Andrew Abbott's Blog

Friday, 17 August 2012

Lincolnshire this week.

Previously in this blog we checked on the progress of Eve the seal who found herself rescued by a seal sanctuary in Germany. She was fattened up, fitted with a tracking device and released in the hope that she would find her way back to Iceland. Instead she headed to the Orkney Islands and then down the east coast where she was again rescued. Authorities at Natureland in Skegness wanted to take her back to Iceland but were refused permission. They have now decided it would be in her best interests to stay at the sanctuary. Richard Yeadon from Natureland reports that the seal is enjoying life. "She seems very chilled out in the resident seal pool, enjoying five meals of the best quality herrings a day.

"I'm sure we have made the right decision for her."

Plans for a massive renovation of Lincoln Castle are to go on show. The work will provide a permanent home for Lincolns copy of the Magna Carta, which will be 800 years old in 2015. More of the old prison will be opened and it will be possible to walk round more of the walls. Councillor Eddy Poll, executive member for cultural services, said: "This is an opportunity to find out about what will be happening up at the castle over the next couple of years - improvements that will make it one of the UK's top historic attractions.

"Not only will this ensure that this local landmark is kept in good condition for future generations, it'll also attract thousands more visitors, providing a sizeable boost for the local tourism economy."

Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh has explained why Parliamentary funding of his Italian lessons was good value for money. The outspoken Catholic politician explains :-

"I started taking Italian lessons when the Government was suggesting I be made Ambassador to the Vatican," he said.

"It was a role which I eventually turned down because I wanted to continue representing our part of Lincolnshire in Parliament.

"Currently, I am chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See (Vatican) and involved in the British-Italian parliamentary group as well.

"I think I'm the only Member of Parliament to have given a speech in the Palace of Westminster in Italian.

"It happened when we had the privilege of welcoming a deputation of Italian MPs and they were very touched.

"I'm also in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

"Every country in the Council of Europe makes an effort to speak English, so why shouldn't we try and speak their languages as well?

"That said, having obtained a working knowledge of Italian, I am no longer taking lessons through the Foreign Office."

The University of Lincoln was expecting to receive about 5000 calls from prospective students through clearing yesterday. Whilst there are spaces available, Drama, Dance and Social Work all filled up. Biomedical Science, Accountancy and Finance, English and History have all been very popular. Lincolnshire students have bucked the national trend in their grades. Results have been down on previous years in the country but not here. Must be the fresh air and wide open skies.

Residents of leafy Woodhall Spa are up in arms over the last bank in the village closing down. There are about 50 independent shops in the resort and lots of wealthy residents but that hasn’t stopped HSBC, the worlds local bank, deciding that Woodhall was rather too local and shutting the branch for good leaving only the Post Office. Ironically, holders of most other banks accounts can service them through the Post Office but not HSBC. David Clarke, chairman of Woodhall Spa Parish Council, said they had taken their business elsewhere because of the closure.

"We have a lot of residents who are not quite in their prime and they like face-to-face contact," he said.

"They don't really like ATMs, they want to speak to somebody and I think HSBC are really losing out on that customer relations ability and that's where we're suffering.

"People who want face-to-face will have to go to Horncastle. I don't see why anyone should travel that far just to go to a bank... when it should be dealt with locally."

In a statement HSBC said: "The branch is only open for limited hours during the week and not on weekends and customer usage of it has fallen significantly over the past few years.

"Customers are now increasingly using branches where they work, or they are using the 24-hour convenience of internet or telephone banking.

"Closing a branch is never an easy decision but we are working with the small number of customers who use the branch to see if we can help them reorganise their finances."

That’s it for another week in Lincolnshire. Would be quite nice to nip over to Woodhall Spa for an ice cream or a pint but don’t forget to take plenty of cash. Have a good one.

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