Some things what happen in Bridgwater and some equally personal thoughts about them by Westover Councillor and Town Council Leader Brian Smedley. All opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily not bonkers.
This week a dead cow floated along the River Parrett and came to rest amongst the shopping trolleys under Bridgwater’s famous town bridge. Later that day it floated away. And then came back again on the next tide. For Bridgwater Town Council Leader ,Brian Smedley, who was in the middle of guiding a party of tourists from Bristol Civic Society around the town, this was the last straw. But when he contacted Sedgemoor District Council they told him to contact the Environment Agency. Then when he contacted the Environment Agency they said they wouldn’t remove it as it wasn’t a flood hazard and would probably just float away. It did. But then floated back. Then he contact Somerset County Council who, apart from not having any money to do pretty much anything at the moment, also totally denied all responsibility. For a couple of days a dead cow has been floating up and down our river. But for a year or more a couple of dozen discarded shopping trolleys have also come to characterise Bridgwater at low tide. And no one seems to want to do anything about that either. So on deeper investigation Cllr Smedley discovered that in fact the river bed from shiny sea to Blake Bridge on Broadway is in fact designated responsibility of the Crown Estates. Finally finding the responsible party he wrote to them to sort it out at once. The actual letter is attached herein but the first draft, recovered from the Town Hall recycling centre, you can find reproduced below…
This week was D-DAY. Although you may not have noticed. On ‘actual’ D-Day, my Grandad, Sid Wright, landed a tank on actual Sword Beach and lost an actual finger in the process. It never grew back. My Grans brothers (the Cardiss Brothers, hitherto a less than popular Leeds based vaudeville act, who had also , as twins, fought each other in the finals of the pre-war Yorkshire area Fish-Supper-Weight boxing championships) signed up together for World War 2 to fight fascism and had died together at Tobruk in the African deserts. And my dad (no relation) had been on the aircraft carriers on the arctic convoys keeping the Red Army supplied with tanks, guns and mittens, in order to maintain the heroic Eastern Front that had been pushing back Hitler in grimmer than grim fighting for the previous 3 years while Britain stood alone. With only Russia, America, China and the Commonwealth for allies. So when it came to my turn to drive a tank into battle and face down our countries enemies I woke up and thankfully remembered I wasn’t even in the army.
I wasn’t in the army because I didn’t have to be. After D-Day, that generation of all our families had fought and defeated Fascism and united a continent that had been at war with itself for 2000 years, give or take a millennium. We now have a small professional army of people who actually want to be in it and are trained to be good at it. Yes for nearly 50 years they stood nose to nose in the centre of Europe facing down the Warsaw Pact countries, but never a shot was fired. And after 1989 they all gave up that cold war and joined us in our united and peaceful Europe that everyone’s fathers and grandfathers, mothers and aunties, had all fought for. So that their children and their children’s children didn’t have to go through the same thing ever again. Continue reading “D Day. Where They Fought them on the Beaches – So that we didn’t have to.”