I was at a wonderful meeting last night, of which great things will come. But it was in Newcastle, meaning that, after the train back to Durham, I had to get a taxi back to Lanchester, because the last bus is now at nine o'clock between Mondays and Thursdays. On Sundays, it is at a scarcely credible twenty past six.
I am medically unable to drive. That I am forbidden to do so is printed on the packaging of my medication. But I used to live somewhere that was very much on the beaten track, as befitted a place only eight miles from Durham city centre. Thanks to the appalling Durham County Council, however, it has been turned into the middle of nowhere.
This. The Teaching Assistants. Windlestone Hall. The Cricket Club, with its private box for senior Councillors and Officers. The whiff of corruption hangs over Andrew Cunningham's old fiefdom, while the stench of incompetence and cruelty is overwhelming. Private Eye, of Poulson fame, is already on the case.
Nationwide, there is easily a half-hour current affairs documentary, a Panorama or a Dispatches, to be made on those semi-rural, almost suburban communities the very old, very young, or simply disabled residents of which have in recent years been sent to the dark side of the Moon by the withdrawal of public transport.
It is no wonder that Durham County Council has to pay its members what for some of them amounts to more than £500 per hour (£13,300 per year for two meetings per month, each of those meetings being ordinarily of one hour's duration), and more than many of its Teaching Assistants will soon enjoy, so that they can attend meetings that begin at nine o'clock in the morning. Even with their senior citizens' bus passes, how else would they ever get home?