Sunday, 30 March 2014


The Leader

I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Promise? Promise?
Yippee I'm the leader
I'm the leader

OK what shall we do? 
This could be me in a year's time!

It could be a right laff!

Go and wind up that lot at the Town Hall. Especially after a year of having our next Mayor.

However I  think I'll have more rewarding things to do. Being a leader as a goal is being replaced with having a deeply satisfying life working well with those immediately around me. Fortuneately I'm in some of these groups of people.

Dying - freedom from restrictions

When you reach the age that death is round the corner - as I feel - it's amazing how this frees up your inhibitions.

You develop a 'What the hell ' attitude to life.

Jenny Joseph says it very truthfully in her poem "Warning"

"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."

Let's really enjoy myself and be really outrageous. I'm find that I'm doing much of the above - and I just don't care- it's very liberating.

Wake up

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Divorce (continued)

Been there - got the 'T' shirt.

I'm still 'friends' with my ex-wife. I like her a lot for all those qualities that led us to marry.

Recently she said that I should tell my adopted son why we got divorced.

"First of all, it reminds me of how you felt when we split up.  You didn't think I should be saying anything to . . . . about why we had done so and I thought that if the parents didn't explain that there was a good reason for them to split up it must be extra hard for a child to understand."
To which I replied:
"I still think I was right. Finding reasons is impossible. One has to accept the reality : people are far too hung up on 'understanding'. I don't understand why we spit up so how can I explain it to anyone else. Basically we were two fragile human beings who didn't know how to cope with their situation. Emotions took over and reason went out the window."
That was many years ago. Now I'm able to look back with reason rather than emotion and perhaps have a saner view to what happened.

Only a year before we split up we were discussing the possibility of buying Eternity Rings because our relationship was going so well.

Then we hit an emotional problem. One that we couldn't discuss in a reasoning mode. An emotional problem that a counsellor spotted earlier and when raised, made me want to take cover - I had an image of being in a prison cell, crouched in the corner with by arms held over my head as though I was being attacked with a baseball bat.

Emotions were high. Emotions that were buried deep in our psyche. Emotions I certainly didn't understand and on reflection now are still buried there as they still haven't gone away. Emotions that may have built up from early childhood and were never sorted out - and still aren't.

What I and other psychiatrists refer to as 'Baggage':
baggage |ˈbagɪdʒ|noun
• figurative past experiences or long-held ideas regarded asburdens and impediments the emotional baggage I'm haulingaround 

 more than others. Presumably resulting from emotional experiences from our past - possibly our childhood.

We carry this with us through our life and some of us learn to cope with it - others don't.

It has always intrigued me that well known people who have the money, like Woody Allen go in for deep psychological therapy when they grow old. Presumably trying to sort out their baggage which when they stop and reflect, they realise they would like sorting out - with success or failure. Others of us realise it's there but learn to live with it. For me his face reflects that he is troubled:

Other people, I have got to know, have accepted the baggage and appear to us all as very normal people, living contented lives. For all that, they regularly trip over their baggage and have flaming rows with their wives or partners. You'd never know unless told. They are what we all call 'well adjusted, loving couples'. My partner and I are one.

More to follow - I'm off to play chess in the Market Square.

If we've got a bit of self esteem left, we all in fact have flaming rows. Perhaps, the difference to those that get divorced is that we get over these very real emotional upsets and get back to 'normal'. In our case we both know we've got sensitive areas and we try to steer away from these or when we hit them, we take deep breaths, calm down ready to re-engage again. My 'deep breaths' consist of going and bashing hell out of our piano which amazingly produces lovely sounds - albeit with lots of discords - which when they've hit the four walls and reverberated down the street - lead into some contrasting calmer harmonious passages - and the outburst is eventually over.

What else helps? Gaining a bit of perspective from others that know us and from getting to know others that also have rows and are willing to talk about it.

I was amused that this is becoming an open subject of conversation. The train manager when selling us our tickets to Lancaster said " Are you sure you want a return on a single ticket? You may have a row when you get there and want to return separately."

On the Coast Road bus the other day. Full of people that know each other well, people were quite frank about the disagreements they had with their partners. They talked about these in a relaxed way as though they had learnt to live comfortably with their baggage.

Personally, I don't think the baggage can be sorted out, it's more helpful to accept it as a very annoying old friend/enemy that drops in now and again. He/she has an airing like a jack-in-a-box and gets put stuffed back where he belongs.

Coffee and my regular coffee call. And perhaps a cuddle in the lovely body-filled sleepy bed I've left. Besides look outside - there's no rain! Things are looking up - yes we had a brief 'rowette' last night - all over now.

Coming up Janet Street Porter and a couple here in Ulverston who have declared that they are planing on divorce:

 Janet Street-Porter:

" If only more couples could be as honest as Gwyneth and Chris

Marriage is a practical solution to bringing up kids and finding companionship, but if it doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up"

What do you think?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Coming up: Cumbria Highways and our 'helpful' Cllrs

What has Andrew Moss, head of Cumbria Highways have to say in answer to our Planning Department and the Ulverston Police about the former's responsibilities.

And what are our County Councillors doing to control their irresponsible behaviour?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

So now they think I'm french!

From: "HSBC France"
Date: 25 March 2014 10:27:39 GMT
Subject: Avis de Paiement

Bonjour Monsieur / Madame ,
A votre demande, veuillez trouver ci joint le paiement e-conseils pour votre reference.


HSBC France


Vous pouvez telecharger gratuitement la derniere version du logiciel Acrobat Reader a partir du site d'Adobe a l'adresse suivante :

Ce message et toutes les pieces jointes (ci-apres le « Message) sont confidentiels et etablis a l'intention exclusive de ses destinataires. Toute modification, edition, utilisation ou diffusion non autorisee est interdite. Si vous avez recu ce Message par erreur, merci de nous en avertir immediatement. HSBC et ses filiales declinent toute responsabilite au titre de ce Message s'il a ete altere, deforme, falsifie ou encore edite ou diffuse sans autorisation.

Zip file attached

Surprise surprise!

The media

The papers and television keep feeding us negative stories.

How do we remain positive?

The whole atmosphere being generated in Britain at the moment seems to be to get people to gripe and complain. Agreed there's plenty to complain about but don't we need to focus on doing things that cheer us up?

We need to do these for ourselves and benefit from the satisfaction of what we have achieved in spite of the negative circumstances for ourselves.

Have you got a positive project that keeps you going?

Bringing up your kids can be one. Parents enjoy sharing the task with others - there's a fair bit of cooperation surrounding the schools here in Ulverston.

Having your own allotment is another great antidote - and there are plenty to be had. The people who manage them become good friends as you get to know them and many an enjoyable social hour is spent 'working' down at the allotment! A fair number of people call in at their allotment on their way home from work or pop in at lunch time. A lot gets done with lots of 30 minute breaks. There's a lot of know how to be found from those that have been doing it for years and I've found others to be very helpful.

It's also a great place to try out your own individual theories. One of my friends impressive reply when I come up with my latest wacky idea is "I don't know. Why don't you try it".  I'm on a 'No Dig' kick myself  using raised beds: getting worms to do all the 'digging' for me. Suits my ageing limbs!

And the veg I take home is deliciously tasty or should I say farty, much to the amusement of my friends! My Jerusalem Artichokes work wonders: I'm learning to play tunes as they did a couple of centuries ago when humour was a little more 'earthy' and our environment less 'sanitised'.

Monday, 24 March 2014

On a lighter note

Most of us enjoy cat humour - they're such individuals!
Here's a group of pictures what are doing the rounds at the moment:

Putting the politicians on the spot

Here's a chance to try and nail the buggers down.

Of all the issues we face at the moment is, I believe, Inequality.

Previously I thought that Global Warming, population , world finance, and food production were more important but now all these our hopeless and not worth making a fuss about.

However Inequality still is and will be continuosly as we head for the end of the human race. As much as possible we need to face the future supporting each other.

There is a small and determined movement that recognises that more equal societies survive far better.

We are heading for conflict between the have's and havenot's. This conflict will be lessened if we are more equal. This attitude is important even down to issues on a Town Level. Thus here in Ulverston, if we were more equal we would feel better and more supportive of each other.

Is is time to put the emphasis on this rather than other issues?

What do the people we vote for pledge to do. What do they stand for?

