Wait forever for a fuss . . .

. . . and three come round at once! Well, in Allendale time, three fusses in less than six months rates as slightly extraordinary, when there’s been no fuss to speak of for years now, that I can remember, anyway.

People are still grumbling about the Pelican crossing on the main road from Hexham on to Allenheads, beyond the old Lloyds-TSB bank and before the red payphone kiosk. And that was put in during October/November just last year. Then the Dalek and its shed broke into our consciousness at the beginning of this month, and now at the end of the month it’s the conical structure meant for the Council Depot behind Forstersteads, beside the Waste Recycling Centre, designed to hold the grit we need for our roads. Folks are up in arms, agitated, disturbed, distraught over these things, and that means it’s another fuss!

Of course, fusses don’t half sell newspapers, do they? And sometimes I do wonder whether our local press doesn’t over-egg the situation — I always take their representative photos incorporating the architect’s rendition of the proposal in a tranquil rural setting with a large pinch of salt — but on the other hand, I’m rather glad that we don’t have to suffer the indignity of discussing a gigantic sky-scraping sword of steel, or is it a giant’s ear-wax extraction tool, meant apparently to commemorate Her Majesty’s illustrious reign, towering over us here in the Allen Valleys. Fortunately, that’s not our battle, but someone else’s. [whew!]

I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that the last fuss here was over the closing of the First School, maybe five or more years ago now? Everyone probably remembers the heroic attempts made by many dedicated parents to forestall the continued introduction of two-tier education throughout the county, as the beloved middle school system that served our own children so well, bit the dust. Until the current furores, has there been another fuss since then, created by so few, that’s exercised so many to such small avail? But, pace, the new Primary School is now ranked ‘Best in County‘; life goes on in strange and wonderful ways, doesn’t it?

So I’m surprised by how I’ve calmed down over the years — sure I was involved in fusses in my time, the time I pretend was my ‘youth’, but lately I’m not so bothered, really, and I suspect most people aren’t either. But it’s all good fun to observe from afar, dispassionately as it were, to recognise that some battles will be won, some lost, some re-developed to emerge as a better solution another day.

I’m happy that traffic slows down better going through Allendale now. I’m sympathetic about the Dalek and its shed, especially on movability grounds, but frankly agnostic about the decried damage to passing-trade at the front of the Sci-Fi museum, if Planning dig in their heels and banish them. I’m well confident that after the publicity chorus, satisfactory work-arounds could be developed by any advertising genius here in the valleys, to bring passers-by in. I’m delighted when our roads are nicely gritted so that driving is safer, and it makes sense to manage storage of a salt mound that would otherwise dissipate or coagulate in the rain, but then it’s not our bedroom view that’s at risk. I’m worried about lots of things, of course, just not the fusses in the public domain so much anymore, except for the big big fuss we don’t dare talk about.

Still I have to applaud the fuss-makers: without passion for something, we become mere sheep doing the bidding of those who want to lead us. To fuss is human, sure, but to fix, ah, to fix is divine.

So, fusses — three here at once, and all still in our collective consciousness. Well. I think we’ve had our fair share of them now for this year, and maybe we can hope that after they’re resolved, fixed, all will be sweetness and light for the next wee while, at least locally, eh?

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