Monday, 30 March 2009

Are things all getting worse?

Slowly , steadily, are we moving in the wrong direction?

Does the article below persuade you that aggression just makes things worse?

Do you understand why we're in Afghanistan?

If it's to do with the supply of drugs to the UK; why not concentrate on raising people's self esteem and belief in the future so that they're not attracted to drugs?

Why is it that we continue to make offcomers angry with the way we treat people abroad?

Why do we support the actions of countries like Israel as they seek to pulverise the Palestinians?

Are we really surprised they support the latter? I certainly do and so do many Jews.

Can you really cower people who feel deeply that western justice is hypocritical?

Are we proud to be English when independent courts tell us we are criminals?

Don't these things matter?

Do we not mind the loss of our freedom in an increasingly police state?

Are the voices of rational British who are at this moment demonstrating against greed and inaction being listened to?

Are they really the voices of deluded trouble makers that need to be ignored so that we can 'move forward'?

Which direction is forward?

Afghanistan diary: Poles apart from the Americans' aggression

An article in the Guardian points the way forward for our country. Are we ready to listen to foreigners? :

With "the Poles morale seems high. They have been here for four months and so far have not lost a man. They claim not to have killed any civilians, which for a rough province like Ghazni, with several "contacts" with the enemy each week, is a good record. The commander of the Polish taskforce is an energetic colonel called Rajmund Andrzejczak, who seems to have taken on board the emerging new orthodoxy on counter-insurgency.

"For me the critical thing is to be non-kinetic," he said, employing Nato-speak for not shooting.

"After a couple of operations, we realised the less aggressive we were the more effective we were. I recommend not so many troops knocking down doors every night, but instead to sit down and drink tea, discuss what the people need, and bring them closer to the coalition," he said.

The reference to knocking down doors at night is clear to anyone who has spent more than a couple of days here. It is a dig at US special forces, who have a reputation for raiding Afghan houses in the middle of the night, on the basis of intelligence that can be accurate or inaccurate, causing a disproportionate number of civilian casualties.

"The special forces are playing a damaging and negative role. They operate outside the chain of command, going in and doing raids without any co-ordination," a senior western aid official told me. Nothing is eroding support for foreign forces faster. A UN report last month said the number of civilian casualties in 2008 was up 40% on the previous year at 2,118. A little more than half were killed by the Taliban and other insurgents, mostly with roadside and suicide bombs.

"The difference is that the Taliban are actually trying to kill civilians. Isaf appears to be killing almost as many by accident – some in special-forces raids, but 64% as a result of air strikes. Some of those strikes are assassination attempts against "high-value" insurgent leaders, but others are in support of troops on the ground engaged in battle. That is relatively uncontroversial when ground forces find themselves outnumbered or surrounded and are trying to save their own lives.

"Everyone subscribes to this view of counter-insurgency in theory, but the Americans, and to some extent the British, are loth to walk away from an engagement, and more likely to call in an air strike.

"Ghazni's governor, Mohamed Osman Osmani, is pleased with the Poles. When Osmani first heard they were coming, he had feared a bunch of Warsaw pact headbangers, who would use their artillery and Soviet-model Hind gunships on everything that moved. So he is now pleasantly surprised. He says his province is more peaceful under the lighter-touch Poles than the more aggressive Americans before them.

"Security for us is like oxygen. Without it nothing can breathe, nothing can happen. And the Poles really have brought security," Osmani said.

Dog shit seems to make the news these days!

Well, for the second week running there is none to be found on any of the paths beside Gill Banks.

No politicians in view or yellow jacketted cops in view, just local people taking the upper hand. So beware, if you bring your dog up there - you are being watched!

The pigeon messages are just flying around the second discarded faeces are spotted. They can be pretty good shots themselves as anyone visiting Walney Island will know. (Gulls? - a bit of artistic licence )

Sunday, 29 March 2009

A tribute to Chris Thorp

Who died suddenly of a heart attack in hospital, this last Saturday 28th March.

Click to see an enlarged version of one of my photos that I like! (2MB)

Chris was one of the area's great photographers being fascinated by textures and helping us see things that would normally escape us.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Pottering along / a Bypass see comments

With 'flu slowly taking over and slight temperature developing my energies have been lowish to deal with the things that this week has thrown up:

Anger with the Town Council over their total lack of concern over the continued absence of an Ulverston web site that tries to reach potential tourists, with the North East reaping the benefit of an influx coming because of the weaker pound.

Sudden death of a neighbour.

Two New projects for youngsters.

Back to 'normal' soon with the following topics bubbling to the surface:

War in Afghanistan, allotment cheats, G20 Summit, ongoing dialogue with the County Highways Dept, new community Groups, the rape issue and the malfunctioning Sapphire police support, women's uncelebrated successes in Cricket, Football and Tennis

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Two excellent festivals coming up.

Printfest and The Walking Festival

Both start on May 1st.

Printfest spans the weekend and The Walking Festival goes on for a further week.

Both have excellent web sites or brochures

Printfest website.

Walking Festival Brochure

Ford Park Community Gardening

The background of the Mural at Ford Park today is relevant to the information that:

People are welcome to join in by visiting the 'gardening area' there between 10 and 12 on a Tuesday.

Ford Park need many different people involved with their organisation.

The more the better in my view.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Money for words

A total of £50 will be available every month to young people, preferably still in school and living in and around Ulverston.

To get this or part of it you will need to write something about life here as you see it. The amount will depend on the content.

Everything will be totally anonymous.

You write your comment here as anon - if I publish it then I leave you the money in a public place for you to pick up eg inside a coke can behind the Coro.

To start with it will be published here but later it could be in another blog say

We'll work out a system between us.

What you write must not slag someone else off but criticising what they do or don't do is OK.

As we go along we'll get a feel for what is publishable !

The first fiver could be for a few sentences. The English or the spelling are not important as long as others can understand you!

A 'story' with a photo or two will get you the 50 quid if it's interesting to others - particularly young people.

No idea how this will work but there's bound to be a way - - - somehow!

A totally irresponsible Town Council

On Friday night I lost my cool when being barracked by Cllr Brian Wilkinson as I talked to them about their disgraceful handling of Ulverston's web site.

To see what I mean, put Ulverston and Kendal into Google and compare the top few sites.

Even Ambleside does a much better job than us.

Tourism is a very valuable source of the Town's income. The North East around Newcastle report a big surge of tourists since the £ has been weak. They attribute their success to some hard work at publicity over the last five years.

During that time Ulverston has been going downhill rapidly on the Internet stakes.

The Town Council promised us a new site having heavily criticized (quite rightly) Jayne Kendal's muddled attempts paid for by the SLDC.

After months of waiting when there was nothing to view we get a beautiful site promoting - - the Town Council and all its Councillors. Not a sign of a really good Ulverston Site geared to providing information to the potential tourist.

GoUlverston tries hard but is geared to earning money from providing information to the locals not the tourists.

With all the emphasis on Ulverston being a Festival Town - just try finding out about these wonderful events using the Internet.

Jayne Kendall's (SLDC) site doesn't even mention festivals, nor does the town Council's in detail. GoUlverston presents some information, but in a rather chaotic way.

Please spend a little time on the internet as though you were a tourist from say France, Germany or Japan and see what you can find out about Ulverston.

Have our Councillors ever tried this? Instead they behave in an incredibly smug way, standing by as the town's trade spirals ever downwards.

The only trade that is truly reliable at present is from tried and tested customers who know good service when they see it.

Monday, 23 March 2009

GEN II - South Ulverston

I discovered this Furness Skills Centre as I went door-to-door in South Ulverston.

"What's down there" I said to myself. The area used to be The Elms - operated by Glaxo also for training! (I was taught how to speed read but never got the hang of this)

I got myself given a conducted tour to workshops giving training in electrics - both wiring and circuit electronics (there's a job there - designing personalised control circuits - play a recorded "Shut up" whenever the dog barks; turn the sprinklers on, play rule Britannia, and dig a hole to New Zealand whenever it rains)

Then they have a milling machine and two lathes but they don't reckon that there's a future up here becoming a toolmaker. I would disagree - these guys are the most sought after skilled craftsman in the UK and could help a small business set up with an injection molding business, manufacturing useless plastic gadgets that we could export to China.

