Monday, 30 September 2013

Frost mania

Interview with Buzz Aldrin - new horizons - living on Mars.

Are we really taken in?

Why such immense technological goals?

Isn't solving Global Warming more important?

Isn't finding a way of working together a far more enduring achievement?

Isn't being sensitive to what is happening globally - floods , war, starvation - more important?

What's the solution?

Perhaps we could start smiling and talking to our neighbours: a hard enough challenge for each one of us? Something for each one of us - rather than dreaming of what 'they' could do.

Lovely weather ahead

Relatively warm sun and rain, ideal for growing stuff, enjoying the allotment and walking tall. Time to draw in all the self nourishment we can find.

The scenery will be stunning. Time for Ulverston to benefit.

Opening my paper shows quite a different story. Slam the poor and underpriviledged. Tell people they're worthless and have to follow rules. Ask any good schoolteacher how to get the kids to work hard: encouragement. Face-to-face encouragement . Every morning: smile welcome them to another day. Yes demand good behaviour - drop on them like a ton of bricks when they break rules they've agreed to. But every minute of every day watch out for opportunities to encourage. Show a close interest in every one of them: make them feel good, special - encourage , encourage, encourage

Encouragement needed

It works

 What we all need.

Walk tall, be a living example.

 Encourage, smile, congratulate, touch, talk, be straight, discipline, encourage.

It works - you know it does.

Try it! Do it!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Calling Creatives

Do you remember the poster in the window with the email address at the bottom:

Spotted in Upper Brook Street

Well I got this reply:

Hello Geoff

We are looking for local artist and designers to fill our shop as we would like to help the community, help up and coming artists and designers and also give people the chance to display their work.
There is so much artistic talent in the area and we think that a good community shop will be a great addition to the Ulverston high street.
We have had a great response from local people and we are in the process of choosing people who would be right for the shop. We hope to create a a good buzz about the shop and the people who will be adding their handmade goods.

Thanks for your interest.

Calling Creatives

To which I replied:

Wouldn't a real person prefer to deal with another  real person rather than an anonymous organisation?


Personally I am feeling the need more and more to be in touch with  face to face people. So you might ask, "Why do I write this blog" and you would have a point!

Calling any committed people

If you are another person similar to myself who believes that Ulverston is like a raft of limited buoyancy (not even a boat as they usually indicate a front and a back) slowly drifting out to sea to sink - lost for ever - then please make contact.

Let's try and find common ground and work together.

I know that there are capable people out there with proven skills and time to spare who could do a good job of building a sound boat and then others who could steer it and even more important, others who would have some idea of which direction to sail in or at least arriving at a consensus of the same.

These people have succeeded and have no more need for a challenge. However they may be waiting, looking around for a convincing direction to go in. Can't we start now by getting together to talk ideas and hopefully agree one very small action - lay one plank - to start building this alternative boat - or is it airborne? or better still jet propelled by old farts like me?

Surely this would be better than the alternative - what we have now : a town with little plausible leadership or will to lead, with the result that few are willing to follow or get involved. The sure way to the bottom.

Alternatively you may be happy and wish to do nothing more than take front seat on the quayside, watch and cheer loudly "Farewell".

Alternatively again you may have noticed there are plausible boats being built elsewhere and plan to join in - but then why not here where you have a realistic view of what is possible.

Does the niggling thought reoccur : What future for the younger generations who are bounding with innate ability and will be looking to join those with life experience . . . . .

Just noticed


That's today.

Did you notice that phrase "with live music" and again "listen to live music" - that will be me with both my clarinets.

9:30 start. Grange Prom. Better get my skates on and get ready: eat those ill-gotten gains from yesterday's market - they're ready to chomp - out of the oven - Croisants for breakfast !

Now's here's a thought

Go to the mirror and look yourself calmly in the face. Do you see a relaxed, confident, person? Or do you have some 'work ' to do?

Say slowly after me

" I am a great person.  So, take, note, everyone, (and that means me)"

Now say it slowly again,

and again,

and again,

ten times will do first time - now everytime you come in front of that mirror - repeat ten times - don't rush now - slowly - we're about to change the universe - worth every minute.

Just think or a town of people like that - everywhere you went ! Not an impossible goal is it?

Is it?




Saturday, 28 September 2013

Enjoying some bedtime reading

For pure enjoyment, I'm reading "Letters from a Stoic" by the Greek Philosopher Seneca (Spanish actually)  - a guy who tried and failed to keep the lid on Emperor Nero's eccentricities.

The feeling that comes across is of a culture with time to enjoy and reflect - so 'civilised' compared with the frenetic world we live in here in pagan Modern Britain where society has rules that are constantly broken by everyone who has a lot of money resulting a mirroring of criminality of those with very little who argue "If they can behave as criminals then why shouldn't I?"

I must say the opposite was true with lovely Ulverstonians who several times at 'my' bread stall when I offered a price reduction replied "Oh no that's not enough" and gave me more. That is why I love the people I meet at the market - but maybe they aren't typical. If I was in the 'wrong' part Manchester I'd expect then to be filching cash out of the open box on the table whilst trying to force me to accept peanuts - well Eastern coins as payment - whilst someone else was gently sliding the best bread into their bags whilst pointing to a kid crying behind me "What have you done to him?"

My what a butterfly mind I've got - time to pile into bed with my lovely book!

Which I did.

As the title tells you, this book is ideal for my pupose: it is compiled of  letters, each a few pages long and each on one subject. So I opened the book randomly and read.

So much for the 'civilised' society I describe in my second paragraph ! He warned against joining crowds, the larger the stronger the warning. This was an extremely violent society that for entertainment would  murder people at the drop of the hat. He added to the thought of not joining crowds: don't go to 'events' at midday because by then crowd fever had hotted up. Instead of entertaining themselves with mutilating a few minor criminals or slaves by throwing them to the lions or having them fight armed gladiators in organised events they could relax the rules and enjoy lots of blood by having fights to the death between unarmed people who had a minor reason to fight but just for added excitement would drag in some of the spectators and murder them for a lark. Blood and extreme violence - was - entertainment.

This was the society I describe as 'civilised'. So which society would I prefer. Ours where crowds are 'safe' (football crowds?) or theirs which was extremely dangerous if you valued your life. Ours were you went to sleep expecting to wake up without disturbance or theirs where to sleep similarly you had to be part of a large household of fortified buildings with slaves acting as guards and being a part of a disciplined unit of twenty people all acting for one another. Watching out for an enemy's plot to slip some poisoned food on your menu.

Theirs was far more unpredictable - from our viewpoint - that of the unprivileged 'commoner'. The idea of justice and fairness didn't exist for the majority. Rules and regulations and an extensive legal system for everyone had never been thought of. This took two thousand years to gradually develop to the mindnumbing concept it is now. So which would I prefer?

How can I tell? I can't- I'd need to live then and now to decide. Their society was far more vibrant - you really lived my your wits, even Seneca who became the most powerful man below Nero, came to a sticky end at the whim of the guy at the top of their tree - the Emperor. What comes across is a society of contrasting privileges. However I imagined depression hardly existed - you were far too involved in staying alive and 'living'. Yes it was LIVING or DYING with raw emphasis. Apathy was not part of the culture . . .

What a thought to go to sleep with and now at the beginning of my new day - how shall I live? - Safely and behave myself and fit the norm or DANGEROUSLY , as a lessor person in today's world. Then, relying on knowing my place amongst others who had no silly thoughts about fairness and equality and abiding by government rules. There were hardly any. . . . theirs was the 'simple life' - beware - depending on what you did you might not live to tell another tale on a blog next morning.

Oh what lovely weather

Tomorrow Sunday looks another fantastic day and so does the rest of the week though rain on Thursday will give me the pleasure of playing in my tunnel - I should have some new tunes by then.

The temperatures seem very good - I love warm rain (Thursday) with maybe rain on Saturday. For me it's purrrfect.

