Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Piano progress

This video demonstrates what I'm trying to learn at present and how I aim to use this skill.

Lots of practice required if composing music is going to be pleasurable in the future.

My aim is to be able to play these notes on the left had without looking and with little thought - just concentrating on the tune I'm attempting to play on the right hand and hoping my brain knows what will accompany this!

Time to Spare

It's a lovely feeling to have time to spare.

I suspect that this feeling enables one to actually do a lot more things than if one felt that one was doing a lot and had little time.

Is it like buying good quality furniture or well made clothes?

Once the time has been given to making a good decision on choosing something that will last. Then one gains all the time of having to choose again for some time.

Start with a bit of time - use it wisely - and one gains even more time in the future?


Many of us are going to have time on our hands in the future.

We could well be out of work; or retire early.

We will have time to rethink our lives.

We will have time to explore different ways of living. Things perhaps that cost nothing or very little.

Time to stop and explore what others are doing down our streets. A chance to swap favours perhaps.

I'll walk your dog while you shop for me in Barrow.

I'll clean your windows while you darn my clothes.

I'll dig your garden if we can share the leeks we grow.

Time to explore new possibilities that initially might seem unlikely.

I've lived a very full life but now I have time to reflect, I wonder whether I would have lived differently had i stopped and really reflected what was important to me when I was say forty.

It's very difficult to do this as we are brain whashed into believing that living like everyone else is the only option.

Perhaps we need to give it a go and see where it leads.

This reminds me of the intro to one of my web sites - one to do with creativity in education - www.tygh.co.uk

Time to go a walk and ponder new horizons.

Time to read a book which exposes us to new ways of thinking.

Time to make time by avoiding activities we usually think are important - like cleaning the house - having a bath - shaving - using make up - going shopping to buy new clothes.

. . . . . . .
?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Getting together with a large group of Doers

Last night 14 people gathered to plan a tricky and ambitious project. There was a real buzz as we battled through a list of 11 items all requiring action in the future.

There was no hesitation with people to offer suggestions  and take on jobs.

These were people who in real life take on responsibility on a daily basis. They do not enjoy just talking about doing things, they just want the when, where and how settled so that they can move on to the next item for discussion.

This was a group with people who had never met. With some of the others though there was a solid base of trust from people who knew from previous experience they were with people you could depended on. There was lots of laughter  and chat with at the same time getting through the items quickly.

So we came away with the satisfaction that a successful event was to take place because of the work that had been agreed.

This, thankfully, was a gathering that was a total contrast to that which took place in the Ulverston Council Chamber only a week ago when tired apathetic politicians made every effort to avoid taking on responsibility and instead preferred to attack innocent people.

Here were a group of risk takers who were used to taking on difficult tasks which would give lots of pleasure to hundreds of people and no material or status benefit to the workers.

We all looked forward to a very rewarding experience based on hard work together, for no other reason that we thought this would be fun.

This all restores your faith in human nature!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Our preoccupation with GROWTH

It's a difficult concept to grasp because growth has raised our standard of living.

The question though is:

Does Growth make us any happier.

Top politians leading our country continue to repeat that what we need to do is :

Stimulate Growth.

It is clear that they have not thought this argument through to its very bitter end.

The big problem is that the world does not have the resources to support continuous growth.

An article in The Independent explores this issue.

Have you ever felt that your struggling through very thick mud?

Such is the feeling I have when dealing with local government.

It's deep  - two foot deep mud - it's verging on being a quicksand ready to suck me under.

Suck me under it does occasionally.

Then I bob up .

Determined to struggle on.

Such has been the feeling following attending the Ulverston Town Council Meeting last Monday.

I beginning to bob back up but, mentally, it's a real struggle.

I need one or two people to give me encouragement, then it becomes a lot easier.

Coming to terms with the thought that councillors and local politicians are not the kind of  people to provide leadership is the problem.

Targeting the people who try to do the best job they know how is the mistake.

The problem lies with the reluctance with the people who could do a better job because of their life experience and character to put themselves forward for election.

In turn the problem then occurs that in the rare instance that they do, these people are not valued by the general public who haven't a clue what is going on.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The reset Setts in the Gill - a couple of weeks back


Looking good - in the sunshine

I did it myself - a resounding cry - from a three and a half year old

These were the words that made a tremendous impression on me yesterday as I heard this young boy repeat them with pride several times as he struggled with his bike, with stablisers, up and down our pavements.

He is used to having the responsibility of being in charge of his bike if he decides to go out on it.

Up till yesterday he has struggled to lift his bike up most pavement curbs and looked to an adult for assistance. Not an easy task - getting that front wheel up onto the curb and then yanking the three back wheels to follow.

Yet yesterday the adult was able to let the youngster have total responsibility.

Here I thought is a young man who will be taking charge of his life through thick and thin in the future.

It gives an old man great encouragement to see this confidence and self belief emerging in someone so young.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Powerful Stuff

This video makes my hair stand on end

and tears come to my eyes

(Make sure you click on the image until you get the full screen version)



Thank you Chris Stephens

Brilliant ideas and presentation.

With a message close to my heart.

And JAK for alerting me to it.

It may be worth looking at my previous posts under the label "minds"


Since posting the above, Chris has posted me the full text of the poem written 175 years ago.

This for me makes more sense - but the video has a strong emotional impact.

Now return to reason and stop and think!


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

            A PSALM OF LIFE

      WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN
                    SAID TO THE PSALMIST

    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
        Life is but an empty dream ! —
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
        And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
        And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
        Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
        Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
        Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world's broad field of battle,
        In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
        Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
        Let the dead Past bury its dead !
    Act,— act in the living Present !
        Heart within, and God o'erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.


Blog statistics

 Click on the image to enlarge.

The number of different individual viewers continues to rise steadily. Today we are at 472 in the last month.

We have been consistently been around 450 and hovered tantalizing just below 500 several times!

Compare with the past and you will see the progression by clicking on the label "logs" below.

Thanks.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Crime - sheep and scrap iron

I was surprised to read about sheep stealing right on our doorstep.

Another thing that is happening is that any steel may be stolen because of its high scrap value  - even my car is being targeted - which admittedly looks like it needs to be terminated. Other metals are even more valued.

Can we not work together to catch thieves?

With all our cameras and mobile phones, can we not work together to catch these people on our cameras and supply the police with pictures?

Merely broadcasting the fact that we're on the watchout for these people could make them think twice about coming anywhere near Ulverston.

Stunned

I am totally stunned by the behaviour of the Mayor, Phil Lister, the majority of the councillors on the Ulverston Town Council and by the chairman of the Ulverston Community Partnership, Paul Jarvis.

The councillors vented their anger on me for something I had nothing to do with.

One councillor that stands out from the rest is Colin Williams who took the trouble to find out the background to their anger so that he understood what was happening. The rest were eager to jump to the wrong  conclusions.

The mood in the council chamber was close to a Lynch Mob ruled by irrational high emotions. "Let's get Geoff Dellow" was the order of the day.

Colin Hodgson jumped up and challenged me to come outside and explain myself. He quickly came to his senses when told to calm down. To his credit he suggested to the councillors at the end of the meeting that he may have over-reacted. He had. The disturbing thing is that some councillors still felt he was justified in his behaviour.

Colin Williams showed his concern by rushing out of the council chamber as I left early, totally shaken in disbelief. He was concerned for me and reassured me by stating that the councillors had got it all wrong. I believe he then pointed out to them later in the meeting that they were totally mistaken.

My immediate reaction was to prepare myself for legal action to clear my name.

I had three independent witnesses to what had happened. Even more important the clerk of the council was taking notes of what was happening. I believe I have a cast iron case and could force an apology and win my expenses by using Panonne, one of the best legal firms in the country based in Manchester. I have used them before and they are worth every penny of their high legal fees of over £200 per hour.

Now that I've had time to reflect I realise that what these mistaken people think is to their discredit and will have very little impact with people I respect in my life.

I find that the people in Ulverston have very little respect for most of them and their opinions are of little consequence to the vast majority of the people in the town.

Should they wish to regain my respect in a small way again (I truly believe that all of them have elements of their characters that can be repected)then the speed at which they determine the facts and then apologise to me will be important.

In the mean time I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the Ulverston Town Council and the Ulverston Community Partnership are not the places to expect leadership in hard times.

We are far better assuming, that far from helping, they raise false expectations and in fact stop us doing things for ourselves and thus have a negative influence in the town.

A network of independent people - people who are doers - is rapidly forming who will achieve far more than puffed up councillors who do little other than talk.

Lets focus on the future of working together and enjoying achieving things ourselves.

The next exciting thing will be a repeat of the Candlelit Walk up Gill Banks on Halloween on Sunday 31st October using the wax and 1000 candles donated by Wax Lyrical of Lindal.

The group behind this are meeting this next Monday evening to plan the activity.

Another successful project is the renovation of Mill Dam Park - thoughts are already turning to what flowers we want their in the Spring. To start with how about a real show of tulips and crocusses this time? A start was made this year - next year will be a lot better  as we benefit from what we have now learnt.

Let me know if you want to be put in touch with the real doers in the town that operate independently of a failed Council.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Thanks to you - 600 lights ready for use in a month's time

These are the boxes of jam jars that have been left by you over the past four months, now filled with wax and wicks, donated by Wax Lyrical of Lindal, ready for our candlelit walk up Gill Banks into the wood and back.

It's not too late to bring your jars to be filled and made into lights.

New ceramic lights have been made for the event in our pottery workshops during recent months.

A meeting is being held in the Gill to fine tune the planning for the event this next Monday evening at 8 pm. Let me know if you want to help.

UCAN, the group behind the Lantern Procession Finale, say "Thanks"



They made a point at their evening meal on Saturday that they wanted it known that were very appreciative to a long list of commercial interests in the town for the food and drink they were able to enjoy.


The meal took place in The Coach House, Ford Park after a very long and hard working day erecting all the equipment needed for the Lantern Procession Finale. Then the equipment was taken down that evening before the much appreciated refreshment was enjoyed.

There was miraculously, hot food thanks to an Ulverston  restaurant , sandwiches, biscuits, beer, wine and hot drinks all provided by a very long list of businesses in the town.

Fiona was very keen that these businesses should know just how grateful the crew of the UCAN group were to have these contributions donated by an appreciative town.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Proportional Representation


Click on the image to keep in touch with this campaign.

A rally is planned in Manchester, Albert Square on September 28th at 6 - 8 pm

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Ulverston's Lantern Procession - the ultimate in excitement



Picking up litter  - in the rain - on Sunday - with her mom.

What could be more fun?

When did we get brainwashed into thinking that there are better things to do on  Sunday morning when it rains?


Before and after the main event
I'll just sneak past the seal pretending I'm a dancing stick-withie

What seal?

The one the Piranhas have been attacking. I'm a headless, ball-less image of my former self.

My, darling, aren't you beautiful
Let's get out of here - we've got work to do!

The freak show going up

A smile like this would turn anyone's heart to - stone? jelly?
Let me show you this new dance
Men have no idea do they?



What's this thing do?
Open Sesame
No it's a shaver for a fine figure of a man - all curvy lines
Waiting for the show to pass through - outside the Bird in Hand
The Show's over - time to relax and feel good - great job done well. 
It's late, many have been working none stop since nine this morning; the field is clear; tomorrow all trace of our presence will have disappeared.
A glimpse of the lovely Fiona who made the grub and drink possible.
Hot food, hot drink. Thanks Ulverston - much appreciated.
That was a long day. Everything ran smoothly and on time, we deserve this - what shall we do next year?
Kid's corner. "Mmm shortcake dunked in sweet hot coffee tastes good."

"This is serious business." "Yessir"


And where is the amazing Ness Wilson - where you'd expect - still working.
Well she turned up finally with her crew at 10:30pm "Coming down to the pub ? " She says (!)


Tomorrow it's back to normal - half a minute - Ness is due back at 9:00 am to organise the clear up!

"On your knees"
"Now.

Right to the end.

This is the path to enlightenment."

Saturday, 18 September 2010

How you can use this blog

You can:

Enlarge any picture by clicking on it


Find other posts on the same subject by clicking on one of labels at the bottom of each post (eg  "information" below)

Similarly find posts using the labels, listed on the right below the list of other blogs

Translate the lot into the language of your choice - top right.

See enlarged versions and make contact with the photographer by clicking on any picture on the slide show top right

Search the blog posts and comments - lower down

Access other people's blogs and sites that might interest you still lower down

Finally at the bottom access postings from the archive by title and date of posting

Always send me a message!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Successful one day pottery course


We had a near full class last Saturday, making pottery for the Halloween Candle Lit Walk event to be held again in Gill Banks.  This took place in an ideal venue - the Methodist Hall. We got a lot done very successfully.

Another course is due to start this Saturday18th starting in the same venue at 2:00 till 5:00 pm this time for a series of five weeks.

The cost works out at £4.50 per three hour session - £1.50 for children.
Should you be interested , you need to contact Jude Godden of the Adult Education Centre immediately - 9:00 to 12:30 - on 015395 36323.

This month's photos from Allan Wilson

Click on the pictures to enlarge.


Locals don't need telling that these are from the recent celebration of the completion of the renovation of Hoad Monument.

If you want to climb to the top and enjoy the inside of this building then visit:

Until the end of September, including Bank Holidays every Sunday from 2 pm until 5 pm.

In October : every Sunday from 1pm until 4pm, when the flag is flying from the flagpole adjacent to the Monument.

Opening times are dependent on volunteers and there may be additional times - the surest guide is the flag up the pole!

Though Allan has vacated his Gallery in Brogden Street in order to have more time to actually take photographs, you can still keep in touch with him through his web site at http://www.allanwilsonphotography.co.uk/

His cards and pictures will become increasing available from Gillam's Market, Street for cards; Mad Hatter's, Market Street, The Bakehouse, Brogden Street, The Ulverston Brewery and the Bookstall in the Indoor Market, New Market Street for pictures.

Disused land in South Ulverston


Do the people of South Ulverston want to do anything about this fence - on the corner of Kennedy Street?

I tried to raise it with them and can only assume they are happy with it as the opportunity at the recent Town Council Meeting, of having it replaced with something in wood, for instance, has now passed unless this is pursued quickly with the SLDC Planning Committee.


The issue of what is being done with the enclosed land could be still pursued.

Both issues need to be done through the SLDC Councillor for this patch - Mark Wilson.

Let me know if I can help.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Lantern Procession Finale in Ford Park

Ness Wilson has confirmed 30 mins ago that help is still needed before, during and after the event that ends the Lantern Procession .

The most pressing need is for people to act as stewards at the event from 8:15 till 10:15 pm this Saturday evening 18th September. If you could do this contact Ness Wilson now on 07766 863618. You will be asked to attend a meeting at the Lantern House at 7:00 pm Friday for a briefing.

Before the event, help is needed in setting up the equipment in Ford Park from 9:00 am onwards throughout Saturday.

After the event on Sunday from 9:00 till 12:00 am there will be work to be done cleaning the litter left the night before.

If you can help in any of these phone Ness as above.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Planters in the Square looking good again


Planters freshly replanted last Saturday . Looking promising - Wallflowers perhaps.
Planters at Gill Banks

 Looking good as well.

The Monday Interview - Anita - Ale Wife of Ulverston's Micro Brewery



So where are you?



The site of Ulverston's old cattle market.

And what makes a good beer?



Anita Garnett and Paul Swan (son of the strict and imposing Glaxo 'boss' for Pen Extraction ) have set up their brewery - The Ulverston Brewing Company - on the site of the Old Cattle Market across from the bus station and Peter's Kiosk.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Long ago in Ulverston



Performed by Robber's Dog.

Lovely low key song and photos.

Beware

We have a finger-wagging Mayor.


who opened Charter Week last week.


whilst David our Evening Mail Reporter gets to chat up our Charter Queen while her chaperone looks the other way. . .


and the band played on



.. with gusto.

Families were entranced



... ate chips



and gathered round.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Charter Week



Great brochure. Lots of exciting events.

Why isn't the contents on the internet?

Doesn't this omission highlight the need for someone to be appointed to do this kind of thing?

Why doesn't the Town Council show some leadership here?

Can't we all work together to show off what Ulverstonians can do?

Young Children

I'm fascinated by these humans as they develop into adults.

So many things are new and exciting and we can share in their excitement.

It's great to watch as they puzzle their way through problems they or you have set them.

A three year old I go out with knows that he is responsible for carrying his food and drink. He carries these in a small rucksack and it's a bind when he on his tricycle. He knows that it's a rule that won't carry it for him . If he gets fed up with this task then we have a period when we have a stand off.

I have time to kill and can out wait him out any time. He eventually caves in - it's hard and he gets lots of congratulation for resuming his task.

It was great seeing him come up with a solution.

He found that because the bag was light, he having eaten his lunch, he tried out an ulternative to carrying it on his back. He was able to hook it over the end of the handlebars and he was able to cope with the changing demands to his steering.

All his idea. He must have felt pretty pleased with himself at coming up with his solution. One I've never seen used before.

He's also got to a stage in life where "Why" has a great power.

I really value this question and curiousity.

Providing answers can I believe be a mistake - this slips into the territory of failed education where learning 'stuff' becomes a bind.

"What do you think ?" is my favorite answer.

It opens up the possibility of understanding a little of what is going on in that developing brain.

Another possibility is to give a very simple answer and see what the next question is.

Alternatively there is "I don't know - shall we try and find out - later"

With the access to a computer there must be answers to every question that has been asked.

One could have a regular session on the computer where these questions are explored. The challenge would be for the child to remember what the questions were.

Other answers that are very valid are "because I said so" which can be shortened to "because".

Long live curiousity.

Don't let it drive you mad - it really can be fun!

Thursday, 9 September 2010


The sad looking tubs on the Market Square.

The story behind this is that that the plants have a fungal disease that thrives in warm humid conditions. Nothing can be done to save them.

It seems that both the tubs and the plants have been added to the square by Roger Chattaway of the Farmers Arms. So he is being  generous and I'm told would be the first person to be concerned about the state of the plants.

I suggest that they need yanking out now and replacing soon.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A lovely old wall repaired - what you can do!

This section of this old wall in Union Lane has been rebuilt to a very high standard thanks to the efforts of John Riley, Estates Building Manager, Furness General Hospital .

He  acted very promptly when concerns were raised about the safety of the wall. It was John Riley who ensured that the stretch of wall below was also rebuilt as he recognised that this was even more dangerous than the higher wall shown here.

What was a badly leaning wall is now plumb straight. A lot of work went into making sure that the soil behind would not lead it to lean again.

 Further down the lane the wall was even more dangerous and taking it apart to rebuild it confirmed the engineers fears. Instead of rock fill, the small rocks on the outside had nothing but soil to hold it back.

New rocks had to be brought in to do a good job. The result is this great 50 yards stretch of wall.

Repairs were also carried out to a section of the wall in the middle.

What is very satisfying is that this excellent work was done at a cracking rate by builder, Kevin Roper of Ulverston - 588053. Not only is his work good but he's a very easy guy to chat with. We enjoyed his company the whole time he was working here with his mate.

A good experience all round.

How did this work come about?

Not without a fight!

It was Paul Holmes who lives opposite the first high wall that first raised the alarm by notifying the Health Centre and then writing to his Cllr Colin Hodgson at the Town Hall on Feb 10th 2010.

Nothing happened.

Nothing happened.

The Health Centre forwarded the information.
Cllr Hodgson did not receive his letter.

Paul mentioned the problem to Geoff Dellow.

By persistent phone calls Geoff  traced the person responsible for the wall and contacted him by email pointing out that he had made a video of the problem and put it on Youtube.

Within hours of receiving the email John Riley was round to Geoff Dellow's house to be shown the problem.

Things had been set in motion.

Here we have the result.

What you can achieve if you try!

James Airey is to attend the meeting of the Ulverston Community Partnership tonight

He wishes to express encouragement and  support for their bid.

The knowledge that there are now 19 volunteers willing to work part time at a future centre should make a difference to the way that the UCP present their bid. Only  a further 11 would be required to provide seven day coverage of the centre 10:00 till 16:00.

There is also movement towards a solution for a good web site.

Things are looking up!

Pottery course to support public gallery to run

Cartmel's course to make items for railings such as Gill Banks and use at the Haloween celebration is to run.

Methodist Hall, this Saturday 10:00 till 16:00 .

This is a taster course for the one that follows on Saturday afternoons 14:00 till 17:00 for five weeks starting September 18th also in the Methodist Hall.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Council want you to know

The Ulverston Town Council are enthusiastic in their support for a Tourist Information Centre in Ulverston.

They are supporting the bid of the Ulverston Coumunity Partnership (UCP) which their chairman Paul Jarvis stated to the council is designed to fail.

 Despite the support from the community expressed in the 410 signature petition where 18 people have volunteered to work alongside staff from the existing TIC in order to ensure costs are low:

The council support the UCP who are saying "In the event that there were no other viable bids we offering a bid."

This means that it is not designed to be viable and takes no account of the views of the public that have expressed their concerns and  willingness to be involved in a promising solution.

The public left the meeting stunned by the unwillingness of the council to engage with this issue other than in the rhetoric of meaningless words.


Cllr James Airey tried to guide the along discussion along by stating that he was adding his name to the list of volunteers and urged the counciol to take some action. Support for the UCP was all that they could manage.

With leadership like this we need to reconcile ourselves with the reality that Ulverston is heading for even more shop closures, the disappearance of our market and a town that has no aspirations for the future.

In fact clear thinking businessmen in the town believe we will become a ghost town unless the public start to assert themselves with strong leadership that begins to solve the towns problems; the prime one being our high charging car parks.

An example of the inadequacy  of the council was the acceptance of two new bus shelters at the Health Centre and in the County Square with money coming from the County Council (our money).  Yet the councillors weren't sure these were needed while the bus shelter at the bus station by the library which is heavily used has had a gaping hole in its roof for over a year with no signs of repair until the year 2013 as stated by Cllr Colin Williams.

Such is the state of democracy in our lazy thinking, poorly led, defeatist Ulverston.

A fair report is given in the Westmorland Gazette

Also the Evening Mail in greater detail.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Terrible Plop

Buy the book.

Find a kid to read it to!

Here's someone having fun!

Why let him have all the enjoyment?

To be presented to the Ulverston Town Council tonight

Exert your influence on our spineless council.

Be there at their meeting at 7:15 pm tonight Monday 6th September, The Town Hall, Queens Street.

Your physical presence for 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting will make a difference.

******

Proposal:


That a subcommittee be formed to examine the possibility of raising the precept  by 0.3% from 2.3 (which at present generates £138,000 for the council) to 2.6%, thus generating an extra £18,000. This money would be used specifically to promote Tourism in the Town.


The first aim would be to secure the future of the TIC in its present location with the expertise preserved by remploying key workers from the present staff. Further support would be provided by a team of local volunteers - max 30.


Further aims would be to ensure that a web site dedicated to promoting Ulverston to the tourist is maintained.


Lastly the aim would be to maintain a continuous focus of finding and promoting Toursims for the town for the future.

Points to emphasise

1. The public have not been consulted.

As far back as June 2010, Colin Hodgson assured me that the public would be consulted over the future of a TIC (see appended correspondence).

