COMMENT: Westwell of Ely by Rosemary Westwell

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

Hurrah for Richard Hobbs! At last some common sense has reached the higher echelons of our council’s domain. Richard Hobbs has demanded that one of the alarming ideas our council has had recently, is stalled.

When we hear of one of the council’s new bright ideas, we start to mutter: what on earth are they thinking? and that maybe we’ll write a letter of complaint.

We mull it over, chat about it with friends and decide to act, only to find out that the deadline for our complaints has passed. How can complaints have a deadline, anyway?

The only sad part about Richard’s intervention is that he still wants the traffic of Ely to be snarled up with loads of coaches parked further away than they are now and being forced to manoeuvre through some of our narrowest streets to get to their passengers near the cathedral.


Two very well-known providers have been named as the worst for the year. While this is no surprise, what IS surprising is that they were named as the worst providers last year too.

So what is going on? Are they NEVER going to take any notice of customers’ complaints? I used one of them once and had months of annoying correspondence and phone calls trying to settle my account and leave.

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It wasn’t until I met someone who had worked for it in the past that I knew how to word my final letter precisely and was able to put an end to the matter.

Why, oh why, when these companies provide the means by which we communicate verbally, why won’t they communicate properly themselves, actually LISTEN and act on what customers say?

Never be pregnant

OK chaps you may think this does not concern you, but it does. I overheard someone complaining that their relative who was very pregnant was made to stand all the way on a journey on a train recently.

No one would stand up for her. She even stood so close to a fit young gentleman that her large bump was right in his face, just in case he hadn’t noticed.

Nothing happened. If you have ever been pregnant you can sympathise with how uncomfortable she must have been: swollen ankles, back ache, you name it, now made worse.

Bring back the good old days I say – when gentlemen stood up for pregnant ladies, and when mothers told children to give up their seats for them too.

Even worse is the callousness of institutions which refuse to acknowledge how important it is to support their employees who become the future mothers of our next generation.

These mothers go through the pregnancy, take maternity leave to see that their babies are securely established in loving homes and then, often because of financial necessity, go back to work again.

I know of one young lady who took maternity leave, questioned the amount of money she was being paid and was told she could keep it all.

She was delighted and prepared for the new baby. However, after she had had the baby, after she had joined the stressed working-mothers’ brigade, trying to cope with work after little or no night’s sleep and juggling with baby-sitters and the like, the institution contacted her.

Out of the blue, it suddenly said that a mistake had been made: she wasn’t allowed that money after all and she had to pay it all back.

It was something in the region of £2,000. Obviously she queried this – then they admitted they had made another mistake, that it was ‘only’ in the region of £1,000!

Why don’t such institutions admit their errors and like some good companies, stand by their word and leave such poor women alone?

This is not a mistake that has been treated as something they can learn from, it is a mistake they’d rather ignore. Such institutions should be named and shamed, I say.

What do we mean by ‘ancient’?

Recently it was reported that the oldest known fossilised piece of pine tree had been found. It was 140 million years old.

That’s nothing! A friend of mine has found some fossilised tree fern in Tasmania that is over 180 million years old.

Even more intriguing is how the people of that same island rave about their ‘historic’ buildings. When you ask, these buildings are only aged about a hundred years. Many of our ancient structures date back to one thousand years and more. Some people have no idea, have they?