Monday, 29 December 2008

What's happening?

As you may gather, energies here are directed towards getting the new Ulverston Website up and running using only HTML.

The home page is done and now working on the supporting pages with a Jan 1st deadline in mind!

Nothing new to show until this is all done!

Topics for the future:
  • Education - the importance of Creativity
  • Allotments - are they being used as intended?
  • Small local community groups and residential associations. How important are they?
  • The benefits as well as disadvantages of the 'credit crunch' - the relative importance of people and 'things'.
  • Sharing ideas through this blog.
  • The ongoing saga of the County Council Highways Department. Is this a reflection of how local government is not functioning as intended?
  • The SLDC's and The Town Council's lack of concern for the real needs of young people.

Friday, 26 December 2008

New links page

This mine of information has been well received.

All suggestions for supplementing it are welcome!

Work on the HTML version of the new site is progressing well; in the mean time a Flash version of the trial home page is already in place.

This Flash version has many advantages over HTML, though it is not so Microsoft and Google friendly and will be discarded for this reason!

A great group of people

It was good to meet such a positive group of people who clearly loved dogs.
The dogs reflect this and had a great time together. The people were equally friendly and shared the food and drink they had brought.

We started putting the world to right and discussed how we could influence the negative users of the park who some times can be destructive and leave broken glass and empty cans about.

Some stayed for two hours and had come from as far as Penny Bridge.

It's wonderful to have such a space that can be used in this way thanks to those who run Ford Park. This space is becoming increasingly used by responsible people and has the makings of a great community group. Many combine a visit here with their walk up Hoad.

We left the place cleaner than we found it!

Now to edit the video - had a great suggestion for the music!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Day

Looking forward to seeing some of you tomorrow at 10:00 am at Ford Park with your dogs!

I'm bringing some hot cakes and plenty of dog-shit bags!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

For those in a mood to try some Flash

This is fun and will guide to using Flash effectively!

http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=0212320003

This e-card is doing the rounds.

It comes from Jacquie Lawson's web site.

The Ulverston Town Band

Yesterday Saturday 20th December midday-ish.

They went on from the Town Centre to several 'Homes' as far as I could tell.

A very hard day!


Friday, 19 December 2008

Links for Locals - Something to tell your friends about!

Not only have we a new web site for Ulverston,

We also have what we think is a comprehensive source of selected local information for you.

Try and find out about something and let us know whether you find it!

If you have some useful information to add then leave it as a comment either here or on this Links website designed specially for the job!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Lessons from nature?



From this video, I draw inspiration from the animal kingdom of what we western humans have for the most part have lost - the sheer joy of just living!

Thanks to the inspiration of John Fox and Sue Gill, here in Ulverston, we enjoy this mindless activity of doing 'things' together with our Lantern Procession. We all create lanterns in wonderful shapes and parade them through the streets only to then destroy them.The dancing bands practice and practice and parade.

The whole process starts again immediately one procession is over, as we start looking forward to next year. What shall we make next time?

Why do we do it?

Who cares!

We don't know - we just start looking forward to it over and over, year by year!

Another 'mindless' activity is the involvement in playing music. A tradition carried on with vigour and enthusiasm by Richard Butler at Ulverston Victoria High School

The town enjoyed listening to the Victoria High Swing and Wind Band at their recent concert and when playing at the Market Cross in freezing conditions at the end of each Dickensian Festival day.

A performance as impressive as those starlings!

Dickensian Photos - sent in by you!

This amazing photo was sent in by Andreas

Click on the above to download the picture in all its detail - 800KB

Do you have a good one that you'd like to share?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Politics - any point?

The more I become aware how both politicians and local government work, the more I can understand why people have given up.

I believe the system, while good in principle, has ceased in far too many ways to reflect the will of the people.

Most people believe the town council is ineffective, even though six of the 18 town councillors are also district councillors. Some say that even though some SLDC councillors attend a lot of meetings, they exert little influence because they are outnumbered by councillors from Kendal (actually the latter are in the minority). It doesn't help that some district councillors fail to serve on committees or don't attend regularly. Why are they there?

With the use of this new site you can check for yourself who your councillors are, get in touch with them easily and check on their SLDC attendances.

There are organisations like the Neighbourhood Forum that could be used to communicate between local politicians and the average person but some feel that it's not worth attending because they have been taken over by the county councillors.

It is easy to be sympathetic to those who have given up on the system when one attends something like the recent series of three consultations between the county council and Ulverstonians.

Here the Chair, county councillor Wendy Kolbe, made promisses that I challenge her to honour.

She repeatedly stated that we could speed the proceedings up by leaving it to her and councillor Pauline Halfpenny to sort details out with Highways Engineer Nick Raymond.

Could she then sort out the following ridiculous situation that arose during the recent public consultations about the Community Travel Plan?
In spite of the many voices calling for additional signs for the under-used Stockbridge Car Park, Raymond, by a method of marking he did not explain, managed take this almost to the bottom in the list of priorities with a score of -1.

This failing, among several others, renders the whole consulation process null and void and the outcome cannot therefore be taken seriously.

I have asked Debbie Binch several times to clarify the marking scheme that was used and to obtain the final document for me - the one that we were promised well ahead of the final meeting. So far she has not been able to get any sense out of Raymond. ( I assume that he is/should be concerned about the call by Tim Farron MP for an inquiry into the recent gritting fiasco).

If the town council accepts the result of this 'consultation', it will be yet another demonstration of its ineffectiveness.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A new Web Site for Ulverston

Ulverstonuk.co.uk has started its long journey towards the top of Google as an Ulverston web site.

Its aim is to promote Ulverston to the benefit of Ulverstonians.

It is very much in the early stages of its appearance. It will get better and better in the coming days as more work is done to improve it.

At the moment it has been done in Flash but in order to be user-friendly, it needs to be done in HTML.

This is the current task.

At least something has got started!

There will be many ways to help promote this site which could help Ulverston in the future.

If you have a web site or blog, putting a link to the Ulverston site would help it rise in the rankings!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Day Reminder

A few of us are bringing our dogs to Ford Park for a get together at 10.00am .

It's a real lift to the spirits to see them enjoying themselves so much.

They have such a good time together on Saturday mornings!

It's great to have these community facilities to enjoy and it only costs £5 to become a member of the trust who are doing so much to make this park enjoyable.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Dickensian - absolutely brilliant

Don't miss this.

A superb capture of what happened in the mist in Ulverston on Saturday Nov 29 2008 at the Dickensian Festival.

Thanks for this to ISCMULTIMEDIA whoever you are!

Much better than the Countryfile TV Program today!

Come on now, give it a high rating and add some comments.

More footage from the Dickensian Weekend

These are photos taken in 2006 with the 2008 sound of the Ulverston Victoria High Swing Band

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Graffiti spreads to the grass

More racial abuse?



Half a minute.

Isn't that writing rather neat?

Why isn't there writing on the wall as well?

Why on the grass?

That's a really new (and worrying?) trend.

So what could it be ?

Is this a clue I wonder?



So you need another!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Money for new rope!

A message in a recent communication from the Neighbourhood Forum:

"The Forum has a budget of £16,885 remaining for allocation in this financial year. Any organisation wishing to apply for funding should contact the Neighbourhood Development Team on 01539 713180 for an application form. The last meeting of this financial year will be held at Urswick Parish Rooms on Thursday 5th February 2009, starting at 7.30pm."

