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SON OF GRIDKNOCKER last won the day on March 9

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  1. Many Voice regulars will remember Dave Benjamin, Hereford Butter Market’s long-time fishmonger and tireless Its Our County councillor. It is hard to believe that he died eight years ago at the age of 56. I attended his funeral, held in Hereford Cathedral, and was impressed by his chutzpah in requesting John Lennon’s Imagine to be played for the coffin’s departure. The council’s cabinet (plus supporting ‘suits’) were there in force that day, doubtless celebrating the demise of one of the leading members of IOC’s Awkward Brigade. And of course they had the last laugh. When a modest brass memorial plaque (sponsored by marker stallholders) was fixed to a back wall of the Butter Market, Hereford Council approved the location of a cash dispenser directly in front of it. Memories of The Admirable Fishmonger came coursing back to me recently when I drove past the semi-derelict hulk of Victoria House on Whitecross Road. I realised that it was almost a decade ago that Dave (backed by his St Nicholas Ward supporters) campaigned vociferously for this former residence of the Victoria Eye Hospital’s Chief Surgeon to be rescued and refurbished for the benefit of the local community. From then until now, it has lain abandoned and neglected and is now perilously close to the point of extinction. Yet Herefordshire Council just sits and watches. Doubtless Victoria House will soon be demolished, to make way for yet more student accommodation for the new university.
  2. Well Done Cambo! Mixing it with Parliament's top echelons now. A very courteous reply too. I always much preferred her to her rather pugnacious husband and, frankly, I think she'd have been a better choice as Jezza's Deputy.
  3. I'm sorry to be such a wet blanket amidst all the smug mutual back-slapping, but I really don't think this lumpen structure even deserves to be called 'architecture'. It is a bland nondescript building, which pays little respect to the neighbouring Grade II-listed Victorian building, which two years ago was singled out by the writer Simon Jenkins as one of Britain's 100 best railway stations. Together with the dreadful Medical Centre, (which was approved last year) Hereford will soon become known as Leggoland.
  4. @megielland: my heart isn't exactly broken by the news that Debenhams paid out £80-million in business rates last year. However, what I WOULD like to know is how much they have paid Old Market developer British Land in rent since they opened in Hereford. Does anybody know?
  5. Was the Duke of Edinburgh driving? He seems to be getting quite good at totalling SUVs!
  6. So sorry folks. Silly, silly me! I now realise that the black smoke from the Stonebow Unit this morning was signalling that Mr Goooooove had DECLINED the Brexit job offer! This has been given to someone called Barclaycard. Or maybe its a cad called Barclay. It all reminds me a bit of that party game 'Pass the Parcel'.
  7. Super-observant Herefordians stuck in the morning rush hour into the city on Friday, may have observed black smoke emanating from that strange tile-clad chimney alongside the Stonebow Unit. Such a phenomenon rarely occurs in our cathedral city, though in Rome, white smoke is emitted from the Vatican chimneys every time ex-Pope Ratzinga changes his Gucci slippers. I understand that the reason for today’s Stonebow emission was to celebrate the fact that the hapless Dominic Raab MP (who lasted all of six weeks in the job) has been replaced as Minister for Exiting Brexit by none other than the gurning Michael Gooooooove. You just couldn’t make it up!
  8. Though I won't shed any tears over Ann Summers quitting its High Town location, those of us with uber-long memories might reflect on the fact that Hereford's backwater biggotry was best exemplified when the city's august Watch Committee banned the screening of the Python's 'Life Of Brian'.
  9. Denise: Thanks for posting the latest issue of HCS's PLACE magazine. There's some really good stuff in there and lots of sensible architectural observations. Four tiny carps (all to do with the awful Link Road): 1) why has it taken HC almost 12 months to paint the cycle path lines? Any other local authority in Britain would have a dedicated and protected cycle path (Camden, would you believe, can still afford granite kerbing!); 2) why does the road remain un-named almost a year after its opening? 3) why are ALL the pedestrian-controlled crossings programmed to allow less than 10 seconds to cross wide carriageways, given the large number of Blind College students who must navigate these roads? and 4) why did the directional gantry alongside the rail bridge (a key signage for traffic entering the city down Aylestone Hill and unfamiliar with this city's eccentric road network) suddenly disappear? Has it been sold as scrap to pay Geoff Hughes' pension?
  10. Folk I encounter on my peregrinations across High Town, sometimes stop me and ask: ‘Vicar – how did you come to be de-frocked?’ Oftentimes, this question is posed in Polish. I usually explain to them that I am bound by the terms of a Gagging Order signed by the then-Bishop of Hereford, The Right Rev Greville Chasuble, save to say it was a very minor misdemeanour, of no great import, involving a) an amateur abseiling session down the cathedral tower to raise funds for a hedgehog sanctuary at Tillington; and b) my total absentmindedness in forgetting to put on any underpants that morning. It was the graphic telephoto images, broadcast that evening on Midlands Today (which then went viral), which sealed my fate – and caused irreparable damage to the BBC’s Birmingham switchboard. But all that – as the former Mrs Membridge-Tinninges so aptly reminds me, in her annual Christmas card from Antibes – is now in the past. As Christ himself put it (in his sermon on the steps of Aldi’s Tel Aviv branch, I think it was): “We should always turn the other cheek - after first checking that a) we are wearing underpants and b) there are no BBC Midlands cameramen lurking nearby”. A happy Hallowe'en to you all. E. Membridge-Tinninges (Rev – defrocked)
  11. I am full of admiration for Ragwert's investigative skills, but if Colin has any more job vacancies I think he should appoint Cambo as this site's Roofing Cost Consultant.
  12. The admirable George Monbiot, writing in The Guardian about the proposed £multi-million super-expressway which will connect Oxford and Cambridge and which has already been waived through by the toothless Infrastructure Commission:- "A recent study by the Campaign to Protect Rural England has shown that, far from relieving congestion, new road schemes create new traffic. But the treadmill must keep turning. Bypasses must be bypassed with new bypasses; new jobs must be created for the people living in all the new homes which will be built alongside the bypasses. Growth must continue until it destroys everything it claims to enhance." The man should be the next Prime Minister!
  13. When I see the figure of £249K in any context, I put on my Dudley Moore nasal voice and say: " 'ello (sniff-sniff). Fu...nny!" Who do these people think they are fooling ffs? The council's prestigious Plough Lane Palace was originally the purpose-built headquarters and heart of the Bulmers empire. It was no architectural masterpiece, I grant you, but no expense was spared on its construction or fitting out. Since they acquired it, HC has been throwing money at it, internally and externally. So the news that close on a quarter of a million pounds now needs to be spent on fixing a leak in the roof makes me wonder whether "...there is something rotten in the state of Denmark."
  14. The surviving blast walls which AV refers to are perhaps the most poignant reminders of what went on at Rotherwas and of the minimal safety conditions there. Many of the ancillary operations connected with the munitions output (such as the preparation of fuses and detonators) were, in fact, performed in flimsy timber sheds - not unlike cricket pavilions - by small gangs of women, wearing virtually no safety equipment whatsoever. Hard hats? Don't make me laugh - contemporary site photos shows the headgear worn as not dissimilar to a maid's cap. So what was the purpose of these blast walls (huge 3m-high vertical slabs of reinforced concrete flanking all the sheds? If there was an accident and an explosion, only one gang of women workers would get blown to smithereens!
  15. "The Shell Store is not a Listed building." Quite correct, though Mr Manning Cox might have given it its correct title: "Shell Filling Store", since it was here that shells were hand-filled rather than stored. This next bit is probably apocryphal, but nevertheless worth a fresh outing. It seems that a group of Sir Humphreys up in Whitehall got to hear of the perilously fragile state of the old Shell Filling Store. An internal memo was duly sent to the Sir Humphrey in charge of listing significant historic buildings, who dispatched one of his minions down to Rotherwas. Sadly, said minion came armed with an inaccurate OS reference for the huge building; instead, wandering into some scrubland immediately to the east of the Shell Filling Store, where he happened upon an insignificant cluster of brick-built sheds, which a local farmer was keeping chickens in. This was the Picric Acid store, located away from the main Rotherwas munitions complex because of the acid's volatility. The minion duly listed the chicken coop!
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