Thursday, 30 December 2010

Updated page for the 2011 Ulverston Festivals

I've updated my page on this.

I feel that this is important as this page comes top of Google for "Ulverston Festivals" at the moment.

Please let me know if you have some more upto date information or if something isn't working.

(the South Cumbria Music Festival details appears to be out of action at present)

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

"Absolutely Lethal"

Have you heard this expression anywhere recently?

Are you privileged not to have heard this expression recently?

A small amount of snow must, by now, have wiped out 98% of the population of Ulverston if not England.

Welcome to immigrants who are perhaps, a little more surefooted.

There must be empty houses everywhere and jobs galore to be found in the mortuaries.

Welcome to the country of overused expressions !

Is it a match though for the phrase "I'm with you 110%"

There goes all that effort in teaching maths in our classrooms - down the plughole.

No, it must be a big hole, let's say a massive sewer.

 "Oh, I've got it all wrong" you tell me.

It's me that needs to go back to school.

'Asolutely Lethal' actually means 'you might fall over if you're not careful' (I wonder how many even did that).

Being 'with you 110%' actually means ' I agree with you at the moment but forgive me if I change it in the next 30 seconds if I get a better offer'.

Naughty Geoff - slap wrists  and go stand in the corner with the dunce's hat on until you've written the hundred lines you've been set.

"I must learn to speak English proper"

It would  help if you spelt correctly too.

Now that I can certainly improve . . . .

Fancy a dip in Ulverston Sea - just to freshen up a little

Aldingham Christmas Eve.
Sent in by Grandma

One way of getting drinking water?

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The pavements are worse than ever

I suspect that the best/easiest solution is to put grit on them.

I'm off to raid a local supply and get as much of local pavements done as I can manage.

A time for photographs that lift the spirits

It's worth stopping to look at the photos that Jon (listed on the right) has put on his blog

Makes you want to get the boots on to see for yourself. I wonder how he keeps his fingers warm never mind his body.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Buy that sledge - you'll be using it next year.

Due to Global warming, scientists predict that we're in for very cold weather in the winter for years to come.

Sounds contradictory - it's not - so be prepared for next year.

Here Steve Connor explains it all

It's all to do with the rapid melting of the ice in the Arctic which causes the sea water to be cooled because it no longer has ice to protect it.

This leads to changes in the wind direction bringing ice cold north wind down to the British Isles from the Arctic.

The graphs in the printed paper are very persuasive.

When will the public start to believe that this is the disaster we had better be aware of.

The economic crisis will be like a kitten's 'wap' that one barely notices as compared with the swipe coming from a Massive Polar Bear that sends us reeling several yards.

Enough to give you screaming nightmares.

And so it should.

Ulverstonians take note and prepare.

Time to toughen up.

This will be a crisis to end all crises .

Worse still; energy supplies are due to be very unreliable by 2015.

If ever communities need to work together - it's now.

Hopefully we will return to a time like the last war when we took care of each other and the stiff upper lip was evident.

The trouble now is that the enemy is not obvious and is not easily identified. We will see it develop from within.

In the war time , it was clear to everyone who the enemy was. We then worked together to fight back.

Now it is very unclear and what is beginning to happen may well get worse.

People in our midst will take advantage of others. Thieving could increase. The privileged could take care of themselves leaving others to cope as best they can.

The future could lead to us having real friendships where these are based on trust and working together - it could be a time of enjoyment as we help each other cope.

Fun with the snow

Cumbria markets and market towns

There are many of these throughout Cumbria.

Here there are many market towns that have thriving markets.

One of the most popular is the one at Ulverston.

To find out more about this beautiful Market Town steeped in history try an excellent web site done specifically for the purpose of tempting you to visit us.

If you're wondering what this entry is all about , it was to check out how well Google lists this blog.

Very well indeed.

A search for "cumbria markets towns" found it at number nine one hour after it was posted.

So here is a great way of promoting Ulverston over the internet - this blog.

Snow Landscape from Hoad Ulverston

A video made a year ago. Having the sound of a great song greatly enhances these views from our favorite place to walk to - Hoad.  At the time - the monument wass wearing its skirt - now its totally nude - bearing all in this ferezing weather.

Thanks Colin - Let's have another one  - you've got the weather again - surely you can find something to sin (sic) about !

If you face what seems finacial disaster

Let me know if you want someone to talk to over this.

It occurs to me that there will be some who let this kind of thing to get them down.

I found it was difficult to find help when my business failed in 1986.

Even my solicitor deserted me when I went bust over my Corner House venture at the Oxfam Building in Market Square. I guess he wasn't sure he was going to get paid. Fortunately there was another one that gave me good advice.

There are somethings that one can do that help one come through feeling enriched by the experience and a stronger person for it.

Being absolutely reliable

There's an amazing story of someone showing a commitment to keeping his word.

This guy has gone to incredible lengths to honour his commitment to supply chickens for Christmas. I makes one feel good about the human race that there are people like this about.

Something I believe in totally.

My philosophy is:

Give some thought to what you commit yourself to, but having made it, keep to it.

A complementary thing to this is :

Don't be frightened of making commitments as early as possible.

It's the stuff that rich and rewarding relationships are made of.

Along with this, it has to be noted, that there are are some long term commitments we have no business making. Who is to know what will happen in the future.

Salty grit for the footpaths

There's plenty of it - if you go looking.

Ask me by email and I'll tell you where.

gd at


Missed you yesterday at the Christmas Dog get together

John gets a Christmas greeting from Colin as he returns from checking out the premisses
Mulled wine was enjoyed by the crowds that came together yesterday morning at 10:30 at Ford Park for this now annual event.

Mulled wine seems to be accepted as the Christmas drink as does mince pies, the food.

The dogs loved it!

No we didn't leave any dog shit!


No not the meaty stuff but unsolicited comments on this blog.

I'm getting more and more in foreign languages many in what I guess is Chinese and this is the first one in Russian.

Why me?

Perhaps because I generate a fair bit of traffic.

So Ulverston is being targetted (quite rightly (!)) by the internationals.

Nothing in Arabic script so far.

The original was:

Тестирование — это первоклассный способ исследования определённых качеств и свойств личности. Тесты позволят вам читать внутрь себя, проверить свои возможности, узнать себя ближе. Любопытство это безраздельно из двигателей прогресса, а так же [url=]хороший средство для веб мастера заработать[/url] для этом.
Пользователи, пройдя тест, отправляют СМС чтобы его оплаты, а вы получаете комиссионные начиная с 70% через прибыли и выше!
Партнерская список с тестами отличается от стандартных партнерок двумя вещами: высокими комиссионными, как сказано выше - 70% через прибыли, и возможностью демонстрировать тесты, с через iframe, весь для страницах своего сайта и не только.
[url=]Заработок вебмастеру на смс тестах[/url].

(I've removed the urls)

Which according to Google Translate means:

Testing - a first class way to research certain qualities and personality traits. The tests allow you to read yourself into, check out the possibilities, find themselves closer. Curiosity is undivided of the engines of progress, as well as [url removed by Geoff] a good tool for Web masters to make [/ url] for it.
Others who passed the test, send SMS to its payment, and you will receive a commission ranging from 70% in profits and higher!
Partner list with tests differs from the standard affiliate for two things: high commissions, as mentioned above - 70% after earnings and the opportunity to demonstrate the tests, with a iframe, all for your pages and more.
[Url removed] Earnings webmaster for sms tests .

Yesterday I got this which doesn't appear to have a URL link:

(I get lots in what I assume is Chinese and don't publish them)


Which is translated as:

Adults will い で の out great excitement! Su 敵 な に night were too ご を せ る ー パ Exploration & Suites ナ ー を し ま せ ん か? っ ta ri cut cut relationship between physical relationship だ け で も OK!

Those that can read Russian or Chinese (or both) will no doubt have a chuckle at the attempt by Google to translate.

Enough is provided to give us the gist of what it's all about.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Hope you haven't got a photographer in the house

That's a silly hope - he'll (it's most likely to be a he - women aren't normally that obsessive - they're multitaskers after all - how can they be?) be spending his time outdoors.

I have to be wary - it could be the end of a 'beautiful relationship'.

"Do you mind, dear, if I stop again (for the tenth time) to take a photograph, darling."

" You carry on, you big Oaf"

"Can't you see that I'm frozen to the spot waiting after the last request"
"I'd have gone home an hour ago if I could only move"

"The Christmas Turkey must be a lovely shade of black - no charcoal - by now. It will look really beautiful with some gold trimmings around it - really show them off well."

Well here's the result:

True art is far more to be prized than a slap-up meal; isn't it?

Well isn't it?

