Friday, 31 May 2013

Comments on this blog

There are still people who think it is appropriate to abuse me over the views expressed here.

It is not.

If they wish to put forward a counter arguement in a polite way, giving their real name then this is welcome and they will get published.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

What an Amazing Music Festival

And it's here in Ulverton.

And it starts this Friday.

The Ulverston International Music Festival

And Antony Hewitt has managed to attract Steven Isserlis on Thursday 6th June: someone who I normally would have to travel all the way to London to hear. For me he's the best cellist in the world.

Stop the world - there are too many good things going on. Isn't it brilliant.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


They always make me feel most uncomfortable.

The tragedy by tiger has hit the national headlines. Hopefully people will stand back and reflect.

Zoos project the worse of human nature: control of the environment for the mindless amusement of bored humans.

Why promote dangerous wild animals (controlled my people). If we want this thrill, go to where the wild animals are in their own surroundings. If we can't afford this  then watch the superb documentaries made in great depth by film makers over several years.

If we want to observe wild life for ourselves then we can go into the countryside and sit patiently, silently and watch: rabbits, foxes, moles, field mice, herons . . . .

At the moment we have blackbirds raising their young - fascinating.

Tigers surely aren't tigers if they are not free to roam.

Monday, 27 May 2013

What I love about Ulverston

Coming up!

It's pure raw local behaviour.

Nearly all of us do it.
It's totally self regulated - no bloody interfering councillors trying to tell us what to do with a "Keep Ulverston Tidy" campaign. No coppers telling us how to behave. No signs saying "Do this, do that". No one has ever given us a lecture on what to do:we do it by instinct. It's highly efficient in a potentially dangerous situation. Very few other towns in the UK have it.
It costs absolutely nothing.
Having experienced it, 90% of us thinks its great which is why it carries on and on and on.

Why can't the rest of our lives be so pleasurable?

The rest of Ulverston and the world needs it badly.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

June 15th at Ford Park

Bringing together a lot of very positive people - 
Activities all over Ulverston starting on Friday June 14th until Sunday June 23rd
I now find from Corrin Hanlin that there is an excellent dedicated web site :
Click on the images to enlarge.

More of these brochures from Ford Park Cafe´ and the library.

Standing up for the middle ground

We are heading for a type of civil war between extremists.

Thankfully there are some very brave moderates and primarily caring human beings amongst us.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett needs to be the subject of discussion all over the UK: not the event itself.

Surely the conversation needs to be turned in her direction if you hear any extremist views. We all need to emulate her amazing example.

There are  plenty of extreme views here in Ulverston. We need to quieten the emotions and encourage rationality.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

No place for hate

I was hoping to be able to write something about the media frenzy that has exploded between extremist positions in our society but 38 degrees do it so much better. Isn't it great that we have access to such rational thinking. Racism is obviously alive and kicking here in Ulverston. Here's something we can do about it. But coming out in the open will have a great influence here. There is no longer the need to get frustrated - there is clearly the opportunity to do something useful:-

The murder of a soldier that took place in Woolwich yesterday was shocking and barbaric, motivated by hatred and intolerance. [1]

But as soon as the identites of the murderers were known, the streets and many websites were once again filled with hate. This time from racists like the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP), whipping up panic, fighting the police and attacking mosques. [2]

At times like these, extremist voices can take over the airwaves and the internet. That suits both the perpetrators of this crime and racist hate groups. Fringe groups get way too much of the limelight, risking fuelling a cycle of hate.

Together 38 Degrees members could help calm the situation down by presenting an alternative, more measured response. Let's create and share a collection of comments from 38 Degrees members, providing a positive alternative to the messages of hate circulating today.

Can you add your voice and say why you think there’s no place for hate in our society?

If enough of us speak out, we can help change the course of discussions in pubs, staff rooms, lifts and outside school gates across the country. Let’s join together and be the voice of calm in response to this awful event.

38 Degrees members have already been responding. Here are some of the comments:

We are all people, it doesn't matter what your colour, your religion or your language is. We need to stand together and say NO to the evil and wicked that sit back and try to get us to kill each other.
Baz, on Facebook

38 Degrees could certainly have a role to play. We need to ensure that those that would use horrific incidents like this to spread their own message of hate and intolerance are shown this is not accepted in the UK.
Felicity, on Facebook

We need to show that the people of Britain won't tolerate any kind of prejudice!
Karen, on Facebook

Join in with your comments here:

38 Degrees and HOPE not hate are collecting as many statements as possible from up and down the country to condemn both the hate-filled murder and the hatred in response. [3] The comments will appear in a video and together we can flood the internet with the message of hope.

Let’s steer the discussion and events following this horrific event away from hate and towards reason. Let’s get people from all backgrounds, and from all walks of life, to add their name and show that there is no place for hate in our society.

Join in with your comments here:

Thanks for being involved,

Robin, Becky, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team

PS: 38 Degrees members come together to speak up for the values we believe in and to try and make the UK better for everyone. It’s the first time we’ve come together as 38 Degrees members in quite this way, but hopefully we can once again make a positive difference. Please get involved here:

[1] BBC: Woolwich attach: suspects known to security services:
[2] The Guardian: Anti-Muslim reprisals after Woolwich attack:
[3] For more information about HOPE not hate:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Community action that works

Tax-dodging. It’s been all over the headlines. And on our own, it’s easy to feel powerless when we face big business. But people power has changed that. 38 Degrees members have teamed up to find a way to fight back.

When Npower admitted they hadn’t paid a single penny of corporation tax for three years, 38 Degrees members sprang into action. [1] Thousands of us signed a huge petition. We funded an investigation that proved their profits had been channelled through Malta. Our people-powered, tax-dodging scoop hit the front pages. [2]

And then we played our trump card: a new tool on the 38 Degrees website to make it easy for Npower customers to switch providers. So far, it’s working. Thousands of Npower customers have changed energy companies. But we can do better. Can you spread the word today and get more people involved?

Npower are one of the biggest energy companies in the UK, so chances are you’ve got customers among your friends and family. Even if you’re not sure whether they use Npower or not, they’ll probably know someone who does. Can you send them this email, and ask them to join in by clicking here?


It’s a simple two-step process to switch energy supplier, and it only takes about 5 minutes:
Step 1 - email Npower to tell them why you’re leaving
Step 2 - pick a new supplier from the list, and sign up to switch at their website

We’ve heard excuse after excuse from the energy giant, but they haven’t taken any firm action. [3] They’ve even refused to meet Npower customers. Now it’s time to show them we really mean business - and confirm our victory with another flurry of customers switching away.

The more of us who get involved, the greater our impact. So please forward this email to your family and friends, and ask them to join in here:


When companies like Npower dodge paying tax, it means more cuts or higher taxes for the rest of us. Now we have the chance to bring them down a peg or two and make them understand that their actions have consequences.

Big companies have been dodging tax for years - but as we saw with Starbucks last year, when their customers and the public get angry, companies listen. [3] Please press forward on this email to get more people involved.


Thanks for being involved and helping to make the big Npower tax turnoff such a big success.

Becky, Robin, Belinda and the 38 Degrees team

PS: Sadly, companies misbehaving like Npower are all too common. Now, there’s a new part of the 38 Degrees website where 38 degrees members can start their own petition - when they hear about other companies that are up to no good. You can start your own petition asking a company to clean up its act, or on another issue you care about, by clicking here:

PPS: 38 Degrees is fully member-funded, which means we don’t take donations from government or big business. During the campaign to get Npower to pay their taxes, regular donations from 38 Degrees members meant we could get started on building our switching tool and funding the investigation into their tax-dodging without any delay. Could you make a regular donation to 38 Degrees of £2 or £3 a week? Click here to chip in regularly now:

[1] The Independent - Npower's three years of zero corporation tax:
[2] 38 Degrees blog - Npower the Tax Dodgers:
[3] 38 Degrees blog - Npower 48hrs to Vote:
[4] The Guardian - Starbucks to pay £20m in tax over next two years after customer revolt:

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Waste of our money - replacing the cobbles down Market Street