This is what we want them to agree to do for us:

“Compelling evidence presented by The Equality Trust shows that more equal societies - those with a narrower gap between rich and poor – are more cohesive, healthier, suffer fewer social problems and are more environmentally sustainable. In view of these findings I am committed to making the UK a more equal society as the most effective means of building a better society.  I will therefore actively support the case for policies designed to narrow the gap between rich and poor; and engage with the debate on which measures should be implemented to achieve that aim.”

 Who will sign up?

doom and gloom - the antidote

It's a lovely day and I've just sown thousands of wild flower seeds. A great feeling scattering to the wind all these little particles that have the potential of a wonderful showin a few month's time. All that's required is sun - which we've got - and rain that's due in a few hour's time!


Sunday, 23 March 2014

More doom from the scientists - don't believe them


As for the Independent article - read it - no surprises.

 It is what many of the experts have been saying for years but the official bodies were worried about frightening the politicians. They have obviously decided to give up being careful.

What you may not have noticed is the report that the main Greenland ice sheet, which was believed to be very permanent and stable, is rapidly collapsing.  In other words many of the suspected positive feedback loops have already kicked in. 

(One of the studies done regarding Florida and the effect of sea rise on the property there. - Geoff)

Personally I think we are 20 years past useful talking - the world will save itself by shaking off the parasite that is humanity.

An interesting aside - the mass of the Greenland icecap is so great that its gravitational attraction is raising the sea levels around Greenland by 10 or more meters. When the ice has gone sea levels around Greenland will actually fall even though the rest of the world will get a 6 meter rise.

Interesting times!


The problem is that we are humans with deep emotions. We really don't want to face up to unpleasant truths. We clutch at straws to help us feel better. There are very few people who are brave enough to consider a bleak future and start thinking how they and particularly young children are going to cope in their life time. For the vast majority the shock of reality in the future will be beyond what they can cope with from their past experience.

We can expect real problems from all the people around us! It's time to develop deep reliable friendships.

How will this gloomy future effect the way I live: very little.

A few things will change- I won't be giving any money or spending any time to stopping global warming - it's hopeless. All we can do now is influence the speed that change will happen. We can't stop it.

For me let's enjoy ourselves as unselfishly as possible but above all remain cheerful and positive. In other words carry on as I am now and live life to the full - as I am now!

Enjoy the little things in life - like the Robin's song - as we walked back along the canal from our warm by the log fire at the Bay Horse - once again : no competition for the chair right in front of the fire.

The above was written before I read today's Observer with it's description of the horrendous future for Indonesia and this area of the world due to global warming. I've some thinking to do as I continue to enjoy relative luxury here in Britan while others in the world suffer. It's all to easy to take the easy route out of a dilemma. Sadly I have few people that I can talk with that would help be sort my head out on issues like this.

I must admit I'm having a problem with the lack of support of people willing to work in Mill Dam Park. Isn't it time to be taking care of myself and my own allotment work rather than working in a park where so few appear to want to help. Yesterday I matched the contribution of one person who donated 45 minutes. There are many hours of work to be done tending sweet peas in the future and this on top of work to prepare the Flags for Fortnight. Will anyone want to help with this activity I wonder? Time to cut back the time spent elsewhere I think. 

And yes - the flags will look good when they're up.

As Les says "Interesting times".

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Dangerous attachments are coming in thick and fast

I'm sure you all of you know not to open any attachment that comes with an email , even from someone you know, unless your expecting it. This is the latest idea of criminals trying to hoodwink people who aren't familiar with the trcks that can be played with emails.

Opening the email etself is OK but the attachment is a hidden explosive ready to poison your daughter (uh!).

Watch it  - ultimately they're after your money (Jack might add or your wife - see below).

I love this one!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Are you avoiding discussing "Doom and Gloom"

It's official: we're heading for a crisis - front page of the Independent yesterday

This information is going to take everyday people some time to comprehend - it's such a totally different way of thinking. When it does sink in, it will be devastating.

We can't expect politicians to discus it - that would be too dangerous all political parties want to convince that they have a solution. But who talks about a solution to the challenge that people will not be able to cope with the realisation that humans can do nothing about global warming : it will wipe us all out!

That's why I feel it's so important to get people talking about this so that it is taken really seriously and some proposals are put in place to make the most of the remaining years we and our grandchildren will 'enjoy' here on planet Earth.

