Ok, I promise this is the last bit about loos you will see. This is just a quick update before we set off for a few days in Malta. It’ll be good to escape this extra-grey February. Yesterday we went on a grey sort of stroll at Pett Level….
In the last post I mentioned that I was going to the Council Cabinet meeting to present our loo petition and have our five minutes to talk about the issue. Well, I went, accompanied by Philosopher and three stalwart WI chums.
It was in the Council Chamber in the newly named Muriel Matters House. Eh? you might say. The building, a thoroughly unappealing 70s block right in the middle of the seafront was called Aquila House until a few weeks ago. One may wonder why Hastings BC, more strapped for cash than any local authority has a right to be, should be spending money changing the name of its offices. I remember from my time with Birmingham City Council, working for what started off as the Central Personnel Department, then became Personnel and Equal Opportunities, then Human Resources and Equalities, then…. the cost of the stationery alone for each rebranding was phenomenal, and that was only one department.
For anyone who might be interested, Muriel Matters was a suffragette. She is best known for chaining herself to a grille in the Ladies Gallery of the House of Commons. She also, I see, set out to fly over the Houses of Parliament in a dirigible (another lovely word – it’s a sort of powered balloon) on the occasion of the state opening of Parliament in 1909. However, ensconced in her dirigible, she was blown off course and ended up in Tooting. She lived out her final years in Hastings, like some other bonkers women I know.
Was I nervous about addressing the Council? No. Hell-fire, back in Birmingham again, I used to ‘train’ elected members in horrible things like equality awareness and right-on recruitment. Urgh, I can’t tell you how bad that was. I could scarcely get them to stub their fags out (it was the late 80s) never mind think about the difference between positive action and positive discrimination.
Anyway, the Hastings elected members were very pleasant.
So I had my five minutes – I ran out of time actually, then engaged in merry question and answer repartee. One bloke asked if as a community group, the WI would be willing to get more involved in the running of the toilets. ‘What,’ I snorted derisively, ‘Us? Cleaning bogs?’
I did sense that the members had already made up their minds to save the Ore loos and close the Harold Place ones, so the case did not have to be argued very hard. Indeed, at the end of my time Peter Chowney, the Leader of the Council said that was what they intended to do. Well, it’s good anyway.
So, weather very grey indeed. At Pett Level, our spirits were raised by this lovely dog, who obviously thought a run on the beach was utterly, completely and totally the best thing that had ever happened in his life. Dogs are brilliant for that. That’s partly why we like our cat Digby so much. He has a great passion for life and the pleasures thereof, and does not hesitate to show it, unlike so many cats who just sit round looking disdainful and shirty.
Off to Malta tomorrow then. We have never been. Will report back next week.
Here’s the greyest photo I can find. It’s not Pett level, but by the Hastings Garden Centre in Bulverhythe, photographed on Sunday. Let’s hope we get a bit of brightness ovet the next few days….
|Trees against grey sky