Sunday, 9 August 2015

WELL, THERE’S A TURN-UP FOR THE BOOK! Or perhaps not. After a long and painful labour, attended by many senior obstetricians and midwives – not to mention more than a few anxious husbands – the Great and the Good of Fenland District Council (Peace Be Unto Them) finally gave birth to a strapping Section 215 notice, which was to be served on the elusive owners of Constantine House. Also known as the Belfast Building. Also known as our very special bombsite on The Nene. My song about this was greeted with disdain by the folk (person) for whom Wisbech is a fiefdom. (If you can’t guess who the negative comments are from, then I will give you a clue. Or then again, I won’t. It should be perfectly obvious)

The fact that this happy event was preceded by a longer gestation period than that of a rhinoceros is of no consequence. The main thing is that the owner had been given his marching orders, and a step-by-step description of how to comply with the Section 215 notice.

After a couple of false starts, due to the fact that the owner “had a cold”, or that his mother “was unwell”, builders, roofers and scaffolders did spring into action. There was much back-slapping and smugness among local politicians, and I, Pickwick, having unwisely entered into a wager with a formidable lady called Rita Thornton, had to stump up the princely sum of £10 – which, happily, was donated to a local charity.

So, all was well that ended well, yes? Actually, no. It seems that the owner, who would give the late and hugely lamented Arthur Daley a run for his money, decided in May 2015 that enough was enough. He stopped paying the aforementioned builders, roofers and scaffolders and, understandably, they walked away.

THEY SAY A WEEK IS A LONG TIME IN POLITICS – but for Fenland District Council a mere week is but a nano-second. A month? Passes by in a moment. Three months? Gone in a flash – hardly gives us time to go to the loo!

We are approaching the middle of August. The scaffolding contractors have finally given up the ghost, and have taken away the scaffolding from the façade of the building. Internally, it is open to the most populous species in these parts, the feral pigeon. Or, to give them their biological name, Flying Rats.

BUT WAIT! The councillor for the ward chides us for being pessimistic. He is delighted at how good the building is looking. So, that’s OK then. Isn’t it?

MP STEVE BARCLAY, who has been very vocal in his criticism of FDC, seems also to have lost hope. He very courteously replied to my email, but wondered why it was directed at him. Ermm, give me a minute on that one. Ah! Got it! It’s because you are my MP, Sir, and because my requests for information from FDC have resulted in replies ranging from computer generated gobbledegook to absolute silence, I thought you might be able to help. Silly me, then.

THERE IS A SILVER LINING WITHIN THIS PARTICULAR CLOUD. I have just finished a long and profitable ‘phone call with Steve. Tierney? Barclay? No, no, NO! None other than Mr Spielberg himself. He has multi-million dollar backing for a blockbuster movie, based on the saga of Constantine House. Casting agents will be in the town next week, so make sure you are looking good. and up for a challenge!