What follows from the above article is that more than anything else we need trustworthy friends : people who will work with us to cope and come up with ways of coping with future chaos.

I'm fortunate in that I don't expect to be around for more than 30 years but I feel a responsibility to all those who have young children who will have the potential to live through most the tumultuous next 100 years in human history.

The general public are very disinclined to discuss doom and gloom. When I have done with  my friends the first reaction is to agree with me (though often sceptically) but even those that agree then walk away and carry on as 'normal' - it's an understandable psychological reaction. We have to have to repeat unusual facts to people several times before they take it in and then there's shock and panic. Take: "A gunman is coming up the road with a machine gun and he's already killed all of the Jones family , including little Tom, Jane and Jerry who happened to be going to school. The reaction is to say "What?"  and even when it's been repeated does it still doesn't penetrate.

So this is why I'm trying to find others that are a bit more forward looking. People who aren't brain washed into thinking that the future is fine. "Someone will find a solution".

There's a major problem it's referred to as Hubris and being talked about increasingly

Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις),means extreme pride or self-confidence. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

It's being used by philosophers to describe the over confidence of humans to solve any problem that's thrown at them. Most of the problems that are tacked can be solved and very well. This leads to the faulty thinking that humans can solve anything. Even now intelligent people believe that humans (scientists) will come up with a solution to global warming. Well now it's official : they can't.

"The second of three publications by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due to be made public at the end of this month, is the most comprehensive investigation into the impact of climate change ever undertaken. A draft of the final version seen by The Independent says the warming climate will place the world under enormous strain, forcing mass migration, especially in Asia, and increasing the risk of violent conflict.
Based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies and put together by hundreds of respected scientists,"

The situation is similar to people dying : Some people concentrate on living every minute that they are alive and are still doing amazing things until the day before they die. Others spend months and even years worrying and living in fear so that the end of their life is a misery. Books that discuss death focus on the first method of approaching it. Wereas most people these days focus on the latter.

 For me it can be the same with in end of the human race. The world will still be a beautiful place with people who we can enjoy every minute we're still alive, or it can be a misery full of worry and panic.

I believe we need a small group of people ready to talk seriously about the consequences and the talking needs to start now - not in a month or next year. There's a lot of new thinking that needs to be done!

Anyone interested?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

"Blood Test Results Email" - another lying toad

Aledgedly from : National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

However, the email is not from NICE or from any other medical entity and the supposed test results are bogus. The attachment does not contain test results. Instead, it harbours an information-stealing trojan.

This nasty and underhand criminal tactic is designed to panic people into opening the attached file without due forethought. The email is professionally presented and may at first seem like a legitimate NICE message. People with existing health issues or those awaiting blood test results may be especially vulnerable to this tactic.
Recipients who open the attached .zip file as instructed will find that it contains a .exe file disguised via a double file extension to look like a harmless .pdf. Opening the .exe file can install a trojan that can harvest passwords and other sensitive data from the infected computer and relay it back to online criminals.

Please see

Traffic accident with your car

If you get an email with this subject line, delete it immediately. The email body claims to be someone who's car you damaged, and they'll take legal action. Images attached.

Attached is a zip file containing a .src file, which is NOT an image, rather its a portable executable and it WILL infect your machine. I scanned the attachment with FProt, and it found nothing so it's a relatively new attack.

Delete the email, then nuke your deleted items folder.

I know it sounds harsh, but I believe people who do this ( if caught ) should be publicly executed.  

The above comment comes from this source

Sunday, 16 March 2014


Every time the sun comes out, there’s a big cheer. It’s a very welcome visitor even if it only stays for an hour. It encourages us to think forward to the fact that Spring has just got to arrive soon: in March, or at the very latest in May.

Even now the daffodils in Mill Dam Park are peeping through the far beds: the beds that see the sun most. In the greenhouse one hundred specially chosen sweet peas plants are growing well with at least ten leaves: each ready for a mad burst of energy to reach ten feet up and cover the whole fencing on the right of the park – even more impressive than they did last year.

