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!