Ian is still in France. He has been hampered by rain and a rather officious inspector from the SPANC who took one look at Warren's carefully placed plastic pipe leading from the end of the filter bed to the middle of the field, shook his head, wagged his finger and said 'interdit'! Negotiation and discussion was therefore out of the question and so Ian and Warren spent last week digging a trench for the run off, consisting of two further 30 metre drains running across the slope, sand, gravel, yet more pipe and two further inspection holes so that the man from the SPANC could look into them on Thursday and check that they were draining properly! This is in spite of the fact that our neighbours' fosse empties directly into the ground and runs off into the corner of our field filtered only by the grass and the soil. The slightly smelly puddle that collects a the top of the field has been ideal for growing the twisted willow tree we bought from England 18 months ago and is also popular with Sid the snake so we are not too bothered by it but annoyed by the 'health and safety man' mentality that has found its way into the French countryside! If the drains prove to be ineffective then we have to get the run-off from our filter bed pumped up to the ditch that runs off by the side of the road!
David Cameron and his ConDemmed party have appointed Lord Young to investigate whether health and safety has 'gone mad'. I think it is probably the people implementing all these policies that have gone mad. Interestingly when Cameron first mentioned these ideas before the election the LibDems emphatically disagreed with him. Funny how madness spreads.
I expect my wages to be frozen after the budget on Tuesday. Apparently my 'perks' are also threatened but as I can't think of any perks that I have had then I can't see what they can do. Public sector pensions are waved around like a red flag by the likes of the Daily Mail as being a perk. Yes, I have a pension and I have paid 7% of my salary every month towards it for 20+ years. Even if I work until I am 70 I will never be able to accrue the 40 years necessary for a full pension. A full pension would give me half my salary on retirement. I will get about a quarter which, without going into too much detail with regards to my salary would give me a pension of about £10,000 per year. Not what I consider a perk after 30 years of public service! Anyway, it will shortly not be my concern as I formally handed in my notice on Monday!