So Spring is certainly going to give us a lift. It may however come from people rather than the weather. Soon  in early May the Flags will be out all over the town. These lively creatures have a lovely cheeky will of their own, responding to the slightest breeze and only just restrained in high wind. A video on Youtube “Here comes the sun” says it all. These flags put spring into our step: visitors from all over the UK come to rediscover Ulverston and its surrounding area with the internationally renown Printfest in the Coro at the beginning of May.

The Flags are just one of the things introduced into the town by John Fox and Sue Gill.  We’ve now accepted the idea of putting flags up for a fortnight for no reason other than we like it. Another activity they introduced was the Lantern Procession. Why do we like it? Because we all create it ourselves, some rather madly in our front or back rooms – in some case the whole house is dominated and the final ‘work of art’ takes shape the afternoon of the parade. Our kids proudly march around the streets with their creations as do the bigger kids that have made something particularly wild, large and unusual.

The Ulverston Super Saturday Markets have been a big success with the encouragement of local bands, drummers and performers who bring other creative forms of local entertainment to our town scene. Even our local business communities, shops like Loopy and Unique Image have brought their creative thinking to encourage people from a wide area to visit Ulverston to explore the expression of their craft skills in their own homes.

Art also breaks out in the form of pottery made, often in the spring, by children and adults who discover, as they did making Lanterns, that actually they are both creative and artistic. The pottery on Gill Banks railings still raises a smile on walkers both local and Cumbria Way destined. Should we not join the people like those in Hackney that put energy into livening up their own streets and public places. Time perhaps to attract visitors this Spring not only because of our outgoing friendship, but because our creativity produces so many things that once again give us all a lift?

Flags, Lanterns, Music, Dance, Pottery and Crafts have a very special ingredient – many say it’s something useless and can be done without - Creative Art. However it encourages vital human characteristics; self esteem and proactivity. It is a wonderful alternative to frustration and depression.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Thank God for thinking friends

I've just been on the phone to two of them and they're a real tonic.

Each in the own, very different way, are thinkers.

More remote maybe, are the people from the past like the great guy Tony Benn who many respect and made us all stop and think. Then in town here we had Dr Brian Redhead who was seen as a crank because he tried to get others to think when he went into a pub.

It's sad to find there aren't many like them in this town. Were can you go and have a really good discussion. In most places I find it's frowned upon: it's not 'polite'. What goes along with this attitude is a lot of backbiting and cliquey narrow thinking that lead to factions rather the alternative to good hard talk along rational lines driven by passion were 'politeness' is thrown out the window. My French background coming out strong.

Many will see the above as contradictory rubbish - others think the opposite and see this kind of thinking as containing pearls of wisdom.

Excuse the reference to God whom I see as a convenient way of expressing a strong feeling - alternatives are most welcome!

Perhaps Johnno and I can agree

Could it be that the NHS is being shown to be in the hands of big business again? Like so many other parts of our daily life?

My amazingly quick recovery from an outbreak of severe Arthritis on Wednesday night when I was immobilised by pain in my bed, to someone who could dance a full hour at Friday lunch time, with no remaining symptoms, by a change in diet, makes me sit up and question "What's going on?"

Could it not be that the effect of diet is not scientifically researched and that the NHS acts along very narrow lines of reasoning: treat illnesses either by drugs (with research carried by the drug companies anxious to sell them) or by surgery (with surgeons anxious to develop their skills of manipulating the human body)?

My recent experience suggests that I never needed a hip replacement in the first place: diet may have been an alternative method of treatment - very successful alternative.

In 2002 onwards, whilst living in London having just retired from a stressful carrier in teaching, Arthritis in my left hip became a major problem. We moved back to Ulverston in 2004 with the pain increasing rapidly. In May 2005 I had the hip replacement with a dramatic improvement but not a full recovery in that the weakened muscle coping with lack of use because of the pain now had to cope with the scar tissue resulting from the operation. Sadly physiotherapy to get this muscle back in good running order was never suggested and that muscle is causing considerable problems now.

At the same time in January 2005 the X-Rays of both hips not only revealed a problem in my left hip but the prediction that I would shortly need a hip replacement in my second hip. This week, 9 years later, was the first time this hip has caused problems : one that was immediately rectified by an immediate change in diet.

The question that arises:

Did the move here and a possible change in diet and certainly life style prevent Arthritis developing in my second hip, a deterioration predicted by doctors. Secondly could diet have prevented the onset of Arthritis  in both hips in the first place.

