Sunday, 28 April 2013

Roz Harris gets in touch

Hello Geoff
I looked at YouTube page and there was a video about the cobbles. I am glad all my hard work paid off and that as a employee of United Utilities we got things done. Hope you are keeping well
 Rozzy Harris

She's the person that got things going on the cobbles and persuaded United Utilities, her employer, to do the honourable thing and repair their very poor work.

See this blog back in April 2009 when Roz did her stuff. One day we'll give her credit for sticking her neck out when Ulverston Town Council ignored her contribution - They couldn't cope with someone else showing up their apathy so they chose to ignore the tow of us (what's new). She needs a plaque putting up - maybe I'll have to make one!

I suggest readers familiarise themselves with this battle - just a few of us made a world of difference and won. The politicians and officers deserve a good hiding! Nick Raymond, Cumbria Highways - the worse offender and the reason the cobbles are costing vast quatities of money even now is because of his incompetence at doing his job back in 2005 and before. Had Cumbria Highways supervised the contactors digging up the cobbles and making sure the cobbles were replace in good order which they had agreed to before starting work then there would be no problems now that needed repairing.

By kicking up a fuss, the length and greatdth of South Lakeland (writing to every clouncil at town level) we got the dastardly Nick Raymond moved elsewhere - eventually to Barrow !

What we need are some good councillors who will chase things up the present lot just act the part except for one - the Liberal Deb condidate for East Ulverston - not Mark Wilson of the inactive Peter Hornby - I've still to find out his name.

I was enjoying a jigsaw until I heard from the wonderful Roz Harris - we need more people like her.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


 Politicians are a strange breed.

In my view many of them are attracted to the role by wanting to be important. One local, noteworthy politician I am told started life as an electrician working alongside a one of my friends on the fringes. He turned to him and complained "No one takes me seriously- what can I do about it" - "Become a copper." Later he became a man with a gold chain round his neck.

Now I quickly recognise a the trait. Another wimp of a girl I knew thirty five years ago who at the time had a crush on another married friend of mine became a Councillor. When I came across her five years ago she had been a politician for twenty years in an important capacity. Those that had put her forward could find no one else to stand at the time. However the transformation had been amazing - she could walk into a room with 'presence' she could speak on a subject convincingly - she had had twenty years of schooling at 'being important'. Meeting and talking occasionally in impressive buildings- being 'important'; representing a safe seat - many felt very badly - being returned time and time again by her party faithful.  Now she is out of office she appears to have drifted into obscurity.

John Clough has been a councillor for a year now. When I first contacted him he blacked me out writing "I've been warned about you" even though I complimented him about his enthusiasm. He didn't like what I understood to be reliable information that he had talked a little through his hat when he 'spoke out' about an issue he didn't understand correctly.

Now he is making the right noises when he writes in his election leaflet "I WILL keep in close touch with you all throughout the coming four years". I wrote


Will you use a blog?

If not - why not?"

I received the reply:

" I use Twitter and find this as a quick way to communicate, I am willing to use a blog but as you know you can always email me. "

Being willing to isn't the same as doing it. Twitter is a start but can be very trivial- see James Airey's and you'll see what I mean. Time Farron's is no better. It tells us little about what they are doing as politicians in government: It's a PR job and extension of the wittering we hear at election times. Something we can do without.

It seems to me that politicians when they step into 'office',  believe they now become 'important people'. Yes they may reply to emails but it could be just to blank us out and avoid giving us information. I get the distinct impression that they consider themselves a little superior to the rest of us and are only willing to scatter what crumbs of information they choose to from the 'high table'; nothing substantial as to what work they are involved with particular on issues.

If on reading this John is feeling particularly expansive then may I ask:

Where exactly are we regarding providing a face-to-face CAB service here in Ulverston.

Do we have a room ready for use at the Town Hall?

When will clients be able to talk to someone here in Ulverston? - Now, in a week, in a fortnight, in a month, really not sure.

When will clients be able to be able to reach someone by telephone at Windermere at the first call within 5 rings of the phone (80 % of the time within their stated opening hours)? - Now, in a week, in a fortnight, in a month, really not sure.