Lovely now when you can imagine temps down to -5 deg C by November if the global highjinks continue. No doubt followed by Floods in South Ulverston at some time - I wonder how the new unmentionable builder's plot here on Union Lane will survive - (says he) imagining rivulets running through a few of the new houses leaving flooded basements. Can they ever predict where the water will flow?  and all that new tarmac and absence of soil and grass to adsorb the rain. . . .! Mud mud mud. A new builders nightmare. Unpredictable terrain and houses built just within the regulations. Who in their right mind would buy new houses built within a hillside without seeing the outcome of a bit of unpredictable 'global warming' - or is it Global Warning weather?

Sorry I was allowing myself to drift away from the topic of "Lovely Weather".

Ulverston Market - you'll be surprised

Geoff had the time of his life doing something, at 2pm, he is very good at: selling stuff he believes in.

At this time, a stall holder handed over totally the running of his stall to Geoff and my did he have 'the time of his life' doing a brilliant job.

With a product he believed in totally and the ability to set the price wherever he chose , then the money started to pour in (about forty pounds in an hour) to everyone's benefit. Geoff's banter, his ability to wheel and deal worked to everyone's benefit. The Public got brilliant deals, the stall holder sold all his perishable stock, went home a very happy man and Geoff had a ball.

What worked in Geoff's favour , I wonder?

Could it be his integrity?

The fact that people new him and trusted him?

Were people persuaded by his banter?

All of the above, I suspect. Geoff of course has always enjoyed selling to the public from a market stall having done it successfully between 1983 and 1987 when he ran his own 'Health Food Stall' which grew and grew and was a regular feature of Ulverston Market, every Thursday and Saturday where he had the first pitch on entering New Market Street - where the key cutting van is now. Anyone remember it? What happened when he eventually closed it? Loads of bags of pulses, beans, dried fruit etc etc went to the Priory to feed hungry monks - for free! And Geoff moved to London to sell something else he greatly believed in:

Getting kids to think, in a deprived area of London - something called education.

Here he was labelled by the inspectors that new him as a genius not a term he believes in. He later became a much sought after 'Consultant' for the whole of the London area and even further afield. As might be expected he then ran a stall to show off his students abilities at the world famous annual BETT exhibition at Earl's Court. He was even consulted by the QCA's special Creativity Unit at Head office where he 'sold' his concepts on education which by then were creating quite a stir. Sadly the government underrated "Creativity" and the unit with all it's expertise morphed and disappeared.

Which Geoff are we talking about then?

Geoff Dellow of course. Know him?

Climate change

So who is taking this really seriously?

Greenpeace and the Artic 30 are

“The criminal activity I am blamed for is called journalism. I will keep doing it.” - Denis Sinyakov, freelance photographer aboard the Arctic Sunrise when it was seized 8 days ago.

Hi Geoff,

I was shocked to see pictures of Denis behind bars in the Russian courtroom yesterday. I'm a freelance photographer too and I was about to replace him when the ship reached the next port. But now Denis is being held in jail for another 2 months, without charge.

Yesterday, the Arctic 30 appeared before a court in Murmansk, Russia. No charges were laid, but all 30 are still being detained. 22 people are being held for two months as Russian authorities pursue an investigation around piracy charges. Eight people are being held for three days awaiting a new hearing.

The Russian authorities are punishing those who have risked their liberty to highlight the madness of Arctic oil, while protecting the fossil fuel industry. It should be the other way around.

Join me in central London, October 5, as part of worldwide event to free the Arctic 30. Sign up to get an SMS or email with more details of the time and place.

I am relieved to see people all around the world speaking out in support my friends. Russian newspapers are blanking out images on their webpages to draw attention to it. Together we’ve sent over half a million messages to Russian embassies worldwide. We’ve made global headlines. Now we need to show our determination on the street.

Today I went to the Russian embassy in London with my young son (pictured). I met his mother onboard the Arctic Sunrise four years ago. We all visited the ship again just a few months back. Some of the crew are like part of our family now: people like Haussy (the ship's electrician from New Zealand), 'Big John' (outboard mechanic from Tonga), and Paul (first mate from Canada). It's upsetting to think I was saying goodbye to them on the quayside in Norway only last month. Now they are facing up to two months in a Russian jail without charge.

I could have been behind bars in that courtroom yesterday. But instead I can stand with my brave colleagues and show them that they're not alone. Join me in standing up for the Arctic 30 on October 5. We must show the world that blatant intimidation will not succeed.

I’ll do anything I can to get these guys home as soon as possible. Thanks for being there with me.

Nick Cobbing
Freelance Photographer and part of the Greenpeace community

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!

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Spotted in Upper Brook Street

This is very encouraging. I'd love to understand the story behind this offer:
This page on this blog has attracted a very high number of hits in a short time 66 to be precise. when I would expect 15.

I've also had a few emails applauding the message BUT

And it's a very big


Aren't we all living in Cloud Cuckoo Land - a land that many of us would like to escape to because we refuse to look reality in the face - instead we escape to our living rooms, our partners and kids  and communicate by Facebook - with the result that an increasing number can't be honest with each other face to face.

So what is the reality we could face if we dared?

The Public have NO MONEY or even energy for our creativity.

So what could we do that doesn't rely on this nonexistent market?

We are bursting with creativity but there's no market for our efforts!

One thing occurs to me that would be very much appreciated by all we creative people (and I've tried it and it works with my pots):

Why don't we stop kidding ourselves and forget trying to sell our creative outcomes - instead offer them for free : to others who also offer theirs for free. What does this mean?
We have a place where we swop 'creative outcomes of all kinds' - it could be a blog called - with others that have 'outcomes' to offer. Lets all gain the benefits and the satisfaction that others appreciate our work and swop amongst ourselves. This will create a real buzz of being appreciated even though we end up no richer (in cash)- which isn't happening anyway. After all if we can't sell our stuff what could be better - we have nothing to lose we receive 'payments' in kind.

Hazel paints a picture and swops it with Jennie who makes a skirt who swops it with Christine who knits some socks who swops it with Geoff who cooks some scones who swops it with Rita who sings one of her beautiful songs who swops it with Rob who digs a bit of her allotment who swops the veg with someone Clare who needs a break and some babysitting who swops with 92 year old Joyce who enjoys a chat who tells Hazel (who painted the picture in the first place) a story of her adventures as a teenager. Look at how many people have benefited - self esteem has gone sky high - and are now happy and who has lost?

Yes, no one got cash but instead a hell of a lot of enjoyment was had in the process. We all feel really appreciated that our talents are valued.

Come on folks 

Get real


Expressed through hardwork we enjoy doing anyway

Now the hard bit - say something! - Write a comment : "Yes Geoff this is all great in your cloud cuckoo land I prefer the time honoured process of cash for hard work - I hate your scones anyway" Fire away and be as honest as you like - having done this blog for over five years I've got used to the most abusive comment that you can imagine like " I saw you on the pavement the other day and wondered whether to run you over to rid our town of such a moron" Yes there are some angry people around - and I'm one of them - but we've all got our positive side I believe - let's show it.

Ulverston CAB returns ?

It could be that our CAB at last is about to return.
Does the sign below really mean what it says?

My evidence is that the above message is really true.

When I last rang this number a couple of months ago the above number didn't work. It was only on the sixth try within their stated hours, did I get through.

Today at 10:17 am ( open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri 10am to 2pm and Sat 10 am to 1pm) the phone was answered within ten seconds. I enquired when it would be possible to see a helper/councillor here in Ulverston and was told as from Thursday October 3rd clients could make an appointment for a face to face interview here in Ulverston on Mondays and Thursdays in our Town Hall.

I then talked to a client that was being helped over the past 18 months how she found the new organisation. She said that when she had phoned, she was put in touch with the very same volunteer that she had got to know before the Ulverston branch closed. This implies that some of the original volunteers who served at Ulverston are now working at the Windermere office of the new organisation - Cumbria Rural.

Things are looking up. Sadly I can't give any credit to Cllr Mark Wilson who may of may not have been working behind the scenes as when I enquired he gave me no immediate answers.

He and our Town Clerk will be the first to admit that the present situation has taken a long time to happen. The closure of our CAB in March this year started to be planned in Kendal as far back as July last year . Yet Ulverston Clients were left with nowhere to go other than Barrow from the time that the Ulverston branch was closed. This meant that people I have spoken to had to start recounting their case from scratch as though they had never been to CAB before which was extremely frustrating.

Lets hope our CAB is now able to cope with the strain of an increased case load in the future. I trust that Cllr Mark Wilson  (who is ideally positioned being a Town, District and County Councillor) will keep his eye on how the service is able to perform. Is there a need for more volunteers in Windermere, I ask myself. Will those needing a face to face interview in Ulverston now be able to achieve this promptly?

Your experiences are of great interest to me.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Any one recognise our great busker - here last Saturday?

I love his spontaneous reaction to these girls out for a laugh.

Well done Michael. Hope to see you again next year in the spring.

Not only does he sing very well but he plays the fiddle AND the accordion.

To my mind guys like this are worth their weight in gold to our society.

He's a class act - one I aim to learn from!

What do you think?

Personally I'd like more of those lower notes that the clarinet can produce so well and have more of a melody as well as this 'texture' so typical of young people who haven't 'lived' much.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


The Media is preocupied with the situation in a shopping mall.

From our point of view is this newsworthy? Or is it a real life horror story to entertain us all?

I can't believe that there aren't stories that are truly newsworthy that impact far more on our  lives here in the UK. Alternatively stories that we need to hear because others in the world are suffering and would benefit from our support and cash.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Taking children out of school for the right reason

I notice in the Westmorland Gazette, the headline on their front page "Schools warn of £120 parent fine" - for what ?  : taking their children on family holidays during school time.

As a former very successful teacher, I agree that in many cases, parents that take their children out of school for a full length holiday are making a mistake.

I equally would criticise those parents who fail to consider taking their children out of school for the purpose of widening their education - for instance: A trip to London of maybe Salford to see a one off special performance in a theatre which was not available in holiday time. For example Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at The Lowry, Salford  on November 12th to 16th - ie very soon.

A chance to witness a very special thunderstorm with forked lightening from the top of Birkrigg if, when they come home for lunch, this looks a possibility.

Both these experiences could fire up a child's education for months and stimulate a much higher intelligence than any list of mediocre school lessons. Of course we all crave top level lessons and superb trips.

As someone who mixes with a fair number of young parents in their thirties, I am horrified by most of their unquestioning attitudes of the schools they send their children to. An attitude that echoes the concept that teachers are right when insisting the education in schools comes before the potential education on a far higher 'level' that can be gained by taking their children out for their own special reasons. I would hope that all good teachers backed by their heads will want to encourage parents who have the foresight to see opportunities for a special experience that cannot be gained in any other way than taking their children out of school.

In a similar way I question teachers who abide strictly to their lesson plans, derived  to teach the National Curriculum, when an opportunity to have a really good 'off topic' discussion is raised by an inquisitive pupil. One who might  ask "Why is the sky blue?" in a Physics lesson or "Do you think the ancient Philosopher, Seneca, was right break to the rules he taught to his students"and thus could be seen as a hypocrite in a History/PRE lesson or "Are Politicians ever justified in stating that the are 110% sure that a policy is correct " in their maths lesson or even better in the same lesson "How many years will my Dad have to wait  to be sure of winning the lottery if he buys a ticket every week" . . . .   "What was that sir. Did you say 500 thousand years. Then why the hell does he do it?" Reply- "For that you need a psychology lesson."

I believe there is far too much belief around that "the experts know best". You as a parent or grandparent may have far superior insights into what constitutes 'good education'. If you hold a view that is not mainstream, then don't buckle and be brainwashed into believing that 'teachers always know best'. If you're a thinking parent - you may know better.

No comment

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A couple of questions from Chris

Chris asks, and I've taken my time to answer :

A chem question for you,what are your thoughts of MD'S handing out SSRI'S like candy to address peoples problems.
Question 2,Think of Big Pharma GSK Et Al,do you think it is morally acceptable for such companies to hold onto patents for AZT and other Anti Viral's that would save lives.
I personally consider Pharma patents to be morally obscene,some would say big profit drives research,what do you say?.

I'm not into acronyms but presumably SSRIs are drugs.

I may have a rather conservative view of the purpose of our Health Service.

I am wary of the medical profession in that they can so easily take over though, this has gradually changed.

When I had cancer back in about 1976 I quickly got known by the specialist with

"so you're the one that asks all the questions"

Yes that's me: I want to remain very much in charge of what happens to me. To do this I need to ask questions - lots of them. When I've got my answers I'm then in a position to give my approval - or disapproval - of what the Health Service System does with me.

Doctors and Surgeons have their own agenda and it's important to each on of us to find out what this is. It can so easily be a different one to our own. With the amount of work they are asked to do they form general assumptions as to what we all want. From their point of view I can be a awkward bugger as I think differently to most people.

One commonly held belief in Britain and maybe the West is that people want to live as long as possible. This leads to people being kept alive and made to 'live' through a living hell. In the worst scenario I understand there are some fed with tubes and unable to do much other breath  and think. I refuse to live like this.

One thing that frightens the living daylights with me is the way the System treats those with Cancer. I have experience a close friend caught in this system and even though a strong minded person all his life , his obstinacy gave in in the last weeks of his life. He was enduring so much that he allowed others to dictate. The result was that he was denied treats that he would have normally enjoyed  - because they might - detract from his health - he was dying for God's sake - the diagnosis was clear. So what would be achieved? He might, might, yes might live a few more days than otherwise. Days without any treats.

The medical system can easily inflict as was the case with my friend, endless journeys and waits to travel to Preston to receive 'treatment' with what purpose: to extend his life by a few months maybe.

For me I need to be given as much information that is available and then be left - with no pressure from other people to make my own mind up what to allow to happen to me.

In order to decide I need information - as far as can be assumed from previous treatments in similar situations - information about probabilities of success. The answers will be in the form 50 to 75% chances of 'success'. And what is 'success' I ask.

" Oh you'll be left flat on your back without your eyesight and have to receive liquid food for the rest of your life"

With all this information and preferably someone 'neutral' to thrash out all the options. Then and only then, having had chance to conclude whether I think this is a life I would want live; then I would be in a position to decide.

One of my options must be absolutely sacrosanct: To say "No thank you, I prefer to take my chances of not having treatment and continuing to enjoy life to the degree that it is possible as I am now."

So my general view of the Health Service is that in general it is there to help my body function normally and living with drugs is not 'normal' so I take drugs with great reluctance. If I've a head ache : I will go for a walk in the fresh air. If I've got pain then I'll try telling my body " thanks for the message that I'm hurting but now I've received it can you switch off telling me". I'm quite 'happy ' living with Tinnitus and switch of the continuous message that there's an annoying noise in my head all the time. It's like those that live right next to a railway line with trains passing all times of the day and part of the night - you get used to it and it stops registering. You can enjoy lots of other things regardless.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Persimmons are liars and intimidate me

In the letter received from Persimmons earlier this month, they stated:

"Given that the site was fully secured by our site manager prior to the weekend" This was not true and is therefore a lie.

It is true now but up to that time you could open the gate and walk in as did several people who were curious as to what was happening in there.

Later on in the letter they state "We will have no hesitation in involving both the Police and the Health & Safety executive"

This a strange thing to say in that the Health and Safety Executive would take a dim view of the fact that this site, unlike now, had easy access.

So why did this letter refer to them? Was it not to try and intimidate me?

On reflection I cannot state that "Persimmons intimidate me" : I suspect that in law it's difficult to prove that one person intimidates someone else. It's got to be the other way round, hasn't it? An opponent may do something innocuous, but I may feel intimidated. "Can I help you across the road?" could be felt to be intimidating when in fact it was meant to be helpful.

It's usually that a person feels intimidated when there may be no reason to feel intimidated.

Even the statement . " Lie down or I'll shoot you "could be defended. - "Only joking " : What? Then why are you waving that gun around? "Just pretending". But it's a real gun . . .

When he shoots the person next to you - then you will feel intimidated - with just cause.

Up to mischief again. Persimmons send in the big boys.

Gerard Khoshnaw to be precise. Look this guy up on the internet and you'll realise he is top notch - and very polite:

My response:


Many thanks for your attached letter.

I understand that you're an eminent lawyer - no doubt  Persimmons only employ the best.

Glad to see that I'm enabling you to earn some further cash from a dubious source (is that defamation? in which case please read "from a source that I consider to be dubious") which I'm sure you will put to good use.

I feel this experience must be like learning to be a lion tamer.

Show the slightest contempt  and one foot wrong and you're dead - to exaggerate. Mind you I'd enjoy the experience of going to court - what's life for if not to face challenges.

Keeps me on my metal at 78 years old - yes I've reached the age when one thinks "What the hell"

Can't be bad! With threatened cancer one starts thinking : What's life for if it's not to have fun. A similar experience for you might be skiing down the red piste at a lovely winter resort in the Alps : Are you able to stay fit with all that sitting down?

Best wishes. I hope this case adds a bit of spice  to a life that at times may become a bit boring - how about a change to trying to put the world to rights - it certainly needs it. (Apologies - No doubt you feel you're doing this now)


As you gather I'm feeling good - my clarinet playing last night went well and the sun is out!


I've now been through all the statements - 1-9 and have removed the offending picture stating Uk House proces are going up and can find nothing wrong so I'm saying "See you in court if you want to spend the money" I look forward to the experience.

Anyone else spot anything defamatory!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

It's the Lantern Procession tonight

I'm looking forward to see all the creative work Ulverston people are able to conjure up, often in their own front/back rooms. Equally thrilling is the playing and dancing of all those that accompany the lantern marchers and holders.

 Last year I foresook the pleasure of seeing all the processions by getting myself stuck up Dalton gate as a rather unpopular steward stopping traffic joining the procession. The year before that it was as a steward during the Firework display.

This year, though supporting several fundraising events, I'm having a year off and look forward to the show. I reckon New Market Street is a good spot!

For times and interest see their Facebook page here or as a rough guide be at your favorite spot in town by 8:15 pm and then at Ford Park for 8:45 for the afters - Fireworks extraordinaire.

For general background buzz try here

Soutergate /Church walk /King St /Mill street Junction Ulverston 2

James Airey replies to previous correpondence:


I am not unwilling to look at this problem in fact CCC highway safety engineer Victoria Upton has looked at the situation. The problem we have is as always funding. At the moment we have several safety issues throughout Ulverston that need attention, such as speeding traffic entering Ulverston from Soutergate and speeding traffic on Urswick Road and Birkett Drive. Road safety around our schools also remains my top priority, that being said if the Town Council and the police want to chip in with some money then perhaps we could move the issue up the list.


To which I reply today:

Thanks James.

This is sounding more hopeful. I'll start 'at the bottom' and work up and keep you posted.

So "Chip in some money"

How much?

No vague statements please.

And what do you promise to do?

I guess you'll have to talk to CCC Highways before you answer so how about an answer to how much and for what in a fortnight's time.

I'll be back - agreed?

If not, say so now!


The sheer audacity of SLDC

Not only are they bullies but now they are liars.

They learn little from the past do they? The last post on this subject attracted a dramatic record in viewing statistic: there in the middle '273' in amongst figures less than 30.

This was a blog titled "Lawrence Conway - shouldn't you be paying attention" and drew attention to the inadequacies of our struggling planning department - the links to these damning statistics, showing an understaffed department, were quickly removed.

Now we are being given more unpalatable medicine concerning Mill Dam Park by the officer in charge, Deborah Wright, on the BUGs facebook page. (The BUGs are the people that have done such amazing work in this park and had their dangerous pots removed by royal edict).

It all reminds me of the time as a nine year old at a boarding school for sick kids we were 'forced' to open our mouths and accept a tablespoon of Cod liver Oil as we left the dining room - which we promptly kept there only to empty its contents down the nearest loo. A ruse our smart Headteacher quickly put a stop to by the simple expedient of having us say "Thank You Miss" before we left.

Now we're being expected to accept even more Health and Safety medicine regarding this park which we've been banned from working because we aren't constituted and say "Thank you". We're being told that we agreed to all these actions in the park and should be grateful. NOT TRUE - we didn't even have time to consult with our members and find out their views. We object to more of this top down attitude: "This is what is good for you- so like it!".

Yes it's true we put pressure on Conway to keep a promise made a year ago to raise the ground level under the Seesaw there in order to make it . . . . . . safer. However we did not ever agree to all the other changes that have come in along with this work.

In fact how could we as all emails regarding the park were ignored as though Conway had put a ban on communication with the BUGs because we weren't, in his mind, a recognised group.

As to the views of the park users we await their verdict - they may even like what they find - but make no mistake what has been done was not the result of a consultation with us.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Now this is really special

This special organ - the only one in the UK - is up the road!
We're being given the chance to hear it and the experience of watching a 'silent Charlie Chaplin' done as it was intended next Saturday 21st at 7:30 at the Royalty Cinema.

As someone who can remember this kind of performance, it really is special. The organist can put a lot of 'ZING' into what one sees on the screen. It's great listening to the way this wonderful restored instrument can be used to help us get involved with others by direct contact with another human being - this time Paul Gregson as his fingers scamper all over the keyboard: something that is so often missing in our daily lives with highly remote mechanised 'perfection'.

Try it : it's the kind of thing that helped form we Oldies into the very different kind of people to the cardboard cutouts of 30 year olds and younger (with, thank God some notable exeptions) we experience nowadays. It's having 'real' people here in Ulverston that is helping us survive the onslaughts of officialese we get thrown at us in a take-it-or-leave-it attitude by local government.

County Councillor James Airey, your involvement is needed

Topic : Death in slow motion

Subject :  Soutergate/ Church Walk/ Fountain St/ King St/ Mill St intersection


Why are you so unwilling to look at this problem?

It is obvious to the observer that sometime THERE WILL BE AN ACCIDENT HERE and it could be a dangerous one.

I talked to the person who stands behind the counter at Inspirations and thus has a view across the street to Mill Street.

He tells me that as often as every day:

1. A motorist comes out of Mill St and turns left to go up Soutergate breaking every rule in the book.

This is sometimes deliberate as they have made a mistake and don't want to go round the oneway system, or it's because they don't know the area and don't see quite a small one way sign opposite

2. Secondly I spent only two minutes watching traffic coming down Soutergate to join King street.

In that time two quite responsible looking drivers out of nine chose to avoid going round the painted on white circle and drove clearly inside of the circle. If you come and look you will realise that circle is placed too far over towards Foutain Street. With this attitude of always ignoring the roundabout it then becomes second nature to totally ignore the roundabout it and  hug the pub whilst going round the corner especially if on looking down Fountain St there is no traffic This happened to me in an incident I reported to the police. It was 8:30 on a Sunday morning and the white van clearly thought there was no traffic about and drove at speed - well there was - me at Mill St.

People who stop and watch this happening become totally convinced that this corner is very dangerous and avoid it all together by travelling via Garden Terrace and then down Soutergate rather going through Mill St.


 What do I have to do to get you, the police, and the Highways department to change the design of the round about - by the simple expedient of  repainting the position of the circle?

1. If I collect video evidence of these two scenarios

2. If I collect witnessed statements of incidents people have experienced.

3. Run a campaign

4. Storm the council with 20 agitated people?

5. Repaint the white circle myself  at three in the morning and show before and after film evidence

6. Stand on my head nude in the Market Square

7. Something even more outrageous ( discussed with Pat Jones on the Sun/New Market street bench.)

8 Stage an accident so as to achieve some really beaten up vehicles.

9 Just do nothing and wait for the inevitable accident?

Answer one of the above or I'll pester you and pester you and pester you -Beware. You can cry harassment if you like - so I'll go to jail.


I'm in a no nonsense - I mean business - you ain't seen nothing yet -mood

Blowing my own . . Clarinet

It's difficult for members of the public to communicate with our councillors.

One can go to the Ulverston Town Council Meeting and come away with the thoughts : "Why did I bother?" We have a 15 minute slot and the feeling is that they feel "Let's get through this bit as fast as we can so that we can get on with the important bit: holding forth to each other" Then Norman Bishop-Rowe stand up on a point of order and the mayor tries to shut him up and I leave.

Well for the record , one of our councillors may pick up on some of the following    :

It is disappointing to me that we don't seem to be able to support each other more.

The Chess competition for instance - the one that Peter Hanks did such a brilliant job of organising - all came about from an initiative : getting large chess sets and playing in the Market Square.

Having great idea man has been my main activity though life - as I pointed out to the Council on Monday and earned my living very successfully by it - when working at Glaxo, Shell research, The Falls, the Oxfam building, teaching in London when pioneering creativity in schools, became a consultant working all over wider London, was invited to advise the QCA's Creativity special unit, addressed conferences. Back here conceived and organised the candlelit walk, developed Mill Dam Park, did a lot of work in the field of pottery, developed my blog using interviews and networked with a wide range of people.

 Chris Thorpe the lecturer in Web site design at Preston, who lived in Ulverston and died here shared his expertise in web site design. He designed and created a web site for Ulverston whichwas put up on the internet.  Roy Watkins worked with me. He also created a very promissing web site with lots of local information on the surrounding area. All this energy has gone to waste because the council failed to take advantage of it.

Getting things done is import and I get impatient with the work done by most of our local politicians. Bear in mind that being very successful in pushing difficult projects is second nature to me. Pushing through projects like The Falls, selfcatering Cottages and the Oxfam building project which failed through lack of funds to get it up and running. Gaining information can be very effective and with drivein using it can influence policy as was done regarding the work on the cobbles both in the Gill but more importantly down Market Street which in fact could have been done far more effectively for the town shopkeepers and for the tax payer (as it need have cost nothing). This also instrumental in getting rid of the very arrogant Nick Raymond local head of our CCC Highways.

Getting a sensible Car Parks policy by focussing on the lack of use the Stockbridge Lane car park at the full SLDC council meeting about five years ago was effective. Subsequently working with  Jack Rice as he gained valuable information using the Freedom of Info Act from SLDC and published his ten page report.

The public helped create pottery decorations which started along Union Lane, followed by Gill Banks, then Mill Dam Park as well as the project at Church Walk School involving over a hundred people who made a pottery fish to decorate both sides of the entrance to the school.

Sadl, energy and drive puts councillors on the spot, however being only too willing to support them with this same drive must be seen as an asset. Praise could then be given for their initiative in showing leadership. Involving the public as was and still is, achieves with involvement in the chess.

My wish to play chess on the Market Square was prompted by a wish to support and invigorate our Market. Similarly my learning and developing clarinet playing skills is done for the same reasons -  playing music and other types of performances ( story telling) have great potential. Natterjacks was supported when it attracted many musicians which with the absence of Max, now at university, has more or less collapsed. A next stage , when my playing skills have developed is to encourage far more music playing in the form of impromptu busking from local students. This was something that was encouraged at the Oxfam Building when students came and played on Saturdays in 1987.

Surveys of other markets at Lancaster gives useful information and working with Robert Leach is very encouraging. He started and continues to run Prom Art at Grange where (sadly) many Ulverston people exhibit monthly. Sadly - as with some initiative we could have been the leaders in the concept though Grange have a superb location by using the Promenade. Robert  is encouraging a joint project with the eight strong group of potters that meet here every Monday night and another project with the public is being discussed there as part of PromArt there next year.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Insights into the workings of SLDC

"We have had instruction to have these pots taken down. So we have taken it upon ourselves to come here and do this ourselves"
These are the words of Jim Maguire accompanied by Deborah Wright, both officers within SLDC which is ruled by the chief executive Lawrence Conway. They are clearly upset with having been made to do something they totally disagree with: take the pottery away from Mill Dam Park : pottery they were admiring only five days before because it made the park feel so friendly to everyone that went in it. They told me as an interested party so that other people would know that they are really caring people; so that others know what they are really like.

Because they are clearly not supportive of this information being published, Conway cannot take them to task for it being displayed here.

It is very rare to get insights like this of how officers really feel because any leak to the outside world is seen as disloyal and punishable. Because our councillors also kept from knowing unless they really try then we the public are unable to ever get to know what really happens behind the scenes.

At the moment I have deep suspicions that cover ups, incompetence and even perks that sway officers in favour of Big Business are taking place in both the Planning Department and in the Cumbria County Council's Highways department and we have no way of finding out without resorting to expensive legal cases. How then can we the public have faith in local government and ultimately our political system which at every turn in the responsible media is revealing dishonesty and behaviour that we are not happy with. The common retort is - "It's nothing new" and "Well it's been going on since the year dot."

The reason revelations are taking place is that we the public are being encouraged by the media to be enraged. Previously we were happy to look the other way because "We were all right Jack". Now most of us are feeling the pinch so that we're being far more critical of the systems around us.

Insights like this help us feel far more sympathetic to the officers and the pressures they work under. No wonder many/most? of them find it difficult to cope with their jobs.

There are all the signs at this moment that Deborah Wright is doing all she can to work for the benefit of the local public, but she is being instructed to refrain from sharing information with the the public. Hence the lack of information on what is happening in Mill Dam Park at the moment.

What I say is Mr Conway, grow up, stop breathing down you employees necks and start managing your team in a way they enjoy their jobs and are left to do them as they have been educated to do and thus feel is appropriate.

I doubt that Mr Conway can change, so is it not time to replace him with someone who practises modern business relationships as used by for instance, the Dalton firm Wax Lyrical where employees are full of praise for the way their company is run by Mr Armitage and enjoy going to work each Monday morning.

Death in slow motion

When I mention the idea of driving out of Mill Street from the direction of The Gill people immediately start telling me of near misses with vehicles that cut the corner coming down Soutergate. Vehicles that see no traffic on their left and assume there will be none on their right.

Surely they are breaking the law by not travelling round the mini roundabout but taking it on their left rather the right. Yet it appears nothing is done to try to prevent this practice.

As a cynical witness one believes we need a bloody accident to get the mini round about to be taken seriously. Yet this is the very place that SLDC planning department is considering feeding cars from a new estate with 70 houses on it.

Do we have to stand by and just look on as a death in the future will make the necessary point that we need a round about to make people trval round it rather than over or even inside it. A death caused by the absence of a few kerb stones that would obviously make a big difference!

Wise people never use Mill Street but are we all wise!

How about emailing James Airey and Mark Wilson who can do something as  our County Councillors - James Airey , Mark Wilson

Wow, What an impressive mayor we've got!

Just because I'm saddened by the state of democracy in the town. This doesn't mean I'm blind to a class act.

Ulverston's Mayor Judy Pickthall kicked off the proceedings of the town council last night with flair. She's adding a certain  Joie de Vivre attitude to the role by the clothes she wears and the way she walks. Having seen her out and about across the town over the past weeks, popping up in the most unusual places, working flat out to make the Charter Festival and in particular last Saturday into A First Very Successful First Super Market Day, I know that our Mayor's chain was carried with a quiet unassuming confident pride. Judi is very good with people. She quickly achieves a friendly and on-you-level rapport with everyone she meets. She also has a good dress sense, even when that chain is hidden under a jacket in the rain: it's not any old jacket. It's a very practical, serviceable jacket made all the special by the fleeting glimpse of gold underneath.

Last night it was a dark dress with a flashy red/purple sheen that showed off the town chain in a very with-it contemporary way. Her opening remarks to the Council where a revelation. She extolled the activities of the last week - she had been everywhere -the market stalls on the Saturday morning - Rufino's cookery demonstration-  snoozing through the chess superbly run and silent Chess Championship waiting for the presentations at the end - then a pint with the serious minded who knew their beer at the Furness CAMRA Beer Festival - finally, more or less saying "And why weren't you at the Jess Gillam & The Ghyll Singers musical evening?" "Councillors would have enjoyed this".

So what's my point and yes there is more than a point but a plea.

Can't we review how we appoint our Mayor each year? Surely we want someone every year who will bring something fresh to the direction and activities in the town. What has the upcoming deputy Mayor shown us she's capable of? A town free from Dangerous Sharp Edged Pottery and hushed dissent within the Conservative ranks. In contrast our present Mayor has worked consistently to help our market thrive and is, I understand even now encouraging the students from the Vic to bring their music to the town in every way possible.

So who would we like to be Mayor next year? The proposal can't come from the councillors ranks themselves that would be too controversial, so it's coming from here, I'm known to be no big fan of the system!

Judy Pickthall for second term next year: we face difficult times in our town and particularly with our market and need the person who has done well in the past and has plenty of room for improvement (and someone to quietly give direction to Jayne Kendall's energy). Speaking of which isn't our Town Council Website out of date.

How about one of the Internet polls where the public choose? There's nothing like imminent disaster to kick start an new initiative!

Shows your age if you remember this

The radio version I mean - however the sound is right on this!

Dick Barton, special agent: Will Snowy White and Jock Anderson get there in time? The answer was incredibly always "yes".

I remember being glued, standing a foot away from the load speaker, every week night between 6:45 and 7:00, biting my nails with my mother teasing me ; mimicking me.

Or from our favourite orchestra:

Work in Mill Dam Park

I notice that work has started in Mill Dam Park.

Sadly, without any public explanation ; no consultation with a known and established group - the BUGs ; no notice at the gate along the lines: "SLDC regret the inconvenience to the public whilst . . . . .  takes place here between  September. . . . .  and . . . . ."

I have been given no information as to what is planned other than the promise at the park meeting a couple of months ago with Mr Lawrence that the ground under the seesaw would be raised before the end of September and that work would not be done in the school holidays when the park would be heavily used. What other work is planned has not been stated as far as I know. Questions could be asked as to what replacements for the chain bridge are planned and what the overall proposed design for the park is to be.

The person who will know is Deborah Wright  (Deborah Wright ) and the person who should know in her capacity as our SLDC councillor is Helen Irving (Helen Irving ). The only councillor that has shown any interest is our town councillor Margaret Hornby and even she is now silent.

On my part I  get no replies from either Wright or Irving. However requests from others like yourselves should produce a result. Officialdom in the form of Lawrence Conway the chief executive can be very high handed - you can write to him too (  Lawrence Conway   ) !

This is not how I understand democracy is supposed to work.

However if you're happy with this kind of behaviour: Do nothing - I'm sure you'll get more heavy handed treatment in the future!

A visit to our Sad Democracy

Ulverston Town Council last night was in no mood to listen. You enter the council chamber and you realise there is no place here for rational, objective thinking. You enter a fantasy world of a real life play where the players are out of touch with real life. The council chamber is an impressive theatre set where the actors, our democratic representatives, take on make-believe roles whilst the real world rages outside. The actors are oblivious of the real issues confronting every day people in the town. They are ill equipped to deal with the powerful forces of Big Business, for instance Persimmons House builders who are threatening uncontrolled expansion. They are ill equipped to deal with the powerful forces of an out of control District Council, ruled by one man, with officers struggling to do their jobs well. A council that has taken over one of our parks without consultation with the people who use it. They have decided that they know best what we want. They are ill equipped to deal with us, the public, who are already having a stressful struggle to deal with our lives, only to be confronted with a battle with the above unsympathetic machine-like organisations who make up the rules of engagement. The public under these conditions find they have no support from those that were meant to help them find solutions: their democratic representatives. Take cover :Chaos lies ahead. Communication and working together cannot cope.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Persimmons Spin- stay sane

I've just been passed this dangerous half truth that is so typical, in my opinion, of Persimmons

Persimmons require me to remove their promotional spiel claiming in very large letters


with a picture of one of their lovely houses underneath

What's the problem?

Is this a lie that they don't want publicised?

I read in the Independent that financial analysts are very concerned that house prices are going up at an alarming rate in some parts of the country and recommend that something be done to control this house price bubble lest it bust and leave us all - buyers and our banks in trouble.

Take a visit to the Persimmons site and look at reassuring pictures of children in idyllic countryside makes you feel good doesn't it. Taken in?

If prices are on the up, and this is only really true in the London, then this is because the hard working feel there is no alternative than to buy at these ridiculous prices that are so dependent on a "government backed Conservative scheme". What will happen if sanity returns and the poorer people find politicians that finally will support them and help return house prices to those they can afford? The result will be that when the prices fall to reasonable levels then thousands of people will be saddled with houses that will be worth less than what they owe. They will then become desperate and possibly walk out leaving their debt behind them and the banks will collapse once again.

Please do not trust this localised house price bubble. Do not buy, but rent until sanity returns and house prices fall or even crash. At some point the electorate will refuse to be put under the enormous pressure of vast mortgages and revolt. We're very close to this now. It will take only a small additional burden before the majority of people will decide "Enough is enough" refuse to abide by the present laws that are made for the rich. Then a fresh approach will come from a new set of politics which will favour those at the bottom of the pile.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Ulverston's first Super Saturday Market

Was a big success today despite a few drops of rain (well to be honest , quite a few).
End of a successful weatherfilled day

It's Ulverston's Charter Week Saturday and the town a buzzing with activity

 In fact the rain seemed to make it even more enjoyable, such is the 'Can-do' attitude of the local people who succeeded in laughing the wet away with their super positive funloving spirit led by our hard working and encouraging Mayor who had done much of the behind the scenes organisation. Bringing together such a wide group of creative people that made the event so successful.
Mayor Pickthall incognito

The town was full of music in the market square with band after band, young and old, ferocious dressed-up drummers and dancing musicians from 11 am till 3pm. The square, full of a wide variety of stalls from the usual veg and David's Garden Plants, to crafts and brilliantly skilled face (and hand) painting for the children and fashion conscious young women.

Meanwhile in the Coro (our main hall) undercover, activities from cookery demonstration, a new multiskilled chess tournament in the hushed 'Supper Room' to a packed out traditional quality Beer Festival for the knowledgeable in the main hall down stairs.

Yes the town turned out to get involved; with visitors drawn like bees from the outlying areas of Barrow, Windermere and Grange over Sands.

And here are some Youtube videos to prove it:

The wonders of Youtube

And "No " It's not sex!

One of our readers suggests this:

Quite amazing - and I'd never heard it. Shows what a sheltered life I've had. (Yes get ready for the quips). Anyone else with a favorite?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Close to a record !

This is a little game I play:

 Can I get more than 500 unique (yes very unique) visitors.

Well we're nearly there at 494 and what's more, the percentage of returning visitors is also a record, at 70.7%, which means we have nearly 350 people that follow this blog regularly.

This is important to me because it means that we have a way of sharing information and encouragement, with each other, the more people come here.

Quite honestly, I have a long term plan of providing an alternative to the official media: independent of The Evening Mail, The Westmorland Gazette and the BBC both radio and TV.

This is important if we feel we have stories that are not being handled as well as we we would like.

Of course the down side is that what is here is mostly driven my me and quite rightly is very opinionated. A solution is for others to also come together and share a site like this where we all have our own platform. This site could be which is where I hope to move to - when I find the time. The more independent views the more balanced the coverage - is my thinking. If you're interested in having your own spot, please get in touch on 01229 480347 or gd at This will encourage me to get on with it though where the time will come from is a puzzle !

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Yesterday and Somewhere over the. . .

Several of the greats all together

Love the Viola (isn't it).

 Why this? Answer the tunnel.

Inspiring me - calms the soul: Pure magic.

Rainy day in New Market Street, 12ish Thursday in October. .

See you - smiling - maybe ?

New local blogs

We have a new addition to the blogs connected to Ulverston.

This is the Ford Park Local Food project.

 I'm sure if we support it and comment this will take off. It's great to see posts being added all the time at the moment.

Persimmons we're snapping at your heals

Search Google with "Persimmons Ulverston" and you'll see this.

Don't expect much from Persimmons Hoad View

In reallity purchasers of these homes may find that the impressions they get of the homes they a getting do are not fulfilled.

Have you read about many people's experiences, some of which are reported on BBC Watchdog which is very informative.

Keep coming back here for an independent and rather skeptical view.

We in Ulverston are fed up with the way we've been treated by Persimmons in the past. Now there's a flurry of activity with another batch of houses is proposed with insufficient support road structure. As we see it they will dramatically change a lovely Market Town into what will feel like a suburb of Manchester with little character other than lines of similar houses.

It's catching on!

From one of our readers:

There was an old man called Conway
Who put on his suit the wrong way
His buttons popped off, he was no longer a "Toff"
 So we showed him the right not the wrong way

In the Gazette today

Horror of horrors, George Monbiot in the Guardian,  talks of our "Sheepwrecked" Lake District.

But hasn't he a point? I do love my trees and I'll go specially to Brantwood in the spring just to enjoy a precious oak by the lakeside there while sat with an expensive coffee and cake.

Wouldn't it be great to have more deciduous trees in our countryside? Could we not fence off some areas. How about a really nutty idea and bring wolves back here in restricted ( not for long) areas- as they are talking about in remote Scotland. Now that would bring the tourists flooding in. There's been talk of Golden Eagles. Wouldn't they enjoy a tree or two?

Try writing a Limerick- it helps

It's great fun writing these. Getting the rhythm right is the hard bit: which is why they're so rewarding.

How does it help - Humour is a very effective way of getting a point across - especially when you're frustrated.

Getting one that hits the spot is even more difficult which is why I'm pleased with my Conway caper.

Lawrence : abhorrence, fence.  Issues : bullying, Health and Safety

There was a Con. lady called Jenkinson   : bun, outdone, home run, submachine gun (no. . .)

Issues: planning, supermarkets, KUS- Keep Ulverston Special, politicians.

or better still

There was a Con lady called Janette - now that has potential Planet , Gannet, Granite

Now Council has loads of potential in every way.

However I have a secret - well it's obvious really to the Internet savvy - Search Google and you'll find this tool Rhyme Zone

Now you've got the potential of hours of TeleFreeFun and even a place to display to the world your new found skill. But have you got Rhythm.

I walk up Hoad muttering

Da dada da dada da dada,
Da dada da dada da Da,
Da dada da da,
Da dada da da,
Da dada da dada da Da.

Got it - Now you can start!

Let's flood the market. It could soon be called an "Ulverston".

No? Not quite the ring . . . . .

We're good in our town at music - how about words.

Could we become the cultural centre of the North. I can imagine people standing in groups at our street corners going "Da dada da dada da dada" to each other.

No? Too vivid an imagination?

True. - It's what keeps me young!

What are Persimmons hiding? Hoad View?

Yesterday I received this letter that most people would feel threatening but in fact is full of empty and in some cases lying words. Click on the image to read.

Many people see this as typical of Persimmons Bluff.

So why don't they conduct tours at the week end of their building work so that potential buys can see what they will be getting for their money?

Surely the wise will be suspicious.

Would you ever buy a car under similar circumstances? Surely most people would want a test drive. Surely they would want an independent review. No the buyer is being asked to give hundreds of thousands of their own money without seeing and experiencing what they are buying.

What are Persimmons so reluct to show?

If they were honest would Persimmons not organise tours of their building site at the week end?
Or are they behaving as they do in this letter in a deceptive way?

Let's look at Persimmons 'helpful' 'honest' letter.

"Given that the site was fully secured" No it wasn't - this is a lie :  the doors were there unfastened- no bolt or padlock  - I just opened them. Anyone want a demonstration? Conducted tours? Ten pence a time? Delighted.

"Should there be any further repetition of this behaviour  we will have no hesitation in involving the police and the Health & Safety executive." I trust they will not involve the police because I have done nothing wrong other than trespass - people and children have been 'trespassing' on this site by the hundreds in the past as they walk through the countryside, as they play on the field. Did the owners go to the police then? No. So why are you complaining now? And who are this Health & Safety executive? Someone they've made up because they sound impressive?

"I ask that you remove to remove the photographic evidence" Very polite - well I'm not going to.
"And confirm that you've received and completely understood the information contained in this letter within the next 7 days" Yes I did this straight away - as I do to all letters I receive . Why "this "completely understood" bit? What's this time limit about? Will there be any consequences if I don't? Sorry sir, I could only sent it 8 days later - I was so busy. And sorry, sorry, sorry, I couldn't completely understand "Health & Safety executive": can you?

So what's this letter all about ?

Will people who buy a Persimmons home be pleased with their new home during the future hundreds of years that they will be used? Or will they start to experience extra stress from the minute they enter their new homes and discover for the first time just what they've let themselves in for? Could this stress have been avoided by Persimmons spending just a little more money on something that most people they will be buying at such a high cost? Why do our politicians stand buy and do nothing to get involved to help their potential electorate?

Note: Persimmons beware. This blog is slowly climbing up the Google rankings.

Search " Persimmons Hoad view" and you'll find this on the second page.

Try it.  It could hit top spot soon!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Finding the SLDC land allocation consultaion web site

SLDC have just changed the web address : start here

You've until tomorrow Thursday 5pm, September 5th

Answering Peter Thornton in the Gazette

Peter Thornton's soliloquy from your podium showed all the naivete´, only capable by a politician. Yes, we all agree, "More homes are required for our young families". However the new land allocations that are proposed will instead create misery for us all.

Four monsters are determined that this will happen.

The greed of Big Business is the most menacing. Housing represents huge amounts of money. Those handling it are extremely powerful. They can corrupt the second monster: a weak system  of government. SLDCs Planning department are grossly understaffed and under-resourced, led by a chief executive who is an office desk bureaucrat making "Dangerous Pots in the Park", Health and Safety decisions this paper highlighted recently. Only half of the planning staff are appointed and councillors believe they cannot make good decisions because their council cannot afford the legal team needed to fight Big Business at appeal. At County level the highways department has a history of incompetent decisions illustrated by the expenditure on Ulverston's cobbled main street which if properly managed should have cost nothing. Further exemplified by the lack of a roundabout on the A590 at North Lonsdale Road when Persimmons build the Lund Farm estate. Many believe corruption is rife.

The third monster of our antiquated road structure in our old towns built for the horse and cart, will lead to unsafe and chaotic road traffic when the new housing estates are accessed. Very narrow bottlenecks with hazardous visibility will be the consequence of poor overall planning.

Lastly the monster of massive house prices faces these same young families. It lurks down the dark alleys to kidnap the unthinking in order to get them into shouldering costs close to ten times their combined yearly income whilst bring up two children. This creates massive emotional strain in an uncertain job market. The ridiculous prices ten times those paid by my generation are propped up by corrupt policies that ensure this stress is maintained for fear that the banking system will once again collapse if the house price soap bubble pops. In practice very few young families will occupy these desirable but poorly built houses: clever conniving brash people will make sure of that.