This 'sad' message should lead to some creative thinking!

Why 'sad' ?

To me it's a consequence of the non-functioning of the Forum.

Never heard of it?

Proves my point! They meet in the area six times a year!

A friend of mine, very involved with group activities, attended the early meetings some years ago, with great enthusiasm. However he stopped going because he concluded that the meetings had been hijacked by the County Councillors.

This has been my conclusion too, and am still waiting for a meeting to be held in Ulverston on Affordable Housing which I asked for over 18 months ago. It was this inaction that contributed to my decision to run for County Council.

After first struggling to get this on the agenda and 'going to the top' and getting nowhere, then finding how differently other Forums acrosss the country operated, I decided to get stuck in and achieve reform from within.

One of the first things I will do when I get in (!) is to strive to get more local involvement and make sure that there are lots of community groups who are all crying out for 'money for new rope'!

If you have an idea and a group of people, then I can help you 'get in shape' to qualify by February 5th! You could form a residents association for a start. The Happy Street Residents Association sounds good to me!

Getting in touch with your representatives

People are increasingly out of touch with local government and especially their MP.

This need not be so. Now with the Internet it can be extremely easy.

With this link you can be in touch within ten seconds.

All you do is click on your road on the map and all your councillors and MP come up.

Click on the email address of the one you want to reach, type your question.

Send.

Try it and find out just how helpful you local councillor/ MP is.

If they're not. Let me know and I'll be asking why and publishing your experiences here!

Councillors will enjoy having closer communication with the people on their patch.

Good idea?

The Ulverston Town Councillors could all have an email connected to their new site in the next month. They are discussing it at the moment.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Ulverston Town Centre Future

The last meeting of the series of confusing public consultations by the County Council concluded last Thursday.

I can understand why you stayed away, even though some important decisions were made!

However, everyone who attended worked extremely hard - the councillors especially - and the best of a bad job was achieved.

On Thursday, attendance dropped to the lowest of the three meetings, with 8 members of the public, 7 SLDC Councillors, most of whom were also Town Cllrs, 3 Town Councillors and the 2 County Councillors, Wendy Kolbe and Pauline Halfpenny. The presentation was by Highways officer Nick Raymond, the whole process organised by Debbie Binch.

In the words of one of the most involved people from the community who had been to every meeting:

"It was a farce"

Witnessing how the proceedings were carried out, it is easy to sympathise with the public who stayed away.

Some positive things came out nevertheless, but even at the end we came away without ever having had the details of the process explained to us, even though there had been many requests for explanations.

It is true that the process was a complicated struggle to accomodate both the wishes of the town and those of the government, however this process was never explained properly.

It did not help that the chair kept trying to move the discussion on and offered some simplistic solutions when those present insisted on understanding as much as possible and coming to knowledgable solutions. The offer of the chair to leave the details to be decided by the County Cllrs and the Highways officer was wisely rejected.

There was a dogged determination in the audience not to want to go home until the best decisions possible were achieved.

Had the County Cllrs themselves understood the process, they could have help us through it.

The impression given by Nick Raymond was that this was something to get through with the minimum of explanation and that his ideas of what we and the government wanted should go forward with the minimum fuss. He had all the power and we were only able to modify his decisions slightly because of a lack of understanding and the limited time available.

The way our proposals were scored was never explained to my satisfaction and I am even now trying to determine from the officers how they arrived at their recommendations.

As someone with reasonable intelligence who attended all three meetings, I failed to understand the criteria.

It appeared that any mere suggestion that fitted government targets was accepted, even though we had given it a zero score as no one actually recommended it. Whereas, even when an item had our full approval with a score of 4, by the time it had been interpreted by Nick Raymond as being against government guidlines, it was damned to the dustbin.

Had we understood this system of marking suggestions and been given the opportunity to contribute suggestions that would be given government brownie points, the result could have been considerably different.

For instance had it been suggested that we revert to using horses and carts, I suspect this would have been scored way above anything else. Why didn't we go for this? Then we could have diverted all the funds away from Kendal with Ulverston taking pride of place as the most environmentally friendly town in the county. Now I come to think of it, there's a fair bit of grass growing between the cobbles. Did we get full marks for this?

Thus we will continue to have an empty car Park at Stockbridge Lane with no signs to it because erecting signs was seen as promoting the use of the car rather than relieving the pain of crowded parking on our narrow streets like Burlington and Ainslie street.

Mad.

In addition, we were expected to accept the outrageous costs of County Council work without question : £2,500 for two information boards for the town centre with bus and train times!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Community Travel Plan document arrives

The Community Travel Plan document can be downloaded here for your examination prior to the meeting tomorrow at the Supper Room, Coronation Hall at 7.pm Thursday 4th.

If you have any comments, please leave them here or send them to me at gd@tygh.co.uk and I will relay them to the meeting, should you not be able to be present.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

People enjoying the Dickensian Festival



With video, many photos from 2006 and the sound of the Victoria High School's Swing Band from this week end.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Chasing the Kendal Highwaymen

The way that Ulverston is being treated smacks strongly of the days of the Highwaymen, when they held travellers at gunpoint, demanded their money and then disappeared.

Here, our rates disappear and highwaymen are glimpsed infrequently, only to disappear back to Kendal leaving 'chaos' behind.

All credit to her, Pauline Halfpenny, one of the two County Councillors for Ulverston, is pursuing this case vigorously.

She is very concerned that the work on Daltongate was not done for last Friday as promised, whilst I am shocked that what was done, was of such shoddy workmanship.



Two workmen in two vehicles - to give them their due - did come last Wednesday to move the "No Entry" sign from behind the scaffolding to a new spot where it could be seen.

What floored me was that they couldn't be bothered to clean the old paper posters off the bottom of the sign. The workmen clearly haven't got their hearts in the job.

This fits in the pattern of could-care-less maintenance for Ulverston where a crew of highwaymen spend a morning here doing some good work but missing other obvious work only a few yards away.

Thus on Brewery Street they repainted the much neglected Zebra Crossing but ignored the sign to the carpark not thirty yards away that is now practically invisible.

Having done the "No Entry" at the bottom of Soutergate in King Street they ignore the equally bad "Stop" road markings on Dalton Gate.

This inefficiency results in massive extra costs of totally unnecessary journeys, extra organisation, paperwork by the desk job planners as well as the time it costs the rest of us to chase them to do what ten/twenty years ago was done all the time without us noticing by the Bobby on the beat coordinating with the highways workers.

Why?

Because no one takes a pride in their work? In the hands of a remote penpushing organisation like Capita Symonds who can look great but produce rubbish work ?

Only asking!

Some one needs to?

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Dickensian Weekend



Looking forward to this weekend again!

New video in production!

It was great - cold and foggy - we heard the fireworks but couldn't see them!

Sunday was clear and sunny but still cold., which increased the sale of hot food and drink!

Who's performing on Saturday

Where to go for activities on Saturday

And Sunday Performances

and activies

What worldwide message about Ulverston is this!

Imagine that you are thinking of visiting Ulverston and put the town's name in Google.

What do you get at the top of the list?

Ulverston Online
Lake District, Tourism and Ulverston information from Ulverston Online - the website of the festival town.
www.ulverston.net/ - 11k - Cached - Similar pages -


Which is great until you click on this link

and get this:-



Closer examination reads:

Which is the message that's been there for approximately six months.

