We've had a few days away in Northumberland, going over there last Friday. It must be one of the most scenic coasts in the country, with magnificent castles and the Farne Islands to visit complete with Atlantic Grey Seals and assorted bird life. It may have poured down every day but was well worth the visit.
One thing that struck us, not having had a holiday in the UK for a long time, was the ridiculous amount we spent on parking. Every town seems to have double yellow lines from about two miles out of town. You then find the ludicrously expensive car parks with outdated pay and display machines that make you pay up-front and they don't give change, take notes or accept cards. You then end up paying all day because you are tking a trip around a castle or on a boat that will take 2 1/2 hours. But you have to pay to park for up to 2 hours or all day! You also spend half the holiday trying to build up a huge cache of change acceptable to these awful machines, amassing change becomes an obsession.
Pubs have been wrecked too. We saw very few that were recognisable as traditional pubs. Most of them were mock bistros or fake restaurants, empty outside eating times. The death of another part of our culture, thanks to the last Tory government for effectively abolishing the tied house system and New Labour for the smoking ban.
On the way home we heard a debate on Radio 2 about local authorities accessing our text, phone records and emails under supposed anti-terror legislation. Some prat from Buckingham University tried to say that the public supported it because of binge drinking and gangs of kids hanging about on street corners. And he claimed to be some kind of intelligence expert! What next, take your letters to the Post Office open so that the censors can read it before you post it? Anyway every member of the public who risked intrusion by emailing or texting in was against. So much for the 'expert'.
I thought we were moving towards a police state. Wrong, we are well and truly in one. The reason I haven't blogged since last Friday is that to access the internet I used Northumberland County Council's libraries as a temporary member. I could access the internet but blogs are blocked. I could neither read blogs nor access my own blog. Welcome to Britain 2008.
Must be off now, must get home before curfew!!