Monday, 30 December 2013

The importance of 'art' in one's life

As a result of the 'Moving to Music' project we been waking up to music from our CD collection.

This morning it's Mozart's Requiem. My what passion. It gives one a phenomenal 'lift'.

Can one dance to this? Not sure. I'm prancing about - is that significant?

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Artic 30 are free

This means a lot to me.

The question for me is would they do it again. I sincerely hope so otherwise Russia would feel that they have won. We need people like Greenpeace who will put their lives on the line risk severe pain from persecution. It's a hell of an ask but this is my philosophy. I decided to put my life on the line for what I believe in. It's true that it puts my friends underpressure because in some cases they become vulnerable and I choose to take this under consideration. Risking your life for what you believe is very liberating and makes you ask some very important questions about what life is all about. I believe we need a lot more people who feel this way and have experienced the benefits to our inner peace/confidence when we have got to this point. It leads us to choose very carefully what we take on: however many situations in practice aren't so terrifying as they seem when you've been through them. Our society, I believe, is riddled with fear. When you risk your life, your fear serves a purpose it achieves a result - lots and lots of results - it's a great feeling. Try it in a very small way next time there's an opportunity. The least threatening and the wisest is to simply ask a question. "Excuse me do you mind telling me why you've chosen to park on that double yellow line?" The worst you'll get is "Fuck off and mind your own business" and then they move. People don't like being put on the spot. Once you done this a few times you are able to carry this kind of thing off in a relaxed way, which is very important. Being in the presence of ex policeman and friendly Phil Hopwood taught me a lot about quiet confident action. I love his motto "Just soldiering on". One of the things this great guy left behind when he died.


Hi Geoff,

They’re free! Just moments ago, Arctic 30 activist Dima Litvinov got on a train home to Sweden.



Exactly 100 days since they first took peaceful action at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig, the first of the Arctic 30 is leaving Russia. The others will follow in the coming days.

It’s thanks to you they are free. After hearing the news he would be going home soon, freelance journalist Kieron Bryan said “People in this country don’t get bail, it doesn’t happen. When we got bail, that’s because of the pressure put on the Russian government by everyone supporting us. If it wasn’t for that, I know I’d have spent Christmas Day in prison.”

Every email, every vigil, every protest during the last three months has kept the eyes of the world on Russia. Millions of us around the world joined together to free the Arctic 30 and protect the Arctic. While the injustice of the last three months is now over, the enormous threat to the Arctic remains.

The Arctic 30 sailed north to bear witness to a profound environmental threat, they protested peacefully at that oil platform because they knew an Arctic oil spill can’t be cleaned up, and they know the danger posed to the Arctic by climate change. They took part in civil disobedience because sometimes actually doing something - taking a stand - is the only course of action open.

Today we celebrate the freedom of the Arctic 30, tomorrow the fight to save the Arctic goes up a gear. As the Arctic 30 received amnesty, Gazprom began production of the first oil from beneath the icy Arctic seas - and with Shell poised to return to the Alaskan Arctic next year, the threat to this beautiful and fragile region has never been greater.

But with millions of us standing together, the movement to protect it has never been stronger.

While in Russia Arctic 30 activist Camila Speziale said: “Am I ready to continue fighting for my beliefs? Of course I am.”

They're ready. Are you?

Ben Ayliffe
Head of the Arctic Campaign

PS Shell have a new CEO - Ben van Beurden - starting in January. Tell him to start his new job and the new year by ditching Arctic drilling and ending their deal with Gazprom.

We don't accept any money from companies or governments so we can be independent and challenge anyone who threatens the planet or peace. To help us keep fighting climate change, defending our oceans and protecting ancient forests, you can make a regular donation by direct debit. Thank you!

If you no longer want to be in the loop with the latest news from these emails, we'll be sad, but you can unsubscribe here.

Greenpeace Ltd, Canonbury Villas, London N1 2PN (registered in London no 1314381, VAT registration no 625951426)

This email was sent to: gd@tygh.co.uk

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Calling all energetic creative people

Great and encouraging front page article in the Westmorland Gazette today:

Town to get new 'culture hub', the town is Kendal

For for information , read here

What has Kendal got that we haven't?

Do we need to do some serious thinking?

Don't we have all the vital ingredients but seem to miss that vital 'spark'?

Look at these ingredients:

Ford Park

The Coro

The Country Market at 9:15 am, Thursdays in the Coro, due to resume on Feb 13th 

The Lantern House

Many pubs like the Stan Laurel

The Lantern Festival

Chris Bramall - known all over Europe for the highest quality sculptural and architectural metalwork.

The Ulverston Brewery

The Dickensian Festival, The Flag Festival, and all the other little festivals

Pottery on The Railings

Natterjacks

Unique image

Appleseeds

Mill Dam Park

Poppies Cafe

Roots and Shoots

And much much much more

In short a town bursting with creative energy - yet . . . . . . All that energy doesn't seem to gel together. Are we not good at working together?

Even Grange is forging ahead

Today's sunrise

"My that was worth getting up for".

Along with Porridge with Mozart's Quintet and coffee.

.

Moving to music is a goer !

Starting the first Monday of the new year : 6th January 2014.



You'll notice that we also have a blog which will continue to provide added information

Should you want to join us on our last session this year at 12:00 on Monday 30th January same place, you're welcome.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A great family photo


It's a beautiful day

The sun is out in full and we're meeting up with friends (all welcome!) at between 10 and 11:30 with their dogs in Ford Park for Mulled Wine. It's another little tradition we keep: this is our sixth time!

The dogs have a great time and so do we watching them.




Today was a great success with in the region of forty people dropping in over the 90 minutes. One has been to every one of the six events and ten to the last three. Thanks to Roger and Maureen, we were kept well supplied with mulled wine until the very last minute. The dogs had a ball and provided much appreciated entertainment.
One comment - we need to advertise this event more!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I love moving around town at this time.

Isn't it great how friendly everyone you meet is. It gives me a warm 'glow' inside. All my potential adversaries and those that are just acquaintencies move up a gear in levels of friendliness.

I have the feeling we could all get on so well together in the future.

As so we all can, if we keep up this level of being positive to each other. Why can't the "season of goodwill" go on for ever. Can't we disagree and still remain friends. I've been amazed in the past that a very small misunderstanding or criticism (not a blazing row) seems to flip an enormous switch - the size used to switch off the power to the whole of London - and warm friends become "not talking to you or giving you eye contact"people.

Someone who didn't even give me eye contact a fortnight  never mind "boo" because I made a critical comment is back to close best buddies - one of the friendly group. Whoopee. Mind you I've been working hard on the friendly bit with greetings and talking to them whenever possible.

Can't we stretch out this "season of goodwill" for a bit - say till next December.

What we could do is, be really friendly to everyone no matter who they are. It takes a while but in the mean time still give them a blast of criticism when we feel the need. Some people, I find, slowly learn that we can both like and dislike people at the same time. Even people like Peter Winston who rarely gives me eye contact - even at Christmas - is a great guy for getting things done - a quality I greatly admire. He never-the-less raises my hackles when he starts ordering people around.

So can't we, including me, start being more positive to each other. We've an amazing potential for achievement here in Ulverston. We've certainly got some challenges ahead in the new year - it could be depressing to list them. On the positive side I've hearing a rallying cry from some to work together and turn a season of goodwill into some very concrete new achievements that we will all enjoy having been part of. Tough challenges can be great fun to take part in - especially when we look back and think "My didn't we do well".

2014 is going to be the year when we all feel good for being part of such a friendly, determined, hardworking, never-say-no, town. Avril Chalmers/Crutchley with her charity Crisis Support shop has shown us how (ably assisted by many in the town). Step forward Ulverston's very own new "Joan of Arc" - Male of Female to have vision and convince us all to to follow. Or are we ingrained sceptics and will only want to sit and watch?

Thank you Mr Raymond

Prompt action following an inspection by Nick Raymond Head of Highways on Saturday morning, the work is done by 9:30am on Monday morning.



We have now received the following from Andrew Moss in response to our appreciative email to Nick Raymond:

Geoff,

thank you for your comments I will ensure Nick is fully aware
though I see you have copied him in in any case.   I'm glad we have been
able to help and look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Merry Christmas

Regards

Andrew



To which this was replied:





 Nick and Andrew

Thanks,

Looking forward to working with you in the New Year as well.

I do realise that it's very easy for us to criticise. However we live at a time when good honest communication is in very short supply. Developing trust requires a high level of interaction that may not be possible. I'm willing to try.

Geoff

Sunday, 22 December 2013

It's tradition!

Decorating our Christmas tree.

It started in 2010 with this:



Last Friday night we were up to tricks again!

Why my blog keeps me "young" and fun loving.

It's writing emails like the following to Highway Men and dealing with their reaction:

Mr Raymond,

Unless there is a flurry of activity before your stated "Close of Play" - it is now 13:30 - I fear your reputation may be in tatters. What has been done could be described as "a lick and promise".

The truth will be apparent in a few hours time when we expect some moderate rain in the late afternoon/early evening. Furthermore there's also a pool of mud awaiting to be washed down onto Stanley Street.

But then there are several hours before "the close of Play".

Youtube will most likely reflect the truth later this evening!

Best wishes,

Geoff Dellow

Visit again tomorrow for the reaction I got from Mr Raymond when he came (in his own time on a Saturday morning) to check the work on the Union Lane drains and give his reaction!

It's fun to look back to see what I was saying about our Highwaymen five years ago: have  a look at this . And my have I some tales to tell since then!

A great performance from the 'Town Brass'

They kicked off at 11:30 and played through till 12:30 yesterday.

The sound and execution were superb.

There was a great sense of fun, enthusiasm and hilarity when appropriate. Then again with more thoughtful pieces, the depth of the harmonies was emotionally stirring.

The beautiful blend of well played brass instruments filled the Market Square and was much appreciated by the bystanders.

Thank you!

Sadly I failed to have my camera with me but here's a (rather shaky) video I made five years ago which puts over the great tradition there is in the town.


Friday, 20 December 2013

A response from Nick Raymond, our local head of Highways

Mr Dellow

Further to Andrew Moss’s earlier email, I can confirm that colleagues have been to site and have agreed the following course of action with Persimmon Homes.

The developer will lower the ironwork to the 3 no. gullies - one in the estate entrance and two on Union Lane itself, adjacent to the development, by close of play tomorrow (Friday). This will remove the risk of water continuing to flow into Stanley Street during the Christmas break and will allow the developer time to prepare before undertaking the surfacing work early in the New Year.

The developer had originally planned to top surface Union Lane three weeks ago but held off as they were waiting for a BT connection before doing the work. Their view was that it wouldn't have been well received locally if they had surfaced, only for BT to then come to site to break into it with a trench for the service connection.

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

Regards


Nick Raymond
Highways and Transport Manager – South

Cumbria County Council – Cumbria Highways
County Offices, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4RQ
Tel: 01539 713069
Mobile: 07825 103594

* * *

The response of Mr Raymond has been much appreciated and some work has indeed been done. However heavy rain in daylight will demonstrate the effectiveness (or not) of this.  The most upsetting thing is the experience of having our phone calls requesting information from both the contact numbers provided by Persimmons : the local site office and the  project manager, Geoff Brown, at Lancaster being ignored. Now with the intervention of the Highways Department we have the reassurance of someone who will intercede on our behalf and achieve a response of some kind.

It's now nearly 21:00 on Friday. What do I do to amuse myself : take a stroll in the rain to gaze intently at . . . drains. (Get a life someone will comment!) Of three in Union Lane two are still at their original height and one at the top has been lowered. None are working 'properly' in that only about half of the water (highly technical measurement) approaching any of them is 'caught'. The second one down has had a little dam added to a drain at the original unaltered height and again catches half. The bottom one continues to catch none. With this gentle rain, the water is less 'muddy'.

Here I pass the job over to Highways to decide when is a drain not a drain. We'll have another look under heavy rain conditions in daylight and you : experts and the uninitiated can make your own judgements by examining the latest Youtube production. Communication by Youtube is becoming a fun way of informing the world what is happening. It doesn't require immotive commentary and can be left to 'state the facts'. What do you think. How are we all doing?

 * * *

To round off the situation over the weekend : it was very impressive that Mr Nick Raymond gave up his Saturday morning to come and check the drain situation first hand. We had an amicable chat and appeared to be in full agreement so that further work on a least one drain at the bottom was to be required ASAP. This could even mean before Monday. A summary of this conversation will be posted here on Monday. Meanwhile there are other more enjoyable things to think and write about.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Muddy water from Persimmons Estate heads for King Street

Heavy rain so not only do our unfinished drains not perform but the main street gutters and drains can't cope with the exess flow of muddy rain water so that it flows over them so that it heads for King Street.
This video though dark demonstrates the problem. We have enquired from Head of Cumbria Highways as by now he should have obtained and answer from Persimmons what are responsible.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wow, wow, wow, and again w o O W

This IS

Good news



Twelve minutes of pure joy !

Doom and gloom in our media?

Is this not having a depressing effect on us all?

There must be lots of positive stories to focus on?

Isn't there are Good News paper? I get the impression there is somewhere.

The good news for me today is that two friends are helping me move a trailer load of well rotted manure to my allotment - in spite of the rain.

Someone yesterday shifted a heavy paving slab into the house from the car - with a smile on his face!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Moving to Music

These workshops started three weeks ago and are continuing every Monday at 12:00 at The Bistro, Ford Park at the present.
People doing them are finding them exhilerating because they are totally in charge. Music is such a powerful way of communicating with our emotions with release being enjoyed through movement with plenty of space.  Anyone interested?

It's going to be a beautiful day

After really depressing day yesterday it's time to celebrate.

The Sun is out and I intend to make the most of it.



What else is there to celebrate?  :

1. Our Head of Cumbria County Highways, Andrew Moss has replied and is  going to " take up the matter of the unfinished road surface on Union Lane with the developer".

2.This beautiful carol has registered with me for the first time. My what a beauty:





3. A friend of mine sent someone packing who was trying to swindle money out of him with the latest brazen scam : A phone call from "George from Microsoft" who wanted to help him "fix his computer" (plant a bug and then hold him to ransom). He replied that he hadn't got a computer. The line went dead! Let's catch this bastard!

4. James Airey, Helen Irving, Janet Jenkinson and other local councillors are going to vote against the adoption of the Land reallocation plan at SLDC later today.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Andrew Moss last night

I had one of those nod  and wink sliding conversations with Andrew Moss  last night. I came to the conclusion that he was unhappy with something written on my blog. He referred to the blog specifically. He suggested - without spelling it out that if I removed comments on my blog he would be a lot more helpful in doing surveys of traffic counts in this area of town. I hadn't realised that there was adverse comment here so I've just used Google to check it out and yes here it is, posted by someone anonymously as a comment in a posting in 2010 see http://geoffdellow.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/cumbria-countys-promise-of-repairs-of.html something I hadn't taken in at the time.

So could this be the reason that I feel uncomfortable about the honesty of this Head of Highways. From his conversation last night, I can only assume that he could have something to hide and wishes to do a deal - remove said material and he'll be more helpful. Is this really what he was trying to tell me? Surely not!

The land allocation meeting held last night

Was I reassured?

No

This response has to be seen as totally subjective. It can only state opinions and not facts. However the SLDC planning team of three were totally unconvincing. Dan, the person doing their presentation, together with Alistair McNeill the person who had done the bulk of the work became, as a very personal view, increasingly uneasy as they were unable to reassure the public present that the process within SLDC was honest. John Lawrence, who in my opinion is a person who wants to be given the truth and acknowledges hearing it when given it, kept repeating the same question at intervals. Why, after a period of over three years of consultation with the public, why at the last moment was this extra land slipped in for land allocation? A reason that satisfied him or the rest of us, was never given. The SLDC team seemed to just shuffle nervously. Lynda White drew attention to a very suspect report by Coates that promoted the concept of building on the land in question and several other discrepancies all of which where not answered satisfactorily in my view.

It became apparent that the granting of planning permission for the existing Hoad View development had depended  the very important question of satisfactory access and hence on the views of the Highways Department as they had to be regarded as experts. The same would happen again with a similar application for the land above, the land in question. The planners could hold the view that access was unsuitable but if Highways stated there was no problem then it became extremely difficult to argue against them. Thus the credibility of the people in charge of Highways was crucial. Andrew Moss spoke for the Highways and in my opinion ( which is only an opinion) he is very untrustworthy. He was asked to take on  a simple undertaking - to conduct a reliable/independent traffic survey in the next six months for two locations : the junction of Union Lane/ Stanley Street and the junction Mill St/Soutergate/Church Walk/Fountain Street. He neither agreed or refused: he remained silent.

Such a survey will be essential if the question of access is to be decided reliably should a planning application be presented for building on the land in question.

The only person that can represent us and call into question  Andrew Moss' credibility is our County Councillor James Airey, but will he do this? This requires a lot of courage and determination.

As stated at the meeting, I have in this particular case, lost my faith in the political process to arrive at an honest answer. One that appears to me to satisfy the stated rules.

Andrew Moss wanted us to believe that because we had been heard at this meeting, our views would be " heard" and by inference acted on. Could it not be that what has happened, so often, before that our views will in fact be totally ignored and we will all be left extremely frustrated and angry with no ground given.

It is essential for the future of democracy that the majority believe in it. The alternative is ugly and very terrible anarchy. Were there any who left the meeting last night that didn't share considerable doubts in the trustworthiness of our 'civil servants'  and the ability of our elected representatives to govern them?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Friends of the Coro

An impressive group of people sat at the high table - all men. The two people that I really wanted to hear from weren't there but sitting at the side or the back. They were women :wouldn't it be great to hear more from Cllr Pat  Jones who impressed me with her remark about flooding -"Let's have less talking and more of shifting sand bags" (my version). Then there was the amazing Anita the brewery maid with a very clear concept of making a business work. Sadly they said nothing.

To be fair this was not meant as an ideas meeting but rather to raise the membership and concept of this group. Like all things to do with official bodies it takes forever (when viewed by someone who is used to getting something done next day - have and idea, test it out, put it into practice - how else do small businessmen survive!). It looked like about fifteen people sat out there in front - let's say ten and they wanted four hundred members. Then, couldn't they each have found ten people from each of their contacts at £10 per person - done in a month - and they'd be well on the way to 10 x 10x 10 = £1,000 pounds from 100 members. No things don't work like that here in Ulverston. They have to all come equipped with fancy little 'necklaces' to show that they were 'special'. Then their website doesn't work . . .

When one suggests an idea one gets a typical response "You can't do this for this reason or that" Rather than that's an interesting idea: let's find out how we could make this work - perhaps not like this but slightly differently. How many of these people have actually earnt their living with their ideas which promotes a totally different approach. One never rejects anything until it really looks a no hoper and then only to put it at the back - just in case. Could it be that they are regular users - which doesn't mean that they are ideas people.

Once again Peter Winston has found his way in! Hasn't this guy already too many things to do? Can't we have someone with a real spark of excitement in his thinking. Someone with the combined policies of Gavin Knott and someone else with a track record of coming up with creative money making ideas - there must be someone somewhere.

Furthermore the website isn't functioning yet even though there was an article with it's address on in the West Gaz.

Two ideas might be worth a note amongst many:

1. Adjusting the pricing structure of the letting of the hall in order to ensure 85% letting of the facilities. Some people (maybe young people) might be able to use the facilities for no more than the cost of maintenance - possibly having to clean the Hall themselves. Sadly there was a self-satisfied answer of 60% lets - better than elsewhere - but a long long way of 85%. The thinking here is a theory that the more people that hire the hall , the more that will think of letting it again - maybe at a greater cost and profit to the Coro

2. Along the same lines -  the more people that use the place , the more that will hire it. So a really attractive cafe set up for most of the hours of the day is a possible idea. One that has a really community involvement with lots of subsidiary activities - The Forum in Barrow has something similar though it's missing the feel of real community.  Maybe in the long term the cafe could dub as a Library/ Tourist Information Centre/ cafe with live music and art displays - something with a real buzz/ and then of course the Halls , meeting rooms etc - and even something more - are there any basements? Can tables put outside on the pavement. Someone I talked to suggested using the space on the flat roof on both sides of the hall.

I'm sure there will be more good ideas but they need hours and hours of careful on the spot thinking until an ideas arrives - very hard work!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

This cheered me up!

How can this miserable message cheer me up?

I find that if I'm feeling low, reading about someone far worse off makes you sit up a take stock of just how fortuneate we are.

I suspect there are are many who have felt as low as this person describes. It a discription of someone feels no hope. A description of of someone who was broken two years ago. Apparently no longer.

It's a sad reflection of the world, here in the UK, that some people live in. My situation goes absolutely nowhere near. As a result I feel really good. Very thankful that I'm not or ever have been in a similar situation.



Geoff -

On Christmas Day 2011, I sat on my sofa by myself in a freezing cold flat with no television, no presents, no food in the fridge. I was unemployed, broke, and broken. I hadn't bought a single present for my one-year-old son, and instead let him go to his father’s, knowing I could not give him a Christmas myself.

This year, I’m lucky that things are different for me. But I know thousands of people will have a hungry Christmas with empty cupboards and no presents. More than 60,000 people, three-times more than last year, will visit a foodbank for free groceries because they can't afford to feed themselves.

I don’t think this is acceptable in the seventh richest country in the world. That’s why I’ve started a petition calling for Parliament to debate the causes of UK hunger -- and to ask why, in modern Britain, foodbank use is escalating so rapidly. Please join me and sign the petition here.

I was referred to my local foodbank for help by a Sure Start children's centre, after staff noticed that my son and I always had seconds and thirds of the free lunch they provided.

This Christmas, my son and I will have food on the table. But thousands won’t. It’s not just the festive season -- 350,000 people received three-days emergency food from foodbanks between April and September this year.

Please sign my petition calling for a parliamentary debate. We need to stop turning a blind eye and come together to make politicians confront what is happening.

In the words of Desmond Tutu: "There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in."

Thank you,
Jack

Sign my Petition

Wikipedia or as I call it in a search 'Wiki"

I've just donated to this organisation because I use it so often - on average about three times a week - it could be more. I love the concept behind it  - it's information that we all can help create. There are no bans, I believe, hence it's the next thing to unbiased information . Why? Because people with different biases get to disagree. The 'truth' is I assume close by!

As a source of information it is for me second to none.

I've just watched this video about the Wiki organisation and am now even more impressed.

Well worth a watch!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:The_Impact_Of_Wikipedia.webm

How about giving the Wiki team a Christmas present! Go to their site and read the top message

Fun

This is the funiest thing I've seen recently.



I'm tempted to call it "lovely english humour" but I suspect it might be more american. Isn't english humour 'drier'?

Friday, 29 November 2013

Bullying of all kinds

Thursday's Gazette featured the case of the bullying of a ginger head on it's front page.

It suggested the need to "Make ginger prejudice a hate crime".

This is a naive approach.

My experience as a form tutor in a secondary school suggests that this issue is being tacked back-to-front. Bullying goes on over every conceivable issue. Furthermore the way to tackle it, in my experience, is not to 'stamp it out'  or to propose new rules but to support the potential victims so that they can deal with it, with our support.

