Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend round up - freezing car parks and sewage works

There are proposals by Gateshead Council to introduce parking charges in Whickham village centre. So on Saturday morning, in the rain, wind and cold, I was in the car park behind Whickham Library, carrying out a survey of residents about the plans. One hour of being frozen right through but a useful exercise nonetheless. It was nice to find that every constituent I spoke to recognised me! And quite a few mentioned our eFocus email newsletter. Glad to see it is as popular as ever.

I warmed myself up afterwards at the Blaydon constituency coffee morning (we had a stall selling jams) and the constituency exec meeting. With the weather brightening up in the afternoon, I headed out into local woodland to forage for wild food. It was there that I discovered a huge set of foundations of a derelict building. Next to an historic waggonway, I wondered if it had anything to do with that now defunct route. But the bricks and the structured seemed too recent. I was curious to know more. As an historian, I had not come across any previous discussion of houses or indeed any buildings at this particular location.

A search on the internet that evening eventually produced an answer. We found it on old ordnance survey maps from the 1920s. Turns out this was the location for the Chester le Street Urban District Council's sewage works. None of the local history sites makes any mention of this, despite its size and the historical importance of having the main waterway in the local villages cleaned of sewage. I have a feeling I'll be back to the site soon with tape measure, notebook and cameras!

Did you turn your lights off for Earth Hour on Saturday evening? We did. We had the front room lit by 8 t-lights.

Sunday was spent mainly on the allotment. I planted a tear-jerking quantity of onions - about 350. Meanwhile, in the greenhouse I was able to check out my carbon sink. Two weeks about I planted 21 acorns I gathered last year. It looks like they are starting to grow. Hopefully in a few years' time we will be looking for homes for a forest of oak trees (plus 40 sycamores growing in our garden in London.) The idea is that the trees will absorb our past carbon emissions.

And finally, there was the inevitable focus delivery, last night. 200 done in less than an hour.

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