John, can you start now on the straight and narrow by giving us honest answers and not "the  Matter is in Hand" of Jayne Kendall, the clerk of the Ulverston Town Council.

So what does "I WILL keep in close touch with you all throughout the coming four years" mean.

Please start by answering my few questions.

Thanks .

Further insights: The phrase - "I use Twitter" is perhaps a tease as I can find the "John Clough"  I know and I've been through very carefully - I'm writing to ask for help.


Friday, 26 April 2013

Free - the flags in the Gill are wild

We're liberating our flags - come and have a look and tell us what you think. Unlike previous years, the flags here on our houses are now completely free. They are like untamed stallions, excited by the wind - proud, full of energy, now able to dance as they've always wanted to: free from a harness.

If you like the change - let us know.

This is what the ones round the centre danced like last year.

The flags on the houses are now dancing as well. If you're looking for a place to chill out and relax : The Gill is the place to be. Plenty of bench seating. The gentle flutter is mesmeric.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

It's all go for Geoff !

The planning meeting of SLDC to decide about a supermarket for Ulverston will be at 10:00 at Kendal Town Hall on this Thursday morning. It will be quite an event and I can't imagine how they will fit all the people in. Not only will there be lots of speakers putting forward their arguement but I hear the Sainsbury's will be busing people in to Kendal from Ulverston: taxis are also being provided.

It seems an unfair contest with big businesses versus the everyday person who stops and thinks about the future rather than being persuaded by the needs of the short term.

My main concern is what happens to Ulverston in say ten years time with high petrol prices and transport costs Then remote people at head office will decide that a supermarket in Ulverston is no longer viable on economic terms and they close a store situated on an insignificant peninsular away from the motorways. The decision will be made on the basis of keeping the shareholders happy when money and profits are important.

What I have to figure out is how much you can say in 3 minutes which is all the time I get.

Add to this pressure I have the Flags to go up in the Gill, play chess in the Market square on Saturday, support a thriving pottery group that meets here weekly, work on my allotment where the shed that's being built blew over and blocked access to the other allotments, get the sweet peas in for the fencing down one side of Mill Dam. Reply in endless emails. Keep banging on about the need for a CAB here in Ulverston. Keep walking over Hoad every day to stay fit. Deal with an election in early May - my job list is endless.. .

and thank god, practise my clarinet that helps return my brain to sanity.

With all this amount of contact with a wide range of great people there's no chance to feel depressed for longer than an hour or two.

When you're coping; life is very satisfying.

A great and very experienced singing duo

Demix is their name. Sara sings and Rod plays guitar - and sings. They have been performing for over thirty years and Sara, sadly, is considering giving up because she finds it increasingly difficult to attain the standard she sets herself. They perform because they enjoy it - sort of as a hobby- but they are very good. The listener would never spot anything other than total excellence and entertainment. Such is the enthusiasm of those that have heard them that Sarah keeps extending her public singing by another year and then another - and another. You never know though when she will stop so: Hear them at the Queens pub at Biggar , Walney Island on Saturday 11th May, say 8pm - very soon. Sadly Rod is not the best of pulicists - he anounced they were performing only on the morning of their last gig. You'll have difficult finding out about them so - trust me - they are superb and great fun.

Superb Meal at The Bistro at Ford Park

Or should I say at The Bistro, The Coach House, Ford Park, Ulverston.

We had, what I consider to be, the best meal of my life at this new restaurant last Friday when it was a French Food night. I have mixed feelings about recommending it as this could lead to it being packed and needing to book months ahead when I want to go again . . . . .

Worth travelling here from Lancaster puts most of your restaurants to shame - we've been to several. The  prices will amaze you for the quality.

The next themed evenings are on Friday and Saturday 3rd and 4th May - Spanish with  live Flamenco music - £18.50. Wow.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Our post box is back in a beautiful stone wall

This video was made just as the stone wall was being started and the post box returned. The work which will continue all along Union lane to six feet or more is being done by the local Urswick stonework firm , Edward Waddington t 01229 586833 m 07885 056945

Friday, 19 April 2013

CAB and Cllr John Clough

I met up with John earlier this afternoon.

