THE BLOG

Life in the Country: The Heralding of Spring

15/03/2012 14:38 GMT | Updated 14/05/2012 10:12 BST

February was extremely mild apart from a few days of intense cold. The financially crippling oil deliveries were less this year as we didn't have to have the heating on 24/7 like last winter or sit in ice cold rooms...Georgian houses look pretty but God, they are draughty!

A few winter crocuses have appeared in the last few days and lambing has started. This means that I won't see Ruth my 'Sunday girl' riding companion for a few weeks as she starts her nocturnal existence delivering the newborns in the dead of night/early hours of the spring mornings. She will surface in a few weeks bleary-eyed and her little Welsh pony will bolt off with her with excitement as she wouldn't have been out of her field for weeks.

I love my Sunday rides. Often a group of us ride for hours - all over the Begwyns and surrounding lanes chasing the red kites and hares as we gallop flat out over the rolling bridleways. A weekly escape from life - and a dangerous sport adrenaline buzz too. Apparently most back and neck injuries in spinal units are now from horse riding accidents.

I opened the Times on the train to London about three weeks ago and nearly choked on my tea as there on page three was a photograph of myself next to Desmund Tutu in an article about Hay-on-Wye and the anti-retail development fight. My "quotes" were direct paraphrases from this very blog and the photograph was a shot from the premier I had attended last year for Mr Nice in Cardiff! Next thing I knew was I was getting tweeted by the Daily Telegraph who were in Hay doing their own expose of the scandal. They ran a whole page that weekend. Seems you can't just plonk a giant supermarket in any old town nowadays.

The Brecon and Radnor weekly paper (known here locally as the B and R) have now run a story saying 'supermarket plans shelved until after the local elections', which I am hoping is the council trying to save face and that in reality the plans have been totally axed. They should be. People power has resolutely told the "retail development" to get stuffed and Powys County Council has egg all over its face.

The Council is now trying to shut down schools in its 'modernisation' programme. since when do little local mountain schools need to be 'modernised'? What exactly does modernisation mean in this context? Powys have yet to answer this and the rumour is that they were banking on Gaufron Developments funding a 'super-school' school in Hay to make their whole plan work. Now they are back to square one and will have to go cap in hand to the Welsh Assembly to get money for sorting out Hay School. Where the money will now come from for this grand 'modernisation' programme is anyone's guess and is it actually legal to blanket shut all these small schools down? How much money will it save? And shouldn't kids education be a priority not a money-saving device? You can read a really good summary of this inlifeinhay.blogspot.com/ where the political intrigue of the entire Gaufron/Powys CC/schools/Hay and district Sports Society is unravelled.

I am off to Paris next week on the Eurostar to do a DJ gig for my fashion line Client ( clientlondon.com). If only the train to London was as easy as Eurostar. Newport Station has now been redesigned and remodernised and where you used to cross over the platform to grab the London connection both journeys this now involves you running up a flight of stairs, down a corridor, over a bridge, down two more flights of stairs to catch a four minute connection that locks its doors 40 seconds before departure. I have never once caught it so have to sit in the freezing cold with no cafe and a depressing smelly waiting room for the next train. When myself ( and others) complain we are told that the trains are run by different companies. They obviously don't speak to each other about train timetables as why make the London connection only four minutes - especially as the London train is never on time! Late at night First Great Western have to pay for taxis for the missed connections as the trains run hourly so it must cost them a fortune.

If this is the current form of 'modernisation' gripping the country, God help these primary schools in Hay and their pupils.