2024

Back cover image of the dec 1975 issue of “issues in radical therapy” (via danielle carr on Twitter.)

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LAST WORDS

These are my last words writing from the café at the local leisure centre where I go every Wednesday during term time as a parent volunteer for my son’s swimming class. It’s their final session today. My lad has gone from being so anxious about swimming that he didn’t want to go at all, to wanting to go for swimming lessons now the class sessions are over. The café that was closed has reopened, although I still haven’t bought anything.

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Annual (eek!) morning walk.

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2023

THRIVING?

My son’s school’s Thrive teacher is leaving. She helped transform my lad’s experience of school from being one where he had weekly if not daily challenges with regulating his emotions and his behaviour, to one where he enjoys school every day. She’s going to be very greatly missed. I managed to tell her this today and thank her for her work. It was so sad to hear her story. She has committed ten years of her life to helping our youngsters get the best start in life, and done lots of extra work getting accredited to do so.

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Wife has returned home after being abducted by aliens (scroll down past the football).

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CURRICULUM VITAE (REPETITUM)

Following on from my success delivering the news to my local community, I took a break from the world of (very part-time) work to focus on… playing in my first bands. And learning to play the guitar. Much of which came at the expense of any interest in or motivation to study, or revise for ‘O’ Levels, and later ‘A’ Levels. Living in a small rural market town, some of my friends, and my own younger brother, in fact, had Saturday jobs bush beating - literally (as far as I know) beating bushes to encourage game birds to fly to their sporting deaths.

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DOCTOR'S ORDERS

My local pharmacy: Come and get your FREE flu jab! Me: My local pharmacy: Come and get your FREE flu jab! Me: I’ve come for my FREE flu jab. My local pharmacy: That will be £16.95, please. Me: I’ve got two text messages from you telling me it’s free. My local pharmacy: Are you pregnant? On dialysis? Undergoing heart surgery? Me: My local pharmacy: Do you have asthma? Me: Bingo!

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RESPONSES TO MY OPEN LETTER TO PETER MASON

I got a reply to my open letter to Peter Mason[pdf], Leader of Ealing Council, and one of my local ward councillors. Slightly oddly, he addressed it not just to me, but also to CASH (Clean Air for Southall and Hayes, and my neighbour Angela Fonso (who heads up the campaign group. You can see a record of all Mason’s Letters to CASH, if you’re interested in the history. I’d also submitted two Freedom of Information requests(FOIs) to try to get answers, as I didn’t expect a reply (as he has never replied directly to any of my previous questions).

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RISKS TO HEALTH FROM REMEDIATING SOUTHALL GASWORKS

AI is more ethical than Ealing Labour Party. No money was exchanged. What are the risks to health from remediating Southall Gasworks on site in the open air? The land is highly contaminated with benzene, naphthalene and a while host of other VOCs, PAHs, heavy metals, “blue billy” and asbestos, and surrounded by residential streets. The local community is mostly of south Asian and African heritage, and it is known that people with this heritage can be genetically vulnerable to naphthalene poisoning.

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I AM THE LEADER OF EALING COUNCIL

I asked Google Bard to advise me on a local matter. I am the leader of Ealing Council. I have received more than 250 reports about a BAD odour nuisance and air pollution from the remediation of the highly contaminated Southall Gasworks land. We had a public meeting where 250 angry residents complained about health problems as a result of the air pollution, including eye, nose and throat irritation, respiratory problems and infections, and even cancer and death of loved ones.

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UNDER POISONED SKIES

Watched Under Poisoned Skies on BBC iPlayer last night. It’s the sad and shocking story of children in Iraq dying from leukaemia as a result of toxic air pollution from mega rich oil companies burning off excess natural gas in the open air near their homes. Benzene (found in the air) and naphthalene (found in the children’s urine samples) are the main carcinogens. Levels of benzene are between 3 and 9.

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SOUTHALL RESIDENTS TO GIVE BLOOD SAMPLES

After six years of campaigning for justice: “The fact that gas used to be manufactured from coal has been lost to the public consciousness, but the chemical legacy remains.” “These communities already have multiple disadvantages with air pollution, overcrowding and poor housing. This is another burden being placed on them.” Via: Scientists to examine health fears at west London luxury development

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RESPONSE TO EALING'S AIR QUALITY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN

Ealing Council’s draft Air Quality Strategy is a 64 page document together with a 40 page Action Plan, and the consultation period runs until 30 January 2023. It’s taken me the best part of six weeks, all my spare time over Christmas and New Year, to get through it all, make notes and cross-reference to try to make sense of it all and offer some feedback. Really, there must be a much longer consultation period if Ealing Council is genuinely interested in residents' views.

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2022

Surprised I haven’t been asked to remove this review of FM Conway. Is 5,000 views a lot? I guess, at the end of the day, it makes no difference.

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2021

STRAWBERRIES FOR PIGS?

Little did we know at the time, but these little strawberries were usually engulfed in a toxic plume of benzene, naphthalene, and god only knows what else. Sensibly, the wife refused to eat them. We later discovered that official planning documents for the nearby old gasworks, which was being dug up in the open air for new homes to be built on the contaminated land, stated that no vegetables should be grown on the land.

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HOW I CAUGHT COVID

I tested positive for coronavirus yesterday. I started to feel unwell – like I had flu – on Sunday afternoon. After a night felling too hot and too cold, Monday morning I had a temperature of 38.3°C. I went to my local walk-through testing clinic later that afternoon. It was a self-test. If I’d known, I would have ordered a test-at-home kit, although I wouldn’t have got my result as quick.

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2020

HIGH TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOOD

Took me an hour (as opposed to 10 minutes) to drive my lad home from school this afternoon, thanks in part to the High Traffic Neighbourhood (‘Improving access for HGVs’) in Southall ‘Green’. Like a rat, I tried the side streets and back roads option and found those to be jammed, too, and Scotts Road - although confusingly still two-way throughout - is now No Entry from the eastern end.

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A SUCCESSFUL HOME DELIVERY AND THE LOCKDOWN/LOCK-IN.

My second son was born late Saturday night (what would normally have been my beer night) two weeks ago, after a short, but intense, labour. He was delivered at home by two brilliant midwives, who were fully protected courtesy of customised #tinap bin bag aprons, unused clean air protest dust masks, and disposable gloves my wife stocked up on back in February when – without any scientific advice whatsoever – she somehow accurately foresaw the current coronavirus global pandemic somehow reaching the UK’s shores (and airports).

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2019

RETURN TO WORK

I returned to work last week after my extended absence due to respiratory illness, which may or may not be related to three years of breathing the poisonous gasworks' air. I find I now have to literally climb over two rough sleepers camped outside the door of my workplace in order to get in. There is no more space in the nearby doorway, and the doorway around the side entrance is similarly occupied.

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SOUTHALL UNDER SIEGE: THE NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL

‘A lack of scrutiny,’ says John Freeman, Regulatory Services Officer at Ealing Council. He’s talking about lessons to be learned from the council’s response to the new asphalt plant built in neighbouring Hillingdon borough in 2014. ‘We didn’t expect there to be so much odour from a new building, or so many complaints.’ Moving swiftly on. Oppressive odour The highly contaminated old gasworks site in Southall has been kicking up a stink, too.

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2018

INCONSIDERATE CONSTRUCTOR

Lorry driver on his phone while leaving ‘Southall Village’ building site, right next to school entrance during school run. Got a load more verbals from the driver and his colleagues on site - ‘Did he hit anyone?’, ‘He doesn’t work for us!’ All part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, aka Couldn’t Care Less Scam.

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