He came across as a very genuine person with a lovely friendly twinkle in his eye. I immediately trusted him and believe that like Cllr Jane Harris he is doing the best he can for the town. There may be others but I haven't been impressed yet.

On the basis of this contact I would vote for him for County Councillor at the election in May. More of that later.

He is clearly keeping tabs on the CAB situation. He winced when I told him that I couldn't get through to the Windermere CAB.

So it's really watch this space. The situation re our CAB is at present totally unsatisfactory and no, the transition from one organisation to another has not run well in that there has been a gap with no face-to-face contact but something is really happening behind the scenes.

The lesson I come away with is that officials should avoid using phrases like "the Matter is in Hand" which is a red rag to a bull for me. It means "I don't really know but just leave it to us". But I'm not ready to do that - I want some explanations of really what is happening  and that someone is actually doing something to solve a situation. Too often nothing does until someone like me pokes his nose in and asks questions.

From John Clough's point of view, can I thoroughly recommend a blog like this with the aim of keeping people like me informed and establishing trust that we really do have some politicians who are genuinely working their socks off for us. I can see that it could be a lot of work for already busy people but it would restore public confidence in our politicians and get us involved in supporting them. We need to move in the direction of us all working together. As in the picture of the charity I saw in town earlier today - well done Avril!

The Matter is in Hand

"The Matter is in Hand"
"The Matter is in Hand"
"The Matter is in Hand"

Yes it makes for a great chorus to a song for the present times. Song writeres please note.

The phrase cropped up in an email from our Town Clerk, Jayne Kendall:

In answer to my request to address the Ulverston Town Council regarding a very supportive attitude from Tom Holliday, head of the Cumbria Library Service in this area to the possibility of volunteers being stationed at the Ulverston Library rather the remote service that I understand is being proposed using Cumbria Rurals call centre at Windermere.

"So my understanding from CAB is that it is in hand, although we don't have a
date as yet."

What kind of statement is that? - Answer: the kind you get from politicians trying to fob you off.

After several exchanges of by email I get the following with copies to all Ulverston Town Councillors:

I can confirm that the CAB are going to come into Ulverston Town Hall and that the date will be announced shortly. I don’t know the hours that they will be operating, but at least they will be in the town.


Now we know all the councillors can sleep soundly in their beds and not worry.

So I've been trying to find out what kind of service is in fact available:

So what has been happening in the past months? If you try to track down Ulverston CAB on the internet there is With the statement:


If you then phone Windermere within the stated time, Telephone: 015394 46464, you get a recorded message "there is no one available to answer you"

I have done this three times over a period of 30 minutes . Please try for yourself.

When I phone the Barrow office, I get a reply, but they know of no service in Ulverston at present. They recommend ringing Windermere. When told I get no reply they suggest they may be inundated.

My point is that this situation has been 'planned' by CASL. The Ulverston/Kendal organisation started to do this about September last year yet we now have a chaotic situation at present with councillors being told that "everything is in hand".

It clearly isn't.

It seems obvious that we need one or two councillors who are closely monitoring this essential service. Furthermore we need to follow up any alternatives that present themselves.

Don't you agree.

Since the above I have met you with John Clough a councillor who is clearly concerned and keeping track of what is happening see next post.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Work on the Ulverston cobbles again

Hopefully for the last time.

Work has started and is due to last three weeks but in reality if they get it done by then, the workers deserve a large bonus. We need to have a party on their final day and send them home as heros.

Though there will be a lot of frustration from shoppers and particularly shopkeepers at the timing of the work and maybe the design:

Let's not take it out of the workers.

They deserve all the encouragement we can give them. The last lot who came here in November worked incredibly hard and resented being slagged of my frustrated locals: they travelled each day all the way from Newcastle and some were laid off the minute they weren't required.

Yes we can criticise our politicians : County Councillors, James Airey and Peter Hornby (up for re-election now)- they haven't a clue what is going on.

Yes we can criticise the Cumbria Highways Department of the past with Nick Raymond in charge. Bad decisions were made. Our politicians were lazy and showed little interest, but now it's too late to put mistakes right.

