Monday, 30 December 2013

The importance of 'art' in one's life

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

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

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

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

The Artic 30 are free

This means a lot to me.

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


Hi Geoff,

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They're ready. Are you?

Ben Ayliffe
Head of the Arctic Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Calling all energetic creative people

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

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

For for information , read here

What has Kendal got that we haven't?

Do we need to do some serious thinking?

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

Look at these ingredients:

Ford Park

The Coro

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

The Lantern House

Many pubs like the Stan Laurel

The Lantern Festival

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

The Ulverston Brewery

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

Pottery on The Railings

Natterjacks

Unique image

Appleseeds

Mill Dam Park

Poppies Cafe

Roots and Shoots

And much much much more

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

Even Grange is forging ahead

Today's sunrise

"My that was worth getting up for".

Along with Porridge with Mozart's Quintet and coffee.

.

Moving to music is a goer !

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



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

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

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

A great family photo


It's a beautiful day

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

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




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

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I love moving around town at this time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Mr Raymond

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



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

Geoff,

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

Merry Christmas

Regards

Andrew



To which this was replied:





 Nick and Andrew

Thanks,

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

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

Geoff

Sunday, 22 December 2013

It's tradition!

Decorating our Christmas tree.

It started in 2010 with this:



Last Friday night we were up to tricks again!

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

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

Mr Raymond,

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

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

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

Youtube will most likely reflect the truth later this evening!

Best wishes,

Geoff Dellow

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

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

A great performance from the 'Town Brass'

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

The sound and execution were superb.

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

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

Thank you!

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


Friday, 20 December 2013

A response from Nick Raymond, our local head of Highways

Mr Dellow

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

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

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

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.

Regards


Nick Raymond
Highways and Transport Manager – South

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

* * *

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

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

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

 * * *

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

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Muddy water from Persimmons Estate heads for King Street

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

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

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

This IS

Good news



Twelve minutes of pure joy !

Doom and gloom in our media?

Is this not having a depressing effect on us all?

There must be lots of positive stories to focus on?

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

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

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

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Moving to Music

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

It's going to be a beautiful day

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

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



What else is there to celebrate?  :

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

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





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

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

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Andrew Moss last night

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

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

The land allocation meeting held last night

Was I reassured?

No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Friends of the Coro

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

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

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

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

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

Two ideas might be worth a note amongst many:

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

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

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

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

This cheered me up!

How can this miserable message cheer me up?

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

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

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



Geoff -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,
Jack

Sign my Petition

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

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

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

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

Well worth a watch!

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

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

Fun

This is the funiest thing I've seen recently.



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