Friday, April 07, 2006

Training day

Today, David's school is closed due to staff training. Most parents reckon that they all nip down to the Pub, but the staff do get a trainer in to cover off some initiative or other.

David could have gone to his regular after school club, however Karen had some holidays to take and I was owed a day in Lieu after doing some weekend work so we have been out and about.

In the morning, we went to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm which is something David had heard about. It stars Donkeys, Chickens, Rabbits, Sheep, Pigs, Ducks and Goats, as well as some Frogs apparently suffering bombing raids by Herons. The Hens were all cooped up rather than free range, presumably due to all of this avian flu business. We also discovered a very old cat called Tiddles, who was apparently 18 years old.

The place is accessible and features an environmentally friendly main building (called the Epicentre) that features a very prominent turf roof. Being Spring, the gardens look a bit scraggy at the moment but it is probably worth a re-visit in high Summer.

The was an amusing sign in the newest building opposite the Cafe/Bookshop saying Guinea Pigs for sale, with a graphic picture of a rabbit. Underneath, someone had added- "sorry, we couldn't find any pictures of a Guinea Pig" in Biro. I was interested to see that the roof solar panels were generating 500 watts today from an overcast sky.

Whilst there wasn't much to keep you amused for too long, it only costs £1 to get in (under 12s free) and it sounds like a school trip there is great fun with activities involving mud, worms and rare breeds.

There is an exhibition in the epicentre upstairs, but it is a rather preachy Green save the planet sort of thing about recycling that our MP would enthuse about. It was also guarded today by an uncommunicative cleaner with a mop and what smelt like highly concentrated bleach!

The late afternoon was spent in Driglington Library where there was a Spongebob Squarepants event scheduled for 3:15. David had great fun colouring in and taking part in activities whilst I worked my way through the non-fiction shelves. Drig library is fairly small but does have an adjoining community Hall in a similar style to the Gildersome complex. This building opened in 1972 under the auspices of Morley Borough Council, who obviously decided to spend a lot of their money on amenities when they knew their demise was iminent.

Perusing the assorted leaflets, I came across Colin's Chat, the regular newsletter of CCMP. It suddenly struck me that I hadn't received one of these for a couple of months, indeed since I interviewed him on Morley FM. (& I thought I gave him an easy time of it!) In there, he commented on the great smoking debate and how he voted for a complete ban.

As a reformed smoker, I would be expected to be very anti-smoking but that is not the case. I don't like the smell of ciggys but I'm of the view that if people want to live unhealthy lifestyles with cigarettes, drugs, booze or poor diets, that is their own choice, as long as they don't force me to do it. If owners of private property wish to allow, bar or compromise on smoking on their premises, it is up to them, not the nanny state. A Pub remains private property regardless to the term "public house" and Market forces will sort it out without having to order anyone to do anything as people will vote with their feet. The rather fatuous excuse of "what about the workers?" doesn't hold much water with me either as plenty of people who work in Pubs smoke anyway.

Colin says "Only one third of the population now smokes, and many of them want to give up. This legislation should be welcomed." By who? 17th century religious zealots? Typical of Labour to "help" people because they can't help themselves and the Government knows best. I get they would get really upset if everyone actually stopped, think of the revenue loss...

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