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The Other News From England.

4 Oct 1999.

This week.

Index of earlier issues - click here.

Advance warning.

THE RSI is still a little bit of a problem, so there may yet be further interruptions in the regularity of The Other News.

However, I do seem to manage to keep on going without it getting any worse.

(Those who like digging about will find that there are hundreds of articles on many subjects to be found on this site. Look at the Index of Earlier issues for a start. There are also some drawings and sheet music.)

Child Sexual Abuse.

TODAY I HEARD something that is a great secret, but is trying not to be. Quite why people try not to think about things is a bit of a mystery to me, but the fact that this occurs is well known. It may be that it is a matter concerning that still very taboo subject - sex. Oh yes, I can feel your discomfort already, even though it is just another part of nature (of equal significance to eating) and I am wondering if the discomfort that is so common serves to make child sexual abuse even worse than it would otherwise be from a child's point of view. It is an area that needs opening up to discussion, because it might help if everybody understood it better, but I think I'll leave it for another time because I don't myself know how to express my opinions in this delicate area.

About 400 people demonstrated on Saturday in the streets of London against and about the sexual abuse of children. They had a march. Most of the participants were people who had been sexually abused as children, but some were just supporters.

One of the people who was on that march told us that she herself had been sexually abused as a child (a brave thing to admit in public) and that statistics suggested that one in eight females are sexually abused as children. I would like you to stop and think about this for a moment, because that is about 3,750,000 females in the UK alone, something like 8,500,000 in the USA, and probably equally outrageous numbers in other countries about which I know between nothing and very little. These figures do not take account of males, who might or might not amount to an even greater number, but my own observations of families and their behaviour with their children suggest that if these figures for girls are right, then for boys they could be as great. This is pure conjecture, but is partly influenced by many years of working with the mentally ill.

My friend expressed some anger (and perhaps a little contempt) that so few people had come on this march, but also surprise that so few people knew of this movement that only 400 out of a potential 7,000,000 people came out.

If you want to join these people's campaign, I do know they have a website, but this lady did not have the address with her, and I gave her my phone number but she has not yet got back to me.

Yorkshire Council.

THIS COUNCIL MUST HAVE A PROPER NAME, but I don't remember it.

A flower shop in Selby, Yorkshire, where flowersellers have been putting flowers outside their shops for almost a century, has been ordered by the council to remove all flowers from the public footway. Police were called and the flowers removed, costing the flower seller a quite considerable sum.

The British Retail and Professional Florists Association don't like it, because just about every flowerseller in Britain has done this for at least a hundred years, but they seem to think they are powerless to do anything. I would say this: A Similar matter came up in our street about 5 years ago, and we all dug our heals in and pointed out that those of us who had been there long enough had been doing what they were complaining about for more than 12 years, and that therefore we had an 'easement'. The council backed down and cancelled all legal proceedings.

Ecology and Conservation.

A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, a certain 50-year-old teenager I know stole from me 32 feet of one and a quarter inch steel bars (in 4 lengths or it would have been too heavy to pick up). The bars had been given to me by some lift engineers who had taken them out of a building whilst fitting it with a new lift, and they probably would have paid me to take them, but realising I knew the uses of steel and how to make things from it they knew that their garbage was my treasure, and settled for letting me take it.

The current price of scrap steel is 7 a ton, and this creates no end of problems. My dimwitted 50-year-old teenager took the steel thinking he would get a day or two's wages for it, when it fact it would have fetched about 70pee ($1.00) (if he could find a scrapman willing to take it). This led to him dumping it somewhere because he would not dare return it as I would have a legal case against him for theft. So he probably threw it on the tip. He isn't bright enough to understand the ecological considerations.

I could go and find some other lift engineers or pay large sums of money for some new steel, or I could go and search in skips until something else suitable for lathework turns up, and my first response was to look half-heartedly in a few skips. Steel I found in plenty, but none of the type I wanted. There were tons and tons of it.

But what is bothering me is that I have discovered that these skips full of steel are going for landfill! This outrageous result is a direct consequence of capitalism. Since there is insufficient demand for steel at this moment nobody is going to pile it up somewhere so that we can have it when we do need it because the land so used would cost too much, and bringing it home would cost too much too.

So they bury it. And next time the demand for steel rises to a level where it fetches a lot of money they will mine a few more hills away to get iron ore and burn huge amounts of fuel smelting it because they cannot remember where the steel was buried, it was strewn about all over the place so that it will be difficult to regroup, and anyway it might have houses on top by then.


I WAS THRILLED TO BE asked to consider a leaflet called 'restoring respect for justice' because I thought I was going to be offered the chance to attend a meeting at which people would introduce some strategies designed to turn lawyers into respectable citizens, but I am disappointed to say that having taken the trouble to bring the leaflet home and read it (until I realised what it was, anyway) I have discovered that it is just a sales leaflet for a book - a rather expensive one, to boot.


A great many times recently I have tried to get something very simple done by Southwark. What they have to do is to change a figure on a regular payment made by them on behalf of a tenant to that which it should be instead of that which it currently is.

I have been asking them to do this little thing since May, and they have been ignoring all correspondence, and so recently I wrote to the Chief executive (no point in writing to anyone else, since none of them reply or do anything), who immediately (after only a week or two) wrote to tell me that she was sorry they had been so incompetent, and that she was forwarding the matter to one of the many people who do nothing.

