Has 2018 been a good year for you and those you love?, I hope so, if not I hope 2019 will be a better one in every way.
Personally for me it's been a mixed bag, forgive me but I'm going to use a cricket based analogy here by saying the first innings was a disaster, starting badly with health problems for my Wife, work being scarce, Winter being well just Winter, and England losing the Ashes.
However the second innings changed the game, life had bowled us a few good balls which had discomforted both batsmen, but now having weathered the short balls, the googlies, and the odd one that jagged back, we went on the counter attack.
My Wife's health I am very glad to be able to say has slowly improved, work became less scarce, and although Winter is being Winter again I can get through in the confidence that England will regain the Ashes, and will do so without the aid of any D.I.Y products.
Northampton, or rather the people of the town have seen mixed fortunes too over this past year, and sadly like the rare Summer just gone rarely have we been governed locally with such total and utter ineptitude.
Earlier in the year it was identified that one of the towns most important historical monuments had fallen into disrepair, namely one of the only three Queen Eleanor's crosses surviving in the whole of England, In a sane world you would expect those responsible would jump into action and make sure the necessary investigations and repairs were carried out, thus preserving part of the counties history rich into the future.
After all in a sane world such an historic monument would be seen as an asset and not a cost, but when the lunatics are running the asylum ?.
I wonder if they will show "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" over Christmas, one of my all time favourite films.
What we actually witnessed was the unedifying squabble between the County and Borough Councils over whose responsibility the monument falls under in terms of repairs.
This quote from a Borough Council spokesman gives you a clue as to the ludicrous situation that developed,
“We are aware of the many references to the cross on our own website and sadly, while this seems contradictory, we still believe this is not proof of our ownership of the cross."
I know, you couldn't make it up, but sadly this is not unusual in Northampton, over the years the public have been let down, and have generally been poorly served by both Councils, County and Borough.
The last I heard work will now be delayed until April 2019, although at least somebody has taken ownership of the problem, that being the Borough Council who had carried out preservation work on the cross before but must have forgotten.
The debacle described above was not the end of our travails however, as worse was still to come, the preservation of things which tell us about our past is obviously very important, even more so in my opinion is the preservation of those things required for an informed and prosperous future.
What would you say to the question "what is the one of the hallmarks of a civilised society?", "an informed populace with access to books" would be my personal answer, This quote from Ray Bradbury the author encapsulates it for me.
"Without Libraries what have we ?, we have no past and no future".
The UK it transpires is the 6th largest economy in the world, and yet we are being told by our County Council in Northamptonshire that we cannot afford Libraries, yep, the loony bin just got a bit loonier,
Well lets clarify that, because the Coucil needs to save millions of pounds and their proposed plan is that of the thirty six Libraries under its control, only fourteen will remain so, while they will support five more, whatever support means.
A concerned group of activists took the County Council to court earlier in the year over the councils proposed cuts to Libraries a case which the council lost, and which cost the council two hundred thousand pounds.
Seventeen will be handed over to community groups to manage, again how this will work in reality is a matter of uncertainty, unfortunately there are some where there is no definite plan in place for their future.
And then came the inevitable accusations of financial mismanagement on the part of the County Council, the very same Council who built themselves a brand new fifty three million pound headquarters building in the middle of the town, and shortly afterwards Northamptonshire was bankrupt, in a situation where they were in danger of not being able to set a legal budget for the following financial year.
Whatever the cause be it cuts to grants from central government to our local authority, or just plain bad financial management within our local government, or a combination of the two, whoever thought we would come to the proposed running of Libraries by community groups?.
Now as nurse Pilbow said in the film I mentioned earlier "medication time, medication time".