Sunday, 31 August 2008

Are you ready to become a fighter !

See below!

This young woman is determined to take herself up the tennis ladder. See The Guardian Article

"Keothavong should be inside the world's top 70 when the next rankings come out but on the evidence of the way she has played at Flushing Meadows there is every likelihood that she will reach her goal of breaking into the world's top 50, possibly by the end of this season."

How about the top 30 by next year's Wimbledon - any takers - a fiver?

Born and bred in Hackney - she knows how to fight - like me, I suspect, she enjoyed a good scrap as a kid!

"Keothavong grew up playing park tennis at Hackney Downs Park and Highbury Fields. She also enjoys kickboxing . ." see Wikipedia

Here she draws the condescending comment:
"That's nice stuff - it really is beautiful"
from the American commentators at Wimbledon as Keothavong thrashes Venus Williams!

. . . Well not quite . . .

but she gives Venus a good run for her money. Now when those hard hitting shots start going in - consistently - watch out everyone! Worth a watch if you wish to empathise with someone slogging against the odds.

Now you feel ready to tackle any task . . . washing up . . . mowing the lawn . . . here you come!

At last Labour tell it as it really is!

Photograph: Junko Kimura/Getty images
The Guardian reported yesterday:

Darling warns that the economic times faced by Britain and the rest of the world "are arguably the worst they've been in 60 years". To deepen the sense of gloom, he adds: "And I think it's going to be more profound and long-lasting than people thought."

I have been really disappointed with Gordon Brown, not for not solving our financial problems, but for not telling us the truth - that we are all in for hard times ahead.

This will make a lot of decisions hard for me as a County Councillor in future. Voters cannot keep asking for improvements - a lot of times I will be recommending that people wherever possible help themselves. We cannot continue expecting the government at any level to keep running around doing things for us. Where possible we will have to do things for ourselves and the role of government will be to facilitate/coordinate our own actions.

The other thing that must be reversed is for us all to be more self supporting. It could be a good thing if Russia cuts off our supply of oil if it makes us sit up and take note that we need more of our own energy producing industry - preferably renewable.

Hopefully we will again, one day, start producing our own steel, instead of buying our nails from China.

Times are going to be really hard and we're going to have do what feels like lifting ourselves up by our boot laces.

Don't throw those old overalls or tools out - we are going to need them. I'm rolling my sleeves up - are you!

Luckily we've a few role models to follow - look at Keothavong's expression above!

Meeting with Tim Farron MP

On Thursday I went across to Broughton to talk to our neighbouring MP

I have a lot of respect for Tim and keep in regular contact.

He occasionally replies to my emails as I keep him informed about local issues - especially Affordable Housing which is one topic I'm trying to do something about here in Ulverston - pity no one needing help came to my meeting on July 1st - just a few others who also are concerned, like Mark Wilson , new SLDC for East Ulverston.

Large cars - what message do you get

Would you wish to meet the owner on a dark night?

Fact or fiction?

I've no idea - but I'm certainly not comfortable - those teeth! - are you?

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Sitting in the Pub

Today I start what will be a regular feature in my week:

Having a coffee at the Rose and Crown at 11:00 (morning!) on Saturday with my paper.

I'll be there every week from now on, except Bank Holidays.

The idea is that people may wish to make contact with me to discuss 'issues'.

At the moment I'm looking at 'The Cobbles', 'Road Markings', 'Pavement Clutter' and 'a Ten mph scheme for Market Street'

What do you think?

Friday, 29 August 2008

Radio Cumbria 'Thoughts for the Day'

I went into Radio Cumbria Studio at Barrow this lunch time to record a set of seven short two minute talks.

This is my first venture into broadcasting - they are certainly 'thoughts' but 'Thoughts for the Day' gives the wrong impression , 'Thoughts at bedtime' or 'Thoughts while walking the dog' would I think be more appropriate.

Several draw on my experiences of going door-to-door, something I get great pleasure in!

I understand that they will be transmitted from Wednesday 7:40am and sprinkled over the following few weeks at the same time. Feedback here on any issues raised would be great/cool/wicked!

For those who don't make a practice of listening to Radio Cumbria at this time, I understand they will be preserved for future listening on the Cumbria Radio Web Site

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Improvement ?

Verdict :

Could do better !

- A lot better.

Dry weather would help!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Big Bums on . . . . the pavement

Does it matter how people are behaving in our town ?

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Making a grind box

I've been exploring the design of these basic pieces of equipment for skateboarding. Here are the criteria - it must be:

  • portable
  • made from readily available materials
  • flat on top
  • can have a grind rail attached
  • can be extended upwards

This is my basic design. The pictures below are only meant to show how the legs would be added and are not the finished design!

Here in Ulverston palettes are the most available free materials - obtained from building sites.

The design requires taking a palette nearly completely apart then reassembling and cutting wood to length

By careful positioning the wood at each end, it allows legs to be added.

To these would be added a further framework to make the legs stable - the illustration does not have this added.

I am offering workshop facilities for children - near the Health Centre - can you offer some in other parts of town?

Would you have a storage for a few palettes?

I now have ten boxes that are ready to go - just need some kids!

The Writing on the . . . . Road

Would you let your child use this "Pedestrian Crossing" ?

Perhaps our County Councillors should try using it . . . . in the rush hour!

One of the reasons I'm running for County Council in June 2009

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Dangerous backbiting people

I was shocked at the attitude of a woman on Croftlands yesterday.

People like this can cause a lot of misinformation and can appeal to other people's illogical fears.

What happened:

I locate and provide free timber to a group of lads.

One gets help from his dad and constructs a grind box for skateboarding.

He practices with it in the lane behind his house - a dead end with no traffic.

As far as he is aware all the neighbours are supportive.

I check with one who is working on his car nearby that this is so.

A group of 15 year olds are playing on the swings nearby - equipment restricted to 13 year olds.

I go and talk to them about this - one of the things brought up by other residents.

I get a lot of cheeky lip - something that I'm used to as a teacher!

I go home and get a phone call from an irate illogical woman that my action of providing wood has led to the rowdy group congregating round the area were the skateboarding is happening. She says she has called the police.

I go round to see her a find her winding up another woman who lives down the road. They both have a go at me for causing trouble.

The disturbing thing is these people are part of a group calling themselves ' The Croflands Community Safety Association ' and are taken seriously by a few people.

Why don't people talk to each other more? Why didn't this irate woman go and talk to the youngsters who were causing trouble rather than coming to me?

If she felt intimidated then why not get her husband and other adults to come out together and talk to them?

The kids giving me lip on the swings live not far away. Why don't the women use their energy to go and see the parents of the children causing trouble?

Instead they have a go at me!

These problems could be sorted if instead of going into a huddle they got the adults to talk directly to those causing trouble and to their parents.

More on this later - the lack of communication between different groups of people has become a serious problem in our society.

Are groups like this Croftlands association useful if they don't promote communication between groups of people in their community?

What is your reaction?

Friday, 15 August 2008

Breakthrough in skateboarding

Following the lead from some youngsters on Croftlands who have decided that they want to design and build their own skateboarding equipment, I incorporated their ideas into my door-to-door survey of the residents of the area.

Having completed a circuit of all the houses that surround the playing field off Central drive I found that the vast majority want to encourage the young people's initiative and favour a simple skateboard facility to be located in the middle of the playing field at a point away from all the houses. Some are keen to support the youngsters financially where required.

I therefore went in search of free wood.

This I found at a building site which offered six pallets, numerous sheets of coated 'allweather' chipboard, and four bags of offcuts of various sizes. Another skip in town offered a large sheet of blockboard and one pallet.

Within five minutes of taking delivery of the wood they were off!

They chose two pallets, most of the chipboard and some of the offcuts.

The next stage is to buy some angle iron to enable them to 'grind' on the corners of the boxes they construct.

It will be fascinating to see what happens next!

I plan to extend this concept to kids and their communities in other parts of the town. I seek to offer the facility of wood supply, storage, expertise in construction, supply of pre-drilled angle iron and ideas to any communities with a group of youngsters in Ulverston who are interested.

The summer holidays, what's left of them, will provide a great opportunity to get numerous groups of kids around the town designing and making their own equipment.

With the support and encouragement (non-financial) given by Tom at Working Class Heroes we hope that at last Ulverston kids will be given the opportunity to take a greater part in skateboarding.

The way is open for a great cooperation between the various communities, the politicians, the police and young people to pursue an activity which will boost teenagers' feelings of self-esteem, as they take note of the needs of others and in return enjoy the encouragements of the adults living around them.

Anyone wishing to get involved is welcome. They could help in many ways by providing :

1. ideas of where to find spare wood
2. a place where these 'Grind Boxes' can be made
3. expertise to help (but not take over !) in the designing and making
4. provide contact and mutual respect and encouragement between the kids and the community they live in.

If this sounds 'up your street' you are welcome to contact Geoff Dellow by email or phone - gd at or 480347

Grind Boxes - here they come

Very soon - all over Ulverston - I'm hoping to here the sound of hammering as young people make these very simple and highly desirable portable platforms on which to practice their tricks.

Ulverston used to be famous for Pole Vaulting as the owner of The Town Mill in Mill Street practiced to become National Champion; vaulting across the now buried Town Beck in The Gill.

Now, inspired by, Tom Bowden of Working Class Heroes, youngsters will become National Champions of Skateboarding.

These boxes can be made out of scrap wood and are ideal to help beginners develop their skills.

If you don't know what a grind box is . . . .

you soon will!

The Evening Mail

My reply to Maureen Foxon's letter has now been delayed for two weeks so I've requested them to cancel it.

I cannot go along with their sensational seeking approach to Journalism.

Door-to-door continues in Croftlands

Having a lovely time chatting and 'researching' Croftlands - with the occasional cuppa and choc biscuit whilst looking at a fascinating family tree!

Everyone (other than one or two sour old codgers) is in favour of the kids having somewhere to skateboard. The kids are starting to make their Grind Boxes !

Watch this space!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Global Warning - we have 100 months

Of course I'm not the only one that is concerned.

I find that there was a major article in a national newspaper on the first of this month

This is a very impressive/convincing article.

We have less than eight years to change our governments thinking.

We really do need to do something NOW.

I've just joined

Please check it out and sign up too.

Even using cautious calculations, we have only one hundred months before we pass the climate's 'tipping point' - the point of no return - where the chance to tackle global warming could be far beyond our reach. aims to provide one simple thing, once a month, that we can all do to play our part in preventing potentially catastrophic, runaway global warming.

And please email the link to all your friends, using the 'Send to Friends' button on the site, like I have.

Many thanks.


Global Warming - methane clathrates

May I contribute as a scientist with some relevant expert knowledge.

During my time working for Shell Research in California I studied and obtained patents in the use of clathrates for purifying oil products.

Clathrates are chemicals that trap others in their crystals when they form.

Global warming is taking place for many reasons. However it is my belief that methane clathrates will have a significant effect on Global warming. This is because methane trapped within ice crystals will be released as the temperature rises.

Water, when it freezes, will trap other gases that are present in the atmosphere in a very unstable form. These gases are any that fit well inside the cavities of the ice cystals as it forms.

When, it is estimated 800 thousand years ago, the Antartic ice was forming and deposits were being laid at the bottom of the sea , methane gas was present. This molecule fits beautifully into an ice crystal and remains locked in the ice until the ice melts.

The problem is that when the Antartic ice starts to melt not only will methane be released but this methane itself will aggravate the global situation by trapping even more of the sun's heat.

The consequence is that if the Antartic temperature rises enough we will get an even faster rate of temperature climb because of the Methane that is released

This will, I believe, be a situation which will be almost unstoppable.

It will be like an explosion and we don't want one of these:

In no way must we allow the temperature to rise this much or a global crisis will result.

We therefore need to persuade everyone that global warming is disastrous and needs containing NOW. This means in the next 5-10 years.

We will know that we are winning the battle only when the temperature starts to rise less fast and shows clear signs of coming down.

We need to focus on this problem with everything we can as it will effect us and our children.

We must not be reassured by people that do not understand the science above.

Whenever possible alert others to this situation!

August 12th - Door to door on Croftlands

I am thoroughly enjoying my visits to all the houses that surround the playing field at Central Drive.

I have now been to all of them and have been made very welcome with many offers of cups of tea. They are a lovely lot of people and all share similar concerns: -

1. Provide an inexpensive skateboard run for the youngsters on the playing field. This would cost £130. Many have already made offers of up to £10 to pitch in.

2. Enable children to cross Oakwood Drive - by using both Zebra Crossings and Lollipop Men near the school.

3. Get a complete review of the road usage through Croftlands - Oakwood and Birkett Drives and Mountbarrow and Priory Roads

4. Find challenging activities for older children in addition to those promoted by the Croftlands Community Youth Club

I shall be continuing my visits over the next few weeks.

Interview with the police

Dick Base, the traffic warden, suggested that I discuss the corner outside Bargain Booze with Rupert Johnston at the Ulverston Police station.

The points the latter made were that:

1. As a result of recent legislation the policing of double yellow lines at this junction falls entirely within the jurisdiction of parking enforcement authority of the South Lakeland District Council.

2. He regretted that the police were never consulted regarding planning permissions or the positioning of cash machines.

3. Technically anyone reversing in New Market street would be travelling the wrong way on a one way street!

He said that he would be monitoring the situation carefully in the future.

20 mpm speed limit

Sergeant Rupert Johnston tells me by email that these can be obtained when residents apply to the County Council.

However the suspicion is that life in reality is not that simple!

Why has Bardsea got 20 mph while North Lonsdale in South Ulverston has not, though the residents desperately want it.

Is this the influence of the well heeled?

