NOT the end of the road….a quick thank you.

Wow. What a day. I was terrified, walking up  to Chilwell Road in a blizzard, that Beeston might choose to stay indoors or go for a long souless circuit of Ikea.

But no. You came out to support Chilwell Road, and you came in droves. Despite the biting wind and frequent snow flurries, you packed out the road and made the event a thorough success. Thanks to all those who came over to our stall and said lovely things about the blog and The Beestonian, I’m always a bit awkward when being complimented so sorry if I came across a bit bizarre.

There are too many people to thank right now, but once I’ve recovered (I was awake a straight 26 hours prior to the mammoth sleep I’ve only recently emerged from), I will write a full report on the day, and the evening, where we took over the Hop Pole and put a bill of acts on that showed conclusively that Beeston has more talent on one stage in a local pub than the X Factor has thrown at as in a whole decade.

I will however give a quick mention to Karen Attwood, of Classy Cupcakes, who made a special commemerative cake for us:

cake

and my favourite film director and unlikely Beestonian, Shane Meadows who came along and told me about his new film about the Stone Roses then gamely posed for a photo with myself and a coconut:shanemeadows

Cheers to Chris Frost from the ever excellent http://beestonblog.blogspot.co.uk/ for this.
Once again, you made me proud yesterday, Beeston. Anyone who cynically assumes the concept of community is dead would have eaten their misery-hat yesterday.

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Some sad news though, Beeston’s oldest restaurant and a favourite haunt of mine, Beeston Tandoori, has sadly served it’s last poppadom and closed it’s doors for good. Or as the text I recieved telling me put is ‘Beeston Tandoori is no moori’. Not sure why it’s gone, but will find out and let you know soon.

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Soubz vs Bercow, Round 2 (at least)

naughty

 

Is Soubz ok? I’m only asking out of genuine concern for her. She has a lot on her plate at the moment, with her popularity in Broxtowe at worm-eye view; the reforms to the NHS she supports being universally tore apart by health professionals and her stance on her defining local issue, the Greenbelt, in ruins after her alignment with Rushcliffe’s strategy was rubbished, as I previously reported on here.

Not going well then. The strains are showing. Her ill-judged angry attack on 38 Degrees in her last newsletter has raised the hackles of the campaign group’s legal team, with their legal advisor David Lock QC putting together a riposte. Soubzlogic is backfiring.

Most tellingly, her behavious in the House of Commons is increasingly rabid. She’s had her run-ins from the Speaker before. Back in November, Bercow had to shout her down three times within 90 minutes, as she repeatedly heckled and interrupted against usual Commons etiquette. Highlights incuded Bercow telling Soubry:

‘I don’t want to hear the sedentary chuntering and the finger wagging and all the rest of it.’

‘she can say pooh if she wants….. (but has to) accept the ruling of the chair and either behave or get out of the chamber’.

Bad Soubz. Where do these awful manners come from? A finger of blame can go to her former boss and Health Minister Simon Burns MP, now over at transport. Quite an odious fellow, he too accused 38 Degree supporters of being ‘zombies’, and he too fell foul of the speaker when he called Bercow ‘a sanctimonious dwarf’

Nice guy. But obviously taught Soubz all she knew in proper conduct. It’s a glarring exhibition of Soubzlogic, this absolute refusal to see another argument and if one is presented, to turn into Violet Bott and threaten to “thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick”

It all blew up again last week when Soubz once again spent a debate chuntering until the Speaker rebuked her with a new level of severity:

Ah, sorry, wrong video. Take two:

 

I imagine Cameron is watching this with the same level of concern I am, and will agree that it’s perhaps time to shuffle Anna off to a less demanding job. Maybe head-up an inquiry into that Tory obsession, the erosion of good manners? Just a thought.

 

 

Guest Post From The Women’s Room

Here’s a guest post from a new contributor, Cath. I was put in touch with her through the wonderfully effective local activist Lisa Clarke of No More Page 3; and was amazed at the organisation she co-runs.  The Beestonian, our physical sister, is putting together an special issue with a feminist theme: it’s out soon, so seek it out; and more importantly, we’re inside International Women’s Month. It’s a shame that the oher gender has to still fight certain battles, but it’s good to know the fight is on, and eternally creative and positive.

