Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keith Hann

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keith Hann

Article excerpt

Byline: keith hann

I APOLOGISE for my absence last week. Oh, you didn't notice? While not being under the delusion that you care one way or the other, I was unwell. I had one of those bugs that give you, in random order, a sore throat, hacking cough, streaming nose, aching joints and an overpowering feeling of lassitude.

I didn't bother the doctor. Just went to the post office and obtained assurance that there was a lot of it about.

It's been going on for a fortnight now and I still wouldn't put any money on myself in an arm-wrestling contest with a week-old kitten.

It's been really lousy timing for two reasons. First, I'm one of those people who is programmed to become depressed anyway as the days grow shorter. Add a bout of physical illness and I quickly slip over the line from miserable to suicidal.

Secondly, there was something I really wanted to write about last Tuesday, namely the Wandylaw wind farm planning application. Thank goodness I didn't. A few cynical barbs from me might just have prompted Berwick's brave councillors to back their planning officers and approve the thing. I pulled out all the stops for Wandylaw Moor 20 years ago, trying to stop it being dug up for opencast coal. It did precisely no good. In an admittedly sparsely populated area, the majority of locals seemed to be firmly on the side of the developers.

Then it was all about "jobs", which were few and far between, as I recall, and mainly filled by immigrants.

Though in those days they only came from County Durham, not Poland.

Of course, I had a personal interest. At the time I was living in a small cottage that looked out on to Wandylaw Moor, writing the definitive comic novel about "Big Bang" in the City. (It's still waiting for a publisher, 20 years later.)

My family had rented the place as a holiday home for most of the 20th Century. My mother even claimed to have been born there. It was certainly the place where I'd spent my happiest holidays. …

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