Sunday, 27 February 2011

A thoroughly contented Geoff

As you will gather.

Even though I still feel strongly about issues in the town - in particular our very poor councillors- I'm spending less time dealing remotely with people  as on this blog.

Talking directly to people who live nearby is far more rewarding.

Flag Fortnight is a far more stimulating project than I ever imagined.

It provides a taking point with all the people that live nearby.

I'm discovering all sorts of fascinating people that I've lived next to for years without realising who they were.

Now with a project like the Flag Festival, that most people love because of its past history in the town, talking to others becomes easy.

Most people like the kind of activities that are happening in The Gill - Pottery on the Railings and the Halloween Candlelit Walk -   so there's a lot of cooperation and points of contact.

Only tonight I came away with another sixty pounds for the Ulverston Flag Project and good long chats with people that I didn't know before.

Dealing with 'the public figures' in the town can be so frustrating as they do so little but love grabbing the lime light and trying to appear 'important'. In the case of my own SLDC councillor, who loves making the most of his status, far from beoing helpful, he actually stops SLDC doing things for our area because it would reflect well on me and poorly on him. One civil servant described his actions as 'out of order' when I talked to him recently.

At a time of government cutbacks, local government can do less and less, so that the existing politicians are becoming irrelevant, so dealing directly with each other and the people who actually DO things, is far more effective and in my view avoids frustration and puts a spring in my step.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

A Great Discussion Group

The next two sessions:

1st and 15th March 2011

2.15 p.m. – 4.15 p.m.

Methodist Hall, Neville Street,Ulverston.

At the meetings, which are held fortnightly throughout the year, we listen to a short presentation about the topic and then have an open discussion of the arising issues.


Here are a few questions that will get us thinking about the topic:

·      Do we really use reason to make most decisions?
·      Are reasoned decisions always the best  ones?                  
·      When the calm voice of reason is drowned out by screaming emotions, how can we make good decisions?
·      Why does one person's valuation of something influences others' perception?
·      Why is our attitude to risk often so unreasoned?
·      Does the excessive use of reason lead to a dehumanisation of everyday life?
·      What are the prospects for the future of our society when reason is so often ignored?

I'm going along with the question: "Are humans really 'reasonable' or are they really emotional beings using reason for support ?"

If you would like to find out more about our meetings please ring Geoff on 01229 480347 or send an email - gd at

I find these discussions really helpful as they help me sort my ideas out in a world where there are no 'right' answers

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

In one month - 20 new flags to celebrate Flag Fortnight

And we've got another two months to go!

And another 30 flags to make if our target is to be reached !

Over the past month The Ulverston Flag Festival has sprung back into life under the guidance of the new Ulverston Flag Group who are working with people to design, make or just have a flag to fly during the festival in early May.

Flags have been made at an unprecedented rate because so many people from the community have been involved. Workshops in houses with large rooms along with individuals working in the small terraced houses of The Gill have already produced more than 20 new flags.

While the Ulverston Better Towns Team is continuing to run the festival centred on the shopkeepers under the guidance of Peter Winston, the new group are focussed on involving people of all kinds in this great celebratory activity at a time when all our lives need a little Zest to cheer us up.

The making of flags is a time consuming activity and for a beginner this can take some ten hours to make.

A trip to Bradford's Bombay Stores yielded enough beautifully coloured fabrics to make fifty flags. Bamboo poles have been purchased from Newcastle and the design of brackets has been finalised and are to be made by one of three local firms that have willingly got involved.

The Gill was chosen as a starting point for this community activity because it provides an ideal space for the display of flags and because over thirty people here are so keen to have a flag.

Furthermore the theme of The Gill's past history is an inspiration to all.

It's difficult to believe that so much has happened here in the past : Home of the Hiring Fairs where people came to find work as recently as 1940, Circuses with tales of an Elephant that died and was buried in the nearby Quaker Cemetery at Birkrigg, a Saw Mill and Corn Mill driven by the power of the beck that flowed through the middle, the corn mill owner was the national pole vaulting champion, The Magazine where gunpowder and arms were stored for the local militia, the Slaughter House and Tannery, the Police Station and Lock Up (now toilets), A Pub - The house of Letters with the beginning of Ulverstons Postal Service, all based on The Gill as a centre for travel by horse, The School run by Holy Trinity Church and more recently the home of Welfare State International, the people that started all the festivals in the town, noteworthy the Lantern Festival and this Flag Festival, and lastly the beginning of the Cumbrian Way.

All these are being reflected in the designs of the flags that are being made.

When the Gill has been covered the theme is being extended up Stanley Street to the Health Centre where it is hoped there will be three very large flag poles and on to the Mill Dam Play area, Sun and Star streets and the allotment beyond. It is hoped to also have some flags coming down Soutergate to celebrate the church, pubs and workshops it had in the past. Next we hope to spread down Church Walk to the school and chaurch at the end.

Those wanting to get involved are invited to the workshop that has been organised for next week end on Sunday 6th and then again another which is being organised in a large Hall in late March/early April. Details can be found on the new facebook page - Ulverston Flag Fortnight or to contact Geoff Dellow on 01229 480347.

