Saturday, 30 July 2011

Meanwhile in Greece . . . .

Yesterday   Greece debt: Austerity-hit Spartans resent Athens
Vasilis's restaurant and catering business faces bankruptcy

"I feel very angry inside," he says.
"When you try to do the best for your country and your children and your neighbours, you still get treated like garbage by the authorities," he says.
"It is psychological violence. Maybe the terrorists we see on the television - this is the process they have gone through."
His words are greeted with nods around the table.

A week ago Greece urges citizens to repatriate money held in foreign banks

Greek money moved mostly to banks in Switzerland and Cyprus. Greeks eager to offload deposits have also been reported flying to the UK with "suitcases full of cash" used to snap up prime properties in central London.
Estate agents in the capital said that over the course of the past year Greeks had scaled the rich list of foreigners acquiring £2m plus properties in Britain "often closing deals in less than a week."

Recently the Greek media reported the case of a man in Crete who had hidden a vast amount of cash in his home only to discover that it had been destroyed by mice.
mouse eaten money

*      *      *      *      *      *      * 

It seems to me that the concept of the Euro is basically flawed. It assumes that all member countries have a similar attitude to material wealth. 

What happens when some contries don't trust their banks and the govenment controlling the purse strings?

Old Brewery/Supermarket Site

The public meeting was reported in the Evening Mail with a follow-up articles here - Brewery supermarket pledge and here - Business group backs supermarket battle

Here is a more complete draft of what happened at the meeting which will be updated shortly.

All views regarding this proposal need to reach the planning officer - Kate Lawson soon.

*       *       *       *       *       *
    •    Robinsons currently own 9 pubs in town: 3 are not open
    •    English Heritage say that the three cottages on Brewery Street have no particular importance but various features of the site were earmarked for conservation.
    •    The car park will have 105 space underground and 200? In SLDC car park
    •    There will no more traffic in town it will be retained on Brewery Street
    •    What will the back of the building look like?
    •    At the moment 112 vehicles per week go into the Brewery. The supermarket will need 6 to 8 deliveries a day (7x8=56) so less that is currently experienced
    •    Why?
    •    3 supermarkets are interested
    •    70% of food shopping is lost to Barrow, clawback
    •    Brewery is the only possible site
    •    Regeneration of the town
    •    More footfall in town
    •    Double the present car parking
    •    Jobs kept at Robinson’s (112 full time equivalent jobs at supermarket)
    •    Reduced travel by shoppers

