Saturday, 30 April 2011

Is television and radio mind numbing?

When we are feeling a little tired it's easy to switch them on and be "entertained".

It can become a habit: it saves us having to think what we want to do.

It seems to me to have simularities with eating cakes.

It's a 'pleasant' mindless activity.

That's its problem isn't it ?

It's mindless.

At the end of watching for an hour or two do we feel really good about ourselves. Do we feel we've achieved anything? Do we feel we've lived a little?

Contrast going down to the allotment and growing vegetables.

This can be a real challenge: aren't challenges fun?

We get that sense of achievement; that feeling of self confidence.

I just love challenges and doing something I hadn't been able to do before.

The challenge doesn't have to be difficult : it could be going for a walk and really listening to every sound we hear - really listen.

It could be going to a cafe´ or pub and people-watching and telling ourselves a story about the people we watch. We might even take the risk of talking to someone we don't know and finding more about their way of life.

Personally I find this far more satisfying than watching tele for the same amount of time.

It is risk taking - nothing might happen - we might get totally bored.

Time to stop writing and do something else and get away from the intrusive inanity of celebrities talking rubbish to each other that seems to be going on TV at the moment.

I have a mind and body that can amuse itself.

A friend of mine - without a television - has possibly got his guitar out and is at this moment singing to his relatives that have come for a visit. He may even be helping with the washing up after a really good meal he helped cook or at least grew the vegetables that were eaten.

He may even have cooked the food on the low fuel oven and burner he has designed and made himself.

Bla bla bla - the sound of television can penetrate the door of every room in the house.

Time to escape - maybe a walk? or some tidying up elsewhere - or play the piano!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Result of a discussion group

Yesterday  a group of seven of us that have a great time debating issues of all kinds came to a unanimous decision:

We all supported AV and have/or will be voting for it.

One reason is the impressive but dishonest publicity put forward by the "No" group.

Some of us concluded that they clearly have an undemocratic and controlling agenda of preventing the public have more of an effective say in politics.

Big Brother 'Takes Care of Us'

Our freedom to buy what we want is threatened.

The EU is going to make it difficult to buy simple tried and tested remedies in favour of drugs from the big pharmaceutical companies.

Thanks to the Internet we can do something about it.

Read on:

In 3 days, the EU will ban much of herbal medicine, pressing more of us to take pharmaceutical drugs that drive the profits of big Pharma.

The EU Directive erects high barriers to any herbal remedy that hasn't been on the market for 30 years -- including virtually all Chinese, Ayurvedic, and African traditional medicine. It's a draconian move that helps drug companies and ignores thousands of years of medical knowledge.

We need a massive outcry against this. Together, our voices can press the EU Commission to fix the directive, push our national governments to refuse to implement it, and give legitimacy to a legal case before the courts. Sign below, forward this email to everyone, and let's get to 1 million voices to save herbal medicine:

It's hard to believe, but if a child is sick, and there is a safe and natural herbal remedy for that illness, it may be impossible to find that remedy.

On May 1st the Directive will create major barriers to manufactured herbal remedies, requiring enormous costs, years of effort, and endless expert processes to get each and every product approved. Pharmaceutical companies have the resources to jump through these hoops but hundreds of small- and medium-sized herbal medicine businesses, across Europe and worldwide, will go bust.

We can stop this. The directive has been passed in the shadows of the bureaucracy, and it cannot stand under the light of democratic scrutiny. The EU Commission can withdraw or amend it, and a court case is currently challenging it to do so. If European citizens everywhere come together now, it will give legitimacy to the legal case, and add to growing pressure on the Commission. Sign below, and forward this email to everyone:

There are arguments for better regulation of natural medicine, but this draconian directive harms the ability of Europeans to make safe and healthy choices. Let's stand up for our health, and our right to choose safe herbal medicine.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Iain, Giulia, Benjamin, Alex, Alice, Pascal, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz team.


EU herbal medicines law set for legal challenge:

European Union directive to ban natural remedies in favor of pharmaceuticals:

Traditional Chinese medicine firms may face delisting in EU market:

EU crackdown on herbal 'remedies':

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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

You won't read many statements like this!

I believe the Coalition's strategy of dealing with the economic crisis of causing cut backs to very needy services and putting hardworking people out of work is blatantly wrong.


Because they are having little effect on me.

If they aren't affecting me much then this must also be true of millions of others who are keeping quiet.

I suspect the coalition is afraid of tackling this problem in a fair way because of the fear of repercussions from people in a similar situation to me.

The government policy must be seen as fair.

Clearly this is impossible.

Fairness doesn't exist.

But the idea that Cameron is promoting 'the big society' where everyone participates is for me a total myth.