Should you click the link for the new Town Council's new site, you will get this!



What message are we putting across?

Ulverston:

Dull Boring

Expect slow service - a job that should take a week could take a year

Even what we do achieve could be wrong because we don't really care and check out what we do!

Do any of our politicians care?

Even when they've been contacted in different ways and repeatedly!

A Group Grumble

Young people - they're young to me! - are coming together to discuss what is said on this blog.

I think that's great. Not that the discussion is favourable - it isn't.

It does however bring them together and give them something to 'go on about'.

In Ulverston we have lots of small groups who talk together and share their views. Out of this talk, springs action - even if it's a get together at the pub!

People, acting in groups, are the most important thing this town has.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

People Getting Together



The Ulverston Christmas Art Trail took place this last weekend and is on again next weekend!

I would love to see more of this sort of thing.

Like the Lantern Festival, it is people in the town standing up and doing something themselves and getting together with other cheerful positive people.

And there are opportunities for getting involved with others.

At the pottery venue in Union Lane there was the opportunity to see a potter at work, to have a go yourself and then to join in with the other ten people already using the workshop facilities that are provided free - you pay for what you make! The workshop is even open one morning, one afternoon and one evening , every week!

Tina Balmer's house in Benson St. has such a wealth of work from numerous artists and craftsmen! An amazing collection.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Disappointing Turnout

Only 30 people turned out for the Ulverston Town Centre consultation with the County Highways Authority. Sixteen of those were politicians who in some groups dominated the result. Hardly a consultation with the people.

The results of that consultation will be circulated before the next meeting on December 4th and published here, so that you can attend if you see something you want to share your views on!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A lethal combination for Dickensian Weekend

With the approach of the festival and thousands of visitors coming to the town next weekend, we have the potential for a serious accident, right in the town centre.

The combination of poor road markings, signs hidden by scaffolding and masses of people - we have a problem.

The County Highways Department were clearly warned ten days ago and have still done nothing. They need to act now.

As has been reported below, I visited the County Hall on Tuesday, 11th November, as any member of the public can, to present a petition from the people of Ulverston to the County Councillors. The petition concerned the state of road markings in the Town, some of which remain extremely faint.

At the time the petition was being taken there were a lot of examples of faint markings. Now there are fewer.

Most of those signing the petition could see the situation below:



Since then , scaffolding has been erected as shown below. This makes the situation ten times worse, especially with the approach of many people without local knowledge.



The scaffolding hides the no-entry signs.

The faint markings, the scaffolding and milling crowds form a lethal combination for road users that are not local.

Some have already been observed to turn left at this junction, meeting traffic head on. This is an accident waiting to happen.

Based on my experience of talking to the County Councillors about the cobbles the previous time, I decided to keep my address very simple.

Previously when I provided them with detailed information, they failed to listen so that they totally missed the point. Communicating with them seems to be very difficult: they are anxious to get on with the business of the day and the only Ulverston County Councillor there at this time, Wendy Kolbe, remained silent.

This time, I decided to use just one example to illustrate my argument - they chose to take it that this was the only thing I was reporting. We are not dealing with people with well-developed listening skills.

I pointed out how dangerous the situation is. Locals know that the only way to tell whether traffic is approaching is to look at the reflection in the windows of the chemist opposite. Pity the holiday maker that has been good enough to use the Stockbridge Lane Car Park and is now faced with the above situation.

I imagined that this illustration would make an impact.

It did.

The Chair asked me whether I had reported this situation.

I was staggered.

Surely the County Engineer was aware of the problem of the scaffolding, and hadn't Wendy Kolbe stated previously that she was aware of the problems with road markings and the matter was 'in hand'?

As reported below, to my surprise, Wendy Kolbe supported the claim that I was wasting the council's time because I had not reported the situation.

Does the county depend on local people to report all dangerous situations that are of their own making?

Did they not give permission for the scaffolding to be erected?

Having been painting road markings not fifty yards away at Mill St with a County Councillor on their tail, only a fortnight before , where they ignorant of the situation above?

Why did Pauline Halfpenny not strongly support the need for work immediately ?

Instead she talked in quiet tones about the problem with the cycle sign that instructs cyclists to go against the direction of traffic.

Sadly, our Councillors won't stand up and state loud and clear that Ulverston demands better service.

At home a report with photograph was immediately sent about the above problem and the following reply received on November 12th:

Thank you for reporting the defect. This has been logged on our system
and assigned to the appropriate office for action. In any future
correspondence please quote reference number 237611

Cumbria Highways Hotline

That was over a week ago.

The Highways Department claim in their official reply to me, read at the meeting in Kendal:

Inspections over the last 6 months have identified worn road markings in a number of locations . . . . within the town centre area. Orders for these were placed in August and the works have either been finished or are pending completion.

Whilst is (sic) accepted that some road markings in Ulverston will have faded to a greater or lesser degree, none are considered unsafe.

For the full text click here.

To this I reply: can anyone read any of the road markings on Brewery Street indicating that they must turn left into the car park.

If they claim that this situation is 'safe', then why were motorists presented with unnecessary road signs to read in the first place? Their attention is already needed for the pedestrian crossing coming up.

The problem is that officers are out of touch with what goes on here and the situation needs to change.

We need to keep peppering them with emails reporting work what needs doing, and it's easy to do.

Send an email to contact@cumbriahighways.co.uk reporting the fault , please send me a copy and if the fault is serious and threatens safety, to our two councillors (wendy.kolbe@cumbriacc.gov.uk, pauline.halfpenny@cumbriacc.gov.uk ).

You should then receive a reference number as above.

I sent a photo to illustrate the problem. If you can't do this easily, let me know and I'll go out, take photo and report it myself.

We've got to keep them on their toes. It's not difficult and gradually Kendal will realise that Ulverstonians mean business.

In this particular case action to take place during the next week.

Does all this make sense to anyone other than me?

What is the Geoff Dellow team up to ?

Geoff is making contact with the Croftlands community to find out what improvements they would like particularly in connection with the playing field on Central Drive. If you live there, he would love to hear from you. Initiating personal contact is more difficult now that the evenings are dark and weekends tied up with Arts Trail.

The council will be offering a Multiple Use Games Area subject to a consultation in the New Year.
Basically a ball games area.

Having visited all of the residents around the field and talked to many, it is apparent that all people feel that there are not enough high-quality facilities for the young people here, or even in the town.

The survey is looking for suggestions of anything that could be added to the area - both outside and new activities in the Community Hall.

It is important to co-ordinate these ideas in order to present them to the council. If we let them know clearly what we want, we have a good chance of getting it. There is money from a wide range of sources that can be accessed by a determined politician.

Meanwhile we are:

Concluding our involvement with the Ulverston Town Centre Consultation which has its final meeting on December 4th - your involvement needed!

Working on a links page providing useful information.

Asking questions about the Ulverston web sites with a view to getting a really good one to represent the town.

Keeping the Highways Authority on their toes regarding maintenance in the town.

Going back to the County Hall regarding the lack of maintenance of Dragley Beck and presenting your petition.

Gathering information on the highly complex issue of car parking in the town which leaves Stockbridge Lane Car Park empty and streets like Burlington, Lightburn and others choc-a-block. Sad to find that according to the Town Clerk, there isn't a Town Council Working Party on this issue.

Continuing our support of the other areas of the town and the door -to-door visits throughout the town.

Encouraging craft activities in the town - Ulverston Art Trail this weekend - anyone into pottery?

In the long term:

Geoff is particularly keen to see Affordable Houses available (campaigning regularly on this issue) and good quality houses available at reasonable rents. Now may be the time to achieve something .

Trying to be one step ahead rather than reacting to issues when it can be too late; this is why The Roxy, Stone Cross, Dragley Beck, facillities for young people and stimulating/supporting community activities are important,

During all this remaining reasonably sane !

Blog visitors going up steadily!


The number of uniquely different visitors looking at this site in a month has gone up again.

This time from 225 to 243. What is even more impressive is that the number returning repeatedly has increased from 135 to 170.

How do we know?

Because every time you look at a page on the internet a record of this is made on that site.

No, we don't know who you are, but we know you a lot about what you do!

This can be important to commercial sites who are selling stuff. They immediately know which products are attracting interests and can respond quickly to satisfy demand!

If you want to know more send me an email at gd at tygh.co.uk

As a result of the increased visitors, you will notice that the number of people leaving comments are going up, which is good for me as I can keep in closer touch with the man-in-the-street. Here you can have your say, and others can comment as well.

The more comments the better! - and this can be done anonymously!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Skate Boarding at Lightburn Park

People are naturally apprehensive about the unknown.

However this is something to be welcomed by the residents nearby.

How do I know?

Because the car park at the 'New' Health Centre in Stanley Street is about 20 yards from my front door. This is where skateboarders used to come and still do occasionally. I make them most welcome as they are the kind of kids that are great to have around.

They demonstrate a lot of desirable characteristics:

They practice their tricks over and over and over again. This determination and tenacity is a highly desirable characteristic and invariably rubs off into other walks of life.

They are kids that take risks and learn to judge what they can and cannot attempt. Stretching oneself to ones limit is character-building of the highest order.

This is not to say that they do not need some guidance from time to time. Like many people they need reminding to be considerate of other people and the things they value.

Having had to point some things out about things like leaving props about and damaging trees, I have always found them responsive.

This type of person can never be classed in the same group as the layabouts that have nothing to do other than make fun of others and be insolent.

In fact the skateboarders, when in the presence of troublemakers, could inspire the latter to take up an alternative activity that could have a positive influence on them. It certainly sets an adventurous challenge for those looking for thrills and spills.

A worthwhile alternative to the 'boy-racer' activities of spoilt kids in their parent's cars.

The town councillors haven't taken on board the message that the more skateboarding that takes place in the town, the less vandalism will exist.

The discipline of skateboarding and breaking up park benches and road signs just don't go together.

Responsible people need to take this on board. You would probably have been one of them when young if you are now an adventurous businessman or successful job-juggling housewife/mother/lawyer/teacher!

Community - at the Theatre

Continuing on the theme of Recession and Community, started off By Tony Croskery :


Ulverston Outsiders are one of the most successful theatre groups in the area and have always had some outstanding talent, much of it subsequently shining on the national - and some on the international - stage.

At this very moment there is a superb production taking place. I understand that a very creative approach has been taken to the set, with two rooms shown at the same time - upstairs on the stage and downstairs in front of your very noses on the Hall floor.

Seats are on a first come first served basis. I'm looking forward to seeing the production which by Friday will be well honed and running without the slightest blip.

I remember in an early night of Fiddler on the Roof (not the Outsiders but the same people), Tony Smith, standing on a chair, centre stage, in a drinking song, fell off, and dealt with it so convincingly that this event was permanently introduced into the script. More impressively yet he did it in subsequent evenings with such skill that you were convinced that this was really a mistake.

As I have said, we have some rare talent in our midst. Thankfully they keep their day-job in Ulverston and don't escape to the grime of London and Beyond.

For newspaper reports from journalists before the event see Gazette and Mail. Tonight, Wednesday, there is an extensive report with many positive comments from the audience on page 6 of the Evening Mail.

Seats available till the end of the week.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

This next Tuesday is important to you.

One of our most precious assets in the Town - Market Street - will be discussed next Tuesday, when the Highways Engineer returns to consult us over future plans for the town.

This meeting at the Neville Street Methodist Church Rooms in Hartley street at 7 pm Tuesday 18th is the most important of the series of three meetings being held here to formulate our Community Travel Plan for the Town Centre.

Other issues that will be discussed are: ease of movement for pedestrians and those with wheelchairs and prams, the parking problems in the town which affect both residents and shopkeepers, possible alterations to the one way system, bus routes through narrow streets, cyclist parking facilities, CCTV,... and many others.



Why is Market street so important:

It is where the people of the town often meet each other.

Its unique nature attracts people to spend in the town and keep quality shops thriving.

People may not realise it, but it is this street and the surrounding shops that are a magnet to both tourists and visitors from neighbouring towns. Approximately 20% of those on the street are not local, even now in November. When questioned, these are often people who return year after year to enjoy our streets and friendly environment. We take pride this area and want it maintained to the highest standard and made as people-friendly as possible. The intrusion of cars needs to be kept to the minimum.

This Saturday, I spoke to: a visitor from Australia who was staying in Windermere, someone researching the Kennedys - the Iron Toffs of the turn of the last century, regular visitors from Warrington who hated their pedestrianised area and loved ours, some people coming from Kendal and Barrow. With a bit of sun the town was buzzing. With the rain the previous Saturday, the percentage of visitors was higher - they had made an advance commitment to come here whatever the weather.

So, come and assert yourselves at this next meeting, when an attempt will be made to prioritise our wishes for the town.

Don't be one of those that complains at decisions made without you, by others who didn't reflect your views.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Dogs - role models for humans!

Following on from the articles on community below - here's something that is already happening spontaneously :

The neighbourhood dogs have been showing us how to enjoy life, socialise, have disagreements, tease and generally . . . live.

People are meeting up with others to benefit from 'Dog Classes' in Ford Park Central Ulverston - classes where dogs teach us a thing or two!

This has been the chance meeting of six or more dogs in the park over the last few Saturday mornings at around 9.30pm

See the video on Youtube which illustrates how much the dogs enjoyed themselves.



The dogs clearly loved it and their owners had a good chat!

It appears that dogs have been given a negative press with the Ford Park management though from my experience the dog owners featured in this video have left the Park better than when they found it!

No dog fouling is tolerated and litter and stones , left there by others, are often cleared away.

I would hope that Ford Park will come up with a scheme by which those enjoying the facilities that are there, can contribute towards the £12 per day cost of keeping the grass cut. Funding for this community land and buildings could well dry up some time in the future and it would be good for it to be able to stay independent of SLDC and local government.

Recession - a good thing?

There's always two ways of looking at what happens!

I met up with an old friend, Tony Crokery, one of identical twins, yesterday.

He made a very good point that the present financial crisis, though painful, would lead some of us to question our reliance on things, rather than people.

Areas of Ulverston where there are still strong community links - I'm thinking of one cul-de-sac in particular - will survive and support each other even more.

Those with high walls and fences will have the occasional chat as they peer through the slot of the chained door - I'm thinking of another cul-de-sac!

Perhaps the Art Trail that takes place in a week's time will be a step in the right direction!

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Guardian Newspaper plan to extend their online paper North

The Evening Mail has such an appalling journalistic approach that most Ulverstonians deplore it, even though they still read it.

We have no alternative!

The Westmorland Gazette, though a great improvement, has scant news, though its Forum functions at a very mundane level.

In the future we may have an alternative!

The Guardian, formerly the Manchester Guardian, is planning to open an online paper in the north and this could ultimately be good for communication up here.

Ulverston could benefit!

The link given me the Guardian appears to be faulty so I've removed it!

Pity!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Community Centres I have enjoyed

Two stand out for me.

The first was one of the middle floors at the Baltic. In one part, workshops were run for kids to go and do something together that was really creative, in another, families could 'chill out' with their kids.

We do something similar when people of all ages go to the Lantern house and build Lanterns as has been featured on my web site. This is a great time of the year - sadly we have to wait for 12 months before the next one. Thanks John Fox and Sue Gill for getting us going and showing how to enjoy working together! Thanks too to those who keep the show on the road and welcome to UCAN who organise the Lantern Procession Finale (Great name).

At the Baltic the workshops are every Saturday. We could do this here - there are plenty of people who have skills and spare time. We do something similar at our house where people of all ages, from one to seventy five, come together to do pottery three times a week. See the U3A web site - though this was when we had no younger people - now it's open to all! ( to see the pottery go to groups - top right then pottery on the left.)

In the other part of the middle floor of the Baltic, they had a place with comfy settees and toys, where people could come and relax and do what they wanted; read; watch their kids play; play with their kids ; become kids themsleves while their more adult children showed them how to behave with a book. What an experience! Something no longer to be found (easily) on their web site.

The second experience that stands out was sitting in a café in a suburb of Paris where people of all backgrounds sat next to each other, talking, eating or just watching. Over the road young children played in their playground. Next to them a musical group played while 20 - 80 year-olds danced in 'the square', elsewhere older people played boules, whilst others sat at tables in a park playing chess or cards. There even was a solid table tennis table.

I have a vision for Ulverston to have a similar place where The Rosegarden used to be - opposite the library. Here the tea bar for the bus station would upgrade to good café (the licencees are keen) which would look towards the 'garden' - skateboarders would enjoy an area to the left , away from the road, old folks would sit and watch and, where necessary, scold the youngsters and adults who dropped litter and failed to pick up after their dogs.

All a dream?

Nothing wrong with that, is there?

It's something along the lines of what I was part of in the Town Mill Project of 1976 (which started off the Cinema and the Ulverston Gramophone clubs which still survive) . Then I made another attempt again in 1986 with insufficient cash buying what was Stables' Carpet shop, converting it into the building that is now Oxfam. My pitch pine and design survive!

I failed but the dream is still there.

Always ready to have a go!

The Future of the Roxy Building

Someone suggested that this building could form the basis for an Arts /Community Centre for the town:

A place for Ulverston Community to come together : coffee lounge, art space, music space, young people's space, a place for societies to have a base, cinema (of course). Kendal have a societies building - Stricklandgate House - why not go one better?

Come on, let's have some enthusiastic comments.

Or do we want a return to commercialism in the worst possible taste?

Land at Stone Cross could become available

With the financial problems that have hit developers like Persimmons, we can expect this land to become available in the future.

It could be the basis of an excellent housing project controlled by the town.

A proposal for the use of Stone Cross was made to the SLDC Core Strategy consultation earlier this year. Here the possible use of the site is discussed in a little detail and it is suggested that SLDC assist the Town to raise funds for this project.

There are numerous problems to be solved but is there anyone who would like to give the matter some thought in advance? This could be an opportunity not to be missed. Contact me if interested.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Problems with Local Government


The visit to Kendal to complain about our road markings was a big success in ways that may not be too obvious at first glance!

But the councillors that I addressed yesterday are clearly in thrall to their officers.

Even the Ulverston councillors failed to back the two hundred people who signed their petition. Wendy Kolbe felt the submission was irresponsible and supported her colleague, David Clarke, Labour, Kendal Strickland Fell, who made the accusation that that the petitioners were wasting the County's time.

No wonder Ulverston gets a rough deal.

The chief local Highways Engineer, Nick Raymond, who was at the Ulverston Town Centre meeting, was a different person yesterday - confidently strutting about, signaling with flick of the wrist for underlings to talk to him out of the Council Chamber. Mr Raymond was not the hesitant person who addressed the Ulverston people last Thursday. People who potentially could put him on the spot but chose not to.

This is a very worrying aspect of local politics and has been reported on several occasions:

By those involved with the fight to stop Dale Street School closing, which failed.

By Geoff Thompson over the Academy battle going on in Barrow.

When the Hospital facilities in Kendal were closed.

The officials behind the scenes dictate what should happen and the councillors follow along blindly as in 'Yes, Minister'.

The County Hall echoed the same attitudes present in Ulverston Council chamber. This is our club for important people and the public are a bloody nuisance!

I concede that my opening remarks to the Councillors at County Hall in Kendal can't have made them feel friendly.

No favours were going to be given at this visit. The aim was some straight talking.

I suggested that I had failed at my last visit regarding the cobbles because no one had understood my main points, I had buried them in too much information: my question was too all encompassing. The result was that no one was bothered that the Highways Department avoided answering my question (which was " Why did the county not monitor the work of contractors when working on our cobbles).This time I would keep it simple! Too simple as it happens!

I argued that the County Highways Department had been inefficient, ineffective and inactive.

In the long term their failure to inspect and call the contractors to task regarding their work on the cobbles would cost the tax payer money. The County taxpayers will end up having to pay for the repairs that should have been by contractors. Fortunately we have been able to persuade United Utilities to return even though they are not legally liable to do so.

More to follow

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Message sent to our two County Councillors

These are Pauline Halfpenny and Wendy Kolbe.

They will both be at the Meeting of County Councillors in Kendal, where I will be speaking later today at 10.30 am.

It will be interesting to see if they speak up on behalf of the 200 hundred Ulverstonians that signed the petition!

The following email was sent to them some days ago:

"Below is the question that I have submitted to the Committee:

* * * * * * *
My Question to the County Council Committee meeting which will accompany the petition is the following:

As a substantial number of the road markings in Ulverston still remain extremely faint and in some cases illegible and

As it is so important to Ulverston people to get these markings repainted in the next month, and the County is unable to do the work, is there any alternative to Ulverstonians doing the painting themselves?


The wording of the petition is:

Repainting the Road Markings in Ulverston

The situation has got so bad that over 50% of the white markings in the town including Halt, Roundabout and in particular the Zebra Crossing at the top of Brewery Street are extremely faint. We request that the County deal with this problem within the next few weeks as it can be quite dangerous in some cases.

* * * * * * *

I realise that you will and are both concerned about this matter.

I shall focus on three aspects of this situation:

First - the safety aspect which I know is of concern to the police even though they cannot officially comment (but I am told, do, unofficially)

Two - the effect it has on the people in the town who notice, because they feel no one is able to get things done. This leads to a feeling of frustration, depression and feeling that 'nobody cares' - even if they do. Many may not even notice but register subconsciously that the town is drab. When you walk down the newly surfaced and marked out New Market Street for example, you almost feel your shoulders go back as you start to walk tall after years of putting up with a mess

Three - the effect on tourists visiting the town. I hadn't realised just how many of these there are and that many come once a year at least sometimes more. People I have spoken to agree that there is a decline in the town which cannot be good for business.

I believe that something dramatic needs to be done and have come to realise that it would take a lot less energy and would be far more satisfying to do it ourselves.

We could have the satisfaction that we had made Ulverston look good ourselves if we did it.

Having been in touch with many other parish and town councils it is clear others feel the same though it is said that many are too 'scared' to complain.

I trust that some of this makes sense to you.

I shall be very interested to find out your reactions and whether you feel strongly enough to speak out, supporting me in some way.

Geoff Dellow"

Monday, 10 November 2008

Education is one of my main interests

I'm very keen on promoting creativity of all kinds.

This includes problem solving and teaching students to think for themselves.

The most successful learning occurs when they are enjoying themselves and a skillful teacher can make a subject very interesting so that it is enjoyed!

Here is some work of mine on Youtube



With a template, children from year 3 to year 11 could enjoy doing this.

This is one that I have designed that can be used with any music - getting the rhythm right is the challenge for the older students!

This is another role I have - training teachers all over the world to use animation of all kinds in their lessons! Hence my work with the students from Victoria High highlighted on my other web site.

Here's a version with a bit more skill and imagination required; for the more adventurous student!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Sad confronation over MUGA at Honeypot

A thoughtful but negative reaction to the idea of installing a MUGA by a group of, I believe thirty people, was presented in the form of a petition to Simon Hughes, the SLDC housing manager, at the meeting last Thursday at Dale Street School.

The views of this group had clearly not been taken on board by the Honeypot Community Group group led by Dawn Wright who has already been referred to before.

The group of objectors was led by a very rational and polite Malcolm Howitt of Lund Terrace. Some good points were raised even though this group could be seen as a NIMBY* group, which lead to some unpleasant emotional exchanges between a few members of the two groups.

The arguments came from a group of people that included some with first-hand experience of the grass site that had been chosen for the MUGA - next to Rascals. It was felt that the poor visibility to the surrounding area would lead to undesirable groups of teenagers congregating in a similar way as had already been observed in the past by people living in houses that overlooked the site.

It was felt that this behaviour would be aggravated by the size of the MUGA facility, to the extent of attracting even greater numbers of troublemakers because of the sophistication of the equipment.

*NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard

Something new - Ulverston links

We're working on a Links Page to enable people to find what they are looking for!

GoUlverston is a great place to start and we hope not to reinvent the wheel.

Here's a taste of something that we found right in our midst :

Alternative Health

Beautifully presented under the headings:

Healthy Food Preparation
Understanding Your Foods
Combating Major Illness
Raising Healthy Children
Herb Walks

May not be your thing, but well worth thinking about.

Thank you Sarah Atkinson for taking the trouble. . .

Who's who on Obama's new team


There can be no doubt that what happens in the States will have repercussions in Ulverston.

So let's learn a little about the next USA president's transitional team.

I have certainly been given a lift by his election, even though the nagging feeling remains that really I am kidding myself if I believe things will now magically improve! A lot of patience will be required to repair the damage caused by Government neglect, both in the States and here in this country.

The following headline reinforces this view:

New figures indicate Obama faces deepening recession

People I admire

Martin Brice has crossed my path like a breath of fresh air.

Learn more about him from this interview.

Long live the opportunities for us to take risks and stretch ourselves!

He talks of wanting to come to the Lake District, he's welcome to Ulverston anytime - and that includes a roof over his (and his wife's) head - welcome to sunny Ulverston - well much of the time! And when it rains - it has a delicious taste - and the smells are exquisite.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Off to talk to the County Councillors at Kendal again!

Once again, I shall be presenting a petition from the people of Ulverston to the Local Committee, that meets in the County Hall, Kendal.

Last time it was about the lack of supervision of the Contractors that dug up our cobbles in Market Street and that they were not made to return to reinstate the road surface as they are legally required to do.

That time the Highways Department ran circles round the Councillors in what appeared to be an episode of "Yes, Minister" so that they hadn't a clue that in fact they had been hoodwinked with the answer that "Sorry we don't have enough money to do the work" which didn't even attempt to answer the original question.

Fortunately, our independent approach to United Utilities through one of their employees received a very positive response:

United Utilities reported that :

1. they had never been approached by the County Highways Department

2. in spite of it being beyond the two year limit for their legal liability, they would return and repair the surface of all their holes - approximately ten - that ran the full length of Market Street. They were concerned that Ulverstonians were unhappy with their workmanship.

Message received : It does in fact pay to kick up a fuss!

This time I have tried to keep my question simple (though the grammar could be improved!):

As a substantial number of the road markings in Ulverston still remain extremely faint and in some cases illegible and,

If it is so important to Ulverston people to get these markings repainted in the next month, and the County is unable to do the work, is there any alternative to Ulverstonians doing the painting themselves?

The wording of the petition is:

Repainting the Road Markings in Ulverston

The situation has got so bad that over 50% of the white markings in the town including Halt, Roundabout and in particular the Zebra Crossing at the top of Brewery Street are extremely faint. We request that the County deal with this problem within the next few weeks as it can be quite dangerous in some cases.

The work specified above has in fact since been done, however there remain some glaring examples of work that has been ignored!

It will be fascinating to hear the response!

First meeting with the County Highways' Engineer

At a guess about thirty people were present. Nick Raymond explained the process followed by a short discussion.

One of the first matters raised by a member of the public - not me! - was that of street markings and supervision of contractors working in our streets: the response was hypocritical in my opinion in that Mr Raymond used the expression that he agreed " a hundred percent" but regretted that considerations of maintenance were outside the remit of this consultation.

There was an abundance of comments posted against the maps of the Town Centre under different headings. These maps showed no boundary and covered a wide area stretching well above the Gill and down to the expanding Sir John Barrow School.

These post-it comments are now being typed up and organised ready for the next meeting on Tuesday November 18th at the Methodist Hall, when we will be asked to assign priority to what we feel should be done first.

If you would still like to add an item for consideration: Debbie Binch said that you may be able to sneak this in by emailing her at debbie.binch@cumbriacc.gov.uk, even though the deadline has officially passed! Worth a try.

Correspondence with local Councillors

Every few months issues arise that concern Ulverston people as a whole.

The consultation over the Ulverston Town Centre Plan was one of these and in particular the lack of action of the County Highways Department in passing on complaints regarding workmanship on the town cobbles to the contractors for United Utilities.

In these cases I forward information to all the local councillors so that they are informed.

In one case I received the following response:

Geoff – with respect – I have previously indicated that I DO NOT WANT TO RECEIVE ANY FURTHER EMAILS FROM YOU – please remove me from your email list – unless you wish to contact me as your ward councillor – WHICH I AM NOT.
Kind regards,
Cllr. Brian Wilkinson

To which I responded as follows:

Cllr Brian Wilkinson,

Having stopped to consider your wishes, please consider the following:

All correspondence of a personal nature is already being avoided.

Correspondence that reflects the wishes and interests of people in East County Ward to their potential Councillor will continue.

As you probably know visits are being made door-to-door in this area and people are very keen to have their local councillors considering their views. The fact that they may not convey these to councillors directly appears to come from their lack of belief that they will be heard. They appear to have a wish to find someone who will act on their behalf.

If you do not wish to join with me or even receive my correspondence over certain issues, this is clearly your choice. It may however reinforce the belief held by the above people.

I suggest that you take whatever measures you feel appropriate to deal with my incoming mail.