Finally a welding and sheet metal shop. I was disappointed to hear that Gas welding was being dropped because this is the stuff of the small business with flexible tools.

Their good news was that they plan to relocate within two years to somewhere else in Ulverston where they hope to have bigger premises including high tech CAD and CAM. The former is the modern day equivalent to the drawing board, leading to skills that would suit somone working from home for a company in Tasmania. The latter makes many things by just being supplied with a computer drawing : trouble is that the computer is only as good as its programmer - for complex jobs a skilled toolmaker would be far more reliable.

So Councillors, make sure this training facility stays in Ulverston and if you live here get in there if you can.

Please add comments to put me straight on all this if you are knowledgeable.

Gill Banks

Is now a dog shit and litter free zone - enjoy!


Worth a visit

10 to 15 minutes from the town centre is Swarthmoor Hall.

No wonder people are visiting it at the moment!

Thank you to all those that allow us to share their splendour!

Careless Cobblins

The Cobblins - you know the Goblins that inhabit the drains and 'unknown' spaces beneath our town - have become even more careless than usual.

I spotted one of their pots left behind in the cracks of the Cobbles on Sunday.

When I looked more closely there where quite a few others that had been left behind.

Can anyone explain their behaviour?

Are these messages that have been left to cheer us up?

Are they just testing out whether we're fully awake as we doddle around are streets?

An encouraging trend

Shops opening on Sunday.


Support them!

Well, stick your head in and say "Well Done !"

And now, Councillors, let's get free car parking on Sunday - it makes a lot of sense.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mind boggling stuff

I've heard of hot desking but hadn't realised that hot bedding was common!

Except in Small Brook, Birmingham, in the 1950s when immigrants filled terraced houses with 20 people down the road from where I lived!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Police response to the Croftlands attack

Personally, I'm very impressed with their prompt and thorough action.

Well done Ulverston Police; I'm sure that they'd appreciate some positive comments here.

They get plenty of discouraging comments all the time. Emotionally, doing a thankless job, coppers are like the rest of us; they need a regular top up of encouragement, especially when they're 'on the ball', working with the community like this.

Come on, see what you can do!

Here is their press release on the subject!

Subject: Ulverston man charged with Assault ABH

An Ulverston man has been charged following an assault on a 63-yr-old local man in the town this week.

Police received reports that a man had been assaulted on Oakwood Drive in Ulverston at around 10pm on Sunday 15 March.

Following a police investigation 24-yr-old Michael Fisher, from Larch Grove in Ulverston, was arrested and later charged with Assault ABH.

Sergeant Rupert Johnston from the Ulverston Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “I would like to thank the community for their help in the investigation into this assault. This sort of crime gives people the wrong impression of Ulverston, but the community spirit shown during the investigation proves that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in the town.”

The Outrage that is St Judes

People in South Ulverston are still reeling from the injustice of the sale and demolition of their prize baby- St Judes.

There is no way other way to see this, I believe, than that the people of the Church of England, Church of St Mary in town are a greedy lot of hypocrites.

If you are one of them then please defend yourselves. Stating the above doesn't mean that you are all bad but that you do bear a collective responsibility for what has happened. It is convenient to think that "it's nothing to do with me - we had to follow the rules".

Your church was tarted up with money from the pockets of the people of South Ulverston. It was they that scraped and saved and campaigned for their new church in the 6o's. Now they don't even have the asbestos shack that was our church then.

The excuse put forward by Rev Bing that the central office has to maximise its profits cuts no ice at a time where the rich are becoming richer and there is a feeling of general outrage at the inequalities that exist across Britain.

We all know what is going on and we feel powerless because "this is allowed by the law".

This is the kind of statement that fueled revolutions in the past and I believe our country is heading in that direction.

It won't be long before the effects of this wave of irrational rage hits our sleepy smug town that chooses to ignore injustices of the kind meted out to the people of South Ulverston.

Friday, 20 March 2009

South Ulverston - the real sense of community

Arthur Dickinson, aged 89, (birthday coming up on May 11th! - he's planning to walk up Hoad - something he does every Birthday) was one of the many I met at Glaxo when he was working with Owen Thompson under Ken Shaw in 1960.

I've just been chatting with him, listening to him talk about the past.

Sandside school was then the local school and used by people there for their social activities. Arthur's father and two brothers were involved.

When they wanted a dance, four men would shoulder their own piano and carry it all the way down Cross Lane to the school.

That's the kind of community they had in those days.

Can you imagine that happening now?

I suspect some of you will reply "yes"

We need this set of values to return; a time says Arthur when we were poorer and people mattered more and were seen as real riches. . . .

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tesco is coming!

If you like this leaflet, feel free to download it (below) and print off all the copies you want; we're waiving the copyright!

Many will be welcoming Tesco and can't wait for it to open.

Personally I would have preferred to see Sainsbury or Booths here for those not satisfied with the service The Coop offer. Failing this then a host of small units occupied under an umbella organisation a bit like the indoor market but with really go ahead firms and organisations taking spaces. But this is not to be, because Tesco got there first.

So, let's show Tesco what we really think of them- by avoiding them!

First be well informed and download the above leaflet.

Here's the front

And here's the back.

If you think it's worth passing on to others tell them about this or print your own copies off for those without computers!

The desperate need for enquiring minds

When I taught in a London East End Secondary School, I was grateful that I didn't have a lot of dreadful students that said "Yes Sir" "No Sir"

"Three bags full, Sir"

Occasionally I did meet this variety of moron - they obediently listened to everything that you said and made careful notes all lined up to get their 'A's in their exams.

I felt like placing a smoke bomb under their seats!

What I valued was the bolshie questioning student who wouldn't accept stuff if it didn't make sense to him/her.

This isn't to say that their motivation was to disrupt - they just didn't like bullshitters.

Fortunately for me I enjoyed being put on the spot; it kept me on my toes, forcing the reponse "I'll have to check that out".

We will all discover in the next ten to twenty years that we need the very best creative thinkers if we are to survive/enjoy this time.

We have social and living situations that demand people that can ask questions and find answers.

Surprisingly , I find it easier to find an answer than pose an incisive question.

Who was asking the right questions over the bank crisis ? The lonely voice of Vince Cable?

I certainly struggled to figure out what was going wrong and couldn't spot the flaw and only now after much thought begin to understand what went wrong - buying things with money that actually didn't exist but was a mere glint of a promise in a bankers eye.

Beware of education that tells its students "the Truth". We need lots of students that can cope with knowing that they DON'T know!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Worrying trend ?

This story which was reported yesterday, disturbs me deeply.

An older man is assaulted by a young white male with two other young people standing by. Here on the main road of Croftlands.

What was happening that led to such violence?

I hope this behaviour never becomes the norm in Ulverston.

It will only stop if we all step in and intervene in some way if we see anything like this happening.

If we just shrug our shoulders and turn our backs then it could be our turn next and none of us want to live in this kind of community.

We need to try to understand why people walk around with such anger; then we need to do something about it. The answer is not the police, the problem is for us to solve. We cannot leave it to 'them' to deal with.

It follows the kind of behaviour that I predict will happen more and more as people get angrier with the world at large, and react to what is happening to them from directions they believe they have no control over.

Lightburn group to meet again

Ten people from close to the park attended the first meeting in a private house this last Monday.

In a businesslike meeting that lasted an hour, everyone got to know each other. The use of the park as a place where people of the neighbourhood could get to know each other was the main focus; concerns about traffic close to the park were voiced. Those attending were a good blend of both young and old, with some staying behind to for a chat afterward.

The most encouraging decision was that the idea of a group was definitely a goer and a second meeting is planned for this next Monday 23rd at 8pm in the same place. Some 200 leaflets will be distributed by the group to those in the surrounding area to invite participation at this meeting.

A lot of interest was shown in the use of the park for cultivation by the local people. It was felt that the park provided a missed opportunity for people to meet each other and the possible use of the pavilion to serve refreshments would be a valuable asset. Ways of reducing dog fouling were discussed and the imminent installation of the Skatepark was welcomed.

This is a chance to meet an energetic and very friendly group of people.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Honeypot revisited

Just finished distributing cards in the area!

My main aim is to float the idea of a community group to represent the area in a similar way to the one meeting tonight at Lightburn and another to be followed up in the next couple of weeks at Croftlands.

One thing I did notice though is just how many houses had kids with skateboards outside - with nowhere to go other than the auction Mart and Booths after hours.

A mother of youngsters in one of the Squares felt that the Lightburn Skatepark that is starting in the next week or so, is just too far away for younger kids!

The squares are very bare and the same mother thought that picnic tables would be a great idea to encourage people to meet each other. Comments?

Any chance of some trees to soften the area? And some way of encouraging people to take care of their gardens - some of them are fantastic; others - a tip.

The stick - idle threats by the council isn't working.

Maybe carrots - some reward/encouragement would?

How about a group of people that would be willing to come in and straighten out a garden in exchange for cups of tea and some home baked cakes?

There are some great areas in the Honeypot but I hate the bare squares and "No Ball games" message - it's so bloody depressing!

You can get these kind of signs for playgrounds - how about a few of these to add a bit of colour.

How about tractor tyres and railway sleepers to make 'indestructable' fun dens, bang in the middle of the squares where there are lots of kids?

Come on now - ideas please - and then let's make it happen!

We can.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Workers beware!

As businesses become increasingly more stretched, we can expect that some will take advantage of their employees.

This was happening, I heard, at the Swan, Newby Bridge, a while ago. Pressure was put on staff to work shifts they didn't want to.

At the Barrow Aldi store, I'm hearing a report of what sounds like dodgy work practices.

A young friend of mine was threatened because the bus he travelled up to Ambleside was arriving late causing him problems - the alternative was to set off an hour earlier.

An Asian well trained nurse has been given 24hrs notice by a care home with the excuse that she was using the phone for private calls.

This agro between employers and their staff is self defeating in the long term. Basically it's on the same level as Bankers who make off with millions - Greed.

People are important - both the bosses and the staff need to help each other out through difficult times. Straight talking is fine but lets treat each other with respect.

Workers will be frightened of losing their jobs if they complain.

Bullying could be going on behind closed doors.

We will rely on whistle blowers more and more.

Here would be a place that you could raise your concerns!

Friday, 13 March 2009

The brand new MUGA in the Honeypot

Looks good - sturdy, well made but where are the facilities for playing tennis and the like?

At the meeting in October we were promised that net games could be included - all conveniently forgotten.

Next; how about something for the skateboarders. This isn't the best location but something is needed locally for young children who should not be expected to travel unattended all the way to Lightburn Park.

Next obstacle to deal with is the provision of lighting so that the MUGA can be used in the evenings and the provision of some youth workers to encourage its use.

Let's keep the pressure on Simon Hughes and the SLDC to keep supporting and extending this facility, perhaps with something more central to the area.

This is an opportunity for Mark Wilson , the new and keen SLDC councillor to show us what he can do!

Croftlands people have a good look - this is what is planned for the Playing field on Central Drive !

Use of Lightburn Park

Willow Withies - This is one of the exciting ideas to be explored by people attending the meeting this Monday 16th March at 8pm.

Locals, some of whom have lived on Lightburn Avenue for more than fifty years, talk with fondness of how, in the past, this park was buzzing with activities of all kinds.

It was a place where townspeople got to know each other and developed friendships. I remember getting putters from the 'Pavilion' to have a leisurely round on the park.

Now it is a pale reflection of former glory.

Reversing a process can be very difficult, yet communities are successfully taking over their public spaces once again in some parts of Britain.

The value is that people of all ages can come together and shatter stereotypes. Loud youths may find out that oldies have a sense of fun as well. Old fuddyduddies discover that skateboarders are actually responsible and caring kids. They may have the occasional need for a reminder that the over twenties are interesting and worthwhile friends that were young once - some as long as sixty years ago.

The outside shell can be deceptive.

People reclaiming the parkland could result in a lot more people using the park.

It will take some creative and adventurous thinking to engage everyone, but the enjoyment of success can be very rewarding, as the older folk will know.

This article about the use of willow withies in the parks of Middlesborough is very relevant even though it refers to an urban environment.

Ulverston has a waiting list of keen gardeners waiting for allotments to become vacant. Why not start here in Lightburn Park and get that creative energy in action? Not necessarily with individually rented plots but with community involvement. The ideal would be to use the muscle power of youth to create a space the whole community can claim as their own.

How about creating seating areas out of growing withies where the kids can gather and chat. Who knows what ideas will sprout............

Could this be a follow on from the highly successful Lantern Procession?

Plant the wonderful Lanterns and see them grow into Ulverston's unique sculpture park?

Light them up in Lightburn Park and maybe have the occasional burn on a cold winter's evening?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Our most precious possession

Most of the media is playing down the UN's criticism of our government regarding torture.

( UN report condemns Britain over torture cases )

Sir Patrick Moore, on TV, got it right when he said

"What is more important than how we feel about ourselves" when talking about the enjoyment hunters appear to get from watching the cruelty inflicted by hounds as they tear a fox to shreds.

This is equally true of the way that our government appears to have not only condoned torture but promoted it.

How can we hold our head up high and identify ourselves as British and allow Harriet Harman to state on the Andrew Marr Show that her government abhors torture whilst at the same time knowingly inflicting it?

Rt Hon Harriet Harman, QC MP indeed !

yuk !

If this attitude prevails, shouldn't we be scared for our own safety?


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Croftlands Community Group

I'm in the process of revisiting people that I've met who live on Croftlands to see if there's an interest in forming a group in Croftlands along the lines of the card that was distributed in late January.

Let me know if you'd like to be part of the initial steering group.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A celebration of Spring

Whilst our world is full of gloom and doom, some nations manage to enjoy themselves.

It's very important to see the positives and enjoy a bit of fun with the simple things in life. Here both men and women play with coloured chalk - totally harmless and costing next to nothing.

Don't you wish that sometimes we didn't take life so seriously?

How about a festival of colour, here in Ulverston?

Pictures from Reuters - while they last!

Beats our preoccupation with dog shit, any day!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Work for young people

As the credit crunch begins to bite, more and more people will be fighting for opportunities to work.

We have a dilemma.

Some older people will need to supplement pensions, but more seriously from a social viewpoint:

Young people will need work.

Older people have developed the confidence in themselves from their life of work.

Young people have not.

We need to use every opportunity to create work for these people who have been led to believe that their education will lead to satisfying work.

We need to adjust our thinking to include at least part-time work with good human contact that will be an encouragement and source of self confidence for young people.

If we don't we have a source of destructive energy that will overwhelm us. Alternatively some will turn to drugs with even greater problems.

Older people, we need to come up with ideas to work with this age group and benefit from their enthusiasm for life. Maybe some kind of voluntary work for old and young working together as a stop gap ?

Those of us with business experience could perhaps encourage and work alongside young people to gain the confidence to work part-time for themselves or with others.

Any ideas?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Hurray for Independents!

Sir Paul Judge has launched a new non-party:

"We think Parliament would be better if it had some representation chosen as directly as possible by the voters, without the parties getting in the way. We think that Independents, winners of an Open Primary election, would be more accountable to their constituents and thus would be more transparent in their dealings."

Read more

The criticism is that this 'party' won't have a manifesto.

For me that isn't a problem as I have always voted for the person and not for their party.

We cannot run the country without parties, I agree, but having a few well informed Gadflies who will expose incompetence would be a big improvement!

If I could, I would vote for Tim Farron but he's not my MP.

Sometimes I don't vote because there is no one I trust. . .

I believe that as an independent I will be able to do two things.

Firstly, ask lots of pertinent questions and raise issues with local people. Secondly, encourage many more independents to be candidates so that we can get rid of the people that only get in because they are part of the party machine. They then regard the council chamber as a glorified club where they feel important and can get their photos on the front page of the paper.

If we want really good politicians we need to attract the same caliber of person that runs small, successful, ethical family businesses. People who take pride in their work and reputation and are not there for profit but to provide a really good service.

They know that they will be successful in the long term because the public get to know and trust them.

To attract these people:

1. The job must pay reasonably well without the need for backhanders and 'expenses'.

2. Council business must be run efficiently by other high caliber people who have learnt not to waste time through their ignorance.

It's a mystery as to how this will ever happen. In the mean time people avoid politics and muddle along as best they can, putting up patiently with the incompetence that surrounds them.

This, I believe leads to people wingeing on but doing nothing. Many then have low self-esteem and are depressed because life is so frustrating.

Soon we will either have given up and become zombie telly/chatroom addicts and die prematurely or we will join other sane, rebellious people and take to the streets and storm the Town Halls and Council Chambers, raise hell and refuse to pay our taxes.

However more and more will be driven to drink, neglect their kids, drive too fast and create mayhem, destroying anything in a mindless frenzy.

We really need to take our destiny in our own hands NOW !

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Doesn't politics make you sick!

A lot of angry badly behaved children.

William Hague tears Harriet Harman to shreds

At last a small break of sanity appears after 17 minutes when the calm voice of Vince Cable provides relief with at least a hint that there really are one or two adults in amongst this unruly bunch of hooligans masquerading as 'right honourable gentlemen'.

Seeing this lot makes me think twice about what noose my head is entering !

Kids scaling the heights

Which they will, with a little encouragement!

Enjoy a little insubordination on the way to the top!

Health and Safety my arse !

Mrs Smith, ex Head of Croftlands would agree, I believe.

She had her pupils climbing to the top of the Playdale pillars and standing on the very top and didn't bat an eyelid.

She found their academic performance matched their outrageous behaviour.

Vive La France where this was taken last year!

What do we have here - no leapfrogs or conker contests - they're DANGEROUS

Oh by the way, I'm told that the condition for the grant for the climbing wall at Victoria High School is that it's open to the whole community ! (?)

Hurray - no ropes !

Any seventy year olds fancy a bit of excitement (or is that insulting the ninety year olds).

Come now don't all shout at once!

How about one of these at the Croftlands Community Centre and then the ladies of the Croftlands Community Safety Association could have some fun .

Geoff, behave yourself!


Calm? Why should I be calm?

I learnt a lot from this article in the Guardian.

It describes very well how I strive to behave.

A lot of things get me angry which is why working with others to change things makes me feel good.

"Evidence for the benefits of this (low-level anger expression) can be seen by comparing the city streets of Bristol and Bilbao on a Friday night. In both cities, young people in particular get drunk. But whereas Bristol's A&E departments are filling up by midnight with fight injuries, you rarely see as much as a scuffle in Bilbao. Alcohol disinhibits, whatever your nationality, so the most likely explanation for the difference is that the Basques bottle less anger up while the Brits use the bottle to get it out."

I've been amazed that, many times, officious people find me to be 'abusive' because I dare to ask them straight non-aggressive questions. So often it appears evident that they are not used to being asked straight but penetrating questions which boil down to:

"Why aren't you doing your job as you stated you would?"

This explains why I'm running for County Council so as to ask both Councillors and 'civil servants' these type of questions.

I'm hoping that many more people will join me by forming residents associations so that they too can ask questions and press for answers!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Early one morning just as the sun . . . .

Back to County Hall with a petition for the third time

Those that have noticed the rapid deterioration of these white lines - done less than three months ago - outside the Oxfam building have decided to take action against the County Council again.

This was featured here a fortnight ago when passers-by were interviewed

This time with a lot more facts to support them.

It is clear that the contractors paint the lines so thinly in several parts of Ulverston that they wear out almost immediately.

Come and sign the petition, this and the next two Saturday and Thursday mornings, to get our County Councillors to take strong action to make the Highways Department perform their work responsibly and stop allowing their contractors to do such a poor job.

We shall be at the Market Square Cross or next to the Oxfam building from 10 till 1 pm depending on the weather.

Lightburn Park

A new group for this area will meet on Monday 16th at 8 pm at a private house in Lightburn Ave, to discuss what cooperation between neighbours can achieve.

It will be focussed on the increased use of the park and other concerns by people of all ages and interests.

If you would like to attend or are sorry that you can't manage this time send me an email -

Watch this space for further information resulting from the meeting !