When I read that bankers and owners of big companies like Tesco are really suffering then I shall begin to believe that Cameron and his cronies are being fairer.

Besides the country is taking its eye off the really important issues:

Global warming that is cracking on at a greater pace and

The limit of the worlds resources. The Government's policy of 'growth' totally ignores this issue:

The amount of accessible iron copper wood oil is finite and we are consuming this at an ever increasing rate.

We are on a clear and undeniable road to total disaster and responsible people in government refuse to admit it as it will scare us all shitless if it's every stated by a ruling party.

Another thing : vote AV .

It's essential if responsible politicians are to be heard.

With two main parties fighting each other, neither will want to ever admit the truth - it's a vote loser.

No one wants be told they are doomed they'd rather live near a volcano and be told

"It will all right dear"

"Don't worry"

"We have everything under control"

"We humans are really superhuman and infallible."

Well I say :

Be realistic and enjoy what time we've got on this planet.

Do something crazy and enjoyable:

Fly a flag .

They will be out to enjoy on Friday.

Have a good week end !

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Could this ever happen in Ulverston?

A news story about what happened when Tesco opened a store in this area of Brostol.

For me, this is a question that is crucial to the future of Ulverston.

What are your views?

Friday, 22 April 2011

An email from a friend

You may already have seen this, but if not I think it's something most of us will feel strongly about.

Have a look at this:

The government is proposing plans to break up and privatise our NHS. We all know that the NHS is a vital public service that provides free health care to millions of people, and that it needs to be protected. Together we can make the government change its mind about these plans.

I've just signed a petition to stop the government from privatising our NHS. The more of us who take part, the stronger the message will be - click here to email your MP:

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

When does and aquantance become a friend?

This is something that has been puzzling me recently?

I have lots of acquaintances, I believe, but few friends.

Is a friend, an acquaintance  who you can be unreasonably nasty to and still comes back for more.

Someone you can tease about their sensitive areas?

Someone who drops in regularly unannounced and vice verse?

How would you describe a friend?


Here's something you may want to do

Frequent a pub for the evening and get that brain working in a fun loving atmosphere.

Stan Laurel,

8 o'clock Tuesday Evening

Playing Chess

All ages and abilities welcome.

We had a couple of challenging games from an eleven year old last night.

Beware: the offcomers are taking the place over.

Commenters from Nowhere

I received this comment from Pete T.

It's so typical of the Knowhere group that spend their time slagging people off in their tarantula infested den that belongs nowhere.

"The" Hoad , (someone's name), that says it all. 

Our town is being overrun by offcomers, ever so enchanted by the people and the place, yet without the brains or wit to realise that their presence is changing what they liked about it in the first place.

I suggest you all pack up and bugger off back where you came from, visit for two weeks a year and maybe, just maybe we may get back to the nice, quiet, unspoiled place we once were.

Someone who has lived here longer than some of them have been alive is still seen as an "offcomer".

How about coming out of the shadows with your silly names and instead become real people we can have a conversation with in the street.

Time to face up to reality.

"the nice, quiet, unspoiled place we once were" is fantasy land.

Ulverston is changing and in some respects for the worse:

there are fewer pubs around.

What positive proposals do you have to make?

Get involved with people who have fresh ideas and contributions.

Do something yourselves.

Stop skulking evilly in the background.

You're like wood lice who can't bear the light of day.

So Pete T. and the rest of the negatively anonymous commenters, who are you ?

Monday, 18 April 2011

This, makes me chuckle, even though I'm half French

Alerts to Terror Threats in 2011 Europe - attributed to John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's Get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French Government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

The Italians have increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Australians, meanwhile, have raised their security level from "No worries" to "She'll be Alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! Might need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

The attitude here in Ulverston , does so reflect the depiction of the English .

When will anyone desert their TV or on the part of the Knowhere Rabble, their computers, to even glance at our dying market and the future of our shops and community life ?

When will Ralph Spours turn a hair and admit we have problems. When will the Town Council do more than talk.

Where are the Scots in our midst?

I know one who fits the description well.

BTW I'm descended from to the rebel protestant Huguenots.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Today's market

Looks like we've the making of a talented acrobatic group here

The ultimate on pseudo political speak from Lansley

"Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said he is "sorry" for failing to communicate his plans for the NHS in England."

This is the message we read

But he didn't say this.

"He said: "I am sorry if what I'm setting out to do hasn't communicated itself." "

In other words it's what was set out that was at fault because it "hasn't communicated itself", as though 'it' has a responsible life of its own.

Naughty misbehaving words that didn't do their job. "It's your fault: not mine"
It's important to my career to distance myself from others (my words) that fail me.

