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)