Narrow pavements, often blocked by parked cars, street “furniture”, wheelie bins, overgrown foliage, all contrive to hinder the disabled, things that the abled bodied would probably never even notice, unless they were pushing a pram or similar. However, for me, the worst things are the odd slopes, which someone walking would probably not even notice. These can make you feel as though you are about to fall over sideways, and, believe me, having done so once, this is very scary!
There is one drop kern in Torrs Park that I find a special problem, so bad that I often avoid it by travelling in the road, which brings its own worries.
So, we have made considerable progress, but there is much still to do.
Did you catch the news that Marco Pierre White, once a celebrity chef, has opened a Steakhouse bearing his name in Plymouth and took the opportunity to slag off English wine and Westcountry food.
A song with which he might be familiar is, perhaps relevant to his current position:
You don't know what's going on,
You've been away for far too long
You can't come back and think you are still mine
You're out of touch my baby
My poor old fashioned baby
I said baby, baby, baby, you're out of time
Whilst the Westcountry cannot compete with London for the number and variety of restaurants (of course we can't – the population of London is so much bigger), neither can London compete with us for the amount and quality of food that we produce.
One little statistic – where I lived, in a London suburb, there was one restaurant within a 10 minute drive that I was happy to eat in. In Ilfracombe, there are half a dozen within 5 minutes, and even more within 30 minutes. Of course, if I travelled to Central London, there were vastly more, but that would take an hour on a good day, perhaps 2 or 3 hours on a bad, and I lived just 10 miles from Charing Cross!
There has been a lot of talk over the past year or so about the problems of the A361, but that is not the only problem road leading to our region. The last week or so has seen the M5 brought to a complete halt several times as a result of accidents. Every accident, especially if fatal, is a disaster for someone, but it is also an economic disaster for the Westcountry. To state the bleedin’ obvious, the only other major road to the peninsular is the A303 and, if that is closed and trains are disrupted as a result of bad weather, then London is totally cut off from civilisation. So far as I know, there is no other major region of Great Britain which is potentially so isolated. Part of the problem is that there are simply too many vehicles on the roads, which are, thus, at or beyond full capacity.
In 1086, William of Normandy had published the books collectively known as The Domesday Book, which records, in amazing detail, the land which he had recently conquered.
The article on Ilfracombe says:
“Ilfracombe is a town of 10,000 people many of whom are elderly……A recent local issue concerns the fouling of pavements by dogs.”
So not much has changed, then.