Now let's be as encouraging and helpful to the workers themselves who I suspect will be working flat out to do the best job they can.

What we can do is take more interest in the actual performance of our decision makers and give them hell when they don't do their job well. I've found we can have considerable influence by keeping on asking questions and posting our views on a blog like this. Videos on Youtube are very effective and enable us to avoid the lousy gutter press like the Evening Mail.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

An amazing place to visit

PlayZone - at The Custom House in Barrow

I love it  - and I'm seventy eight.

Not only do I have fun with a host of under fives (older ones are in school) but I enjoy the positive company of the adults.

As they bring their children there in the morning when I go there are always a high proportion of adults to kids.

Even in the play area (rather than the cafe´) there is at least one adult for every four kids. Yes they are also scrabbling about and crawling around on all fours ducking under 'doorways' three foot high, climbing over barriers or even between eighteen inch rollers that require you to dive and roll forward.

The big dual banana slide gives you and the children a 'weyhey' 'wee' experience with a splat finish at the end - we all love it. For the children there are loads of 'risky' experiences that the plunge into the unknown with a little trepidation and then go back for more once that twinge of fear has been mastered. The variety is great with rooms of light four inch plastic balls, two feet deep: perfect to hide deep inside and give the unsuspecting visitor a brief scare.

More later - I've work to do!

All for £3.50 per child - Adults get all the fun and exercise they want for free - that is for 90 minutes if it's busy - longer if not.

Permission given to publish

A poem:

His windows on the world
hide themselves.
On the floor or under a cushion;
near the machine that fills idle hours;
on the table where much is made;
above the keyboard played with closed eyes
They lurk.
Frustration grows.
A forgotten event is followed
by the search of hands.
A call for help:

Have you seen my glasses?

by Christine Atkinson

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

"That's Power" she cries

"and if I need another one, I'll just go and knit one".

Expressed with feeling by someone who has gone back to making herself her own dishcloth and is using it to do the dirty cups.

She's also  kniting new jazzy socks and repairing old ones.

As for me, after searching for a new set of bowls for our soup and desserts, I've realised "What am I thinking?".  "I can make myself a set". So I'm now in the process of designing them and am waiting for the next firing of our group of potters that meet every Monday evening. They will have a chain of children dancing around the bowl to remind me of my happy times out with them every week.

Isn't great, being creative, having the skill and equipment to do things for yourself. And now for a bit of clarinet playing on the bench in The Gill.

Lies, Damn Lies and Political Campaign Literature

Here we go again. The election of candidates for the County Council take place at the beginning of May in two weeks time.

Both the Conservative and Labour literatures for the upcoming election for County Councillor make democracy a farce.

On the basis of what has been printed, no inteligient person would vote for either party.

The literature I've received so far is full of claims that the other party is terrible and full of dodgy claims of action in the past. It lacks positive statements of what  the candidates propose to do on the County Council in the future and reliable information about what they have done in the past.

In these days where easy communication throughout the year is possible between politicians and their electorate, the candidates do nothing of value. One would expect to be kept informed about what they are attempting to do in various committees using a blog like this, which is so easy to set up; they could set up pages on Facebook; they could use Twitter. Instead they refuse to communicate except now when they insult us with rubbish that most of us sensibly put in the bin where it belongs.

Yes James Airey uses Twitter however I've never read anything there that tells me of what he does politically: it's full of his own personal activities and how terrible the Labour party is.

The Labour party does nothing that I'm aware of. Yes they have a web site but can I find out anything about the upcoming election :No. You will be told that the election is on May 3rd when actually it's on Thursday May 2nd. The Ulverston Conservatives don't even have a web site.

The Greens do have a web site but no mention of the current elections.
If you put "Ulverston Liberal Party" into Google you're told about the the Green Party !

So what hope for democracy when the electorate have to make decisions without useful information.

