Gazette letters: Autumn decay, TfL bus consultation and privatise National Rail

10-metre snail trails in Abney Park Cemetery. Picture: Fiona Nicholls, Greenpeace campaigner

10-metre snail trails in Abney Park Cemetery. Picture: Fiona Nicholls, Greenpeace campaigner - Credit: Archant

Decay is everywhere around us and it’s absolutely beautiful, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Leaves gradually browning from the outside in, from bottom to top before drifting down around us.

Petals all but disappeared from the last of summer’s bright flowers leaving behind intricate husks.

Fruit slowly rotting on the branch before staining the pavement beneath our feet.

Autumn is a season for coming to terms with the cycle of life – by watching just how beautiful that cycle can be.

Observe slowly – don’t rush on the way to work.

Instead, see how each day the colours around are changing and the leafless shapes of the branches above become defined against the grey sky.

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A real autumn highlight however, in spooky Halloween style, were the 10-metre-high snail-trails my friend Fiona discovered on a tree in Abney Cemetery.

The silver track leading high up into the canopy makes for an eerie sight, particularly disturbing when you imagine the slow progress of the determined snails trekking up and down the trunk.

If snails in a cemetery still don’t get you in the Halloween spirit, then I cannot recommend highly enough the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden pumpkins – head on over to see them all lit up any night in the next week.

TfL is proposing changes to many bus routes that provide vital links from Hackney or nearby, writes Antonia Gutman, Pembury Road, Hackney.

The 19, 26, 35, 48, 55, 67, 76, 149, 205, N205, 242, 341, and 476 [as reported in the Gazette more than two months ago – ed].

The most important are:

48: WILL BE CUT. They say that you can change buses at Shoreditch “only 200m walk” – but what if you have luggage or a mobility problem?

19: stops at Holborn, no further into town, let alone west London.

67: stops at Dalston, no longer to Aldgate; the 242 will be re-routed to go to Aldgate BUT the 242 will be less frequent – only every 10-12 minutes.

55: will now go to Walthamstow, not to Leyton.

See Comments must be in by November 9.

Britain is an overtaxed country and therefore taxes must not rise any further in the budget, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

In addition it is vital that the promised increase in personal allowances goes ahead as planned, because those that just earn too much not to qualify for benefits are really struggling. They lose other benefits too like free school dinners.

In addition the higher rates of stamp duty on house purchases need to be cut, which is likely to increase revenue.

Another issue that needs to be tackled is business rates, which are killing the high street.

The budget cannot come up with a long-term solution, but it can freeze rates at the existing level next year.

As business rates are paid to local authorities, they should be compensated – except for those like Hackney who refuse to tackle the problem of hospital bed blocking and start trying to introduce unnecessary controlled parking schemes.

To do this, government expenditure has to be cut, and I give below a couple of suggestions.

No deal in the EEC withdrawal negotiations is now inevitable thanks to the obstruction of the European Commission, encouraged by a former British prime minister and two former British deputy prime ministers, the Conservative rebels to the withdrawal act, and those advocating the so called people’s vote, whose purpose is to prevent Brexit.

The other is to denationalise Network Rail, which has “failed the nation” and is costly and inefficient.

There is no need for government subsidies to build the necessary new lines. The original railways were built by private enterprise and there is no reason why new ones should not be built the same way today.

Finally, I would reduce the overseas aid budget to 6.5 per cent of GDP and use half the money saved to increase the defence budget, because it is vital we are protected against terrorism, cyber attack, and countries like Iran, Russia and China.