Dear Laura, Andy and Ed - and who was the fourth at last Wednesday's meeting, please?
Monday, 31 October 2022
Re: 26 October CA/CANWM meeting
Sunday, 30 October 2022
FROM VAIN PROJECTS TO MUNDANE GREEN ONES!
Hi Chris - please reply
- Like lowering the importance of getting international and national companies moving into state of the art, brand new, prestigious buildings in the centre of Brum?
- Like, spending £15 billion (Feb 2020 figure) to 2040 on mainly 150 miles of underground and overground trams to replace buses and trains?
- Like weaning them off vanity, over indulgent, extravagant projects like Metro and Sprint and into the mundane and vital work that you are doing so well with FoE to cut GHG emissions and to slow climate catastrophe?
- Like reopening/finishing the 120 Kms Black Country Railway to ease the congestion and air pollution on the parallel in places or, nearby, M5/M6? They were and, still are, using trams as the catalyst to get the freight and passenger trains back on that railway "of national strategic significance".
- Like putting small, highly energy efficient, low cost apartments at High Plateau and Daniels Land at Merry Hill to relieve the housing/migrant crisis? Over 10,000 sq metres are STILL lying wasted, unused because of Metro having priority at Merry Hill instead of housing for the badly housed.
Saturday, 29 October 2022
Extract from 'My Ten Point West Midlands Plan' from December 2019
Dear Andy Street and all you triumphant Conservatives advancing to an even Greater Than Ever Better Britain Brexit Land.
Well done on your great victory in England and, to a lesser extent, in Wales. Commiserations on your wipeout in Scotland and sad loss in N. Ireland.
Thursday, 27 October 2022
October 2022 Scotland expedition report
250 Grahams/Donalds left out of 364 after 16 summits visited this month. No frost at night. Damp throughout but two good clear days for great views. The day with the wind turbine on a Donald summit, Bowbeat Hill 626 m, in the Moorfoot Hills SE of Penicuik. And the day I walked up Windlestraw Law 659 m and Whitehope Law 623 m.
7 to 9 hour days when I was attempting summits left me exhausted. I was well pleased with the 16 total (out of a possible 22) and the lower walks on rest days.
Walking poles were a great help in fording swollen burns. One took the water right over both hubs of the bike!
3 nights were like sleeping in a drum; rainbows and goldfinches at Aultbea, Wester Ross; and full wet weather gear just to get from the car park to the old but transformed Loch Ewe Church in Aultbea in a southerly gale that was blasting straight off the sea into the south facing front door of the church. You had to quickly shut it behind you to keep the torrential rain and gale out! Inside was an amazingly fine, modern, packed church at their 11 am service in a six or seven-year-old restored, updated and made energy-efficient building. What a pleasure to see. Three men led the three sung psalms, instead of musical instruments and hymns, from the Scottish Psalter.
Lots of showers to begin the 3 weeks, followed by cloud and still more rain. Two complete rainbows seen in the period of sun and showers. My last day - a big circuit to take in four Donalds - was in cloud and murk and was the only day of low cloud throughout the 9 hours bike and walk.
I achieved two out of the four Grahams I wanted in NW Scotland and those two were the most remote that needed 8/8.30 am starts. The 29" wheels bike was a great help and made all the difference to get within striking difference of the two remote summits. But still long walk-ins even then!
The most almighty very heavy rain bucketed down on me just ten minutes after I had safely got back to the car from the first long day of 8 hours.
Four nights in three different hotels. Left on Monday 3 October and returned on Sunday 23 October. The last full day was to complete the last four Manor Hills summits north of St Mary's Loch but after an exhausting 9 hrs to do the first four, I was easily diverted to do a little guerrilla gardening. I came upon native hardwood planting at 450 metres on the rough track I was cycling up, straightened one sapling and collected lots of tree guards that were lying around having been pushed off the growing trees.
Last Friday's long circuit round the Peebles horseshoe was satisfyingly accomplished throughout in cloud and murk. I was overtaken by a fast young man with map and compass held out to guide him. He was doing the long circuit by starting and finishing in Peebles, like me but without the help of a bike. I had stopped in tiredness after a long ride, sat on the grass and took a long hard look at the steep valley side on the other side of the burn that I had to get up. I realised I had stopped just in time. There was, I thought a way to avoid much of the bracken and then heather to get up onto the ridge to find the Cross Borders Drove Road to my first summit, Birkscairn Hill 661 m. I started the big walk 300m short of Glensax after abandoning the bike by the track.
Above Gairloch Harbour were two 300 metre rocky hills that looked daunting to climb but I did one from round the back in deteriorating weather.