Surely you've got to say "YES"

Upper Gill Banks
Yes, yet another (bloody) sunrise/set with snow in the fore/middle/backgound

"Surely we can have a picture of a cat by the Christmas Tree for a change"

Funny you should say that:

"Do you mind Dear whether I just slip this one in too, Darling, Honey bunch . . .  that meal was delicious"


How did those little Christmas trees get there?

The Market Street Christmas Tree has had babies.

That was quick.

It had only been here in Ulverston a week and now look what's happened.

It's all in the earth we have here.

No wonder there are so many kids around!

This was the spot where passers by where being hit by cars by the dozen last Thursday Market Day.

Dozens of cars, dozens of people including one police officer who was compelled to caution the assailant with:

"Go easy Geoff"

Here are the miscreants:

Sad and forlorn at Christmas

This sad little NHS Van has been all on its own since the snow landed.

Save a thought for poor stranded little vans.

She needs a name.

Aniseed comes to mind - Why?

Good to see you on Christmas Day

From Geoff who runs the blog.

From Corrin Hanlin of the Ulverston Scrap Store who provided the materials and designed the card


From Alex who had the inspiration and decorated the Gill 'Tree'.

May you have an enjoyable day if if not - send us a message - and we'll say hello back.

Friday, 24 December 2010

One great photo from JAK

I asked - what is it?

" We walked our boundarys banging a Goat skin Bodran
to chase the evil spirits away at the solstice dawn.

. . . . .  And wake the neighbors!

That is the dawn through the skin and we chant :"

Let hope and peace come with this light

to illuminate and cheer the way

for from the darkness of the night

will come a better - brighter day


Flag making back on track (with other possibilities)

Ulverston is very fortunate indeed.

Two of the original team who made the flags for Flag Fortnight at Sir John Barrow school are back making flags.

All their skill and experience will be passed on to those interested.

Sadly no flags have been made of a while - no one turned up at an earlier workshop.

A new workshop is planned in the week following January 15th and a project to decorate every house in The Gill is proposed.

The team have the know-how, the materials and equipment and welcome anyone who wants to get involved.

Can you visualise an area of town that would enjoy a set of flags?

How about Central Drive Croftlands? How about South Ulverston?

A Facebook group has been set up for communication.

An exciting (for me) side product of this group could be the making of kites - I'm mad about Kites - one of my past keen interests. I too have some materials and expertise in making these.

Could we combine Flags and Kites and other things that go flap and whoosh in the wind?

How about flute like musical 'things' that blow notes in the wind - I'm sure they must exist. They could go on 'The Railings'.

And then there are things that go clang . . . .

And can the beck be made to gurgle at particular frequencies.

Could it be that we'll have a celebration of the earth's natural forces ?

With a bit of solar power thrown in for good measure?


Dry stone walling available

This comes  from taking down an outside wall of a house.

Anyone interested?


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Another snow sculpture

From Derek at Swarthmoor:

Definitely my last snow sculpture for a while, my seasonal visitor
"Arthur Itis" is giving me grief.

Regards Derek.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It does the spirit good to realise

That if you want something done - you can do it yourself.

The feeling of confidence gradually grows as you realise that if you want something done  it is far better to get together with other people who have a philosophy of doing rather than talking.

The result is that strong relationships develop with people you can rely on. People who don't make a fuss. People who are not pompous idiots puffing themselves up with self importance but quiet confident people who take it for granted that you can rely on them to do something.

These people are those that if they say they will do something, you don't have to have a doubt, no need to remind them, no need to check, no need to doubt. No frustration and tearing your hair out, wondering how you will get them to honour a promise they made.

No the job will just get done. No fanfare, no announcement to the world of what a brilliant person they are.

Then having worked hard achieving what to some is an enormous task we can enjoy the pride of achievement and witness the gratitude of those that benefit.

Because I'm avoiding contact or even thinking about people who make promises and don't deliver, my thinking and face to face contact is with happy confident people who don't hesitate to roll their sleeves up when a job needs doing.

So for the year ahead please remind me when I sound frustrated that this emotion is a waste of valuable energy. InsteadI need turn to myself or to others who keep promises and work very hard with a big smile on their faces.

A message to the grumpy ones who think they have a right to moan on this blog about me not being able to take criticism. Just remember "It's my Party and I'm write/shout /jump up and down if I want to."

