Monday, 30 November 2009

More Christmas trees !

This pottery gets everywhere!

Fancy making something for the tree?

I guess you know where to come!

New D I Y here in the centre of Ulverston

Though you'd never know it!

Across the road from the Roman Catholic Church. - Derian Energy - walk through the bathroom fittings display room.

A wide range of materials at good prices and very helpful.

They cut my plywood up to precise sizes so that I could make a purpose build storage unit that I had designed. They had all I needed to do the job.

Furthermore they helped me with advice on buying power tools - even though they don't sell them.

Will they survive as perhaps they could promote themselves more?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Dickensian Festival - Great

This Sunday morning was a tough start.

It was cold and raining steadily.

However there was a great spirit about, with determined smiles and friendly banter everywhere.

Like yesterday, hundreds of people came from every direction to get 'the show on the road'.

Intense but quiet concentration ensured that everything was ready on time.

Today we ducked into Poppies for a warm and friendly breakfast after a quick tour of the stalls as they set up for a second day. People were looking forward to better weather later on and they were right.

The town remained in full swing right up to 6.00pm as stalls were packing up. Everyone was having a good time and I was glad to have left my camera at home to just join in as a participant rather than as an observer.

The mulled wine went down with a friend at their home even though they couldn't be out to enjoy the goings on.

An abomination is dumped on Ulverston

What clown imagined that when you came round this corner

in a traditional lake district town with Kirby Slate everywhere in the town, you would meet these monstrosities from China?

This smacks very much of a financial scam.

Who has ended up with money in their back pocket ?

Del Boy comes to Ulverston!

" Fancy some beautiful marble paving stones ( that fell off the back of a Lorry straight from Ying Tong Ying Tong Idli Po) "

"Suits you sir . Yes Suits you sir."

"A perfect match. Just what 'Up and Coming' Ulverston needs. Just like the County Square"

I conducted a poll and got a 100% result from one lady -

"Aren't they awful ! "

So what happens next. . . .

Someone's head needs to roll (?)

James Airey - the new guy in the hot County Council seat - what are you up to?

The issue of a consistent design policy for Ulverston was raised with him, months ago.

Nothing will happen unless Ulverstonians speak up.

So start with your comment here.

Do nothing and in the long term, the town is doomed.

Just see what inaction has done to South Ulverston.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Feeling useful

Had great fun this morning.

Ten o'clock. Came across a couple of oldies with saws merrily attacking the giant fallen branch that was blocking the parish church path.

"Come on Geoff there's a third saw, come and help"

Even though we were stumbling all over the place, we systematically set about clearing the branch.

Too heavy for us to shift in one go. But our joint life experience immediately told us how to solve this problem. It was good to be united in a plan of action. We had saws that cut through the wood with relatively little effort and we knew how to avoid our saws getting jammed - well most of the time.

Soon there was another geriatric joining us. "Here take over this saw, I'm puffed out"

It took us perhaps 15 minutes to have the whole path clear and the debris showed freshly cut branches in their dozens.

"Bye" we said "That was fun" - " and the council are on the way to clear the path are they?"

Wasn't it good to feel we didn't need them!

A bit of community pulling together was all that was needed.

It gave us a buzz!


Cheerful subject ?

It can be.

I've heard of someone who is dying of cancer. He's only different to the rest of us because doctors have identified something wrong that will lead to his death.

The rest of us are in the same boat but have no idea when or what will be the cause.

Does that mean that we all go about our daily life feeling depressed and glum?

Neither does he. Granted, living is actually painful but he is still determined to continue as he ever did, living to the full extent that he can.

So what might seem to be trivial little things, remain of paramount importance to him.

He has hobbies that are very important to him. We might see them as tinkering about in a workshop or garden. But getting an old washing machine that was well designed to run again smoothly. Or repairing a well made set of clothes.

"How do you match in some material to make a worn cuff smart?" could be the burning question in his life. The next week's work is all planned out . Or maybe the week after that when he feels better.

His life is all about what will happen in the future and the things that are going on in other people's life. Talk of illness goes to the background in favour of what can be done in spite of life's restrictions.

Which ignores the possibility that he may never see this Christmas.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

There's got to be a positive side to the rain

Hasn't there?

Cast your Tesco/Co-op vote here !

Here's a poll that someone has set up !

Which store do you love in Ulverston?

I thought we'd let this run for a month and then we could try another!

So you have till 21 12 2009

Then what?

Results and their interpretation no doubt.

A spot check tonight of both Tesco and the Co-op confirms the present figure on the poll. At 4.30pm tonight (Tuesday 24th) there were 9 people in the Co-op and 14 in Tesco.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Write to a polician

This is a great web site to help us write to our politicians at all levels.

Worth using.

I'm trying it out - let you know how I get on!

Flooding in South Ulverston

It's good to hear that two councillors have got involved - Phil Lister and Mark Wilson.

