Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Meetings with the prospective candidates

ULVERSTON Business Alliance hopes to organise meetings with all the political parties at the Kings Arms on Tuesday evenings.

Last Tuesday was the turn of the Liberal Party. Unfortunately I wasn't there and the Westmorland Gazette tells us nothing

Tonight March 30th, it's the turn of Labour's John Woodcock between 7pm and 8:30 (at the Kings Arms.

He's the one on the right with a cheesy grin and his majesty . What do you make of the load of bruisers with him, no doubt party notables.

Doesn't look a very imaginative guy, what with that red tie. Can't he be a bit more outrageous?

Should be fun.

Will there be anyone there other than labour supporters?

We'll see.

Now to think of some questions!

The building of County Road

Someone on Answerbank is asking when the County road was built.

I am suggesting that it was around 1966.

Any suggestions?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Another fantastic event at the Coro

Great to have the batteries recharged by these superb performers who travel here from Manchester.

Sad that there are many who completely miss out on what could be the event of a lifetime. They could have filled those occasional empty seats.

Yes the Manchester Camerata visited the town with a Piano Concerto by Chopin.

We need to bring our youngsters along to be inspired.

I was, at the age of nine with regular visits to the Paris Opera House, immediately after the war. Not by the opera but by the Ballet.

I still remember the rose petals being showered down on us from the ceiling of the hall. What an experience.

And we've got the same possibility for youngsters here in Ulverston. What are their parents thinking of to miss this opportunity?

We need all the live inspiration from real people that we can find.

Tories assume we're idiots

This post campaign will win the election for Brown.

Do we want that?

Maybe Brown will try to do the same to cameron.

Then who are the winners?

The Liberals.

Surely the days of winning an election with slick advertising by Saachi and Saachi, are over.

We've torn the MPs apart with their expenses. Now it's the turn to do the same with the media.

No longer will we be told what to think.

Thanks goodness he let people out of the prisons. They are bursting at the seams. They are ineffective. Many people who get locked up need straightening out by us, the community.

And we can tackle the problem at its roots. Do it now with the people on our own street. Get to know them. Tell them to behave.

It's us that need to take charge rather than leave it to an ineffective system.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Rainbow yesterday

Great new blog for Ulverston

The Ulverston Angling Blog is off to a brilliant start.

This is a very attractive site with great photos and presentation.

I suspect this group of people are as friendly and helpful as those I meet down at the allotment

Friday, 26 March 2010

The Greenhouse is now fully functional!

Erected ten days ago, it's already got 60 pansies getting ready for planting out in a public place near you!(These survived the winter in the cold frame).

Now freshly sown seeds donated by Chiltern Seeds are already poking through after a week

These are blue and white Salvias - sixty of them.

In total there are well over 1000 plants packet into egg trays that should be ready in a months time.

Flowers come in a wide variety of colours sizes and shapes.

We'll soon have 70 odd sweet pea plants. These will be used to cover the right hand fence of Mill Dam Playground. The more people pick the more will flower!

Here's some I grew earlier:

In 2008.

The hard work starts this Sunday morning at 7 am when I start battling with large stones and tree roots in order to dig down a few feet to get loads of compost down deep where the sweet peas will like it.

I'll be there - in Mill Dam - from 7-9 and 10:15 till 12:30 this Sunday 28th and again 10:15 till 12:30 the following Sunday April 4th.

Come with a fork or prepared to stand and watch in amazement what a 75 year old ( now, no longer 74 !) can do.

Now we have two great but very different places to enjoy a coffee

Poppies is a great place to feel part of the Ulverston Community and now the Novel Cafe´, on the Market square, provides something completely different and very special.

Several snug places to chat or browse through one of the books, or read the paper.

Not only will you find hundreds of books but art work of every kind to take home with you at reasonable prices.

Then there's computer access - it may be free , I'm not sure. Certainly you can access the internet from you laptop.

Books , books and more . . . .books.

Then there's a children's play area
And an unusual Mural on the top floor.

Taking this home may prove a little difficult.

Maybe a clock to help remind you it's time to return home. To vacate a seat for someone else.

And buy that book you're a quarter way through.

And yes that picture would look good on our wall. All for the the price of a Concert ticket at the Coro and way below that of a seat at Anfield to watch Liverpool once more fail to get that winning goal in.
And it's open till 5:00 pm and on Sunday.

Instead of buying a Sunday paper we've decided to come here to read the writeups in beautiful surroundings.

Swarthmore Hall treat

We were up last weekend to enjoy a fantastic treat of the crocusses - see them in their past glory at the side , here. They have never looked better and their memory continues to inspire.

I wonder if they are still in full bloom - or is it too late?

The new ones at Ford Park have now been followed by a beautiful show of Daffodils.

Some very thoughtful planting last year by the volunteers there.

The Crocusses in the Gill Banks planters are just coming out. The Dark Blue Hyacinths are looking great. At the moment it's safe to venture here as a major clean up of dogshit has been carried out. Dog foulers watch out, the Gill residents are out to catch you and prosecute you !

Their patience is exhausted.

Have our councillors missed another trick?

This looks like a great project. It's happening in Kendal.

Have we got something to learn about getting a similar project underway in Ulverston?

Perhaps our Ulverston leaders could pick up some tips as to how this got started in Kendal.

Grange also could give us a few ideas ; they seem to have been showing flair in what they do for several years.

Now Kendal are forging ahead.

While it's good to have the likes of Colin Hodgson involved with important projects like renovating Hoad Monument. Couldn't we have suggestions from councillors with a bit more flair like Colin Williams.

Surely we're not a one project town!

We have a much more attractive set of streets than Kendal and a much more friendly approach to visitors. So couldn't we make more of this in our town.

Instead we tolerate poor services on maintenance of our cobbles and keeping our street furniture in order (wonky sign below) and politicians act powerless to prevent this.

Yet in the case of the cobbles it was shown that a direct approach to United Utilities worked where the County Council failed. At least the former have a sense of pride in their public image; they admitted their poor workmanship and have repaired it even though legally they didn't have to.

Do we need to encourage are leaders to be more innovative? To bring people together and get things done rather than do a "Hodgson Moan" about lost services on the front page of the Mail . . . . when they've gone.

Monday, 22 March 2010

I don't know about you but . . . .

I've had enough of looking at this wonky sign for the last two months!

What message does it send out?

A job that could take just five minutes to straighten.

Who's the SLDC councillor for this area - Jamie Samson Conservative.

How about Colin Williams Labour, the Town Councillor - I would have thought he would have had it fixed!

I'm minded to give SLDC two weeks to fix it - or else - someone may have fixed it themselves!

What do you think - a couple (three - I'll direct the traffic) of us with a rope?

Or do we need a tug-of-war team.

What are the bets it can be done by a 75 year old on his own ?

It's amazing what strength you get when you get all excited!

Who's had babies then

Haven't we seen Mom before?

Yes, that was in December.

Quick worker!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A rabble of butterflies in Mill Dam Playground

We are a small group that believe that parks have an important role in enabling people in an area to get to know each other and enjoying facilities not available in our own gardens .

In the latest phase, about 50 ceramic butterflies have just been made, decorated and are now perching on the fence.

At the end of January work started on a series of Sunday mornings with the planting of 300 bulbs, mainly tulips, originally donated by B&Q and passed on via the Ulverston Community Police.

A greenhouse has been purchased and erected in a private garden to supply this and other public places with flowers and possibly vegetables raised from seeds donated by Chiltern Seeds.

We recently had a site meeting with Tony Naylor of SLDC Parks Department who supported further activity in the park and urged the formation of a small group to promote a face lift of this small park together with the now derelict Old Ulverston Pound that is adjacent. First essential repairs would be carried out then money could be found for new equipment in the next financial year.

There are many possibilities : new equipment; picnic tables; flower beds even a small children's garden for growing vegetables; the introduction of pottery on the fences and even in the trees. More could be done to encourage people of all ages to meet each other in a variety of activities.

You are invited to a Ceramic Butterfly Making Party to add to the ones that are already in the park! More importantly come and share your ideas for the park and discuss future possibilities.

We would like to meet others interested in Mill Dam Park at 10:30 am this Saturday morning, March 20th so as to share ideas of what could be done here. (contact – Geoff Dellow 480347 and gd at tygh.co.uk)

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A hard message for school kids and many of the rest of us!

This is circulating the internet.

It is, I believe, wrongly attributed to Bill Gates when addressing a High School in America.

The credit should, I suspect, be given to:

Charles J. Sykes – Some Rules Kids Won't Learn in School

To a large degree I echo the sentiments. In fact in our discussion group a fortnight ago we derided the concept of equality which everyone clamours for as though it is a right you don't have to work hard for. It certainly doesn't come handed on a plate the way a lot of people assume.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world doesn't care about your
self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault , so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now.. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

If you agree, pass it on..
If you don't agree stick your head in the sand and take a deep breath!
If you can read this -Thank a teacher!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The chief enemy of British freedom at present is the British press.

Simon Jenkins says it a lot more effectively than I :-

"Straw has left justice to the tender mercies of the press.

Under the banner of transparency, ministers have allowed a frenzy of blame to develop around the Jon Venables case."

It is clear from the comments left on this blog (which have not been published) that there are a substantial number of people who could be persuaded to be unthinkingly cruel to others if the media hyped up their emotions so that they stopped thinking rationally.

This is not new in other societies but it was not my concept of what Ulverston people are like. In fact, I suspect, they form a small be vocal minority and I'm thankful that my friends aren't like this.

This however is a warning that we should not take for granted that we have a town where people are considerate of each other. We could put even more effort into bringing people together so that we all see each other as human beings and not caricatures painted by the press.

The media has a lot to answer for in the way it repeatedly reports on people's emotions rather than emphasising rational information.


Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Having what I call " A Vision"

This for me is a very special concept.

I've had them from time to time throughout my life.

They are very quick "visions" of what is possible in the future.

Once I've had one it can dominate my actions for months or even years until the vision is implemented.

One I had last year was when I conceived of the candlelit walk up and back into Gill Bank's Wood last Halloween.

This worked out really well and from my viewpoint was a tremendous success - worth all the hard work to implement it.

Another recently was a weed-free allotment - all raked smooth!

I've just had another which has crystallised - Butterfles all over Mill Dam Playground.

Now to implement it!

I'm aiming at having them there by next Tuesday and I haven't got one fired yet!


Mob rule

The lynch mob mentality about Venables stoked up by the press and some mindless public is threatening to make our justice system an absolute shambles.

We need a clamp down on this insatiable witch hunt.

We're talking about the actions of some mindless ten year olds for God's sake; not malicious adults.


And for our own protection in the future we must let the matter drop

Friday, 5 March 2010

Talking toilets - a consultation

The consultation in the Coro last Wednesday raises a number of important points.

First the quality and thoughtfulness of the points made by the visiting public were impressive.Some of the post-its are shown below.

Why indeed does it cost SLDC an average of £405/week to maintain a toilet. This is incredible and surely shows gross mismanagement.

Second, why are we spending £24,000 on a consultation. One fears that it's going to be money down the drain resulting in a beautiful report with no action whatever.

The last time we had a consultation a year ago has resulted in nothing. Even the simple unanimous request for a sign in Market Street to the underused car park at Stockbridge Lane has been ignored. This inspite of the repeated assurances of the County Councillors at the time that we should "leave it to us".

We did. - Nothing.

We raised it at a subsequent SLDC cabinet meeting. - "The subject was under review"

Consultations a rapidly becoming a dirty word. Initially we feel pleased to be consulted then this leaves a sour taste in our mouth as we realise no action is forthcoming.

It is essential that the politicians are honest with the public and spell out before a consiultation just what is feasible so that false expectations aren't raised.

What money is available to implement the suggestions made by the public?

To be continued:

We want more control of not only our toilets but our Tourist Information Centre, the illegal car parking policy and particularly our town's car parks.

The SLDC want to ditch their responsibilities without surrendering a major source of income, badly administered, Car Parking Fees.

Town Councillor Colin Williams makes a comment on his blog

Annie Warwick and others talk sense

It's good to read that occasionally people get fedup with the mindless way the local government behaves.

Why do so many of us put up with it.

It's really encouraging to me to hear someone speaking out.

photo Eve Mail

Then again Sam Metcalf, above, a ten year old, from Croftlands Juniors makes some good points:

More adults in the parks to modify the behavior of the kids and picking up dog shit. For the future fewer untidy boarded up premises.

William Evans of Hollybank raises the issue of the Croftlands rat run again. This problem needs a long term solution by the Highways Dept.

Motivation is so important to us all

I suspect that many people suffer from a lack of motivation to do things for themselves.

Very few have anything that they are passionate about.

A measure of this inactivity is the time people people depend on others to entertain them.

For instance time spent:

Watching TV

Cruising the internet - reading tweets - looking at blogs - reading forums - all with out participating - or doing so in a very superficial way

Playing Computer Games

These activities skate along the boundary of depression.

We have expended very little emotional energy so we don't end up feeling good about ourselves. We lack a sense of achievement from the time we have spent.

We can begin to change this by being encouraging to others whenever we can. This is not to say we should praise poor performance but inevitably there will always be some thing to encourage.

People really blossom with a little regular encouragement.

This is particularly true for young people they need to regular strokes when the put energy into doing something for themselves.

I have a lot of respect for Dr John Ashton who comments regularly with a lot of wisdom.

This year's report of Cumbria NHS, looks particularly at mental illness, which accounts for a fifth of all diseases in the UK and ranks even higher than cancer or heart disease. One key concern raised was that thirty thousand children in Cumbria could be at risk of developing poor mental health, as emotional problems in early years often undermine long-term health.

NHS Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Dr John Ashton, said: “As we prevent the physical causes of ill health and early death, the emotional and psychological side has become more prominent. We spend a lot of resource making sure babies are healthy, but by the time children leave school, around 10-20 per cent are in trouble of one kind or another; either emotional, behavioural or lifestyle due to obesity, alcohol or drugs."

Dr Ashton continued: “All children need mental health coping skills, a personal life plan, and a passion for something that isn’t going to get them into trouble."

A few positive words can make a tremendous difference, particularly if they are sincere and not repeated without a good reason. This to my mind is where criticism is important.

Positive comments in amongst critical ones carry a lot more weight.

Let's be on the look out for slipping in a positive word whenever we can.

And that goes for me as well!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Promises to the gullible

I find it incredible what words are still coming out of the mouths of untrustworthy politicians.

We have Cameron promising us "change".

My, what an original slogan.

Here's a party with originality coursing out of every joint and emitting from every orifice.

"Vote for Change" must be one of the most hackney campaign slogans ever.

It reminds me of the story of a brand of toothpaste being elected into office in a South American country, new to democracy.

The miracles that can be achieved with effective advertising! Which is where Lord Ashroft's millions comes in!

Still, after a century of promises, the Tories adopt the same approach. When asked to explain, they reply

"Trust us, you can see what we stand for. We know what is best for you. Leave it all to us"

Yes and what kind of people are they?

The same people try to pull the wool over our eyes with evasive answers about Lord Ashcroft's non-domicile status.

photo from The Guardian

When are they going to learn that at present the press are having a field day of revealing the dark secrets of our politicians, and that we're waiting for one or two to start telling us the truth.

And now we have Michael Gove, the Tories Shadow Children's Secretary, making outrageous promises that can't possibly be kept on Breakfast News television this morning.

Yes, parents are going to be given the opportunity to set up their own schools if they can't find the school of their choice.

What 'pie-in-the-sky' thinking is this?

Which parents are going to have the energy, money and expertise to carry this out?

At a time of government cut backs?

A very small number - so that won't tax the Tory coffers too much!

Well yes we'll help you get together to formulate your wonderful scheme. We'll support you to the hilt.


"What, you want some money? "

"You must be crazy. Don't you know there's the worse recess . . . . ."

More empty Guff.

What's wrong with getting into the 'failing schools' and trying to sort out the failed system that produces them.

Of encouraging creative teachers who want to teach their way because they know it motivates the kids, but instead have left education for other careers that allow initiative.

Of breaking the stranglehold that a rigid curriculum has on the making education attractive so that children and teachers actually enjoy going to school. A place where praise and encouragement thrives.

And so you Labour supporters to stand up a cheer! ?

How can a self-respecting Prime Minister tolerate a right hand man like Peter Mandelson who calls for an enquiry into Ashcroft's affairs.

What a self righteous smoothy. A used car salesman par excellence ! As for Ed Balls their education Minister - he's just as bad.

"So who would you support?"

Well the Liberals have some great people though their leader is no great catch. Why can't we see the political parties as teams rather than individual leaders?

(Which is why the upcoming TV will let us down - but at least it's a start)

Reluctantly, I'll be voting Liberal in the next election though I'm not impressed with their candidate, Barry Rabone, who has let me down repeatedly over the past five years. But if there are no good candidates, then, and only then, I vote for the party and rely on his colleagues like Tim Farron, etc,etc,etc and there are lots of them who are 'good guys', to sort him out and show him how to be a responsive M.P.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

For sale - a bargain on Ebay ?

Just spotted this, with a price of £0.99 and two days to go :

Padded jacket from Tesco Age 9 - 10

With a delivery charge of £4.50 by Royal Mail , the fact that this is located in Ulverston should enable a favorable sale for someone here!

Spring is here

The crocuses are out.

They must have been lurking under that snow last week!

Don't miss the ones at Swarthmore Hall see side pictures. They'll be out soon!

Second home !

Isn't it great to have a second home,

Somewhere to disappear to for a break,

To get away from everyday life and have time to reflect on it.

Well here's mine:

Isn't it great.

What's more as I step into the 'garden' I get an almost uninterupted view of the sky because my 'home' is located on flat ground. Overhead Curlews and Wild Geese are passing regularly. I also have my own designated Robin to check out the taste of the worms that I'm breeding.

There also seems to be a resident rat (or two) who have moved into the unoccupied 'cellar' of my second home.

I'm slowly meeting the neighbours.

First I got to know Mel who offered loan of his wheelbarrow whenever I needed one. Since then we've enjoyed one of his donated swedes, with some parsnips still to cook. Another neighbour who i've only met once and forgotten his name gave me some carrots and offered the loan of his rotavator.

Bearded Jack and his wife Janet (who Jack claims is a witch) have filled me in as to all the drawbacks and some of the advatages of life on the allotment. He listed a while lot of plagues that would strike and one time or another:

In order of size:

Rabbits, which I've seen who visit over/under/through the fence of the field not thirty years away. Perhaps planting some sacrificial lettuces will fill them up and they'll leave the rest of the veg.

Pigeons who sweep down and gobble fresh shoots leaving a useless disheveled plant.

Clubroot a fungal infection that lurks in the soil and is impossible to get rid of for years and can be transferred from plot to plot on people's feet. It deforms the roots of cabbages, cauliflower sprouts etc

Carrot fly that produces wierd disfigured carrots that may only be of interest to the

Rats that will burrow and eat a whole crop of potatoes.

Couch grass and Mare's tail that can be very difficult to get rid of.

Weeds that come with the manure.

And other unexplained attacks that decimate one persons peas and leave another's intact.

The old hands are gleefully welcoming a novice to provide food for the above so that their crops untouched.

I guess my first year will be something of a disaster but you only learn by trying ! !

* . * . * . *
! ? !

Those of us that are old enough will remember these posters from the second world war.

Well that time is fast approaching again.

This time it will be the war of the minds.

How to fight depression.

Well with an allotment you need never be depressed.

It's great to have a battle on.

One you can 'win'. (As long as you don't leave your back turned too long.)

I find that I'm deeply motivated by 'visions'.

My present one is a flat tilth of dark brown soil covering the whole plot, with not an interuption from a weed or a rat or rabbit hole anywhere.

I pursue this vision at a slow plod relentlessly. I get immense satisfaction each square yard that is tamed as I slowly approach my 'vision'.


Here are the roots of couch grass that have been defeated so far.

And the next lot are lurking down there waiting to be beaten up.

Silly things, they advertise their presence with bright white steamers - how can you miss them in the fine black earth?

Wish there was a use for these little buggers.