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Welcome to Boredtown.co.uk

Looking outside at the world from inside the most boring town in Britain: Brentwood, Essex, known locally as 'Boredtown'. A Grumpy Old Man's take on the absurdities of small-town life, politics and the encroaching forces of bureaucracy.

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Welcome to Boredtown


Looking outside at the world from inside the most boring town in Britain: Brentwood, Essex, known locally as 'Boredtown'. A Grumpy Old Man's take on the absurdities of small-town life, politics and the encroaching forces of bureaucracy.

 

Some links to Brentwood People
30th March 2012

The Castle, closed by corporate blandness

Friends of the Castle, Brentwood


Jacquie

Brentwood girls in the 80s  

... and some memories from the 60s on the Letters page: Brentwood in the 60s

 

TOWIE
25th May 2011

Just like a TOWIE girl

Today's Independent had this little gem posted by Vanzetti about The Only Way is Essex.

" Trash TV for a Trash Society, manufactured to the exacting standards of mainstream corporate media and a complicit education system mired in pervasive fraudulent post-modern relativism, directed at reproducing it. C4 is one of the main purveyors of this so-called structured reality Ė scripted, poorly acted cheap garbage directed at satiating the manufactured, de-intellectualised dysfunctional hoard reared on a diet of instant gratification, neurotic sense of entitlement, driven by dehumanised sexuality, superficial materialistic relationships, predicated on possessions and acquisitions. The ideal neocon society - a lobotomised critical mass capable of consuming this garbage as entertainment."

 

Weald Country Park, Brentwood
9th March 2011

With the current concern about Local and County Council spending, perhaps we should pay greater attention to what 'they' are spending our money on. Weald Country Park is a popular site despite the ludricrous £2 you have to pay even if you just want to walk your dog for 20 minutes. But what is the park's management playing at?

For years every time it rained, the tracks around the lake have been a quagmire. You might get a pushchair or wheelchair between the lakes, but no further. As for access on the north east tip of the lake by the bird hide, mud and standing water are as high as a wellie top.
Frequent quagmire 
[Click image to enlarge] Impassable gate 
[Click image to enlarge]
So it seemed like good news that managemment had decided to build a new all-weather path by the lake. But if there's a way that the public sector can contrive to waste our money, then they always seem to manage it. To state the bleeding obvious, the key thing with a new all season path is that it can be used in all seasons. There was already a well-used trail around the north side of the lake which was fine for use in the dry months, but clearly something that would be passable by buggy and wheelchair was needed.

So after all the expense, what have we got? See the photos - standing water, three inches of mud, and hardly enough width to allow a people to pass each other without stepping off into even deeper mud. The path only runs along the north side of the lake - for wheelchair users and people with buggies, they then have to turn around and come back, not even the luxury a simple circuit around the lake and back to the visitor centre.

Is this just tokenism to (pretend to) enhance disability access? I'm not blaming the Rangers who do a great job - but this just smacks of more managerial bureaucratic tick-sheet spending, without any regard to delivering any tangible improvement or real value for money.

New path awash with mud and standing water 
[Click image to enlarge]
How is this path better than what we had before? 
[Click image to enlarge]

New all season path on north side of Weald Country Park lake. Sheer genius. (click to enlarge)

 
 

Thorndon Park Den Building
10th January 2010

All the great exponents of bushcraft teach a respect and awareness of the environment. The idea is to leave as little a footprint as possible. So what is it that they are teaching children in Thorndon Park? They purport to be teaching shelter-building, bushcraft for beginners. What they do may be a controlled-fun outdoor activity, but judging by the sad collections of leaves and sticks that now litter many Essex parks, they certainly aren't learning anything about a serious practical skill. The bundles of neat pre-cut staffs left surplus to requirements suggests they're not learning anything about woodcraft or material selection either.


Thorndon Park detritus [click for full size image]

Yes, it's an excuse to get kids out of the classroom, but when PIRLS found that the literacy level in England's 10 year olds has fallen from 3rd to the bottom (19th place) amongst the developed nations, one does wonder whether we've got our priorities right. In our politically correct, health & safety world this sort of sanitized, spoon-fed, organised "play" (with a bit of KS2 educashun-speak to justify it), is probably the worst of all worlds - not learning real practical skills & knowledge, nor being left to explore creatively the wonders of nature.

As one community respondent said so eloquently to the Thorndon Country Park Consultation (2005):

The woods have been adequately maintained for the last twenty-five years I have lived here - just keep it that way. When I first took my children to the woods, what made it special was the feeling that we where somewhere no one else had walked - it gave my children a sense of adventure. The more you organise and manage how people/children spend their time, the more limiting the imagination of the child and less pleasing for every one

Thorndon Park detritus [click for full size image] But much more to the point, the children are clearly are not being taught the fundamental principle of outdoor ethics: "Leave No Trace". After each organised school trip to Thorndon Country Park, more and more of these shelters are left as a blot on the landscape.
It can takes years for these things to break down, meanwhile other park users have to put up with their detrimental impact on the visual amenity. Another non-PC way to put it is that they look like crap, and you half-expect to see a homeless drug-addict sleeping there.

We are priviledged to have such beautiful woodland so near and so accessible to Brentwood residents. We all need to respect it, and that means teaching the next generation to have that respect too.



LATEST MISSIVE

8th June 2010
Bicycle Invasion

Dear Boredtown
Come across your site whilst looking for a TV repair outlet in Brentwood.
Interested in the comments made in regards to Thorndon Park and the unsightly piles of sticks left all over the place in den building exercises for kids.
I have lived in Brentwood for over 32 years for my sins and the surrounding parks have been close to my heart for a long time.
As you can imagine I am now also saddened with the way things are going.
When now visiting Thorndon with my children instead of sharing a nice countryside walk with nature I now have to expect to share the park with about a hundred visitors from out of town all with bicycles.
I am assuming these people are visitors as no one parks in the second car park and most are unaware of its existence.
Believe me I have no issues with bicycles but when there is no escape from them anywhere it ticks me off.
I have had to save my children and dog numerous times from a group of lads charging along woodland paths on their mountain bikes with no consideration for anyone but themselves.
Let alone the other 50% who come in there 4 x 4s strapped to the hilt with bikes to cycle one mile and go home again.
Thorndon south is also a waste of time with any decent day now open season to half of East London equipped with BBQS.
Weald fortunately remains reasonably better and after recently visiting the poor excuse for event last weekend held at Weald I canít see too much concern in the near future.

Best regards A.

Thanks for that A., Nature seems to have taken a back-seat for many people who just want event-led thrills and gizmos. Mountain-bikes ruin footpaths and tracks through the woods - they churn up the soil creating mud pits after it rains. What next? Motorbike scrambling?



bored@boredtown.co.uk
 
bored@boredtown.co.uk