Monday, 26 March 2012

No web cam blog tonight

Too many other fun things to do.

I've really got to concentrate on myself - playing the piano and clarinet better.

Poof - it's my birthday tomorrow - I'll be a special 77 for a whole year. I wonder what mischief I can get up to then - I hope to dump some of my stuffy friends - they really are a pain - I find I care too much as I watch them floundering in their self-importance. Typical small town behaviour. Life's too short.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Reminder - tomorrow evening at 8:30 pm

Episode 2 of 6

The Little Kitchen in Paris

This is a great cooking program with a difference - could appeal to me because it's been made in Paris and could be that it's all done in a little kitchen as the name says! Could be that she a totally unpretenscious and beautiful  real woman not like so many I come across on television and even in real life.

Wish I was a young forty again!

This is a person who has genuine personality. Sophie Rayworth watch out - here's someone to knock you off top slot ( in my opinion) though Shirley Williams really does take some beating (even though she's in the doghouse at the moment over the NHS).

Ignoring emails

I'm finding an increasing tendency amongst people to ignore personal emails.

This is worrying.

It indicates that they believe they can totally ignore another human being in a way that they wouldn't dream of doing elsewhere.

If the same people met another person in the street who then  said something - they wouldn't dream of blanking them out and ignoring them totally.

This is what they are in effect doing by choosing to totally ignore an email.

It takes me less than two seconds to reply to an email and say "Thanks" or even "noted".

By saying nothing it implies that contact with that person doesn't warrant two seconds of their time. Even if you get ten personal emails - which would be very unusual it would only take twenty seconds to reply. Human contacts are far too valuable for this to be the case.

The inconsistantly can be that the person that doesn't reply tells you that they always read what you write - which must take several minutes. I you don't want to receive the emails then have the courage to write "Please don't write to me" -but very few will have the courage to say that and for me saying this would be unforgiveable. 

If one feels that typing "Thanks" would be insincere then one could type "No Thanks" or an equivalent. But what happens, I suspect, is that people haven't the guts to say what they think and instead take the cowardly response of being totally silent. Then, they have learnt, the problem will go away. The trouble is that yes that happens but so does a relationship which has the potential of having a very positive side as well.

One of my immature thirty year old friends (the meaning of this term is that all thirty year olds are immature by definition - something , because of their immaturity they cannot accept!) - who I like very much - gives me the excuse for not replying "Oh well you know I don't reply to lots of people" - no I didn't know and what kind of reasoning is this? It seems that if you do something wrong to lots of people then all of a sudden it becomes right. What a crazy world some of these arrogant people live in!

It seems that being able to cope very well with highly complex lives involving lots of responsibilities involving bringing up children gives them the confidence to believe that they have now reached the pinnacle of maturity so that they can now treat others around them as lesser human beings that are to be respected enough to tell them they are doing something that they don't like.

I believe that all relationships are valuable and that all people have a part of their character that I can like. As a matter of policy I continually keep being positive to others (as well as being critical) as much as I am emotionally capable.

Often one has to protect oneself from other people's anger by drawing away temporarily until that anger has been dealt with/ dissipated - inevitably it's not not directed at you personally but connected with some happening in their past. Relationships then go on hold , sometimes to fade for ever. Others come back much strengthened and step into a much richer and more trusting gear.

So when you get a personal email may I suggest that you take your life in your hands and reply briefly using two or three words so that you show that you recognise that there is another human being at the end of this communication device.

They've just spoken to you in the street - respond as you would there.

Better still move around in public places where you are likely to have these brief face-to-face contacts and do away with email ( and Facebook) altogether.

The sun is out and has been for six hours already - my allotment beckons - how can I live all the lives I attempt and succeed?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Web cam - my background

Details of the 2012 Ulverston Walking Festival are out

Most Walks £2

Times from Ulverston

We reserve the right to be wrong

Lookout for the Print Fest Art Trail around Ulverston from 23 April.

At a time of your choice go on Sue Gill ; Dan Fox’s Sound Walk around Baycliff for smartphones. Start at The Olde Mill, Bardsea. 1.5 hours easy. Get instructions from

Friday 27 April
11am Walking for Health with Raymond Willock. Meet Rose Garden, Victoria Rd. 2 miles 1 hour easy. FREE
5pm Ford Park Nature Trail with Kim Farr. Meet at Ford Park main gate. 0.5 mile 1 hour easy.
7pm Pub Walk with Steve Povey. Meet at Ulverston Brewery, Victoria Rd. Visit several real ale pubs. 1 mile 3 hours easy.
9pm Bat Walk with Kim Farr. Meet at Ford Park house entrance. 1 mile 1.5 hours easy.

Sat 28 April
10am Birkrigg, Baycliff, Bardsea with Pete & Christine Quiggin. Meet Lancastrian pub, Mountbarrow Rd. Bring lunch. 7 miles 3.5 hours moderate.
10.45am Advanced Map Reading with Martin Cooper. Meet lay-by near Gawthwaite (GR 267847) at 11am. Bring lunch. 4 hours moderate. Book and car share on 583524. Numbers limited.
2pm Walk to Manjushri Buddhist Centre with Shirley Pickard. Tour and tea. Meet at swimming pool, Priory Rd, walk along lanes and beach. Return 11 bus at 4.55pm or walk. 2.5 miles 3 hours easy.

Sun 29 April
10.30am Ulverston Circular with Jack Rice. Meet outside Walkers Hostel. Bring lunch. 11 miles 5 hours moderate. (Can leave after 8 miles).
10.30am Kirkby Moor with Steve Povey. Meet in the Gill. Bring lunch and picnic at stone circle. 8 miles 5 hours moderate.
2pm Local History Walk with Jennifer Snell. Meet at Ford Park main gates. 1mile 1 hour easy. Wheelchair friendly.
2pm Magical Mystery with the Woodcraft Folk. For under 7s and their families. (Not pushchair friendly). Meet at top of Chittery Lane. 1 mile 2 hours easy.

Mon 30 April
8.50am Torver to Ulverston with Simon Hughes. Get X12 bus from Victoria Rd. Walk back along Cumbria Way. Bring lunch. 14 miles 7 hours hard.
2pm Built on Water part 1 with Jean Povey. Follow the Town Beck upstream. Meet at Buxton Place car park. 2 miles 1.5 hours easy. NO DOGS.
6.45pm Sunset on North Walney with Richard Scott. Meet at West Shore car park, Earnse Bay. 6 miles 3 hours moderate.

Tues 1 May
9.42am Foxfield to Broughton Mills and back with Tony Mayo. Meet at Foxfield Station 10.35am. Return 4.33pm train from Foxfield. Bring lunch. 9 miles 4 hours moderate.
11am Navigation Skills with orienteer Richard Tiley. Meet at Ford House. Bring lunch. 3 miles 3 hours easy.
2pm The Leven Estuary Eco-ramble with Richard Scott. Meet at Canal Foot. Bring wellies. 2 miles 3 hours easy.

Wed 2 May
9.30am Military History with Andrew Hudson. Meet at Red Rose club, Victoria Rd and end Barrow Dock Museum. Bring lunch. 11 miles 6 hours moderate.
10.20am Furness Fells Horse-shoe with Mary Searle- Chatterjee. Get X12 bus from Victoria Rd. Return 5.05pm bus from Coniston. Bring lunch. 8 miles 6 hours moderate.
2pm Conishead Priory Gardens & Woods with Shirley Pickard. Meet at Priory main door. 1 mile 1 hour easy. (Temple and cafe will be open).
2 pm Above Rosside with Steve Povey. Meet in the Gill. Bring binoculars. 5miles 3hours moderate.
7pm Arctic Circle Trail-Greenland Slide Show with writer Paddy Dillon. Parish Centre, Church Walk. £4 including refreshments.

Thurs 3 May
9.42am Sketching and Walking with Dudley Clark. Get 9.42am train to Arnside. Return on 2.35pm train. Fare £5.50. Bring lunch, sketch pad, folding seat, etc. 2 miles 4 hours easy.
10.30am Dunnerdale Horseshoe with Martin Cooper. Meet Ford Park main gate for car share (583524) or Broughton Mills phone box, GR 223906, at 11am. Bring lunch. 6 miles 4.5 hours hard.
12.50pm Natterjack Toads at Askam with Bill Shaw. Get 12.50pm train from Ulverston to Askam, via Barrow. Meet 1.45pm at Askam station. Walk up Duddon Estuary. Return 4.40pm train from Askam. 3 miles 2.5 hours easy. NO DOGS.

Fri 4 May
9.45am Furness Abbey to Ulverston on the Cistercian Way with Linda Marshall. Get 9.45am No 6 bus from Victoria Rd, or meet at Furness Abbey main gate at 10.15am. Bring lunch, bus fare and money. Possible visit to Dalton Castle en route. NO DOGS. 8miles 6 hours moderate.
10am Herb Walk with Sarah Atkinson. Meet at Lancastrian pub, Croftlands. Visit Willington Wood, Birkrigg and Bardsea. Bring lunch. 5 miles 4 hours.
11am Walking for Health with Raymond Willock. Meet Rose Garden, Victoria Rd. 2 miles 1 hour easy. FREE

Sat 5 May.
8.50am Coniston Tops with Martin Cooper. Get X12 bus or meet at Coniston TIC at 9.30am. Bring lunch. 6 hours hard. (Distance covered is weather dependent).
10am Ulverston Fringes with Linda Marshall. Meet in the Gill. 2-3 miles 1-2 hour easy.
2pm Walk to Manjushri. Repeat of Sat 28 April.

Sun 6 May
10am Furness Iron-Old Peru with Colin Pickthall. Meet in the Gill. Walk to Dalton via the iron mines. Bring lunch. NO DOGS. Home on bus. 6 miles 5 hours moderate.
2pm Built on Water part 2 with Jean Povey. Follow the Town Beck downstream. Meet at Buxton Place car park. 3 miles 3 hours easy. NO DOGS.
9pm Up Hoad with a torch. Meet at Parish Church and end at Old Friends pub. 2 miles 1 hour moderate.

For further information contact:
Steve & Jean Povey
12 Town Street
LA12 7EY

+44 (0)1229 587726

Friday, 23 March 2012

Making difficult decisions

At times we face making what we find are extremely difficult decisions.

This is how I've tackled this in the past.

First of all, for me, the most important thing to grasp is the following:

It's not the decision we make but how we feel about the decision we make after the event that is important.

The disaster is when we, in the future feel that we made the wrong decision and we become depressed because on reflection we think we made the wrong one.

I do not believe in 'right' decisions - all decisions will be imperfect and all decisions could turn out well . . . or badly. So how can we reach a decision that we will be able to look back on and feel we made the 'right' one:

Our strength of character to come out the other end of a stressful situation with a feeling that we have made the right decisions will lead to peace of mind and that wonderful feeling of being 'grounded'.

First, if you can take your time.

Next follow your gut instincts and not just your reasoning ability.

In the past when I was faced with a very difficult decision I did the following over a period of about a month :

I used my reason to list all the 'for' and 'against' reasons

I then went through them all, using my emotions to weight each reason (say out of ten) and then totted up the emotional points on each side, which then helped me make a decision.

I then, have always felt : this was the best decision I was able to make at the time - and have felt good about it ever since.

Another idea is to take a break away from the problems I'm wrestling with and do something else that is totally absorbing - so much so that I forget for a day about the problem - then return home and weight that list of reasons with my gut feelings.

As human beings we are driven by our deepest feelings about things - our reason then comes to our 'rescue' and makes us feel good about those reasons - we are experts at rationalising what we feel deeply. Reason is not to be relied on - emotions are.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

One thing that I thing that Osborne has got right

Is to tax those that have retired.

I am part of this group who have on avwerage had it easy during our lifetime.

I have had lots of opportunities to be comfortably well off and am pleased that I am having to (perhaps) pay more than my fair share.

I was able to by a house when I started earning which cost me only one year's salary.

Thus in no time at all I was able to own my house outright.

In fact I went to the States and came back with enough cash to be able to buy a large group of farm buildings without a loan.

By the time I was fifty I could have been quite 'well off'having stopped working for someone else and owning a number of properties and by now be a multimillionaire. In fact I chose not to and instead take risks which I found fun to take but meant I lost a fair bit of money.

This is not to say that everyone would be well off but we all had the opportunity if we worked hard and had the average opportunities.

This is in complete contrast with many today that have rediculous mortgages and have nowhere near the opportunities that I in my generation had to become secure.

For me it makes sense and is fair that I should have less cash and that young people should have greater opportunities.

Different lighting

A New Venture - talking to a hole!

The use of a web cam and microphone rather/as well as than writing.

The idea behind this is to be able to tell the viewer about my early life which at least one person has shown an interest in.

I find it quite scary but I love exploring new challenges so I'm ready to give this concept a go.

The difficulty I can see ahead is that I will be talking to a hole in my computer - which isn't much fun and doesn't give me any feedback as would be happening in real life. One idea is that I could stick a photo of someone I know over where the hole is (leaving the hole clear) I can then pretend to myself that I'm talking to this person.

I can see that I'm going to have to learn to relax and enjoy myself!

Not easy.

I also intend to write more in a controlled way - maybe just for my open benefit.

All feedback very welcome!

Beware of Facebook

BEWARE OF FACEBOOK - my suggestion is to use face to face if at all possible.

Yes face to face is more risky but in fact far more rewarding.

Facebook are trying very deliberately (and successfully) to get us 'hooked' - because it leads them to be able to make more money: the more it is used , the bigger the bulge in their pockets.

My reasons:

1. It is designed to be addictive
2. It can easily misrepresent our attempts to communicate with each other and therefore be very damaging.
3. It gives us a false sense of achievement of getting on with others when in fact the contact is far less substantial than it would have been face to face.

1. Several people that I respect are moving away from Facebook because they have found that they have more productive things and ways of communicating with their particular world .

2. I have just had a message that someone close to me followed a link on my page - she did nothing of the kind. Also when having an argument with someone else I got messages that suggested the person was being supported in her argument by a third person with messages like "A ( who is friends with B) thinks you're very immature": B in fact had nothing to do with the statement.

3. I'm finding an increasing number of people who are going back to basic of face to face meetings and chat. If this is not happening then they use the phone. Email and Facebook easily lead to misunderstandings and can ruin relationships in their formative stages. As an example of positive 'face to face', I have just this minute enjoyed such an experience - I can hear Clare and children going past my door so I quickly open the findow and say "Hi and mimic the children" as they walk past the house on the way to school. I regularly go up to people's houses when I have something to say rather than use any other technical means (phone) of contact them. It takes more time but is far more enjoyable in the long term.

On the negative side I had a painful interaction with someone by email which had to be sorted out by a very friendly face to face contact and we resolved to use the phone where at all possible in future

To back this up I enjoy a lot of very enjoyable interactions with people - even strangers - where all that happens is that we exchange a look - or a wink of a smile. We have had lifetime of developing these valuable skills. Lets use them as much as possible.

Yesterday I travelled by train to Salford and back.

In the course of the trip I had many face to face chats with other people - some I knew but most were initially complete strangers.

Counting them all up:

I talked to seven people for about two minutes each;   only one I knew before.
Three for between five and ten minutes.
Three for twenty to 30 minutes.

What a lovely day, rich with human contacts and I learnt a lot about others and in the case of one I took on board a suggestion that I live my life differently.

Compare that with a day with facebook.

Yes my face to face strategy is far riskier however by actually doing it, one gains confidence and learns to do it well.

For me:
Facebook is no substitute to face to face contact.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Is the idea of 'fairness' going down the drain ?

The reduction of the higher rate of tax suggests it is.

The argument that this will stimulate the economy and create more jobs doesn't for me balance the harm done to the concept of fairness - even if it's true.

And I can't believe it will be.

It makes us all feel that the whole idea of "The Big Society" is a sham.

Can't the government find another way to motivate us all to want to wrk for the common good - other appealing to people's greed - their desire to earn more money?

What a shallow society does Cameron think that we are?

Con't we find a leader who has the backing of us all?

Someone who will figuratively get his sleeves rolled up and set an example?

I'm convinced that there are rich people who want to change things by donating/using there money to create a better society - the Richard Bransons of this world.

Where will all the anger go?

For me it will go into digging my allotment.

At least, there, my efforts produce a tangible result.

My, those clods of weeds are in for a bashing when I see them later this morning !

Monday, 19 March 2012

Extra Special

What you may have just missed.
DON'T miss the next in a week's time. Absolutely superb - in every way!

This is history in the making. Mm yumee. Makes me want to take up cooking again How many things can you do (well) at the same time?

If you can't be bothered following this link then more fool you I'm not making it easy for you. It's good to have a little secret!

Sunday, 18 March 2012


I was looking and found this!

Friday, 16 March 2012


It's all too easy to blame the Greek people for the mess their country is in.

I don't share that view.

For years the Greeks have been fighting for democracy and freedom to rule their own country.

Now the actions of the haves has led to an impossible situation to resolve.

Getting reliable information about what it's really like for the everyday person like ourselves to be living there at the moment is very difficult.

We hear about bailouts which concerns those at the top and has little relationship to what is happening at 'the bottom'.

I cannot believe that we are not going to have a crash and that our banks are going to suffer leading to even more hardship here.

Quite honestly we too are in an equally dire situation. We are in a similar situation to Greece financially.

Our politicians are relying us all to pull together. |They all want us to believe in 'The Big Society'.

I see little evidence that this exists.

Things could become worse than financial - the emotional upset  of the ordinary Greek people could easily spread to those that are angry over 'unfairness' here. Could we not have riots here that reflect what is happening in Greece?

I wish more people would focus on the likely future we have ahead but instead we avoid the issue and bury ourselves in football or 'networking ' on Facebook.

It was good to hear a thirty year old friend of mine say that she is avoiding Facebook as a place that wastes valuable time and energy. She is one of the few people in this age group that I respect.

We all need to focus on building an emotionally secure environment around ourselves.

More than ever before we are going to need reliable, communities of unflinching people who will commit to each other with time, support both emotional and financial though in my opinion the latter is less important.

Basically we need good reliable friends people you could trust with your life, people of the same character as we imagine was present within the French resistance movement in the last war.

Some people will want to label me as pessimistic - on the contrary - I feel very positive. The label I would attach is 'realistic' - one is able to be positive after one has faced up to the worse that may happen. This has been part of Greek philosophy for 2,000 years. Only when one has looked disaster in the face, can one smile. Reality then will always be better than we were expecting.

No wonder I can be cheerful!


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Stan of Dalton

An amazing man - an amazing project.

Possibly the only one of its kind in the UK:

An organisation that grew out of one man's vision and has been doggedly pursued for the last 35 years by Stan and his group of volunteers. One that is thriving with a turn over of over £1,000 per day in these financially difficult times.

In 1976

"My wife nearly knocked me off my chair and said, " you ought to volunteer" "

Volunteer he did, back then - and he's been working hard ever since - and is still going strong.

Watch both these videos if you want to learn from someone who takes on a vision and not only achieves it but takes on more and more visions into what is possible.

If the vision was to dig a tunnel under the atlantic to New York - Stan would be the one to have in charge if he were persuaded it was a good idea ( may I correct that if Stan's wife had thought it was a good idea and was able to persuade him). I suspect Stan's wife is an equally impressive person - I wonder how much of him she has seen over the years.

I sought out this impressive man over a week ago - one of the people behind the community Baths-Leisure Centre- Cafe´- and now playground project in Dalton. He agreed to be interviewed.

I've now allowed the week for censure to pass and am now making the interview public.

It comes in two halves. Here's the first:

And here's the second.

Here is a view of the park Stan was talking about with the Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool /Cafe´in the distance.

Having a bit of fun with the youngsters

Keeps you young - What else is there in life other to have fun?

Well to be truthful - quite a lot. I suppose we can get our fun in different ways - even trying to get thirty year olds, local people generally, officials, politicians and myself to think and question their/our beliefs.

None-the-less we all benefit from letting our hair down for a few hours a week.

We all would do this in different ways  but this is just one of mine:

I didn't know the two boys in this video but we soon became mates and got up to quite a lot of jaunts in this wonderful place.

Here's to everyone who lives life to the full and encourages criticism even of themselves - come on enjoy yourself - I can take it (in small doses) - now that I've adjusted to the idea that basically we're all very selfish people - often with deep emotional hurt buried deep inside.

What's happening in Mill Dam Park ?

Saturday, 10 March 2012

I'm feeling apprehensive

I am refusing to pay two bills to two companies that provide Internet Services : Fasthosts and 1&1

They claim that I am default of making a payment for future services that I have given them notice in writing that I do not require.

I am awaiting an explanation as to why I should pay.

They are threatening legal action.

I have both writen by snail mail and by email requesting a phone call for them to explain why I am in breach of our contract.

As I, at the moment, believe that I have done the right thing; standing up to them and refusing to pay appears the only option.

Their powerful set of procedures feels very intimidating.

However at the moment I feel that I am ready to go to prison unless persuaded to take alternative action.

I find this is a scary situation, one that I feel I have to confront. I am shaking slightly even as I write this.

It feels very much like David and Goliath.


I have just received a reply from the debt collectors that I am in breach of our contract because if I want to terminate the contract, I have to notify them 14 days before they remind me that they are about to demand payment.

I am letting this sink in.

It doesn't seem right that you can't refuse to have a service in the future if you do it before that service is provided.

Damned small print - these companies really have us over a barrel.

Or do they? I wonder how the courts would view the situation? Again it feels like David a Goliath and thus totally unfair.

Life is becoming incredibly complicated - how are mere humans expected to cope?

I don't think we can - do you? How about some answers before I disappear.

My solution is to move increasingly into my shell and cut off contact with the nasty outside world wherever possible - anyone knowing me must realise this goes against the grain.

However realistically this is the only sane solution if I am not to suffer.

Clarinet and piano  becomes increasingly appealing here safe inside my shell.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Is this a new form of democracy?

There are even jobs down there! - Geoff
It's been a big week for 38 Degrees - just take a look at our Save Our NHS billboards up all over the UK. But that's just the latest in a long list of amazing things that nearly 1,000,000 38 Degrees members have helped make happen.

This is an email to update you on all that's going on, and give you a say in what we do together next.

So, please read on for updates on some of the other amazing things you have been part of. Or click here to vote straight away on what we do next. Voting will take a couple of minutes:


38 Degrees members first voted to make protecting the NHS a big priority in March 2011. By working together we've formed the biggest campaign ever to protect the NHS. Over the last few months we have:

Forced the government to delay their changes and rein in some of the dodgiest parts of their plan
Raised more than £300,000 for over 200 huge billboards to go up across London and the UK
Sent tens of thousands of letters to MPs to demand they publish a secret report into the risks facing the NHS
Raised money to pay for independent lawyers to analyse the government's plans
Contacted members of the House of Lords to make sure they read the latest legal advice
Helped push the NHS e-petition past the 100,000 milestone on the government website
@hentucky on Twitter said "38 Degrees' NHS campaign has been CRITICAL in helping to stop rushed changes."

Should we continue to make our campaign to protect the NHS priority number 1? Have your say here:


As winter set in, 38 Degrees members voted to prioritise tackling rip-off gas and electricity bills. Since then:

200,000 of us have signed up to switch gas and electricity suppliers. This will be the first time British customers have joined together to bargain to get a better deal on our gas and electricity bills. Together we're taking on the big gas and electricity companies with people power!
Almost 100,000 of us signed a petition which helped shame the gas and electricity companies into dropping their prices - though not by nearly enough!
Christopher emailed about The Big Switch to say "All it takes is a little co-ordination to make people power the most effective force on the market."

Have your say on whether tackling rip-off bills should still be a priority here:


38 Degrees members started campaigning against Rupert Murdoch's grab for control of BSkyB back in July 2010. Before we got involved, the government was saying that regardless of the hacking scandal the BSkyB deal would be waved through. We spoke up, and they caved in. It was a huge victory!

SeosaimhĂ­n on our blog said "Great work 38 Degrees! Let's show those in Power that the Voice of the People has it's own Power!"

Should we be doing more to keep an independent and democratic media in the UK? Vote here:


When plans were announced to award a huge bonus to Stephen Hester, chief executive of RBS, 38 Degrees members were outraged. In 48 hours over 80,000 of us signed a petition asking Hester to refuse his huge bonus. We won and he turned it down.

Suzie on email said "together we can make a difference."


38 Degrees members have a strong history of working together to protect England's forests. Over half a million of us signed the petition to stop England's forests being sold off. Together we won.

Since then, we have kept up the pressure:

Over 34,000 of us wrote in to the new Independent Panel on Forestry to tell them to protect our woodlands for future generations.
There are signs it's working: their interim report came out against a sell-off
We're speaking up against local sell-offs of beautiful countryside.Thousands of us signed a petition to stop the sell-off of the stunning Quantock Hills in Somerset. We lost the vote in the local council, but only just - and local 38 Degrees members are working out what we can do next.
Should we be doing more to protect wildlife and the countryside?


Health Minister Simon Burns compared 38 Degrees members to zombies - for emailing their own MPs about risks to the NHS! 38 Degrees members stood together to show Simon Burns that we're citizens not zombies:

Over 90,000 of us signed an open letter to Simon Burns
We chipped in to fund local ads in Simon Burns' constituency, in Chelmsford
Local 38 Degrees members met Simon Burns to make sure he came face to face with us and realised we are citizens who aren't going to take his insults lying down!
Dominique on Facebook said "38 Degrees has given me an opportunity to take an active part in positive change for the first time."


38 Degrees relies on donations from individual 38 Degrees members to fund all these amazing campaigns. Before Christmas we launched an appeal asking for volunteers to make a regular contribution by direct debit.

Over 2,500 38 Degrees members stepped up and signed up for a direct debit - thank you!
That means we're now far better placed to plan for the future, and can run even more people powered campaigns
Right now we are hiring three more campaigners to serve the 38 Degrees membership, taking the team to 9 staff. That means there will be more staff on hand to research campaigns, build web pages, and work with you to make change happen.

And there's more. 38 Degrees members sent floods of complaints to HMRC complaining about them letting big companies off billions of pounds of tax. We teamed up with Unlock Democracy to email MPs asking them to give constituents the power to recall MPs. We worked with disability charity Scope to challenge damaging cuts to support for sick and disabled people. The list goes on!

Together, almost one million of us are showing that people power really can be a force for change. Your participation, and your leadership, is the key to this success. So please help set the direction for what we do next. Take 2 minutes to vote here:

Thanks for being involved,

David, Becky, James, Cian, Hannah, Johnny, Marie, and the 38 Degrees team.

PS: We can't do everything - we make a difference, and win, because we focus on the big issues we all care about. This poll will help set the direction over the next few months. It will tell the office team where to focus their time researching campaign ideas and opportunities. The shortlist draws from the most popular suggestions made by 38 Degrees members over the past couple of months. Vote now:

PPS:Ever fancied working for 38 Degrees? 38 Degrees needs three amazing people to join our small staff team and help nearly a million 38 Degrees members make their voices heard. Find out more information here:

For more information on all of these campaigns. Check out the news section of our website:

Thursday, 8 March 2012


Linda has pointed out this beautiful playing:

This raises the bar a bit!

Can someone explain to this 76 year old male what's going on ?

Are we here to watch the weather forcast - or what?

It would seem that seven million people (males?) think otherwise.

Is this an argument for the nudist movement?

Would we get over our proccupation with sex if everyone , included males, went around wherever possible with no clothes on. Then it would be perfectly obvious that the males had an erection and some frank conversations could take place.

There's something weird going on - and I don't understand it.

I can't imagine anything similar happening in a 'primative' society where nudity wasn't a big thing.

Could someone explain to me what's going on?

I'm glad the women I see - especially the attractive ones - are covered up or  - are all wearing very little as on a beach in summer. Then I can cope.

This provocative interaction between the two extremes in every day situations blows my mind.


I guess it all about some people wanting to attract attention by breaking the rules a little ( a lot?)

Explanations on the back of a (dirty) post card.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Watching the news these days makes me feel very angry

However it's important to stay positive.

First what makes me angry :

The killing of our soldiers in Afghanistan. This is most definitely not a criticism of the soldiers themselves. They are doing a very brave and successful job given the odds stacked against them.

But the odds against overall success are, I believe, far higher than those favoring the strategy of the British.

The reason given for pouring all this effort into a foreign country is based I believe in an unsubstantiated falsehood :

That if we weren't fighting in Afghanistan then we would have more terrorism here.

The evidence for this is impossible to determine as we are unable to measure what the situation would be here if we withdrew all our soldiers. One can only use our own logic :

Mine states that we are in fact prone to more terrorism here in Britain because of the fury of Afghan people in seeing what has in fact gone wrong with so many innocent people killed. It seems to me that many people particularly those in neighbouring Pakistan infact hate the presence of western forces.

So the case that terrorism is less is, I suspect, a falsehood. We could well have more potential terrorism here because of this war.

Then I hear that Remploy is to have funding withdrawn - the problem here looks as though it is that the company of 2,000 disabled people has been badly administered by 500 non- disabled people on fat salaries. Is this not true - why can't all the managers also be disabled people - surely disablement doesn't affect only one level of potential ability. It seems that politicians have allowed this company to be badly administer wo that it continues to run at a loss of £16, 000 per disabled person. Please tell me I'm wrong.

So how do I stay positive - my getting involved with great people in our community who are ready to work hard to actually do something for the rest of us. Thus we've had help to recover wood that is being thrown out from the Sheltered Housing complex at Mill Dam being recovered, stripped down ready for use in repairing the fences that really do need to be repaired around Mill Dam Park.

