Sunday, 5 October 2008

Twelve apostles

Took a trip down the Great Ocean Road in Victoria to see the twelve apostles, except there are only eight left now. The view is even better than the view of the city from Occupation Lane!

Dear Danny...

Dorothy of Voce Road asks...

Dear Danny. The credit crunch is really beginning to bite. I am a pensioner and during the current cold weather snap I feel unable to turn on the heating because of rising gas bills. What can you do about it?

Well Dorothy, get your thongs and boardies on and go down the beach. Plenty of sun will help you banish those winter blues away. Don't forget your sunscreen though - splish splash splosh!

Around the blogs

Seems I've created a bit of a stir with some bloggers back home...

Nice to be so popular!

Hello possums!

Just been out trawling the bars in Sydney and look who I met - one of my all time fave Aussie heroines Dame Edna Everage. She introduced me to her son Kenny who showed me all the top nightspots. Wicked!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Watersports are fun

I couldn't be in Oz without trying my hand at that great Aussie pastime of surfing, and I don't mean the internet either. Looks like I'm a natural - can't wait to show off my skills on the Thames when I get back!

Dear Danny...

Bruce of Plum Lane asks...

Dear Danny. I am a council tenant and whilst on the toilet the other day this creature came up through the bowl and bit me on the backside. What can you do about it?

Well Bruce, relax its just a deadly poisonous funnel web spider from Down Under - probably hitched a lift with me last time I returned to the Old Country. Just ask Council Pest Control Services to deal with it: they'll send Maureen O'Mara round with a can of spray in a few months time!!! Just joking our Council services are top notch...really. Putting another shrimp on the barbie for you.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Swimming with sharks

No, not the Greenwich Labour Party, ha ha, but I took the chance to go swimming with some of the locals. Check out the picture. Although the resemblance to Tony and Cherie Blair is uncanny

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Danny in the news yet again

The Bexley Times has been interested in my latest trip to the UK

Did deputy leader ‘pay for’ absent councillor’s plane ticket home?
01 October 2008

THE deputy leader of a council paid for a young councillor to fly back from a year-long trip to Australia so he could attend a last-minute meeting, it has been claimed.

Greenwich council's Deputy Leader, Peter Brooks, allegedly paid the air fare of Shooters Hill councillor Danny Thorpe for an 'extra' meeting on September 16, thought to be scheduled to avoid a by-election.

Mr Thorpe, 26, could have been ejected from his seat for missing nearly six months of meetings, as reported in the Times.

According to a source, Mr Brooks paid for his flight back to attend the meeting and Mr Thorpe returned to Sydney less than a week later where he lives with his partner and has a full-time job.

When asked, Thamesmead Moorings councillor Mr Brooks did not deny he paid the air fare. He said: "I don't wish to get into a debate on this.

"I see it is of no importance to your readers who paid the bill as long it was not taxpayers' money, which I have said in my statement that it was not."

The initial statement he sent read: "The challenge facing all political parties in selecting young people is that their lives are still changing and developing. Accordingly the drop out rate among young people in local government is desperately high."His wish to remain a member of the council and to continue as a young person in public life was demonstrated by his commitment to return to London to ensure he could continue in this capacity when his travel opportunity concludes in the next few months. He intends to return and continue to carry on his work as a councillor. In the meantime, modern communications mean that he is in regular touch with the leader of the council and with his co-councillors on matters of concern to his constituents."

Greenwich council insisted that Mr Thorpe offered to resign before emigrating to Australia for a year, but the leader of the council, Chris Roberts, personally intervened and asked him to remain in office.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A trip to the middle of nowhere

A bit like John Fahy, it's big, old, red and miles away from civilisation - yes it's Uluru. And me. Isn't Australia fab - so many things to do and see. Hope all is well at home. Danny x

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Dear Danny...

Pete of Macoma Road asks...

Dear Danny. Have you seen the state of Plumstead Common recently? Too many people are letting their dogs do their business on the common and as I have two young children who like to play with a cricket ball up there I am worried they are going to pick up all sorts of diseases from the faeces left behind. What can you do about it?

Well Pete, I havn't seen Plumstead Common for over six months, but I have seen some wonderful cricket pitches which the Aussies keep free from dog turds. What you need to do is move away from the area and then your children will be able to play happily and maybe grow up to be the next Shane Warne.

Dear Danny...

Catherine of Timbercroft Lane asks...

Dear Danny. Now that the blck bin bags are only collected every other week a lot of people in my road are just leaving them out when they feel like it and wait for the council to pick them up. The flies that seem to be breeding in them are getting out of control. What can you do about it?

Well Catherine, might I suggest you take a leaf out of the locals book here in Australia and invest in a wide brimmed hat with corks dangling from the brim. This is not only environmentally friendly as it recycles parts of wine bottles that the council can't, but also has the added advantage of keeping flies at bay.

Monday, 29 September 2008

A day at the zoo

Took some time out from lazing around Bondi to go to the zoo today and made a cute new friend. Check it out.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Dear Danny...

Sally of Nithdale Road asks...

Dear Danny. I have problems with my neighbours who are really noisy and have parties that go on until the early hours most nights. I work shifts at the hospital and need my sleep. What can you do about it?

Well Sally, I found that moving to a country 30 times bigger than the UK with just a quarter of its population means you don't have to live as near to your neighbours and everyone can rub along together. Remember everyone needs good neighbours, just a friendly word each morning helps to make a better day. Neighbours need to get to know each other, next day is only a footstep away. With a little understanding, you can find a perfect plan. Neighbours should be there for one another. That's when good neighbours become good friends.

Dear Danny...

Jim of Donaldson Road asks...

Dear Danny. I have had a lot of problems with the new rubbish collection service. They only seem to collect the bins on random days now and the smell of uncollected kitchen waste over the summer has been awful. The one thing you used to be able to rely on in this borough was getting the bins emptied. What can you do about it?

Well Jim, the short answer is not a lot. Bin collections have been changed to suit the council not its residents. The best advice I can give is to go and dump your kitchen waste sacks in someone else's road and then the smell won't linger. Might I suggest that you go outside the Shooters Hill area for maximum effect. You can also take comfort from the fact that if you were having hot weather like here in Australia the situation would be much worse.

Ask Danny

Because the time difference means that it's difficult for residents to contact me - I am having problems getting to the Town Hall to look at my emails or pick up my post - I thought that it would be good to deal with peoples queries online. If you have a query about life in Shooters Hill - or perhaps want to find out some good bars to hang around in Sydney - let me know and I will try to answer them if I get a moment in my busy holiday schedule

Danny in the news again

Another day another bit of great media coverage. I was never this popular when I actually lived in the area!

Councillor's six-month holiday sparks outrage
Matthew Jenkin

A COUNCILLOR who has "gone swanning off to Australia" for six months has sparked outrage.

Tory councillor Spencer Drury has blasted Councillor Daniel Thorpe for not having attended a
Greenwich Council meeting since March 27, claiming he has been backpacking in Australia.

Councillors who fail to attend a council meeting for six months or more are automatically disqualified and a by-election has to be called.

But Cllr Thorpe, who represents residents in Shooters Hill ward, returned for a last-minute meeting on September 16, just in time to keep his place on the council.

The next full council meeting is not scheduled until November, sparking Cllr Drury to claim the meeting was called especially to allow the Labour councillor to attend and to avoid a by-election.

Cllr Drury said: "There's no doubt in my mind that Labour would lose a by-election if it was called and the meeting was the only thing that would keep him on the council.

"How can he represent the people who live in the ward if he is in Australia?"

He also believes Cllr Thorpe has now returned to Australia to continue his holiday.

A council spokesman denied that the meeting was called solely for Cllr Thorpe and argued that he is within his rights to take up to six months' leave.

But Maureen Burgess, of Springwater Close, Shooters Hill, is outraged by the councillor's behaviour.

The retired 63-year-old said: "I think it shows terrible disrespect from the Labour party. We voted for the councillor and now he's gone swanning off to Australia without any explanation.

"It's not democratic. I've totally lost faith in the Labour party and I'm not going to be voting for them again."

According to the council, Cllr Thorpe arranged for his fellow ward councillors to cover his surgeries and case work during his absence.

But Cllr Drury argued that people voted for three councillors in the ward and with one less at a full council meeting there will now be one less voice for the residents of Shooters Hill.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Danny in the news

It's nice to know I am never far away from the local papers ... even though I am actually 10,000 miles away. The lovely people at the Mercury can't resist me. Thank you council PR department for sticking up for me, even though you shouldn't really have been so gushing!

Cllr serves locals... from Australia
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
By Mandy Little

OUTRAGE has been expressed at a Labour councillor’s year-long backpacking trip in Australia.

Tories at Greenwich council argue that although Danny Thorpe is not pocketing his councillor’s allowance he is neglecting the people in the Shooters Hill ward he is supposed to be representing.

Their concern was heightened last week as the 26-year-old returned, just in the nick of time, to sign in at his first council meeting since March 27.

The rules governing councillors insist they must not miss more than six months of meetings.

Councillor Spencer Drury, leader of the opposition, is doubly alarmed as he believes the full council meeting was only called to allow Mr Thorpe to attend. It was not originally scheduled and there appeared to be no urgent business on it.

However a council spokeswoman vigorously defended the councillor who is now planning to go back to Australia to resume his travels.

She said: “This was a planned trip. Mr Thorpe gave up his job, his flat and his role as chairman of the children and young persons’ committee.

“He made arrangements for the other two councillors in his ward to share his workload and wrote to the finance department to cancel his allowance.”

She said Mr Thorpe had been dedicated to Greenwich council since he was 14 when he first became a member of the Greenwich Young Persons’ Council.

She said the former Thomas Tallis pupil had opted to go to Goldsmiths College in New Cross rather than away to university to continue his involvement but had now come to a time when he wanted to make a trip away.

She said: “He is still very passionate about being a councillor.”

Mr Thorpe is due back at Christmas.

She denied the full council meeting was held just to enable Mr Thorpe to sign in and pointed out a scrutiny meeting was being held anyway in the week which would have served the purpose.

Cllr Drury said: “I genuinely think that the Labour party is showing real contempt for the residents of Shooters Hill.

“They should have three councillors to represent them."

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wish you were here!

G'day from Danny down under here in Oz. I popped back to the UK for a few days to make sure I didn't lose my council seat, but am now back looking forward to a lovely summer of cricket and barbies.
Hope all is well in Shooters Hill and see you all in another six months