I came away from one Graham when I soon met a stalking party that had spotted me when I was getting ready at the car. They walked down to meet me just after I walked up from the road. A truly lovely estate manager in charge of the stalking. The first time that I had relented when similarly spoken to. The other two men, in previous years, let me continue. Very decent of them. This was the day, for plan B, I returned to Gairloch Harbour to find a way to climb one of the 300 m hills mentioned above.
A fabulous day photographing on the shores of Loch Maree and then a late four-hour Beinn Eighe mountain trail that was well worth doing but I came down in the dark for the last few hundred metres. Highlights were a Caledonian pine forest, a deep vertical gorge alongside a well-cairned trail and lochans passed in the higher reaches to the summit cairn at 550m.
Best meal was a simple pea and mint soup, followed by a cheese and cranberry toastie at Traquair House. A delicious meal and lovely staff, too. Interesting house of three floors to explore and, the priest steps to escape from the top of the house at the approach of a search party in the 17th and 18th centuries.
So damp this expedition I actually had condensation dripping on me twice as I slept with head and shoulders under the rear windscreen - just as I normally do. Dampness was discovered on both my black cycling bumbag and bivy tent when I came to unpack back home.
At Peebles, my night stays were noted for rain drops from trees sounding like I was in a drum, so loud was the split splatter on the steel roof!
Left 3 October; returned 23 October 2022.
Nick Bevan of firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Art Trail is a Shrewsbury BID initiative. Do go and see what you think, Chris. The Comics Salopia hoardings also need promoting with a paper map to help tourists find them all. I think there are eight to find, plotted on a map - PLEASE!
"Some improvements are much needed and would make your town even more special, inspiring and worth visiting. More pedestrianisation would also help, by the way! Brum city centre banned cars from their two main shopping streets many decades ago (the 1980s, I believe) and the place is still thriving with shoppers and businesses. Do extend yours - please and make the town even more attractive!"
The infernal combustion engine must be controlled for the sake of the nationally declared climate emergency that UN Sec Gen, Antonio Guterres has given a Code Red warning to humanity for. And, for reasons of shortages of fossil fuels, clean air and a much more pleasant shopping environment.
These people need persuading to act on climate justice
- Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman, Network Rail
- Andrew Haines, Chief Executive, Network Rail
- John Larkinson, Chief Executive Officer, ORR
- Andy Lord, Chief Operating Officer, Transport for London
- Maria Machancoses, Chief Executive, Midlands Connect
- Mark Thurston, Chief Executive, HS2
- Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, UKHospitality
- Anit Chandarana, Lead, GBRTT
- Mr Ahmed Al Musawa Al Hashemi, Chief Executive Officer, Oman and Etihad Rail
Monday, 24 October 2022
To Tom Bissell of MMA
TEXT to Tom B: My official and stamped MMA stylus-biro soon fell apart. Could you please send me a replacement? THANKS! 28 Hunnington Cres HALESOWEN B63 3DJ (The biro section fell out, literally)
- save £100 m by not needing to build the 400 metre, steel and concrete, double track, standard gauge, tram viaduct on the 400 m long and high canal embankment, plus a second canal bridge;
- save my 'magnificent' guerrilla garden from being wiped out;
- save the only public open space at Merry Hill;
- everything (and more) in this photo between the road and the canal gets bulldozed for the massive viaduct;
- save nature - of which we are part and depend on for our very existence;
- save the view of five lovely hills from the canal towpath and from the boats on the high canal embankment; and
- save all the 10,000 sq metres of land designated for housing - after some decades, is still available for very low cost energy apartments for the poor and, "the stranger in our midst", as here:
Forum now on cost of living and net zero instead of transport
Thanks for this, Katie and Ed. For the forum, I would like you all to address what I have written here, please. This is all about climate, cost of living, shortages and building a more sociable and humane society - starting from the bottom, for the most important citizens.
That brilliant question and my dreadful diatribe!
You are so good at engaging and, educating me over fracking, that makes me so glad that we met!
Please forward this to John who asked the great question that so completely floored me. I would love him to know that he put me on the spot. However, I need to acknowledge that 200 years of developments in climate science does speak volumes in now finally addressing the poisoned chalice that we have all so thirstily drunk from in discovering the very mixed blessings of oil, gas and coal.
It is probably too late for climate but, just because of coming shortages, we need to urgently cut back on their use, as my wife and I are doing, as here. It means immediately stopping the rest of the totally unnecessary destruction of the 120 Kms Black Country Railway for a forty-year-old shuttle tram extension to bring even more destruction at Merry Hill. This very foolish expenditure means that - such is our addiction to, and dependency on, finite fossil fuels - every pound we spend means yet more fossil fuels burnt and gone forever. And, every pound we spend might be seen as a pound in weight of GHG emissions as they continue their alarming rise.