You will not however be able to state that you were not made aware of the issues raised.

On the other hand, should you wish co-operation on any issue, please free to contact me and I will consider this.

Dr Geoff Dellow
Prospective County Councillor

The reply read:

You ignorant self centered sod.
I insist that you take me off your email circulation.
Emails are only legal if they are requested or subscribed to.
I suggest that you reconsider your response to me requesting that you do not copy me in to any more of your email trash.
I am only responsible to the people who elected me – ie the residents of Ulverston South Ward.
Now – sod off into the stratosphere.
Brian Wilkinson

Councillor Wilkinson's email address is freely available on the SLDC web site

Friday, 31 October 2008

The County Council comes to Town

This is a chance to improve Ulverston's Town Centre.

Nick Raymond the County Engineer dares to come to us to find out what we want.

He has an abysmal track record in some respects. It is important for us to tell him clearly our views.

I have suggested several areas that could be improved in the town in the leaflet that has been widely distributed through half of Ulverston - East Ward.

Here is a copy.

First we need the appearance of the town centre to reflect our pride in our town.

Second we would greatly benefit from the new government scheme - "Shared Space" which would enable people and vehicles to mix freely and safely through the Centre - Market Street and Upper Brook Street.

Here is a recent shared space working in Brighton.

We expect our roads to look smart and attractive. Mr Raymond does very very little to help.

In addition to the poor state of our road markings, the most glaring example of his inactivity is regarding our cobbles.

Contractors were allowed to dig up holes in Market Street and not replace the cobbles correctly.

He did not supervise the work. United Utilities through their contractor Balfour Beatty did an appalling job. When we complained to him, no improvements took place even though the contractors were legally liable to repair faulty workmanship.

When I contacted United Utilities through one of their employees they reported that, yes, the work was bad and they would return to repair all the cobbles they were responsible for even though it was beyond the period where they were legally liable.

They stated that they had received no complaints from Nick Raymond about their work despite our complaints to him.

He clearly is not doing his job.

Furthermore we need street furniture : benches, lamps and signs, as suggested by Councillor Colin Williams recently. There is a place for sculpture and hanging baskets in areas such as Lower Brook Street, Potter's Yard and Bolton's Place with its Mural.

Shared Space is a concept that restricts the speed of vehicles so that pedestrians can take full advantage of the whole street. Drivers can access the buildings, but the street is not generally used as a thoroughfare. Vehicle speeds are kept to about 10mph, giving time for people to politely allow them access.

When Nick Raymond comes to Ulverston this next Thursday Evening at 7 pm in Glaxo Club to consult us about our town centre, we need to be very assertive and make sure he listens to us clearly. He has a tendency to want to tell us what we can and cannot have. He is not here to tell but to listen.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Stan Laurel and the County Square

I have major concerns about this project, however as it has gone through its consultation process and I did not participate (being immersed in teaching IT worldwide), now is not the time to gripe.

I accept the idea of having a statue of Stan, but am concerned that it should not be installed in such a way that it remains there more than say ten years.

The possibility of changing the emphasis in future needs to be thought about now.

Replacement of the statue with something else would appear to be fairly straight forward. The thing that concerns me are the rays in the pavement that will radiate out from the statue. They will have catchy phrases engraved in their surface which will be difficult to change, so they need redesigning now, before they have been made and installed.

Why would we want to change?

1. Stan does not represent the vitality of Ulverston, something we are proud of - he never lived here.

2. We have been sold the myth that coach loads of tourists will come to visit. What will we feel when this doesn't happen? If they come, will they visit the real town and spend in our shops.We should concentrate more on our regular visitors, who are concerned about the run-down state of the town centre.

3. Stan may be popular and known to the age group making the decisions but how about the young people that are the visitors of the future?

We have other things that have become synonymous with young Ulverston :

The Lantern Parade and the Flag Fortnight - thanks to Welfare State International - the activities of UCAN who took over the running of the finale of the procession at Ford Park and have added spice to life in our town.
The Mural in Bolton's Place, done by the children of the town.
The many festivals of all kinds that are driven by many local people.

We have several living individuals :
Chris Brammall, nationally acclaimed sculptor in steel, Keith Tyson,Turner Prize winning artist, Laura Barnett, LMB Design at The Bleach House Gallery, spring to mind,

The people behind our many varied shops - those that ran fashion week, Smith and Harrisons ...
The people behind our industries - Oxley.

Let's celebrate our vibrant town - not our fictitious past!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Where did the money end up?

The only place that I can think of is with some exceedingly rich people who have stashed gold bars under their beds.

What do you make of this riddle?

The bankers - maybe to some extent.

The people that sold houses but didn't sell them?

Why doesn't anyone talk about this?

Suspicious?

I am.

Why shouldn't we be allowed to take risks?

In the wake of criticism of the fell running event over the week end.

Why Not?

"We know what's best for the area"

Dawn Wright is understandably upset that someone is intruding onto her patch.

As Chairwoman of the Honeypot Community Group, she chose to write to the Evening Mail yesterday.

I choose to give this paper a wide berth!

She implied that I was "telling the locals what they want" and spreading confusing and negative information.

A few points.

She was the first to receive my leaflet, the night before they were delivered to selected houses - ones that I had visited before and where there was evidence of children in the house.

The information in the leaflet was based on many discussions that I had had with some fifteen to twenty parents in the area . It reflected what the locals appeared to be asking for. There is no doubt that skateboarding rates high on the agenda of many boys - I'm not saying that it rates higher or less than ball sports.

I got it wrong: I was shocked to find that the £50,000 on offer came with strings attached - according to Simon Hughes of SLDC - it had to be spent on a MUGA. How this happened in the first place is of concern to me and I hope to discover this eventually.

When Simon Hughes talks about a 'consultation' about the MUGA, I would have thought the phrase 'provide information' would be more appropriate.

I have already told Dawn Wright that I am eager to learn of her group's plans for the area and will continue to talk with all those interested as I make my way slowly door-to-door through the area!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Monitoring Dragley Beck in Heavy Rain

The rulers at Fitz Bridge: left at 10:30 Saturday night 25 Oct , right at 6:30 Sunday morning 26th Oct.

Each number represents 10 cm - about four inches.

The first was while rain continued to fall after about nine hours. The second was after the rain had stopped for about three hours.

At the time of the first measure, Low Mill Bridge was coping well:
and there was no flooding over the rope walk.

Now compare this to when the Beck broke its banks on September 5th
The video shows a reading of just below 6.

Conclusion: when the Beck breakes over the Rope Walk and heads across the fields towards South Ulverston, the Beck reads near 6 at Fitz Bridge.

You might have expected trouble yesterday by the quantity of rain in the day, but this is not the important factor. As long as it rains steadily at a moderate rate , the Beck can carry the water away fast enough, but if the rain falls fast when the ground is already saturated, then expect trouble.

Anyone passing and seeing a reading over 5.5 please give me a call on 480347 - I'll be down to look at the river - over to you!

Between us we'll get to understand the problem as well as the Environment Agency ! ! ?

Now for something more cheerful - have a look at the cavorting dogs at Ford Park on my "Seen in Ulverston" Blog - link on right, or if you're feeling lazy here . . . . .

whilst I get on with printing , cutting and folding 1,000 leaflets ready for tomorrow's delivery to your door mat.
How do I get them through your knuckle-proof letter boxes without screwing them up ? - I've made myself a cunning contraption - some people have seen something shoot across the hall at an alarming rate. Keep your cats in the back room for safety - don't want them hit between the eyes by flying 'Getting things done' messages, do we?

