Monday, 31 August 2009

Dog get together in Ford Park yesterday went very well

It was great meeting the enthusiasts though the weather made the event short! We were left uninterupted by Ford Park management as happened last Christmas and left the field better than we found it!

One person reckoned they had told 50 people. Some of our main supporters were away. The idea, it was agreed was obviously a good one and we should make more effort in publicity. Word of mouth, largely used for yesterday was greatly favoured (Youtube helped).

Next do will almost certainly be on Christmas Day at ten o'clock - the repeat of last year - see below. By then, numbers would be swelled by the people coming into contact with us through the Mural Activities in Gill Banks and elsewhere see below.

Education - Have Labour reasons to be proud?

I would argue - definitely not.

Training yes, perhaps good; but this for me is not education.

Labours view is to cram our students with information that they regurgitate on request. I call this training.

For me education is inspiring young people to have a goal in life. For this one needs enthusiastic inspiring teachers. Without the inspirational element - it's all a waste of time.

If young people don't know what they really want to do other than having a means of earning money, then as a society, I believe, all is lost.

I suggest that his is why such a lot of binge drinking goes on. You often come across people that wake up to the fact at forty, that they aren't doing things they really enjoy. So they quite their jobs and do something completely different. Often people feel trapped because they have incurred financial commitments that need a high salary that they can't support.

By contrast there are a few people who have stopped and asked some pretty hard questions.

I met a woman like this yesterday selling her wood craft products. She has developed a whole different lifestyle and it shows in the bowls, benches spoons and wood flowers that she makes. They are full of life and enjoyment - there is a sense of fun throughout. For much of the year she lives in a 'tent', surrounded by the love of her life - trees. She spots the ones that will yield beautiful shapes for her products. This person has obviously thought deeply about her way of life and appears to be having a ball. All because she has stopped and thought things through. She has a very clear philosophy of life.

Yes, the most important subject that people can do at school is philosophy. This is not a dry subject.

It's beauty is that it does not provide answers, unlike many other subjects it poses endless questions about what is important to us. What is it that gives us pleasure, contentment ? What are the most important things in life? When you got these sorted out then depression and a lack of direction is but a fleeting experience.

Yet this subject is not on any school national curriculum except as I suspect as a dry subject in the sixth form ,considering what previous philosophers thought. In the hands of an inspired teacher this can infact come alive.

As I understand it, other countries put philosphy of the kind I'm talking about as a compulsory subject from an early age. Is this why for instance France has such a well adjusted society ? In his book "French Philosophy in the Twentieth Century" available on-line,
Gary Gutting discusses the privileged role of philosophy in the French educational system.

For me there needs to be a distinction between people with a religion that states the "we have the answers - do as we tell you" and people who have a well thought out philosophy that is in the process of finding answers for them ( and only for them because no philosophy can be 'right' - it is only right for the individual as far as they have thought things out). These people will never claim to have found any answers but a lot of important questions. Their answers are constantly under review and the best they can come up with at the time.

Make any sense to anyone?

Note I suspect that those that can only offer smart alec remarks to a serious subject, find it difficult to be serious about anything - and probably haven't got round to sorting out their philosophy of life.

For more edifying comments on this topic try the West Gaz Forum under News and the above headline.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Friday, 28 August 2009

Lightburn Park - my what a state it's in

Beware : man with camera without kids - it could be me!

See comment below on previous Lightburn story!

When looking at these pictures, bear in mind that this is Ulverston's pride and joy of a park. Why aren't the whole town kicking up a hell of a fuss?

Have we all become resigned to be given a second rate service.

When I come here (with kids) when the sun is out, the place is full of young people skateboarding and youngsters in this park - it's not as though its not well used.

The play area - reminds me of the Vicar of Dibley final episode. This puddle could be a lot deeper than you think!

Puddles by the Seesaw.

Less important but creates an uncared for look.

Finally - What a mess. When are the council going to finish the job properly.

This enlargement from the photo above shows the facilities that our young people have to put up with - some steps in the open, by the shed. Why does only one councillor take the needs of our young people at all seriously (Colin Williams who focuses mainly on Ford Park). Why is this hut not open to the general public as it used to? Why is it only used occasionally by the model railway enthusiasts and shut most of the time. Why don't we care?

Where have all the young people's hole-ups disappeared to. Why has Grange got vastly superior places for young people. I'm surprised that they're as well behaved as they are bearing in mind the way 'responsible' adults treat them. All the nearby residents do is to moan about the beer cans that are left behind.

There's a serious lot of 'stuff' that needs doing here.

Well for the cost of a tenner and very little effort, we're going to fill those puddles in the next week (the smaller ones that is). This is far easier than getting the council to do it.

I shall try to put these thoughts together convincingly and feed them to David Pickthall, the Evening News reporter who I feel is doing a good job for Ulverston.

Seeds arrive from Chiltern Seeds, Ulverston

For communal use anywhere in Ulverston - old but perfectly good stock is donated to the town by this generous Ulverston firm that could yield, without exaggeration, a million flowers for people to enjoy.

Just a bit of very rewarding hard work required !

Let's be hearing from you if you want to get involved!

And each of the bunches of packets above contains as much as these!

Just think how much of Ulverston could be covered in flowers next year!


Candle holders for Gill Banks

The idea is to make pottery holders that will fit over the spikes of the railings of Gill Banks.

Here are some that have already been made with a blank in front waiting for your design! Come and do this tomorrow, Saturday between 11 am and 4 pm (or in subsequent weeks every Saturday at the Coach House Union Lane - or Gill Banks if the weather is good (which is doubtful ).

We aim to make some 60 to 100 by the end of October ready for Halloween or Guy Fawkes.

We'll be putting candles in jam jars inside the pots!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Lightburn Park - we're heading your way!

Soon (within a fortnight) we'll be filling in the puddles on the equipment area.

Then it will be cultivating the small round bed at the town centre entrance to the park - Chiltern Seeds are supplying some of their seeds free. Starting small but doing something!

Then it will be ceramics on the fence - probably on the railing around the rail track. Moving wheels and gears to start then engineering things - any ideas? A working model of a piston maybe.

We've also requested seating so that people can interact with the skateboarders as they watch.

Cllr Norman Bishop-Rowe and Richard Forster SLDC officer informed.

Setts in The Gill

Since I first raised the matter of these cobbles (setts) in the Evening Mail some two months ago, no repairs have been made and the matter is now a lot worse.

The photographs that follow illustrate the extreme problem that now exists. The problem has become clearly worse not only on the original patch but at many different locations. The longer these are left the more costly will be the the repair. When I phone London, I am told by the Department of Transport that the local authority has a statutory obligation to make repairs and by their own admission they gaurantee to repair serious faults in the highway within 24hrs yet nothing happens.

A major review of the situation is urgently needed. Clearly we have an accident waiting to happen. The behaviour of the County continues to reflect badly on the town.

James Airey, the new County Councillor for this area has agreed to meet me next week to explain the lack of action and has promissed written answers on this and other issues.

This is the most prominent hazard with the sett protruding more than 3 inches above the road surface.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Your views on the police

Very few people seem to have a good word for the police which in my view is grossly unfair. Personally I have been very impressed with Ulverston police.

Now those who have some area that they would like improved have a genuine chance to have their say.

SDLC Cllr Mark Wilson wants to hear your views. There are only a few cllrs that really impress me. Mark Wilson is one and James Airey is another. Both are relatively new in their jobs and possibly for that reason are keen. Mark has been an SLDC Councillor for just over a year and James, a County Councillor for a few months.

Mark Wilson is working hard for those in South Ulverston who are caught in a depressingly run industrial area, by bringing in the local MP , Hutton who should be trying to impress on behalf of a beleagured Labour Government.

The minute James Airey was elected, he took action to make known the sad state of Victoria High School to the people right at the top. I hope to be able to report back on further action he is taking after a meeting with him next week.

