Send the cavalry

So I’ve swapped Misty and Milly for a couple of weeks for their American cousins. That’s Henry (the small white one) and Murphy (the bigger brown one).


Pardon?
I don’t think that they bark with American accents, no.

Anyway… Sorry, what!?

No they don’t walk on the wrong side of the path either. And before you start again let’s not get into the whole potato, potarto/ tomato, tomarto argument o.k. We’d be here all day.

As I was about to say, I’ve been taking the lads out for a walk. In the morning, when it’s cooler – sorry, I just had to get that dig in. Is it raining back home? Oh dear!

But. And as so many things are over here, this is a big BUT. No, with one ‘T’, dear – there is a difference. Can I carry on now? Thank you.

But, when me and the girls go out in dear old Blighty we usually venture down the cut – oh, apologies again, that’s a Black Country phrase meaning ‘along the canal towpath’ – the most dangerous thing we are likely to encounter is a slightly miffed duck, annoyed because we haven’t brought it some bread.

Here in Fulshear, Texas, the new housing estates tend to be surrounded by water. Like a moat around a castle. And very picturesque it is too. Egrets stand by the bank looking all, well egrety actually, the banks are lush green grass, fountains fount. Lovely.


Hold on. What’s this? A sign. Let’s just take a look… WTF!


I thought those ripples in the middle were a bit big for any sort of fish I’ve ever seen the fishermen of England drag out of the Staffordshire and Worcester canal. And although the grass is neatly trimmed for the first foot or so, isn’t that long grass a bit too close to the path? Dogs don’t hiss over here, do they? And what ‘other wild life’? Mice? Raccoons? Grizzly’s? The sign’s not very specific is it. I mean I went to Alaska once and believe you me bears really do shit in the woods. I came across some (bear shit not bears). It was still steaming. It was probably still steaming in the extremely short period of time it took me to hurtle back to a place of safety.

Well, I mean! Honestly! These are new estates. What are they trying to do? It must be the modern day equivalent of getting the covered wagons into a defensive circle in case of attack and the 7th cavalry aren’t around for protection. Any enemy of note isn’t about to come crawling through the grass to pinch the barbecue while you’re not looking are they? No one’s likely to swim across the lake to have an illicit bounce on your trampoline are they?

And what if poor Fido goes missing. Slips out of the back gate or a hole in the fence in the middle of the night. Are you going to go looking? Too right – nor me matey! One wrong move could be fatal. Stick your foot in a puddle accidentally and the next thing you know you’re doing the death roll tango with a ten foot reptile! The only thing you’ll find of your best friend the next day is a tuft of fur and some frightened poo. Leave well alone, that’s what I say.

Next time me and the boys go out hiking I shall take a lot more notice when they start to bark in whatever regional accent they’re using. For all I know they’re shouting, ‘Big scaley thing with teeth. And his tail ain’t wagging.’

You can buy guns here you know. 

Excuse me – I’m just popping down to Walmart for an AK47.

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Never give up your green belt for anyone!

Methinks I doth protest too much.

But quite honestly it has to be done.
In the 37 years (is it really so long!?) since I moved to this little slice of heaven we have had to campaign against the Western Orbital Route, a quarry and an extension to our local airport.
Yes you can call me a NIMBY but I ain’t been on the losing side yet and if you’re so concerned you are quite welcome to put any of them in your backyard and see how you like it.

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So bring on the next.
Yes it’s another quarry.
Except it’s not really.
Confused?

Let me explain.
Once upon a time someone wanted to build houses on a strip of land on the edge the village, between the canal and the brook.
But it was designated green belt.
Bugger!

So that’s the end of that then.
All’s well that ends well.
Happy villagers and happy grazing sheep.
Everything’s back to normal.

But! Hold on a mo!
Here comes a developer with a cunning plan.
We’ll build a marina instead.
Perhaps a bit more aesthetically pleasing, row upon row of canal barges instead of row upon row of little boxes made of ticky tacky.

Well that splits the vote.
Some think it’s a good idea.
Some don’t.
Each to their own.
A bit like Brexit in minature.
And then there’s the punchline. ‘Of course we could always turn it into a travellers site or a quarry.

Suddenly a marina looks very attractive indeed.
No of course we won’t remove anything from the site. The sand we don’t want will be piled up as a barrier to stop the canal and the brook getting too jiggy jiggy with each other.

Come to think of it, isn’t that how they made Wales? The ancient Brits got forced ever westward by various European invaders taking their land with them until they came to the coast and had to pile it up into mountains. Back to Brexit again.

Anyway, I digress.
O.k. then – a marina – we’re not entirely chuffed but we’ll go with that.
Job’s a good ‘un.
Not everyone’s happy, but hey, you can’t please all of the people…

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And then – nothing!
Well, not quite.
The sheep are evicted for a start.
Whenever a deadline approaches where something has to be seen to be done there’s a sudden spurt of activity. A perimeter fence appears. Someone digs a trench and then refills it again. That sort of thing.

And then…
…out of the blue…
…except it’s been in the planning stages for ages…
…’Let’s turn it into a quarry!

What!!!
But you said you wouldn’t remove anything…
We know, but we were only kidding. Besides it’ll make us some money ‘cos we can’t actually afford to build a marina.

What!!!
Oh, hang on though, you can’t – it’s green belt see, protected. So stick that up your…
No it’s not. That status was lost when you said you wanted a marina.
But we only said we wanted a marina because you said…
Tough titty!

Shafted or what?
So, we are now mobilising the troops again.

Say No To The Quarry.

Look it up, it’s the name of our Facebook page.

And we certainly ought to fight that battle and win, so perhaps I ought to leave it there.

Except!
Oh, oh,‘ I can hear you mumbling, ‘he’s off again.

Yes I am, so bear with me.

There’s more sand in the pit at the local primary school than there is underneath that field.
Honestly, any self respecting quarry man wouldn’t even start his digger – it would cost too much in fuel. It’s on a flood plain for Gawd’s sake, they’d be pumping water out all day & all night!
So – you don’t think for one minute that after a few halfhearted scrapings in the ground they may give up and say,’hey, you know what – this isn’t green belt anymore, how about we build up the ground to the level of the canal and build some houses!?

Surely not.
Nobody could be that conniving surely, telling porkies to get their own way. See how the Brexit theme runs through this plot, or is that just the state of politics today?

Just a thought.

SAY NO TO THE QUARRY!

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