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Sex education for children

Someone in the Evening Mail put my view across very well.

We need to support the curiosity of children.

I remember my time in the air raid shelter at the bottom of someone's garden at the age of perhaps four or five with possibly three other children of similar age. For a short time we loved playing doctors, which consisted of one lying in the middle and the others 'operating'. It obviously made a big impression as we had one young girl who was very keen to show us her genitals - possibly to get a view of ours.

I can remember no more than great interest that she was different to me. There were no unpleasant vibes that I can remember - we were just innocently curious. The question "Why are we different?" didn't come up - we just were.

I believe this is where education goes wrong in our culture. We feel the need to convey facts rather than to satisfy curiosity.

A good teacher who is a good listener and who tries hard to 'get inside the head' of the student, will try to find out just what the child is asking.

This can be done by the teacher asking questions rather than providing facts. Getting children to think hard - as hard as they want to. Together with the group one can arrive at a fairly good idea of an answer.

Question after question - If you think this why then does that happen?

We were taught to teach our whole lesson by asking questions and guiding a class to finding the answers - in books - from others and for themselves - to the level of answer that satisfied them- each student to a different level. We then tried to help the students to assess the validity of the facts available. By doing this well, the motivation to satisfy most curiosity was sky high and students remembered very well.

It is this kind of education in schools that I will be trying to promote in Cumbria wherever possible!

Who pressed Nick Raymond's button?

Before



After


Makes you feel good, doesn't it !

Could it be that 'someone' sent the top photo to the police?

No - surely not - our Cumbria County Highway's Engineer is always giving Ulverston the best service he can.

Whoopse - Who told the workers to go home?

Or did this one slip by unnoticed ? - They're so faint you wouldn't, would you!


Pedestrians - who cares - my office seat is far too comfortable -

Drawing pin anyone? Go on Stuart - give him one!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

An unsatisfactory situation for Ulverston People - both young and old

With the political parties squabbling over who should have money for play ground facilities that is handed out from SLDC we are getting very poorly thought out strategies for providing facilities for young people.

This is typical of our Town Council who are not proactive in any way that can be detected.

As a group they do not look ahead and plan policies for the whole town. Instead each councillor tries to look important on their own patch and takes no interest in the town as a whole (I nearly wrote 'hole' - which is what Ulverston is becoming).

We need structured thoughtful plans hammered out for:

Tourism - Ulverston's official web site is a very looooooong time coming - it's been two years now since I complained to Jayne Kendal - now the Town Council have taken it over . . . . Thank goodness we've got an attractive alternative thanks to the efforts of an enterprising individual .Our streets look a mess with cobbles all over the place- to be repaired - thanks to the efforts of . . . . me! The road markings are warn out and not repainted. Some have been redone - partly thanks to me - reporting them to the police as unsafe and circulating all town and parish councils.

Parking - Some car parks unused - some streets jam packed so that the residents can't find a place for themselves - shop keepers unhappy because the spaces outside their shops are tied up by . . . residents. Car parking schemes for business people don't work. People don't observe the double yellow lines and are deemed by the Parking Warden to be 'loading and unloading' even if they stop for cash at the cash machine at Bargain Booze - promoted by - - the Town Mayor. It's a right mess.

Housing - with a totally different set of rules for 'Affordable Housing' so that we get none and Kendal gets a hundred - this is going to change - at last - did Ulverston politicians try changing this? Just asking? I did in my submission to IPATH in early 2007! and again in early 2008 in a submission to the Core Strategy.

In my opinion, party and local government policies do not focus on overall planning for Ulverstonians but act in a piecemeal way that results in Joe Bloggs feeling frustrated and angry.

Instead of having hope and trusting 'the system' he/she wants to wash his/her hands of the whole thing.

I am meeting a lot of people that can't be bothered and regard 'democracy' as a nonesense - a waste of time.

I sincerely believe there is a viable alternative - and that is to elect a load of thinking and doing Independents. People who have run businesses and plan ahead to get things done.

But then. I would think that!

Would anyone consider joining me as an Independent in any of the roles of Town, South Lakeland, or County Councillor? I would just act in a supporting role but NOT influence your thinking - you would be . . . . independent! We could work together on publicity. You could have an author role on this blog. We could share leafleting of houses in the area!

Some Councils, I find, are run by Independents and are able to put squabbling party politicians in their place - the dog house!

I'm in the Rose and Crown or the Market Square at 11:00 every Saturday . . . .

If you think the rain is bad today . . .

. . . . . watch out for Saturday.

Bull's eye?




If the Met office is right - over 1 inch in 3 hours at 4 o'clock with winds to match.

Our yearly total used to be 28 inches in 1970 . . . .

Have those phone numbers to hand.

I'll be down to Dragely Beck to check the damage.

This is the reading at Fitz Bridge at the moment!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Global Warning - we have 98 months

On the other hand some think we have had it already.

So is it time to have our final fling lasting some twenty years before chaos reigns!

Copied from the Westmorland Gazette Forum

"Problems occur when people use broad generalisations.

Environmental campaigner and Doom don't sit well with me.

As a Chemical Engineer who was employed to do research for Shell Oil in California and Glaxo in Ulverston I see myself in a wide range of ways. Reasonably knowledgable in some.

What I attempt to do is question:

Why do people want to trust other scientists rather than those at the Met Office who tell us that if no more carbon dioxide was added to the earth's atmosphere the temperature would steadily rise in the future?

They believe that whatever happens (except - see later)the average temperature in the future will rise and keep rising. - I keep reading the statement "most scientists agree with the above".

If we do nothing to restrict carbon emissions then the temperature will rise very quickly at an accelerating rate in the future.

Whatever scenario we envisage - the temperature will rise. All that is questioned is how fast it will rise.

When the temperature rises enough we as humans cease to be able to live here!

I don't see this as Doom but fact. I can live cheerfully with this thought! I shall just enjoy the time that is left!

The only way that the temperature rise can be halted is if we (scientists/engineers) can actually remove carbon dioxide faster than it is being emitted.

To do this we have to remove in the range of 350ppm or 0.03 % from the earth's atmosphere. Though this is possible in theory, the problem is that we have to do this without using carbon fuels to provide the massive amount of energy required. This will be an exceedingly difficult feat to pull off requiring much of the worlds resources to achieve. More importantly we need to provide very large funding from world government funding to do this.

With the system that we have of free enterprise, a democratic system that allows the masses to take decisions I see no hope of achieving a consensus to concentrate on this issue.

Removal of carbon dioxide at the source of the emissions is already being done by a very few power plants - in Germany - I believe.

This is a far easier task as the carbon dioxide can be present as high as 20% in the exhaust gases once the water is removed.

To use this approach carbon fuels would only be burnt in specially designed power stations that generated, say , electricity.

Everything else would be driven by electricity. A complete change in technology.

Accept it - realistically - it's not going to happen.

What we can do as adjust to the thought that we face a future where there will be mass panic as the reality of what is happening dawns on the masses. This will be a hard time but one I'm looking forward to dealing with.

One way is to build some very strong and loyal relationships with people who will work together and cope.

Can we adapt quick enough?"