Saturday, 8 November 2014


Yes this blog is still running!

SO what next?

Specially for someone who loves his food:

How about  fried eggs -home grown- , streaky bacon, black pudding fried tomatoes and thinly sliced potatoes.

At least that's something to be getting on with !

Best wishes

NOTE : Google are placing safeguards against robots on comments that are beyond my control

My apologies.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Beware, don't clap.

When we lived at The Falls, just outside Ulverston, we lived in an old farmhouse built in the seventeenth century, with its rose growing outside the front door and two feet thick walls.

The field, that one drove in through was owned by people in the town .

One morning , looking out of the front of the house, there was a large working horse on the front lawn outside . It didn't belong there, but in the field we drove in through to reach the farm, so my immediate reaction was to shoosh it off back to where it belonged.

What did I do?

I opened the front door and clapped loudly. Result : two very deep holes about a foot deep in the lawn  as the horse took off at speed with its back legs. It had a lot of weight to shift quickly.

So if you see a horse on your front lawn, speak to it quietly and ask it to leave slowly!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

It's nearly time to bring the spikelights out again

Photo taken from The Railings, Ulverston Web Site where it all started

Preparations are now underway for another Candllit Walk up Gill Banks, Ulverston on Halloween - October 31.

Have a look at the  Facebook Page for the Ulverston's Candlelit Walk. You may want to join in with the activities there.

Only on Saturday, thanks to the snipping team , the 'Underwater the Sea Shadowscreen' masterpiece was created.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Some positive thoughts

More and more of my active friends are avoiding reading or watching the news

This strikes me as a very positive approach.

Too often the news is seen as a form of entertainment.

Those that care about what is happening feel dragged in by the media into wanting to do something to influence the result. In reality they know that all their efforts  will have little to no influence on the result.

We all need to choose to do things that avoid frustration and have a reasonable chance of success otherwise we will become depressed.

For me I am learning to focus on the real people around me and not on things that are so distant. People that I meet in the flesh and can relate to directly. People that live in the same street or close by. People I see and can talk to almost daily or at least weekly. The ideal people for me are those that I can work with in some activity or other. In this way one can get to know what people are really like. Too often talking can seem empty unless they result in positive actions. Talking can reveal  great differences in opinion which is fine as long as these opinions are not rigid.

Sadly there are some people who are absolutely sure they are right. These are the people who on the broad scale cause wars, when both sides are completely sure the other side is wrong.

By getting to know others personally we can come to like the qualities of a great variety of people who all have their different strengths and weaknesses.

If we respect each other and admire the qualities of those around us then we can feel good about each person. This doesn't mean that we need see all their views and actions as positive from our point of view. What we can do is focus on the qualities,

These are thoughts that I am seeking to put into practise.What are yours?

I love the quote attributed to  Saint Francis de Sales:

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering you own imperfections"

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

My first kiss?

"I dare you" Philip whispered. It was very early in the morning just after dawn. He should have been facing the other way in his bed, but he was not used to talking out of the back of his head, so he preferred to break the school rule:

All boys  must go to sleep facing the far end of the dormitory lying on the right side of their bodies ( a posture that endures with me to this day- the one I am most comfortable with).

This rule was intended to deter chatting amongst the thirty  - three rows of ten- boys in this long room with its five large windows left open whenever possible with their wooden shutters that could be closed in poor weather. We were sleeping, after all, in one of the four dormitories of Hunters Hill Open Air School, Blackwell, just to the south of Birmingham, near Bromsgrove. I was ten, preparing to move back home and enter if at all possible King Edward VI Five Ways Grammar School.

Miss Maguire had her small bedroom immediately next to the dormitory so that she was handy to deal with any misbehaviour from her 30 charges.

" Dare you" Philip whispered again." I dare you to go and kiss Miss Maguire."

My what a challenge for me, a well behaved ten year old to kiss Miss Maguire, my favourite teacher, while she slept in a room next to ours: one I'd never been in before, so had no idea where in the room she slept.

"You're on" I stated nervously.

I got out of bed in my pyjamas and crept gingerly to her bedroom door. It was a terrifying challenge . But then I really liked Miss Maguire. She gave me extra tuition after school in Maths, a subject that was to become my best subject throughout my life. Fist at school and then on after that at university.

After what must have seemed hours to Philip, I summoned up the courage to turn the door handle and enter forbidden territory. It would be a very gentle kiss - my lips just touching her cheek and my teacher would never notice as she slept so would never know . Then, I would have complete my dare without waking her and being discovered. 
I was in. I could hear her regular breathing  so I could tell where she slept. Her head was just discernible  on her pillow in the very early morning light.

Panic: I had a big unexpected problem. Only the top of her head was visible- her face was under her blankets and sheet.This wasn't going to be easy at all. By my definition. a kiss involved my lips touching skin and not just hair.  I'd come this far I wasn't returning to admit defeat.

Nothing for it but to very slowly draw back the covers so that some skin would eventually appear. I worked very slowly to achieve my goal a fraction of an inch at a time.

Suddenly, the sleeping body reared up. Time to achieve a quick exit as the bedroom light flashed on.

"Come back immediately" was the demand. I stopped dead in my tracks and considered. No name had been used.

"Come back who ever you are". Yes I could escape unknown. Trouble was: I was honest to the core and would get found out anyway. Best to go back and face the limelight. I re-entered into the now  blinding light - I was at the mercy of my teacher.