So if they don't like it - tough - go start your own blog and don't expect to be able to voice your opinions here. I've work hard at this blog and you get published here as a privileged so; I can enjoy stuffing your stupid negative comments into the bin if I want.

And my - that's fun!

Power  - over our own affairs - for those willing to graft.

Spectacular Sunrise

Every one seems to have got excited about this sunrise of yesterday and got their favourite snaps - here are mine - was this a warning of the immanent Earthquake that happen yesterday evening! My didn't it rumble on for a long time. Futhermore it seems to have been felt over a very wide area of the North West.

Here is the sunrise - recording an earthquake takes far quicker reactions than I have!

Flag Fortnight in May

I've been talking to Sue Redhead and she is willing to run a workshop to make new flags for the above.

We have yet to agree an exact date but it will be soon after January 15th and not on a Monday or Tuesday.

Sue has all the know-how, materials and equipment to cut new designs. I imagine a sewing machine will be useful but if you're good with your hands I'm sure you will learn fast and you'll be mixing with a great bunch of people.

So if you want a flag for your house or premises or are willing to help to make flags for others, here is the place to start - email me at gd at

The location is still to be decided but you can start sketching out ideas for your design. These can be moderately intricate. Sue has a great colour sense and will have materials to suggest if she has copies of your design beforehand.

I've created a Facebook page in order to communicate more effectively so search for 'Flag Fortnight Ulverston' and you'll find us.

This page will be a place where you should be able to get up-to-date information on all aspects of the Flag Fortnight as it becomes available.

I've also spoken to Gavin Knott of Appleseeds and Jean Povey.

Gavin knew nothing about any problems with the running of Flag Fortnight and didn't believe that traders and Shopkeepers had been informed of any changes at present.

Whereas Jean assumed that I knew of the potential problems.

Gavin is strongly behind the whole town getting involved with this event and suggested that it should run for a full month because it was such an asset to the town and gave us all a 'lift'.

It was such fun and colourful.

He agreed that there would be traders who would appreciate some organisation behind this event.

There seems to be some doubt as to who exactly owns the Flags so it is important to get everything sorted out.

Hopefully Jayne Kendall and her group can be persuaded to get make a decision soon, as to what happens next, so that everyone can be clear what to expect.

Sent in my readers of this blog


Next from Swarthmoor:

Winter Solstice 2010 @ Swarthmoor.

Regards Derek.
And from Coniston:

Ken and Linda

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


I've always found , here in Ulverston, that people are particularly friendly at Christmas.

There's a lot of friendly banter about and with this cold spell there's a great communal spirit and concern for each other.

This is perhaps more prevalent where people live close to each other. I imagine there will be more of it about in areas of terrace housing than in the grand housing areas of The Drive and Ford Park. Here it's possible for people not to have a clue about who lives next door or if they do know something  - it's very little.

With last night's, I suspect, lowest temperature for many years (our water supply froze) there will be others for whom this weather is not a time for taking fabulous photos but one of hardship and perhaps misery.

Now is a time to be watching out for those who are having a hard time coping. A knock at the door to check that help is not needed will be in order.

A balance has to be struck , enjoyment and concern for others - moderation in all things - as they say.

Nevertheless the occasional extremes add spice to life.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

I'm sure it must have been said before

Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

Lighten up.

It's Sunday the 19th December - six days before Christmas Day and  . . . .

The world could go 'pop' at any minute.

So would you live any differently if you knew for sure that it was about to disappear in an almightly 'pop' very soon  - - before 'they' could catch up with you.

Not too seriously I hope - How about doing all those naughty childish things you've never dared to.

Well tomorrow is Monday the magical 20th December - the day everyone has the chance to do anything they like  - - - and get away with it - because after all the earth may go . . .



Normal service may be resumed . . . .

 . . . .

some day soon.

Fun and games at The Bay Horse, South Ulverston

Looks like here are a few young women who would enjoy a roll in the . . . . hay snow.

Snow Heroes in other parts of Ulverston

Sun and Star Street:

Star street have some - Stars!

And where are these?

If you have some Heroes in your area of Ulverston - let me know I'll come and photo or video them!

Snow in Ulverston

My that blue is rather unbelievable !

Spot the 'deliberate' mistake.

I've got my learner plates on!

There's a great atmosphere around the town when you go out. Is it because one meets others that enjoy a challenge - and the wingers and negative people stay at home telling each other how terrible 'things' are?