My talking of seven decades of tram, then train destruction was a perfect case example of how we have worsened our climate problems by our stupidity and, secondly, caused even worse air pollution, road traffic and railway congestion in the West Midlands. Actually, a triple whammy when you add in the waste and shortages of finite resources!
Is this the final word, now on John's question? But he is welcome to respond, please!
While writing, I do feel that your brilliant humanitarian work must reflect the changing times we have seen this year that has brought or, will bring, poverty and suffering this winter for low income people in Dudley much more than for my income bracket. But, I know you are aware of that.
Very best wishes
Friday, 14 October 2022
We must, please practise democracy ourselves - on 8 Nov!
Jules, Richard, Chris, Bob
1. The immediate scrapping of High Scam 2 (not in their remit, I know but we were successful in scrapping the eastern arm), Metro extensions and Sprint extensions. Tens of billions of pounds are being spent to 2040 on 150 miles of Metro expansion, alone!
2. POSITIVE: The carrot of Fare-Free Public Transport extended from my old crocks age group to everyone else.
3. HELPFUL: The stick of the Clean Air Zone made stricter; as well as road pricing to penalise the car commuters who don't need their motors for their job but who thoughtlessly clog up the road space for essential business users.
4. CONSTRUCTIVE: My two year Hagley Road experiment, as here:
Sunday, 9 October 2022
Dudley Tram terminates at Level Street?
from Population Matters
Each one of us puts pressure on the natural world, consumes the Earth’s finite resources and contributes to climate change. One of the most effective ways that we can help our planet today is by choosing to have a smaller family.
Sunday, 2 October 2022
A call for prophetic ministry from our church leaders
Dear friends - and Christian leaders
Saturday, 1 October 2022
For the best of all possible reasons, our side always feels it has to expand and dominate and promote its culture and democracy to Russia and China
For the best of all possible reasons, our side always feels it has to expand and dominate and promote its culture and democracy to, Russia and China, in particular!
Four regions of Ukraine annexed by Russia, this week (end Sept 2022).
All my life I considered Ukraine as being part of the USSR and had more in common with Moscow than Washington, London or Paris. Especially, when Crimea was given to Ukraine by Kruschev in 1954, I think it was, when I was 6 years of age.
Our foolish crowing over winning the Cold War in 1991 when it was Gorbachev who magnanimously initiated its ending;
our failure to credit the Russian submarine commander who chose not to fire his nuclear missiles when he was being depth charged by the USAF in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis;
our failure to disband NATO when the Warsaw Pact disbanded;
our promotion to Moscow of the Chicago Boys and their right-wing, trickle down, the rich first and last, economics;
our warm embrace of the extremely wealthy Russian oligarchs to London;
yet, our failure to be generous, open and friendly with Russia after Yeltsin, when Putin came along;
our failure to welcome his offer of help after 9/11, 2001;
or to understand his strong right-wing, nationalistic and patriotic Russian feelings;
the idiocy of being unable to get into the mind of Putin in order to maintain good relations with him, when things had started out so promisingly;
the sheer stupidity of President Bush, in April 2008 in Bucharest, Romania in persuading his allies to open the door for both Ukraine and Georgia to join NATO, despite Putin's disgust ("an open-ended promise of membership one day ... Putin made his displeasure plain" - 'The World Tonight', Radio 4 on 29.11.22);
our view that conceding anything to Putin was wicked appeasement, so that our sphere of influence, our NATO and military exercises and nukes had to come right up to the Russian border;
our NATO "was founded in 1949 as a counterweight to the Soviet Union" and "any state in the alliance is effectively under US protection" but it led to the Warsaw Pact being formed in 1955 to counterbalance NATO but dissolved in 1991 after our mighty Cold War victory;
our subsequent subsuming of the former Warsaw Pact members into NATO;
our being shamelessly unapologetic (not even regretful) at our side overthrowing their fairly elected pro Russian president that initiated the disastrous war in February 2014 that ratcheted up a gear or two, eight years later - this year.
All this has contributed to the tragedy of the West siding with Ukraine and funding its war and training its troops, when it was not a member of NATO and, when we had not made it clear to Putrid that this is what we would do if he invaded Ukraine;
If I lived in one of the four regions annexed, I would not care a toss whether Zelensky or Putin ruled over me. I would simply want my friends, my family, and myself to stay alive and earn a liveable income/pension to the natural end of my days.
The scale of the horror, the fear, the killings and destruction over where a national boundary line should be drawn on a map. It is just not worth it, in my opinion. But how we humans love to hate and kill one another to make a point - or a boundary line. Our death wish to make us one of the most short-lived species in the history of the planet!!
Tim Weller 1 October 2022 (updated 30 Nov 2022)
I suppose this does, rather obviously, display my thoroughly jaundiced and agnostic and sceptical and dissident views!