"So Dellow. What did you want? What were you doing ?'

A very sheepish quiet voice replied very hesitantly "I, I , I,  was just trying to kiss you Miss."

 Silence -while Miss Maguire took in the situation.

"Go back to bed".

 I left wondering what would happen to me in the morning.

Philip awaited my return wide eyed "You were a long time: I thought you'd chickened out" I had failed my bet - never-the- less there was obviously admiration in his voice.

I returned to the safety of my bed and took up my correct position on me right side ready for sleep. Thinking what will happen next . . .I quickly dozed off. Miss Maguire hadn't appeared too upset after all.

Next day school continued as normal : not a word was said about what had happened. Philip kept the story to himself. We were mates after all.

Miss Maguire took no action.

Did I get get some rather curious looks from the other teachers? I asked myself. Or was Miss Maguire keeping her little story to herself?

Thanks to the tuition from my favourite teacher I went on to do well at my grammar school. Sadly a school devoid of any female teachers. It was a boy's grammar school after all.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Something to ignore and erase

If you get an email like this:

YOUR E-TICKET(S) ARE ATTACHED TO THIS EMAIL, SENT Please print ALL PAGES of the PDF file attached to the email and bring them with you to gain admission to the event.

The attachment requires that you have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, please click HERE to download and install this program.
Peter Pan
Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre
Tue 23 Dec 2014 - 7:00 PM
3Early Bird - Price A18.0054.00
6Early Bird Child Under 16 - Price A15.0090.00

Ticket Information
Circle/A 35-30 (6) , Circle/B 33-31 (3)

Ignore this email.

The criminals are at it again and have come up with a new idea to try and catch us out again.

My overiding principle: there is no such thing as a free lunch - be wary!

The down side is that we will become suspicious of genuine offers of help from our friends

Monday, 8 September 2014

Real three dimension people

People are finding out, more and more that instead of being a help, technology is getting in the way of a rich enjoyable  life.

The following  article describes the life of someone who works from home. Sounds ideal doesn’t it?

However what has happened is that he rarely sees anyone face to face. All his contacts are remote:  through the telephone or using his computer. This deprives him of the rich human contact that one gets from actually being in the presence of another person where communication comes in so many ways: visual - body language, with little revealing gestures that are so expressive: sound – tone of voice,   and something that is possible only this way: touch – maybe a hand shake, a gentle grasp of an arm or all the way to a full blooded body hug.

Ever since humans evolved, over the last hundreds of thousands of years, face to face, physical presence has been the way  we have communicated. Now in the only the last hundred years our technology has robbed us of this emotionally rich way of living together. First the telephone, then television, now by the computer : the use of email and more recently Facebook.

He writes:

Is a decline in face-to-face contact leading to a decline in our well-being?  

"I'm writing this on Wednesday lunchtime. The only face-to-face interaction I've had since Sunday is a 30-minute appointment with a physiotherapist who diagnosed me with tennis elbow."

and continues:

 "...  I can do most of my work from home, and over the years I've chosen to continue doing so, figuring that the wealth of electronic communication available to me – email, text, social media – keeps me sufficiently connected with others for me to feel vaguely human. But when the workload grows, I certainly feel that absence of real interaction, and I know from experience that it can't be assuaged by having a stilted chat with a DHL delivery guy.

"a study this week that found a strong correlation between a decline in face-to-face contact and a decline in our well-being. Engaging with people face-to-face, they say, has a deep and profound effect upon us that's related to our status as a social species. Social media, it appears, isn't that social at all, coming in for particular criticism for its "insidious negative effects".

Electronic communication by text has come in for all kinds of criticism this week. A chiropractic physician voiced his fears over the increased incidence of what he terms "Text Neck", a condition where the practise of hunching over a phone is resulting in the first few bones of our cervical spine bending forward in an unusual way. Then there were arguments over a study into whether instant messaging has a pernicious effect upon children's spelling and grammar skills; the study found that this was absolutely not the case, but many still equate the use of shortcuts, emoji and abbreviations to be causing untold damage to our brains.

I totally agree. My recent experience of having had a stroke has made me very appreciative of direct contact with real people. People that live in our lane, people that I've got to know well well over the past nine years that I've lived back here. They are all, in their  very different ways, very supportive. They really care about me and value my friendship, and have rallied round to do things for me at every opportunity: support that would never be available if I only knew them by email or by Facebook. 

"if we can be of any help: pop in and get us at any time"

We in Ulverston, because of our limited size of some 12,000 people, can get to know people so easily.

We have the great advantage over large towns things like Market day when  chatting groups of two and three down the street are so common.  Our schools enable parents to first get to first get to know each other. Many walk with their children, meeting up with other parents on the way. Then those close to small parks  like Mill Dam Park develop their contacts into the rich friendships that many of us enjoy.

We have something special here in Ulverston: lets keep it that way. 

Small is beautiful.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A time to be silent

If its something I've learnt from older wise people        (and I have known one or two):

It's their ability to be silent when it counts

Now is my time to learn to be wise.




.   .   .

Tax collectors are good?

Police are good? Politicians are good? . . . . . 

We had a day out to visit old haunts yesterday. 

The sun was out. The clouds in the sky looked beautiful.

The Tourists were of course being welcomed with open arms in the Lake District: for some the last day of the school holiday.

At Grasmere church, visitors were being welcomed in as many as thirty different languages.