I find that putting information on Youtube can be far more effective that simply writing it on this blog.
Why is this important? I find that if you're on the outside of local government there is a deliberate policy to make it difficult to obtain information or achieve results. (our excellent former Town Councillor Jack Rice had to use the freedom of information act to winkle information out of SLDC  about the revenues taken about various car parks  leading to the reduction in Stockbridge Lane Car Park fees (something John Clough tried to make out he had done himself in the recent County Council election)

It starts with the attitude of the Town Clerk (whoever it is - Jayne Kendal is little different to the previous clerk, David Parratt. There is a deliberate policy of trying the subdue enquiries, allegedly to prevent the public wasting the time of officials. In this case the Town Council and clerk ignored the petitions made in 2008 on the state of the cobbles arising out of poor work done on behalf of United Utilities back in 2005, arguing that they were doing all that they could be done: They weren't - the thinking was confined to working through official local government channels. In this case the Cumbria Highways Department who ignored everyone including the Town Council.

However going directly to the business sector (United Utilities) was far more successful than going to local government (Cumbria County council - Highways Department). Why the difference difference: ?
The business sector is concerned about it's reputation. Local government isn't.

In this case we kicked up a fuss about the arrogant behaviour of Nick Raymond, Head of the local Highways Department, by writing to all the councils he had dealings with: very few wanted to come out in the open and back up their stories of dissatisfaction. However it would seem things became too hot for him in this area - he was loaned to Carlisle then transferred to Barrow. The official line was that he had done no wrong but at least he was eased out of his chair by our local politicians who assisted/encouraged his move.

The main point of this posting is that the democratic system doesn't work and that councillors rare scratch below the surface and leave the civil servants to run the show. In several cases Councillors take on far too much responsibility; reponsibilities they can't possibly cover.

If we are to reduce the cost to us as tax payer, I would argue, we must pay councillors much higher salaries, together with funds for secretaries and researchers. We would then get full time councillors, thus sttracting much more competant people. They would then be able to challenge the behaviour of our civil servants and achieve better work at dramatically reduced cost. Back in 2008 I prepared myself to do this work with money out of my own pocket. I'm glad I didn't get in - it would have been a hell of a job and I probably wouldn't have been able to cope. I find it hard enough to write this blog with all the agro I get even now. Some sympathetic grunts would be appreciated. This would then encourage a few brave councillors that attempt to do a good job and work doing a full time bread winning occupation.

The salient facts and links are given below the video.

July 2008 The decision to run for County Council as an Independent with nearly a whole year ahead before the elections in May 2009 in order reach every householder in the half of Ulverston known as Ulverston East
 October 2008 As a result of a successful compaign, ably assisted by Ulverston born Roz Harris, now working at head office in London for United Utilities. Here United Utilities admit they are at fault in doing shoddy work replacing the cobbles when installing a water mains down the length of Market street but state they were never requested to do repairs by the Cumbria County Council, Highways Department. Something they were legally required to do and make good surfaces they had dug up.
Jan 2011 Video on the state of the cobbles before work started  a few months later below. The reasons for the present problem and the work that does and doesn't need doing.
 March 2011- over two years ago - The workers for Amey who are digging up cobbles down Market Street agree on film that the County Council are "Crazy" instructing them to dig perfectly good cobbles up whilst leaving the ones at the bottom of the street that do need doing, untouched.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Gardening Course at he Ford Park Walled Kitchen Garden

The second of the weekend gardening workshops today - 10.00 till 15.15 run by Sarah McCormack which are listed here, took place today with the next on Saturday June 22nd on Composting etc cost £30. (Sadly one reason so few take the course could be that the phone number given - 01229 588164 doesn't get answered - worth persevering).  Here is her interview:

With only two present we had superb tuition and practical sessions, a great lunch and all our many, many questions answered. I'm looking forward to the next which will give me extensive up to date knowledge for my allotment and care of the plants in Mill Dam Park which is all done by volunteers every Sunday morning.