In a school, if you have good form tutors who know their kids well, they can spot bullying happening by seeing the change in behaviour of the potential victims. We used to have a brief but adequate twenty to thirty minute period at the beginning of each day. This was a time for 'registration', form notices, and general communications looking after the needs of the 30 students in your care. We were fortunate to have the same form of kids through the whole five years of their secondary studies. We got to know our students very well. A quick visual check of every person in your form every morning quickly showed up anyone who was behaving slightly differently to 'normal'.

How bullying is dealt with is extremely important. There is the 'stamp it out' syndrome. Some teachers dealt with bullying by going flat out to 'knock hell out of the bully'. "I made her cry" one teachers said, feeling very good about herself. For me this was a disaster. The bully would be even more angry and determined to bully others.

The result of coming down hard on the bully is that victims are afraid to come to the teacher with their problem - they will catch it even more strongly from the bully for being a 'tell-tale'. No, the way to deal with bullies is to support the victims and help them stand up for themselves.

Teachers can support their students in a number of ways.

First, one has to gain the trust of the victims that they are not going to get even more bullying if they report bullying to the teacher. What works is for the teacher in the first place to notice it going on. Approaching  the victim discretely, getting them to admit that they were being bullied which they will so if they can trust the teacher.  The teacher could then offer support and build a relationship where the victim had a friend to help them at all times. The next stage was to get the victim to agree to face the bully in private with the teacher as mediator.

This was done at an appropriate time which the rest of the class where unaware, maybe in the lunch break, and getting both victim and bully to face each other across a small table with me, the teacher at the side. Persuading the two to do this wasn't difficult if the whole concept was communication and not punishment. Bullies from my own form were quite willing, they knew they wouldn't get into deep trouble. The most difficult was to get the victim to face the bully. Having got both students to face each other, the victim was encouraged to tell the bully, preferably looking straight at them, how it felt to be be bullied. Getting this far was a major achievement.

The next was to ask the bully why they did it . "Oh it was only a bit of fun" they might reply. Then then they were asked if they had advice to give the victim. This novel approach worked wonders. At no point was the bully told off. They knew themselves it was wrong and their explanation didn't hold water. The bully then was asked to look after the interests of the victim in future.

The main achievement was that the bullying was out in the open: both victim and bully knew that a teacher knew it was going on and disapproved without condemnation having taken place.

Second the victim was urged to take action in class in my lessons if experienced any bullying. The could say in a clear voice that the teacher could hear, for instance: "Stop calling me a Ginger, I don't like it" "No you can't borrow my rubber". But never "Sir, sir, he's bullying me".

Always the victim must be encouraged to stand up for themselves and then find that it works.

If victims are suffering from bullying in any environment, schools especially but Facebook, email etc the most important thing is for the victims to be given the courage to deal with it themselves. Teachers may need to have this pointed out - good none judgemental support is so important.

Clever Scams

I've received this very similar type of scam twice now:

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, I and my family presently on a short trip to Rome, Italy. Unfortunately, I was robbed in the hotel I booked, all my valuables which includes cash, cell phones were stolen during the attack but luckily I still have my passport with me.

I've been to the Embassy and the Police here but they are not taking the matter seriously. Please, I really need your financial assistance now because things are really getting tough on me here. Our flight leaves in few hours from now but we're having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills. Please, let me know if you can help us out?

I'll really appreciate your prompt response.


Signed by someone you know

Close examination reveals that though the email address from the person allegedly sending the emailis accurate the reply email is similar but different.

Please ignore and inform the unfortunate person involved that their address book as been raided.

Yes this scam is becomming a bit too popular - Many of my contacts have the same story - the exact wording!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Deep concerns about the reductions in the Fire Service to the Furness Area

Ian of the Ulverston Station puts his job on the line in order to speak out about the proposed cuts.

Barrow, Dalton, Grange and Ulverston will be affected, as I understand it, Engines will have to travel to Barrow from Ulverston in the new proposals adding 20 minutes to there arrival time.

Here Ian warns us of the proposed cuts that will make six of the present part time crew redundant at Ulverston and the knock on effect to the surrounding area.

Many in Ulverston know of all the extra work by our team of part time Fire Fighters. Not only do they carry out their valuable work doing their jobs but they also visit schools to inform children and hence the public about their service. As a result of work like this spanning decades we have an excellent relationship between the crew and the public.

There is a justifiable fear that this service will be put at risk when some of us worry that an increase in disquiet in our communities will result from the economic problems and frustration more and more of us face. There are perhaps some services that should not be cut until the disquiet in the country has settled rather than before a possible eruption that could occur in the near future.

Should we perhaps be looking to see whether in some organisations there is too much money spent on management and too little on selfless workers on the 'firing line'.

Please write to your councillor to show your concern. Ian and his team together with local residents are visiting the Ulverston Town Council this next Monday Dec 2nd at 7 pm to make their point in the 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting reserved for the public to communicate with the councillors. You'll find your councillor here If in doubt which one to choose Cllr John Clough (Lab) and Cllr Pat Jones (Con) have already shown interest and concern. Cllr Mark Wilson has the advantage that he can communicate well with both the District and in particular the County Council being a councillor in each branch of the local government. See Cumbria County Councils involvement at here.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Food waste lunacy

At a time when we are operating a food bank in Ulverston, there is food being thrown away on a substantial basis. Isn't this something the councillor whose ward is most affected, Mark Wilson, could step in and help?

Anyone in the business will know that those selling perishable goods such as bread and vegetables will know that if the goods in question aren't sold by Saturday afternoon then they are thrown away. Thus all bread not sold when the french bread stall packs up on the Saturday market is taken home to be dumped. This may well be true at other bread shops across town. Yesterdays bread at the Coop, Tesco and Booths is probably thrown away to.

Even more serious in terms of waste is the policy to throw away all products at Booths that have past their sell buy date. Friends have been told that they cannot purchase or be given away these products for Health and Safety reasons. Does this policy not apply to the Coop and Tesco? Further afield does it not happen at Barrow and other towns?

At a time when people are unable to scrape the money to buy food isn't there something dramatically wrong.

I understand that another disappointing factor is that even if the bread from the bread stall was given away free at 3.00pm on Saturday it could not be available to the food bank because it is closed over the week end.

Come on Mark Wilson, can't you and our MP John Woodcock step in and help solve this ridiculous situation. I trust that Mark Wilson is preventing this happening at the Coop as he is on their board of trustees.

Is one solution for those with food, to sell it at a knock down price to the food banks on the last day of the sell by date? Similarly bakers and veg stall to offer their food to the needy rather than throw it away?

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Increase that feel good factor

So much is happening here in Ulverston that for me is doom and gloom that it's time to stop trying to lead campaigning but rather support others that are showing intitiative. At the same time we all need to remain positive and cheerful while so many people seem to want to be negative and struggling to cope with the complexities of modern life.

For those that feel the same way, it makes sense to some to go out and enjoy ourselves.

Does this phrase make sense :

Isaiah 22:13 i "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Not for me!

I prefer to find something to do that is positive, the above is for those that have given up completely! Focussing on playing my clarinet is my choice rather than eating and drinking!

It's lovely to find that the more I play at home accompanying other music, the better I get.  I can hit the right notes more and more ( I choose to play by ear) so tunes I've never played before are becoming easier to play first time. Isn't it fascinating how the brain adapts to learning new things when put to work! It's great having something where there is so much ahead still to learn. Lots of opportunities to improve week by week. This is indeed encouraging - a great contrast to the world outside which appears to be steadily going downhill.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote the opening lines of a poem called Solitude
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
After a moving experience. Again she she wrote:

It is easy enough to be pleasant,
 When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong
This makes more sense to me.

So clarinet and a number of other personal projects, Music and Movement being one of them, are now my priorities.

Colin, of the Artic 30 remains in cold prison in St Petersberg

Colin remains in prison despite the rest having been released on bail.

The Artic 30 were attempting to stop drilling in the artic by Russia. Something that needs to be done to halt the use of fuel which will increase Global warming. Without this the human race is doomed as the world becomes increasingly hostile to humans.

Here's a video of him appearing in court in Russia:




If you wish to help, I suggest you sign the petition that seeks to put pressure on Australia to do more to achieve his release:

sign here : http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/getinvolved/Free-Colin/

Here's another article as to a ruling by judges as to the illegality of the detention of the Artic 30

Monday, 18 November 2013

The future of Ulverston

I'd like to repeat my concerns about Persimmons building so many houses here in Ulverston.

Building new houses, in my view, poses a real threat to the future of Ulverston; far more so than the issue of a supermarket.

The concern is the type of houses that are built. It is inevitable that one type of house, in very broad terms, will attract a certain type of person. Ask yourselves, would you buy one of the Persimmons houses? Yes they satisfy the need for houses built to the minimum cost.

The probability is that Persimmons will be building all the new houses in Ulverston the future and that these will appeal to the naive. For example building three detached houses just one metre from each other, so that they can be called 'totally detached', as is being done here, leads to greater heat loss and more outside walls needing maintenance. A far superior design is terraced house with good insulation both heat and sound as has been built at the development that a friend has just moved to, at Halton just outside Lancaster. Please see http://www.lancastercohousing.org.uk/ to see what a difference well designed houses can look like.


If these type of houses were built here, you would attract a very different kind of person  to live in them.

The Persimmons houses are built to the absolute minimum building standards including poor heat insulation . The excuse if that they are more affordable. This makes a mockery of concerns about Global warming and energy efficiency. I understand that Scotland has set much higher minimum standards for Newbuild.

Another concern is that the purchasers are being persuaded to take on enormous mortgages which are just and so handleable as long as interest rates are low. What will happen if they rise? Will not a lot of people just walk away from negative equity leaving behind, depression and social unrest with empty houses. Will this country end up with lots of empty houses as has happened in Ireland?

Thirdly Ulverston needs to be able to make sure that small well designed flats are built for two groups of people: young single people and old people. Preferably new estates should cater for a mix of accommodation for all types of people rather than ghettos of a certain type of person as we have in Ulverston. Surely it is better socially and from a mental health point of view that people are all mixed together and housing, for instance, for old people is NOT all together. Whilst, young people live in other parts of townin small badly designed rented bedsits.

Lastly, great attention needs to be given to the road structure that provides access to new housing - in the particular case of Union Lane with the Hoad View development, we have the very poorly designed Mill Street and the junction at the bottom of Soutergate that will be used by those living in the new housing near here. This in addition to the blind corner at the junction of Union Lane and Stanley Street. Our roads are already under pressure. (Furthermore parking control on our streets is out of control because there are only four wardens for the whole of the SLDC area, now that it has been transferred to Cumbria County.)

Basically Ulverston people need to remain in firm control of how the town develops. At present one feels that big business has taken over because there is a reluctance / even fear of councillors taking planning decisions that will be challenged at a higher court because the local government have no funds for lawyers. This is what happened over the Hoad View decision when councillors on the planning committee explained to me that they felt they had no choice but to give in and vote contrary to their own judgement.

The way things are going I believe the people coming to live in the new housing are the type that will want the lowest possible price for commodities which plays straight into the hands of the large supermarket giants. The nature of our shopping environment will be under threat.

As Doris Lessing, who has just died, points out - our society is controlled by very carefully designed brainwashing techniques. Furthermore those that think a little 'out of the box' are in great danger of being targeted by the majority of the population because they are different as has already happened to some KUS supporters.

Disturbing thoughts for those that stop and reflect!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

£3,300 already for the judicial review fighting fund

Keep track of this brave endeavour promoted by the people of Ulverston to make sure our planning department is to be trusted. Go to this web site to find out the latest.

It's important for all of us that we can trust our local government. If we can't do this then democracy is dead and the alternative is chaos. For me spending money on this - no matter what your views - is essential to the future of the town.

Here's a wise view from someone who is more objective than most:

"Finally, we have just made a donation to KUS who need to raise funds for the legal challenge to the Brewery Site development.  Unfortunately, due to where two of the councillors live some residents say "let them pay the legal costs" but it will have a huge impact on all our lives so personally I do think it is justified that they seek help.  No doubt some people will wait until it is built and then moan like hell."

It's important from all of us that personalities are kept out of it. There are too many people around who pick on any excuse they can to do nothing.

This issue is really essential if Ulverston is to remain a vibrant self confident town. A confidence that is being slowly whittled away by others and a lack of people who believe in the town.

At the moment we're heading to become a suburb of Milton Keynes with miles and miles of mindless Persimmons country. A town left with no character of its own.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Of even greater concern

Time and time again recently but particularly today as I talk with people I respect, I find that they really believe that local government both at district and county level are corrupt and that decisions are being made that are weighted with cash incentives provided by big businesses like the new builders Persimmons. They arrive at this conclusion as a result of the announcement by SLDC regarding the Land Allocation announced yesterday.

Today was market day and I spent the whole time between 10:30 and 4:00 in Ulverston Market Square: first playing chess and then after a short break playing my clarinet - just to keep my hand in. While there I take every opportunity possible to chat with people. Some of them are very wise people who stand back from immediate happening  and reflect about general trends. Some are the kind of people, with a wide experience of life, who come up with well considered views. They voice the opinions stated above.

The concern being voiced is that many believe that democracy is no longer in operation. On the contrary, it is being manipulated by a few with power. I have to admit that none of my councillors, at any level can be reached to discuss what is happening.

At County level I get smooth assurances that he is taking action . To my latest very precise question for him to take action he replies "Agreed" and then does nothing. I have seen similar correspondence with someone else who was pressing for a public meeting before the Land allocation plan was approved. Our councillor agreed that this should happen - and then did nothing

My District Councillor is totally unavailable , stating that she is very 'busy'. Approaches by phone, by email and even by calls at her door get no response.

At Town Council level I made a point of attending a place in The Gill where the three councillorswhere going to be alledgedly available. I had four issuesof importance to discuss with one of them, someone with considerable influence  But when I start talking to him,  he is whisked off to talk to complete strangers who happen to be just walking past and didn't want to talk to him anyway. When I request a further meeting by email on 15th October requesting a meeting to which he replied:

Sorry, I thought we had a talk of some sort.  Sorry it was not of the requisite quality.
I suggest you stick with (another councillor) who is an excellent councillor with endless patience.  I'm afraid I am not and have not.

Cheers, Colin.

These experiences confirm to me that democracy via contact with your local councillor is a waste of time and effort. This leads to the worrying conclusion - being reached by a large number right across the UK - that democracy using one's vote is pointless. But what is the alternative - Anarchy.

Somehow we all need to take this very  seriously if we come to the conclusions above.



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

It's a frightening feeling but

I cannot avoid the belief that parts of our local government has/is tipping over the edge towards corruption both County and District Council. Here the focus is on South Lakeland District Council

For this reason I'm strongly behind the need for a judicial review of a recent planning department decision. I believe we need an incisive tool - a judge - to find out what's inside our 'can' to see what's inside it. Is it in fact filled with worms as many of the thinking and aware people in Ulverston suspect.

In this respect it's good to see an immediate response to the launch of the fighting fund which I know is now well over £2000 and ready to soar higher as it seeks to reach it's target of around £10,000. It's a massive amount of money but there are many people like me that feel that this is such an important issue that we're willing to back our thinking with hard, very precious cash. After all, what kind of society do we want to live in? One where big business makes up the rules and dramatically alters our very special town of Ulverston? Oh did I use that emotive word 'special' which many deride? Well it arrived entirely because I believe it's the right word to use.

It was because this town had unique qualities that I chose it as a place to come and live and work, now over fifty years ago. I found that Ulverston was a people centred town - one where people really mattered and were a strong driving force in what happened in the town. Now the people of the town are speaking out for what they believe in, in a way that the politicians are not and this feels consistent with my concept of what the people of Ulverston are like deep down inside.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

County Cllr James Airey. Is this the best you can do?

Copied off Twitter:

Full County Council tomorrow , daft Lib Dem motion on GM food . Notice they are saying nothing about their butchering of rural services.

Off too , giving my monthly report . Not good news County Lib Dem budget will destroy rural services and raise Council tax.

I was away at another meeting , did I miss a good show? Am told Jo was so poor it was embarrassing .

Farron brands his own Lib Dem Councillors failures in the Guardian today.

But where were all the Lib Dems at today's event? sausage making perhaps!

Tim is anti nuclear too , he just wants to cover the countryside in windmills and let the lights go out!

* * * *

If you read James Airey's tweets, it is worth asking what does Airey stand for and what is he doing to help happen. How much does he actually support his constituents?

It seems to me - on I must say a very superficial visit - that following Airey's tweets gives little info on what Airey is promoting and stands for. He appears to take the easy option of slagging off the opposition. He could perhaps learn a thing of two from Tim Farron - and he's no favorite of mine - he's not my MP.

Am I wasting my precious time even commenting. If a better person, of any political persuation, were to come forward, I'd give them my vote.

Tomorrow I'll give him something important to do for us. We'll see what he can do!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Something that is perhaps very special about Ulverston

The way we behave to each other as we negociate many of our narrow streets.

I love the way people enable each other to dip in and out of the gaps in the parking as we travel along the many roads that aren't wide enough for travel in two directions. If the Highways Department started to tell us that we must do it - it wouldn't work. But because we are the ones that make up the rules and are considerate of each other, it does. We all seem to treat each other as potential friends helping each other through a difficult situation. I find it very unusual to find anyone that is unpleasant or unthoughtful.

Aren't Ulverston people great.

Would you get this in a town where these difficult roads didn't exist?

If I want to be cheered up, I deliberately choose a route where I know there is likely to be a lot of people who  give way to each other. I get so many waves of thank you!

It's quite amazing how this mutual understanding helps us get around at a reasonable speed with very few hold ups.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Relationships that go wrong

I've been looking back at old photographs and feeling sad about relationships that have gone wrong through misunderstandings.

Trying to communicate well with another person's brain is extremely fragile. You can have patches were there appears to be no problem and then like the flick of a switch, the relationship turns nasty over a very trivial misunderstanding. The problem can just as easily be with oneself as with the other person.

My saddest experience was when someone younger than myself imagined that I was saying that I thought she was immature. I wasn't at all in the sense that she heard it. But her belief that I was thinking this became so set in stone that there has been no shaking it since then. Correcting such a wrong impression can take many years and it will only change when there is enough further sharing of activity that the misunderstanding becomes less important and for trust to be re-established based on present experiences. For this to happen, perhaps the two people have to share time together with visual contact so that a rich environment of communication exists. Working together in a situation were the two people are trying hard and are interdependent works wonders. Perhaps this is why relationships with a couple pulling together to survive with jobs , mortgages and children cements a good relationship. Perhaps this why wartime friendships between soldiers are so strong. Or why members of a pub team develop such close bonds. Something I witness at my local.

I believe that there are people who are highly susceptible to the possibilities of misunderstandings - they could have had really bad experiences earlier on in life and quickly assume that they are now experiencing a repetition of something similar to what happened before. There are others that are unbelievably easy to get on with - one of these said to me that he  had no problem even if someone  called him immature because this is what he believed he was - immature - with loads of maturing to be done ahead of him through his life. It wasn't an insult but a statement of fact with a future full of learning experiences ahead.

There is a magic ingredient for relationships to work well : trust - or is it familiarity and the belief one has no choice than just get on with it and stop looking for problems? If we believe change from what we've got is totally impracticable then we adjust to be more accommodating and making the existing relationship work.

I have been fortunate enough to be allowed to listen in to women discussing with each other the relationships they have with their partners. They have come to the conclusion that even though there are important failings in their relationship there is also a lot of good. They have come to be comfortable with the familiar. They know were they stand. Trust has become established.

The fact that some societies have developed where couples are brought together by the choices of the couple's parents and the partnership seems to work without this magic ingredient we call "falling in love" or "being in love". Could it not be that being stuck with the partner and learning to respect them even though they are different, actually works? And that the belief one can walk away any time we feel like it - doesn't. The grass may not be growing greener the other side of the hedge.  Perhaps the magic ingredient is self-belief and willingness to fight for one's own belief in oneself leads to the strength to be able to have strong relationships with others.

Perhaps the belief that relationships are dispensable because the vast communication possibilities provided by the likes of Facebook. When a relationship goes wrong, some people may believe that ditching it is the easy option because a new one will be better. In fact making one that is having difficulties is the one to go for because this is 'real' and will be far more satisfying in the long run.

Does any of this make sense. As they say perhaps its not rocket science and obvious to most people - they see it as that  rare commodity called "Common Sense".

Here's to not letting relationships make you feel sad, but instead focussing on the ones that go well or even moderately well!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Work on the Cobbles in Market Street

The quality of the work done appears to be excellent. Utracrete was used. However a lot of tamping down went on the last Thursday - it's easy to criticise and without inside knowledge impossible to judge. For me given his past history, it will a long time to dispell the idea that Nick Raymond is a poor manager and should have been given the sack several years ago. But one doesn't do that kind of thing in County or District Council circles.

I can quite understand that my letter below is unacceptable - after all what position do I hold? However my offer to meet up with Andrew Moss the Head of Cumbria Highways shown below has not been replied to:

Andrew,

You suggest that it's time we met.

Why would that be?What purpose have you in mind?From my point of view , I would be dealing with people, (Mark , James and yourself) who are highly skilled at pretending to say something that when examined closely means nothing.

Your statement in your other email is an example

"Geoff, rest assured we will be keeping a close eye on this work."

"Keeping a close eye" tells me nothing - of course you will now that we will be watching. You avoid making the statement that you will be using Ultracrete. or maybe by now"Yes, we have used Ultracrete in this repair"

So to summarise.  We can only judge the meaning of your words from your past actions and they from our viewpoint have been unacceptable.

So are you interested in a meeting which looks to the future and where you would be willing to make firm commitments that could be verified by us?

Any other would be pointless: trust between us is none existent but such a meeting would start to establish this.

Best wishes

Geoff

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tonight's Candlelit walk





More tomorrow.- It's taking a bit more time than expected.

To keep right up to date try the Facebook page

We have two cats

They are sisters. I can imagine this happening!




However I imagine the one in the box would put up a bit more of a fight!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Refreshing to hear

A family became very angry at the way a farmer again cut his hedge, leaving thorns all along a narrow lane which they use regularly.

Most people would do nothing and just moan. They phoned the police expecting them to come and see what had happened.

They did - all the way from Windermere  - and listened carefully to their complaint and took the matter seriously.

It really is worth while following up a legitamate complaint.

We have an excellent police force in this area. They will take action if the issue warrants it.

Don't sit at home and spit fire. Do something! Much of the time it works. We really can all work together and get those that show little respect for others to change - or face the consequences.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The value of talking directly to everyone at the slightest opportunity

That for me is why the market at Ulverston is so important.

It can be very brief, always though, ready to be responsive if people want to talk further and knowing how to bring a conversation to an end when we wish.

In my view we don't have to even talk but just a genuine open smile that envites others to talk if they wish. This a great priviledge we have in Ulverston as we can make contact of some kind with a high proportion of those we come across.

Regular contact keeps relationships 'pottering' along ready to expand - or contract - when appropriate. This is for me why Ulverston is such a special size. This is also why I hate Facebook with a passion - it is so superficial and so inferior to real face to face contact.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Candlelit Walk is this next Thursday at 6:30

This starts at the beginning of the Cumbria Way in The Gill, Ulverston.

There's been a whole lot of new creativity as you'll see if you visit their Facebook page.

Here's a photo from that that page of some of the new pots that have been made.


There's a beautiful poster for this event around town - I'll try to get a copy here for tomorrow.




Concern in the Welsh Valleys over the behaviour of Persimmons

The Welsh Government appear to be standing up to Persimmons: Do we need to follow Wales and have tighter regulations in this country?

we read:

"Builders' Blackmail in the Valleys"

"ROY JONES says Persimmon's decision to stop building is a bid to undermine environmental regulations"

 

"Last week Wales's biggest house-builder Persimmon Homes announced it was pulling out of one of the poorest of the Valleys - the reason being that it does not make enough money out of houses on sites north of Pontypridd in the area known as Heads of the Valleys.

The firm, which builds about 1,000 new homes annually in Wales, blamed low sales prices and heavier regulation by the Welsh government.

Regional managing director Glyn Mabey told reporters it was not "economically viable" to build there, while acknowledging that the decision would be detrimental to the area - both through direct and indirect job losses - and would mean "a decline" in an already depressed area.

Abedare housing agent Gavin Williams argues that Persimmon came a cropper for overpricing new builds.

"They have always been known to try to get above-market values but the market has not been there. Persimmon should have done their research."

But unlike much of Britain the valleys aren't desperate for new housing.

"We're not over-reliant on new builds," Williams says. "There's plenty of Victorian and post-war houses. There's not a shortfall. If the area was demanding it it would have an effect, but there's plenty of supply for demand."
Councillor Jeffrey Elliot, whose Cwmbach ward in Aberdare is scheduled to be where the last Persimmon-built scheme takes place, is less optimistic.
"Persimmon provides jobs and they provide nice, affordable housing in this area, and a lot of people are coming into this area as a result," he says.

The announcement came without warning - worrying since the Welsh Assembly government likes to boast that it works with businesses to see what help can be given to solve problems like this.
The stark announcement smacks of an attempt at blackmail - Persimmon has blamed planning regulations and environmental requirements that it says add £3,000 to the cost of building a house compared with England.

But only last year the government eased up on a tranche of environmental regulations in order to "help out" business. What's left are basic requirements such as wall and ceiling insulation, vital for energy conservation.

The Welsh government should seek to work with house-builders, but really it ought to get on with a house-building programme directly - and get Wales out of a housing blight that has lasted decades."

Friday, 25 October 2013

Confidence, a wonderful quality

Confidence truly makes the world of a difference.

A lovely woman struggled past me on crutches as I stood in my clarinet tunnel on Thursday. She moved very slowly and apparently very tentatively.

I called out quietly "Well done. Looks like hard work." She said - "Yes. I've been moving around like this for some time. My foot's in plaster and it's difficult"

I was full of admiration that she ventured out at all. Then she told me how her therapist encouraged her by telling she would do it she had confidence. It reminded me of being told when younger - "You can take out a rowboat as long as you've taken one out before" How the hell do you get started then I thought.

You can do it if you've got confidence. So how do you cope when you haven't got it. I guess you take your life in your hands and just do it only to find that you can.

In her case succeeding was important - She had 26 steps up to her front door, then another 46 steps up to the door of her flat - what if she fell? Didn't bear thinking about. She said it as if she now had the confidence - and she hadn't had a fall - well not bad enough to stop her trying again.

This demands true courage and with home being at the top of 72 steps it was succeed or remain in her flat the rest of the year. (for ever?)

Many of us face similar situations - it's the trying that makes the difference. Courage builds on courage to try which leads to confidence and confidence again. It must start at an early age with parents that encourage us to take risks which we succeed at, without their help so that we can say "I did it on my own"

Playing my clarinet on my own, in public, has regularly scared me into a nervous wreck only now am I beginning to start to enjoy mayself and even now I find all sorts of excuses not to start playing. Now the confidence is beginning to kick in. I can look back to a few successes and this Thursday I felt absolutely rubbish before I started when a small voice said " Go on start. Do it and you'l find it's a lot better than you imagined"

This courageous woman has surely developed confidence , the hard way, she ventures out evey time knowing she's got 76 steps to deal with." Just do it" she must say to herself.

And she does.

She thanked me for our chat. Talking does help. Talking to others and then doing . That vital winning combination.

No doubt we all meet similar situations. There's a lot of courageous people around. We all benefit from a pat on the back.

This Thursday's Market

This benefitted from participation from several sources creating the feel of plenty going on. One of these was the mysterious (to me) group of older men and one woman calling themselves the Rotary campaigned around the town blowing whistles and waving models of flowers, in favour bringing an end to polio. They seemed to disappear at about mid-day. They added great 'colour' to the market.

Alongside their stall Uncle Tim is now running a regular stall every Thursday and Saturday selling practical children's toys. Being a 'local' of many years standing, he is able to engage other locals and visitors with a great sales patter and secures a good number of sales. He had a new line in Kites which requed no sticks. Hoping to test one out today. Geoff persevered with his clarinet from approx 10:30 and is becoming a regular feature every Market Day.

Monday, 21 October 2013

The 'new ' Ulverston cobbles are in safe hands

Great to find a Cumbria County Council worker that insists on doing a brilliant job.


It's incredible but an electricity cable was smashed through the water drain outside the Sun some years ago and they are now trying to reconnect the drain so that it removes the water rather than it soaking away - into the Sun's cellar.



The really bad news is that Nick Raymond is back at the helm of CCC Highways - Southern Area. He could well have been in charge when this electrical contractor did his work: Raymond, I understand, rarely checked the work contractors did. A chance for him now to show us what a good job he can do. Perhaps this will be an example of the standard of work that will be now done under his supervision: an example to live up to.

Our county councillors James Airey and Mark Wilson will hopefully keep tabs on him in the future and this job in particular.

In this particular case the cobbles will need to be set in place using Ultracrete which is a strong frost resistant cement used for relaying the cobbles all down Market Street.

My experience and that of most people I have talked to is that Raymond is very arrogant and doesn't check on the work of contactors.

Some years ago United Utilities stated that their contractors, Balfour Beatty never had their worked checked when they replaced the water main the full length of Market Street digging holes through the cobbles in about 15 places. They admitted that very shoddy work had been done when we approached them and agreed to make repairs themselves or pay CCC Highways to do the work, I got a cheque for £25.

I and the Ulverston Town Council got nowhere with CCC when we complained about the state of the cobbles - we were all ignored by Raymond whereas United Utilities immediately responded. United Utilities had a reputation to maintain. We trust that this has now changed.

How much longer ?

How much longer will we be greeted by this out of date image of our mayor?

This is the picture that you see if you go to the Ulverston Town Council website.

Despite having been pointed out to our Town Clerk, Jayne Kendal, two months ago it continues to feature. Isn't it time to keep our Town's website up to date? Come on Jayne, you're usually so efficient though websites have never been your strong point.



Our actual Mayor, Mrs Judith Pickthall and her deputy Cllr Helen Irving who will become mayor next year, were part of a great new initiative last Tuesday at 11.30 am at the Factory shop. The idea is for the mayor and the councillors from each ward to attend a location in that ward in order to get a chance for the residents to talk to them.

At the same time they sought to publicise the Super Saturday Markets on the first Saturday of each month. There have now been two: the last was a resounding success with the reduced car parks charge of only £1:40 for the day attracting a lot of visitors to the town. Mayor Pickthall was rightly very proud to point out that on both market days SLDC had collected more cash from car park fees at the reduced rate by increased usage than the much higher unbusinesslike rate which has been killing off our town's trade.


Sadly SLDC gain more cash by having a sane charging policy whilst The Town Council are having to finance the extra attractions on these days that have helped pull the crowds in. Our mayor's initiative is to be applauded.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Persimmons again

Yes I've got it in for you again.

Please don't waste your lawyer's time in writing warning letters to me. Take me straight to court: this page isn't coming down. There's a small minority that share my view and welcome somewhere that comes out and says it in 'black and white'.

In my view, you, like so many organisations in our culture including our government, are guilty of brain washing: persuading many of the public to buy something they need, like they need a whole in the head, like a noose round their neck.

Yes, in my view, first time buyers need the chance to buy a home, but not a massive mortgage that will create enormous strains to their finances, their self esteem, their relationships and their long term ability to cope. The temptation of a 5% deposit is in my view immoral. Buyers are invited to be part of what is being called the Housing Bubble. Why - because I believe it is almost certainly going to burst and prices will fall leaving buyers owing more than their precious house is worth. How will they then feel? If they need to move to another job immediately after buying :will they be able to sell? If they lose their jobs and can't pay their mortgages:what will happen?

Happy happy intelligent thoughtful couples:


Being offered houses in lovely locations

More Myths



I couldn't resist this lovely photograph of the idyllic surroundings for a couple with a dog. Is this an empty plot for your dream house?

Perhaps not:


Is there any grass left? Will there be any room left to swing the proverbial cat?

Note: Prices from -£ blank.

What price heaven?

And now other problems emerge. Will your house get build when promised? Are there enough bricks? Are there enough bricklayers? Enough skilled tradesmen to equip and finish these promissed houses? Has the government's policy plundged us into another crisis that will be painful.

Surely what is needed is gentle growth with the least stress possible. What we have here in my view is a recipe for a very painful disaster.

What do you think?

Do you think?

Are you a local politician? Are you concerned?

Cllr Colin Pickthall


Cllr Colin Pickthall our silent Labour ward councillor : What is your advice?

Will you give it here?

Surely this is a time when wise men should be voicing their opinions, not hiding in a council chamber.

Instead:

From: J PICKTHALL
Date: 15 October 2013 22:03:16 GMT+01:00
To: Geoff Dellow
Subject: Re: contact
Reply-To: J PICKTHALL

Geoff,


Sorry, I thought we had a talk of some sort.  Sorry it was not of the requisite quality.
I suggest you stick with Margaret (Hornby, our alternative councillor added by GBD), who is an excellent councillor with endless patience.  I'm afraid I am not and have not.

Cheers,

Colin.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Standing up

This is such brilliant advice. Something I shall focus on from now on.

Standing up is good for you.



I can immediately put this into practice all the two hours that I practice my clarinet. In fact I can start doing three things at the same time: playing my clarinet, standing and dancing around a little.

The next thing will be to change my position in front of this computer so that I stand.

We'll see how this goes!


Friday, 18 October 2013

It's a lot of hard work but . . . .

The enjoyment the sweet peas that were grown in the park gave to numerous people from the local area - both visitors to the park and older people that had bunches thrust in their hands at their homes throughout last year:

Encourages me to do it again.

And if it's going to happen then the seeds need to go in NOW if they're going to be ready next June!


This year, rather than grow seeds that were given my Chiltern Seeds, these are specially chosen varieties. Potentially 110 plants. If you're going to work that hard - why not chose the best?



Next job:  clean the greenhouse out to give them a disease free home for the winter.

How sad - but true


Britain's shame : a million neglected old people.



"Up to a million elderly people are being consigned to a life of loneliness and ill health because of society’s shameful failure to take responsibility for older relatives, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will say today."


"In a provocative speech, Mr Hunt will warn that too many old people are unnecessarily placed into care or left isolated in their own homes when they could be looked after by relatives. He will also call on Britain to learn from other cultures where “the social contract” between young and old is far stronger."

See the Independent

My experience here in Ulverston supports this view.

We older people end up supporting each other. Some are very wise and active people who have an extended family who provide a stimulating contact but mainly because the older ones are exceptional people: they make a deliberate effort to make contact. Others are severely neglected.

It's important for all of us to feel valued in order to preserve our self esteem. The problem is maintaining contact between people of all ages from babies to ninety year olds. My experiences are that our society is divided into bands of people of similar ages. Each band does not fully value people outside theirs.

It seems inbuilt in our culture that people outside our 'band' are not important enough to spend time with and continue to keep close contact. Geography is a real problem.

We both have real problems with the 30 to 45 bracket. We try to build relationships but as we don't have familly here in Ulverston there is no long term link with this younger age group. They seem very wrapped up in each other Facebook may be the reason. Do they really value older people? As many don't have parents nearby they appear to have very shallow relationships with this agegroup and maybe only know how to relate to them as 'interfering parents'. I was very surprised to find that in spite of activities with the them in Mill Dam Park, most of them show no inclination to talk and care for what we do. We appear to be dropped like hot cakes once our usefullness is over. We can easily be misunderstood and totally ignored and then there is surprise when we have withdrawn and gone elsewhere.

I am having to rethink where to devote my energies of contact in order to grow long term , stable relationships that will be long lasting. My safest investment is in myself : to be self supporting which is heading for loneliness or lack of contact with others.

My recommendation : make a big effort to get to know someone outside your age band. Get to know them really well - build up trust. And yes it won't be at all easy. It's worth the effort. I am aware of loads of interactions that can be mutually beneficial. Sad to ignore these.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Such an appropriate song for these hard times

So beautifully and sensitively sung.

Why do tears come to my eyes when I listen to it?
Mary Hopkin - you're brilliant.


This will be one of my favorites for the market on my clarinet.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Crap sign

Is this a crap sign?

Does it really serve any purpose other than to annoy dog owners?

Is anyone likely to take any notice?

Will it lead to any less crap being left behind?

Is this kind of thinking for the benefit  of the public or for the local authority councillors and officers?

Remark as we left the Hot Mango - Wow

The menu last night was: 

Friday Evening 11th
October 2013
(Service 5.30 - 8pm)
 
Starter
Homemade Cullen Skink
Leek and potato soup with smoked haddock
Asparagus with a soft poached egg and a balsamic reduction (v)
Baked fig with blue cheese and prosciutto
 
Main
Rib-eye steak served with tomatoes, mushrooms, onion rings
and hand-cut chips
(supplement £5.00)
Pork loin steak with baked apple and black pudding with potato croquette
and apple puree
Baked sea trout  on a bed of braised fennel and new potatoes
Slow cooked beef and black bean chilli served with boiled rice
Roasted butternut squash and red onion with balsamic dressed rocket and
feta cheese topped with toasted bread crumbs (v)
(Alternative vegetarian dishes are available upon request at the time of booking)
 
Dessert
Raspberry and white chocolate meringue roulade
Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb
Selection of cheeses served with biscuits, bread & butter
(supplement £2.50)
Fruit sorbet 3 scoops (mango, lemon or strawberry)
English Lakes ice cream 3 scoops (vanilla, chocolate, toffee or strawberry)
2 Courses £17 3 Courses £20
We don’t charge for service, although tips may be left at your discretion

We had:

 The Cullen Skink - loads of smoked haddock; followed by Slow cooked beef and black been chilli and finished with  Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb.

Baked fig with blue cheese and prosciutto followed by Baked sea trout on a bed of braised fennel and new potatoes ( the braised fennel was a great taste) and finished with
Selection of cheeses served with biscuits, bread & butter - a great selection of five cheeses.

Everything absolutely spot on except for some room for two very very minor things - if you're really picky - which we are! The soup was warm/hot rather than hot/hot. And I'd have preferred a long teaspoon for the dessert - I love eating something like this a very small taste at a time.
Well be back when we need a special meal out (must remember it's on a Friday) !


Once again Ulverston excels itself