Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Garden cities - a mistake

In order to house all the immigrants this and the last government have let into this country three new 'garden cities' are being planned for 'middle England.'  

Now why 'garden cities?' and what exactly is a 'garden city?' and is a 'garden city' a good idea anyway?

Let's answer the first question first because it is easy - if you are planning to cover tens of thousands of acres of land in little boxes why not choose a 'sounds good' 'sound bite' name for them and 'Garden City' fits that bill perfectly.

So what is a Garden City? Well, surprise,surprise the government doesn't actually know! The government apparently; ".... does not wish to impose any definition of what garden cities are."   You couldn't make that up could you.  You announce you are planning to build 'garden cities' but then admit that you actually don't know what a garden city is - even for this government that takes some beating. However Mr Clegg does think that perhaps a garden city might have 'biodiversity rich public parks' what incidentally is a 'bio diversity rich public park?' and how does that differ from say Hyde Park in London? - the answers is of course it doesn't it is just 'sound bite' civil service crap.

So the verbiage goes on but let's address the question of whether a garden city - whatever that means -is a good idea. I suspect most of us would think that a garden city will have a lower density of housing per acre than a normal city - obvious really - the more gardens you have the less houses you can get to an acre. But oddly I wonder if that is what people really want. Often I hanker city life. Being able, of a morning, to get up walk to a shop buy a newspaper and some milk and then wander back for breakfast.  Or, of an evening, being able to say to my wife; 'there's nothing on telly tonight let's walk to the cinema and then have dinner out.'  But garden cities are too spread out to offer you these advantages of city life instead Mr Clegg hopes you will get into your car and drive to your allotment which he thinks every garden city should provide for its residents.

Please -Prince Charles - will you do one more thing for us - give Mr Clegg a call and take him down to see Poundbury and explain to him why high density housing is so much more fun to live in that his ghastly 'garden cities are ever going to be.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Healthy Eating

This has been a good week for me. Yesterday the Telegraph led with a story that one cup of Earl Grey Tea -which contains a Mediterranean herb called Bergamot - is just as good for you as stuffing yourself with statins whilst today it had a headline announcing that ten portions of fruit and veg a day virtually guarantees you, if not immortality, certainly a prolonged active life. Now I am writing this whilst sipping - approximately- my fourth mug of Earl Grey Tea and having just finished my third apple of the day, on top of three - small -oranges I had with my breakfast. Admittedly I share my oranges and apples with my two black Labradors, am I alone I wonder in having dogs which don't just love apples but simply adore oranges! But the clock has only just struck five and I have still got supper to come which will have a healthy quota of vegetables with it.

On top of fruit, veg and Earl Grey Tea I also treat myself to red wine at supper and now have at least one cup of green tea a day, a habit I have been introduced to by my daughter. Finally my wife and I both love olive oil and I have a fondness for smoked salmon and mackerel -oily fish which are full of something I think called Omega.g. Eating smoked salmon is far more palatable way of getting your Omega g than a disgusting capsule of full of  Halibut oil which I was forced to take daily as a child.

The good thing really is that I LIKE healthy food - looking at what I have written I see I have left out black chocolate and walnuts - which is not because I don't love them -it's just because I love them too much and - given unrestricted access would gorge myself and become fat.