I hope to find out soon by prising an answer out of Nick Raymond, the County Council Engineer at Kendal who at present refuses to answering my emails.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Parking on the double yellow lines

Photo Geoff Dellow - we have a problem! - or do you disagree?

I have taken the following action:

Talked to the manager of Bargain Booze at mid-day. She says "It's the Traffic warden's problem - talk to him!"

I requested that she suggests to customers that they avoid parking on the double yellow lines as they may get booked.

I witnessed problems similar to that reported by a commenter below : a driver backing into a pedestrians path at the cross road after using the cash machine that has been installed right on the corner.

Talked at length with Dick Base, Car Parking, Enforcement for the District Council.

He recommends a discussion with Sergeant Rupert Johnston at Ulverston Police who he believes is very good at following through on issues brought to his attention. I am seeking a meeting when convenient.

I shall ask the planning department to send me the relevant plans and correspondence to the Ulverston Town Hall as I wonder how the proposal to place a cash point at this intersection ever got through!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

What I find annoying about the Town Councillors

Photo taken by Geoff Dellow at South Bank, London.

I've now spoken three times at the Town Council meeting.

What is disappointing is they don't appear to listen or care about what you are trying to talk to them about, whereas out on the street, the people of the town support the skateboarders.

Two Victoria High School students who did a work experience project with me on skateboarding demonstrated this in their street interviews that have been published.

Twice I asked for support for skateboarding facilities in the town, not just one super place at Lightburn Park, but several small runs were kids can practice closer to home so their parents can take an interest.

The Town Councillors are for the most part totally out of touch with local people (they are referred to as the Muppet show) as is demonstrated by the behaviour of Janette Jenkinson, the present mayor, below. I know of not one councillor who is really keen and pushing hard now on this issue, though Colin Williams tried hard at Ford Park.

Everything is being left to Tom Bowden at Working Class Heroes.

Now I am willing to bet £50 that if - and it's a big if - Tom manages to pull off the raising of a large sum of money for the scheme at Lightburn Park the following will happen:

Our Mayor will ponce about in her gold chain at an official opening of the park and have her photo taken as though it was all her doing.

Well don't you believe it - it will have been thanks to the determination of Tom and his helpers who spent hours filling out lottery fund applications.

When I talked last at the meeting about how to get the cobbles repaired, a small group of councillors approached me.

"When can we talk to you one evening about skate boarding facilities?" they said.

I said as soon as you like and gave them my card - and that was nearly a month ago.

Will a councillor with some backbone please stand up and be counted?

There are some hopeful signs amongst the new councillors just elected. One young man had an strong hand shake (see 'kissing' below) and I was impressed by another woman who came to my door canvassing - I'll post their names here as soon as I'm sure of them.

Perhaps things are looking up!

What is really damning is the statement made by 81 year old Maureen Foxon who I've just got to know well. She's the mother of the former Mayor and states that

"They're all so apathetic - most have been in office far too long"

What we need is some young new blood - and preferably non-party followers - like me a young 73 year old independent ! !

Ulverston Mayor at Bargain Booze

At Janette Jenkinson's request, I have removed the photo that originally appeared here, this can be seen by clicking on the Westmorland Gazette link below.

If I were her, I would not be happy with some people's interpretation of the picture. It has raised some eyebrows from others that saw it.

What do you think?

Great publicity for the new store but is this how we want the office of the Ulverston Mayor and the Town Crier used - and is the parking adequate?

Westmorland Gazette

Bay Radio

I have already raised the issue of the extensive parking on double yellow lines with the police and emailed the Mayor with the following comment, also posted in the Westmoreland Gazette blog

"Is this appropriate action on our Mayor's part? Especially with the deputy Town Crier, Peter Winston in attendance.

I agree that this store will attract people to the town centre but will this benefit other shops?

This store has no appropriate parking provided and is already leading to a lot of cars obstructing the corner on the double yellow lines of one of the busiest and dangerous crossings in the town.

Will she now turn her attention to ensuring that the safety of the pedestrians here is maintained by bringing to the attention of the store owners that they have a moral responsibility to ensure that their customers behave safely."

What are your views?

Politicians kissing pretty young pop stars

Article in the Guardian today highlights this ridiculous practice!

And what's the copper in the background thinking of all this carry-on as he discretely looks away!

Or will I change my mind if I get elected to County Councillor?

In another context you might label Gordon as a 'dirty-old-man' and say "Lips off Carla Bruni-Sarkozy !"

But then one might be expected to kiss all sorts of acned sex starved pensioners as well.

I really don't think this practice is appropriate.

It implies that relationships between people at the top is different if they are men and if they are women. Can't we stick to the good old firm/limp handshakes for our physical communication?

I learn and remember so much more from these !