Friday, 3 January 2014

Friday 3 January

Although the weather started reasonably nice, we ended up with some showers in the afternoon. A shortish walks in the woods today, 2½ miles.

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This week, there has been a heated discussion in Holland about the New Year celebrations or outrages in this country. In one village on Monday, 100 youths were arrested on suspicion of rioting, torching cars, harassing emergency workers. They all piled into a pub, where all were arrested and held until this morning. About 30 are thought to have been totally innocent of the affray and will be released. However, they and their families are incandescent at the police; the police however say that there was no way to sift the innocent from the guilty - anyone arrested and subsequently found to have been blameless can claim compensation.

The local debate, centered on the below pictured field, has to do with the location of a new primary school. The previous one, built 40 years ago, is too small and outdated, so a new one has to be put up. But where? There is an area of wasteland, formerly a sports complex, but that is located barely 50 yards from the A12 motorway, one of the busiest routes in the province. It causes a lot of pollution. So that option is out. Option II is the field I'm talking about, but that is located in the middle of a leafy estate, where the residents don't want to be subjected to a twice-daily procession of Chelsea Tractors (4x4s, SUVs &c). These are driven by mums and dads in haste, desperate to drop off their sprogs so they can get to work on time. Option III is to add an extra storey to the old school (see second pic), but you can't make that happen within the 6 weeks of the school holiday. Option IV is a field behind the castle, on the road to the graveyard in the forest (3rd pic). That's owned by the castle estate, forms a nice view and not a likely option. So, feathers are flying in the town council, vested interests all round, nobody is prepared to give way, so the burgomaster is proposing a consultative referendum.

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