Doing something for others - that you don't have to - certainly ends up making you feel really good and positive about life in general.

I can see a New Year's resolution coming on.

And didn't I say that I'd get the festivals web page done - nearly finished but with a fair bit to do!

Good to have projects waiting in line to tackle!

Here's some more path clearances I spotted.

Corner of Church Walk and going up to Beech Bank.
Anyone else have photos that should acknowledge other Snow Heroes ?

Send them to me at gd at and I''l put them here in a Snow Heroes section!

Snow heroes in Union Lane and beyond

The movement spreads - snowballing  - one might say!

And now Stanley Street and The Gill join in!

Next stop Ulverston Town Centre!

Other 'Snow Heroes' -see here

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Big Freeze

With all the cancellations of transport reported in the Evening Mail I trust that people are finding that other people are stepping in and helping out.

My thoughts are for the taxi drivers that may be urged to make dangerous journeys when they are tired, and have fractious customers when they follow their better judgment and refuse to taxi.

Generally I'm finding everyone very cheerful and treating the snow as a bit of fun.

The clearing of snow has reached new heights here in the Union Lane vicinity. Not only is our lane completely clear of snow and gritted for a good 8ft width so cars can move freely, but pavement clearing has spread round the corner into Stanley Street in both directions.

You can at the moment walk all the way from the Gill to the Health Centre on cleared gritted pavement - its amazing and all done by four people and a helping gutsy young girl.

These people are clearly Snow Heroes and waiting for their rewards - did I hear someone was offering a bottle of malt whisky to each person (no not the little girl). All offers willingly accepted!

Tesco / Coop

Shopping yesterday
Both at approximately 11.00 am

I wonder which is the most popular.

Are people voting with their feet . . . .
Having now checked out the products and the service on offer?

Should we be preparing for a Tesco pull out as the recession bites?

(You heard it here first!)

We'd better have some ideas of what to do with the Tesco space.

Anyone fancy a bouncy-castle play park?

I wonder where I got that idea.

Could someone put me down for one of the first bounces along with my three year old mates ?

Now wouldn't that be fun?


It's that . . . Snow again

Tank square last night

Off to clear the lane again - 

Before it gets trodden and driven over!

Friday, 17 December 2010

The sinking feeling in my stomach

Has now disappeared.

I've taken the plunge and offered to organise and run the next Flag Fortnight should this help be needed.

I've already been offered:

Storage for the Flags

Help on the day to put flags up and take them down from several fit young men. Looks like we've a potential team of over ten of them.

Having been deeply involved with this project with Elizabeth Green who led the team that made most of them, a few years back, I go into this project with my eyes open.

Here's an interview I filmed with her a few years back followed by my attempt to make a dramatic March of the Flags - pretty good stuff even though I say it myself. I like the Prokofiev music - from the Romeo and Juliet gang confrontation.

This is followed by the video on Flag Fortnight itself  - now getting good ratings on Youtube - 1,800 viewings.

Done to promote the happy side of Ulverson - bit of a fudge really  - but it has high 'feel good ' factor which is what we need these days.

Another Allan Wilson Photograph

This, Allan tells me, is from a previous winter.

I see the forecasts are for bitter cold weather with it looks like dustings of snow until a weeks time when there may be a heavier fall.

Please to say that we on our lane are ready again to tackle whatever is thrown at us.

Two neighbours have already armed themselves with grit that can be picked up at the SLDC depot in North Lonsdale Road. I suspect Cllr James Airey has had something to do with ensuring that this supply is available.

Well done James - lead  by example!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The first of Allan Wilson's December photos

A Waxwing on the Canal last week.

Absolutely superb.

(May I remind you that you can see the full size version by clicking on the image itself)

Big Brother 'Takes Care of Us'

Whether we like it or not.

The Railways are a law unto themselves and unlike most other organisations are extremely difficult to communicate with.

Big Brother knows what is best for us and treats us like ignorant plebs.

Most people object to be treated like morons - if we can cross a busy road with safety how much easier it is to cross a line with only a train every now and then - credit us with some intelligence.

Here in Ulverston we are having a valuable facility being undermined by sheer blind obstinacy.

We can no longer cross the line at Ulverston Station but are expected to use the subway.

At the moment this is only on a trial basis - December 4th to 20th - but you wonder what will happen next.

Many people ignore this stipulation and cross the line anyway even though this is made difficult by the the obstructions put in place.