Presentation was paramount at the Ginger Bread Shop. There was a steady flowing queue to see and buy a product sold all over the world by two young women dressed in traditional costume in this  minute establishment.

At another promotional shop.  It  would follow that everyone is good from the bags on sale at the ultimate feel good gift shop in Touristland at Grasmere, in the Lake District.

A teacher , nearby misread the following bag at first glance as Teachers are GOD

She commented

"How appropriate"

Monday, 1 September 2014


Tell me someone that doesn't like to be encouraged for what they've done.

It works like magic.

So why is punishment used so much?

Doesn't it just lead to resentment and hostility?

If you want a student to arrive early for school, I found that when I was teaching, encouragement worked extremely well.

I reasoned. Why not help the student want to come to school?

So, rather than scold them for being late, I welcomed them when they arrived with a big smile.

 I was able to do this because we had a very caring Head who also was very positive ( he was the reason I chose the school in the first place). We started school with a form period of twenty minutes before assembly. This enabled me to check over  each of the form members, visually, one by one each morning to see how they were emotionally and spot any potential problems for instance from bullying. We would discuss form outings. (We were doing this during an Ofsted inspection: a trip to see the Musical , Grease in central London. The Ofsted report stated that one of the forms was discussing their trip to Greece in their form period: It just shows how reliable these reports really are!)

Chioma Anyanwu was one of these.  She was highly intelligent but cause endless problems in her classes when I took the for over in year 8. She was good at sport and went to a netball club after school and was a natural leader. so I went along to this and praised her for all her efforts there. Very soon she started arriving at school on time. Encouragement really worked.

When she was given an after school  detention  given by another teacher of picking up litter :she refused. So I was able to get the Head to immediately talk to her and we reached a compromise: she would pick up litter with me  doing it as well but with her wearing rubber gloves to keep her hands clean. It worked.

Chioma went on to do well in her studies, going to our six form and on to University - one of the few from this particular school  then ( Hainault  Forest High School in North East London now the Forest Academy). She was a capable young woman with a supportive but overworked single mother, a nurse, with several other somewhat resentful children.

Giving children merit stickers at the beginning a class to all these who were settled for the lesson with equipment ready and sitting quietly and attentively within thirty seconds of being admitted to the class, worked beautifully for the younger classes, Thus setting a good habit for the rest of their lessons later on in future years.

Now I will make a point of congratulating a train conductor as I leave the train if he has been helpful and friendly as he does his job. His response:

"Thank you , you made my day"

It is so sad that our society chooses by contrast to use punishment as a way of changing people's behaviour and rarely encourages on the spur of the moment with a "Thank you". Most of the time negative attitudes don't work but lead to resentment and hostility in the future. Focusing on groups of  individuals, listening to them  and being encouraging , does.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ulverston Lantern Festival

Is here again.

Theme: What's under Hoad

The organisers are working hard as usual. Though there was some doubt about it happening this year. But Gavin Knott has stepped in as Treasurer and I assume with the usual impressive involvement of the scout troop who have in the past led one of the processions with  a gigantic creation.

Every year there's a new crop of children eager to join in this wonderful event. I'm always amazed at the creations that emerge from people's living rooms, cunningly created so that the  large lanterns can emerge through restricting door ways and windows and the final version put together outside.
Apparently it's been going 32 years now. I still remember some of the early events, instigated by John Fox and Sue Gill of Welfare State when the events in Ford Park were spectacular  with some superb Firework displays. Now their children in turn have their own children though still very young. John and Sue usually still play their saxophones as part of Blast Furness in the procession.

Thus children who first got carried away at the excitement of the procession are now parents of children also excited at the prospect of joining in themselves. No wonder that the procession continues year after year.

Leaflets abound.  In case you haven't seen one:

Lantern kits are available now from

The Coro
Laurel and Hardy Museum
The Book shop in the Market Hall
and Costa Coffee

Lantern Making sessions are great fun :getting ideas from other people of all ages:Every day Sept 5th to Sept 12th in the Lantern House.

The time table for the  four processions   are on the leaflet: basically starting at five minute intervals: from 7:45pm at Croftlands Community Centre, then the Parish Church, then the Auction Mart Yard and last from Hill Foot Hotel at ten minutes later at 8.05pm

For updates  Ulverton Lantern festival can be found on Facebook

Friday, 29 August 2014

Daniel Barenboim

Thank you

Superb musicianship.

Makes all our problems fade into insignificance.

It's a lovely day

remember this? 

Had to throw the LP - gone to Oxfam- so bought the CD which has just arrived

love the pictures.


Blog statistics

I'm sure you will be aware that Google Analytics provides information on the  different people that look at a blog.

It is very gratifying that so many of you continue to look in to read what I am writing. It's good practise for me of course as I learn to express myself in writing: at school I found English my most difficult subject, preferring Maths by far (It used to take me a whole weekend to write an essay starting on Friday evening, continuing on Saturday and finally being forced to finish on Sunday).  In fact I still have some quite good pictures I drew and painted for fun just to avoid writing my very demanding essay. I was an only child without the distraction of siblings and television- very few families had one. I also took my studies at school very seriously!

I get quite a lot of ideas for postings from the people I talk to and from emails I receive.

 The numbers over the past four months since my stroke are steady and in fact rising  up towards 500 people (now at 441) with as many as nearly 60% returning  visitors (58 in fact) who have made 1,439 pageviews in the last month.

It is a puzzle why so few people comment. This may be that the kind of people who read this blog prefer not to be identified with their views as the internet is quite exposing to people who value the opinion of those around them. I also now refuse to publish negative and abusive comments (something I used to do, thinking it revealed the kind of negative people that were around).When I talk to people in 'real life' they freely admit to having read what is written here yet  I get the impression that they are the kind of people that would rather not share their views in public. They tend to be people who have very busy lives without feeling the need to write about what they do.

There is perhaps another group of people  who prefer to use Facebook where topics of the kind discussed here are not shared. Facebook I think is quite different and much less serious and more fun and chatty. Personally I find it quite addictive. In fact I get drawn in to making inappropriate comments and find it difficult to follow if I don't keep 'looking in'  on a daily basis. There are  too many other things to get on with such as answering emails and taking live to people I meet : something I far prefer to do.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Someone  very wise originated this thought.

It has at least two versions of unknown origin:

God give me strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

God grant me the SERENITY to
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.

 Serenity is an old fashion word which has now changed its meaning. For 'God'I would substitute my own reasoning and conviction.

In my present state of mind, suffering from severe lack of sleep after my stroke, it has great pertinence.

Battles, I would normally have taken on, must be left to others to fight in their own way. Their fresh approach may well succeed in the long run. Succeed in a way I would have never achieved.

I for my part need to focus on getting better and if necessary, letting my opponents winning  battles over issues I feel very strongly about . Another wise quote comes to mind:

He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.

I'm looking forward optimistically to being fighting fit again in about six months to a year, but this is not for me at the present time.


Stopping to reflect is such a powerful thing to do.

It keeps us  in touch with our emotions: the very essence and core of out being.

Isn't it easy to get swept along into living at a mad pace? Swept along ,thinking we have found what is important to us, without having given any time to reflect why we're pouring all this energy into what we're doing?

We miss the  feeling of  calm by being  in touch with the person we are.

I love this poem:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Leisure by W.H.Davies

Perhaps we need to pause and learn to stop and stare a lot more.

Doing it will help us discover what we really want out of life.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Common sense: Where is it?

An extraordinary tale from Ulverston's Recycling centre.

Is it time to start breaking petty rules made by bureaucrats?

For my part I've started. They can take me to court if they want to!

Tom visits the Recycling Centre with a broken glass shelf from his fridge to get rid of.
He sees an identical shelf in a fridge there. "Can I have it?" He asks.

 "Nope. No one is allowed to take anything out of here. They're our orders from the boss"

"Couldn't you just look the other way then?"

"No, I lose my job. There are CCTV cameras up there."

"I thought this was a Recycling Centre. Clearly it's not"

So next time let common sense prevail  take it without asking or perhaps say "Prosecute me then":

Is it time to break the silly rules so that umcommon sense prevails?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Remaining positive

It's the only way to be.

Getting angry with things around us, can often trigger off more anger back, setting off a vicious circle that escalates. The stuff that wars are made of.

People  like Lawrence Conway with his vicious way of dealing with happy people that are having a great time together Mill Dam Park, need to be pitied and ignored whenever possible.

He has now made himself and the actions of his staff, the laughing stock of people around them. I'm sure that his actions has  brought the people of Ulverston even closer together to resist outside interference from people who are so out of touch with us here.

At some point Conway and his team will be looking for employment. Will they want someone like these?

"Don't let the buggers get you down " is an expression I hear more and more these days. Buggers appear to be raising their heads left right and centre these days. So What - we can get used to dealing with them and just getting on with life.

We need to have a good laugh and get on enjoying the lives interacting with the great people close to us :  people we get to know well at places through places like our park.

So what's going to be our next project there that we can do together.

How about buying soft toys and dangling them from the trees for the children to come and find?

There are a few other positive ideas floating about. Things we can all do together

How about you, have you got some ideas? Something worth considering rather than getting dragged into feelings of resentment.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Lawrece Conway: Communites, in these times are essential

Despite the fact that I have been told to keep out of this. (The families concerned know that because of my stroke and my sensitive and vulnerable state of mind, I need to stay out of the the situation that has arisen at Mill Dam Park). However for my own sanity I must speak out here on my blog: it has always proved to be my safety valve for what I feel strongly about.

After a night , full of outrage,   I see no alternative but to speak out here.
It concerns the high handed and vindictive actions of Lawrence Conway, who is a Chief Executive  of SLDC. He is clearly out of touch with the communities in his area

Background: a thriving local community

The Mill Dam Park community of hard working  Mums and Dads have suffered an enormous shock to their enjoyment of their Park; one they use almost daily.Over the past four years they have invested a lot of precious energy in making the park into their very own space for meeting and enjoying and encouraging their children to play. Anyone who visits the Park becomes immediately aware of the friendly and supportive nature of the people who use the Park. In fact because of the picnic tables , paid for a in some cases built by this communityPeople are encouraged to chatas they watch their children plating with others in the Park .All the flowers are there because this same community have either put them in themselves or helpful supporting gardeners have kept the beds stocked with an increasing number of perennials. The local Guides were responsible for planting the annuals that are there now. They were donated by David of the plant stall on the market who has given about 400 plants to the  park every year.

In short there is a probably no better organised group of parents and supporters in a Park: like no other park within South Lakeland District Council. It attracts users from as far afield as Lindal, Pennington,  Haverthwaite and Bouth.

 Recently the parents were given the pottery that  they  and their children actually made in the park. They decided to put this pottery back up on the fence where it could be enjoyed by all those using the park. Its presence encourages the feeling that this park is part of an intimate caring community. Putting back the pottery was a joint activity  of  mothers, fathers and children, with unanimous approval from those that use the park.


Yet  on Friday, to their absolute outrage, they found that their pottery had been removed. They still have not been told who stole thoir pots, but from past actions, the removal was certainly authorised by Lawrence Conway. If it is he, he in possesion of stolen property, the ownership being the people who put the pots up in the parkand the people who made them. He must return them immediately to the pots owners and notify them why he had them removed.

If you visit the park today you will witness their fury at such aggressive action being taken against them. Parents have put up notices all over their park demanding the return of their pottery. Whose park is it after all? Are not the SLDC the custodians of the Park for the community to use?

Conway and his officers are clearly out of touch with this  very active community. This is of course not the first time he has ordered his officers, against their will to remove the pottery. Last time he was ridiculed in  the main editorial of the Westmorland Gazette( see below) saying : hadn't he got more important safety issues to be concerned about. He claimed that the pottery was dangerous and hadn't been authorised my a constituted group.

The Pottery is clearly not dangerous . Furthermore because of the transient nature of the park users  there is no interest in a formal group. Parents are only involved with the Park while their children grow up to five years old (when the children move on to other activities). Besides parents have had negative experiences in the past with power grabbing members of committees who like to throw their weight about. No. The park runs extremely well as it is now . Common sense and spontaneous activities prevail as is found in any small community who get to know each other well.

What is needed now is for our local councillors to assert themselves. These councillors are: Colin Pickthall , Helen Inving and Margaret Hornby    on the Town Council and Helen Inving their District  councillor.   SLDC are clearly out of touch. They need to tell SLDC to keep be their noses out and ruining of a very happy and thriving community. It is this community our councillors need to support not a remote Chief Executive.

The press can also help with insightful reporting. It would be a good story for North West today on television.

I'm sure the polite views of people reading this article will be listened to by Lawrence Conway: email -  .  I suggest that you insisist on a reply to be sure that your message has been received.

The government is after all trying to clamp down on spurious uses of the Health and Safety Issue see:

Judith Hackitt, who chairs the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: "I would urge all decision makers to take a step back and ask themselves whether a decision made in the name of health and safety, is actually just an excuse for something else.

From the Westmorland Gazette's editorial on 25th July 2013: "When safety concerns go to far"

"the pottery display does not meet with the council’s approval. He  cites health and safety as his prime concern. "

" It would be ironic given their safety concerns over the pottery. A sensible move would be to officially recognise Bugs as a representative group of the local community so such displays can be arranged with the council’s blessing and guidance. That way SLDC might stop itself from looking silly."

Friday, 22 August 2014

WRVS, you are about to lose a very hard working volunteer

The local WRVS  (or the RVS as it is now known since men were admitted),  amongst other things run a very much appreciated cafe at the Ulverston Health Centre, at which this volunteer has been helping for three months now. I know her well because I see her regularly and often go over to the cafe for a drink and a chat. Many people in Ulverston, often pensioners living on their own do the  same to enjoy a drink and a tea cake at low prices, made all the more enjoyable by the friendly helpers.The volunteers there are a lovely group of people and she gets on well together there.

This volunteer has in  fact she  put herself out to help out  and does extra shifts when they are short staffed there, in spite of having a heavy work load at home. She enjoys the work.

The problem is that Head office in London is run by bureaucratic bullies who insist on their mindless procedures are followed.  A woman there, by the name of Fiona insists that the two referees for membership ring her to give approval of my friends application for membership. This they tried to do, Head office insist they keep trying.

At this point my friend is rightly digging her heals in . "No if you want me as a volunteer - and she knows the Ulverston branch is short - you will have to ring them". They are doing you the favour of supporting my application for membership. It's great to see someone sticking up for her colleagues. They are fed up with being bossed about by the bullies above them who come along with 'inspections' when knowing very little of local circumstances.

Now we have someone who is ready to make a stand. "You give me membership . I have complied with your rules of providing with two references. Now take it or leave it. "

"Do you , Fiona at head office with your mindless rules really want to lose a much needed volunteer who has the strong support of those that work with her?

Note: if you go enquiring at the similar WRVS run cafe at Furness General Hospital in Barrow you will hear of similar heavy handed complaints about the way the bosses outside the area attempt to supervise them from away.

Do we, the public, really want to donate to this charity?

 if this money goes to pay for incompetent people who boss others about. I suggest we make sure our donations go to support our local groups and not to an organisation that allows power crazy people to dominate. Furthermore our local managers must be encouraged to stand up to this bullying behaviour.

Surely now is the time for local people in this kind of organisation to assert themselves.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Joys of Getting Old and "passed it"

When you're eigthty, had a stroke and face the possibility of another one any timeyou're attitude to life changes. You begin to think "What the hell, who cares! Let's have some fun. If I'm not here to pick up the tab for my misdemeanors: Why worry?"

 Take heed of the message below; so delightfully put by Jenny Joseph. It could apply to me sometime very soon. 

Note: Have you seen me scooting across the Supermarket floor on my trolley recently: look no feet  touching the floor? This gives new meaning to the expression "Off his trolley"


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 

If you love moving to music

You can even dance to this: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves by Verdi.

Incredibly moving music from the past.

Another confession from my midnight dancing friend.

No it's not Dire Straits this time!

I must say I think the facial expressions on this video are superb.

This will get your feet tapping

Or are you past it? Or does other stuff turns you on? But is it any better?

Here's another tune that my midnight dancing friend used to love moving to.

Isn't it amazing how many people used to get carried away with Dire Straits? Literally thousands.

She told me how recently she was at a dance when this number was announced and she was really looking forward to getting up for a jig around as she used to at night. However she was mortified to find that an acquaintance came along just as the tune was starting and start to chat mindlessly about this and that- nothing important to her - sadly her whole life had trained her to be  very polite to everyone, so that she  was the true lady. Instead of saying what she was thinking (in my words "stop yattering on and sit down so that I can have this lovey dance") : she remained  patiently sitting down for the chatter to finish. By then the band had moved on to the next number.

Sometimes we can be so preoccupied with ourselves that we don't pick up on the inner turmoil going on in the polite person opposite us: a fault that I must admit is mine over and over again. No wonder that some used to people cross over the street when they saw me coming. A fault I'm working on , but have a long way to go.

I got it first

Another friend tells me that she and her husband used to vie with each other to read the Evening Mail when it arrived. She would watch out for the paper boy as he came up the street and nobble it before her husband got a chance.

There was an unwritten rule between them that whoever got it first got to keep it  until read.

We're all children at heart playing and love to play games with our partners don't we. or me it's the sign of a happy marriage ; one that lasts; one with a humour at the heart of it.

Dancing in the middle of the night

A friend of mine married someone .  She loved and admired him greatly, but one thing he hadn't a clue about was dancing, apparently he had no sense of rhythm. So what she would do is get up in the night and have a little dance in the living room where she wouldn't disturb him.

This is one of the songs she danced to:

(it's a lovely video too!)

Twistin round the pool Dire Straights

Friday, 15 August 2014

Some mothers do have them

I witnessed the ultimate in texting earlier today!

 I've watched what is a common sight now:
a group of youngsters together in say a cafe not talking to each other but instead on their mobile to someone else.

 But texting someone whilst riding a bike is for me is extreme. What next :riding a bike, texting someone else and with the other hand waving to a friend, nearby. "Look no hands" I used to regard this as a challenge when young ; but have the times changed?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


That wonderful elusive state that you cannot enter by will power.

When you've lain in bed, motionless for an hour in bed and you're still not asleep, what do you do?

"Get up, do something different and then go back and have another  go later " is my answer.

I've had a great day, and I'm not cross. On the contrary I'm feeling very content , but still sleep eludes me.

The only thing I can think of, that is worrying me is the thought that I won't sleep for more than two hours before waking up again. This has been happening almost every  night for the last few months since I had my stroke.

Now the thought occurs to me that it's not a good idea to write about!

But I had thought that writing would help. I did this last night and it worked. It clearly doesn't seem likely at the moment. Writing about not being able to sleep is obviously not a good idea.So I'm off to do something else I shall enjoy.

Dancing around maybe.

How mad is that? Surely that will wake me up. Oh well we'll give it a try.

Maybe dancing sleepily will help!

Let's try. See yah.

The sequel. Of course I didn't dance but listened to  some lovely calming music and went back to bed, eventually fell asleep and woke up  feeling calmly determined.
 As Jeremy would say

"Let's just soldier on'!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Coping with the windy rain

On  London's wobbly bridge 

Pedestrians dash through torrential rain along the Millennium Bridge, London, as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha swept across parts of the country. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

These people are clearly being stretched. Even so one, at least, appears to be smiling. They might feel differently if they were dressed differently. Sadly they are unlikely to be near their dry clothes and the comfort of warm shelter.

I must say I love this kind of weather. I find it so invigorating specially in this warm weather. All that can happen is that I get wet. If I'm moving, with it being warm anyway, this for me is no discomfort, after all when I get home there are dry clothes are available.

So what did I do last night at ten o'clock: I went for a quick walk to the Market Cross and backin thestrong wind and rain.

I loved the experience. Believe it or not, I have a friend who feels exactly the same.

Our attitudes to getting soaked have changedover the last century.

Within living memory (if you're over ninety!) some people remember men who walked from farm to farm in the Lake District who thought nothing of getting soaked to the skin as they did it. They were taking with them  a strong male cart horse to 'serve' working mares. The foals  so produced were essential to  a  working farms is a tractor now.When they arrived at each farm if soaked to the skin, They would simply stand/sit in front of the fire - the centre of all working farms and dry out in the clothes they wore: something people wouldn't dream of doing now.

In fact looking back at my childhood :it's so different to life now. People now would see it as hardship , but of course we knew no different:

Getting out of a warm bed into a freezing cold bedroom in  the winter. Scampering down at the age of twelve to get dressed in front of the french design anthracite stove in the living room that was kept in all night. In the cold weather this was the only warm place in the house. Washing in freezing cold water.

French anthracite all night stove similar to the one  Ilooked forward to seeing each morning when it was freezing in my bedroom !

This was normal and although we didn't like it, as there was no choice we learnt to live with it. Could it be perhaps, that's why present day's older people are 'tougher' than people who have got used to central heating and running hot water.

Could it be, this why I enjoy a  quick 'blow' in the evening in the pouring  rain outside returning to a dry warm house to sleep in dry clothes none the worse for wear.

Have we lost our way?

When we stop and ask ourselves what matters most in our lives; isn't it the people we mix with?

Our partner, our children, our parents, the friends we meet and do things with?

The friendly conversation with someone we know well. We see this all over central Ulverston  particularly on Market Days when people still come into town just to catch up on the gossip seeing friends they haven't seen for a little while.

Time with happy enthusiastic young children that are curious about everything they see.

Invites into people's house to share their thoughts and aspirations sand discuss the activities  they share.

Isn't this why people  love Facebook and why it is so addictive? We all want to have good friends.

So don't we want to encourage and preserve places where people enjoy each others company, the interaction with people we know?

Small family run shops where the people serving us know us and our families. If these kind of shops are slightly more expensive, is this really that important? After all we enjoy the experience of shopping there. In fact these shops can often  be less expensive than the commercially driven , out of touch chain stores that only cater for the lowest common denominator . Chain stores and supermarkets without detailed local knowledge of where to access locally produced  supplies which avoid the expense of distant road travel. Stores run remotely for the benefit of impersonal, uncaring share holders where profit is the sole motivation; and closure is dictated by the bank balance. Contrast  the variety and price of Brocklebanks green grocers with similar Supermarket produce. Contrast again the friendly and helpful Co-op  with the impersonal Tesco up the road where the goods carry dodgy descriptions: eggs produce in the open countryside ( actually in sheds with no daylight where the hens are crammed in on top of each other. Do you remember  Bird Eye Custard produced with similar catchy phrases:"on the sunny banks of the  river Rae" ( actually in central Birmingham where the river Rea is a culvert underground)?

Ulverston has the wonderful benefit of being small enough so that we all know a lot of the people we meet. We can quickly develop friendships because someone we meet one day at say the Bay Horse at the end of the canal is  then in town doing their shopping at the weekend. People I find, who are very willing to talk and get to know new people. People, I find are increasingly starved of face to face interactions where honest, open exchanges take place, where facial expressions and body language are so revealing. Something you don't get when technology , like the computer driven Facebook and even the phone remove this rich form of contact. The former are surely useful as a back up to face to face contact, not as their replacement.

We in Union Lane, where I live, have the great benefit of regular personal contact. We are frequently doing each other personal favours, when the need arrives. In my case rails and bathroom supports where constructed and available within a day of me needing them  after my stroke: no waiting endlessly for public 'services to provide them.   At this very moment one neighbour is baking me a blackberry and apple pie  with lovely shortbread type pastry, in exchange for extra supplies of the fruit that I  picked and gave them. Up the road I can drop in at almost any time and see another family with young children that know me well. I give sweet peas to other neighbours and get raspberries and rhubarb back from two different families. With another family their plum tree is loaded with plums some of which I'll be getting in exchange for produce from my allotment. In another case a teenage son is helped with his Maths exams by an experienced  retired teacher.

Here older people can take the stress out of the busy lives of younger working families my looking after the children  for a while, an activity that is welcome because it's brief. Similarly we walk friend's dogs  and have their company without the responsibility of feeding them and looking after them every other day of the year.

All these interactions take only  a little time to keep alive but the benefits of close contact with real flesh and blood people is  so reassuring when most of our contacts are with people don't really know us.

I know of many streets and roads in Ulverston,  where the neighbours all know each other and are helpful: where similar things are happening all the time.

Isn't it worth making an effort to build  and preserve communities of friendly people ? The benefits are amazing.

Yes people really matter. 

Small is really beautiful

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Thanks to this blog:   Just for Fun

Growing old disgracefully

I love it

Keeping a sense of fun in our lives is essential, isn't it?

Thanks to this blog:   Just for Fun

Friday, 8 August 2014

Chess in town

Chess is going really well at the Stan Laurel pub where people are dropping in for a game from Grange. James, age eleven, comes along with his mom and brother and is beginning to beat us all , Last Tuesday there must have been six games going along with some who where watching. There's a lovely friendly atmosphere as we've deliberately kept the interactions low key. We have no power struggles that you can get in some clubs ass Peter Hanks avoids the existence of a formal club with chairmen, secretaries. In fact when they do have a match, Peter will bake a cake.

If you're curious,  why not say hello in the Market Square where we play every Saturday from about 10 till as late as 2 every time the weather permits or of course drop in at the pub on a Monday or Tuesday after 7 pm.

BT you're a disgrace

When will you be connecting the phone lines to  the  new properties on the Hoad View, at the end of Union Lane?

Residents moved into many of the twenty five new houses built by Persimmons last December and they still haven't been connected. They were given assurances back then that their main line phones would be connected soon after arrival yet this never happened . Now, you keep promising  over the phone when Open Reach is called that the work will be done. Individuals are made to feel completely powerless. Time and time again theses promises are broken. Mobile phones that have to be used instead are clocking up ridiculous charges as people attempt to cope.

Tantalisingly phone lines are connected to outside of the houses yet the final connection is not made.

To my  mind Persimmons are also to blame as the fail to help to use their considerable clout to support their new purchasers in their plight

Power mad, bossy people at the top of Cancer Research and the WRVS

Watch it Debbie White , area manager of Cancer Research, who is trying to boss around our local shop manager with her high handed policies:

I have you in my sights. Yes this bossy woman comes and tells the shop manager that she can't have leaflets on the counter and I'm toldthows them in the bin when the person who asked have them put there is someone personally known to the local shop manager. The latter takes a great pride in supporting local peoplewho support her shop. In this particular case the person reqesting the display of leaflets had played his clarinet tin the drizzle for many hours in the Market square in order to attract donations

The same applies to the power mad person who is trying to impose policies on the WRVS local volunteers in Ulverston and Barrow.

I'm meeting this similar behavior more and more where people grab power and start imposing their rules over volunteers and people that work below them.

Skateboarders Still Practicing determindly as they become Men

They were here at the Ulverston  Health Centre again tonight and they are definitely getting better.

I tried to estimate how many times they practise just one trick. You can work out a rough ball park figure:

If one attempt last ten seconds -which at their rate it must be faster-and they practise for over an  hour (sometimes they are here at least 90 minutes. Then that would be 6 in a minute: 6x 60 =360 in an hour that's 360 x 1.5 = 540 in an evening.

Say they've been here five times practising then that would be 540 x 5= 2500 times. All for one trick.

My, this shows some perseverance. They also have a circuit that they race each other and travel at speeds of in the region of twenty to thirty miles per hour.

This shows guts and the willingness to take calculated risks. Making judgements about what they can and cannot do.

This is a skill people that take physical risks develop. It's a skill that is typical of boys though there are some gutsy girls that develop it as well. For me it's the kind of behaviour that develops boys into men.

I can recognise this pattern of behaviour in myself.

In spite of having had I stroke, I'm thoroughly enjoying the challenge of picking the apples  out of our tree. I have to make judgements all the time as to how secure I am as I climb steadily higher into the tree to reach the apples towards the top. I thrive off the satisfaction of succeeding to reach more and more challenging apples that require me to climb higher and higher. Every minute I am testing the security of my hand-hold with my left hand: the one previously paralysed by my stroke.

I recognise the connection between my willingness  to take these physical risks and the strengths that I have developed in taking on difficult tasks.

I sure this characteristic contributed to my ability to run away successfully from boarding school at the age of seven and give my mother the shock of her life when I turned up standing outside her bedroom french window at seven in the morning having arrived at the local station on the first train of the day. I can still remember the fear I experienced of setting off in the early hours and stood still summoning up the courage to walk down the road under  very large threatening leafless trees in the early winter in the dark.: Their long tentacle looking bare branches stretching threateningly. Highly risky stuff for a seven year old. All worth it  because my determination resulted me in reaching home after having failed the previous two tries.

Then again this same spirit enabled me to travel my train boat, train, then underground across London in my journey from Paris to Birmingham at the age of eleven in 1946 : something unheard of in these days of fear-ridden Health and Safety.

No, I'm not going to criticise any youngster who develops the ability to develop risks of all kinds as they grow up into adulthood. Far from it : I give them every encouragement I can.

We need to encourage skateboarders as they persevere to hone their skills of taking risks of any kind in life.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Slow progress with my stroke at present

It's now four months since my stroke which paralysed most of the left hand of my body.

To start with my improvement was rapid . I could move my leg  and walk though balance was a problem.

I could move my arm  to a limited degree and clench my fingers though with little strength.

However movement of individual fingers was totally beyond me.

My biggest problem is frustration. I am slowly coming to terms that I must put a slow but steady effort into getting better. It could easily take a year to recover full use of my fingers so I must think in these terms and set small less demanding goals if I am to succeed.

Steve the Occupational therapist , a fancy name for the guy who helps put up hand rails in the house (which incidentally were put up, kindly my very helpful neighbours, long before he arrived) then disappears to deal with his heavy work load, gave me some excellent advice:

Use it or lose it

With a good working right arm, hand and fingers, the temptation is to use this all the time and ignore the none functioning left hand.

I therefore have set myself a reasonably demanding task with regard to dexterity:

Getting out of a box  and then setting out my 32 chess pieces on a board ready for play.

It's tough and I need to be patient because in the process I easily knock pieces that are in place, down, only to have to put them back up.

Great fun and activity in Mill Dam Park yesterday

Lots of parents and many more kids came again to use this very popular little park in Ulverston

It went really well - Loom Banding clearly is the craze thay inspires children at the moment! 

Happy kids made an epic loom band - which streched all across the park and back again -57m long!  

Jennie Dennett was the person that inspired all this activity. 

The day started miserably with rain but undetered, she  and Maureen Rodgers  worked on a picnic table, shelterred under a tree surrounded by the first group of children to arrive at ten thirty.

An estimated thousand of the small coloured elastic bands, the starting point for a loom band were in place ready for this mammoth project:

the creation of the longest ever Loom Band that Furness has ever seen

Jennie and Maureen were quickly joined by Clare Clark and friends, with many kids in tow.

A shelter was quickly constructed to provide shelter until the sun obedient came out to transform a miserable start into a very successful day.

The cake stall takings were in the region oft £40 so well on their way to raising the £100 Jennie was after for the World Land Trust to buy an acre of rainforest for a reserve.

Mums can loom too... in fact it is quite addictive.  Clare Clarke's was about 3m!

We all thanked Clare for co-ordinating the decorating of the boundary of the  Park.

 She got a crew going with screwdrivers and the log term decorations were up in a matter of an hour. They look great, back where they should be along the fence. The price paid: some sore palms from the unfamiliar use of these screw drivers.

A happy community day.