A world without cars

Saw an interest couple of video clips on TV last week showing a village high street in the late 1940s, and that street today. The most noticeable difference was the lack of cars in the earlier clip, and the STIFLING effect of the cars in the later clip, with vehicles jostling for position down the centre of the route as well as those parked either side.

What would the world be like without cars? Well, a lot more people would have live to a ripe old age rather than die early. About 3,000 people die per year in the UK alone from road accidents, thankfully reduced from more than 10,000 per year in the 1960s. But as many as 50,000 early deaths per year may be caused by air pollution, much of this from inhalation of sooty particles mainly generated from burning diesel and other fuels. Don’t even think about the misery caused by  bronchitis and asthma and the cost of treatment.

But that’s nothing compared to the mass poisoning that ran from the 1920s to 1999 when the practice of adding lead to petrol to avoid engine vibration finally ended (even though by then modern engines no longer needed the additive). It was known from the 1960s that forty years of breathing petrol fumes with added lead had increased the lead content in the average human by 100 times. The UK Government had promised in 1982 to end the practice but took another seventeen years to implement the change. The fumes were especially toxic to children, causing brain damage.

Here in beautiful St Ives, local campaigners have been trying to get permission for restaurants and bars to put tables and chairs in Bridge Street (judging form the lack of cars the picture in this link must have been taken on a quiet Sunday), a lovely historical street flanked with old buildings and leading to the wonderful St Ives chapel bridge, to create a cafe atmosphere. No success so far, no doubt due to the need for cars to park down the street and spoil the whole effect.

Finally finished the Spring newsletter for our allotment association, click here to have a read. New format of a web site rather than a standard four page document seems to have worked well, with eleven readers liking it and one not bothered either way. Probably did save me a bit of effort first time around, but I’m hoping now the format is set up it’ll be really quick for the next issue.

Really making progress on the allotment, mainly driven by my wife Linda’s interest and encouragement. A couple of times a week she’ll suggest what to plant next and I make sure that happens before returning home. Provides some focus, rather than my natural inclination to amble around generally constructing the next big thing. So this week I’ve managed to get the strawberries bedded out, put in three rows of giant sunflower plants at the front of the plot, planted and covered loads of cabbage seedlings and yesterday got 25 broccoli plants out and covered.

Not made much progress on the new fruit cage/polytunnel, but have already decided on the next (and final!) construction project… a wildlife pond. Got a reasonably big space for it so I can have a boggy area, pebble beach and lots of reeds and waterside plants to attract dragonflies and frogs. Will be lovely to sit beside on a warm summer’s day and watch things happening. Won’t be ready until next year.

Although I’ve got much less grass to keep in check now that most of the raised beds have been lifted and the paths in between dug over, still getting fed up with spending the first 30 minutes of each visit strimming. So arranged for the local carpet fitter to drop off some carpeting and underlay. Managed to carpet in between about half Barry’s vines plus all of the path on the back plot. Also carpeted where the inside of the fruit cage / polytunnel will be… intending to leave the carpet in place for at least a year to kill off all the couch grass and just plant through the carpet.

Little happening in the robin’s nest. Mum still sitting on the eggs. Should hatch out this week.

Scrabbling my way back to wins in the pool/darts and pitch and putt competitions against sons David and John. Soooooo close at squash this month against David… if I can win on Sunday I’ll achieve my ultimate aim of holding all the family cups at once.


Sammy and Izzy on holiday at Sheringham

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David’s dog Jazz singing the backing vocals to ‘How much is that doggie in the window’.

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Video footage below of the Normal battles held as part of St Ives 900 year celebrations.

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