, we were reliably informed that the Village Inn was a suitably ideal place to dine, fair pricing, good food and a friendly service, so we checked it out. Run by Ember Inns, this fairly local public house seemed charming when we visited it on the afternoon of the day to ask if we could leave the cake there for the evening, not only were they pleasant, but reassured us that everything was in hand and that they would adorn the reserved area with balloon and banners that we hoped to put up.

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Sure enough on the night, seating for 14 was reserved and had a barrier to stop it being used for general use, and while most of our guests arrived before us, when we did, we were told we could use the area when we were ready. Not being a fan of the cask ales on offer, I was limited to bottled beer or as I had, cider on draught, although other members of the party were more than delighted with the choice.

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The food was good, but basic, and more suitable for a lunchtime meal, and this is where I think I may have been disappointed in that there was no evening meals on offer, just “pub grub” which surprised me slightly as it had been recommended to us, although I am well aware that “one man’s meat is another’s poison”, so perhaps I am being a little unfair in my expectations. It was served in staggered formation, but this must be expected of 14 covers at once.

The staff were friendly, courteous and very helpful, especially after I mistakenly assumed that someone would take our order at the table, rather than placing it at the bar, but they very kindly took the order at our places, and it was served promptly. The ownership of the single stray hair was never established, but an adequate apology was accepted.

So, all in all a pleasant time was enjoyed by most, in it’s comfortable surroundings, a great place for a pub lunch, but maybe not a place for an evening meal.