Another letter from Skypark

20 Apr

Dear Mum,

Well, we’ve been at Skypark for a few weeks now and I have to say it has been a bit of a roller coaster!

The problems with being next to the airport runway have been a bit difficult. We have had to schedule our meetings very carefully so that we build in our tea breaks when the jets land. It wasn’t too difficult with the winter timetable but has become really challenging with the summer one. So, we’ve now changed our working hours to 10 pm to 6 am which has made things much easier. Though I gather that the officers have decamped back to the Knowle which has not yet been demolished so they can work in peace and quiet during the day.

I have also had a few problems working out of the hub locations, too. People don’t seem to want me to keep my 10 pm to 6 am shifts but the council met in emergency session and decided that they were the most efficient hours because their research, done by very clever and expensive consultants, showed that only one person turned up at the offices in over a month and no-one at the hubs so that shows how satisfied people are. It does mean I have had to buy special high-vis clothing and equipment for the council bike but I am sure it will be worth it, though I do get a bit bored in the village halls.

We are also having parking problems here (though not me, as I chain my bike to whichever “hot desk” I can find). Apparently, we won’t get tarmac until the development attracts more users which means that councillors and officers have had to park in deep mud. But they are very resourceful and have all awarded themselves top-of-the range Land Rovers, which solved the problem. Really we are so lucky to have them.

I have had no luck finding a house share in Cranbrook or Exeter yet as I haven’t seen anything I can afford to rent – certainly not the “affordable” ones! So, taking a leaf from our councillors book and doing some problem solving, I have bought myself a tent which I have put up near the office.

No sooner did I do this than lots of other people saw the benefit of it and joined me. Some are colleagues who can’t get buses to get here but some I have never seen before. They have put up signs saying “Occupy” which seems a bit daft to me as, of course, we are occupying the site. But they are even more resourceful than me and have started a “soup kitchen” which is really useful, though as they are vegans the soups can be a bit boring and we have to make a lot of use of the composting toilets they built. But we are a very friendly bunch.

We are however, having a bit of a problem with vagrants. Now that council meetings take place at 4 am and you have to register 6 months in advance to speak, so-called “local residents” have taken to camping out here themselves to make sure they get on the list of speakers. As only 5 of them are allowed to speak there have been some very unseemly squabbles between them. Why can’t they do what the developers do? Each day a driver comes down in a Rolls Royce, a man gets out and is met at the private entrance by the Leader’s valet who takes a list off a silver salver, bows to the man and takes the letter inside. I am sure I recognise the man in the Rolls Royce and used to see him around a lot at Knowle. Now why can’t residents just do that and leave our little camp site alone?

Well, must close now – it’s my turn to help to make the soup. Don’t tell anyone, but I am going to put in some fox meat in it from roadkill I found last night!

Your loving son, Bert

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