The Ulverston Flag Group had their first Photoshoot with the two local newspapers vying with each other to capture this feast of moving colour from the twenty flags that have been made in the last month by this active group.

They represented just the tip of the iceberg of massive enthusiasm for this project - many of the flag makers, who spend on average eight hours of hard work in making a single flag, are camera shy!

(seen here are the result of 160 hours of enthusiastic work on a sewing machine and cutting board)

They invite others in Ulverston to join them in celebrating "nothing in particular" other than a Zest for Life and a refusal to let "problems " get the better of them. Others in the town can get involved in designing and making another 20 flags for their houses before Flag Fortnight which is in early May.

The Royal Wedding is providing another source of inspiration for the flags which will go up on William and Kate's special day - Friday April  29th.

Follow this project on Ulverston's Flag Fortnight Facebook page

How is Cameron's Big Society doing?

Sounds great.

I'll start believing in it when Britain's "Big Society" is supported by the banks and big business.

At the moment the thinking seems to be aimed at those with little money and not those in finance.

Don't we need a "people as human beings"  philosophy rather than one based of greed. This applies to all sections of our society.

What does the church have to say?

Don't the Church of England own a fair bit of London?

For me , I prefer to focus on the people immediately around me; hence the Flags.

Come and see the twenty new ones we've made today at 2pm in The Gill and join in this fun activity.

One family was heavily involved yesterday!

Monday, 21 February 2011

A people-powered movement

I want you to watch a video of the many Yes! Campaign to Fairer Votes supporters. I think it truly shows how powerful a people-centred movement can be:

I'm fed up with dishonest politicians who are far too concerned about their party and don't think logically for themselves.

We live in changing times and it's beginning to be possible for our votes to count for something.

This, in my view is the best option that we have at the present time.

Let's go for it!

As a supporter from Cardiff says in the video, "It's about ordinary people taking a stand to change the face of politics and democracy, not just for a generation, but hopefully for generations to come."

We've got our chance in the referendum on 5 May 2011. The proposed Alternative Vote ("AV") method of electing MPs builds on the strengths of the current system while eliminating many of its weaknesses.

Politicians will be forced to work harder to earn and keep our support. People will at last be able to vote for what they really want.

Friday, 18 February 2011

So what have I been up to?

This gives you a clue.

Don't they look good!

Looking forward to displaying many of the other new flags that have already been made during the last six weeks at a press 'photo opportunity' and telling the story so far behind their designs.

We invite you to a quick preview at the above location in The Gill at 2pm this next Wednesday Feb 23rd.

Here's what others get up to with bamboo poles and flags.

Can we do something at all similar here?

How good are the Gymnasts at Victoria High ?

We could certainly jump over a flag - more needs a little practice!

We've got the drummers.

How about a Flag Jumping Drumming Festival ?

Let's set our sights a little higher !

The new site for Ulverston -

This web site continues to grow in stature.

It's the best site we have that is geared to telling the outside world what is to be seen in Ulverston.

Well worth a good look around!

For instance:

this on the mural and arts in Ulverston

Monday, 14 February 2011

Looks like Google are turning up the heat

With their new face on their search engine.

Milking us for information in exchange for the services they offer.

Next thing it will be the blogs that we've got so used to!

Will they and the internet world that we're getting so used to be able to cope with the intense solar activity that could happen at any time!

And here's another

Photo from Allan Wilson!
Tree at Colton

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Preparing for the new season on the allotment.

'Chitting' my seed potatoes in the garage ready for the allotment in six weeks time ( I need to get digging in preparation!)

Rocket for small new potatoes and Pentland Javelin for the next crop have been recommended. The latter have some Blight resistance.

Work starts on the cobbles in Market street

It's good to see:

1. That cobbles well up into the market square have been taken up rather than just those close to the junction with New Market street. Let's hope that this will apply at the lower end of Market Streetso that work extends right past the junction with Union Street.

2. That I.T.Shaw, a local firm are doing the work, presumably subcontracted to Amey. What they've done  elsewhere in the town - The Gill and the path at the bottom of Hoad has been excellent.

This is looking very promising. Well done Highways department: so far very good!

Another superb photo from Allan Wilson

Hoad from Grizedale

You'll enjoy browsing through many of Allan's photos that can be seen on his web site at

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The idiocy of local government

And most of us have to put up with it.

These are obviously my views and you will have to use your judgement to decide whether you agree with  my logic.

First premise: that when a hole has to be dug in a cobbled street in can be repaired in a way that will be entirely satisfactory to nearly everyone.

How effective the repair is, depends on the standard of workmanship and not the problem itself.

This has been shown to be true if you examine a repair that Balfour Beatty did, some time back that is opposite and on the other side of the road to the Westmorland Gazette Office. This was done well because they were being inspected - by me! I was in touch with their boss at Penrith who I have got to know through a previous campaign to get contractors to do quality work.

On the other hand if a hole needs to be dug in an asphalted street the problem is more difficult because of the need to seal the new asphalt with the old - something that is neglected in filling most of the potholes that occur.

Nearly all the problems we have with the cobbles in town is because the local Highways office in the past, was administered by Nick Raymond who didn't require Capita to inspect work do on the street.