In all my dealings with doctors, diet was never mentioned. Could this not be that this has never been properly researched within the NHS? When you stop and think : who would pay for reliable accredited research to be undertaken? We know that drug companies like Glaxo will pay for research to show that their drugs are effective: that's how they make money. But who pays for diet research? No one. So it ends up as a body of opinion and hearsay with little credibility and a massive muddle with what seem to be religious fanatics on the one hand and dour sceptics of the lot on the other.

Once again are we not being manipulated by people at the top in the form of the NHS to only think along their lines with the alternative medicines having to struggle and being prone to the "bad science" that discredits it?

Make any sense Johnno?

Friday, 14 March 2014

We are lost

We are lost and we don't know which way to go.

But this a very natural thing, a very healthy thing.

Haruki Murakami,

Tokyo, January 2003

How is our health?

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Revelation - Arthritis hits, then gets 'cured'

I've just had a shock and discovered that I can't eat anything I like!

Yesterday and last night was the clearest signal that what I eat can have an immediate effect on the Arthritis in my right hip - causing it to flare up so that the joint became inflamed and extremely painful.

A quick search on Google took me to this site:

Here I'm told that I should  -

Eat Less
• Dairy foods
• Meat
• Citrus fruit
• Processed foods
• White flour
• White rice
• Potatoes
• Tomatoes
• Peppers
• Aubergines
• Sugar & Salt
Of these I had eaten nothing but,  in the last few days. The most telling being the under ripe tomatoes.
I staggered around town and bought:
Oily fish - Sardines; nuts; porridge; and figs and together with  Seven Seas JointCare. The combined effect was my joint has suddenly got better. In severe pain on Thursday morning and problem gone by 12:30pm when i started dancing vigorously for an hour
Because it says:
Eat more
• Oily fish
• Green leafy vegetables
• Vegetable oils
• Whole grain products
• Oats
• Figs
• Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
• Kidney beans
• Pineapple, papaya, mango and guava

Impressive I'm nearly back to my usual agile self!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Horrendous back up on A590 again - "it's not a police matter"

Here's someone else's attempt to get some sense see below:

I've contacted County Councillor James Airey with the emails below and await his response

I've also talked extensively for about thirty minutes to Cumbria Police followed by the officer at Ulverston Police Station and both state that this is not a police matter but the responsibility of the Cumbria Highways Department whose head is Andrew Moss.

The police recommend that we all contact him :

The persons to talk to him that have clout are our two County Cllrs, so please write to them  as well

 James Airey -  and
Mark Wilson -

Do nothing and we can expect more of the same.

For my part I will report on their action/inaction.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:Fwd: Roadworks Traffic Control A590 Ulverston
Date:Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:50:17 +0000
From: local person

11th March 2014
    re my email below ,once again some kind of roadworks outside Ulverston has jammed up the town. At 5pm I was/am unable to get from my house on the East side of town to the health centre on the West. The ONLY route is via Tank Square.
Why can't the contractors use their common sense and get traffic out of Ulverston ?
A parallel question is - why don't you supervise them more closely ?

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:Roadworks Traffic Control A590 Ulverston
Date:Thu, 06 Mar 2014 17:00:30 +0000

    Every time there is traffic control of road works on the A590 near 
Ulverston ,congestion is caused on the Tank Square and Booths roundabouts .
    Today ,for example ,roadworks at Newlands less than 1 mile North of 
the town caused long queues to form which soon reached Booths roundabout 
and then Tank Square. When this roundabout stops ,the whole town becomes 
gridlocked ,it is impossible to get from one side of town to the other.
    I queued for 25 minutes to get from Ulverston to Greenodd and there 
was no queue at all in the opposite direction. On my return 20 minutes 
later I came straight through into Ulverton where the A590 was backed up 
to Three Bridges.
     A child could tell you that traffic going out of Ulverston should 
be given priority over  incoming traffic . Your contractors' traffic 
control people are fully aware of this I am sure,  but it is apparent 
they couldn't care less.
    We all know traffic control is needed to protect the workforce but 
it needs more supervision from your dept. Operation of signals should 
take into account tidal flow of traffic and the effect of build-up on 
nearby junctions.
Please take this into account when giving contractors licence to control 

signed local person

Scams get cleverer and cleverer

As I believe I've said before!