For the first time in my life I feel I have been brought up to date with the most modern thinking in growing plants:
1. That digging can actually be damaging  to the soil. Maintaining good aeration of the soil is what is essential.  This can also be ensured by maintaining a good population of worms that do the work for us. Avoiding compacting the soil by treading on it is important. Double digging can be counterproductive
2. Watering an allotment can be harmful. Too ready a source of water which can lower soil temperature, if from the tap stunts, root growth. A lack of water encourages new plants to go looking for water by growing long roots. Plants can detect the humid air that accompanies rain so that they prepare themselves to absorb it. Conversely in a draught  plants can close down their systems so as to survive without water. Result very healthy and responsive plants.
3. The presence of weeds can actually be an advantage in that they can preserve the water content in the soil. People who carry out obsessive weeding and throw them away remove a valuable source of vegetable matter (as happens in my allotment).
4. Understanding how to enable plants to reproduce themselves as a clone of themselves - starting with an excellent original and producing endless replicas of the original - something impossible to achieve if you start with seeds of the same plant which will all be different.

Sarah is truly someone with an intimate knowledge of how plants function. No wonder her kitchen is so far advanced beyond any vegetable garden in Ulverston - if not the whole area.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Off to the Bistro for a meal again

After about ten years of rarely going for a meal because the choices in the area and even as far as Lancaster were poor (please put we right if you know otherwise): we have found a fantastic place.

You will remember that I wrote here that I'd had the best meal of my life here at their French evening. I wrote it because I meant it. You'd therefor expect me to be back as it's right on my doorstep and we've already been back for their Spanish evening and now - tonight and tomorrow- they got a Greek evening and we've already seen the menu.

I've mixed feelings - I have this trait that when I've found something good I want to share it - which close friends think is stupid : the prices will go up and the place will get packed. My reflection is that they deserve it and I aim to eat my full before that happens; disappear from the scene and leave the place to you guys. I've managed without meals out for ten years - I can do it again!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

This is a wonderful community event

Many of you will know Clare Clarke who his working her socks off together with her many friends to organise this event on May 31st for her friend,

In October 2012 our friend Paul Gorman, aged 38 had a heart attack which left him brain damaged. This has resulted in his wife Karen and daughters Jessica aged 7 and Ella aged 4 with financial difficulties. We would like to ease the worry of this situation as much as possible. On 16th March 2013 at 10am we  walked from The Strawberry, Barrow to Ulverston via the Coast Road and back to The Strawberry. If a to join us and/or donate, a family would be very grateful. Please donate to anyone involved or pop into Highfield Dental Practice. See the facebook page at

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

There are some gems that you wouldn't want to miss

That is if you realised what was on offer.

Sarah McCormack is sharing her considerable knowledge of how plants grow in a course at her domain in Ford Park this next Saturday. You will get very good attention: if you came you would be increasing the numbers up to three ! Sarah tells me the course will definitely run albeit maybe for the morning only.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hard times when I was young

As an oldy, trying to communicate about what life was life with young people when I was their age, I'm reminded of the Monty Python sketch:

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

This Friday 10 pm in The Gill

The magic of the Dancing Gill Flags by 'candlelight'in the dark.

Twenty Four Flares actually one for every flag.

The flags in this lighting look fabulous - a fresh Gill attraction!

Photos coming up tonight:

Labour - and others - yuk

It might help Labour if their web site was up to date!
Wrong voting day and no mention of their County candidates. Are they as indifferent as the rest of us?

Mind you the Conservatives and Liberals are totally complacent - They don't even have web sites.

In fact if you put Ulverston Liberal Party into Google you get the Ulverston Green Party!

Go to their web site and you'd never know there had just been an election. All they advertise is their none existent 'debates' where they argue against themselves.

Conclusion: No one in Ulverston cares a toss about politics.

No wonder we get rubbish councillors and the town continues its downward spiral.

There's only one that I have a good word for.

The door is wide open for some good Independent candidates for our next election on May 7th 2015

Two years to prepare.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Work on the cobbles finishes this next Sunday

It's taken a long time. The result is nowhere near perfect but the people from Colas have worked very hard. Some have been coming all the way from Newcastle every day, others from Wigan.

The last stretch along the front of the shops at the bottom of Market Street will be done next Sunday.

Wouldn't it be good to give these workers a good send off - they have worked hard travelling long distances to complete the work. Their attitude has been a vast improvement to the guys from Amey who did the top stretch and insulted the public and shopkeepers with their casual approach to getting the job done.

How many people realise the work should never have needed doing in the first place and shouldn't have cost us a penny?

