THE ANSWER MY FRIEND…

March 26, 2012

Have you taken a drive to The Borders lately; in particular, down the A74 road to Carlisle? If not, you’re in for a bit of a shock.

It’s one of the most stunningly beautiful areas of the country. Streams, forests, ancient dykes, the gentle curves of the hills, and whacking great metal wind turbines. Dozens of them. Comes as a bit of a shock, does that.

Mile after mile, you just get used to the splendour of the place, then you come round a bend, and there’s yet another forest of these great, arm-waving robots. Except, when I was there recently, they weren’t waving… no wind you see.

Another mile of unspoiled country and – ooops, there’s more, right along the skyline of some wild, desolate hill. Lovely.

Once you’ve seen this horrendous blight on the landscape, it’s something you just can’t get out of your head. But putting aside the ugliness of these things encroaching on what was once some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, let’s remember that they’re one of the most expensive and inefficient ways to produce power. High winds and no winds; they don’t work at all.

What’s more, the Government has shovelled money into making sure this happens, paying subsidies left right and centre. Even paying compensation to shut the things down for periods when there is enough electricity from elsewhere. One of the greatest scams of our age, that is.

All that would be bad enough, but in a recent presentation to Holyrood’s Economy Energy and Tourism Committee, the chair of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), said that “We have evidence that wind farms can be positive for certain species and, from some people’s point of view, a well-designed wind farm can be positive in the landscape in aesthetic terms.”

He has “evidence”? And what evidence would that be, exactly? It might have been a bit more convincing had he actually named the species, and how exactly great, towering, spinning monstrosities can be “positive” for them.

And it would have been even more convincing if he could have explained how a “well-designed” wind farm can be almost a work of art.

They’re a blight on the landscape; a blind man galloping past on a horse could see that. I just wonder if the MPs who heard this tosh actually swallowed it.

Hopefully, the general population won’t just lean back, open wide and swallow whatever nonsense is fed to us by yet another “expert”

Drew McAdam

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GROWING OLD DISGRACEFULLY

March 12, 2012

 

Something that struck me lately is that we all grow older, but at different speeds. About a year ago I had a school reunion. Nearly 40 years since many of us had seen each other. And what struck me was how old some of us had become, and how young others of us had remained.

Sure, we all had wrinkles and shiny heads where one there had been masses of hair – well, the guys, a t least. But for some, quite simply, the spark had gone out. They were fifty-something, going on ninety-something. The Adventure that had once been life was now toil and drudgery. There get up and go had got up and gone. And it had taken their sparkling mischief and unquenchable curiosity with them.

Even now, the friends I stay in touch with are those who have a zest for life about them (My own mother is in her early-eighties, plays ping-pong, cycles and helps out with the “Old Folks” on their trips!)

Why I am attracted to that type of person – the one with the inner child still playing – I have no idea. But I DO know to keep well away from the neggies. Those whom you ask; “How are you today?”, and instead of a breezy reply you get a long list of all their ills and troubles. It sucks the life from you – emotional vampires, I call them.

But the one thing I noticed about those with whom I shrill keep in touch, is that they like a challenge. And I don’t mean the challenge of the golf course… I mean the challenge of life. They still stretch themselves. They still wonder how far they can take things, then go and find out. They grasp life with both hands and suck the marrow from it.

That’s why I keep them close. Because the one thing I want to do each day is to rise and find that the inner child is still there. That the youthful mischief-maker is still alive and well. That way I’ll be eighteen until I die. I hope you will be too.

Drew McAdam


PARKING PRATTS

March 4, 2012

 

According to a recent report, the oldest mum in the world is 63. Well, my mother is 82 years old… beat that!

Which brings me to the subject of mothers and children. It always pleases me when people email me suggesting subject matter for this column. So, I was delighted when I received a few words from a regular reader outlining how disgruntled he was by the ‘misuse of designated parking bays’. And, of course, he has a valid point.

He pointed out that, being a grandfather, he was particularly annoyed by those openly flaunting the rules regarding ‘Mother and Child’ designated spaces at Livingston Centre. He says that while there, and dealing with unloading his 6 month old grandson, the granny, and all the necessary paraphernalia, he watched aghast as drivers openly swept in and took up spaces clearly reserved for ‘parent and child’ and the disabled. Surely not?

But yes. As the writer pointed out, some drivers seem to think that just because they HAVE a child – though their little precious is not actually with them – and have a child seat fitted in the car, this gives them an automatic right to a space.

So, just who are these lone females – usually in 4X4 vehicles – who think the rules are for everybody else, but not for them? Who are the overweight Fiesta drivers who think that because they want their Big Mac quickly, they can park in close proximity to the fast food outlet and ignore the parking rules?

Well, I can tell you. They are thoughtless, selfish individuals who think they are better than you and me. The sort of boor who has no conscience about making life more difficult for those who need to be closer to the centre, and who need a bit more space around them. Those people who think that world revolves around them.

As the correspondent put it: having introduced parking fees, how about spending some of this revenue on policing the system for the benefit of all?

I have a better idea. If you are disabled, or you have tots in your car, I suggest you keep a fluorescent jumbo permanent marker in your glove compartment… You can probably see where this is going.

You could scribble messages right across their windscreen such as: ‘Judging by your shape, you could use the exercise. Find a bay you’re entitled to.’ Or even just ‘Thank you for taking up this space, you selfish git’. I’m sure you could come up with some of your own.

Anyway, that way, we’ll all know who they are.

Now, having said that, I am taking my old mum to The Centre next week. Does that entitle me to a Parent and Child space? I rather think it does.

Drew McAdam