This time, the person did not do nothing, but instead wrote to tell me that my complaint would be dealt with by a complaints procedure if I would like to pursue it further, but that the matter had now been passed on to one of the people who never answer letters who would be contacting me within two weeks (now those two weeks have passed I can tell you they haven't), and that incidentally complaints should not be written to chief executive Julie Belvir but to one of the people who does nothing.

My response to the above was to write to Julie Belvir to tell her that I was not interested in their complaints procedure. What I was really interested in was action.

Ms. Belvir's reply was:

As I say, what I would really like to see instead of a complaints procedure is action.


The stuff that doesn`t often get changed now follows:

This is a site concerned with one of the most unpopular planning decisions ever made in Greater London, the Crystal Palace Complex. It is so stunningly awful that only a handful of people who do not live near it appear to approve, whilst the rest are not entirely uninclined to mention such things as payola, name it! The site belongs to the London Borough of Bromley, but the aggro generated by it and the destruction of amenity caused by it will be almost entirely suffered by residents of adjoining boroughs and not the people of Bromley themselves.

This is a recycling site based in London, and offering materials to anybody. The organisation is a charity seeking to link suppliers of surplus materials with users. Especially good for the more ingenious designers amongst us.

The email of the people who run the above site is They are called Creative Supplies. Look them up for more info.

Here's an interesting education site - particularly for those who have young children and are not quite sure what to do to avoid the worst of what`s on offer in the mainstream of education.They are called

early Othernews - 1992, 93, 94.

Early Other News essays.

There were a few essays that went out with the early Other News as a freestanding item. You can read these by clicking below.


The Soup Designer`s Handbook.

The Soup Designer`s Handbook.

London Journey - a trip from Docklands through Beckenham and back to Docklands.

Friday Woodworkers.

(Friday Woodworkers are suffering a temporary break due to some of the episodes not having been fully edited at the time of writing. It may take some timne to fix this problem.

Episode 17.

(These articles were written in 1988, and were my first attempt at writing. Some people when shown these fell about laughing, some smiled faintly - and some yawned. I thought I was going to write a technical book, but it soon became apparent that I was much more interested in the people than the technology - and that is the main reason there are no drawings - although it might be rather good to do a couple of caricatures sometime.)

Index of Friday Woodorker articles (and a means of access).

Progress is slow but we`re still moving on.

We are still redesigning The Other News From England. Noticed the change so far?

There is at least one new article this week, and articles on many subjects in earlier issues (which can be seen by clicking below).

Index of earlier issues.

Gabriele Gad on alternative therapy.

A READER COMPLAINED that it was not possible to go back more than 6 articles in Gabriele`s area. Regrettably this is because there is no index, and I have not the time to organise one yet. However, for those determined enough to find the early ones, they should be accessible by going to an early Other News and clicking through from it. This will not be fast, but I think will do the job. They started about November 1997 I think.

Cartoons and graphics.

drawings click here.

sheet music click here.


(I wish someone would make a contribution before I am forced to put in some of my own stuff here).

So new, in fact, that there is nothing there. I want to open a section of this site to be used as a kind of green reference. Ordinary folks usually know what to do in order to be green, but there are times when (a) they don`t know the technology, or (b)they are short of ideas, or (c) they would like to see what some other people think.

So the purpose of this area will be for people to describe to others how they made their own electricity, or saved a great deal of domestic water being wasted, or captured the methane gas from their cesspit, designed their solar bicycle with regenerative braking and portable overnight windcharger, caused plants to grow in a desert, made a solar water pump, etc.

A site for forward-looking people, in fact.

It may be very difficult to edit, but I would like a few articles and tips that are concise, easily understood and ecologically useful. Authors will be named if they so wish. These will be left on the site, and gradually as the number of articles builds up hopefully somebody will construct an index. I won`t volunteer myself, as I have yet to make a subject index for the whole Other News site.



One week carried an article that might be of interest to anybody thinking of taking out an Abbey National mortgage - or those who already have one.

Interestingly, one of the London papers described them as being "among the greediest".

There will soon be a new twist to this story, but I am not sure what it will be until it happens. They are trying to make it as difficult as possible instead of as easy as possible to resolve the present dispute.


(see several weeks back).

This Lexmark business gets worse. I refilled the black cartridge with an ordinary cartridge refilling outfit and it won`t print despite telling me that the cartridge is full and that it is printing.

In an earlier issue I told you about my feelings regarding Tempo retailers and the Lexmark 3200 printer I bought from them. I have now found out another thing about it.

The Lexmark 3200 printer I got from Tempo must surely be the most uneconomical printer I could possibly have bought. The black cartridge only does about 250 pages of ordinary type - for 28! That makes each sheet cost 11.2 pence plus the cost of the paper and probably another 11.2 pence more if any colour is used! - ABOUT 22.4 PENCE A SHEET! Nearly a pound for every four sheets!

I wouldn`t recommend you to buy it - but also look at my earlier article for an idea of Tempo`s service.


A person to help make up a subject index for the growing numbers of articles on The Other News From England. Email

8- or more-track tape recorder. email

Also want good working VW or Volvo 7 series 2.4litre turbodiesel engine. This is the type that goes in an LT van or a Volvo 740TD. email

2,000,000 at 0% interest would quite good too, although I would probably waste quite a lot of it employing musicians to do the great work.

All material on this site is copyright. Contact me if you want to use it. I am quite flexible. Educational non-profit use is free - but ask for permission and print an acknowledgement. If you can`t think what to print, put:

From The Other News From England.

That`s all this week folks