I’ll hand over to Cath:

The Women’s Room UK

For two consecutive days in October 2012, The Today Programme on Radio 4 discussed issues relating to women without including a female expert.

The first debate was in relation to underage teenage girls being given contraception. This was debated with a Head teacher (male) who, whilst he had some perspective on teaching teenage girls, didn’t have any experience of why teenage girls may or may not want contraception. The second feature was on breast cancer and, whilst the BBC managed to speak to a woman who had survived the illness, she was then dismissed in favour of the male ‘expert’ who talked at length about how women may feel about breast screening.

Myself, Caroline Criado-Perez and many other women, were so incensed by this failure to incorporate women as experts we decided to provide the BBC with a ‘binder of women’ so they would have no reason to ignore them. One woman volunteered to set up a website, another set up a Facebook page, another set up the Twitter account and from this, grew The Women’s Room.

It took off more quickly than we could have anticipated with women from all over the world signing up.

We currently have over 6,000 followers on Twitter and over 2,000 women signed up as experts in their field. And these are not only women who are experts in traditional ‘women’s issues’. Our experts come from a huge variety of fields, such as chemistry, biophysics, environmental, nuclear power, history, geography, sex work, medicine and law.

However. It’s not simply about qualifications. We want to challenge the perception of experts and widen this to incorporate women who are experts in an area because of their experiences. For example, women who have experienced domestic abuse, childbirth, breast feeding, child sexual abuse, homelessness, substance misuse or mental health difficulties are, we believe, also experts. Academic qualifications and research is extremely valid but we cannot ignore the power of lived experiences.

Often the media, and indeed other women, struggle with this concept and we are working towards supporting more and more women to acknowledge their expertise and place more value on their voices.

There is a clear inclusion policy for the website. If you identify as a woman, we value you and we want to hear from you.

We don’t discriminate, we don’t judge and we don’t believe in giving advice on presentation or grooming. We need to move away from the idea that women should dress a certain way, or present themselves in a certain way, in order to be taken seriously.

We believe that every girl and woman has views, experience and expertise that is valuable and relevant, and we will continue to campaign and work towards a less sexist and biased approach, towards more balanced visibility in the media.

thewomensroom.org.uk

@thewomensroomuk

Palmer a Cert To Return? / The Beestonian Party Line Up Announced / An Introduction To Soubzlogic.

I’m off to see a talk by Beeston’s Most Famous Son, Sir Paul Smith later today, so best rattle this off fast so I can spend at least an hour having a breakdown as I try to decide what shirt to wear. Let’s do politics first.

The Labour selection list for Broxtowe in 2015 will be an open list, and not an all-woman (though our neighbours in Erewash will have a limited list). This means that Nick Palmer will be the front-runner for the role, though by no means a shoe-in. It looks, according to the recent Ashcroft polling, that Broxtowe will become an easy gain according to current psephological models: expect a lot of interest. Stirrings on the left of the party suggest they might have other ideas on who should lead them into battle against Soubry. We’ll know over summer: watch this space.

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More news on the Chilwell Road Street Party on Saturday 30th March: we were intending to run a special edition of The Beestonian to mark the party, but instead decided to incorporate our piece on the street inside Issue 17, out later next week. We can announce the line-up though for the stage we’re running in conjunction with Oxjam, in the fantastic ale-palace that is The Hop Pole:

6.00pm – 7.00pm: Spoken word open mic session
7.00pm – 8.00pm: Emma Bladen Jones
8.00pm – 8.30pm: Rosh Rai
8.30pm – 10.00pm: Joe Barber
10.00pm – 11.00pm: Phil Langran / Steve Benford.

We’ve featured all artists at some time in The Beestonian, so it’s a terrific honour to have such a stellar line up. Entrance is free, but we expect you to say thanks by shopping down Chilwell High Road at least 6 times a week. Ta.

_________________________

Anna being presented with a dissenting voice and applying 'Soubzlogic' by closing her eyes and pretending it's not happening.

Anna being presented with a dissenting voice and applying ‘Soubzlogic’ by closing her eyes and pretending it’s not happening.