No Peter Thornton, think again, you live in cloud cuckoo land: here we cope with fierce marauding monsters. Very few land allocations for housing are justified in the present economic climate where poor decisions can be made by officers, politicians and the highly pressured young families in question.

Address The Coach House, Union Lane, Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7BU tel 01229 480347

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

On a roll

I've got good reasons for feeling positive:

I'm dedicating 11:00 to 13:00 on every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to playing my clarinets with the wonderful new reeds I've been told about by Jim Morgan, clarinetist, of Barrow. The world has suddenly become a 'better' place. My clarinets have changed from being wild uncontrollable bucking bronchos that needed all my wits about me to control to fine hansom stallions ready to give me all they've got in every way possible. Now " your wish is my command" is their mantra. What a motivation to ride them well every day and put them through their paces.

I've just got to learn to ride them well. What a lovely target for a 78 year old.

Another is the result of the results of tests at Furness General Hospital last Friday - still not in the clear but it's not cancer! Report coming up - a very efficient Health Service with people that really care and put their patients first. Not the place we have been led to believe. If you're ill you can look forward to your contact with the NHS from my experience.

Another is the my veg is growing well both here and at my allotment.

I've a new toy that I'm sharing with curious parents and children - a zoom stereo microscope which opens up a whole new world. What every 'alive' person needs. Let me know if you're interested.

I'm in touch with a great group of very positive and talented potters - See

And much much more.

Fancy a Limerick?

There was a strongman named .......
........ sick bay.

Now where have a seen something like this?


There was a strongman called Conway
Who managed the parks the wrong way
"Sharp pots are a sin!"
He leered with a grin
And ended his life on the sick bay.

Any alternatives . . . . . . .?

Is James Airey going to act re extra housing?

James is the County Councillor for the North Ward of Ulverston.

Andrew Moss is Head of our CCC Highways

So why hasn't James Airey called a public meeting as he could?

From: "Airey, James"
Date: 30 August 2013 13:11:22 GMT+01:00
To: "Geoff Dellow"
Subject: RE: Road usage in the Gill Area of Ulverston

Dear Geoff

I think it would be useful for me to try and arrange a public meeting on the proposed additions to the LDF, I intend to invite SLDC planners to update residents.



From: Geoff Dellow []
Sent: 27 August 2013 11:33
To: Moss, Andrew
Cc: Airey, James
Subject: Road usage in the Gill Area of Ulverston


I've been leaving you in peace for a while (see below! ) now that the cobbles down Market Street are finally finished. It's good to have had that settled and the bringing in Colas to finish the work was a great improvement to using Amey. Thank you.

As you will be aware there is a consultation with SLDC planning going on regarding land allocation for future home building.

A very important aspect is the potential increase in road usage in the Gill  area that could result from the change of use of the land above what is being called Hoad View at the end of Union Lane.

The strain could be particularly felt on Mill Street which of course is adjacent to the Soutergate and King St junction.

I have already experienced some near miss accidents at speed with reckless drivers cutting the corner as they descend Soutergate to join King St - Something that happens quite often and I've reported to our police who unfortunately failed to catch the van driver in question.

The other intersection that I would have thought will experience severe difficulties is that where Union Lane joins Stanley street where a blind corner exists, made even worse by the parking of a large van on that particular corner. This will be the preferred access to the newly developed land under construction my Persimmons and furthermore to an even larger development nearly twice the size in the land in question that is beyond this. In all there could be more than 70 new homes needing regular use of this junction ( as well of course the Mill St access)

The resultant flow of traffic could be greatly in excess of that using the adjacent Health Centre which has less than 80 parking spaces.

So to my main point:

Would it not be important to have a traffic survey that included pedestrians, vehicles of all kinds including buses and even surprisingly dogs who move through Mill street on their way, sometimes ownerless to  walk/trot/amble up Gill Banks. This surveywould be very pertinent  to any decision re the land allocation is made.

I suggest that the existing roads cannot safely support increase usage.



From: "Moss, Andrew"
Date: 14 June 2011 07:17:47 GMT+01:00
To: , "Airey, James" , ,
Cc: "Masser, Keith J"
Subject: Re: Cobbles, Market Street Ulverston

Geoff, thanks for your email.  I understand why you may feel a sense of frustration as I recall you raised a similar concern about this work earlier in the year, at which point we looked into the points you had drawn to our attention. 

Please be assured the local team understand and share your interest in ensuring this work is completed to the standards expected.  I will look into the issue you raise below and respond to you directly.  

I look forward to meeting you sometime soon at which point I would be more than happy to discuss any aspect of our service delivery.



Assistant Director Highways and Transport
Cumbria County Council
Tel: 01228 227730
Mob: 07833 046727

----- Original Message -----
From: Geoff Dellow []
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 07:02 AM
To: Airey, James; Jams Airey ; James Airey
Cc: Moss, Andrew; Masser, Keith J
Subject: Cobbles, Market Street Ulverston


Why has work on the cobbles halted ?

Are the shopkeepers being informed.

The contractors have just ripped up, by their own admission, cobbles that didn't need replacing and now have stopped before doing the ones that do.

I'm about to go to the shopkeepers and ask what they think of the work so far.

(I'm waiting for a good downpour so as to catch on video the flooding- if any - on the upper sections of Market street.)

We have a potential for a very angry situation.


Please let me know which of these emails to use in the future.


Problems with SLDC land allocation

There is a basic flaw in this: planning.

It is highly vulnerable to big business.

Building firms like Persimmons have masses of amounts of cash which can be used in many many ways to influence government policies in their favour.

The two most vulnerable are the planning department of the district council which oversees not only an individual house application but that of housing estates and more than this: the impact of that housing development on the surrounding area. Here, the second is the highways department of the county which is very important.

One can find great variations in the outcome of planning decisions. This can be because the planning departments and the councillors on the planning committee can be confident to enforce their decision with a single home owner- who won't have the cash resources to disagree. However with Big Businesses the councils feel that they don't have the cash resources to enforce their wishes. When taken to appeal the councils fear that they won't be able to afford a good legal team to fight their cause and even though they feel strongly about an issue with an individual, they buckle with Big Business because BB have far greater cash resources. Big Business can often get their way when the public and sometimes the planners, don't want them to.

In the case of Housing Estates the access roads are extremely important which is where the trustworthiness of the County Highways Department is essential. Here there can a lot of incompetence through lack of rigour in enforcing the law or far worse the system is open to bribery.

The trustworthiness of the system depends on the chief executive who supervises his many departments.

There seems to be a vast difference in the way that districts operate even locally. SLDC is very weak whereas Copeland our neighbour is strong.

The bullying attitude of Lawrence Conway, the chief exec of SLDC over his officers over the recent Mill Dam Park demonstrates a council with severe problems. Furthermore the planning department is only 50% staffed without even a chief planning officer : decisions are being made by a manager with a highly questionable background.

With CCC Highways, there have been severe problems with incompetence leading to the head of our local area , Nick Raymond, being moved to Carlisle and then on to Barrow.

What can be done?

The key to a well run local council is the quality of the elected councillors. They are the people who should monitor the system. Too often they do nothing in this area. Like many politicians they can be many attracted to being seen to be 'important' : how they are reported in the media is important. What they do behind the scenes to make sure officers care competent and honest is rarely seen by the public so that this essential side of a councillors work can be ignored. This is what happens most of the time: checks on corrupt practises are ignored.

If the public aren't interested all the better.

To change the system we, the public, need to ask questions - too often even these are ignored.

So with this land allocation, the main problem is the influence of Big Business in pushing through their cash driven wishes. This can often ignore public safety or value for money concerns. It's the little and poorer man that suffers.

What can we do?

My answer is to publish a blog like this that is independent of the media and the politicians.

Lets work together and share our experiences and get the system working better.