Each time I almost get convinced and tempted to open the zip file.

However I don't on principle ever open attached zip files.


Your vehicle was recorded parked on our Clients Private Property at Katherine Road
driveways from 12.13.23PM to 14.40.36PM on the 11.02.2014 and remained on site for 2 hour 27 min.
A notice was sent to you on 6.03.2014 which gives 28 days to pay full PARKING CHARGE or challenge the issue.
The amount of £70.00 is now due If payment not received within 28 days, an additional 40.00 administration
charge will be incurred. Failure to pay the full outstanding balance within 14 days of the date of this notice could result
in the outstanding balance being registered as a debt against you. You will also become liable for additional costs and
interest invoiced. Your ability to obtain credit in the future could be affected. 
We are holding photographic evidence on file to support this claim.

Instead we Googled the address given "Katherine Road" only to be warned off a scam

and we got this

"Alert: Beware of scam parking fine emails"

Inaction by Cumbria Highways - broken promises

Andrew Moss promised here before Christmas that work would start "Early in the New Year".

It is now nearly the middle of March.

Kate Lawson, chief SLDC planning officer, writes:

"Thank you for your email and I am sorry that you are continuing to experience problems on Union Lane due to the unfinished highway work. Although I appreciate nothing appears to have happened on the ground, I am trying to investigate what the situation is.

 However, as previously advised, it is Cumbria County Council Highways who are responsible for the specification and enforcement of the highway works (including road markings/ double yellow lines) in Union Lane under the Section 278 Agreement they have with Persimmons.

 I have forwarded you email onto the Nick Raymond and Graham Wheelhouse so that they are aware of the situation with the parked vehicles. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything further."

Horrendous backup on the A590 at Ulverston

Yesterday, Tuesday 11th March at 16:30 onwards there was a back up of traffic travelling east along the A590 through the town. This caused gridlock on the main roundabout at the bottom of Market St to the extent that it was impossible to access the roundabout if approaching it in the opposite direction or from the Ellers. Turning into town along Brewery St across the blocked up traffic became impossible: the island itself had become full of cars. Instead drivers wishing to access the town turned into the opposite side of town and abandoned their vehicles.

The situation was reported to the police on a mobile phone requesting a constable to control access onto the island at 17:00. Had emergency vehicles needed to use the blocked up roads, severe delays would have endangered life and property.

Where you involved with this situation? If so when and in which direction were you travelling?

Steps need to taken immediately. This situation needs to be controlled if a traffic hold up is not to pose a danger here in the immediate future.

It is frightening to think that building plans in the town pose even higher use of roads in a town that were designed for horse and cart. A halt to any increase in the population needs to be imposed until Ulverston's roads have been improved to cope with projected traffic requirements.

The question needs to be answered :

"What is our MP John Woodcock and Ulverston's two county councillors, Mark Wilson and James Airey doing about this?"

" Who is checking that Cumbria's Head of Highways, Andrew Moss and area chief Nick Raymond are doing there jobs satisfactorily?"

The evidence from the inaction along Union Lane, when work was promissed to start in January, is that Ulverston's Highways are not being supervised properly. (see separate report where Planning officer Kate Lawson is critical).

Monday, 10 March 2014

Parents with toddlers were obviously enjoying themselves in the sun

Ford Park's Bistro Cafe´was a big draw today for the above.

 It has ideal conditions  of Good Food and Drink outside and is proving a great meeting place for parents (mothers mainly) with very young children. The latter can take a stroll and explore the lovely kitchen garden and even play at gardening with the child size wheelbarrow  on the many alternative paths. Ideal for an easy cycle around with no traffic at all.

BBC Radio Cumbria in Trouble - again

You'd have thought that the BBC would want to bring us positive stories. Particularly ones that tell us of people who have struggled and been helped through hardship -

 for instance a story that was passed on to me from London:

A Taxi driver's wife ran off with his car so that he could no longer ply his trade, which led to depression, the loss his home, living in a shed, being without food. Helped by a Foodbank, then picking himself, growing his own food and finally regaining his self esteem and getting a home of his own again. A credit to human fight back.