I hope they take this problem on board once the emergency is over.

It will take someone with a bit of perseverance to get a result. Ideally it should be a county councillor. Sadly the previous Labour councillor did nothing other than give bland assurances with no substance.

My attempts to talk to the environment agency got nowhere as I lacked the authority to question them face to face.

The people of South Ulverston themselves could I believe do a lot more to make something happen but I got the feeling that they didn't want to get behind an 'interfering outsider' like myself with the petition that attracted many votes from the town centre.

I spent some time examining the problem and went down to help with blocked drains. Film showing previous flooding is on this blog - just press the label "flooding" below.

I went further than this and started actually clearing what I saw as one of the main contributing factors : the concrete blocks and substantial pitch pine beam that have been dumped over the edge of Low Mill Bridge at the Old Tannery. The result of my initial work rests on the Glaxo side of the bank. I suggested that the quickest solution was to go down and clear the river bed ourselves but sadly nothing happened along these lines.

I have a high regard for the people in South Ulverston but I have learnt that it is important to wait for them to take the initiative. I find it difficult not to be seen as an outsider by some people down there. They now have a Conservative County Councillor who lives in South Ulverston who is the person they must get involved and if this does not happen, they will have to make sure that someone ready to help is voted into office in the future. It is a hard lesson to learn but the only way to get satisfaction is to use the democratic system to get a representative that will fight there corner. Openly bragging that they had voted for no one because 'they are all corrupt bastards' gets them nowhere. Finding a candidate that is ready to put up a fight is the way forward. I hope they are going to be listened to in the coming talks at the Coro.

Meanwhile I have offered them all the help I can.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Hunkering down while the weather rages

Let's hear if there's any help needed as result of the rain.

I have access to dry temporary accommodation in the town centre.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Another successful community pottery event

The Lightburn Park Group have again run a great event with the lead coming from Libby Norton who published a leaflet which was ditributed all over the Watery Lane Estate, the block between Quibec Street , County Road and Victoria Road and many of the houses around the Gill.

The room at the Methodist Hall was full from 2 pm onwards with children and adults making wall and tree hangings, candle holders, dishes, nativity scenes etc. Families and adults paid £2 per group and between £1 and £4 depending on how many things they made. Many items cost as little as 20p! Tea and soft drinks were included in the price and families came away having had a great time producing things themselves for Christmas.

Four helpers were available with ideas and advice to ensure a successful outcome!

These will be ready for pick up having been fired for Saturday November 28th.

Our next community event will be a repeat of the dog get-together in Ford Park, which we are hiring, held on Christmas Day last year.

On Christmas Eve we will be again using the 75 spike lights that were seen at the Gill Banks Candle lit walk on Halloween. This time on the spiked railings around the Parish Church for the two Community services at Christingle at 4.30 and Midnight Mass later on.

This is another opportunity to see these unique lights for those that missed the Halloween event.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Tesco suffering, The Co-op thriving.

Now that Ulverstonians have had time to take stock of the new store, many have realised it is a big disappointment.

The stock is limited. The prices are high. The service not brilliant.

What has been good is that the Co-op have had a shake up for the better and the atmosphere of helpfulness has improved to even higher levels than before.

So for the time being most people are happy. We have a major business learning the hard lesson that Ulverstonians are a canny lot. They quickly see through a bunch of crooks and appreciate the personal contact with people at the Co-op selling goods that are wholesome in most respects.

Other good local stores are thriving if they provide a genuine service and a wide variety of stock.

We should be looking done the road to planning what we will do when Tesco have learnt their lesson and decide to pull out and cut their losses.

Feeling really sad for the winners of millions

Are there any other people who are feeling sad?

A few people have had there lives shattered by winning millions through the lottery.

Their lives will never be the same again. They are being plunged onto an emotional roller-coaster with few helpers they can trust.

Is there any evidence to support the idea that previous winners of vast amounts of money have ended up happier?

Or have they ended up in misery, not able to handle the vast change in their lives.

I for one will never envy them as I see no benefit from winning money.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Postman under pressure

While I'm all for postmen (and women) being monitored to check things are running smoothly, my hackles rise when I hear of our postie being criticised.

Who are these inspectors? They seem to have picked on the wrong guy this time and the management at Ulverston are now the people under scrutiny.

Surely one has to take the operation of a postman in context. This is not the inner city with pilferers of mail at every street corner. This was Sun St for God's sake - an area where you could leave your door wide open and get no intruder other than an inquisitive cat. If a guy slips up in a small way then the situation needs to be taken into account.

I'll be round tomorrow morning to remonstrate and I know that up-the-lane-Simon is furious even though he's smiling. Andy too was most unhappy so that's three out of three that are NOT pleased with the way Royal Mail are dealing with our postie who has been suspended.

Join us in telling the managers to get their surveillance tactics into line!

More on this tomorrow morning!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Putting one's body through the mill!

I've accepted the offer of an allotment and started work on it last Tuesday with two hours before soup and bread and one and a half after.

I haven't been so tired for many years.

Nothing a hot bath and a night's sleep didn't put right!

I was out there for another two ours yesterday morning.

Enjoying it tremendously.

It's in a bit of a state with couch grass, thistles and nettles doing well.

The bonus is that I have been left a good small wooden shed with a spade and maybe a resident rat under the floor! Also two compost bins and a good 'fence' which is probably there to kill the effect of the wind as it races across the flat terrain.

Most of the ground was under an inch of water on Tuesday. Yesterday the water level was six inches below the surface.

As I always suspect that weather conditions are good for something . .

most of the weeds over a foot high were yankable with ease - that got rid of most of the tall ones including the thistles - the nettles are another matter and take some removal - the battle continues! With a sharp spade, I was able to dig through the couch grass.

Transferred some black polythene that had been left behind to a new patch and await the absence of sunlight to work wonders!

There's also a semi communal heap of horse manure steaming away with easy wheel-barrowing distance. I've yet to understand the rules of access to this!

The guys I've met down there are great. Very warm, friendly and helpful. It strikes me that allotmenting attracts a special kind of person - which must be why I am there.

Glad to see some nut tackling the weeds next to their plot I reckon.

I find that I love a challenge - so this is my cup of tea,

Be interesting what I have to say in a year's time!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A welcome change of emphasis?

Are we getting a shift in government thinking towards coming to terms with the conclusion that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable by the use of force?

Other countries working within the UN like Italy, I read, concluded from the very start that an approach with tea , biscuits and chat with the locals, was going to get somewhere. The crude blasting an unidentifiable opposition to smithereens has resulted in resentment and worse anger at foreign interference. Too often innocent people are being killed and this is what has registered. There is no match between brute force from remote and devastating fire power and the Taliban working on foot in familiar territory with people they understand and can strongly influence.

The next step is now equally worrying.

With talk of withdrawl comes the suggestion that we spend more money monitoring what is happening here in Britain.

This sounds like a move towards a police state. We are seeing how biased the police can be over the G20 demonstrations with only a handful of complaints being followed up.

Surely what will happen is that the Muslims who live in ghettos will be victimised by the public as a whole because they hear of investigations of certain Muslim activities. Racial tensions will increase alarmingly.

Here in Ulverston we need to react quickly to any group that starts picking on another as those who are plain angry just pick on the nearest 'different ' group at hand.

We need to get to know our police so that we have confidence in them. On the other side of the coin it is very important for the police to make contact with as many 'normal' folk as possible. Many of us don't see a policeman from one month to another.

Looking at the town as a whole, we need to get to know each other as much as possible and take every opportunity to mix and get to know each other. With a population of around 12,000 this is very possible and is why Ulverston remains such a friendly place but we all need to make the effort to get out of our snug houses and get to know the neighbours - these can be very rewarding contacts.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Gill Banks candle lit walk

We returned back at the starting point from the lower path at about 6.40pm after a frenetic rush to get lights out on one stretch that had none. Getting the candles lit was no easy matter!

We were gobsmacked to find the area crammed with expectant people who were waiting very politely with great anticipation for the starting gun to be fired. The area back to the entrance from The Gill was packed with waiting people. A very rough estimate put the numbers at 200 people. An amazing response.

The walk lived up to expectations and was a very satisfying culmination of the project that had started as an idea:

"Wouldn't it be great if we could light up the path with only candles in spike lights along the path leading into Gill Banks and then walk up there in near silence to experience the dark and the mysterious trees and stream."

It was such a simple idea which in a time of modern electronic gadgets, only required cheap candles, jam jars, a load of mud (clay), some heat from a kiln and loads of human energy and creativity, working together from lots of local people.

Jam jars kept arriving on the doorstep and were cadged from people stash kept back for jam making. About 15 people helped cut away the beaker shaped blanks that Geoff churned out and the target of 100 was achieved with a few to spare. And my, what creative ideas were achieved with every one different from the next.

The hundred pounds cash that was collected went a long way to covering the costs of the lights and the food and drink afterwards.

What a great overall experience.

Now one starts to think "What shall we do next year?"

Any ideas?


Jumping now to the next day:

We were geared up to collect all the jam jars at 8 am next morning but were put off by the rain. We imagined most people would also remain holed up at home. At 1 pm the rain finally stopped and we ventured out - to find that some community spirited person/s had beaten us to it and most of the jars had been cleared up - quite a lot of work - some 140 jars - a real achievement.

Eventually it will emerge who provided this clean-up service. In the mean time may we offer a big - THANK YOU.

It would be good to get these back - we had to make do with plastic for the spike lights - so that the best designs that didn't blow out easily, could be used next year. . . . . .


Simple pleasures

About two hundred people turned up for the candle lit walk up Gill Banks.


"Will we be doing it again ?" says it all.