It was our county councillors back in the early 2000s who didn't keep tabs on incompetent work of supervision by the Cumbria Highways Department under the arrogant Nick Raymond. Contractors where allowed to dig holes in the cobbles without doing a good job of back filling the holes with good quality hardcore (gravel). The soil below then settled, created depressions which attracted water leading to a a chaotic road surface. Later on in this story (after their knuckles had been rapped) United Utilities showed us that quality work could be done so that a year later one couldn't tell there had been any activity,

The contractors who accessed services under the street weren't made to come back to do repairs as they were legally bound if called back within two years to make good by the Highways Department. Our councillors ignored or were ignorant of what was happening.

It was only when a campaign was run in 2008 by Geoff Dellow because of the extremely poor work done by Balfour Beatty, the contractors for United Utilities, when laying a water main down Market Street in 2005 that the problem was highlighted. Even then our local councillors took no interest and our petition was ignored. Fortunately one of the people signing the petition was Roz Harris, formerly from Ulverston, who now worked away for United Utilities. She went up to the top of her company and pointed out what had been happening.

United Utilities then apologised and agreed to do repairs in spite of the fact that their legal contract to do repairs had expired in 2007. The full story has been documented in full, here on this blog using this link

Could the same thing happen all over again ? Yes, with the quality of councillors we are still electing. The public continue to vote according to national trends and take little interest in the kind of person they elect and what our councillors actually do. At election times their literature is full of half truths and slagging off the opposition. As a result the councillors feed the public deceitful and irrelevant information and once elected do a poor job of keeping the public informed - which is why when planning to run for council, this blog was started . We need councillors who will keep us in touch with what they are doing from week to week: for instance running a blog so that we can vote intelligently at our next election. (Which will be in 2015)

Friday, 3 May 2013

What : no flags to welcome Printfest ?

Basically the Coro manager strongly recommended that we carry Public Liability Insurance (it could cost a hundred pounds for three days). We couldn't find anyone to cover us. (Printfest themselves, the Ulverston Town Council or the main Flag Festival on the shops in town were all approached).

In reply to a letter sent on Friday 26th April we finally get reply on Wednesday 1st May (after a verbal reminder) .

Ralph Spours (Chair of the latter) wrote:

Hello Geof.

Thank you fro your email.

Peter is dealing with this insurance matter.

The flags all look good and the heavy winds have now subsided.  I hope they stay that way.



Sadly we have heard nothing from Peter (Winston) their secretary.

The Flags will therefore enjoy an uninterupted stay in The Gill around the Cumbria Way Monument.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Elections - A None-event ?

Finding out who the Ulverston Candidates are,is difficult enough. The answer lies here.
The choice is:

Ulverston East

Hornby, Peter - (CONSERVATIVE)
    26 Meeting House Lane Ulverston Cumbria LA12 9ND

Hudson, Andrew - (LIBERAL DEMOCRAT)
    25 Monument Way Ulverston Cumbria LA12 9SY

O'Hara, Robert - (GREEN PARTY)
    34 Queen Street Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7AF

    7 Parkfield, Swarthmoor Ulverston Cumbria LA12 0HW

Ulverston West

Airey, James - (CONSERVATIVE)
    13 Church Road, Great Urswick Ulverston Cumbria LA12 0TA

Clough, John Victor - (LABOUR)
    23 Soutergate Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7ES

Loynes, Christopher - (GREEN PARTY)
    7 Ainsworth Street Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7EU

Martin, Paul Joseph - (UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY)
    16 Dorchester Crescent Ulverston Cumbria LA12 9LP

Nicholson, Maureen Frances - (LIBERAL DEMOCRAT)
    12 Canal Street Ulverston Cumbria LA12 7JZ

Of all these, I recommend Andrew Hudson for Ulverston East, not for his party but for the kind of person he is.

I'm now about to vote in a very angry mood - the candidates I have to choose from are either lying bastards that will bend the truth at the drop of the hat or they are trustworthy but inactive when it comes to getting involved with local affairs. The one who is the least suitable - James Airey - is the one I expect to get voted in just because "We always vote Tory".

When will people start voting for the person?

East ward: you have a great guy in Andrew Hudson but how many votes will he get? 200 would give me some hope for the future!