We’ll finish on a bit of Soubz Watch. It’s pretty clear that our esteemed MP doesn’t much like people who disagree with her. I have received mountains of emails from constituents who tell me when they’ve written to her asking her to consider an opinion on some proposed legislation, she simply refuses to answer. When the issue is forced upon her, such as in the infamous case with the postal workers she agrees to talk, then talks directly at them, allows no dissent and then turfs them out.

Soubz last newsletter took this further. She wrote about the campaign group 38 degrees, who campaign for a variety of causes by collective action. They democratically choose a campaign and how it should be ran, then do the leg-work for you. So if you think that the NHS reforms are insidious attempts to destroy the non-profit ethos of our proud health service, they research the finer details and provide a pro-forma for you to tap in your details and send to your elected representative.

Now, I know Anna probably hates collectivism but I thought she might, as a Thatcherite, at least admire the enterprising zeal and efficiency of such a method. Oh no. She wrote a scathing diatribe claiming:

Assurances from 38 degrees to some of their supporters  have not assured me that they are independent and non party political.

It’s carefully worded to avoid libel, but in effect she’s accusing the group of being socialist stooges possibly in the pay of Labour or some other left of centre party. Strong stuff. Though typical Soubzlogic.

Soubzlogic is a new branch of rhetorical logical positivism that takes any idea and judges it with two questions:

  1. Is it at all off-message with Cameron and the whips?
  2. Is it something that might seem a tad left of centre?

If the answer to either, or both of these is yes, then

  • The presenter of the idea must be a red-sock wearing, muesli-knitting pinko.
  • The idea must ultimately stem from some secret cabal of left-wing idealogues hell-bent on forcing socialism on us in a future coup.
  • The idea must not be considered whatsoever, and be utterly rejected

Thus:

  • No dissent will be allowed
  • The whips must be happy
  • The use of the term ‘Broxtowe’s Voice in Westminster’ must be uttered without giggling.
  • I will be gifted Rushcliffe one day as long as I poodle along.

That’s the principle concept of Soubzlogic. I’ve applied it to loads of past scenarios and it bears out each time. Try it!

Oh, she also wrote how she believes the Welfare Reform Bill was, in her (the Whips) view ‘fair and proper’ and went on to defend the ‘Bedroom Tax’ by saying ‘it’s not a tax’. Last time I heard Tories use that line was when a similarly unpopular imposition was forced on the poor. It was, I remember them fervently bleating, a Community Charge, not a Poll Tax.

That ended well, didn’t it?

Boots On the Other Foot.

Bit busy right now, so it’s another guest post. The lead story in he latest edition of The Beestonian was about Boots tax avoidance: as such I asked the councillor whose ward Boots falls within to comment: usual rules: I publish everything unedited and uncut: and disclaimer; contributors to here or The Beestonian do not represent our opinions, blah, and blah x 2. Over to Steve:

Frankly I am quite appalled and disappointed in Boots and their policy of putting the absolute minimum back into the community which has served them well and made the company what it is over the last 150 years. There can hardly be a single household in Beeston which has not a family member at some time in the past working for Boots. The pay was never fantastic but conditions were a lot worse elsewhere, they used to do things such as provide free and subsidised transport, discounts, a shop selling reject lines which cost little to them but meant a lot to the workforce. Many playgroups and other community organisations benefited from the Boots foundation, started by the founder Jesse Boot. Sadly it has been noticeable how much of this has dried up in latter years with agencies and overseas labour being used to a greater extent. Boots are a major employer and as such are a major contributor to congestion but have absolutely opposed paying anything towards alleviating this although the amounts asked for are peanuts compared to their profits.
 
Nottinghamshire County Council who are responsible for all highways, social services, schools, libraries etc for a huge area extending from Leicestershire in the south to Yorkshire in the north have a turnover of around £1Bn per annum. Boots declared profit (not turnover) for the UK was approximately half of this amount but they paid less than 3% of this in corporation tax. They sit on a very valuable plot of land which is essential for our core strategy to provide housing and employment for the next generation. However, this land needs work. It needs to be cleaned up following pollution caused by Boots in the past. It needs better road access and it has just benefited from the £51m flood defence scheme. Quite rightly as a society we need to invest in this land and not leave it derelict. Government money is needed and where should governments get their money from for this kind of project? From the very organisations who have and will benefit; organisations such as Boots.
Cllr Steve Barber, Beeston Rylands.

Chilwell High Road Needs YOU / Bookish Beestonians Unite.

As many of you are aware, and possibly saddened by, Chilwell Road will be closed to traffic later this month as the tram works begin in earnest. The mood on the road is pretty low, and it’s understandable why. The uncertainty and potential loss of business is terrifying for small traders, of which Chilwell High Road is predominantly composed of.

However, there is stuff that can be done to mitigate the impact, so after a chat with Beeston BID my other outlet, The Beestonian, will be co-hosting a street party on March 30th: you’re invited.

I’m still frantically scrabbling the details together and will be visiting all businesses along that strip of shops over the next couple of days, but already we have some very positive input. BID has bent the ear of local radio stations, who will be coming down to cover it, The Hop Pole will be hosting live music through the day, and Carly, the main woman behind the last two Oxjams has stepped in to book acts for an al fresco stage.

We will be holding a raffle as well, offering stalls to businesses to show off their wares and doing everything we can to promote this most independent of streets. They’ll even be a special edition of The Beestonian out, celebrating how lucky we are to have Chilwell Road. As The Beestonian’s assistant editor recently posted on Facebook:

In less than 500 metres we have: a restaurant and grill, a photographer’s studio, a corner shop, a news agents, a bread shop, a vegetarian café, a hi-fi shop, a chip shop, an art shop, a deli, a tattoo parlour, a café, a bike shop, a sandwich bar, a printers, a bed shop, a beauty salon, about 3 hairdressers, a bar, an antique/bric-a-brac shop, a home & gift shop, a guitar shop, a Balti house, a small pizza takeaway, a music shop, two pubs, a cob shop, a fabric shop, a café/event space and a garage… plus any we missed.

That’s what’s so great about Chilwell High Road.

….and that’s why it’s important for us to celebrate them.

What can you do? Let me list thy ways…

  1. ATTEND. Yep, simple. Book it in your diaries now. It’s Easter Saturday, so no legging it off on holiday. The motorways will be HELL. Stay in Beeston.
  2. PLAY: Musician? Performer? Then we NEED you. There will be a main stage that needs filling, preferably with local acts, so let’s see what you’ve got. The music aspect is also going to be the official opening of Oxjam 2013, so if you’re good, we’ll be booking you for Beeston’s best night of the year.
  3. CONTRIBUTE: As mentioned before, we’ll be running a special colour, glossy edition of The Beestonian available in our outlets the week before the party. This is hopefully be going to be funded by donations from businesses, but if you do want to sling us a few bob I’d be grateful. Any excess over the print run will be donated to Oxjam 2013.
  4. HAVE A LOOK DOWN THERE NOW. Well, not now, as I write its Sunday afternoon and the only place to really visit are the offy, The Hop Pole or the Chequers. Actually, that’s reason enough. But DO have a look at what is on offer there. It’s a brilliant street.
  5. SUGGEST A NAME: So far we have a few half-decent ones, but we’d like one that is the full 100%. Pun-smiths, to work!

Beeston BID will be promoting as well so keep your eye out for them. I will give more detailed info as I get it, so stay tuned. If you can help in any way, please let me know asap on mattgoold23@hotmail.com. I will pass the details of anyone who wants to perform onto Carly.

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Another event to grace Chilwell High Road will be taking place the following week on 7th April…over to the organiser, local author John Baird:

Barton’s welcomes Beeston’s first book festival and it promises to be a corker. Having held their
answer to The Cannes Film Festival, The Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury, it’s now the turn of
literature to get the Bartons’ treatment.

On Sunday April the 7th, New Writers UK will be hosting the NOT The Hay Book Festival, a free to attend day of talks and activities, taking place within the bus depot’s popular Sunday market. Come along and meet authors such as the crime writer Stephen Booth, who will be discussing the sense of place and his use of locations. Other talks, on character and the creating of ideas, will help to inspire writers of all standards and there’s plenty of local interest too. Author and historian Alan Oxley will be speaking about the ‘History of Barton Transport’, whilst Maureen Rushton will talk about the ‘Canary Girls of Chilwell’.

The talks are all free to attend and no booking is required. John Baird, the Chair of New Writers UK, said, “This is a great opportunity for the book lovers of Beeston and Chilwell to come together to help establish a new book festival that shines a light on local history and the region’s literary talent.”

Fans of the written word will not want to miss this exciting programme of activities all happening on Chilwell’s High Road between 10am and 4pm.

More information on Not the Hay Book Festival can be found at www.newwritersuk.co.uk and
www.bartonsplc.co.uk

bartonslogo

Post on the Post, Post-Page 3 Post.

Top marks to The Nottingham Post, and in particular their excellent columnist Erik Peterson. After I laid into the publication last week for a rather jarring use of an image to illustrate the No More Page 3 campaign, Erik has kicked out an utterly fantastic piece in favour of the campaign, and if you haven’t read it yet, I will excuse you for a few minutes while you do so, here.

Good, innit? He even manages to get to talk about cricket and keep it entirely in context. First-rate journalism, even if he really needs a new byline picture to show off his beard, and has a strange idea on the couple of occasions we’ve met is that I look like Gary Oldman.

Lord Beestonia, earlier today.

Lord Beestonia, earlier today.

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Keeping on the theme of quality journalism, Issue 16 of The Beestonian is now dotted round Beeston: you’ll find copies in Belle and Jerome, The Guitar Spot, The Crown, The Hop Pole, that taxi place that used to be The Barrel, Boba Tea, Metro, The Bean, The Flying Goose, Beeston Library, Pixels and Graphics, Beeston laundrette and a few other places I sweatily hefted the print run over to yesterday. Can’t get into Beeston? Then simply read it online, on our rather posh Issuu site. Our next issue will be a special on feminism….we’re taking in comments and pieces now, so if you’re interested in being part of it, get in contact via our Facebook page, or email at thebeestonian@gmail.com .

 

 

 

Soubry: On Yer Bike!

Oh Jeez, she’s at it again. After being relative quiet in foot/mouth interfacing our ‘Voice in Westminster ‘ (yes, she really used to say that! Imagine!), Anna Soubry has launched back onto the scene with another  splutter of mouth-guff.

This time it’s around cycling. Let’s get some background out first. Cycling is, right now, seeing something of a renaissance in Notts. Petrol prices are constantly on the rise; the tram works mean it’s often quicker to pedal rather than drive, and hey, that Bradley Wiggins bloke seems like a nice guy, yeah?

We also have a rich history here: not just Raleigh in Lenton, but Beeston had Humber Cycles, which drove many innovations that led to the sort of bikes we have now. Beeston Road Club has been active for over 60 years, with Olympic and Commonwealth medal winners amongst it’s ranks, as well as Sir Paul Smith, who still keeps ties with the club.

icons

Two Local Icons

So does Anna support this? After all, for all those impoverished fatties out there she can’t stop seeing, it must be ideal: lose weight! Save money! Let’s see what she said when in front of the parliamentary Get Britain Cycling Inquiry:

[Cycling] is just, often, a great way to travel. But I think we just have to accept the limitations of it. And I’ll just say that I never ever even considered taking one of my children on a bike. I lived in Nottingham for the vast majority of my life. Even though we have cycle lanes, you must be joking. I would not put a child on a bicycle in the city of Nottingham. I just don’t think I could have been that brave, or courageous. And the lanes weren’t extensive enough.

Let’s ignore the fact that Anna once again seems to think she’s MP for Nottingham, rather than Broxtowe. She still lives in Nottingham, popping here by her rather large car when she senses a photo-op, so it’s an easy mistake to make. We’ll also put aside the tautology. Let’s deal with the meat of this.

Anna’s position in the government is to speak out on public health. The role means that she should be looking for ways to improve public health in general. An easy way to do this is to promote cycling. She should be lobbying the transport department to fund better cycling access, throw her weight behind workplace cycling initiatives and possibly get in the saddle herself.

I’ve cycled extensively in Nottingham: I commuted there and back daily for several years. I agree that the paths – especially along Castle Boulevard leave a fair bit to be desired, but generally we’re well served. The greatest dangers were idiot drivers using bus lanes. Then Soubs said something that I simply do not believe:

And I’m just thinking that, in a way… I used to make my daughters walk to school. It was very simple, I just refused to drive them there. And this is in the city of Nottingham. And in many ways I think I would have been more concerned about their safety if they had cycled to school, than walking to school. I’m not saying I’m right to feel that, but as a mum looking back, I think that would be right.

