The Plastic Hippo

April 13, 2014

Careless in the community

Telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph.co.uk

In imagined nostalgia, there was a time when a community was defined by its pub, church, post office and school and life in merry old England revolved from cradle to grave with reassuring certainty. In present reality, however, dark forces are at work hatching dastardly plots intended to subvert our culture by infiltrating communities with hard line, fundamentalist extremists hell-bent on imposing warped dogma and alien ideology.

The pub is now a Tesco Express and the church is falling down but remains a lucrative long-term real estate investment opportunity. The post office is long gone and has been replaced with a food bank next to a loan shark. The school is now an Academy named after an unfamiliar sponsor and the community is now defined by hedge funds rather than hedgerows. (more…)

April 6, 2014

Return to sender

Via Beau Bo d`Or

Via Beau Bo d`Or

There was no ring of the doorbell or a knock on the door but the sound of a metallic slap was definite evidence of something coming through the letterbox.

Under normal circumstances, the addition of a bundle of pizza leaflets, a bin bag attached to a card inviting me to donate unwanted clothes to the provisional IRA and the offer of a one-to-one consultation with a “world famous” clairvoyant would provoke nothing more than a passing consideration of the fullness of the recycling bin. However, on this Saturday morning I was expecting a package to be delivered and so I hot-footed it to the front door in the hope of finding the long-awaited, small and expensive spare part thingy that would make my beloved wotsit work again. (more…)

February 21, 2014

Last orders

Park Tavern 9-00am

Park Tavern 9-00am

In those far off mid-summer days, when the sun was shining and England had a manly test cricket team, this blog mused on the sudden and mysterious closure of the Park Tavern on Broadway North in the sleepy, picturesque village of Walsall. The mystery is now solved; the boozer is to become a granny farm.

Granny farming has become rather lucrative since both national and local government abandoned any responsibility for the care of senior citizens in their twilight years. Caring for pensioners is expensive and time consuming as they do tend to go on and on about how they defeated fascism, how they created the NHS, how they fought for employment rights, a decent education for their children and how much tax and national insurance they have paid since starting work in factories, mills and coal mines at the age of seven. No longer paying tax and now claiming state benefits; Derby and Joan are becoming something of a burden on an economy that requires greater profit margins and increased bonuses for bankers. (more…)

February 3, 2014

Home again

Filed under: Birmingham,History,Politics,Transport,Walsall,World — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
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Via the plastic hippo

Via the plastic hippo

Sometimes, if time and money allow, it is extraordinarily therapeutic to burst out of the parochial bubble to catch some face time with the rest of the world and when opportunity presented a visit to a place on something called a bucket list, it was a case of bye-bye Walsall, see you later. The chance to walk on the same marble pavements that once experienced the sandals of Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, Saint Paul and Saint John proved too great a temptation so, without a second thought, bye-bye England.

When Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote “Oh it`s so nice to go travelling”, they clearly did not have to endure the ghastly shopping centre with a runway attached that calls itself Birmingham International Airport or have to change trains at a ghastly shopping centre with platforms known as the new “improved” New Street Station. A city the size of Birmingham and a region as important as the West Midlands really should have transport hubs that work. It was definitely not so much nicer to come home. (more…)

January 16, 2014

But for the grace of God

Grace and danger

Grace and danger

When a school or, more significantly, a chain of schools feels that it is necessary to appoint a Director of Corporate Development, you might be forgiven for wondering how such a post might improve teaching and learning.

Grace Academy Darlaston is a Specialist Business and Enterprise Academy and seems to have been specialising in diverting government funding into the pockets, wallets, purses and bank accounts of the enterprising business folk that recognise a money tree when they see one. Usually, newspapers tend to employ Freedom of Information requests as an alternative to actual journalism in order to fill columns with faux outrage, but the Guardian has managed to dig up some dirt that a lot of vested interests would prefer to remain buried. Academies, it seems, and especially Academy chains might not have the interests of pupils as the number one priority and instead might be more focussed on corporately developing the financial wellbeing of sponsors and trustees. The actual definition of the words “sponsor” and “trustee” at Grace Academy might be challenging for even the brightest A Star English student. (more…)

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