This is true because United Utilities had received no complaints from anyone when I contacted them with the help of one of their employees. The result from this contact was for them to apologise for the poor workmanship done by their contractor Balfour Beatty and even though it was over two years after they had done the work ( when they can be legally requested to return), to come back and repair the damage except in the area between New Market Street and Brogden Street where the Highways department undertook to do the work - one can assume with payment to CCC for this by United Utilities.

So we end up with a series of problems in a lot of places down Market street which have arisen because of the negligence of our Highways Department.

If they had done their work of supervision properly then there would be no need for them to now repair the cobbles at a cost to us of £100,000 at a time when money is scarce.

In my next instalment I point out that they are going to rip up ALL the cobbles between and including the junctions of New Market Street and Brogden Dt with Market St where we have the best stretch of cobbles in place in the whole street. Furthermore they don't plan to  even tackle some of the worse areas in the whole street that are below Brogden Street ie at the junction of Union Street and Market Street.

So we get all the disruption of closing off the street, spend £100,000 doing work that some of it doesn't need doing and leave behind a half finished job requiring more cash, more waits and a similar amount of disruption all over again with the accompanying loss of revenue to our shops and businesses.

If you wish to see my evidence then watch the video I have placed on Youtube, featured on a previous posting.

What helps relationships work?

Here "relationships" means relationships of all kinds.

Relationships with:

  • Partners
  • Children
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances 
  • People with responsibilities (leaders of groups )
  • People at work (bosses, colleagues and 'subordinates'
  • Others (?)
Are there philosophies  that are particularly helpful?

The thinking of Carl Rogers for example.

Are there examples of groups that work particularly well (define 'well' ! - that you would commend) together?

Religious groups (how about The Quakers); political parties (the Liberals try to keep everyone 'on board'; other  secular groups with a common cause; neighbourhood groups sharing diverse interests.

Too complex a topic?

Have a try - start somewhere.

    Friday, 4 February 2011

    Two horrendous stories coming up

    If I write a headline like this then this will make me find time to explain.

    The first, at a time when cash is scarce, is regarding the wasteful spending of £100,000 by the Highways on something that had they been doing their job properlywould not need repairing - it was someone else's job. James Airey hasn't succeeded to talk sense into the Highways department.

    The second is a dramatic example of an Ulverston man being kept against his will "in care"whilst they raided his house using his keys without his permission to fetch clothes amongst other things. Fortunately he is capable enough to have 'escaped' back home  with some help from Cllr Norman Bishop-Rowe - one of the few councillors that get off their backsides and try to help individuals when they are haveing trouble with officialdom.

    Will any of you complain?

    If you value the money in your pocket and your personal freedom when you are either old or ill you will be hopping mad, causing you to: write emails, make phone calls, ring the doorbell of your councillor and  go thumping on official's people's desk.

    But will you?

    Thursday, 3 February 2011

    Important planning consultation today

    The Local Development Framework

    Just found out that the above is on: the Coro 1:30 till 7:30

    Important if you want to have your say on future development in this area.

    Here's background info on this consultation, sent in by one of our readers:


    South Lakeland District Council is consulting widely from 21 January to 15 April 2011 on its suggestions, and seeking community views, on new sites for homes, jobs and community facilities, to meet the needs of communities in South Lakeland (outside the National Parks) to 2025. The consultation is being publicised widely and includes a series of consultation ‘drop-in’ days when you can discuss and share views with Council Officers.

    This is an important opportunity for local communities to consider not only the District Council’s site suggestions but also to comment on other sites not suggested - or indeed to put forward new sites and ideas not previously looked at. We hope you can take time to consider the suggestions and let us have your comments by Friday 15 April 2011.  The Council will consider all comments before preparing a final draft plan. When this is published, everyone will again have opportunity to make representations. These will be considered by an independent Inspector when assessing the ‘soundness’ of the document.

    Full details of the proposals and how you can let us have your views are on the Council’s website at  and also to inspect at South Lakeland House (Kendal), Ulverston Town Hall and libraries at Arnside, Grange over Sands, Kendal, Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe and Ulverston.  We can also provide information on CD or paper on request.

    Please make your response on-line if possible as this will save admin costs, but you may also complete the form and email it to us at  or post it to Development Plans Manager, SLDC, South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4DL.  All responses will be made available to view on-line (with signatures and addresses removed) and therefore cannot be treated as confidential. Responses will not be acknowledged individually, except on request.

    In responding, please also let us know if you wish to be informed when the Land Allocations document is submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination.

    If your contact details are incorrect, or you do not wish to be consulted in future on the Land Allocations, or if you have any other queries, then please contact us on 01539 717490 or email

    Yours sincerely
    Dan Hudson
    Development Strategy Manager

    On this site you will find the drop in days for your area.

    The next for Ulverston is on March 3rd 1:30 till 7:30

    Tuesday, 1 February 2011

    Seen around town today

    It takes five men to replace a signpost (one is hidden round the corner)

    The result:

    PC Nigel Tallontire's last day as a policeman:

    Rust developing on on signposts - a bit of maintenance would be a good preventative measure: