Thursday, 31 May 2012

To the rescue


Threatened with a hard day of graft, spading and wheelbarrowing endless loads for possibly two days, eleven people sprang forward to do a lot of hard work to help me out.

Better still they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and thanked me for the experience.

Here's a record of their adventure.

Some of you would have dearly loved to be there and help.

Next time perhaps - see below !


 .
Contact Geoff  if you'd like to get involved - gd at tygh.co.uk - 01229 480 347
 Terry from Star street is helping later today at 4 pm (Friday) to spread some of it over the turf as a dressing where it's needed in the park - while it is still dry and easy to work with.
.


Next job - refurbishing the decrepit fences !

Creating a lovely relaxing space in next door Pound.

A celebratory picnic and play for all.

Watch this space as they say.

But especially the little notice board in The Park

And starting in a fortnight, please bring scissors and pick all the Sweet Peas on the fencing: the more they are picked , the more they grow - please don't stop and we'll still be getting flowers in November.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sainsbury's at Hill Foot Ulverston

An interview with their representatives at The Lantern House earlier today:


The web site dealing with this proposal : http://www.sainsburys-ulverston.co.uk/

Emily who was interviewed in the above video encouraged us to get in touch with our queries by email.

Other stories on this issue:


 Sainsbury's Ulverston Plan revealed


The latest from "Keep Ulverston Special" 

Something worth noting and not on the plan used in the above presentation
Look at the areas in blue. This means that Sainsbury is proposing that business units could spread in both directions and thus completely surround the Beehive cottages. In theory can't this area be reached by extending the work units at Lightburn Industrial estate.

1,500 postings and still going

Today I reflect on my priorities in life.

At 77, I have the luxury of being able to spend most of my time entirely as I wish. I have enough cash, a good roof over my head and a great partner.

So what are my priorities.

Well I'm still puzzling over what makes a satisfying life.

First has now become : to enjoy myself to the full.

I've taken a long time getting here but I may have arrived (!)

For life to be really fulfilling I want to be very confident and totally focussed on enjoying myself.

I then become a relaxed easygoing person who people can cope with.

We can all get on with others who are pottering along, enjoying getting on with their own life.

I want this to be me!

The pottering along bit may be a problem for others. My "pottering along" doesn't fit most people's concept of the expression. But then that's their problem and not mine.

This is the big thing that I'm trying hard to learn - to let others get on with their behaviour and not take it on board as my concern.

So what am I doing as I explore a "satisfying life"

More and more I'm turning to creating music. It's a fantastic way of expressing my emotions. Emotions are a big part of my life.

So number one is to become the best clarinet player ever. Setting a high goal doesn't bother me - it seems obvious to put everything you've got into something when ever you do it. Practically speaking it's not possible - though one can tweek the meaning of "best". There are always little niches that one can explore where very few others have been. You can become the best in a very narrowly defined area.

I've been the best in the world in a narrow area before, so feel that I know the ropes.

Coming second is to improvise on the piano very well and that's coming along very nicely.

That will have to do for now as I have a meeting with the pots at The Railings to repair so of the damage to the planters therelast Sunday night , I believe.

Friday, 25 May 2012

My what a lot of hype

I can't believe the amount of excitement that a simple flame being carried around the country can generate.

If you visited another country in for instance deepest Mongolia and thousands of people got all excited and waved and were happy because a

flame

 was being carried from A to B.

You'd be wondering about the mental health of the population - maybe it was the hidden radiation that was affecting their minds.

Seriously though I'm concerned about the pressure British athletes are taking on themselves as they compete. How can Jessica Ennis cope with the expectations of millions of armchair sports enthusiasts.

Now there's an explanation - the radiation isn't  nuclear generated but comes out of those boxes that glow in the night. "Get a life" could be a message worth contemplating.

And then  coupled with this, these armchair enthusiasts actually stir themselves to go waving flags and having street parties over an old lady who rarely says or even does anything of interest but is alledgedly having a birthday or is it an anniversary, you'd wonder what traumatic experiences they'd all been through or was it total boredom over the past ten years that is suddenly finding a release?

Crazy crazy crazy is the word that comes to mind.

Now I'm looking forward to shifting 5 tons of compost next Thursday morning - maybe on my own - now that does seem mad - just to see some flowers grow - well now who's suffering from radiation and had some traumatic experience that has unsettled his mind.

This is insane

 The government policy of enforcing a 20% cut in policing costs at these times of unrest is insane.

Whilst I can understand that if our debts are going to be paid we all need to accept a reduction in our standard of living, however the unrest that is evident in the country needs a lot a good relaxed policing that treats upset people in a way that helps them come to terms with our predicament.

The minute that the police show signs of being fallible humans reacting to stress will be the time when society frustrations will begin to explode. One of our top requirements if we are to function as a "Big Society" will that excesses are dealt with firmly but sypathetically.

The situation that we had last year with many of our Ulverston police force being required to travel  to hot spots of rioting in our cities will inevitably have led to stress as our police struggled to cope.

If our police are expected to become supermen and women who knuckle down and deliver whatever the demands, then we will have a breakdown in their ability to function. There is a lot of determination amongst the police to do a good job which is being undermined by their working conditions. Sadly their ethos does not allow them to campaign vociferously. Thus our politicians (that's you  Cllr James Airey and MP Woodcock and Farron) need to be well informed about what is happening in order put our views forward effectively. A visit to the 'coal face' would seem to be indicated rather than leave it to stilted public meetings for communication.

Despite reading time and again the statement that I should make my views known, it took me a long time to find the questionaire below

The police questionaire on front line services is here

http://www.cumbria.police.uk/about-us/our-surveys/public-consultation-on-police-front-counter-services

I found it a very biased consultation with great skill needed to put my views across - this leads me to question its reliability as an expression of our real views but rather the kind of 'put up job' the public has come to expect of government 'consulations'. Which is why so few can find the energy to respond.

Writing to our County Councillors and MPs seem to me to be far more effective. With email this is so simple, it's a mistake if we don't.

James Airey came by, for a thorough update

We had a frank discussion as we always do.

He looked with me at Mill Dam Park, our store of fencing timber, the pottery being repaired, the Flags now in state of examination before repair and storage for next year, the state of the sets in The Gill that have yet again been dislodged severely by cars with power steering, the state of the pottery at The Railings, Gill Banks, the situation regarding Himalayam Balsam there.

We also discussed our concerns about Car Parking charges and recognised my role in raising the Stockbridge Lane issue and claimed that he had been working hard to achieve the concession we now have there.Other important issues were the excessive cuts to our Ulverston Police force and the rediculous delays in the work on the town's sets (cobbles) down Market St.

He agreed with me that party politics should be avoided at local level as most of our (achievable) aims are very similar.

He is interested in supporting and encouraging local endeavours taken on by all the members of the Ulverston community. We both put forward the view that much more could be achieved outside government involvement. There was real value of Cllrs acting as the oil that enabled efficient and productive functioning of our communities.

By God- am I beginning to sound like a politician ? Watch it Geoff - be careful who you spend your time with!

Forward thinking Car Parks philosophy

Dave Whatehead has pointed out that other councils like Wrexham have a far more sensible approach to parking charges.

 Here's the link

  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-14809984

Thursday, 24 May 2012

And bloody well time too

A miniscule amount of intelligence has emerged from the controlling Lib. Deb. management on the subject of Ulverston Car Parks.

And I imagine Cllr Willis will be expecting us to be grateful.

Not on your life. The controlling Lib. Dem. SLDC councillors have been sitting on the Stockbridge Lane Car Park issue for literally years - probably five.

It's a sign of their disastrous financial management that our car parking in Ulverston is in such a mess.

It's also a reflection of our inept Ulverston Councillors that they got away with this situation for all this time.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that Multi Cllr James Airey ( until recently Town, District and County Cllr  with his wife a District Councillor too, power power power) will be claiming the credit being a close runner up to out of town Cll Willis for allowing common sense to struggle to the surface of this mire filled pond.

I was at the SLDC meeting in Kendal eighteen months ago where council charges were discussed  and far from showing the fire that Cllr Tom Harvey from Grange can breath,  James like a pet poodle, gently nuzzled up to the powerful arrogant Kendal Lib. Dem. councillors and looked up lovingly into their eyes and whined "Please, please. Couldn't your most worshipful and illustrious important people be good enough to smile more kindly on us very deserving Ulverston folk. Please please, pretty please."

 Not exactly his words maybe, but you get the drift. Cllr Hodgson was a bit gruffer and Cllr Jenkinson was her polite affable ladylike self with a poorly put together argument based on Lancashire charges.

By contrast Grange Councillor Tom Harvey, on another issue at that meeting, came across as a German trained Doberman and had to be restrained. He was persuaded to be quiet by a deal being struck off-stage away from the prying eyes of the press.

It's time for some rational but emotional, fighting Cllrs to stand up and represent us - and who do we have stepping forward but well meaning but hardly effective, Cllr Helen Irving.

At the Town Council level Cllr Norman Bishop-Rowe can't been seen to be cooperating with members of the public and for a long time hid the fact that the Stockbridge Lane car park income was only the paltry sum of £4,000 per year  which represents I seem to remember a measly 2p /hour per car park space.

It's unbelievable how much ammunition that our Cllrs are hoarding in their precious briefcases instead of loading it into the Sten guns they should be aiming and firing at the controlling SLDC management. What is it ? It costs SLDC £400 / per week to operate each loo under their control?

They spend months digging up the really good cobbles in Market Street ( that don't need touching) and leave us with the shambolic ones further down the street. Leaving an Aimey foreman who is doing the work to describe the actions of Cumbria County Council as crazy.

Just to remind you:-


There are some new kids on the block and let's hope they can string two punchy words together and fight the Ulverston Cause more effectively than those in the past.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I'm one of six candidates for the board that runs my Coop

I am turning my energies to running my Coop organisation. I shall be one of the six candidates that have been nominated for Coop members to vote for in July.

Few of you may have realised that I actually own the Coop that I have used for most of my life.

That's why I have banked with the Coop, have my car insurance with the Coop and shop at the Coop.

The Coop "CIS Tower" in Manchester which I own !

Naturally because I own it  - I use it!

And now , if elected, I shall run all the Coops in South Cumbria and North Lancashire - an area encompassing Barrow, Kendal, Lancashire and of course Ulverston.

Anyone reading this blog won't be surprised that I'm doing this as I naturally been very biased in favour of my company when it came to Tesco invading our territory here in Ulverston.

Press the Coop link to see what I've had to say in the past to see that I'm being entirely consistant:

http://geoffdellow.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Coop

Oh by the way - you also own my company too - if you are a Coop member : which is why you too receive dividends from the profits of my company - and will be invited to vote.

What all six candidates have to say about themselves will be available on line  and I'll indicate where you can read this as soon as it's up!

Meanwhile you can alert all your Coop Member friends to the fact that there's an important election coming up in early July.

Now this election will really count as unlike the local elections we've just had, we in the Coop can decide to do what we want as we act totally independently of Government policy. This is why the Coop came into being when people in the community decided to set up shop for themselves.

See Wiki for more information:

To quote:

"The Co-operative Group has over 123,000 employees across the UK. The group has headquarters in Manchester on an eight-building complex which includes the CIS Tower.[8] The group will move to 1 Angel Square, its new £100m headquarters at NOMA, Manchester in 2012 - ahead of its 150th anniversary in 2013.[9]"

and elsewhere:

"The group's roots can be traced beyond the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers established 1844.[10] The eight Rochdale Principles included distributing a share of profits according to purchases that came to be known as 'the divi'. In 1863, the North of England Co-operative Wholesale Industrial and Provident Society Limited was launched in Manchester by 300 individual co-operatives in Yorkshire and Lancashire. By 1872, it was known as the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). "


Now that should give you all something to talk about !

Monday, 21 May 2012

An old friend of mine from London

Jeff lived just round the corner from me when I was studying at Goldsmiths in London.

We shared many happy hours.

He makes so lovely animated wooden art objects - Toy maker of the year.

Worth looking round his blog at http://jeffsoan.blogspot.co.uk/

Keeps you fit and beautiful!

Wow , what great exercise.




Dancing of a very different kind to mine!

 "Fit" seems a very appropriate description!

Expecting too much from people

The root cause of my dissatisfaction with politicians is that I take too little time to reflect on what motivates them.

If we consider how they become elected, it often isn't because they particularly wanted the job. It emerges, time and time again, that they became councillors by default.

Many start by being members of a party and are asked if they would represent it in an election that is coming up. They are flattered to be asked and  reluctingly agree even though they have fairly full lives already. They reason with themselves that there's a fair chance that they won't get elected.

It is we the electorate that are responsible for the next disastrous step. As we have a 'democracy' and have been brainwashed into thinking that this is a good thing - only primitive countries suffer from dictatorships and political manipulation - we in Britain are above that. We therefore that feel we should vote.

Sadly most of us give this task only a superficial thought or two. We'll vote for the party that is on top at the moment in the media. We don't stop and think that actually at the local level of politics one's party leanings are really irrelevant. What are really needed at this level are people with particular qualities of personality rather than what their political beliefs are. The kind of problems facing a local councillor have little to do with party politics.

Take car parking charges in Ulverston. Every Ulverston local politician is going to want the charges to be low so that local trade thrives.

No, which party is in power at local level will make little difference. What is decisive is what kind of personalities are leading the fight. What is needed are people who are emotionally strong but rational and determined fighters. People with a tough life experience who have succeeded over difficulties. The kind of person that leads a good family business. People unwilling to take the easy option. People with the  flair of persuation and leadership.

Politics is not a rational process, basically it depends on the emotions of the people involved.

We all know that a planning decision can be swayed if twenty people attend the meeting all voicing one opinion. The councillors for the most part are influenced by the emotions of the twenty. Sadly emotions are raised highest if people are against something and not if we are in favour. Thus time and time again a few negative individuals can summon up a lot of feeling amongst others to STOP something happening.

Thus we mostly vote at local elections on a superficial vague emotional level: we don't like what is going on at national government level so we vote against the party/ies in power. This time the Conservative-Liberal coalition is making unpopular cutbacks so we vote against them - it's not really that we favour the Labour view; we vote in a negative way for what we don't like.

We thus ignore, for the most part,  the personalities of the people we elect and find , surprise surprise, that we've elected people who didn't really want the job in the first place. There could be really good people with personalities we admire but if they're in the wrong party - they've had it.

Can you amagine anyone getting elected as a Liberal in Ulverston at the moment: no matter how superb their personalities and fighting drive is?

So what happens next?

Read my next episode!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

When will I learn?

There are some lessons that we seem to have blind spots to ever learning.

 Friends will repeat the message over and over again.

They will recommend putting a notice up ten foot high directly outside my window with the same message so that I will be repeatedly be reminded.

 Yet I still fall into the same trap.

 Over and over again.

People who stand beside me cannot believe that I've gone and bloody well done it again.

My failing is clearly that I think that involvement with politicians can ever be beneficial. 

By definition, (I have to drum the message in), politicians are emotionally draining people.

 We need to steer a course that avoids them by many miles. We should never seek them out for help or even try to pressure them to do anything. Yet here am I doing it all over again.

 I'm writing to politicians to ask for them to do something. Why don't I learn that one is far better avoiding them and doing the whole job myself. One always has this "this time I can make it work differently" feeling.

 Here's a message to take in:

 Geoff if there's a politician around, run a mile in the opposite direction. 


 Carl Fine in South Ulverston has told me again and again "I don't go anywhere near them as they make me so angry". "I just don't vote." So why did I get dragged in this last time round ?

 Next time I will, I really will, ONLY VOTE IF THERE IS SOMEONE I REALLY WANT TO VOTE FOR. This would have meant that I would have only cast one vote when in reality I  voted four times.

Next lesson: if reliable people don't get elected then shrug and give up straight away. To do otherwise will be inviting an emotionally draining experience. Others learnt this message ten, twenty even fifty years ago and have lived a relaxed life since with little frustration from the people that can set you off in a spin without trying.

More to follow as I reflect on what is wrong with us and our system of local government - and what I find actually works for me.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Community Centres I have enjoyed

This is a copy of a posting I made back in 13th November, 2008 ( worth rereading I thought) :

Two stand out for me.

The first was one of the middle floors at the Baltic. In one part, workshops were run for kids to go and do something together that was really creative, in another, families could 'chill out' with their kids.

We do something similar when people of all ages go to the Lantern house and build Lanterns as has been featured on my web site. This is a great time of the year - sadly we have to wait for 12 months before the next one. Thanks John Fox and Sue Gill for getting us going and showing how to enjoy working together! Thanks too to those who keep the show on the road and welcome to UCAN (now in reorganisation) who organise the Lantern Procession Finale (Great name).

At the Baltic the workshops are every Saturday. We could do this here - there are plenty of people who have skills and spare time. We do something similar at our house where people of all ages, from one to seventy five, come together to do pottery three times a week. See the U3A web site (now defunct)- though this was when we had no younger people - now it's open to all! ( to see the pottery go to groups - top right then pottery on the left.)

In the other part of the middle floor of the Baltic, they had a place with comfy settees and toys, where people could come and relax and do what they wanted; read; watch their kids play; play with their kids ; become kids themsleves while their more adult children showed them how to behave with a book. What an experience! Something no longer to be found (easily) on their web site.

The second experience that stands out was sitting in a café in a suburb of Paris where people of all backgrounds sat next to each other, talking, eating or just watching. Over the road young children played in their playground. Next to them a musical group played while 20 - 80 year-olds danced in 'the square', elsewhere older people played boules, whilst others sat at tables in a park playing chess or cards. There even was a solid table tennis table.

I have a vision for Ulverston to have a similar place where The Rosegarden used to be - opposite the library. Here the tea bar for the bus station would upgrade to good café (the licencees are keen) which would look towards the 'garden' - skateboarders would enjoy an area to the left , away from the road, old folks would sit and watch and, where necessary, scold the youngsters and adults who dropped litter and failed to pick up after their dogs.

All a dream?

Nothing wrong with that, is there?

It's something along the lines of what I was part of in the Town Mill Project of 1976 (which started off the Cinema and the Ulverston Gramophone clubs which still survive) . Then I made another attempt again in 1986 with insufficient cash buying what was Stables' Carpet shop, converting it into the building that is now Oxfam. My pitch pine and design survive!

I failed but the dream is still there.

Always ready to have a go!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dispute : Whose responsibility is this fence?

An email sent to Mrs Anne Makin in the Legal Department with copies to Carl Ballantyne in Sheltered Housing, Tony Naylor in the Parks Department and relevant councillors and members of BUGs, the voluntary Mill Dam Park support group: -

Anne Makin,

Carl kindly provided me with information regarding the responsibility for the fencing that acts as the boundary between Mill Dam Park and Mill Dam Sheltered Housing.

I understand from you to quote  "  I have the deeds which incorporate the area of Mill Dam (includes both the sheltered housing site and the playground together) and SLDC would be expected to be responsible for the fence."

I am surprised at your conclusion as I believe this particular fence is clearly the responsibility of the sheltered housing owner .

As the chairman of the group of some fifty people, known as The BUGs, my  interest is in getting this fence replaced with fencing that matches the beautiful new fencing on the front of the sheltered housing.

The BUGs have been putting a lot of work into the park over the last a three years which includes the planting of bulbs and flowers; the making and purchase of four picnic tables (one of them stolen) and the repair last Saturday of a bench that has been derelict for two years now.

I am writing in particular as I have knowledge of this situation that goes back before the time that Mill Dam Park was there.

The fence is clearly the responsibility of the sheltered housing as the fence, surrounding the then new Sheltered Housing was there before the park existed. At that time in 1984 there was housing, a fence round it with what was then barren land  with rubble and broken glass left behind by the builders who built the housing: on the very  land that is now our park .

I know because it was I together with a small group who campaigned with SDLC at the time to give us the park promised by Mr Woodburn, Town Mill owner, who gave the land to SLDC for use as a park. Instead they nicked the land to build houses albeit sheltered leaving us with  piles of rubble and broken glass which the kids cycled up and down over - as they will - at their own peril. Absolutely shameful behaviour on the part of SLDC - and we rubbed their noses in it at the time and demanded action - and got it - our park!

 It is clearly the Sheltered Housing fence as it predates the park.

Could it be that you have come to the wrong conclusion?

I have put together a video that states our case which is  on Youtube at
http://youtu.be/3lJVVeg4AOo see below

Dr  Geoff Dellow

Monday, 14 May 2012

Dancing again





I think you'll find the clarinet playing on this one a lot better!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A very satisfying and enjoyable afternoon at Mill Dam Park

Thanks to Cathie's enthusiasm.

Over 50 people were involved with the event so that lots of people went home  like me: tired, astisfied having achieved alot and had a great time - working with others to produce a result, to get to know people better many of them for the first time, kids developed their confidence playing with others and did jobs , some for the first time. We're all looking forward to enjoying our newly renovated park with its fresh plants that are all ready to burst into flower ( and fruit ).

Kate and family in action assembling the 'new' bench.

More tomorrow - I'm flaked out having been up since 5:30 ! Too much excitement.

Broadband test

I have an incredibly busy life but I do value getting value for money so I'm going to keep an eye on my Broadband speeds.

With two separate testing sites:

I got 6.6 and 6.45 MB per sec download and only 0.3and 0.36MB on upload - no wonder my webcam to Youtube is poor this is for LA12 7BU.

How are you faring ?

You can test here and here and several other places too.

Bye Flags

Our Flags in The Gill will start coming down at 18:00 tomorrow Sunday.

Meanwhile , it's a beautiful day to be enjoying them today when they are out and fluttering happily.

Look forward to seeing them again next year when we hope to have many new ones designed and made.

If you would like to get involved or would like to have one let us know. It doesn't need to cost you much - starting at a tenner. - Geoff gd at tygh.co.uk

Friday, 11 May 2012

Mariza - Fado

Chuva

At the moment, I'm totally captivated by this sound.

 


I love its expressiveness .

It reminds me of the wonderful 'cello playing we heard here in Ulverston a couple of weeks ago.

That 'cello playing and this voice have, for me, strong similarities.

 I shall hold back my clarinet version from exposure until it has vastly improved. I have a new teacher who will I hope guide me towards some really good technique.
 I look forward to the day when I will be able to do justice to this kind of music.

 Practice

         - practice
 - practice.

Good news from the campaigning group :38 degrees -

Cheaper fuel.

You could save over a hundred pounds this year:

A group worth supporting.

Just received:


Dear Geoff,

Some good news. We’ve just got the results for our people-powered bid to get cheaper gas and electricity prices. The Co-op has come forward with the cheapest offer. And it looks like those of us taking part could save a grand total of £25 million.

200,000 households will be offered an average saving of £123 a year. [1]

This proves our plan to use our shared buying power to drive a harder bargain can work. But it's also great news that Co-operative Energy – a newer, smaller and more ethical supplier – managed to offer the cheapest deal. [2]

The Co-op offered us a better price than giants like British Gas. Maybe that's got something to do with their different business model – they don't pay their bosses whopping bonuses, and they’re keener on green energy. [3] When thousands of us switch over, we'll send a signal to the huge, profit-hungry companies: gas and electricity customers are taking their power back!

This all started last autumn, when 38 Degrees members first voted to challenge spiraling gas and electricity bills. Thousands of us discussed what we should do. Together we came up with the idea of using our power as customers to try to get a cheaper deal. So we teamed up with consumer experts Which? and “The Big Switch” was born!

Since then we've worked together to build momentum. We’ve signed petitions. We’ve forwarded emails to our friends. We wrote to our MPs and local papers. And thousands of us signed up to take part and switch supplier. [4] It looks like all this hard work has paid off.

This is a great step forward – and a real challenge to the power of the gas and electricity giants. But let's hope it's just the start. This is about more than some of us saving money – it's about making sure that everyone can afford to heat their homes. For now the weather might be getting (at least a little bit) warmer. But there's still a risk that too many families will struggle to keep warm next winter.

So next time someone tries to tell us there is nothing we can do about gas and electricity prices, we've got a very convincing answer! We know that by working together in the last few months we've saved Great Britain energy customers up to £25 million. And we know that if we keep working together, we can do much more in the future.


Thanks so much for being part of this,

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


PS: Do you have any ideas about what we should be doing next to help bring down gas and electricity bills? Share your ideas and see what other members are suggesting on the 38 Degrees website or on the Facebook page.


NOTES
[1] For more stats on the savings see here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/big-switch-stats
[2] You can read more about Co-operative Energy's ethical credentials here: http://www.cooperativeenergy.coop/why-us/our-pledges-values/
[3] Co-operative Energy is a mutual, which means it doesn't have shareholders and instead each customer gets a share in the profits. They commit to ensuring their carbon emissions are only half the national average. There are other small suppliers with different, and in some cases more ambitious, carbon targets such as Ecotricity and Good Energy.
[4] Read more articles on what we've done together here: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/tag/gas-and-electricity-rip-off/

Three Cheers for Peter Clarke

Mill Dam Park users in Ulverston will be indebted to the conscientiousness of our SLDC Parks Engineer, Peter Clarke; the guy who singlehandedly manages all the parks for this area stretching from the far side of Kendal, Sedbergh, Ambleside, Grange and Ulverston. During the last ten years Peter has had responsibility thrust on him to do more and more with less and less - and no doubt be cursed for inaction in the process.

We at Mill Dam have been working in the park for over three years now providing all the flowers, bulbs, picnic tables and doing some repairs. We have had an outstanding safety issue for two years with a gate opening outwards into the road with no catch that has withstood vandalism. Our previous Councillor, Colin Hodgson agreed that something needed to be done, in fact he agreed that the gate should not open outwards onto the road but the reverse thus reducing the chance of accident from small children that elude the attention of their parents. For two years now we have struggled with inaction from others than ourselves. Bingo we have now hit the jackpot having at last reached the right person to do the job. By return of email only two days ago we got an immediate commitment to action and today, Thursday the new catch is in place. Similarly a bench that has sat sadly vulnerable for two years with only one seat slat is to have the correct three pieces of new substantial wood in place.
Peter Clarke provided the required wood today and we will drill, provide bolts and fix the new timbers in place on Saturday afternoon at our work, play and eat party organised by local parent Cathie.





Now after many phone calls, emails of barking up the wrong trees of councillors and management we have finally found the person who actually gets the job done - someone no doubt that no one has heard of before whilst the people who should be doing something get their name on the front page decrying how  Ulverston is going to pot.

Mill Dam Park is set to be the most supported and maintained park in Cumbria. Ulverston in Bloom you've seen nothing yet with new 400 bedding plants promised in June. People  bring their children from Backbarrow, Dalton and other outlying areas because of the friendliness of the environment. It's obviously one that is cared for by the local people.

What we all need are action men rather smooth talkers. Let's hope the new bunch of politicians meeting at the Town Hall to share the jobs out, this next Monday evening will demonstrate in the future that things now will start to happen in Ulverston.

Will the new Labour Councillors be any different to the old Conservatives? In four year's time we will know.

The value of creative people

James chose to criticise the Flags in Ulverston and went on to say that the town was becoming a haven for creative artists and that newcomers wanted to change it. What we need, he says is busness, industry and jobs.

Surely James hasn't thought things through.

If you take me, Dr Geoff Dellow, as an example. I came here in 1960 to take my first job at Glaxo in PID to do research and problem solving. Dr Best who interviewed me must have recognised some flair because he chose me to research improvements to make the processing of its products more efficient; more successful; more profitable and hence in the long term more jobs.

Yes I'm creative and love solving problems - I'm a risk taker and always seek to challenge set ways of doing things.

I quickly came up with the idea of continuous crystallisation for producing purer products. This way larger crystals were grown which could be washed free of impurities so that it became easier to produce high quality products. A process that is no doubt now being used all over the world by Glaxo to the ultimate benefit of its workers and the creation of jobs. I also enabled Glaxo to secure patents on a dyed bead process that little wastage of the valuable vitamin A that was encapsulated.

Whilst working at Glaxo, I passed on my creative talents to youngsters at Pathfinders in the evening where we did 'arty farty' things like covering cane chairs, making kites and sea grass stools. We went for walks on Saturdays and inevitably ended up crossing a bog as my risk taking adventures led us into unexplored countryside.

So now, with the same creative personality of taking risks, I am involved with a number of projects that give a lift to the people that join in.

Note : none of them are funded by grants of any sort. We just enjoy spending our own money doing things we and others round us enjoy. In fact in the case of all our projects: the Flags, the pottery, the Parks (Lightburn and Mill Dam) and the Candlelit Walk we have spent money providing equipment and services that would normally be provided by the tax payer. We are saving you money.

If you want to help us come up with jobs for locals, particularly young people then please get involved. A market stall can be an excellent way of learning business skills - let's do it.

But please stop moan, moan, moaning.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wonderful - It's raining.

 Well, the soil is thirsty. New potatoe plants are having a dry time as they strive to provide tasty food.

Besides Ulverston is the place to come to if you're wanting to be cheered up on a dismal day. Anyone can be cheerful when the sun is out. But here there's a determined wry smile on the faces of people you meet. Friendship means more when the going is tough.

David's market stall was packed out with jokey customers enjoying a bit of banter as they bought plants for their welcoming gardens.

Another stall has bright coloured plants that will liven up any sitting room.

Brocklebanks have splurged onto the road with their groceries in attempt, that goes a little too far, to raise our spirits. His enthusiasm needed reining in by a passing local who pointed out the dangers on an already crowed corner.

The Flags are out waving limply in the wind waiting for the dry breeze that is around the corner which will bring them cheerily back into life as the skip and prance to a fresh tune.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Courage To Be

Is the title of a book by Paul Tillich - Named one of the Books of the Century by the New York Public Library

“Were I to choose the most significant book in religion published in the second half of the twentieth century, my choice would fall easily upon Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be.”—Peter J. Gomes

I am a person that loves observing people and I have spent some time recently reflecting on the people that I know quite well.

I have some that I immediately feel that I know them well and yet we've only been together ten minutes. You meet them and immediately feel that you can share things with them and they won't take what you say the wrong way.

Then there have been the shocks from people that I thought I knew well, having spent time with them over a period of many years. However I was to find that when I tried to relate to them in what I thought was going to be an easy interaction, then a totally unexpected emotional volcano opened up. It seemed that I had touched deep emotions that were hidden deep below the surface. I got the full brunt of the explosion.

Thus I reflect about the warning messages that I should have picked up.

One, I think, is that some find it very difficult to let their hair down and subconsciously adopt ways of hiding what is really going on deep inside. Others aren't afraid of showing how they feel about something so you can easily pick up on disapproval even when it is still only a mild one.

There are two types of people I'm wary of - those that have a deadpan expression whenever you tell them something - there isn't a flicker of agreement or disagreement - their reaction is not visible at all and then surprisingly those that smile a lot - surely they can't be that happy all the time - can they?

Here is someone we all know who clearly has little to hide. We can read her like a book it would seem!

She is at the moment one of the most powerful - meaning influential - people in the world : the German Angela Merkel. She features in The Guardian - reflections section today.

One could say that in her hands lies the financial future of Europe and maybe even the western world. Someone we hope is rock solid emotionally.

Yet she is someone I would trust over and above many others.

But could we, the British, cope with such a personality as head of government?

 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Flag photos

Here's a good collection on Flickr of photos taken by Daniel Birtwistle

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It's good to see nearly all the flags fluttering away in the town including those on the main roundabout and finally outside Booths after several people complained to Ralph Spours that nothing was being done.

It worked and they are looking great.

Well done Sue Redhead and her team of intricate Flagmakers - we just stick to the easy ones created en masse.

Here are some taken by Elizabeth Ellis - lovely rich colours:





Hundreds of people take photos and publish them all over the UK - I'm sure it does a great job for putting Ulverston on the UK and maybe the world map in a small way.

What would be good to hear is a Councillor or two saying what a great job is being done.

Sadly this is not their 'style' - maybe we can teach them some manners ?

Is it possible for councillors to praise the work of others more often ?

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Printfest is here

The secret life of an object

His windows on the world

hide themselves.

On the floor or under a cushion;

near the machine that fills idle hours;

on the table where much is made;

above the keyboard played with closed eyes

They lurk.

Frustration grows.

A forgotten event is followed

by the search of hands.

A call for help:

Have you seen my glasses?

( Christine Atkinson )

One of several results of the workshop run by Kim Moore that took place at Barrow Library on   Saturday 5th May 2012.

Another workshop will take place at the Library on Saturday June 9th.

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Friday, 4 May 2012

SLDC Election Results

Taken from the Westmoreland Gazette site:

Ulverston Central: Norman Bishop-Rowe (Con, 209), Andrew Hudson (Lib Dem, 45) Alison Elaine Morris (Green Party, 34), Sundara Bharath Rajan (Labour, 211) RESULT: LABOUR GAIN

Ulverston East: Judith Anne Filmore (Green Party, 31), Peter Hornby (Con, 111), Ian Jackson (UKIP, 34), Maureen Frances Nicholson (Lib Dem, 23), John Mark Wilson (Labour and Co-operative, 214) RESULT: LABOUR HOLD

Ulverston North: Anne Downe (Lib Dem, 69), Helen Irving (Con, 280), Chris Loynes (Green Party, 114), Colin Pickthall (Labour and Co-operative, 248) RESULT: CON HOLD

Ulverston South: David Khan (Lib Dem, 21), Judith Ann Pickthall (Labour and Co-operative, 210), Kate Rawles (Green Party, 31), Jane Amanda Rigg (Con, 329) RESULT: CON HOLD

Ulverston Town: John Victor Clough (Labour, 271), Simon James Filmore (Green Party, 50), James Mellor (Lib Dem, 30), Andrew James Samson (Con, 150) RESULT: LABOUR GAIN

Ulverston West: Loraine Birchall (Lib Dem, 26), Ian Charles Hunt (Labour, 147), Janette Ethel Jenkinson (Con, 381), Robert O’Hara (Green Party, 49) RESULT: CON HOLD

It's great to have some new people serving on the District Council.

Now let's keep in touch with what they are trying to achieve and how well they work.

I look forward to finding out what kind of people Sundara Bharath Rajan and John Victor Clough are. I shall cetainly be curious - Can I request that they operate a blog together with Mark Wilson, their colleague? I suspect that this is the first time that Ulverson has had half their representatives being Labour.

I'm still hoping that John Lawrence got in at Town Council Level. Now that would really be something!

As it turns out - see the SLDC site - John Lawrence didn't get in (much to his and his wife's relief I suspect).

A lot of new faces to get to know with 10 Labour and 8 Conservatives.

This should be fun - for a while. It will provide some entertainment as they settle in .

Will we now have some action?

Labour will be fighting to have lower Car Park charges (Fat chance with the present Lib Dem in charge).

It could be that our allotments are better run - not an easy assignment.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Vote today

For John Lawrence if you're in North Ward and going to the polling Station in Mill Street.

As for the rest . . . . .

Whatever happens, make sure you keep those elected doing their job in the next four years:

Their job is to represent us so they need to be bugged constantly to do this.

Our job is to do all we can to assert ourselves first before going to them.

It is their job to help us to do this effectively.

Some of them have made promises - let's make them keep them. Most of them promised nothing except flannel.

In my opinion they should have a blog to keep us informed of what they are doing.

Most politicians avoid taking action as it's hard work and will fob you off with excuses that they are powerless. To which I reply "Rubbish".

"We have elected you to lead us"

"That means taking action"

"What action do you propose?"

To which most will reply:

"I promise to sit on my bum and look important and appear on the front page of the paper and lament the terrible things that are happening and tell you how its all 'their' fault"

(For 'their', insert :Kendal, the government, the bankers, the weather, the Ice Cream Van)

To which we reply "Yes Sir, No Sir, Three Bag Fulls Sir"

You may conclude that local politics needs an alternative like the Occupy Movement

I'm all for that!

I find that I can be very effective bypassing the politicians altogether and it's far more effective and satisfying.

Putting them on the spot with Youtube works wonders!

Taking action yourself works wonders!






Piano

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Why do I enjoy leafleting ?

I do!

I really do.

I've just been leafleting the whole of North Ward over the past two day (well 90%)

Why do I enjoy it so much?

1. My main reason is that it brings me up to date as to what local houses, gardens and a peek at how people live. I am intensely curious about how others live. Having a leaflet in your hand provides a passport to get up close to where ( and how ) people live.

There's lots to be seen:
Piles of kids shoes in the lobby;
a great pile of stubbed out cigarettes - (someone has been banned from smoking inside!) ;
rubbish empty bottles in the garden - someone who's finding life difficult;
loads of kids toys - scooters, bikes - in the garden (they're having a good time);
very neat and tidy with gravel everywhere (perhaps a little unadventurous);
flower beds and greenhouses full of plants (someone enjoys their garden);
two separate paths done with identical gravel to two adjacent front doors with a well mown lawn in between and no fence separating them (two neighbours that get on well as though they are brother and sister);
a very long path up to a house with another similar path to the next house with front doors tantalisingly close but unreachable because of a sturdy fence (one of the householders isn't very considerate - the postman has to needlessly walk all the way up and down if he has post for both houses);
an identical set of paths but this time there's a little well used gap in the fence to let the postman through.

2. It's very enjoyable exercise: lots of stepping up and down - a relaxed pace going up and down slopes regularly often with plenty of steps.

3. You meet interesting people.

Dinner calls - more tomorrow.