 At the same time Work is going on already this year that continues projects that have been going on for two years now. Sweet Plants that are well ahead of most available commercially are already in position and taking off in their new location. Furthermore fresh strong perennials - African Daisies have already been planted and will be ion bloom shortly and continue for the rest of the year. Other plants put in last October are now all set to burst into flower after a tough winter.

I look forward to seeing our park looking better than ever before thanks to these kind of helpers all working with very little funds.

On a personal level I am gaining great satisfaction at being able to play the piano and now also the clarinet with greater ability thanks to the encouragement of my teachers - I've just booked a lesson with my former clarinet teacher who will be setting me some targets that will enable me to play better.

These things - done entirely for oneself are a great boost to ones morale when the rest of the world appears to be going to pot.

I've also numerous activites with lovely people that cheer me up immensely - weekly chess, fortnightly discussion, support for the Scrap Store,  pottery projects like the on recently at Church walk, contact with fellow gardiners at the allotment, the up and coming Flag Fortnight in The Gill, this blog,various facebook pages and yest some more - like taking out young children as they explore this wonderful world we live in - it's very uplifting seeing things through their eyes.

Now for some clarinet and piano practice and a couple of hours rewatching  programs on i-Player ready for tow morrow's discussion on class.

There - just writing this makes me feel better. Who would have thought that when at school I hated writing ( spending a whole weekend over my English Homework) and failed my O level English which would have stopped me going to university.

Est ce qu'il y a des Francais la bas ?

Ci vous etes Francais, et habitez ici, pres d' Ulverston, je voudrais bien que vous me donnez un coup de telephone. 480 347.


Watch it, the rest of you, the Frogs are on the march.

A date with a young woman

I was shopping in Appleseeds 

She had the whole procedure off Pat - basket at the door - get rid of those useless magazines and leaflets (Who can eat them? and what use if you can't make sense of all those squiggles)

 Tour round the shelves looking, checking and rejecting; hone in on the 'healthy bars' -

 "I'll have two"-

 "No only one" says Geoff. 

"What about my brother" 

"You're right, young woman". 

She reaches (up) to put 'em up on the counter - it's a long way up. 

Having had them checked off , she walks off.

 "Hey wait a minute you'll need some of these metal round things" 

 "Which ones take your fancy?" 

Those little silver ones would be good she thinks. 

Disbelief from Gavin. Ok a few more - still not enough. 

Let's try a golden one.


 "You get some change". 

"I'll pocket that",  the crafty young woman thinks.

Someone with personality and a sense of what she does and doesn't want.

Wonder where she gets that from?

This young woman is nearly 3. 

Ulverston - be prepared.

An interview with Jackie Williams - in 2007

Digging around on my computer, I discovered this gem - an interview done at the Ford Park Market stall in June 2007.

This was my first meeting with Jackie - on a market stall in June 2007. Here she talks about the plans for converting the Ford Park Centre into a Youth Hostel and community facility - a project she put an enormous amount of work into. In spite of detailed plans being drawn up and a strategy involving a comprehensive consultation and a bid to attract funds, this project failed to attract the approval of the people awarding grants.

Never-the-less, as a result of Jackie's will to succeed, this scheme has now morphed into a visitor's centre which has been built and is about to open. All credit to her determination and will power to not be defeated in the face of many obstacles and problems. Compare the person we have now with the one we had in 2007 and you will see the effects of years of struggle.

Jackie's enthusiasm shines out as a beacon for the rest of us.

If facebook were to crash

How would our world cope?

Monday, 5 March 2012

Does Hunters Hill Open Air School mean anything to you?

It does to me - I was there, 1942 to 1945.

This school set me up for life. Thanks to Miss Maguire, Miss Buckley, Finkey, who helped me grow up.

More to follow of a biographical nature.

 Some this is true when I was there, some not.

My three years at the above school age seven to eleven, led me to :

1. be fit for the rest of my life, having arrived three stone underweight and mentally withdrawn

2. go through Five Ways Grammar School, Birmingham in the A stream and on to Birmingham University to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, then Convert Farm Buildings , then become a teacher and who knows what next  . . .

3. enjoy wild life, the building of dens and walks in the countryside and the love sledging not to mention peering up the school teachers skirts at siesta time when we were obediently 'sleeping'.

4. enjoy adventures : I ran away three times at the age of seven and got home the last one much to my mothers shock as I appeared at the window at 8am. A journey by train which included setting off in the opposite direction to that intended.

5. love sticking up for myself and taking on any bully in sight

Miss Maguire was my favorite – who, at the age of 10, I kissed for a dare in the middle of the night. - Well my lips touched her hair and she woke up as I tried to pull the covers lower so as to reach a bit of skin. "Who's that" she cried  - but I was out of the door by then. Next morning I was viewed with interest by the staff - having owned up in response to the cry.

The stuff that memoirs are made of!

Is teasing becoming a rarity?

As people become more tense about life in general, I wonder whether fewer and fewer people can cope with being teased ( another way of saying this is 'ribbing').

I hope not - personally I thoroughly enjoy it. It means that someone else is taking a risk to give you a backhanded compliment. People tease because they like you, rarely is it malicious. Whoever does it can get really hurt because if they get it wrong and instead of a smile and a bit of teasing back they get a flood of abuse.

The teaser quickly withdraws into their shell and takes cover for a while - hopefully to re-emerge when the sun comes out - and perhaps - - - try again.

It can take a very long time before two people trust each other to try a bit of teasing. If it comes off, the relationship blossoms. If not that could be the end of a relationship - but then was it really a worthwhile relationship in the first place. There are some people I would never tease - but then they're not very important people in my life - if teasing is out of bounds then I'm wary of devoting much effort to the relationship.

I'd rather have a few real friends than a load of acquaintances.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Who are the people in the town that we value?

Here is my little list - and many don't see themselves as my friend. Some even see themselves as my enemy (that's their loss).

Presented in reverse alphabetical order of 'first name' - (how weird is that?)

Valery at Natterjacks, Trudi Dewar, Tony Taylor, Tom Bowden, Rupert Johnston, Richard Butler, Sue Redhead, Solicitor at Hart-Jackson, Phil Lister, Phil Hopwood, Peter Hanks, Paul Kingsnorth, Paul Holmes, Paul Dewar, Norman Bishop-Rowe, Ness of Fireworks Display fame, Mark the fiddler, Mark Carson, Mr Lancaster of Penny Bridge School, Judith Pickthall,  John Fox and Sue Gill, Jennifer Snell, Jane Carson, Jackie Williams, Jack Rice, Graham at Smith and Harrisons, Gordon Jones, Gavin Knott, Dennis McGeary, Debbie Binch, David Parratt, David Pickthall, David Gardiner, Corrin Hanlin,  Ceri Hutton,  Carl Fine, The Blackmore-Tuckers at Libra,  Bernard Ellis,  Anita Garnet, Alex of UCAN fame,

I'm sure there would be others if I knew of them or if I could remember! There isn't someone for being a practicing teacher - I'm sure that must be a serious omission - it was - there's one now!

Have you a serious suggestion?

Friday, 2 March 2012

Ulverston Market on its last legs?

I talked to David at the plant stall and he says that the internet is taking over.

For his part he is able to remain flexible and achieve sales by tailoring what he sells to the pockets of his customers. We're lucky to have someone like him coming so regularly , especially on Saturday when he has the choice of so many different markets across the North of England.

Local elections are coming up.

What are we doing about the state of our town. The choice of councillors is dire. No one with credibility wants the job.

Few will even be bothered to vote.

Apathy has meant that the North Ward has had no representation on South Lakeland District Council ever since the death of Colin Hodgson.

Few want to get involved and those that do are only interested in party politics not the welbeing of the town.

The Greens are once again going to be offering candidates but only because the want to support the Green Party - you'll find they know little about and do little for the town at present.

Those of us that care need to work together to get some independent thinkers involved who know their town inside out.

I'm willing to strongly support anyone intersted in standing.

Any offers?

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Contribute to the Syria Crisis through Amnesty International

I have a lot of respect for the trustworthiness of Amnesty International which is why I have responded to this appeal.

It is frustrating to watch our helplessness so I find it helpful to be able to do something in this way.

You may feel the same.

*                *                *                *                *                *

Abu Suhaib, aged 40, was standing in a small crowd when security forces fired an anti-aircraft missile, sending a grapefruit-sized piece of shrapnel up through his leg and out of his left thigh, taking his left thumb with it. 'My own flesh and blood splashed in my face.'
His is just one of many stories of unimaginable horror recounted to Amnesty researchers documenting human rights abuses happening in Syria right now. We've heard of mortars and guns fired at family homes, troops going door to door beating up men and boys, unarmed civilians shot by snipers.
The torture of those arrested, includes rape, beatings with electric cables, dynamite tied to a man’s hand and lit. Abu Suhaid told us: 'I’ve seen many beside me be shot and killed but I’m not afraid of dying. What I fear is being arrested.' Donate to defend people in Syria
As you read this, President Assad's regime is brutalising and slaughtering Syrian people and decimating whole areas of its cities - in an attempt to crush all forms of dissent. Up to 6,000 civilians have been killed over the past 11 months. Most recently, at least 465 people have been killed in the city of Homs during 17 days of intensive and indiscriminate shelling and sniper fire – the majority of them unarmed.
Yet activists continue to defiantly rise up in rejection of years of poverty, corruption and state brutality. We'll continue to support the people peacefully demanding change - but we need your help to do it.
Donate now to help Amnesty stop the killing in Syria. Your support will help us:
  • Train and advise Syrian activists
  • Provide material support to Syrians peacefully protesting
  • Provide platforms for human rights activists to speak out to the rest of the world
  • Enable communication from within Syria and the border region, including through live broadcasts
  • Bring Syrian human rights defenders to the UK to lobby the government
The killing in Syria must end. There must be justice for victims, and those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable. For this to happen, first hand testimony and credible evidence of grave violations is crucial.
Please help us tell the world what is happening to Syrians standing up for their rights, however brutal it may be. Donate to support our crisis work in Syria