Sadly, we in Ulverston haven't been well represented by decisive people in the past at County Level and at District Level the representation for the most part has been pathetic. Jayne Kendall has certainly done plenty but the Cllrs seem to just sit back and not give her much guidance so that there have been some glaring mistakes like the Ulverston Web site which is still abysmal, the design of the County Square which could have been a lot better and the dreadful situation of the useless Stockbridge Car Park at a time when good well signposted parking is essential to the town's future.

As often happens with a tired mind, i have rambled on. the main point is to tell Marl Wilson your views on the Police. I believe this bit of energy won't for once be wasted.

Lantern Making Workshops

The Ulverston Lantern Procession 2009 is to be on September 19th .

I've just picked up this information from a long yellow leaflet about the Charter Festival that has been distributed widely in shops around the town:

Theme : 'Wonderland through the Looking Glass'


Croftlands Community Centre - Sat 12 12noon - 6pm

Swarthmoor Reading Room - Fri 11 5pm - 9pm
- Sat 12 9am - 7pm
- Sun 13 9am - 7pm

Lantern House - Sat 12 1pm - 3 pm 4.30 - 6.30 7.30 pm - 9.30pm
- Sun 13 1pm - 3 pm 4.30 - 6.30 7.30 pm - 9.30pm
- Mon 14,15,16, Thur 17 4.30 - 6.30 7.30 pm - 9.30pm

Workshop sessions around the area are booked and will be announced in the press.

Kits to make lanterns at home will be available at the Market Cross during Saturday Markets on August 29th and Sept 5th. They will also be available from some workshops .

Here is a link to this information that has just come online!

Is Croftlands being sold short ?

It seems that the installation of the Multiple Use Games Area is being held up by a group that uses the name Croftlands Community Safety Association. This illustrates how one forceful individual representing a very narrow viewpoint - that we need protection from young people - can influence a small group of people who then acquire a name and are consulted by politicians and officers, like of Cllr Norman Bishop-Rowe (who attends their gatherings) Simon Hughes, South Lakes Housing, and Richard Foster of SLDC.

Is there a need for an alternate and more inclusive organisation to represent the needs of Croftlands as a whole? Something I'm very keen to support.

Let me know if you'd like to join a group. We've been trying to get better facilities for young people on Croftlands for over a year now and would have far more success if we became an official group to represent the wider views of the community.

Monday, 24 August 2009

This last Saturday at Gill Banks

Lovely day - couldn't have been better!

Young enthusiast!

The pace was less hectic so that some good work and chat was accomplished. For the most part new people came along, having read the notice and about fifteen new items were made. The variety continues to grow. Also there's an interest in doing this in other parts of Ulverston - Lightburn Park and Croftlands with people leaving contact details.

The picnic table is a welcome addition.

The Community Police felt that these additions to the railings made a welcome improvement to the environment. The absence of vandalism showed what an attractive town Ulverston was!

Keeping moving

Just come across this site which no doubt if you're a regular traveller you know all about.

It tells you of road works, lane closures, accidents and tail backs on highways in Britain. Audio reports are also given by people on the spot.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Anyone else skeptical?

Is the mayor trying to feed us a line?

Market Stall activity

The stall in the afternoon

A little sun and threatening sky.

Today was a tough day for stall holders. A couple of downpours. We got a 30% reduction on the cost of the pitch which helped.

The home made cake stall next to me, did well! Some effort is being made to get this local family venture a pitch on Saturday. The traders are very much in favour - the more the better.

I got little business but some great chats and explored a new design!

Saturday in Gill Banks is looking increasingly popular and we'll be ready for a lot of people welcoming the chance to be creative - extra tables and equipment. All set for making ceramic spike covers! Weather still promising!

There's now a picnic table there for use!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Police activity in Ulverston

An excellent report in the Evening Mail of the police work in Ulverston was sparked off by Gary Fine of Cross Lane, South Ulverston.

It really does make an impact if you attend the Town Council meetings and voice your concerns. That and writing to you local councillor are well worth the effort. The more of us that write and speak up , the more likely are they to do something.

I noted that the MUGA was referred to by the police as offering alternative activities for young people. The People on Croftlands could be kicking up a fuss about theirs which is already nearly six months overdue and may get done by the end of the year.

Contact Norman Bishop-Rowe on this one- email from "Your local councillor in 10 seconds" on the menu here on the right. He's the one responsible.

Ulverston Lantern Procession

I find it sad that the opportunity to advertise this event on the internet is being missed.

Top hit is the defunct Ulverston Online site with last years info.

Other sites just mention the final show which is on September 19th but I can't find info about the workshops and the theme for this year.

Does anyone have details?

Isn't there a web site for this? UCAN has very little, neither does goulverston.

It would be good to co-ordinate the pottery activities with those making lanterns!

Some pottery items with candles?

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Gill Banks now - pottery everywhere

Trying to swim upstream - and what do I meet

An unlikely conversation!

The pensive lioness and friends

Flowers of all kinds.

Creepy crawlies.

Things to twiddle!

The lower 'gallery'.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Over sixty new pottery additions to The Gill area

The rain didn't stop John McCarty , myself and Paul from getting all these objects mounted on the railings and walls of Gill Banks and Union Lane.

We now have nearly twenty fish swimming determinedly down beside the path towards the beck.

Also about twenty flowers of various kinds never to fade beside the beck itself, some leaves, birds and a grand dolphin jumping up over the barrier to freedom. Happy faces and that of the originator of the dreaded swine 'flu with neurotic flashing eyes next to the lioness who calmly contemplates the chaos surrounding her.

The prisoners in front of bars watch jealously the strutting humans that come to give them the nonchalant once over.

No doubt they'll be joined by more creations of 'the inspired ones' who will join in the fun this next Saturday, 22nd August at 11am till 4 pm. Weather forecast is light rain so that we'll enjoy the protection of the roomy tarpaulin. No doubt with warm drinks to keep the troops happy.

No doubt some photos to follow!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Multiple Use Games Area for Croftlands

After much lobbying the MUGA, as they are called, has been promised by the end of this year.

This means that it will only be nine months after it's original scheduled installation date in the Spring of this year.

The two MUGAs, one for the Honeypot and the one for Croftlands were both approved at the same time, almost a year ago. Why has the one with Bishop-Rowe in charge (Conservatives) had a massive delay. It would be good to receive an explanation but Norman does not believe in replying to those outside his ward.

The reply from the SLDC officer has finally come through today.

Requests for a self build skate board area (costing the Council nothing) have so far not received an answer despite the request being made in July last year.

There is definitely a need for a vigorous community group to represent the area if Croftlands is not to continue to be starved of facilities for young people. This was seen as the top priority by local residents during my door to door visits last year and earlier this - especially when the youngsters were to provide these for themselves.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Photos from last Saturday

Here are a few!

And here's the first batch of items.

At this very minute these clay objects are a 1180 deg C in the final stages of the firing in the kiln and will be ready to put up on this Saturday Morning at 9am onwards.


Could it be that some of those who visit this blog are just looking for the chance to have a moan?

These would be the kind of people who either misinterpret what is being said or criticise without making an alternative suggestion.

For example, the word 'Doers' is taken to mean those who do something - anything - go to work, paint the house, put the kids to bed ( all great activities!). Whereas in the context of this blog, it is those that do something in a specific way ie to rectify the issues described here.

'Doing' in this way could mean, themselves writing to their local representative or even just making a positive comment here, like, "that's a good idea". Better still would be having a chat with me to try and explain their viewpoint - by phone or by coming to meet me at Poppies on Saturday mornings at 11 am (something I haven't been doing the last two weeks because of the pottery project).

Secondly, is there any point in making a criticisms that just states in effect "That's a rubbish idea" without explaining why?

Could it be that some people see me as patronising, ie they feel I put them down, because their alternative action and its benefit is not explained, so that we can't have a meaningful discussion?

For my part I could spell out more clearly what action could be taken to support a particular issue. This I will try to do in future.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Blog participation

Thanks for the last comment on the Weint, but readers must admit that considering the readership of this blog, we get very little action from them.

We have a steady readership of 300 but I'm not aware that actual action takes place as a result of what I write.

There have been some occasional very informative comments that give insights of other peoples experience but I find that readers aren't interested in getting involved with achieving change.

Most of the comments are anonymous so that we can't discuss what is said away from here.

People seem to want to read about me taking action but not be interested in doing something themselves. Until we get a small group getting together to achieve change then I see no point in soldiering on on my own.

My attitude is to pour energy into a project once I am able to support someone else's initiative.

I see far more potential in achieving change by mixing with those that are doers rather than those that sit on the fence and do nothing more than read this blog.

The group doing the pottery project are doers and far more rewarding company than people on this blog. Interestingly when I chat to them, they are clearly not blog readers - perhaps they are busy doing and not interested in reading and writing about 'doing'.

What I propose to do here is run through the projects that concern me so that if anyone is interested they can contact me. I shall however not expect action from the readers here but instead work with the people I am meeting face to face on the streets and the pottery project.

Time for you to speak up and give a bit of support if you want to see action!

New lane at the Weint

Very disappointed.

What are your thoughts?

This project cost £30,000 and apart from the new asphalt surface which was definitely needed, we have gained nothing and lost an opportunity for adding something to Ulverston.

So what are your opinions?

The Town Council minutes stated that it would start on June 1st and be completed in two weeks. It was definitely done quickly but not started on June 1st.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Community Railings in the Gill

About forty people came to get involved with making things for this project with nearly fifty objects now made.

A lot of fun and making went on with a full range of creativity from people using templates to others doing there own thing. A great variety of age groups and social background. One person said she hadn't enjoyed herself so much for a long time. Busy with fewer numbers at lunch time which allowed time to get more clay and resources!

Much appreciated help from neighbours in the form of rolling out clay, supplying food and drink and packing up at the end!

We aim to have them fired and up on the railings by this next Saturday 15th between 9 and 12 am.

This will depend on the help that is available for mounting the work on the railings Weather forecast is fair

No doubt more on this later!

We'll be repeating the same thing over again in a fortnight on Saturday 22nd August. 11am till 4pm worked well - forecast good !

Friday, 7 August 2009

Community project in The Gill

All set for tomorrow.

New Cover for the stall will provide some shade!

Lots of people say that they'll be there and there should be enough equipment for everyone. Aiming to keep the workers supplied in drinks!


Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Pottery on the Market Square

Come and have a go, tomorrow on my market stall!


Monday, 3 August 2009

Dog get together

We're going to repeat the get together that we last had on Christmas day which was the subject of a Youtube video.

Location : Ford Park
Date : Sunday 30th August
Time : 10 am.

We had a great time chatting and sharing food and drink.

The dogs had a ball! - They can teach us a thing or two about socialising.

"How are you?" Sniff sniff, lick lick.

"Come on, let's have a game" bark bark , wag wag.

"Can't catch me." "Wanna bet?"

Bear in mind to observe the rules of Ford Park which though a Community Centre is privately owned. Having said this, dog owners are probably the greatest users of the park and in my opinion do an excellent job of maintaining and cleaning it up.

It would be very appropriate for everyone to join the trust - it's not expensive - the more members the better for its future.

Here's a reminder.

Great new web site for Ulverston

Discover Ulverston

A very attractive presentation. Great to have another person showing some initiative.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Ten seconds of skill and confidence!

It's the positioning of the heels that impress me. Right up in the realms of the Olympics putting the shot or throwing the hammer!

How about us having a National Road Marking Competition here in Ulverston.

That would get the whole town done in an afternoon!

They'd have to go through some heats on a waste piece of tar mac - disused road - first!