Sunday, 28 February 2010

Love a good photo ?

As a result of adding the slide show here on the top right, I started to explore Flickr .

By clicking on an image you are taken to a larger version and the creator of the photo.

Doing this I was taken to a beutiful scene of a tree-lined road leading into the far distance.

The photo had won numerous awards and the photographer was a member of Spartacus. You can access these here, though you will have to register with Yahoo!

Well worth the effort!

Here I shall change the tag or key word for the slide show, every now and then, that draws on pictures on Flickr.

It would be great if you suggested some keywords yourselves and I'll use them and we'll see what we get!

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Whoopse - What was that I just said?

I heard myself saying that I'll have my allotment weed free in a month's time!

Well having said this, off the top of my head, I'd better look at the reality.

One month is only four weeks and this means roughly April 1st.

As I haven't quite finished digging all over and the place is covered in Couch Grass - and now I hear I may have Mare's tail - I better get cracking.

The Couch Grass roots are known as Wicks, if I've heard right. They're easy to spot and I've renamed then "White Gold" just to make me feel good about amassing a pile of them.

Mare's Tail, I'm advised is something that is weedkiller resistant and is hard to get rid of. So what do the roots look like? While I'm fishing the white ones out , I need to watch out for these.

I'm told they're the innocent looking 'dead' earth coloured roots that lurk amongst the clods of earth. These will be much more difficult to spot. Perhaps they will give themselves away by producing bright green shoots within the next month?

Will we stop and think?

Another example of uncaring people assuming that the animal kingdom is there for the amusement of humans.

Now surprise surprise we discover we are dealing with a frustrated animal.

One that has been penned in for most of its life in a concrete cell with no taste of the ocean freedom it craves.

This treatment of animals is consistent with many people's attitude to the protein they eat and the way they treat elderly relatives. (Texco Chickens and old people's homes)

Yes other people's and animal's quality of like is of secondary importance to our own needs.

We have little self-esteem so other people and animals are of little importance.

I refuse to live this way.

The Allotment calls. The plot is now nearly dug over and my body a lot fitter!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Praise indeed!

From someone's blog - worth a read!

"And such a wonderful place as Ulverston stays in the memory long after . . . ."

"can already feel all the tension and worry and sleeplessness all sloughing off, time for me, for plenty of walking, maybe a bit of beachcombing and maybe a couple of beers along the way..."

Followed by interesting comments about the lantern procession.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Town is still buzzing

I can't get over how lucky/privileged we in Ulverston were, to be visited by, not just six, but eight very very talented performers.

They have left waves and waves of 'feel good' all over the town and I suspect the surrounding district fifty miles out.

The Coro was absolutely packed in fact it was extremely full half and hour before the show was due to start last Friday night. One got the feeling that some had camped out in the freezing cold the night before in order to secure a good seat.

There was a lovely friendly bubbling of excited anticipation well before the 'curtain went up'. During the show the man behind me chortled and laughed in the most relaxed way possible.

Here we had a co-ordinated group of top performers that were encouraged to demonstrate their individual talents to the full. What a team.

What was transmitted was a group of individuals that were enjoying themselves being creative to the full. A whole range of talents were poured out. Not a minute was a boring repetition of anything that had gone before. Each player played their parts with gusto and confidence.

What's more we were treated to the full works of eight instrumentalists. The two that additions to the six above were no sidekicks either. Ulverston was being treated to the very best. A show worthy of the Albert Hall and great venues of Europe that they frequent.

The only shows that match this for me are the Manchester Camerata - when occasionally you know that every musician is there because they are enjoying themselves with every part of their being. Similarly when people we know well in real life, demonstrate that they can become characters that are hard to recognise because of the roles they play in The Outsiders.

As you see I've been really carried away by this experience. Who's going to match this by bring us another show of similar high standard in a year's time. (My memory bank of positive experiences is now topped up and will last that long I reckon).

Can we book them again for 2015 please.

Who are they?

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain of course!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Keeping each other warm!

Where they come from they're used to far colder weather!

Carrying Snow to Beatleland

Caption ?

This appealed to my sense of humour!


A stitch in time saves nine !

It will take no more than five minutes to sweep off the fresh snow from the pavement outside your house now.

Doing this will prevent the snow becoming compacted by walkers and ending up as ice tomorrow morning.

By now we could be in practice for a bit of communal co-operation!

With ten minutes spent, not only will your stretch of pavement be clear but that of the next five houses as well.

Shall we have an award for the best neighbourhoods?

And remember, the salt is for public use : not your private drive.

If we sweep the snow first, very little salt is required!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Spring is round the corner - honest !

Taken mid March , last year!

Assisted Dying

This topic has come up as a developing issue in the previous posting.

Like the issue of homosexuality some years ago, people are "coming out" with what they really stand for.

They are saying "The law is wrong. It needs changing" and they go further and challenge society to prosecute them.

I find this very encouraging as I face a similar dilema in the not to distant future and I know what I don't want to happen.

Too many people, I find, want to ignore any suggestion of unpleasantness. They acquire deaf ears and blind vision even when it is obvious something is done. (This is happening at the moment in Ulverston over the issue of democracy in the Furness U3A - the retired people's organisation. Something I will be covering shortly).

In an article in today's Guardian
, Barrie Sheldon below has highlighted the issue of assisted dying in clear terms that indicate clearly that a change in the law is essential if cruelty in dying is not to continue.

The Guardian reports:

Then, in 1982, with her health deteriorating to the extent she would soon not be able to take her own life, Sheldon helped her select the right drug, gathered enough of the pills, counted them out and left her for a weekend. When he returned on Sunday night she was not dead, but in agony. She died four days later in hospital.

"This is unfinished business," Barrie Sheldon said. "I have a burning resentment of the police, the great and the good. The politicians, legal and medical professionals allowed her birth but didn't give her the possibility of assisted suicide. This is a gross injustice and it has wrecked my life. From time to time it overwhelms me. I should have been with her. I should have done what Ray Gosling did, but the police would have put a murder charge on me if I would have been in that house."

He continues:

"This is unfinished business, I have a burning resentment of the police, the great and the good. The politicians, legal and medical professionals allowed her birth but didn't give her the possibility of assisted suicide. This is a gross injustice and it has wrecked my life. From time to time it overwhelms me. I should have been with her. I should have done what Ray Gosling did, but the police would have put a murder charge on me if I would have been in that house."

I've come across some in Ulverston that are unhappy about the way relatives are being treated here who are suffering from dementia.

It seems to me that "the system" appeared to take over with someone I knew who was dying of cancer. The wishes of the patient appeared to come second to the way the NHS believed his illness should be dealt with.

Are we being robbed of the ability of running our own lives - and deaths?

I suspect that Ulverston people are ready to discuss such an issue?

Gladys Hobson certainly is. I'm sure there are more like her.

In fact there's a group in Ulverston that will be discussing this issue in April - if you're interested, I'm sure that you would be welcome !

Monday, 15 February 2010

Beware of us old foggies

If you are under fifty and working, make sure the retired take their share of shouldering the economic problems this country has.

There's an attitude around that once you are of retirement age the rest of the world owes you a good time as though it's your right and you've earnt it.

This may be true for some but certainly not all.

In some sections of society, people are dying at an average age of 71 whilst in others the age is 88.

Many of the older people have accrued considerable amounts of money without trying. When they were young they could have bought property very cheaply.

I bought 4 Beech Bank in 1960 for £ 1400. As a Ph.D. my starting salary at Glaxo was £900 per year. House price only one and a half times my salary. I sold the house for £1800 in 1963.

The money financed a trip to America where I chose to work for Shell in California, having toured the States for three months checking out the jobs available.

In 1970 I returned to Ulverston with £10,000 and bought The Falls, a farm with lots of outbuildings, for £5,500 plus £1,500 for ten acres of land. This sold for £160,000 in 1983.

Had I chosen to continue investment in a similar way I would be worth tens of millions now.

I didn't!

No doubt I am on the upper end of earning ability but many others of my age, 74, will have had similar opportunities.

I am shocked that the political parties are holding back from working together to come up with a fair scheme for older and younger people. There is a shortfall of 6 billion pounds per year for funding care for an increasingly aging population. We should all be working together to support a fair proposal. We need to accept that the older generations need to contribute substantially to their last years.

Joan Bakewell was pointing out on Andrew Marr's Sunday morning show that the Telegraph have written a very fair appraisal of the problem. MPs must stop using us as a political football, says Joan Bakewell. A rational debate about care is urgently needed.

So why do all the parties shrink from working together to agree a fair scheme?

Is it not that they are afraid of upsetting the older voters who whinge about needing money. Instead the issue is being made into the political football mentioned above.

With people living longer and longer, the retired represent an increasing proportion of the population.

Their votes are important to the politicians.

Could it be that because of votes, they are very scared of upsetting them. If so they would be willing to allow the working population to pay an increasing proportion of money to finance the easygoing lives of the elderly.

Another side of this argument is the unwillingness of the government to allow us to die when life becomes intolerable. Something that all too often happens in many care homes with those suffering from alzheimer's disease. Terry Pratchet made a plea for assisted suicide, something I firmly support as I become concerned about life as I grow old.

If the government faced up making difficult decisions, about these two issues then I would be a lot happier, believing I was not going to be an unfair burden on those coping with two jobs, two children and enormous mortgage and an uncertain future: a complete contrast to my own life. Furthermore I could stop being made to experience a living death at great cost to the public.

Make sure the person you vote for in coming elections is willing to make a stand and be fairer in the way they tax the working population particularly the young that are struggling to buy a roof over their heads.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A talent with working with wood

Yesterday morning, I visited Sue Swatridge's workshop high above the A590 in the opposite direction to Lindale, near Grange.

She made the much admired bench in The Gill and has now made me a one legged stool which I went to collect. This will enable a third person to sit with us as we sit out in front of our house - I'll be moving onto the stool! It becomes stable when my two legs provide the rest of three point support necessary!

Sue takes naturally occurring shapes in trees like the oaks that have been felled so that there is the minimum of waste resulting in quirky and very sturdy furniture.

For the three legs of a table she takes a tree that naturally has three branches coming out together. In this way no wood joints are required for the leg and just one need to join the legs to the table top.

With this original approach she has produced beautiful locally occurring hardwood furniture that costs a fraction of what traditional furniture would.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

It could happen here!

Couldn't it?

We're having talks with Tony Naylor of SLDC to see why not!

How about :

Mill Dam Playground

Gill Banks

Lightburn Park

Just for starters.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

SLDC assist Ulverston Company to market their wares

Taken from this article

An Ulverston computer software company is to showcase its products and services to thousands of buyers from all over the world, at this February's Spring Fair International trade show.

This is one of the world’s major buying events and is being hosted at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Last years show was attended by over 50,000 people from 92 countries.

Etail Systems Ltd provides businesses with highly effective ecommerce solutions, which enable companies to trade online. They are now expanding to offer the service to businesses across the UK.

South Lakeland District Council has provided them with a Marketing Support Grant, enabling them to exhibit their services at the Spring Fair International trade show. SLDC look to provide Grants to businesses that are planning new marketing strategies.

Jayne Kendall, Development Manager for SLDC, said: “We are very pleased to be able to support Etail Systems attendance at the Spring Fair with a marketing grant and look forward to their feedback. We hope that we may be able to support other businesses to attend this important event next year, perhaps as part of a South Lakeland stand.”

A message from a politician I admire

"I'd like to update you on the recent events in the ‘save Ambleside campus’ campaign. Last week we won a victory. Outdoor studies students will now be able to stay in Ambleside – which is good news for them and for the whole of Ambleside.

But I'm devastated for teacher training students who are still being asked to move, and for dozens of hard working members of staff who may now face redundancy and an uncertain future. I am working with the unions to do all I can to support staff and students, and I will continue to do so.

I've also been working hard with people like the North West Development Agency and Kendal College to present a rescue package to keep all the students at Ambleside, bring new students and to help get the university out of debt. That rescue package has hardly been considered by the university board. The university may not be entirely responsible for the mess they are in, but they must be held responsible for failing to accept real help like this.

This means that the university's decision is not final – these offers are still on the table, the university should have bitten our hands off, but if I have to spend even longer to persuade them to do the right thing, so be it.

So the fight goes on – absolutely no one should even think of giving up! I'm optimistic there can be very bright future for the Ambleside campus I'm determined to expand provision at Ambleside - with a world class tourism, hospitality and catering degree, a big increase in outdoor studies and by developing Charlotte Mason's legacy for the good of the students and the local community.

If you’d like more information on the campaign, or anything else I’m working on, please visit my website at

Finally, the General Election is only 86 days away (if it's May 6th as widely believed), so I am asking if you could spare an hour or so to help me with my re-election campaign. Together in the last 5 years we have achieved so much. But with only 267 votes between me and the Conservative last time, your support will be vital. If you can help in the office, knock on doors, erect stakeboards or deliver leaflets please do get in touch.

As always if I can help with any issue please do not hesitate to contact me,

Best wishes

Tim Farron MP
Acland House
Yard 2

Wouldn't it be great if we had a candidate of this caliber to vote for who could represent us in this area!

Sadly I haven't come across one. Any suggestions?

From Crake announcements


DATE: Saturday 13th February 2010

TIME: 7.30 pm


Plus poems from THE COMMITTEE



ENTRANCE: £6.00, £4.00 concessions (Pay at the door)

No Bar - Bring Your Own Drinks.

For more background read the Evening Mail article

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Lack of postings

I'm using all my energies at the moment in practical ways:

  • Preparing the ground for a concrete pad for a greenhouse to raise plants for public places; this also involved the rebuilding of a drystone wall right next to the proposed greenhouse!
  • Maintaining the area around Gill Banks.
  • Temporarily removing the display at Lightburn Park.
  • Bulb planting in Mill Dam Playground
  • Pottery workshops for making planters and now items for Mill Dam Playground - these continue on Saturday afternoons
If you wish to investigate this blog further, why not use the labels that are position at the right side.

For instance " high interest" features postings that attracted more than 10 comments.

There are now over 600 postings here covering a wide area of interests, why not explore some of them! Furthermore there are nearly 400 of you that regularly view this blog.

'Talk amongst yourselves" seems an appropriate comment.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Take a look at this

This to me is the ultimate in education.

Note the rubber mattress.

In these days of being supercareful, thank goodness there are adults will to take the risks of encouraging youngsters to push themselves to the limit.