It would be too politically damaging if he said in plain English:

"I got it wrong"

No wonder we get fed up listening to 'clever' politicians talking the drivel that expensive speech writers produce for them.

Is there anyone that disagrees that AV is good?

I can't believe there is anyone who stops and thinks that will be persuaded by the glossy presentation in favour of first past the post.

One argument is that we would get a hung parliament - well we've got one now.

In my view the Coalition is a lot better than raw Conservatism .

True it's doing the Liberals no favours in their credibility but at least Cameron is being shackeled a little by the likes of Cable and Farron.

Had AV been in effect at the last election then the Liberals would have had a greater number of MPs and could have teamed up with Labour with little fear from the Conservatives.

We would then have had policies that would have been supported by the majority of people.

AV allows the candidate to win that has the majority support if your first choice doesn't get 50% of the vote.

During the last election for SLDC and excellent candidate who had done a great job in her first term as a Lib Dem councillor, Jane Carson, was voted off by a Conservative because the Green Party in my view foolishly ran their own candidate.

Had AV been in operation the Greens would most likely have voted for Carson as second choice and she would have been returned. After all she stood up for practically everything they wanted.

AV though not perfect as a democratic tool is far better at representing the majority view and can be expected to involve the public far more in elections.

Our faith in politicians is in dire need of being improved.

We've got the technology in place to do it at little cost, surely we should use it.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Ulverston Flag Festival approaches

Two weeks to go: with Flags going up on April 29th.

The new Ulverston Flag Group will be putting up 25 new flags outside the Coro to welcome The 10th anniversary of Printfest. The original flag makers have been reinvigorated and very active since January making flags for the two groups that now exist. New flag makers have made about half of the twenty flags going up on private houses in The Gill, these will be joined on Monday 2nd by those outside the Coro when Printfest ends.

A taste of the flags that are to come from the Ulverston Flag Group is given each market day when six flags are put up on the Market Square.

Have we moved forward from the days I discussed this festival's future four years ago in 2007 on another blog?

For the most part the main event is still in the hands of the same people.

With two groups working in their respective areas the event should be a knockout.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Putting your life on the line for a matter of principle

In Britain, this is a rare concept.

It was true in the past but there are few who will make a stand in the cold light of day to put their lives at risk.

One of the values of discussing philosophy with others in Ulverston is that it has helped me work out more clearly what my actions in every day life will be.

This is one of them.

If there is something I feel strongly about I am ready to die for it.

This could happen in the street with a gang of youths or as a result of upsetting powerful people.

Both at the moment are very unlikely scenarios but if the time comes and until then, I am ready to put myself at a disadvantage by speaking out here on this blog and elsewhere.

Below we have an example of someone who is clearly taking extreme risks for the ultimate benefit of those around him.

I believe he is worth supporting now:

Ai Weiwei is the most famous artist in China, best known for his iconic "Bird's Nest" stadium that was the focal point of the Beijing Olympics.

Ai has always pushed the envelope, both with his internationally-acclaimed art and with his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government.

But these past weeks have brought Beijing's harshest crackdown on dissidents in more than a decade. And on April 3rd, government agents arrested Ai at the Beijing airport and seized papers and computers from his studio.

We don't know where Ai is now. The Chinese government is holding him on flimsy charges of "economic crimes" -- an allegation often used to silence dissenters.

Twelve leading figures in the international arts world, including the directors of the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, and Tate Museum, have started a petition on demanding that the Chinese government free Ai Weiwei.

The regime in Beijing has proven largely resistant to pressure from foreign governments. But they've made a huge push to raise China's profile in the arts -- the government just finished building the world's largest art museum. Widespread condemnation, led by the arts community, may be our best chance to save his life.

Please sign the petition to free Ai Weiwei as soon as possible:

Thanks for taking action,

- Weldon and the team

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Going the rounds !

How does she keep her face straight?


I am mixing with parents that encourage their children to think independently at the young age of three.

I see these children thinking completely for themselves.

If they step out of line, they are given space and time to figure out the consequences of their behaviour.

They are not punished but given time to reflect and make choices in an unemotional reasoned atmosphere.

Lots of time is given to talking things through.

One the other day, with a grin on their face seemed to decided to misbehave,  just to see what would happen.

They got told off, given reasons for the action being requested and then were left quietly to reflect on what they had done with nothing further being said.

After a few minutes they carried on  . . .

behaving as requested.

They had been convinced that this was the best thing to do with no emotional pressure to do so.

Here was a human being who was growing up as a self confident person who would make balanced judgements in the future on what was best for them.

With the uncertainties of todays world we need people who can think for themselves who will be able to decide clearly and without pressure what is best for them.

They will become people that can step out of the shadows of their parents and make decisions for themselves.

It's good to realise that there some exceptionally good parents around.

How many "F"s

Have you come across this one?

How many "F"s do you see in the following text.


I was absolutely convinced that there were only three.

There's no trickery!
I gather I'm a person of average intelligence!

See here

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Get ready for hot summers and really cold winters like the last ones.

The Flow of our Gulf Stream that has such a major effect on our climate is threatened.

Please read this article.

This would be the end of 'comfortable Britain'.

We are being warned that the melting of the artic ice cap releases 7,500 cubic kilometers of icy melt water that if winds change could flow south and disrupt the flow of the Gulf Stream.

Reliable scientists estimate that we will lose heat equivalent to the amount that can be generated by a million power stations

Read this article and understand it.

We'll cope better if we are prepared.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Progress on Ulverston's main street procedes at less than a snail's pace

It's now a fortnight since we requested a meeting with our county councillor James Airey.

Progress on the work down Market street in the last fortnight has been extremely slow.

At this rate of progress, the work will not be completed by April 29th the day the Flag Festival is due to start which features this very street.

Of the festivals in the town, this is the one that our traders feel brings the most benefit to the town; others certainly have an impact but for the most part result in little trade and in the case of the Dickensian Festival can cause considerable disruption to shop trade.

Many of the traders are deeply upset with the casual approach by Amey towards getting the work done quickly and the apparent lack of concern from the County Highways Department.

Questions are being asked as to how this contract was set up and whether there is a penalty clause in Amey's contract for overrunning.

Was even a completion date agreed?

The traders want answers and their politicians to take action.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Changes to the information, here, on the right

I've shuffled things around so that you can check the weather easily.

I've inserted the two places that I find most helpful.

I hope you all find this helpful.

From Amnesty International

 We're all enjoying gorping at the events  in the Middle East on tele.

It's easy to treat the news like an alternative Eastenders.

Here's a chance to be part of the action!

If you think you've got problems - think of these.

(Do you know what it's like to be a refugee ? - I know from experience in 1941, it can be very painful especially returning to this country from France, having lost all our belongings and being treated with great suspicion by fellow English people because my mother was French. The only people to help were the Quakers and one family in particular. Thanks to them we were taken care of. . .  )

Dear Geoff,

Right now, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing for their lives from violence and persecution in Libya into neighbouring countries. Take action now

We're demanding that EU countries offer meaningful assistance to both the refugees and to countries such as Egypt and Tunisia which are bearing the brunt of the exodus.

The EU bears a heavy responsibility on account of its failure in recent years to acknowledge and take into account Libya’s dire human rights record and because of its proximity to the affected region.

We need you to contact the Foreign Secretary William Hague and tell him to step up efforts to help those affected by the desperate events in Libya.
Send an email: Protect refugees and migrants fleeing Libya
Thank you for your continued support for our crucial work to protect human rights in Libya, and across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Kristyan Benedict
Crisis Response Campaign Manager

P.S. Please visit and bookmark our Middle East and North Africa campaign site to keep up to date with the latest news and actions from the region.

Why wasn't this diagram discussed at the Planning Meeting yesterday ?

It shows the projected path of a truck entering Union Lane around a blind corner.

The shaded black shaded area represents a pedestrian pavement which is driven over.

The movement of pedestrians along Union Lane wasn't even discussed at the planning meeting.

Councillors were not even aware of the Persimmon's 30 page Transport Statement from which this diagram is taken.

In this plan above, pedestrians have to cross the road at the most dangerous place in the road: the location of a blind corner.

This will become the most dangerous intersection in Cumbria.

Time was not given to raise this issue because Cumbria County Highways chose to ignore it saying that there weren't any problems with the proposed plans.

Their total statement to the planning committee reads:

"I can confirm that the proposal is broadly acceptable to Cumbria Highways. The development will fall under advance payments code procedure operated by Cumbria County Council, and roadworks must be constructed to an adoptable standard.

"I accept the recommedations of the safety audit and developers notes, provided these are followed.

"Conditions regarding construction details of roads and footpaths and the provision of parking for vehicles associated with the construction works are recommended."

How can there not be problems when 60 additional cars in the new development start to use this lane.

Those of us that live here never/rarely turn round this corner in this way. We approach the lane from the north where visibility is good.

Will the new residents on the development all be this careful?

Safety issues were not discussed at the meeting because of the above statement by CCC. The issues were confined to the need for housing , especially affordable housing, and the preservation of the old wall that is within the conservation area.

Because of the weak statement from CCC , we believe that the decision of the planning committee is unsafe and will be challenging it if at all possible.