Points raised at the public meeting on 21 st July 2011
    •    Jane Harris, Fountain St: The supermarket is not justified by the report of 2007
    •    Kerry Hutton, Market St: I am a researcher and the Southampton Uni Report gave a summary that was favourable to in town supermarkets but the £50 paid for the full report revealed that 42% of convenience trades thought that such a store would damage their trade.
    •    Mrs Wilkinson?: Why a food supermarket, why not sell  to a DIY chain or a store like Wilkinson’s
    •    ? Rydal Rd: Any clawback of food sales would only benefit the supermarket not the other shops in town would.
    •     Paul Kingsnorth, The Gill, Writer and Researcher: Town centre damage and loss of footfall is well documented (1998 Gov. report on the impact of superstores) Why should Ulverston be unique in not suffering damaged trade?
    •    ? Townside : (i) loss of lane on roundabout will mean a reversing of the improvement obtained by the road widening (ii) 2 hours free parking in the Car Park will not be enough time for people to go into town and enjoy the cafes and boutiques
    •    Maggie Hawk 1 mile out of town, used to be a trader in town :Opening Asda in Barrow and Booths had a detrimental effect on the town. Have Robinson’s considered opening up the area to luxury apartments, craft workshops and a Heritage Centre similar to the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal? If not, why not? The building proposed is very ugly.
    •    Dr Richard Rowland: Has Mr Robinson considered the wisdom of the business decision?
    •    Doug Gillam, Tea Room :Road safety is a real concern as the rise in Brewery Street will obstruct a clear view of the traffic coming up Brewery St to people crossing at the junction of Union Street and Fountain Street. The traffic survey was done in the school holidays so the number of pedestrians may be very unrepresentative.
    •     Glen Rose, Croftlands: Has the consultation with the population come at the wrong place in the discussions? We should have been asked before planning application was submitted. We have one option in response : do not use the place.
    •    Jackie Williams, Sun Street :Is a high-end supermarket proposed? If so why?The answer suggested one of Tesco, Asda , Morrisons or Sainsburys!!
    •    Have compulsory orders already been issued by the Council for the cottages in Brewery Street ? Supermarkets are there for their own profits.
    •    Colin Picthall, Fountain Street: Weatherspoons will be a direct threat to the pubs in town should we join forces with Robinsons against their arrival?
    •    Sandra Buck?, trader in Town : The impact of the Bistro will be enormous It will devastate the cafes in town.
    •    ? Laurel Cottage, opposite the proposed supermarket: The vents for the refrigeration units will emit nitrous oxide into the atmosphere and will damage the health of people living nearby. No answers because the new “owner” will make certain choices that are unknown at the moment.
    •    David Myers: The Town will suffer as it has done over several years with many other changes.
    •    Helen Gilpin, Ainsley Street: Car parking is not adequate at the moment. Where will the staff park. What will happen to the water of the Beck and also from the well within the boundaries of the site?
    •    Back Hart Street: two cottages need to escape over the site in the case of fire. What precautions are being taken for access for this escape?
    •    Tina Henshal, Trader in Market Street: Can we stop this going ahead? Is it Yes or No? Answer you will get one out of town if you do not accept this one
    •    Councillor Williams :SLDC are generally passing all land for housing so why is the land not being sold for housing rather than this supermarket? Sale or lease? Answer The lease is more profitable
    •    ? Hart Street: Has the Car Park been sold by SLDC? Answer. No we have agreed to remodel the car park and use it. Also the Went is to be considered for improvements as part of the deal.
    •    John Lawrence: Which are the eight towns that have been studied for the impact on town centres? Answer: Haydock Cheadle, Gorton,? Shepton Mallet,Ilminster, Warminster,?.
    •    ? Burlington Street: When the work in the car park is being carried out where will all the cars go?
    •    Paul Millard: Why are talking about an out of town supermarket when there is no mention of it in the Development Plan? Answer: If you do not want this plan the supermarket might be placed at Swarthmore (Canal Head has been rejected).
    •    David Jackson, Dale Street: Will 70% of the shopping return from Barrow to the town…..what is the basis for the figure of 70%? Answer: A local survey was carried out by post and telephone (28. How many in the audience none have been asked about their shopping habits. None)
    •    ? Butcher’s shop in Town: Will you undertake to give jobs to all the shop-owners and their employees? Answer No
    •    Phil Johnson: Do you care about the Town or are you just making money with the closure?
    •    See above 25
    •    Christine Johnson: You stood in front of the Heritage plaque in the Brewery Site. Have your values changed? Answer: My values have not changed but the economics have
    •    Confused of Ulverston, Fountain Street: Are the SLDC puling the strings on this issue? The planning is unclear the Car Park issues seem confused with the plan in as much as you are being allowed to alter it to your needs. What is happening to the water running under the Car Park and the Brewery Site?
    •    Will there be subsidence when the underground Car Park is excavated. Answer: there will be 3 metre foundations on the Hart Street side and we do not anticipate and hazards for the public.
    •    Steve Robinson, Laurel Cottage: The site was allocated for 15 houses in the Local Plan (re R256) Answer: SLDC told us, across the table, that this site was preferred for retail use

Note : there may be innaccuracies in the above - please help with corrections.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Ulverston is special - is it? Why?

In the course of correspondence with Stephen Knott of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London over The Railings pottery project ( he wrote:

"I am fascinated by the general creative environment in Ulverston. I hope that I will be able to visit it at some point in the future to see if for myself."

I replied:


I think the creative environment has a lot to do with the size of the town which has held fairly relatively constant for many hundreds of years (% of total population) - now 12,000 with the closest town Dalton some six miles away.

Being a market town with a long history it has also acted as the centre for the surrounding area . It has had little to do with the far newer Barrow which has a very different culture.

Forty years ago it had thirty active pubs of very varied character; one the Bee Hive was just someone's front room and acted as the home of the Morris Dancers of the area, others had special interest groups like pigeons, folk singing, teachers, historians. The Town has had many breweries - Hartley's was the last substantial one with a strong following and a folk group, Bag of Rags, that sung songs about the beer. They were very good and attracted crowds to their events.

The character of the town attracts creative people to come and live here - John Gill and Sue Fox ( found us in the '70s and brought Welfare State International ( to set up its home at what is now the Lantern House ( ).

They started us off with several alternative activities on Carnival Day which they ran.  It was a great activity which ran out of steam because of lack of support possibly because of too much input came from Welfare State - it's a difficult balancing act.

Some activities like the Flag Fortnight ( ) and the Lantern Procession have survived but are in danger of being over managed by people seeking the limelight. Our  Flag Group came into being because there was the very real worry that the tradition would cease because of lack of support for the then organisers.

For creativity to thrive it needs to be independent of authority. In some senses it needs a cause which can be just bucking against authority and refusing to conform.

In my view those depending on grants have a hard time because the self esteem of the facilitators is put into question.

We also have a school which has attracted some very impressive teachers both now and in the past. Now we have Richard Butler who stimulates small musical groups of all kinds who perform both officially going abroad to events in Europe ( ) and others that perform both at their own events and perhaps busk in the town to raise money for a pet charity.

In the past we had an outstanding teacher of dance at the same school who also led her pupils on European tours.

We also have several bands that play on a regular basis in the Market Square.

I guess the answer may be that we have lots of little groups operating independently so there is always one that is in the ascendent when one starts to bite the dust.

Thanks for your interest.

I think Ulverston is well worth a detour and now with high speed trains is getting closer all the time - I think 3.5 hours from Euston is possible.

We here don't think of London as far away, we come down regularly for the day - in fact my partner and I will be visiting the Miro exhibition at  Tate Modern with a quick visit to  Tate Britain and the British Library - within the month.

Best wishes

Remember there's a belief in London that there's nothing much worthwhile north of Watford Gap.

We just feel sad that you're missing out.

Why else would I return time and again having first come here in 1960, lived in San Francisco and London in the mean time and back here to stay?

Geoff Dellow

If you were to write along similar lines what would your explanation be for "Ulverston's creative environment"

Dying - something we don't talk about

The existence of doctors and the NHS means that when we are ill we focus on them. Entirely reasonable.

But then when we don't get immediate relief, an absurd situation kicks in : we devote all our attention on our illness and choose to ignore the part of us that is still well.

This surely is the way to live : to concentrate on living to best of our ability. This focuses on the quality of life not the depression of illness.

It's an accepted fact that we are going to die, yet I don't believe in British (maybe Western) society we really take this on board and accept the reality that this involves illness or malfunctioning of one kind or another.

Wouldn't our attitude to our life be turned upside down if instead, we concentrated on living rather dying. If something came along that stopped us living in a certain way our immediate reaction could be to look for another way of living instead.

Bartok's Third piano Concerto was performed last week at the proms.

Wikipedia tells us:

Béla Bartók died at age 64 in a hospital in New York City from complications of leukemia (specifically, of secondary polycythemia) on September 26, 1945. His funeral was attended by only ten people. Among them were his wife Ditta, their son Peter, and his pianist friend György Sándor (anon. 2006).

In 1945, Bartók composed his Piano Concerto No. 3, a graceful and almost neo-classical work. He began work on his Viola Concerto, but had not completed the scoring at his death.

This means that with less than nine months to live, knowing he had leukemia, he chose to compose as much as he was able, even though he was without many friends, in a country - the USA - that hadn't accepted him when he had rejected the Nazi regime and left his native Hungary.

"The first symptoms of his health problems began late in 1940, when his right shoulder began to show signs of stiffening. In 1942, symptoms increased and he started having bouts of fever, but the disease was not diagnosed in spite of medical examinations. Finally, in April 1944, leukemia was diagnosed, but by this time, little could be done (Chalmers 1995, 202–207).

As his body slowly failed, Bartók found more creative energy, and he produced a final set of masterpieces, partly thanks to the violinist Joseph Szigeti and the conductor Fritz Reiner (Reiner had been Bartók's friend and champion since his days as Bartók's student at the Royal Academy). Bartók's last work might well have been the String Quartet No. 6 but for Serge Koussevitsky's commission for the Concerto for Orchestra. Koussevitsky's Boston Symphony Orchestra premièred the work in December 1944 to highly positive reviews. Concerto for Orchestra quickly became Bartók's most popular work, although he did not live to see its full impact. In 1944, he was also commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin to write a Sonata for Solo Violin."

The Concerto for Orchestra is one of my favorites - imagine life without it!

For me at the age of 76 this is an amazing story. I am aware that month by month I am in decline yet rather than focus on this frustrating situation I can make the choice of focusing on living to the full as far as I am able:

by  reminding myself of this more positive way of thinking.

by attempting to compose on the piano as well. . . . .

by writing my thoughts on a blog.

by aiming to win at chess on a Tuesday evening until midnight.

And so forth with many very enjoyable activities involving people of all kinds

However putting the above basic philosophy into practice is tough with two and maybe even three of my close friends affected.

Scary stuff.

Blog information

Click on the image to enlarge.

The number of visitors continues to rise steadily.

Not sure why.

Here we compare number of visitors with time spent looking:

To compare with earlier data click on the label "blog" below.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

An end to economic growth?

"Yes, inevitable." writes Michael Bassey

Illustration: Gary Kempston
"In 2000 the Labour government set up a Sustainable Development Commission. In 2009 Professor Tim Jackson, a member of this SDC, produced the report Prosperity Without Growth. He wrote:

"Every society clings to a myth by which it lives. Ours is the myth of economic growth … It's totally at odds with our scientific knowledge of the finite resource base and the fragile ecology on which we all depend for survival."

The SDC was closed by the government in March.

There are plenty of ideas around on how to flatline:

  • a four-day week for most workers to share around the available work; 
  • community development to protect the vulnerable aged and infirm; 
  • a massive development of allotments to move towards self-sufficiency in food;
  • energy reduction policies like "the more you use, the greater the unit charge" to move towards self-sufficiency in energy; 
  • and all this supported by adult education via the media that explains the dire predicament of "a finite resource base" and "fragile ecology".
*            *            *            *            *

Now we have someone talking sense.

Sadly none of the main political parties other than the Greens put these views forward.


Because they are too "way out" - we're all geared to the mad scrabble to earn more to survive to pay the mortgage and maintain our feeling of self-esteem by having the latest gadget/car/kitchen house.

Why is it so few people don't refuse to get off this vicious treadmill?

But it's not easy - one has to make a determined effort to think "out of the box".

With the worlds resources being limited and being gobbled up by countries like China - it's time for a rethink.

First, house prices have to come down - which will cause a lot of pain and something the banks would oppose because people would default on their payments and desert property with negative equity.

Somehow we all need to take a responsible approach to our "Big Society" if we are going to survive.

Thankfully , there are some people who believe in "The survival of the kindest" the next twenty years will tell what philosophy works best  - that is if we can agree what "best" mean.

I come back to the thought - watch what happens in Greece - maybe it's time after some 2,500 years for Greek thinking to show us the way to think in an alternative way.

For me this picture - outside my window - encapsulates what my life at present is about :
Onions from the allotment drying out for storage
but then I'm one of the very privileged who was born and has lived through "the good times".

Sunday, 24 July 2011

This little piggy

Found a lovely picnic table.

Somewhere to dangle your feet in cool water on a hot summer's day while enjoying bread cheese and a glass of wine.

The perfect end to the long tramp of the Cumbria Way.

Gill Banks Ulverston.

A picnic table caught in a dispute.

Could someone explain?

Why we don't devalue the pound?

Would this not create jobs because our products would be easier to export?

Would this not make imports more expensive so that we would buy fewer Chinese goods, import fewer foreign cars and hence buy more British products?

Granted, we would find imported raw materials more expensive. But don't we have massive deposits of pure iron ore here in Furness that stopped being mined because of water pumping costs? With wind and water power available on our doorstep, could electricity not be generated relatively cheaply to help with these pumping costs?

The higher cost of imported materials would mean more expensive British products for the home market.

How much copper is still in the Coniston area? Low concentration maybe but we now have the technology to recover this.

Other minerals - Aluminium and Magnesiuim can be generated by electolysis - needing cheap electricity again. Could we not become a net exporter of these minerals?

Does this not make sense?

How true is it that the pound is kept strong for the benefit of the rich?

I'm fairly ignorant on all this - does anyone want to enlighten me?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

I'm inclined to Watch Greece Closely

I start here, listening and watching very carefully:

Granted it's three weeks out of date. But even now European Leaders still are not making a provision for Greece or any other country to leave the Euro. This must be the ultimate solution.

Our Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, is still hooked into a  more prosperous Britain and Europe.

But does the average Greek agree?

"We, the Greeks, are not accepting reality"

This report from last Friday suggests that Greeks will not accept the requirements that their government must try tries imposed on them:

Action being taken at the moment by Greek Taxi drivers appears to support this:

Greece taxi strike hits tourists on Crete and Corfu

A comment made  by Peter Marshall during his talk "The Good Life" at the Lantern House on Thursday evening pointed out a different reality.

 He said that there was a resurgence of people in Greece working together, first as individuals then as larger and larger groups to challenge a top down society where decisions are made by people at the top and imposing them on those at the bottom.

This sounds admirable but logically leads to the conclusion that Greek will want to escape from the Euro and run its country with values that the people choose and not those imposed from outside.

 Not all the people in other countries share the philosophy being expounded by Nick Clegg above that what we want is to become more and more prosperous. What happens when large numbers in a country see other values as important - Fairness for instance.

 There's a queue of other countries that may wish to follow Greece if they opt out:

Italy, Portugal and Ireland.

Could we become one of them - by choice?

Surely different people have different values and may not want to follow a common route. 

With our close links with Ireland , where will this leave us?

 Could it be that we decide to move towards becoming a third world country and abandon the race to become prosperous and devalue our currency and our dependence onWall Street being a world financial centre?

Life is becoming complicated and I suggest we need to re-evaluate what is important to us. 

Trying to find what Greeks themselves believe I came across  this written in June :

 A plea to restore the Drachma

Which starts:

"We write to encourage you – to urge you on in your resistance.

In your defiance, you understand Greece is slave to the interests of private wealth.

You must understand too that it is private wealth that needs Greece. Greece does not need private wealth."

Friday, 22 July 2011

The stability of the world's finances

Deals are being done and agreements being made over the Euro but I'm still not convinced that we're going to avoid a deep financial disaster.

I have come to the conclusion that my only quick way to assess the seriousness of the situation is the price of gold. If it's high then those in the know are jittery and they think we have trouble ahead.

If gold prices start to go down then the same people are more relaxed.

Well 'they' are not impressed!

Why is this important?

For me it goes to prove that more than ever we need reliable friends around us.

It's important to be clear about what is really really important to each one of us and that for me is to have good positive proactive friends.

With uncertainties all around us, I am determined to find and take care of the people around me that are important. Taking care of myself is also extremely so!

And for me in particular it is things like the picnic tables at Gill Banks and the flowers in Mill Dam Park, pottery and piano that become very important.


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

While the media keeps us distracted

Savvy people continue to buy up gold. They are aware that there's a serious crisis looming with the world's finances.

Shouldn't our leaders be directing our thoughts to important topics rather than getting trapped into mudslinging?

Do we really want our top police officers to resign rather than have their knuckles rapped?

George Monbiot directs our thoughts to a contradiction if we are really serious about global warming:

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Stop Murdoch's Criminal Empire

From a friend:

Not a joke. If you agree, sign their online petition.  Site is secure and only requires name and email address


Murdoch's criminal empire is being uncovered, but he is still calling the shots and could get the BSkyB prize. I just signed a petition to make sure Cameron and Hunt immediately stop the deal and ensure it is assessed on whether Murdoch is morally fit to be given half our country's commercial media. Join me!

Old Brewery site - planning permission

Anyone considering put forwards views on this subject needs to be well aware that the planning committee does not necessarily act rationally.

Those with experience of planning law and of the way planning committees come to conclusions will be aware that because of the reliance on councillors to make decisions, this can be a very hazardous procedure. The result can have little connection with the rational arguments being put forward.

One person presenting a rational argument will often fail whilst fifty people being very emotional can succeed.

The councillors making the decisions often take very little time to find out the facts and are reliant on others to sway  them towards making a decision sometimes not based on reason at all.

Taking time with the councillors to present rational arguments before the decision making meeting can be very beneficial. There will be key respected councillors who can sway the others towards their point of view. Others are often totally ignored and others that waste time because of their lack of understanding of the planning issues.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Old Brewery - a rethink

It's good to hear that there's an active group which is meeting tomorrow that is concerned about this issue.

It is complex.

I suspect that there is a need from a substantial number of people who live in Ulverston for a low cost supermarket as an alternative to Booths.

However the above location is definitely not the place for it.

I was wrong to think that a modern supermarket could work alongside the existing shops we are talking of chalk and cheese.

This proposal requires the use of the space of the present Brewery Street Car Park which is vital to the small shops in the town: the underground car park in the proposal only caters for 100 cars.

I agree with the writer in the Evening Mail that the creation of a modern supermarket on this site would be a disaster for the image of the town. There is so much potential for the attractive use of this space with the old buildings that are here.

Far better for the town in the long term would be to increase the attractiveness of this area which is what visitors will first see of our town centre as the approach on the A590.

Far from encouraging a dominance of cars in this location, would it not be far more attractive for locals and visitors alike to be able to enjoy the Town Beck as it travels unseen below this space? Surely we should be opening up the beck, planting some trees beside it and encourage people to enjoy this part of town at their leisure.

This site has so much more to offer the town particularly in well designed small houses and accomodation for the young and old who already live in the town.

Quality of life is one of the most important things that Ulverstonians can have in these depressing times.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The great -hypocritical - English public

Those who will now go out and buy a copy of the last edition of the News of the World tomorrow.

Something that Murdoch will greatly appreciate and help him fund his further 'evil' plans:

The Sunday Sun

There are so many sickening examples of people jumping on the "down with the NOW" bandwagon who will delighted to do the same all over again and support and curry favour with Murdoch.

People who will now switch their allegiance to another Red Top, even though we have been told that the problems with the NOW journalism are endemic - another Red Top will attempt to act in exactly the same way.

They could of course buy the Guardian ( who exposed this cesspit) or the Sunday equivalent the Observer . . . (tongue in cheek).

The only politician I've noticed so far that has come out of this clean so far is Shirley Williams who stated on question time that she has never been to a Murdoch Party. We learn that both Labour and the Conservatives have both been eager to "jump into bed" with Murdoch in order to gain his favour. He is recognised as being strongly influential in steering our so called democracy.

No wonder people are getting fed up with politics and now even switching away from newspapers altogether - so what will take their place? - Blogs like this linked by Twitter ?

I hope that at the same time we will have and support good investigative journalism like the Independent and the Guardian to name two and hopefully more of this locally -will the Evening Mail change away from its sex, drugs and violence approach?

Lastly - I fear that the same morality is also pervasive of Ulverston Society where secrecy and denial of information to the public is endemic.

Don't let's kid ourselves that the problem is somewhere else - it's here too.

Dangerous parking - the sequel

Mr. Dellow,
                I am PC----(name given) and I am currently working in the community office at Ulverston Police station. PS (Police Sergeant - name given) passed me your e-mail and a link to your blog about the vehicle you witnessed parked at the roundabout at the bottom of Soutergate, Ulverston on 28th June 2011.
Thank you for the enlarged photograph which enabled me to see the vehicles registered number. I have carried out the relevant checks on the vehicle and I have spoken to the registered keeper, who was using the vehicle at the given time and date. The keeper of the vehicle has been given advice about their parking and also appraised of parking offences the police can and will deal with.
The keeper of the vehicle has been warned regarding their use of their vehicle at this time.

I hope this is satisfactory?

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me via any of the details below.


(name given)

To which I responded:


I hope you were met with a little glimmer of recognition that parking at this location was not desirable.

If so this would be far more than I was able to obtain.

My opinion is that if we can get the public supported by the police making their views heard in a quiet firm and rational way we will encourage the few in  Ulverston who show little regard for others to change - a little.

By contrast I fully agree with your Sgt that I do not want to encourage an emotional antagonistic approach to lawbreakers in Ulverston.

A difficult line to walk.


Geoff Dellow"

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Forests in public ownership


Ulverston Green Party members were involved locally in the campaign to keep the Forestry Commission forests in public ownership. Now that battle has been won the consultation process about how to manage them is taking place. Much could still be lost to commercial and private interests.

It will help if thousands of people to answer the quick questions put together by 38 degrees to make sure they hear a huge, people-powered message that we want them to look after our forests.  Please click here to take a few minutes to answer the questions - the first one is “what do forests and woods mean to you?”:

Best wishes

Chris Loynes

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Dangereous parking

On Tuesday 28 June at 20:06

Having stopped and pointed out to the driver that I thought he was parking dangerously, he ignored me and continued chatting to his friend.

I have therefore passed this photograph on to the police hoping that they will follow it up and caution him.

BskyB take over

Just received from a friend:

"I'm sending you  this contact to avaaz. I have just written to add my protest to the many voices calling for a stop to the Murdoch takeover of BSkyB. The recent revelations re The Sun, the police and who knows who else at this stage are so dreadful , both as facts and for their implications regarding power and corruption in Britain, that I felt compelled to add  my voice. I hope that a vast number of small voices will help demonstrate the power of individuals to effect changeif they will join together.

As I looked down my list of friends I  thought of all of your friends and wondered how many letters to the government we might generate. We only have a couple of days to try to influence this decision but it may be long enough.

I'm looking out of my window at woodland and fells and listening to an oboe concerto on the radio. It feels a long way from the events unfolding in the worlds of media and power but those worlds reach even here at the flick of a switch. "

This morning's downpour

How did the drains down in South Ulverston cope?

Any news?

I've got footage of what happened here in the centre of the town.


I find some of the scams becoming increasingly convincing.

Here's not a very good example :

In an email coming in as:

    From:     PayPal
    Subject:     Important Please Read
    Date:     6 July 2011 09:52:20 GMT+01:00

Dear valued PayPaI« Customer,

We need your help resolving an issue with your account. To give us time to work together on this, we've temporarily limited what you can do with your account until the issue is resolved.

What's the problem?

We noticed some unusual activity on the credit card linked to your PayPaI« account.

Case ID Number: PP-001-212-055-698

How you can help

It's usually pretty easy to take care of things like this. Most of the time, we just need a little more information about your account.

To help us with this and to find out what you can and can't do with your account until the issue is resolved, please proceed to our secure webform by clicking here.


When the "clicking here" leads to an address other than Paypal which makes it easy to spot.

In practice I never respond to any request no matter how convincing but choose to initiate the whole process of contacting myself - that is if I think there may be a problem.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

What's happening in Greece and now the States

I was shocked to hear on the news that United States is close to defaulting on its commitment to keep down its debt.

What is the debt ceiling exactly? It's a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow. The cap applies to debt owed to the public (i.e., anyone who buys U.S. bonds) plus debt owed to federal government trust funds such as those for Social Security and Medicare. 

Read here 
"The European debt crisis has threatened the very existence of the Euro, but the United States has had its own potentially cataclysmic event lying in the weeds: the potential of a default if the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2. If such an outcome occurs, the most profitable positions to take would be long gold, long Swiss Franc against currencies such as the Australian Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, and Canadian Dollar.
The prospect of a default by the United States would destabilize the global economy. With both political parties deeply entrenched in their respective doctrines, and the Euro-crisis temporarily put on hold, the market’s collective eye is now set to fixate itself on the debt crisis evolving in the United States. 

Does anyone understand how serious this is - presumably what will happen on Aug 2 is that Congress will again raise its ceiling. "

Sounds like the world's finances are skating on thin ice .

Should we be taking precautions regarding our finances and the health of our banks to deal with collapse.

Can anyone enlighten me?

I suggest that the markets are jumpy as illustrated by the 25% rise in the price of gold over the last year 


What do you make of this?

"Doctors are permitted to buy buildings for their surgeries which are then “rented” back to the Department of Health, often for far more than the mortgage repayments. The surgery is then sold off – either to another doctor or a developer – when the GP retires and they are allowed to keep the profits from the sale of the building.
An investigation by this newspaper and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has uncovered details of the secretive scheme, which currently costs the Government more than £630m each year.
GPs have boasted that they have made six or even seven figure windfalls from the system – the costs of which have soared by more than 70 percent in just six years.
The terms of the arrangement are even more generous than the controversial system which allowed MPs to profit from the sale of taxpayer-funded properties.
A typical surgery may have been bought for £150,000 a decade ago. The GP then could then claim tens of thousands of pounds in “notional rent” annually which is used to clear the mortgage. They could then sell the property today for more than £500,000, and often substantially more, and keep the profit."

*     *     *     *     *     * 

Which is followed by a comment from Gaeil:
  "  This system has existed since the beginning of the NHS.  The scheme is not secret, but the sums paid to GPs are.  PFI has added to the cost, but the vast majority of these payments go to owner-occupiers as 'notional rent', long after the loans have been repaid GPs reap healthy returns on the premises the NHS helped them to buy. 

GPs must be compensated for the cost of premises, but those costs have risen exponentially.  It is a theoretical market where the NHS pays the bill, the natural brakes of someone paying their own money is absent.  PCTs also end up paying the costs of the appeal for both sides, so regardless of the merit of the case, many GPs believe that as they have nothing to lose, may as well appeal, as as no single valuataion is correct, there is always scope to nudge it up a little.

These no win, no fee 'surveyors' have few skills apart from techniques or harassment, each appeal they win adds to the evidence of the next, the Public Accounts Committee needs to compare it with the real market to ensure the tax payer is getting value for money.

Given a large semi is 500k+, it is not hard to imagine a larger house in a nice area going for £1m.  As for the funds being used to modernise premises, some surgeries are appalling and they still recieve rent. 
The system is long overdue for review, which must surely be done before GP consortia take charge."

Old brewery site

I've a lot on my plate at present.

I'm still sorting out my thinking on this issue. So far:

1. If the opportunity to use a Sainsburys Store presented itself in Ulverston - I'd use it. Superstores are a great convenience for people living full lives - they are a part of modern life and have many advantages.

This is not to say that we can't have and improvement on the Superstore model where the small business is promoted - a glorified and modern indoor market concept. Let's be ahead of the game for a change - not following a country trend.

2. No planning application has been submitted for this proposal - they are just testing the water.

3. The presention they have made is just gloss and meant to impress - it gives no information about important details. The most important for me is the Car Parking proposal.

a) It would appear that the phrase "underground car parking" is just a gimmic and in fact there is very little.
b) The existing Brewery St Car Park is being taken over . Something the SLDC may see as a source of funds. This would be disastrous for local shops.

The car parks in the town are not being used effectively because they are vastly overpriced. The town does need car parks that are cheap - this will help our Market on Thursday and Saturday.

What we desparately need is some leadership in tackling the issue of cars in Ulverston. The Ulverston Town Council need to take this on but we don't have any councillors with the determination to do so. The present situation is a mess and is assisting the trend of shops all over town closing.

We need councillors with balls not just load mouths.

What will happen at the elections next year - I suspect at least two new SLDC councillors will be needed : to replace Brian Wilkinson and now Colin Hodgson; both are suffering from poor health.

Good candidates please step forward. I'll do all I can to support you.

I doubt that my health will enable me to run and continue the projects I'm already involved in.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Coming soon

In less than three week's time.

Fancy joining a time team to dig for history at this historic site.

It could be an exciting week end.


This smart exterior is difficult for me to take in.

A few years back it opened to onto amazing store of wood by Bill Stables.

You opened the then double doors and where faced with machined wood of every description to within one yard of the door - all collected and saved by Bill for some unspecified future project.

Asked when he'd last been to the back of his 'workshop', he replied ten years ago . In it's present state it was  impenetrable.

What a character - bare chested he gave the impression of being supremely fit and walked to his favourite spot beyond Bardsea, every day for his swim in the nude.

There he left his philosophy of life engraved on the Limestone pavement that went down to the sea.

His wood was put to great use and his rocking horses were much sort after. He is best remembered for his musical round abouts - beautifully crafted.

Feel free to fill in the gaps and correct inaccuracies.

Now we have a neat and tidy notice which reads:

Worth investigating.

This next week end - Furness Tradition Festival

 8 -10 July 2011

A message from Andy Frame:

2011 Furness Tradition Festival Late News

There will be a pre festival session on Thursday night in the Hope and Anchor on Daltongate, just up from the Market Cross. This is also the venue for Nick's singaround session on Saturday. Starting at 1 pm, this is one of the unsung highlights of the festival. It frequently carries on until the late evening.

We are now on twitter. You can follow us @furnessfolk. While it is still early days, this is where to get the latest news. We also look forward to your tweets on all aspects of the festival.

We have gathered together the cream of Furness' folk musicians to play in our special festival band. They will be playing for you on both Friday and Saturday nights. We think that you will find them to be a really good danceable band.

Looking forward to seeing you at the weekend!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Weather forecasts

Are the ones provided here totally fictious.

At the moment they are in total disagreement with those on the bbc site here

Are forecasts for this area totally unreliable?

The only one worth looking at being here which tells you the actual rain up in the sky now.

Why is so much money spent forecasting when the results are unpredictable.

The first one - the met - forecast a downpour of 9mm the other day with only 1% cloud cover. How come? A very localised rain cloud or rain that whistled over at a furious pace so that on average only 1% cloud cover existed.


Is this site a total waste of space and even worse providing totally misleading information.

Are we not better just looking up into the sky and making our mind up - or better still does it actually matter much if we know in advance? If we get wet - so what?