Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Dorset

SECOND UPDATE On Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

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This is the third instalment in this story.

1. Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

2. Update On Legal Medicinal Cannabis In Britain

Eventually The Guardian took some notice.   See here.

Despite the pleas of those in pain and suffering, the Home Office was talking to Mary O’Hara of The Guardian but not to them.   Dozens if not hundreds of medicinal cannabis users had written to the Home Office asking for confirmation that they could go to Holland for a prescription.  Not a word was heard.

Jim Starr, the subject of this story, wrote to his MP, and then he wrote again.  He heard nothing.  He wrote to the Home Office, chasing up his application for a personal import licence.  He heard nothing.  He wrote again.

Dilatory

Richard Drax, the first timer, newly elected Tory MP for Dorset South just happens to be my MP too, so I wrote to him on Jim’s behalf.

Jim has heard nothing.  Richard Drax asked me not to mention his name in any article about Jim. Jim wrote again.  I wrote again.  We have heard nothing.

Jim’s medicine has run out.  We told the Home Office and Richard Drax that it was an urgent medical emergency.  We have heard nothing.

I spent the last week on the telephone and exchanging emails with the Home Office.  This is the result:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

The UK’s position is clear – cannabis is dangerous and has no medicinal benefits in herbal form. It remains illegal for UK residents to possess cannabis in any form.

Britons benefit from reciprocal laws which allow EU nationals, in limited circumstances, to travel with controlled medicines. We are working with European authorities to ensure the system is robust and not open to abuse.

The Home Office says you can import cannabis to the UK and use it without restriction provided you “are resident in a country where that drug is legally prescribed”.  So it’s OK for the Dutch and the Belgians and the Spanish and the Italians and the Czechs and the Poles (and many others) to smoke weed in Britain but not if you’re British.

We Won't Give Up

This is clearly unequal, discriminatory, unjust and unsustainable in law but the Home Office is not about to give in.  The only way to resolve this is that either someone must appeal a conviction all the way to the Supreme Court or there must be an application for judicial review.

Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment.

In the meantime, Jim and thousands like him will manage as best as they can.

He’s still heard nothing from either the Home Office or Richard Drax.

Paradise Valley

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Come with me into the crisp, sparkling air of the Dorset countryside.  Let the salted breeze blow away your cobwebs and the sheer beauty still your soul.

This is real life.  All the rest is illusion.

Go here.

Extreme Dog Walking

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This is the new, ultra hip, super cool sport for happenin’ dudes, dudesses and their doggies.

Started on the Dorset coast in the autumn of 2010, it has finally brought together the noble traditions of dog walking, singing in the rain and mad, British malarkey.   Contrasted with the idea that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, this is the sport where only bonkers Brits and adventurous dogs go out in a torrential storm.

You’ve never been really wet until you’ve been Extreme Dog Walking.  When the rain has been blown past horizontal, round to vertical but going upwards, then you begin to get a flavour of this exciting and challenging sport.  When you have to walk with your face turned away from the stinging shotgun pellets that are rain drops while the dogs whimper and scuttle about your feet, only then will you begin to understand the determination, courage and true grit necessary to survive and succeed in this competition to end all competitions.  Far below the sea can just be seen as a seething mass of whitewater.  As the squalls come in the whole environment darkens and the gale force winds thrash and tangle at hat and clothing.  Even with the air temperature at 17 C, the rain makes your hands freeze and your face smart.  All you can do is call the dogs on, put your head down, gird your loins, steel your determination and go forth into the turbulence.  There is no option to stop.  It is as far to go on as it is to retreat.  Forwards is the only option. Onwards to the end, to glory and glorious triumph!

As in all such endurance events the best bit is when it stops.  A first layer of saturated “waterproofs” is peeled off and then the dogs are towelled down.  Then off come the boots, often with gushes of water as each one is removed.  Finally, right down to the underwear, each soaking layer is removed and the steam begins to rise.  Then we begin to yarn, to talk of how every gust seemed bigger than the last. To boast of how we just made it through when all seemed lost, how we nearly got caught by that “gnarly” one, how we feel so “stoked” and “trashed” by our experience.  Then we sit around in our “baggies”, drinking beer and smokin’ weed, knowing that we know what others never can, knowing that up there in them thar hills is where we feel really alive, where our sport of Extreme Dog Walking makes life worthwhile!

Paradise Valley

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Heaven On Earth

It’s that time of the month again!

No, no, no ladies.  Happy times!  Another walk in Paradise Valley.  See here.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Paradise Valley

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Heaven On Earth

Surprise!

For the latest on Paradise Valley please see here.

My Babies

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

A Fundamental Problem At The BBC

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I am very close to being the BBC’s biggest fan.  It is a remarkable and entirely unique institution.  Somehow it occupies a place between the state and the people which I can find no comparison for.  It would be easy to define it as some sort of socialist idea but it is genuinely independent from the state.  I do, however, have some concerns about its accountability.  I am very concerned about the way it handles complaints.

No Complaints Accepted Here

I have grown up with the BBC and I trust it.  In fact, I think that it’s done a better job of maintaining Britishness and values of integrity, tolerance, fairness and justice than any UK government of any political complexion.  That’s why the curmudgeons in all political parties turn against it.  I think Jeremy Hunt’s recent attacks and comments were particularly poorly judged.  He hasn’t a had a good start in government at all has he?

I made a complaint to the BBC recently and I am very, very unhappy about the way it has been handled.   The subject is not relevant here.  I shall write about it in future but for now it would distract from my point.  I am horrified to discover that the BBC does not handle complaints itself.   They are outsourced to Capita in Belfast which describes itself as “the UK’s leading outsourcing company…at the leading edge of redefining and transforming services to the public.”  For me that needs a huge pinch of salt, a mountain in fact and even then I’m choking on it.

Handling complaints should be at the very heart of an organisation.  It is the essence of your brand.  There is no more important management function.  Contracting them out is an abdication of responsibility.  More than that, it is a complete failure of integrity, a massive mistake.   If an organisation is truly committed to meeting its customers’ needs it must be as close to them as possible.  This irresponsibility strikes at the very heart of everything I value about the BBC.  I am deeply disillusioned.

If this disastrous decision had resulted in a well administered service then that might be some consolation but not a bit of it.  It is dreadful.  Every bit as bad as any horror story you’ve heard about British Gas, BT or yes, even a bank.  This is the British consumer experience at its very worst.

Not What It Used To Be

In sharp contrast to the rest of the BBC’s websites, try making a complaint online.  It’s like something from the very early days of the internet with clumsy, badly aligned fields and an archaic feel.  I almost expect to hear a modem whistling away in the background.  From a complainant’s point of view it’s quite useless.  You don’t get any option to save a copy of your complaint or email it to yourself.  You don’t even get an acknowledgement once you’ve completed it so you’re left with a completely unsatisfactory feeling of uncertainty.  Did they get it or not?  Will I get a reply?  When?

It gets worse.  Complaints are lost.  They don’t get answered at all.  They certainly don’t get answered within the 10 working days promised.  One answer I received was just laughable in its anodyne, crass simplicity.  It was nothing more than an patronising acknowledgement of what I was “unhappy about”.

Useless

I could go on even further but I won’t.  It does get even worse and it becomes embarrassingly so when Capita start to trot out the oldest excuse of all about “system problems”.  It is an excruciatingly bad, defining example of appalling customer service.  I’d say it takes the biscuit.

All this is the inevitable result of outsourcing your complaints procedure.  That aspect of business that should be one of your most important tools.  What’s worse is that Capita are absolutely useless at doing the job.

It is no exaggeration to say that, for me, this rocks the very foundations of everything I believed about the BBC to the very core.  It is not the organisation I thought it was.  I feel betrayed.  I am “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”.   In fact,  I am very, very, very disgusted of Weymouth, Dorset.

What Happened To The British Police?

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Another disgraceful example of the way the British police are going to the dogs.  So many of them, like these two, seem to be violent psychopaths. As a Welshman this incident makes me particularly ashamed.  Here’s two more coppers that deserve at least five years in jail.

In my local news, the island of Portland has been abandoned by Dorset police.  See here.   They’ve failed to respond to residents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour.  When a public meeting was held the police flatly refused to attend.  Now the residents are talking about setting up their own vigilante groups.  That, of course, will suit the police perfectly. They’ll be able to get their batons out and beat up more innocent citizens, confident that even if they’re caught on camera they’ll get away with it.

When I was driving onto Portland the other day I saw something which just sums up perfectly the state of policing in Britain today.  Four fancy BMW SUVs and a motorbike tearing across Chesil Beach, high drama, high speed, jack-the-lads, all of them.  Guaranteed no reason for it.  Try getting them to come out to a genuine emergency.

Theresa May!  You should be calling in Chief Constable Mick Giannasi of Gwent and Chief Constable Martin Baker of Dorset.  Both have some serious explaining to do.

Paradise Valley

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The latest instalment in my rural idyll is here

Paradise Valley

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The latest instalment in the extraordinary story of the most beautiful place on the planet is available here.  Don’t miss it!

Heaven On Earth

Written by Peter Reynolds

June 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm

The Obnoxious People Of Bovingdon

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My parents live in a small Hertfordshire village not far from Watford. It’s commuter land, only 45 minutes by train to central London but on the edge of the delightful Chilterns countryside. It’s not quite as gorgeous as Dorset but the dogs and I enjoy the change of scenery when we visit about once every month.

The nearest place to find anything more than a village shop is the small town of Bovingdon. Every time I visit there I am dismayed, horrified even at the boorish, selfish and obnoxious behaviour of the local drivers.

There’s nowhere to park in Bovingdon but that doesn’t stop them. They park half on, half off the pavement in the most dangerous and inconsiderate places, often right opposite each other. The town is full of ostentatious, gaudy four-wheel drive Toyotas, Mitsubishis or, God preserve us from even more oriental invaders, Kias. Does no one buy British any more? These tasteless and clumsy status symbols are thrown about with abandon, aggression and a complete absence of any manners. My 17 year old nephew was literally forced off the road last week by yet another woman who simply cannot judge the width of her vehicle and so drives in the middle of narrow country lanes.

Of course, I am sure that there are many very nice and responsible people in Bovingdon but you can drive through the High Street at anytime of day to see recurrent displays of the most selfish, inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour.

There is one other observation though that, for me, condemns these unpleasant people out of hand. As I walk the dogs around the local countryside I am disgusted at the fly tipping and the disgraceful amount and variety of rubbish in the hedgerows. It’s difficult to understand why this wealthy and privileged part of the country is full of so many nasty, selfish and dirty people.

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm