Friday, 30 December 2011

Your Childs Brain - and yours too !

If you have a child, I'd suggest that you will have been  particularly interested in the three part series that concluded last night on BBC4

We learn that about the brains development from the time it starts to grow inside the mother's womb to the time we die.

This is particularly relevant to childhood but I found it fascinating even for me at the age of 76 as I embark on learning to play the piano better.

These programs are still viewable on i-Player until 5th January and are very well presented and easy to understand because they are designed for children.

The first episode is available here:

The second:

The third:

If you'd like a review of these programs, there's one here:

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Thinking out of the box (continued, continued)

Assuming that someone is reading these 'pearls of wisdom'  - from an old man who no longer needs to work but earned a good living throughout his life with his ideas (some of them patented by Glaxo when working in Ulverston and by Shell when working in San Francisco ) - I shall continue:

I believe there are plenty of smart people who may read this. People who could not only find work for themselves but setup small companies employing others particularly young people to the benefit of the larger community of the surrounding area. It could be that people like myself could get together and give younger people the benefit of their life experience.

The local media could even help such a scheme get going should they wish to do something positive by attracting the expertise that must be dormant in this area. Expertise not being used because of the lack of incentive to do so.

Back to the topic at the top:

We're thinking about ways of earning a living by doing business with countries whose economies are thriving.

The last  posting was in effect focussing on exporting information - in particular Tourism.

Today I'm thinking about exporting physical objects.

Here are some examples:

 We have a plentiful supply of seeds here in Ulverston provided by Chiltern Seeds. I'm sure they already do a lot of business abroad.

Another local enterprise does most of its business online - Rhubarb and Custard - you can listen to a series of interviews on Youtube

We have a camera shop that sells camera accessories abroad for £1,500 over the Internet - I know because I've been consulted as to whether they were a reliable firm.

Surely other products ready for export are local art (Blue Tarn collective), antiques, quality jewellery. Rich people in the developing countries will want to have many things in their possession just to be one up on their rich friends. - I have a friend in London - toymaker of the year - who has no trouble selling to the rich - Conversation pieces they are called. Pottery at Printfest was flying off the shelves to people who didn't stop to ask the price.

What sells is top quality stuff.

Many forward looking companies are already set up to do business over the Internet. Couldn't they or something similar focus on sales to these countries with thriving markets? Think of the massive market of China surely there will be opportunities.

Yes language would be need but there are experts in this area who could help develop potential markets in brackets : Japanese, Chinese, Spanish (South America), Portuguese ( South America), Dutch (South Africa) Hindi (India) as well as the obvious Australia.

I'll stop here - over to you.


Sadly, because of my confused old age thinking, I deleted the last 50 comments here on this blog thinking I was deleting the spam I get!

I shall deal with this as best I can!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Thinking out of the box (continued).

So what kind of skills are needed for working at home, for people in countries that have work to offer?

First sell something that will be in demand and you have the skill to offer:
You know English and our culture - and have a detailed knowledge of what happens locally and nationally.

Tourism immediately springs to mind - when I was at The Falls, here in Ulverston I was able to get articles written (by writing them myself) about my business in the prestigeous papers in other parts of the world. Something even the Tourist Board was not doing at the time. Thus you could represent the interests of a lot of small holiday businesses ( the chain establishments will already be doing some sort of job - but not very well). They will be very appreciative of foreign tourists and there will be many foreigners who want quality accommodation in for instance the Lake District and be ready to pay for it.

What skills do you need ? - the ability to research thoroughly both here and your potential market abroad. You have the Internet at you disposal. Why not pick prestigeous papers in one of your chosen countries and explore the possibility of a regular column in their paper. It could be English speaking but you are most likely to succeed in the future using a foreign language such as Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese . . . spoken in countries with an expanding and thriving economy. You can learn these languages and the culture of your target country all on the Internet. You will no doubt be a person that is used to writing well in an interesting way about your environment, maybe a bit of a story teller. Read the work of travel writers in the National Papers in this country and see how they do it. Now develop your own style with your target country very much in the forefront.

Make sense?

A brilliant but simple invention

The "Easy Open" jam jar lid on products made by Duerr.

Absolutely brilliant - check them out.

"Duerrs began work on its ‘Orbit Easy Open’ lids after researchers at Sheffield Hallam University found that 22 per cent of adults could not open a traditional jar.

For women over 50, the figure was 40 per cent.

However, 86 per cent of Morrisons customers who tried the lid between December and last month said it was much easier to open.

One said it was a ‘fantastic piece of engineering’, while another said the maker should get a medal.

Richard Duerr, of Duerrs, said: 'The simplest innovations are the ones that truly have the biggest impact on our everyday lives.
‘This isn’t just a product for those with arthritis or weak wrists; it’s a product that everyone can use.

‘The trouble is, I’m not sure my wife needs me around any more.’ "

The outer ring creates a vertical lift to the lid without trying to turn the lid itself :

Thus the lid itself can be 'jammed on' so that it resists the turning motion one applies and can make it extremely difficult to open.

This new outer ring creates a lift without trying to turn the jammed on lid.

Brilliant. I agree - the inventor deserves a medal.

We need to campaign to get all lids using the same principle. There will be many people with weak wrists who find it a nightmare to open jars - this design provides an amazingly easy solution.

Try one if you can.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Mill at Ulverston

Why make a fuss?

Above next day - even more rubbish is added

Because if we accept this, our streets will become littered with throw-out rubbish.

Surely if some people see this kind of thing happening and nobody objects then this behaviour becomes part of Ulverston's accepted standards. More and more people will just park their rubbish on the streets.

If we care then we have to kick up a fuss. Zero tolerance really works.

Leave this kind to grow and it speads the message that nobody cares and crime of all sorts will slowly grow and it will be difficult to reverse the tide.

Over to you.

Thinking out of the box.

I read that many people with energy and drive are leaving this country and emegrating to parts of the world where their economy is growing and work is available. This is a sad drain of talent from this country.

However, it seems to me, that there is an alternative, though one that will take some flair to achieve :

Staying put and working from home for businesses that are based in these countries.

For instance I know someone here in Ulverston who works from home on his computer for a Greek company.

With the Internet, it will be possible to find work in any part of the world - places with an expanding economy - Australia, South America - work that can be done here. The most obvious will be work on a computer.

It's a matter of thinking very creatively and making strong links with another country - it could well involve learning another language.

What is even more encouraging is that it is, I understand, becoming possible to study subjects through online causes at top rate universities and institutions in other parts of the world .

In a small way I contribute to this as I teach Flash with online materials and work with teachers in various parts of the world - Australia, Thailand, the States. I then supplement this online teaching with verbal tutorials where they phone me to receive supporting tuition - makes for some phone calls at strange times of the day - as you can imagine.

So those of you looking for work : I suspect you can find it in other countries by thinking creatively - work that can be done in your own home - how about learning chinese . . . . . .

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Browsing the internet?

Then why not watch some of the interviews that are here on this blog - obtained by clicking on the word cloud below right.

Word cloud "interview" and you get this!

"art" is quite fun too

"photos" have a lot of Allan Wilson's pictures which are rather special

Get the idea - now you can try some yourself!

Makes for a good start to a boring day at the office (I suspect there are quite a few people who do this whilst sipping their 'wake up ' coffee - how else does David Parratt, our Town Clerk,  find out what I'm talking about on this blog so quickly? - Not that he can get bored very easily. )

This is what you're looking for: -

Looking back

Looking forward to more of the same!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Long live the "Occupy" movement

Some brave and determined people are beginning to get people to rethink the values of our society.

The Haves are beginning to discover what they have is valueless and the Havenots that they have what really matters.

We need to re-evaluate our basic premises so that quality of life becomes our most important asset.

At Christmas both quality and rubbish rub shoulders so that we can reflect on which is important to us.

For the Haves, we/they had better be prepared for a rough ride as there are many issues coming to the boil.

Will we be able as a society to cope?

Cameron tries to make us think that our boat is steady and we've set a course for stability.

I don't believe a word of it.

Our basic needs will be challenged in the next few years, each subsequent year being more challenging than the previous one.

Time for a deep rethink.

New values and thoughts need to occupy our minds this Christmas.

At bit of escapism is a good thing but only if it helps us achieve the making of difficult decisions in the long term.

I suspect that there is a lot of wisdom to be found in John Gray's book , "Straw Dogs" which I've bought and is sitting by my side. Time to stop walking round the dog basket and face up to reading it.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

So much from so little

High feel good factor from Alaska:
Via Anastasia Micklethwaite formerely of Dowdales, Dalton

This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak in Alaska, was apparently a school computer project done by one teacher, intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area. Much to the villagers' shock, over a half million people have viewed it.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Memorable Evening in The Gill

This is what Neil Wade captured and put on Youtube.

Unlike my  previous efforts  it has several snatches of Rita Baugh singing, accompanied by Hilary Grieve(?).

A None Christmas

Oh what a lovely feeling.

To be absolutely free of the Christmas mad rush!

I plan to give only two presents ( one of them will cost me nothing other than some fun 'work') and possibly hand deliver a few of my own Christmas cards.

No feeling of pressure.

No decorations.

No TV programs but a good book instead.

No Christmas dinner.

A chance to enjoy empty roads and a trip to the quiet countryside.

Maybe meet up with dog owners at Ford Park as has become a tradition.

Lots of time to practice the piano and if the weather lets up, to do some work on the allotment; otherwise a very satisfying indoor DIY project.

What is great about Ulverston, particularly at this time, is that everyone is so friendly and smiling through the rain. It's great to go out for a walk round town and the many of the shop windows are stunning.


Monday, 12 December 2011

A memorable evening

Rita and Hilary started us off

Followed by Naomi's choir

Then followed by Mark and partner with fiddle and recorder

And finishing up with a song and dance

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Mulled Music in The Gill last night

A truly memorable occasion.

The singing started spot on 6:30 thanks to Rita's professionalism and continued to 8 ish

We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

There's nothing like having cold water running down your neck while listening to good enthusiastic music!

More videos to follow.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Another great event tonight!

Everything ready and the weather seems to be with us.

We'll be lighting up this monument with over a hundred candles.

Should look good - and the mulled wine tastes delicious.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

This is the most important thing that humans can do

It would be good to think that we, the everyday person can make a difference.

Certainly it's worth a try.

We talk about security against terrorism but this is exactly what we are encouraging with our greed. We seem preoccupied with our own needs for oil resources and ignore the plight of others.

Britain along with the USA and other countries that can cope for the time being with global warming are ignoring the urgency for immediate action. Meanwhile smaller more vulnerable countries that are suffering deeply from the effects of global warming are becoming increasingly frustrated because our inaction. 

Will it be surprising if they too turn to the only way to vent their anger - terrorism?

The money we save by inaction will quickly be spent on protecting ourselves. 

I've just received this - it's worth signing.


       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Our oceans are dying, our air changing, and our forests and grasslands turning to deserts. From fish and plants to wildlife to human beings, we are killing the planet that sustains us, and fast. There is one single greatest cause of this destruction of the natural world -- climate change, and in the next 3 days, we have a chance to stop it.

The UN treaty on climate change -- our best hope for action -- expires next year. But a greedy US-led coalition of oil-captured countries is trying to kill it forever. It's staggeringly difficult to believe: they are trading short term profits for the survival of our natural world.

The EU, Brazil and China are all on the fence -- they are not slaves to oil companies the way the US is, but they need to hear a massive call to action from people before they really lead financially and politically to save the UN treaty. The world is gathered at the climate summit for the next 3 days to make the big decision. Let's send our leaders a massive call to stand up to big oil and save the planet -- an Avaaz team at the summit will deliver our call directly:

Things are becoming desperate. All over our planet extreme weather continues to smash records, leaving millions homeless and without food or shelter. We’re rapidly reaching our point of no return to stop runaway climate change -- we only have until 2015 to start making drastic reductions to our carbon pollution.

Yet despite this very real urgency, the world has failed to mobilise against the fossil fuel-captured democracy of the US. Not only content with wrecking the Copenhagen talks and the Kyoto protocol, they are now building a coalition of climate treaty killers to put the final nail in the coffin of international negotiations in Africa.

Our only hope to turn things around lies with Europe, Brazil and China -- they can make a deal happen, but they need to do it together, and that’s where we come in. Europe is tired, it’s fought long and hard on climate and needs a public boost. China has already agreed to binding commitments, is sensitive to its international reputation, and could lead further if we give it an encouraging push. And Brazil is hosting next year's earth summit -- making it eager to set the world up for climate success. Let’s build a giant global call to bring our champions together and build a green dream team. Sign the petition now and forward this email:

The crazy focus on short term profits that motivates countries to stall and scuttle action on a climate crisis that literally threatens the survival of all of us cannot be tolerated. Fortunately, our movement has the power to intervene in this process and demand change. Let’s stand together and inspire others to stand with us for a safer, more humane world.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Emma, Ricken, Iain, Antonia, Morgan, Dalia, Pascal and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:
AFP: "Durban climate talks deadlocked as ministers haggle"

Bloomberg "Global Warming Fight Threatened by Debt Crisis as Kyoto Fades":

BBC "Durban: the early skirmishes":

AFP "Climate talks bust-up feared despite dire warnings"

CTV "Canada to pull out of Kyoto Protocol next month":


Thursday, 1 December 2011


Slow progress after a lot of hard practice.

(Damn me if I didn't paste in the wrong video - the one I did six months ago! So here now is the latest.)

Slowly getting there. Making those fingers work a lot harder.

The last six months has been used in developing a musical memory ie training my fingers to play without me thinking about it concentrating on getting my fingers to move up and down the keyboard. The idea is to build up a set of tools that can be used without thinking about it.

This way I can set one had off in action with one hand while I make up stuff with the other.

Takes some hard work to achieve the desired result!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Choir - Episode 2

Just watched this:

They've certainly got guts - it's as though the harder the task the higher the feeling of achievement.

We can do the same here in Ulverston.

Ulverston is Special - SLDC Car Parking Charges

I noticed this when in London on Thursday:

Greening's warning

Justine Greening, the new Transport Secretary, has been extraordinarily forthright in her views on Westminster council's plans for off-peak parking charges. Westminster is, she says, trying "to put some extra money in their coffers". Using parking charges to raise general revenue is against government guidelines and could be challenged in court. It would be astonishing for a Tory council to ignore the views of the Conservative cabinet member with major responsibilities in this area. The proposal is politically contentious as well as economically disastrous: the council should back down.

( See second item on the Evening Standard Editor's page )

We in Ulverston are fedup with the attitude of Kendal SLDC towards our use of our carparks.

Of particular interest is :

"Using parking charges to raise general revenue is against government guidelines and could be challenged in court"

On what grounds can this be challenged in Court? 

Can't we do it here? 

It is clear that other business leaders are also very unhappy with their council's kneejerk reaction to raising money:

Here in Wiltshire

Can we not pool information on how to fight for our car parks.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

How can you watch and listen to this -

.    .    .    .
And not cry ?

The power of singing together! 

People who live lives under real pressure with loved ones in Afghanistan  .  .  .

Sing .

I learnt a lot.

You've got until Monday to watch this episode and then a few more days to watch the rest.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Singing in the park

It was great joining in with these people who really impressed me with the sense of enjoying life to the full. People came along with the book of words - if you hadn't got one they would share.

A real feel good factor.

It all started here!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Is it time to get blogging again ?

What a great picture - who do I thank?

I must admit I'm enjoying a break!

Spending time with hands on activities like practicing the piano, relating to young children, house maintenance, digging the allotment (and cropping delicious vegetables) and talking to real people in the street - and even keeping up with friends on dare I say it the pervasive Facebook: all these are vastly superior to engaging with people on this blog.

The thing I enjoy about Facebook is that there you relate to real people who you know whereas here most people are so reluctant to share their real names so that relationships cannot grow; what a bore; what a load of cowards, I think to myself.

Are there any people out there that have something interest to say- my assumpition is that most readers work for the council and come here just to check what's being said about them. I'm amazed for instance how quickly David Parratt (our Town Clerk ) responds to something he doesn't like on this blog.

Do many of his ilk check this blog every morning as part of their dull and boring routine?

I wonder.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Protect the freedom of the Internet

AVAAZ explains that action in the USA can have a real effect on our freedom of communication because so much hardware actually sited in the USA. I suggest that it is very important to support them.

Furthermore the use of AVAAZ to register our beliefs is proving to be a very real power that we as individuals can have on world policies - you can watch the supporters signing up by their thousands:

*         *         *         *         *         *         *         *

Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world's Internet -- creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even groups like Avaaz!

Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users' activities. And, because so much of the Internet's hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.

The vote could happen any day now, but we can help stop this -- champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that an international outcry would strengthen their hand. Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world and build an unprecedented global petition calling on US decision makers to reject the bill and stop Internet censorship. Click below to sign and then forward as widely as possible -- our message will be delivered directly to key members of the US Congress ahead of the crucial vote:
For years, the US government has condemned countries like China and Iran for their clampdown on Internet use. But now, the impact of America's new censorship laws could be far worse -- effectively blocking sites to every Internet user across the globe.

Last year, a similar Internet censorship bill was killed before reaching the US Senate floor, but it's now back in a different form. Copyright laws already exist and are enforced by courts. But this new law goes much further -- granting the government and big corporations enormous powers to force service providers and search engines to block websites based just on allegations of violations -- without a trial or being found guilty of any crime!

US free speech advocates have already raised the alarm, and some key Senators are trying to gather enough support to stop this dangerous bill. We have no time to lose. Let's stand with them to ensure American lawmakers preserve the right to a free and open Internet as an essential way for people around the world to exchange ideas, share communication and work collectively to build the world we want. Sign below to stop US censorship, and save the Internet as we know it:

In the past months, from the Arab Spring to the global Occupy Movement, we've seen first hand how the Internet can galvanize, unify and change the world. Now, if we stand together, we can stop this new attack on Internet freedom. We've done it before -- in Brazil and Italy, Avaaz members have won major victories in the fight for a free Internet. Let's take the fight global, and mobilize to defeat the most powerful censorship threat that the Internet has ever seen.

With hope,

Luis, Dalia, Diego, Emma, Ricken, Aaron, Antonia, Benjamin and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Op-Ed: Blacklist Bill allows Feds to remove websites from Internet (Digital Journal)

Disastrous IP Legislation Is Back – And It's Worse than Ever (EFF)

Silicon Valley legislators oppose online piracy act (SFGate)

House Hearing on Stop Online Piracy Act Scheduled (PC World)

Growing Chorus of Opposition to "Stop Online Piracy Act"

The stop online piracy act: summary, problems, and implications

Why Is Justin Bieber So Pissed Off? 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A wonderful event

We all enjoyed it immensely.

The sixteen keen workers, the three groups of musicians and most important the four hundred and fifty people who came.

The feedback has been tremendous.

To find out more visit the Ulverston Candlelit Walk Facebook page

I'm always amazed how you can revisit a place that had so much activity the night before and next morning there's not a trace of all that activity. All the candle jars and pottery lights have gone, The music and "grandstand" is as it was - a lot of choppy grass.

What happened the night before is totally in the memory of those that took part and even then every single person has a different memory of what happened. One of the things that impressed people is the kind of people who they came across. Everyone was so appreciative and enjoying the wonder of the event.

Sadly those that hear about it from others who were there will never have the chance of witnessing a similar event. Next year will be totally different even though someone may attempt to repeat the magic: it just can't be done. In fact next year may not happen unless new people get involved in the making and planning, prior to the event as I will only be present as a helper - if in fact help is needed.

If you want something to happen next year, now is the time to say so, so that those willing to get involved can make tentative plans.

What is tangible today is that  Gill Banks upper and lower paths are totally dog shit free. Much of the paths have been swept and the stretch by the first picnic table where the two paths join, have had mud and weeds removed with spades by some very hard and dedicated workers. One discovers that actually the path is now quite wide!

Enjoy Gill Banks if you're out for a stroll.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Incredibly beautiful

Hold me in your arms
 Make my world round again.

When you hold me in your arms
You make the world round again

If I'm not by your side
Where else could I be?
If If I'm not in your eyes
   Who else is there to see me?

Your senses make my world disappear
Your lips on my skin make time not begin
Your love around my heart means I will never die
And kissing you is like kissing the sky.

By Rita Baugh of Ulverston

Monday, 24 October 2011

Join us next Monday evening - even if you have no kids around

The Candlelit Walk promises to be a magical experience again.

Quite different from last year.

This time more dramatic with the powerful flickering wax flames that rage and spit in wet windy weather, as they illuminate the beck and surrounding wood.

Trying to record the effect doesn't work on camera - you have to be there.

Shimmering lights in the high branches of the old trees,  reflections off the babbling water and the eerie sound of a group of wailing singers and musicians who are making music specially for this event.

The combination of sight, sound and friendly people makes this early evening event very special.

Read what David and Janet Fellows had to say about their experience last year!

Here are the words of an enthusiast who has been to every event:

Along with the visual spectacle of all those flickering candles,
musicians will also be adding to the spooky atmosphere. Ulverston
singers Geertje Baugh and Naomi Edwards have been working on some
bewitching ballads with a folk flavour to fill the night with haunting

“It gives me tingles seeing all those candles lighting up the woods,”
said Gill resident Jennie Dennett who's helping organise the walk.
“And the donated wax is also scented, so there's that brilliant smell
of burning wax, wet leaves and then the sweetness of cake shops all at
the same time. It's a real multi-sensory experience!”

It's an easy walk with lots of quiet very aware people. Parking in The Gill right at hand.

6:30 pm Gill Banks off The Gill, Ulverston this next Monday 31st October.

To keep in touch Go to our Facebook Page

For more information : Contact me by email - gd at (written this way to avoid spam) or by phone 01229 480347

The background to Ulverston's Candlelit Walk - Monday 31st October at 6:30

It all started on 22nd March 2009 with an email from Sue Sellers suggesting that I might be interested in a community pottery project using what turned out to be one ton of Terra Cotta clay  that Susan Thwaites of Dalton  wished to find a home for.

All this clay has now been used (and fired!)  and  a second ton was started three months ago.

In subsequent months the project grew from pottery on the garden wall to pottery on the wall of Union Lane, to The Railings , Gill Banks and then  Lightburn Park and Mill Dam  - much of this is documented on this web site

Having found a way of attaching pottery to the railings,  presence of spikes provoked the though that they needed covering. A few things were made but quickly got nicked because they were attractive including a hiker made by Jennie Dennett.

The though occurred that the railings could be used along their full length - lower path and upper path. The idea of the candlelit walk was born.

By September 2009 we had set ourselves the target of making 100 pots to hold Candles in Jars  - one every ten metres so as to light the upper and lower paths of Gill Banks which we achieved with some hard work from Geoff who made nearly all the blanks whilst Bernard and Elisabeth Ellis  decorated about 25 about forty people in all decorated the pots - many of them children. See this Youtube video.

October 31st 2010 saw the raising of the target for candle lights raised from 300 to 1000 - some of these still remain upside down in the bushes.

Wax Lyrical (Colony Candles) of Lindal provide the thousand candles). The concept of filling loo rolls was used then for the first time came from Gladys Hobson whose son revealed the concept. 20 larger spike lights were used to dramatic effect above the pottery on The Railings - wax overflow still to be seen.

The visual effect in 2010 year was intensified by having a small talented musical group of three musicians who played music to enhance the experience.

Because the 2010 candle lights still had many burning hours available they are again being used. Also because of the high work intensity using of candles all over the wood and the lack of helpers these are being kept for the paths. What is new is having some 60 larger flames which are being used for the first time to light up the beck as it runs along close to the beck.

The making of new spike lights has been limited to 15 this year made by six potters and one family.

What is very special is that we now have two musical groups playing involving with some very talented new singers who know how to create eerie music suited for the occasion.  Rita Baugh is one of them.

We anticipate to have about 10 helpers on the Monday afternoon .

As much work as possible will be done over the Saturday and Sunday in preparing the path  making it safe, free of slippery leaves and dog dirt.

Most people make a real effort to dress up - so much so it's difficult to tell who is who. At this time many parents are making costumes for themselves and their children.

There is no charge for the event which will cost very little to actually run this year as most of the pottery and candles were made last year and the year before. The walk itself costs are about twenty pounds with additional low costs for drinks afterwards. Some funds will be need next year for pottery and candle supplies.

No policing is required for the event : the numbers so far have been in the vicinity of 200 participants. who walk without torches in order to see the lights more effectively.

The greatest need is for involvement in making pots, candles and wax flames and musicians  and workers on the night, not for money.

Next year's event will be on a Tuesday evening.

The event now has it's own  Facebook page : " Ulverston Candlelit Walk"

Saturday, 22 October 2011


As posted (with a couple aof corrections!) on Colin Williams' blog :


Glad you're raising this issue in UTC as well as the police.

This is an issue like many others where I believe the general public can take effective action - my top project is to document on my camera and then support the police as they prosecute any one I see driving a vehicle while on a mobile phone. I've had three near misses and caught one so far. ( The latest, a fortnight ago, was a guy driving a small white van with PPS written in large letters: he was stuck in traffic beside me near the Coro on his phone. I was getting out of my car to challenge him when the lights changed. I followed him trying to get close enough to get his number, until the open road of the A590 just past Booths. This time he got away.)

I've just returned from a country where it is in the culture to get everyone to obey the law (An oversimplification).

They are what I call assertive: if someone does something they don't like they tell them, if someone asks for help, they they help if it's genuine. As everyone does this as second nature then it's no big deal to tell someone you don't like what they're doing and it comes easily - here I find it really hard work).

With a culture like this the police act only as back up.

So in the New Market situation you highlight we could all stand in front of cars and make them stop and then ask them what they think they are doing.

For my part I have moved back notices and bollards so that it's clear that cars are not allowed to drive down this street on Market days.

Please Colin start setting the example of being assertive and telling people off. The police need only intervene when the situation gets more aggressive which in my experience it never does: the worse that happens is you get some swearing and are told to "fuck off and mind your own business".

If we all were more assertive, many things would improve dramatically.

This is the direction, I  believe, we have to go in times of financial hardship. We, the public need to take charge.

How about Sgt Johnston organising some courses in public assertive behaviour?

*             *             *             *             *

I am starting on this theme of "Assertiveness" by only publishing  comments if they are accompanied by a real name - there will no doubt be exceptions - and finding out who is "real" will also be problematic.

See how we go!

If you haven't the courage to give your name; surely this poses lots of disadvantages not only for us but for you too.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Worth investigating

Please keep an open mind to the possibility that global warming can actually lead to freezing winters as we had last year.

I'd be interested in your findings of what scientists are saying and what theories they propose.

Surprisingly I can see some logic in this belief , but am still trying to understand.

The reduction in the ice cover at the north pole and the resulting volume of cold water from the melted ice may be responsible.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Staggering number of comments arriving

But they're all from robots trying to promote their own interests.

Real people have disappeared.

Just shows me how fickle the blogging community really is and why I'm right in concentrating on people who you can look square in the eyes and talk directly to.

There is no doubt a place for blogging here but it comes way down my list of other alternatives of human communication.

The topics I'll be tackling next are:

The very disappointing use of our allotments - with many not being used at a time when there is a long waiting list of people wanting them (60 , I believe). - My local rep believes that the council just pay lip service to the concept of throwing people off plots they aren't using. - I'm gathering opinions as to what system the users actually would prefer : there's a strong case for taking it away from the Ulverston Town Council to run and instead handing the running to the allotment holders themselves.

Repair of the Cobbles down Market Street - Having ripped up the cobbles between New Market Street and Brogden Street that were perfectly good, Cumbria County Highways are now stating that they won't be continuing the replacement of the really bad ones until next year ( Does that mean never? Will the work be done when trade is quiet - January and February for instance? Would this mean in 2013? )

With elections coming up next year, do we need a completely new type of councillor to match the challenges our town faces in the future?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A visit to the Ulverston Scrap Store

This organisation is run and funded by a remarkable woman who has decided to do this demanding project to enable us to use, at very low cost, materials and products that would otherwise be thrown away.

We in Ulverston are very lucky to have her come here to her store every Tuesday afternoon between 2 and 5pm every Tuesday whatever the weather.

There are lots of other interviews of people in Ulverston on this blog:

Click the label "interview" or this link to past interviews

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Our next community activity

We're putting a fair bit of work in preparation for the Walk in the Dark lit only by burning wax on October 31st at 6:30pm

Here's what someone has written about their last year's experience:


Last year we saw a little note in the Evening Mail from Geoff Dellow asking for donations of jam jars. Some 800 were needed to light the path up Gill Banks. We were so pleased that we’d remembered to go there on the Sunday evening, All Hallows Eve. It was magical and such an antidote to all the commercialism and hype that now surrounds what is often known as “trick or treat night”.

Not only was the path lit but there were lights dotted above and below it in the woodland. Accompanying us was the sound of running water in the Gill. At the place in the circular walk where you turned back musicians were quietly playing. At the finish there was a sight to attract the children, a haunted house with evil scarecrows peering out of every window. Nearby were some attractively carved pumpkins along the wall.  Finally were greeted by a cheerful group of helpers offering us a choice of welcome refreshments.

It was such a peaceful sociable event underlining the communal spirit of Ulverston and such an appropriate event ……. lights in the darkness.   Just as we remember the first lantern procession that is now part of Ulverston life it would be good to think that this one too will become a local tradition.

I’ve just met Geoff who tells me that the event will be on again this year on Monday 31st October. They don’t need and jars but the musicians have moved on to college so some new players would be welcome. Other help is needed too. Should you be interested or just like to know the opening time Geoff can be contacted at or Tel. 480 347.

David and Janet Fellows.

Note : you may wish to follow the latest activities of this event on our new Facebook page where there is a lot of information.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Our Mill Dam Picnic Table goes missing

Just when it's needed !

With this gorgeous weather people are coming from all over to meet each other while their children play.

With all the flowers and pottery, the park is looking great and people are understandingly using it more and more.

People are coming here from Croftlands, South Ulverston and even Dalton and Backbarrow.

Yet the SLDC Parks Department have chosen to remove one of the picnic tables, we are told, for repairs to one leg.

We appreciate their involvement but it is now a whole week since it was taken away and our enquiries yesterday and today have so far failed to determine when the table will be returned.

Although appreciative of their involvement in repairing the table, we are very capable of promptly doing all repairs ourselves since we made it with new materials we supplied in the first place.

We would far prefer the Parks Department focused on repairs they said they would help us with two years ago.

One is the bench that has had missing seat bars all this time. Eighteen months ago SLDC said that they would provide the wood to repair it, if they couldn't do the work themselves.

Even more important is for a satisfactory way of closing one of the gates to be implemented. The one in question uses a weak latch which vandals have broken twice in the past two years. Could the SLDC not replace this with a loop similar to the one they placed on the other gate last year?

This has been a great success.

The BUGs, a group of local people the have put a lot of work into improving the park. They hope that their efforts are recognised so that greater cooperation between them and SLDC develops during these times of limited resources.

The BUGS believe they are doing their part in not only improving the park but in keeping it tidy thus minimising work for SLDC contractors.

Could we have some consideration in return?

As soon as we get more information we'll post the outcome here.

Candlelit walk on Monday 31st October at 6:30

Plans are well under way to repeat this very successful event for the third time when we walked up Gill Banks in the dark lit only by candlelight with drinks and goodies afterwards.

Last night we did a test run in the wood with the extended use of the flames that we used last year. The results were quite spectacular.

We appear to be attracting two groups of musicians to play and sing on the night.

Our very small team are working very well. Let us know if you'd like to get involved - the more help the better the show! We are at present restricted to what we can do by the number of helpers available on a this Monday afternoon.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Support Palestine at the UN

I've just received this.

Let's not allow this new intitative to support Palestine to slip away.

Dear Amazing Avaaz community,

Emergency -- within hours, President Abbas will decide whether to stand up to US pressure and let the world vote on Palestinian statehood, or leave New York with nothing achieved. Let's flood our governments with phone calls and messages telling them to stand behind Abbas, and send a massive wave of support to him to stand strong -- it will be delivered by an Avaaz flotilla of ships that will sail past the UN tomorrow morning:

Today, Palestine's bid for statehood could be dead for months, unless we save it. On Wednesday night, US President Obama met with Palestinian President Abbas, and likely heavily pressured him to avoid a full vote of the United Nations assembly, a vote that Palestine would certainly win. Yesterday, the pressure seemed to be working, with the Palestinians backing off a vote.

It will be a tremendous disappointment to the world and Palestinians for this moment to pass with nothing accomplished. It will undermine peace and feed hopelessness, extremism and violence. But we can still turn it around. In hours, Avaaz will bring a 'flotilla' of ships up the river next to the UN, covered in massive banners. Another boat of journalists from the world's major media will film the flotilla and interview our spokespeople. If we can say that in just 12 hours, 250,000 people have called on Abbas to stand strong and let the world vote, it will help define this moment in the media -- influencing Abbas' decision about whether he can answer the call of history.

This week, Avaaz met with several foreign ministers and our rally in New York to deliver our 1 million-strong petition made news everywhere. But the US lobbying is furious - we urgently need to call on Abbas to stand strong and each of our countries to stand with him. Click below to sign the petition and urgently message/telephone/facebook/twitter key governments and leaders, or leave comments on key press articles to shape the media narrative of this moment. We have just hours before President Abbas addresses the UN with his decision, let's do all we can:

The bid for statehood is a peaceful, moderate, diplomatic attempt to move towards peace and give Palestinians hope after 40 years of occupation, oppression and colonization by Israeli 'settlements'. It would provide for a more balanced and fair peace process between two equal and legitimate states. Avaaz-sponsored polls and others show that large majorities of people across the world support this move. But Israel's extremist government, with its powerful US political lobby, is determined to kill this sensible proposal and keep Palestine weak, offering instead more years of fake peace talks while they colonize more Palestinian land. Ironically, these extremists threaten Israel even more than they do Palestine, since growing numbers of Palestinians are giving up on two states and deciding to embrace a long term struggle -- one they liken to South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle -- for a single secular democratic state with equal rights for all ethnicities and faiths -- effectively the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Something big is going on here. President Obama says a Palestinian state can only be granted out of negotiations with Israelis. But when Israel applied to the UN for statehood, the US didn't require that Palestinians agree to it. The US rhetorically backs pro-democracy demonstrations in Libya and Syria and elsewhere, but when Palestinians seek freedom, Washington does everything they can to block it. That kind of bias, where a staunch, even blind Israeli ally is the only 'peacemaker' we have is partly why this conflict has persisted for decades. But finally the world has had enough -- 127 nations, including Brazil, India, China and, now, France have stood up to call for a new direction. If others join them, the era of US/Israeli hegemony over this conflict may be coming to an end, with a much wider and wiser set of global and regional voices, especially the voices of the people themselves, to replace it. It all comes down to the next few hours -- let's get the world to stand up, and make it happen:

Abbas is likely to present his bid for statehood and UN membership to the UN Security Council tomorrow, but that small body is controlled by a US veto, and the US can refer his request to a technical committee that will bury it for months. But in the UN General Assembly of all nations, the US has just one vote like any other country. The General Assembly can't fully admit Palestine to the UN, but it can declare Palestine a state, with access to a range of international organizations, like the International Criminal Court, that will improve the rights of Palestinians. UN recognition of statehood will also give greater international legitimacy to non-violent Palestinian efforts to disrupt the Israeli military occupation and illegal colonisation of Palestinian land.

President Abbas is right now preparing to deliver his speech.. At a reception on Wednesday he was reported by the New York Times as saying "I am fed up with all these people, and I don't know what to do". The hopes of the Palestinian people are riding on a man who, after being repeatedly betrayed and undermined by the US, is losing hope himself. But a large majority of the world, and 80% of his own people, support his goal. Let's ask him to put his hope in the world and the call of his people, let the world vote to recognize Palestine, and then trust the world and his people to help that new state flourish.

With hope,
Ricken, Emma, Wissam, Nicola, David and the whole Avaaz team


Avaaz protests in front of the UN get international coverage (BBC)

Detailing pressure on Abbas and his frustration (NYT)

Avaaz poll showing support for Palestinian independence (Guardian)

Polling of Israeli and Palestinian support for UN vote (Jerusalem Post)

French support for statehood bid (France 24)

Former Israeli diplomats: Recognize Palestine (YNET)

Friday, 23 September 2011

A brief glimpse

Of the lantern procession held last Saturday

There are better videos there on Youtube!

Another amazing concert at the Coro

The Manchester Camerata visited us again with brilliant musicians, fantastic music and a superb conductor.

Sadly the hall was less than half full so we're in danger of losing them next year. If this happens we'll have to travel to Manchester or Preston for simlar quality.

If you enjoy good musicianship of any kind, the quality here is sky high and you can bring children free.

I started coming to concerts and enjoying them at the age of nine. . .

I've returned from this concert, re-envigorated to practice the piano even more.

It's wonderful to be able to make music for oneself. The instrument one plays gives back so much. This is my prime goal at the moment and one of the reasons I don't post much.

I'm too busy taking care of myself and my own problems. I find that I need to spending time with real people who are positive ; blogging comes very low down my list of priorities.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The lantern procession last night

As ever, this was a wonderful event.

Rather than try to capture it on 'film' I chose to go out and enjoy it to the full. I did this by showing my appreciation of all the positive energy I experienced in every way I could.

I thought the quality of the lanterns was sky high

Thank you to all those that put so much work into  making it all happen.

I have one bit of video I couldn't resist taking but haven't looked at. Should any one want to experience my take on this event then I point them to what is already on the internet. In many cases involving the same people as last night.

For many aspects of the Lantern procession event which were repeated this year, have a look here at what happened in 2007

For video of the procession then see here

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Bright Side - here in Ulverston.

This is the sequel to. . . . . a sick society

At a recent discussion at the Lantern House,  I was reminded that we all have four basic assets:

Time : you could argue that we all have equal amounts of this in any one year.

Physical energy : we all have differening amounts of this which is also true of :


The fourth however I believe is by far the most important :

Emotional energy.

We all seem to understand what this means.

For me it represents the energy that gets me out of my chair (or bed) and provides the impetous to get up and do something.

It is often the opposite of the feeling that leads us to wanting to watch television. Here we get into a state where we have no emotional energy and want someone else, no matter how remote to take over our lives.

Many of us have masses of emotional energy to get out of work quickly, get in the car, know the fastest route home, drive the car to be quickly through the intersections and along the road , know where to park most effectively, get into our home and sat in our favourite chair with a drink and then . . .

Vroomf - someone pricked the bubble. We've collapsed in a heap of inaction and grateful for the fifthrate attention of 'the box.

That's it for the reserve of emotional energy - it's pretty near empty. This is the feeling I associate with depression.

So where does the next top up come from?

Does it come from television?

Or elsewhere.

If it comes from elsewhere why don't we cultivate it?

I suspect there's a way of maintaining this reserve of emotional energy so that we move with satisfaction and energy from one self motivated activity to another.

I now have some pressing tasks that I want to do before continuing !

But I'll be back with the concept of "prosociality"   a term coined by David Sloan Wilson for something that is widely practiced in active communities. Wilson is a professor of biology and anthropology at a NY State university.

I like it because it's what I attempt to put into practice - it's good to find someone who validates ones thinking.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The National Health Service - A crunch vote coming up

I must admit that I don't understand the issues.

With the news focus on

Libya, Libya,Libya,


Gaddafi, Gaddafi, Gaddafi, Gaddafi, Gaddafi, Gaddafi,

It's been difficult finding the real news on the important issues that are going on behind the scenes.

However I've received this which is clear from one view point.

So until I get my tired brain (I've been overdoing things recently) to understand the issues I'm posting it as it attempts to inform us and stimulate action.

Perhaps others that understand the issues better will chip in and add their views.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *

Over the next two days, our MPs vote on the future of our NHS. Liberal Democrats are talking about a rebellion. [1] And Conservative MPs are nervous – they've been busy trying to spin their way out of trouble on the NHS all summer. [2]

38 Degrees members have sent over 40,000 emails to MPs from all parties in the last week, and now others are speaking out too. Powerful doctors and nurses’ groups are queueing up to say this bill is bad news for patients. [3] The British Medical Association sent shockwaves with their official verdict, calling on MPs to either make major amendments, or kill the bill. [4]

This week, anything could happen. This is the moment to make sure our MPs are in no doubt: we want them to say no to these dangerous changes to our health service right now. Click to send your MP an email:

MPs must choose whether to protect our health service from changes that could take us down the road to US-style healthcare, or whether to toe the government line and jeopardise the NHS that’s been looking after us since 1948.

We know the NHS isn’t perfect. But every day, nurses and doctors deliver babies, treat illnesses and look after people at the end of their lives – striving to be true to the founding vision for the NHS, that it cares for all of us from “cradle to grave”. [5]

Imagine someone you love being diagnosed with a serious illness, and having to worry not just about how you’ll cope, but how you’ll pay for their treatment. We know that country – it’s called the United States of America. [6] That could become the reality here if we don’t stop these changes.

Many MPs are already wavering and working up the courage to vote no. [7] The government is frantically trying to spin their way out of trouble. [8] It’s time for a huge, people-powered push to call on our MPs to do the courageous thing - click to email your MP:

Even if we don't win the vote, we can still save the NHS. The closer this week’s vote is, the more the House of Lords will be compelled to go over every last detail of the proposed changes with a fine-tooth comb, knowing how controversial it has been. That’s why we’re not backing down, we’re ramping it up. Click to send your MP a message now:

Thanks for being involved,

Johnny, Hannah, Marie, Becky, Cian, David and the 38 Degrees team

PS: People power built the NHS. After the Second World War, politicians and the public demanded a free health service for everybody. Together, they created our NHS. Now politicians are trying to undo that incredible achievement. The main thing standing in their way is people power. That’s why we need to convince our MPs to protect our NHS. Click to send your MP an email:

[1] and
[5] The phrase was used in the Beveridge Report which was the beginning of the modern welfare state:
[6] Thousands of Americans die every year because of the inadequacies of the US healthcare system: and
[8] We’ve responded in detail to Conservative and Lib Dem spin here: and here: Also it has been revealed that fears about privatisation may have been well-founded:

Monday, 5 September 2011

Learning to pace oneself in a sick society

All humans have a phenomenal potential

We see it regularly in front of our very eyes.

"Mo Farah makes history with 5,000m gold."

"Phillips Idowu, having jumped 17.70m, his best this season.  When challenged by Christian Taylor with an amazing 17.96m he responded with an improved 17.77m."

“Wayne Rooney goes on the rampage’ with two well coordinated goals for England.

"A team of six row to the north pole."

Yet we – also humans with similar potential – choose to watch it all on television.

We are drawn to the activities of "celebrities".

Some will be inspired to  do well at something themselves having been shown how it’s done.

“Viewers watched an average of three hours and 45 minutes of television a day in 2009, according to research published today by the media regulator Ofcom. TV continues to take centre stage in people's evenings, boosted by the popularity of shows such as The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and Doctor Who.

"Television still has a central role in our lives. We are watching more TV than at any time in the last five years,"

When we meet others, what do we talk about – invariably what’s been on tele.

Is this not a terribly sad fact?

When I went round door to door to half the homes in Ulverston, campaigning for a whole year for the County Council post what did I find?

Yes, you’ve guessed, – the persistent glow of the television screen with people sat watching.

Surely this is the true meaning of Cameron’s “Sick Society”.

With the wealth of information that is available through the internet, how many of us use it and for how long, to do something new for ourselves.

You could imagine that with all the stimulation and resources at our disposal in our country, our society would be a hive of activity.

Not so – a large proportion of us instead suffer from loneliness and depression

We’ve all been subjected to endless news from Libya after the worse riots in history.

How sick is that?

Bury the bad news and escape to a world that has little to do with us.

Tomorrow  - or at least soon - I’m going to look on the bright side, here in Ulverston, because this is where I’ve been for the last week or so – hence the absence of postings.

There are some people here who choose to get out and use their time to enjoy themselves with others with the sense of achievement that comes from a job well done.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

This is really important


There really isn't anything more important to us and yet all the time we're distracted by other issues.

By comparison they aren't important at all.

It seems to me that if this campaign is successful in Australia then other world countries, like our own, will start taking this matter realy seriously.

*           *           *           *           *           *           *

Australia is about to pass a law that would slash carbon emissions and get polluters to pay. This is the front line in the fight for our planet's future -- if we win, it could spur bold global action. But Rupert Murdoch and big polluters are fighting hard to kill the bill, spreading messages of fear across the country. We can help drown out Murdoch's mantra with messages of hope from across the world and help pass the law -- join in now:  

Right now, a major climate fight is blowing up in Australia -- the government is about to pass a law that would cut carbon emissions and get polluters to pay. But big businesses, backed by Rupert Murdoch, are trying to kill the bill.

This carbon pricing law is a win-win measure -- it will push dirty businesses towards clean production and generate more resources for working families. If it passes, it will spur other major emitters to follow suit and could be the next best hope for our climate. But Murdoch's megaphone of fear is massive -- he owns seventy percent of Australia's press. If together we can drown out his campaign to crush the bill with messages of hope from across the world, we could help it pass.

This battle is being fought on the Australian air waves now. Sign the urgent petition to back this bold initiative and share it with everyone -- when we reach 250,000 signatures, we’ll run inspiring radio ads that deliver our global messages, lay out the benefits of the law and rouse public support:

We are all under threat from climate change -- including the droughts and storms that cause forest fires, floods and failed harvests. Australia’s proposal would start to shift its economy to halt it. The measure would make polluting companies pay, encouraging them to become more efficient while funding technologies of the future and increasing support to the most needy. Yet Murdoch -- who has a long history of supporting climate denial -- has joined with mining companies to spread wild predictions of job losses and economic doom.

Countries like Denmark, Sweden and Costa Rica have already introduced carbon-pricing, spurring innovation and reducing pollution. If we now embolden Australia -- the worst rich country per person carbon polluter -- to follow their lead, it will generate momentum for other major emitters such as China and the US to follow suit, boosting our chances of a global climate deal next year.

Avaaz members across the world have been strong campaigners on climate change -- our actions together have often influenced governments and companies. Right now, Australia’s people and political leaders need our support to face down the profiteers and renew our hope in climate solutions. Let’s remind our Australian friends that they're not alone in this crucial climate fight:

Politicians and businesses often think short-term, when long-term action is needed. When our people-powered movement counters these tendencies and proposes a clear vision of the future we want, we bring out the best in our leaders. Let’s shore up Australia’s resolve, then approach other governments until we achieve the global climate deal the world needs.

With hope,

Alex, Stephanie, Ben, Alice, Emma, Ricken, Giulia, Carol, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team.


Australia plans to impose carbon tax on worst polluters (BBC)

Australia plans to put a 'carbon price' on industrial emissions (CNN)

Australia overtakes U.S. in per capita carbon emissions (Bloomberg)

David Cameron supports Australian carbon tax (The Telegraph)

Political will, public doubts on Australia climate policy (The Economist)

Murdoch media attacks carbon tax proposals (Independent Australia)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Making Pottery in Mill Dam Park

Between 11 am and 4 pm tomorrow, Saturday 27th we'll be in Mill Dam Park with tables and equipment to help you make something out of clay. This will be fired and could be mounted in either Mill Dam Park itself or attached to the railings in Gill Banks.

We've chosen Mill Dam Park rather than Gill Banks  because this provides somewhere for children to play and for people to sit and chat at the picnic tables there.

This event will also provide an opportunity to discuss future activities of the BUGs. Tea will again be available.

In order to deal with any rain we've bought a ten foot square Gazebo that will provide shelter.

We look forward to meeting you.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Dealing with gang culture

This approach impresses me.

Like most things that work it demands commitment over a long period.

It also requires a lot of hard work from the police and supporting services. How can this be done if staffing is cut?

With a government that appears to want quick fixes and with a fickle media that follows the topic of the moment, do we have people of character who will take an issue and pursue it long after it is out of the headlines?

This is my main criticism of most politicians: they don't appear to stick at a task and see it through.

Too often we see headline grabbing people who are good at impressing the mass superficial readership of the media.

Perhaps this is where blogs may offer an alternative though I would prefer in depth reporting that is found in papers like the Independent where a few issues are worked on regularly and persistently:

An attitude of patient chipping away at a problem and praise for every single action that improves a situation in the long term.

Mark, what we have seen happen in our schools is the eroding of good teaching. Far too many good teachers resigned during the last fifteen years because they were being thwarted from teaching well by artificial aims that produced quick results.

League tables became the criteria of measurement - fine as long it stayed as a measurement but when it became a goal then the system of good teaching needing patient steady perseverance became eroded.

People with experience and initiative threw in the towel and found more satisfying work elsewhere and were replaced with keen but pliant people who went through the motions, lacking experience and support from more mature colleagues.

Teaching is a hard profession - the most difficult years are the first. The system is so overstretched there are few experienced colleagues available to support.

Of the local schools, Dowdales in Dalton impresses me but a lot of teachers there may carry a very heavy work load.

I need more hard facts from statistics to continue otherwise I'm writing about impressions and not reality. My quick search of Google failed though I now know that the answer will be buried in the UK National Statistics web site .

Monday, 22 August 2011

How does one cope ?

Knowing that thousands of humans are going through incredibly hard times as they try to avoid starvation in the regions near Ethiopia.

I see pictures of these people who have such strong faces and body language. People that come across as having such a strong character that one is full of admiration.

They are humans on this planet who happen to have been born in Africa whilst I was born here.

Two worlds so different.

I find it so hard to imagine their situation.

The problem is so great that it makes me run away and want to ignore it.

Now thinking about it, I remember something that I have repeated to myself many times before and it casts a ray of hope.

When dealing with a very big problem: concentrate on a very small part.

When faced with shifting a lorry load of earth: don't think of the huge pile but concentrate on digging and moving the next spade full. This, one knows is managable. Then it's just a matter of repeating the operation and concentrating on one action at a time.

Gradually, very slowly, the enormous pile goes down in size and the new one increases until after maybe a few hours - yes only a short time - the enormous pile has been shifted.

One comes out of dealing with this task stronger oneself not only physically but mentally with more self assurance for dealing with any task that comes along in the future.

Yes the famine situation is not one to run away from. Many brave friends are tackling this problem and other massive problems of life and death in their own way. Chipping away with perseverance, becoming much stronger people as they do so. They are indeed a source of great encouragement to me as I witness them cope.

Concentrating on the small picture, over and over and ever again is for me an answer.

Thank you friends for having such strength of character - a great source of encouragement.

Right, let's get to sleep now and in the morning go out with that spade tomorrow to tackle the tasks I want to achieve just one at a time.

I stand to benefit a lot, so as to cope better in the future. The rewards of living alongside people who are also struggling with determination are  massive and give a great source of encouragement.

Isn't it great having these kind of people around - next time I want to cheer myself up, I'll look at these pictures of people dealing with famine and other mind blowing hardships for inspiration.

Thank you.

Further thoughts next morning.

Previously I had considered the problem so big that I was inclined to do very little.

Now I've found a different perspective:

I like the look of the people I see, they come across as strong characters.

So I can help enabling as many as I can to survive. These are the kind of people I would like to populate our planet - many will die but those who don't can be a powerful force for good even in their own communities.