It's time for a new type of polician who will keep us well informed and be honest with us. Not one who produces garbage about how terrible the others are, and makes claims of action when in fact they are almost totally out of touch with what most us want to see happening and do nothing useful on the various councils. Not one who thinks it's only worth talking to us in idiot poli-spiel at election time. Then politics can start to work for all of us.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Town is Tidy

Isn't it great?
Is it, as has been suggested (here), that our 18 Town Councillors have been working their socks off?
Is this mainly because we've been organised into teams to clean up litter by others (them)?
Is it because people have been motivated to clean up litter because of a campaign run by others?
Is it because people have been motivated not to discard litter by a campaign run by others?
Is it because a lot of people go round picking up litter anyway?
Is it because some brave people tell people off if they see people discarding litter deliberately or without thinking?
Is there another reason/s?

Your comments are welcomed.

If you want to be involved in this discussion perhaps you'd start now?

Oh what a glorious day

Plenty of people going over Hoad, many from away, some from Bournmouth.

Ford Park was being very well used. Lots of children and people on the fields; the playground and cycling being very popular with children; impromptu childres races.

The Cafe with Rufino Ferreira as chef and friendly and helpful staff, was doing a roaring trade. Sitting outside was bliss : good food : good company.

The beautiful Walled Vegetable Garden managed by Sarah Macormack was receiving lots of well deserved attention.

We're very fortunate to have two very skilled, efficient and inspiring people working here- Cafe and Garden at Ford Park. At last Jackie Williams' hard work over a decade is paying off in spite of the many negative people that have occasionally got people's backs up in the past with their me. me, me ; my, my, my attitude. At last Ford Park is beginning in feel like a community centre. We just need to modify the remaining self centred management. It's a community set up and if we don't like what we come across we need to speak out if we want to see change instead of grumbling.

 Bottom up organisation, here we come - more on this theme in the offing. I've popped regarding top down people - just had enough - the Keep Ulverston Tidy farce was the last straw!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

It's the holiday-

Perhaps you've got some children who'd apreciate a story

I love this one:

I've you'd like me to read another story then make a comment to encourage me. I'm human and thrive with encouragement. Without it I'll find something else to do.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

It's cold, but the sun is out

My thought is "Get used to it Geoff". This is the highly likely weather of the future in years to come. Global Warming - that most now accept exists - is a very real scientific explanation:

Millions of gallons of cold water from melting ice at the North Pole being released near Greenland. This then interferes with the Gulf Stream which keeps the UK unusually warm for our Latitude (compare Alaska). Disrupt the flow of the stream and we get the weather that would be normally at our Latitude.

Thus Global Warming ( which has far more acceptance since this blog was started ) doesn't have the effect of making the UK warmer.

Thus we need to brace ourselves for yet another hardship on top of all the others that we already have. This is particularly difficult to accept for younger people who have lived in a world where the standard of living has improved year by year. Now we have to adjust that our way of lives just have to get 'worse' and worse in the future.

Those of us that lived during the last war can remember that although it was grim it was enjoyable as well. Yes, ice cold bedrooms, now running hot water, rationing so few food treats like oranges, lamb steaks, eggs etc. Little choice in clothes, no fancy gadgets like television, computers, cameras, mobile phones, fancy sound playing equipment yet in spite of this, life was fun and very enjoyable.

So we need to have a change of attitude and look around for the things that are great and give us something wonderful to live for. One of these for me is the making of music, something they even managed to enjoy in the concentration camps in the war - along with self created theatre and comedy. Even today we read about those in South America who scavenge the rubbish to make musical instruments to play superb music in their own orchestras. Wow.

 I can't help crying as I type this, having just reminded myself of these incredible young people and what their indomitable spirits have enabled them to achieved.
If they can do it, then so can we in Ulverston - or are we made of more submissive material? Piggy's exploits is my way of doing something similar and yes it's tough but then I have the advantage of having lived in 'hard times' as a refugee in wartime. Most people don't have this privilege.

Monday, 1 April 2013

The appreciation grows

Never have I been so popular. Piggy took £2.07 from about four people in twenty minutes. Lots more smiles and even some jigging around down the street. I became emotionally exhausted, the equipment died and I had to quit - started to hit lots of bum notes. Back to play and play and play. Total now for the Lantern Procession : £4.47