A few years back, a fellow Girl’s High School pupil told me how she’d get lifts home with the Soubry children from school and netball practise: and frequently stop to castigate prostitutes for plying their trade on Forest Road. I digress, however.

I think that if you want to lead the sort of lives that most people do, which is when you have to go and do supermarket runs, I’ve never understood how you’re going to do all that [by bike]… So I think you’ve got to look at its limitations as an alternative to public transport, or cars, and so on.

Politicians really enjoy broad-strokes, don’t they? Yes, Anna. I don’t expect you to draft legislation forcing everybody to travel on bikes EVERYWHERE , ALL THE TIME. I don’t want you to make panniers compulsory, or it mandatory to carry around a puncture repair kit at all times. What I would like you to do is support and promote cycling, see how it can be made safer, more accessible and widespread. As the Minister for Public Health, you should be pointing out the simple equation:

cycling

Y’know, promote it, rather than scaremonger.

Many thanks to Rish for the tip-off .

Serious Boob At The Nottingham Post? / The Beestonian: 16 is OUT!/ 24-Hour Garage People, Revisited.

 

dirty digger

Nottingham Post Under New Ownership?? Shurely Not!

As regular readers may be aware, I’ve been a bit of a convert to the No More Page 3 Campaign. I was sceptical to begin with: when it comes to The Sun, I’d quite like to see the end of Pages 1,2, 4 etc as well. But Lisa Clarke, the local organiser, has written some persuasive, even-handed and eloquent pieces for Beestonia, as well as her own blog. This has attracted The Times to interview her, and the campaign as a whole has even seemingly shook the Dirty Digger himself: Rupert Murdoch conceded it was perhaps as much as a relic of the seventies as Carry On movies and viewing Gary Glitter as a role model.

The Nottingham Post gets wise to the story, and decides to run a story. Great news. The more coverage the campaign gets, the wider they can get their message out, the better. So how do they report it?

The article was efficiently written, and I have no quibbles about that. Yet when it came to illustrate the article, what image did they use? Lisa and her fellow campaigners resplendent in their campaign T-shirts, marching in London? Well yes, but only a picture 45mm by 30mm, which you have to squint to make out. The main image, coming in at 100mm x 600mm; was an old publicity shot of tawdry ‘glamour’ ‘model’ Jo Guest, breasts spilling out of her overalls as the bloke whose car she is unconvincingly washing leers at her soon-to-escape tits. Nice one, sub-editor.

I’m a fan of The Post, and have been since I pushed it through the letter boxes of Stapleford as a teenager. It’s journalists are diligent, intelligent and still capable of pulling off some brilliant scoops. They’re also good company, on the occasions I end up sharing a pub table with them.  I’m sure this was an oversight, the product of a sub-editor having a brain-fart when throwing the page together. If it was cold-calculating policy: ‘Put some norks in, we’ll probably sell an extra 50 copies in Cotgrave’ then, just as with Sun journos, there talents are diminished by this cynical strategy.

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Issue 16 of The Beestonian is available! It’s online here, and will be in our usual stockists later today and over the weekend. If you’d like to stock us-it’s free- drop us a line at thebeestonian@gmail.com . It’s a corker of an issue, featuring Boots avoiding tax; Robin Hood avoiding a dartboard; Nora and Tamar joining forces to attack romance; a new gardening column; a celebration of The Civic Society; and much much more. Pick it up, then go and say thank you to our sponsors by visiting them and buying stuff off them. We have absolutely no pics of pendulous mammaries within, so if you’re looking for that, sorry.

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Part 2 of my Hugely Self Indulgent Celebration As I’ve Gone Past 100,000 hits on here: Twenty Four Hour Garage People.

Beestonia has little agenda: some people read it for polemic, some for whimsy, some for the various campaigns we highlight. The following article doesn’t really fit into any of these categories, and was a bit of an accident. I wrote it during a particularly nasty fever, and was published by accident. I decided to delete it, but started receiving some congratulatory messages, including one from Nick Palmer, who would have been our MP at the time. I still can’t recall writing it: I really was quite ill, so excuse the slightly weird style. https://beestonia.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/119/

..and if you’re wondering where the title comes from, I filched it from the always wonderful HalfMan HalfBiscuit: