CARNIVAL!! / Oxjam Music Taster / Issue 28: You (and 999 others) will like it/ Hole Load of Housing / Willow and Iggy, welcome!

Hurrah! It’s nearly Beeston Carnival time. Booo! I won’t be there.

Nope, instead I’ll be off to Trent Bridge to watch England struggle against India, a birthday present from 7 months ago. Will be a real shame to miss the carnival, I was hoping to help out on a joint Beestonia/Oxjam stall, as well as a stint on the Civic Society stall, and some time on the New Deal / Continuum stall with Nick Palmer. Alas, unless England collapse twice in the next five sessions: and that is sadly very possible, I won’t be there. Still, looks like great weather, so have a fantastic time.


Great little Oxjam fundraiser tomorrow night at The Commercial Inn: The Phil Langram Band, Oldish Spice, Steve Plowright and many more are throwing a musical summer party with all proceeds going to Oxjam. It’s just £3 on the door, kicking off at 8pm. See you there.


The New Beestonian is OUT NOW! It’s in most of our usual stockists, and is our best yet. Tamar has the lead story, a look at the proposed quarry just over the Trent from us. It’s a rather more major issue than I first expected: it’s almost like certain interests are trying to play down the impact. There is some urgency with this though, you can make an objection but you have to do it asap: to find out how, read the piece (and, if you are so inclined, the rest of the mag) here.

We also just passed 1,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook. I will celebrate with a three pack of Crunchies.


On the subject of environmental issues, looks like Anna Soubry has failed to stop proposed open cast mining in the North of the county, with Eric Pickles telling her where to go when she asked for it to be recalled. One of her central planks of her 2015 campaign will be green-belt issues, and she’ll try and paint herself as the green champ, despite her party dumping any sort of policy that smacks of ‘green crap’. Field Farm development now looks more likely, but lets examine a radical solution. I first mooted it, in jest, around four years ago, as such I was surprised when Gedling considered a similar idea.

Let’s build on golf courses.

Simple, really. Fire up Google Earth and check out the huge swathes of land given up for this minority sport. More land is devoted to golf than housing in Surrey, according to a recent study.

But aren’t golf courses lovely areas for nature to flourish, merely parkland with a few flags and sandpits, expansive heathes with holes? Nope.

Golf courses are fairly sterile places when it comes to species diversity. The greens themselves are manicured, but the rough is little better, with species managed to a careful extent. Nothing truly wild flourishes, and fencing and gating often restricts their usefulness as a wildlife corridor. Golf courses are a pretty sterile environment.

Housing, however, offers a greater opportunity for diversity. Urban /surburban gardens often have much greater volumes of species than deeply rural areas. At a recent meeting between Broxtowe Borough Council and Beeston Continuum, the chair, Cllr. Pat Lally, cast doubt on the idea that beehives would flourish in Beeston: ‘Bees need to eat, I’m afraid, and I doubt they’ll find much round here’/ Professor Poliakoff was quick to dismiss this presumption, pointing out that perversely, due to monocultural agricultural techniques and overuse of pesticides, urban areas are often better for bees than rural areas. We’re a nation of gardeners, and even a jungle of a garden like mine teems with life, a continual summer hum. I cross the golf course near my house at least twice a day. Magpies and wood pigeons are the only visible life there, apart from the strange-trousered Pringle-sweatered creatures that walk hole to hole.

We need radical solutions to tackle a major problem in this country, that of the paucity of housing. We have already created a two-tier economy: one where house-owners see their equity value create more paper-wealth than income from jobs. Those who rent are denied this, with zero equity accrued while wages stagnate and rents increase. It’s a situation that can only end in collapse, and the only solution is more homes. So how about considering it, Anna Soubry? Save Field Farm and lose a golf course? Or is the golfer demographic one you would be terrified to offend? If so, please don’t tell us we’re all in this together, and stop those greenbelt crocodile tears right now.


Many thanks to all of your lovely messages regarding the loss of Tess and Leila. We were truly touched: and the idea they were ‘only pets’ was well dismissed by your own experiences with furry family members: they really are part of any home’s fabric. Literally, when they moult.

I had total strangers, who had read the blog, stop me in the street to offer condolences. I had to start wearing shades in public after one such encounter led to some rather public tears. I can’t thank you enough for this, and I am so lucky to live in such a kind town.

Last Thursday, I was delivering The Beestonian round town and bumped into The Guitar Spot / Beestonian Music Correspondent Jimmy Wiggins. He mentioned a friend had a pair of kittens she needed to find homes for, but I shook my head. A couple of hours later I’m down the Hop Pole, and see the landlady Karen, who mentions the same two kittens. ‘Sorry, but no’ I replied. I was just leaving when Jimmy appeared again, rather like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben. ‘I can take you to see the kittens right now, if you fancy’.

I went there telling myself ‘Only check them out, just take a look, decide later’

Which is clearly impossible with playful balls of loving fluff. Within an hour I was carrying home our two new friends, siblings Willow and Iggy. They are presently tearing round Beestonian Towers, and say hello.