Though this is a facility that isn't used by many, for those that would benefit from wheeling their bike or their heavy case carrier across the line there has been and one suspects will in the future be totally unnecessary hassle.

Why do unthinking authorities want to throw their weight about and make life difficult for us?

The policy at Ulverston makes no rational sense because only a few stops down the line at Silverdale there is no other way of crossing to the other platform than to go over the line. This must work fine and its not as though there won't be many people using the station because its used a lot in connection with the popular bird sanctuary.

I would urge you to make a fuss if you see this restriction as totally unecessary.

It isn't in our natures to object and this is the way Big Brother does what he likes.

However for those it does affect it can be a real pain adding stress to what most of us find a demanding experience - traveling with heavy cases or a bike particularly if we may be disabled.

Why do we have to find time for what should be such a basic right?  Life is difficult enough and most of us can't find the energy for yet another hassle.

The Green Party, here in Ulverston, to their credit is putting up a fight over this issue but it isn't easy.

Get in touch with our secretary, Judith Filmore by email  using  judyfilmore at (or me by email and I'll forward your posting - gd at ) if you  feel enraged and are willing to help. We haven't given up and plan further action.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New Facebook Page

The Railings Ulverston

Is the name given to the group that is involved with activities related to The Railings at Gill Banks Ulverston.

A web site has been created to describe what has been done here regarding the attachment of pottery to the railings here.

Please join this group if you would like to be kept informed about activities to do with this community project.

Some very attractive business cards are in the process of being printed with contact information on them.

Shout out if you'd like some!

Stocking Fillers from Ulverston Scrap Store

These are some of the things that are available from the Scrap Store opposite Sir John Barrow's Cottage, Ulverston.

I'll be distributing these at the Market Cross - outside Murray's chemist - next Thursday Market Day from 10:00 - the distribution may land on the top of your head - so wear a helmet!

What you see  are all soft rubber rejects and they are free once you've joined the scheme - which costs very little.

The store is open next Tuesday 2  till 5 pm and then after Christmas.

For more information about this new service visit their web site

I've been back three times now!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Advance warning - Tourism - again

In my opinion the Town Council still hasn't accepted the need for a good web site to tell potential tourists about the town.

This is so sad because several people have offered and even more, designed sites for this precise purpose.

If, when I put 'Ulverston' into Google on January 1st 2011,  I can't find one of the top sites that tell me the dates of most of the festivals that will be taking place in 2011, then I shall blow my top with all the gunpowder that I can muster.

At the moment , as far as I'm aware, there isn't a single site in the top ten that has this information on it.

The period after Christmas is the one that people use to plan their holidays. An increasing number use the Internet to help them make their choices.  They will be swayed to visit the area if they can find out when our activities occur and better still a good site that tells them about the area.

Councillors Judy Pickthall who is looking into the need for a web site for the town and Colin Williams who is aware of the need for a good web site, and Paul Jarvis, Chairman of the Ulverston Community Partnership who opted for the SLDC site to replace , please take note!

These three people have been notified of this posting.

I hardly think tourists will be greatly impressed by the long list of coffee mornings being offered by the now top site hosted by SLDC which has been chosen to represent Ulverston by the Town Council and the Ulverston Community Partnership.

I believe that there is some urgency to put this matter straight before Christmas for the reasons stated above.

What do people think?

Am I being unreasonable?


I enjoy Christmas because I treat the period in a very laid back way.

I  try to a avoid feeling pressure to do anything that I don't really want to.

Some years,   Christmas cards are sent out, others they aren't. Giving presents for the sake of it is avoided.

This means that I rarely if ever buy presents unless I'm struck with a brilliant idea.

We also encourage others not to give us presents. There's a strong chance that we wouldn't like them.

Often I give things that I've made but only if I feel inspired with what I consider is a good idea.

Sadly this means many people are puzzled because they don't understand what to expect.

After a few years they get used to not knowing and accept that they can't understand and give up trying.

Eating and drinking is kept to what we feel like which generally is very little. Christmas dinner is not common - I've even have had sandwiches and gone for a good walk. I may go down to the allotment and get some digging done if the sun is out.

In the past, one thing I have made the most of are the near empty roads on Christmas Day. So going off for a walk is a great activity. Tarn Hows is rewarding and to hell with the purists that tell you not to feed the birds - bird seed; but then South Walney beach would equally be a possibility.

The last few years I've met up with friends who happen to be walking their dogs at Ford Park on Christmas morning and we share some hot mulled wine. The dogs certainly know how to enjoy themselves and its great watching them.

The lack of availability of friends who are spending time with their families means that I have time to catch up with much needed tidying up.

This year playing the piano is a priority because I'm enjoying it so much. Variations on 'God rest you merry gentlemen' is my present challenge - as you'll no doubt shortly hear.

When eventually the splurge is over and things are back to normal we are content.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Update on the Flooding Danger in South Ulverston

As you will know from this blog, since running for the post of County Councillor a couple of years ago, I have maintained a strong interest in developments of the flooding situation in South Ulverston.

I have attended and taken an active role in both the meetings held in the Coronation Hall which I have found most unsatisfactory.

However at these two meeting I have got to know David Myers who is very involved with a group that has regular meeting with the Environment Agency.

Here is his report which he has given permission for me to publish here:

Hello Geoff,

The Environment Agency has been co-operative.

They have listened to everything we have said, and have done, or are doing
something about it. Last week's heavy rain had water from Dragley Beck going
down Rope Walk, but the shallow mound put in the Donkey Field interrupts the
path of the water towards Steel Street.    

Low Mill bridge has had some dredging, and the beck downstream of it has had
(and is having) considerable work done to it: debris removed and trees and
tree roots cleared - at least from the South bank. It flows like a river.

The exchanges are friendly, and our perception is that they will do
something towards everything we suggest.

There was an old tidal flap not working, and thence the tidal water entered
Carter Pool uninhibited, but they cleared some debris, for a 95%
improvement. The tidal flap at Priory Point is incorrectly designed, and
cannot close by tidal influence because its centre of gravity is in the
wrong place - it needs a counterbalance. Fortunately this cannot affect
South Ulverston because it is on the other side of a bank.

There may be a public meeting soon, but no date is set yet, and there is
absolutely no doubt that we have moved forward a long way since last year.

Thank you for your interest.

As you will gather from my video, I confirm that a lot of work has been done downstream from Low Mill Bridge which is the stretch that has been filmed. Debris that I started to clear myself has now been removed however in my view the bridge itself shows no improvement and must still serve as a bottleneck for the Beck trying to escape to the sea.

I would have thought the shingle under the bridge also needs to be removed so that it returns to having the much greater clearance that has been described to me by people who live locally.

The clear straight path that is now there downstream of the bridge needs to be replicated upstream up to Birks Bridge ie beyond the place that the river burst its banks and travels to Steel Street.

This I would have thought will provide a better chance that flood water goes to the sea and not to South Ulverston.

Do other people agree with my reasoning?

I'm hoping that there will finally be a public meeting where we will get straight answers, but don't cross your fingers. It could become painful.

I can well understand people becoming frustrated.

Maybe the above report will be reassuring.

But has it done anything to lessen the likelyhood of flooding in South Ulverston?

Doing mad things - for the fun of it!

There was a refreshing program on TV the other night about people still getting together to do things that on the surface of them have no point other than to do it.

This is something we have a tradition of in Ulverston and thoroughly enjoy - for example the Lantern Procession.

Rachel Unthank and here sister took us on a tour of places who still celebrate 'crazy' dancing of a very English character in their program on BBC - now on iPlayer.

A snippet is shown below

Here are some of the other headings:-

A lovely program with a different to usual perspective!

Friday, 10 December 2010

A letter from Tim Farron

Because I'm impressed with Tim and have had meetings with him when I get the opportunity - I receive his circulars: This one has just arrived dealing with the Tuition Fees Debate.

His web site gives you a run down on the issues he is currently fighting - you may want to support him - even though he's not our MP here in Ulverston.
One campaign he is conducting is to keep Cheques after 2018 when - at present - they will be phased out. Register you vote if you're concerned.

From Tim:
You may have noticed that I voted against the Whip last night – I voted against the increase in tuition fees, as did 20 other Lib Dem MPs including Ming Campbell and Charles Kennedy. I’m sorry if any of you think that this was a disloyal thing to do. I am a huge fan of Nick Clegg, but this once I had to disagree.

Our manifesto in May set out plans to phase out fees over a 6 year period – but of course we didn’t win the election outright, we are in coalition and we must rightly compromise. However, I also signed a separate pledge to young people in Westmorland & Lonsdale that I would oppose any rise in fees. When I signed that pledge, I meant it – and having made a promise I was determined to keep it.

I made my opposition to a fees rise public a few weeks ago and since then we have managed to extract more and more progress on the fees front. So, although I am disappointed that the government will increase the headline figure of fees, it’s also vital that we celebrate what we have achieved on student fees. For example:

- Part time students (and most local students are part-time) have their upfront fees abolished
- No student will pay any upfront fees at all – only graduates earning more than £21,000
- The average graduate will pay £30 a month, whereas under the current system the average student pays £75 a month
- To make sure that poorer graduates pay nothing, richer graduates will pay more – which is fairer

Let’s be honest, though, the Lib Dems have taken a hammering in the media and in public opinion on this issue – frankly, I think we asked for it! But I am not prepared to just sit and feel miserable about it, that’s why I will be out on the birdcage in Kendal this weekend talking to local people, its why I’m out knocking on doors doing residents surveys from Sedbergh to Flookburgh and from Ambleside to Burton, and its why I’m doing public meetings with sixth-formers this week. Being in power gives us the chance to make a real difference – but it also means making difficult decisions. Having spent 24 years as a Young Liberal, and now as a middle-aged Lib Dem, I am proud of our party. There will be some supporters who will find the going tough – they might even feel like giving up. I would say to them – please don’t! We’ve been through tougher times than these.

So, I apologise for my rebellion the other night, but my loyalty is above all to you and to everyone else in Westmorland and Lonsdale.
Best wishes,

"Festivals under threat"

No one commented earlier when I asked what people's reaction was to the Dickensian Festival.

The press reports:  the Gazette concentrates on the need for marshals whereas the News emphasises the costs of future policing.

As ever we need to make our views heard to our councillors who will be guiding future events.

There will be people from both sides of the argument.

For me the main issue is  - Do the majority of Ulverstonians enjoy this particular festival?

Forget the other benefits - Do we enjoy ourselves?

Some argue that if there are too many people it gets to the point that the financial benefits are not outweighed by the inconvenience to 'normal' living. But then it's not meant to be a normal week end.

Many of the stalls have nothing to do with Dickens and only result in those providing the stalls taking money away with them. Some like this one got few customers and blocked access to the donkeys behind.

In The Gill the local donkeys had a hard time because they could get round The Gill for the massive out of town machinery and stalls that were brought in.

But then there will be a spin off for others that benefit from the increased numbers in the town.

If there is a need for expensive policing in the future then the whole concept  of bringing large numbers of people in from outside should be questioned.

There are plenty of our festivals that don't involve large numbers of people such as the Flag Festival which in my view is one of the best. I doubt that the Lantern Parade needs many police either.

For our part in the Gill we are very happy with our Halloween activity which is aimed at bringing local people together just to have a bit of fun. We want to steer away from anything commercial and 'official' and are pleased that our event required no stewarding or input from the police though they were well informed.

It cost the town - or the participants if they chose - nothing. Next year we believe we can  put the whole event on less than ten pounds.

It's good to have different kinds of activity going on in the town, then if one concept starts to run into problems, then another can fill the gap.

Correspondence with Cllr Colin Hodgson and Tony Naylor of SLDC

Email sent Wednesday 8th December to both.

Subject: Latches on the gates at Mill Dam

Colin and Tony,

Are you both aware that, having waited so long for the Council to replace the  latches on the gates at Mill Dam,  one of them is already broken.

This is almost certainly due to normal usage which has resulted in work hardening at the weakest point in their design.

Surely the council can come up with a better design and way of installing it. (A single washer at the breaking point would have helped enormously).

This result reenforces the view that if you want something done, you are better doing the job yourselves.

We are still waiting for repairs to be done to the bench and the provision of a picnic table as was promised by Tony Naylor to replace the one that was there before and was removed by the council.

It was there until recently - see the attached photo. ( The one that is now in the park, we provided - and repaired - at a cost of £125).

Could you give a date when you anticipate the latches will be replaced with more substantial ones; the bench  repaired and a picnic table be supplied.

We can then determine whether it would be more expedient for us to make and install latches; repair the bench and buy a picnic table ourselves.

Many thanks for your anticipated speedy reply


It's a joy to get back to our lane !

After struggling across slippery ice everywhere else!

And very little salt and grit used !

More creative art!

One of you has sent a link to the site where these can be found:

And this one
Reminds me of a politician!
For more of this brilliant work click here

Meredith Dittmar