"I agree we need actions but we also need to find out
 does the community want it ,
 are they prepared to run it
 are they prepared to  pay for it
 is it worth doing
etc etc

Colin"

In practice Colin Hodgson has done nothing to consult the public as a whole.

My contacts with the public over the past few weeks indicate that they are very concerned and disappointed with the UTC's lack of initiative See 3. below.

2. Surrender of another important facility of the town to an unknown future.

The lack of control in the past has led to so many problems. Now is the time to reverse the trend and keep control here in Ulverston.

We in the past have lost control of our market, our toilets and worse of all our car parks.

Are we going to now loose control of our Tourist Information Centre?

People in Ulverston want the existing set up to be continued - both run by the same people and in this prestigeous location.

3. The petitions, to be handed in by Geoff Dellow, clearly show that a large number of the public wish their taxes to be raised in order to pay for this service.

410 signed the petition.

Some of these were tourists , some were people from post codes just outside Ulverston (eg LA12 8 and LA12 0)

However 190 inside Ulverston stated that they wished to have their rates increased between £5 and £20 in order to fund a preservation of the present set up of the TIC and improve the town's image on the Internet.

They did not want it to end up with the Stan Laurel Museum in the back of the Roxy because of its location, its uncertain future premises and for the potential lack of expertise.

They did not want an external non-Ulverston organisation taking over the centre because Ulverston has a totally different kind of tourism to offer to either Windermere and Kendal.

What's more there were 18 people who were keen to get involved at the TIC by volunteering to do a regular 3 hours per week, mornings or afternoons.

4. Elsewhere - Grange.This follows the pattern in existence at Grange TIC, which the Grange Council took charge of last September. They have even extended the days that this service is offered to seven days per week.
I have just spoken to the person on duty just now (Sunday at 15:00) they have a waiting list of volunteers at present and a professional from the previous staff coming in three days a week.

5. How Ulverston would run:

a) one of the existing staff  would be employed full time (or two part time)  - at Grange this salary was easily covered by £20,000/ year

b) Volunteers would supplement the service and learn on the job - possibly two per  three hour shift - 10:00 till 13:00 and 13:00 till 16:00 probably covering, as Grange does, 7 days per week.

c) The staff - volunteers and professional would be trained to maintain an upto date web site in conjunction with a professional tourist web site like http://www.visitcumbria.com which would promote Ulverston in exchange for revenues from local tourist businesses.

d) the staff and volunteers would explore and promote Tourism in Ulverston in any way possible. Any extra cash would be used to employ someone precisely with this aim especially in the first year.

e) the professional would also undertake a booking service for the Coronation Hall and charge SLDC for this service.

f) Revenue would be gained from the sales of tourist related books, cards etc etc. which I understand amounted to £26,000 / this last year.

g) the rent for the premisses would be paid to the SLDC bearing in mind that part of the work undertaken would be for the SLDC Booking service. Other locations in similar circumstances have been granted free rent by SLDC for a period of 18 months.

h) David Philips confirms that Ulverston is likely to receive £25,000/year first year reducing to £6 - 8 in the fourth year.

i) the Town Council would raise the precept by 0.3% thus generating a further £18,000 for tourism generally

6. Janet Jenkinson talked to me yesterday and is very fearful of UTC taking any responsibility.

The figure suggested by the SLDC of £80,000 for the cost of the TIC is obviously a paper figure and takes into account the costs of administrators beyond those providing the service. It also no doubt includes paper figures of rental charges for the hire of the hall (which are not saved when it is remembered that the space will have to be used as a booking office).

She believes that the UTC will incur great debts from this operation. The above figures do not support this assertion.

She even suggested that Grange is having problems obtaining volunteers which is not true - they have a waiting list - item 4.

Conclusion

The public clearly want the present TIC set up to continue , both in location and where possible personnel. It is seen not only as a valuable service to the tourist but is frequently used by the local people as well. They confirm the need for a good web site as do the tourists from further afield who use the internet.


The above finances show clearly that this is very much within the realms of possibility.


The discussion should not be diverted as to which organisation should undertake this responsibility - it could well be a charitable organisation set up specifically for this purpose. This organisation would be held responsible each year before its grant was renewed.

A subcommittee should be appointed to consider the possible alternatives.

Background:

 A campaigning table has been maintained for four times on market days

140 letters have been sent out to those signing in the first week, to urge them to attend the UTC meeting tomorrow Monday in person.

100 fliers have again been distributed to all the businesses in the town urging them to be present in person.

At least 20 people will attend - hoping for a lot more. Gavin Knott from Appleseeds and John  Blackmore-Tucker from Libra, Cavendish Street will speak in the 15 min.  public section at the beginning

Appendix

Correspondence with my SLDC councillor, Colin Hodgson

Geoff

I am also having disussions with local comunity groups regarding the ways in which we can run the  the TIC's etc localy. I had a meeting this morning with a group on this very subject but the outcome of the consultation will also prove a useful guide to what the community wants. I agree we need actions but we also need to find out
 does the community want it ,
 are they prepared to run it
 are they prepared to  pay for it
 is it worth doing
etc etc

Colin

 
----- Original Message -----
From: Geoff Dellow
To: colinc.hodgson
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 6:14 AM
Subject: Re: Cuts - taking the initiative!

Aren't we doing too much watching?

How come that Grange (am I right) has taken over its TIC following on from Broughton.

Some good PR needs to be done by Councillors like you to sell the idea of volunteering - not easy!

Geoff

On 10 Jun 2010, at 19:50, colinc.hodgson wrote:
Geoff

I fully support the idea
SLDC are consulting on the future roles and financing of the TIC's and public conviences with a view to obtaing input and support
from the private and voluntary sectors and I will keeping watch for the results and follow up

Colin 
----- Original Message -----
From: Geoff Dellow
To: Colin Hodgson
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 6:49 AM
Subject: Cuts - taking the initiative!

Colin,

Rather than wait for cuts to public services to be imposed, would it not be better to initiate alternatives along these lines:

http://geoffdellow.blogspot.com/2010/06/cuts.html

You could initiate a scheme , now, by which the public are encouraged to get involved with services like TIC, Libraries and the one that I am doing - the running of our parks - ie Mill Dam.

This would show that the Councillors are forward thinking and not just responding to crises at the last minute.

Geoff

The Monday Interview - Peter from the Kiosk

Best cuppa in town - where you need it - at the bus station by the library.

First Peter tells us of the hiccups in the bus service, leaving travellers stranded if you want one of the services. If we're trying to encourage others to avoid using our cars, we need a reliable service.

He goes on to tell of an amazing act of helpfulness to one family with children.



Second Peter brings us up to date with his aim to have a bigger cafe´facing onto the small park which would be brilliant for the town especially if there could be somewhere for the kids to do tricks on their bikes or skateboards to entertain onlookers.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

This next Saturday


For more information  past, present and future events  

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Future of our TIC and the need for a web site

Convincing the Town Council to promote Tourism

This Monday 6th September 7:15 pm in the Town Hall, Queens Street, in the Council Chamber which is upstairs

We have run a very successful campaign with the public who are fully behind us in their wish to preserve a prestigious Tourist Information Centre and for the town to be better represented on the Internet.

The response from the commercial sector however has been very disappointing: only a handful of very concerned people attended the meeting 10 days ago; only one from accommodation and four from the shops in town.

Cllr James Airey will be addressing the councillors in their meeting this next Monday in order to persuade them to take action.

He needs support from every sector to help him convince some very stubborn councillors who wish to let matters just take their course without intervention.

The public however think very differently. Already 350 have signed a petition on Market Day mornings at the Market Cross. Over half of these want the Town council to raise their rates by between £5 and £20/year in order to fund support for the TIC and an effective web site. Many are coming to the above meeting as a result of an appeal by word of mouth and by post that arrived today, Friday.

If we are to convince the Councillors, we need as many people to be physically there at the meeting. This really is a very effective way of communicating and persuasion. You need only stop 15 mins though most I would have thought will want to listen to the debate between the councillors.

There is also the opportunity for the public to comment on the conclusions reached at the end of the meeting.

The story behind Stockbridge Lane Car Park

Someone suggested that the reason SLDC isn't interested in the above and leaves it to rot unused without a sign in the Market Square to its existence is because it doesn't get the revenue from this car park; it comes to Ulverston.

They suggested that the land was bequeathed to Ulverston.

Does anyone have information?

Secondly, The Gill is owned by the Town Lands Trust so who gets the money raised from its car park.

Colin Hodgson continues to do nothing about the car park issues and just shrugs as though its an impossible task. He comes across as just a lot of noise and no action.

I cannot believe that nothing can be done.

When the commerce of the town is greatly hindered and our streets are clogged up by ridiculous car parking fees we've got to get to the bottom of these issues and effect a change.

The Conservatives and the Liberals are going to have a hard time at the next election so lets wring every concession out of the Kendal Liberals.

Other towns like Sedbergh are fed up with the imposed car park fees.

It's time for change.

Don't believe Janet Jenkinson when she says that SLDC will never give up their hold of the car parks.

This is typical defeatist talk from councillors who sit back and do nothing and we have too many of them on our councils.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Ulverston dementia unit awarded national gold standard

"The Beckside Unit at Elmhurst residential home in Ulverston has been awarded gold certification by Stirling University - one of only a handful in the country to gain the specification for a converted building.

"A presentation of the award will be held at 1.30pm on Friday 24th September at Elmhurst on Priory Road, Ulverston.

"Prof June Andrews from Stirling University will be making the presentation to Cllr James Airey, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet member responsible for adult social care, and senior officers at the council. Stirling University is recognised as one of the country's leading experts on specialist care for people with dementia. "

It's good to know that people suffering from dementia receive such a good service.

Thank you staff.

What's happening

video
Caught on camera/mobile by Roy Watkins.

A snapshot of what was happening on Market Street yesterday, the day of our market.

Hana



I particularly like the last minute when she starts to move her hands and arms.

Who is being irresponsible?


This is the state of the cobbles (or setts as they should be called) at the intersection of New Market Street and Market Street Ulverston.



They have been like this for months.

Is not the County Council irresponsible for repairing them; if necessarily with some temporary weak cement filling?

Why is Joe Bloggs seen as irresponsible  for repairing them himself if he knows how?

But Joe Bloggs is told that such action would be illegal and would require endless permits and be liable to being sued if he did the work.

Are the County not being logical?

When a small mountain of setts were left  in The Gill, Ulverston unrepaired for a year, I repaired them when the County did not fulfil the deadline they had announced for that repair.

In future I shall repair the setts in the Gill within a month if it happens again.

Because of the setts above are in the middle of a busy intersection,  a temporary repair of filling in the large gaps is the only action  possible for the amateur.

But in my view doing the job myself is the only responsible action to take when the County does nothing.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The full text of my Evening Mail letter published ten days ago

Dear Sir,

The focus of the country has been on the behaviour of the people representing us in Parliament, our MP's, many have been found wanting and after scrutiny have chosen to leave.

But how well do our politicians in local government fair when scrutinised.

Are they any better?

At the bottom rung in our Ulverston Town Council, it would be difficult to criticise their financial affairs, all eighteen of them except for the Major and Deputy receive no payment and very rarely any expenses for their services. Our District and County councillors receive £3,000 and £10,000 plus expenses respectively.

As a frequent attender of their fortnightly meetings, I ponder the question: "Why do they do it".

I came away with my answer as I left the last meeting they had earlier this month.

I had gone to the meeting on the verge of tears with the thought that once again I would be ignored when I spoke as a member of the public about something I felt passionately about. I was not disappointed, the topic of "Support for Tourism" in Ulverston was not discussed even though this is a crucial time for the town.

What surprised me was I felt a lot better as I came away.

I had become part of what I believe the councillors enjoy - a well run meeting where the items on the agenda had been dealt with quickly by a skilful Chairman who knew how to focus attention on decisions and achieve results. All the councillors had been united in criticising the spokesman from SLDC over the reorganisation of the Ulverston Town Hall (which I discovered to my dismay was owned not by the town as in Grange but by SLDC). There had even been congratulations flowing across the party benches over the work done regarding Hoad Monument. Everyone left feeling they had done something worthwhile.

But  the way the councillors gain their cosy club like feeling is by repeatedly avoiding tackling any issue that is difficult to resolve. An exceptional cllr Jack Rice had pointed out to the meeting that although it could be argued that what happened with litter being left by travellers on Birkrigg was not an issue the Town needed to address, he felt that even though it was outside our boundaries it was important. He personally had gone to considerable trouble to investigate the issue.

The issue of "Support for Tourism" is being brought to a head by a gathering of all the concerned traders and public at the Lantern House, this Monday 23rd at 5:30 pm when they will meet with Mayor Phil Lister, Cllrs James Airey and Judy Pickthall.

There are two issues of immediate concern:

The imminent closure of Ulverston Tourist Information Centre in March 2011 where, unlike Grange over Sands, the council have avoided becoming directly involved by passing the buck to the Ulverston Community Partnership who have meagre funds and organisation.

The second issue has been consistently avoided by the council over the past four years ; the need for a web site dedicated to attracting tourists to the town. An excellent attempt was made five or six years ago by Furness Internet but when this design was handed over to SLDC, the site rapidly went downhill due to the lack of time and skill available for its maintenance so that last week it finally ceased to exist other than to refer visitors to the Ulverston Council's site.

This site was never intended to focus on the needs of tourists but aims to provide information about the councillors and their meetings. The page that calls itself "Latest News" tells us what was happening in 2008 to 2009.

The result is that what faces the potential tourist researching a visit to Ulverston with Google is nothing less than a shambles. They will turn away disgusted with the same feeling that they get when they've just trod in some dog shit.

No wonder shops are closing all down the high street. The Council needs to face up to its responsibilities and not harm but help those that are struggling with real difficulties of keeping our town vibrant in difficult times.

There is too much talent in the town to allow a sleepy cosy council to ruin such a lot of potential.

Strong leadership, ready to do battle, is require.

The slogan of our successful Ulverston market ganden trader needs to be adopted " We're not brilliant but we're very determined"

Geoff Dellow,


Address The Coach House, Union Lane, Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7BU