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Neighbours working together

Kids emptied the bags from the rubbish bins onto this road.

In no time at all, the road was cleaner than it ever was.

Bring 'em on say the neighbours, we've got a word or two for those scallywags if they show up again!

Community work lurks round the corner for some teenagers ?

Hail sprinkled Ulverston

With a drop in temperature and a bit of sun, it will be pretty . . . .


All those ball bearings on the road.

I remember coming down Soutergate and had no option other than turn left at the bottom.

Lucky it was before the one way traffic was imposed!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Have we forgoten how to sing?

A lot of enjoyment for no/little cost!

All we need is someone to get us to open our mouths and let our voices out!

It's an emotion thing -

and we're not too good at emotions are we!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Socrates and wisdom from 1859 is still very topical

In the book Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct, published in 1859 by Samuel Smiles, we read:

"self-denial and self-help" would make a poor rallying cry for the
hustings; and it is to be feared that the patriotism of this day
has but little regard for such common things as individual economy
and providence, although it is by the practice of such virtues only
that the genuine independence of the industrial classes is to be
secured. "Prudence, frugality, and good management," said Samuel
Drew, the philosophical shoemaker, "are excellent artists for
mending bad times: they occupy but little room in any dwelling,
but would furnish a more effectual remedy for the evils of life
than any Reform Bill that ever passed the Houses of Parliament."

Socrates said,

"Let him that would move the world move first himself. "

Or as the old rhyme runs -

"If every one would see
To his own reformation,
How very easily
You might reform a nation."

It is, however, generally felt to be a far easier thing to reform
the Church and the State than to reform the least of our own bad
habits; and in such matters it is usually found more agreeable to
our tastes, as it certainly is the common practice, to begin with
our neighbours rather than with ourselves"

Sunday, 1 March 2009

In praise of a bit of danger

Have we gone overboard with our Health and Safety?

Bearing in mind our love of festivals here in Ulverston, it's reassuring to read of a revolt against political correctness in Spain:

Spain overturns EU law to keep fiesta fires alight

"Spain's passion for pyrotechnics has led the government to overrule European Union safety legislation that would have taken the fire out of some of the country's best-known fiestas.

One month before the start of the country's most fire-obsessed fiesta, the Las Fallas of Valencia, the socialist government has introduced a parliamentary bill scrapping EU safety requirements, arguing that the directive would damage the country's cultural heritage."

Here in Ulverston bureaucrats tell us that we can't do some things because it could be dangerous and it's ridiculous. Kids on Croftlands are being held back by the bureaucratic system that SLDC Richard Foster operates:

What is needed is an official group to represent Croftlands and its children. Then they would have to listen.

The kids could then, perhaps, put together, as planned, a simple flat area of paving stones close to the site of the proposed MUGA in the centre of the playing field.

They would raise the hundred odd pounds themselves to buy the 20 plain paving stones by doing community work and 'build' the flat area of 30 ft by 4ft under the guidance of a local builder to get the surface as flat as possible. This then would establish a need and the kids would have ownership of their project and be more involved with the community.

The kids are all set to do the work and remove it if it doesn't work. It would do them the world of good to be allowed to do something for themselves.

I applied on their behalf last August to Richard Foster and he is still putting us off without a broad public consultation. We were told it would be considered at the same time as the Muga consulation but it was conveniently forgotten by Simon Hughes at the meeting in January. Maybe there's hope yet with another consulation to be held as stated by Mayor Janette Jenkinson at the last Town Council meeting.

No wonder young people get frustrated with the behaviour of adults.

Meanwhile they are told off for skateboarding around the shops on Central Drive.

"Where are we supposed to go?" they ask.

"Be patient. We must make sure you are kept safe" they are told.

"We must go through the local government procedures."

Meanwhile their hair is beginning to turn grey . . .

Barrow are so lucky to have Richard Hennah who takes a few risks and got extensive Skateboarding facilities in place some time ago.

Let's live a little, with a bit of danger ( ? )

Today on Telly

Sunday morning, Andrew Marr, BBC1

At the age of 64, Roger Daltrey of The Who:

"Don't moan about it. . . .

Get out there and change it ! "