Germany 2009, Tynedale Care Centres and high heels

Having just returned from a cycling trip in Bavaria it is striking to see the difference between a rural area in southern Germany and rural area in northern Britain. The farms in Germany are all smaller scale and very diverse. The population as a whole is much more involved in land management and agricultural production.
A most striking thing is the vast number of wind turbines and even more striking is that as many roofs as possible (barns, houses and factories) are entirely paved with photovoltaic panels – acres and acres of them. Every community of any size has a solar power installation company.
Also striking is the enormous proportion of the land that is devoted to woodland and forest. Almost all houses have several cubic metres of logs chopped ready for winter use and in every woodland there is evidence of more wood drying and active woodland management. Heating rural German homes is carbon neutral to a very high degree as a matter of routine.
The variety of wildlife is great too. Numerous birds of prey, boar, deer, badgers, moles, reptiles… This is the way the countryside should be. Active, productive, populated, environmentally sound and biologically diverse.
Is anyone surprised that the four Care Centres in Tynedale are to be closed? Another decision taken in a remote office with no meaningful consultation. As the population ages we are going to need a diversity of provision for care both at home and in residential accommodation. Recent evidence suggests that the standard of care is better in not-for-profit accommodation – ‘the market’ is not the answer to everything. At some point there will have to be re-provision of facilities by the community.
I see in the paper today that the TUC is debating the merits or otherwise of high heels. From a professional perspective I can confirm that many women pay a devastating price in pain, deformity and disability in later years from wearing fashion shoes in general – not just high heels. What a peculiar society we have created for ourselves.

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