But no, the BBC reporter from Radio Cumbria when they interviewed the Foodbank at Barrow recently, was only interested in a 'hard' story. Of all the things that could have been asked about  they picked one about what might have been going wrong rather about all the things that were going right. Only one question was asked. I couldn't believe it:

"What instances of fraud existed in the distribution of the food?"
And even when they got the answer, "Extremely little" they couldn't accept it.

"How can you be sure?" They had to go on. "Because the people that receive the food are only approved by people that know their needs personally, and then only three days emergency supply is given"

That was it. No chance to talk about all the positive work this hard working team of dedicated people put in. How volunteers who started by offering just ten hours a week, then felt the need to put in six days a week because they saw that someone needed them to do this if an efficient service for disadvantaged people in our area was to be provided. No question that enquired about the efficiency of the operation. How the shelves are lined with baskets and baskets and baskets of food to suit different sizes of families so that on Friday last 14 families were helped. How this is provided in supermarket bags so that the public wouldn't be able to spot that the food was in reality a hand out. Many receiving the free food are ashamed that they've been brought so low. How freezers are being used to take advantage of large quantities of excellent bread that would otherwise would go to waste from a market stall every week. Bread that was on sale one minute on a Saturday afternoon was wrapped and in a freezer ten miles away only an hour later in our Foodbank. My what a slick operation we have!

There were lots of tales to be told of how successful the Barrow Foodbank is being and how it enabling some to claw their way back up to self respect and a more positive outlook.

The dedicated helpers at our Foodbank know that they are providing an essential service . They know that there are lots of 'soft' stories to be had. It sickens them that the only interest shown by the media, like the BBC, that we all think would give us good reporting chooses to denigrate the hard work of wonderful people by going on a witch hunt for errors in the operation. Errors that just aren't there. In future let's have some decent reporting . Stories that will encourage those that are positive . Stories we'd all like to hear about because it will put a Spring in our step to think how well a group of dedicated volunteers are coping with a very real need.

No this isn't the first time the BBC has been in trouble. A similar pattern has been observed in my contact with them. My friends and I now refuse to give them an interview because the outcome makes them angry and gives a completely distorted story. In this case the Evening Mail has given a far more balanced and positive view.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Wonderful people in our local NHS

I've just been referred to the "Creaky hips and joints" man at Furness General in Barrow.

My, what a priveledge to be given this kind of treatment.

His name is Matt Freudmann. He's English and took all the time that was needed to give me a thorough examination including X-rays and to answer all my questions in detail so that I now have a thorough understanding of my problems and how best to help myself. Yes I had two pages of questions lined up and had every one answered clearly. These great people still operate within the our NHS. Don't let anyone out there try to persuade you differently.

So if you are referred to the Orthopaedic Department, consider yourself very fortunate.

Excellent , caring treatment within the NHS is very much alive and well.

Enjoy. As they say.

And that's not all: I'm seeing the same kind of people at Ulverston Health Centre. My Physiotherapist there is of the same top quality and is totally in tune with the advice being given by Mr Freudmann.

Doesn't it feel good to be given this quality of care.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Being a gadfly

Some of my knowing friends accuse me of being a gadfly - let's look it up :

"an annoying person, esp. one who provokes others into action by criticism."

Yes. That's me! This is exactly what I aspire to on this blog - and often succeed:

I've discovered my most effective weapon is the video on Youtube - it works a treat. Of course no one ever acknowledges that the video has been effective but time and time again the matter highlighted gets sorted. If you want examples I can do a post in this very subject - but not now.

Now I'm focusing on the words of abuse I receive from various quarters.

Let's start with the most obvious.

"You're so opinionated". To which I reply "Duh" in the best  Homer Simpson voice  I can manage:

This is my blog dammit. No wonder it's opinionated.

The next term that pops up frequently from several directions is that I'm abusive - this comes from people who take themselves very seriously . People that most people wouldn't dare ask a plain question - people like "the Commander" of The Broughton community. These people are used to the people around them being excessively 'polite'. This term is used in response to me simply asking straight forward questions that they don't expect mere mortals to ask of their illustrious highnesses. "When are you going to pay me back the money you owe me" is clearly an abusive remark.

The latest term that has appeared a couple of times now is that I'm patronising. This clearly a powerful criticism that will knock me flat and win the argument. I've just had it from Cllr Colin Pickthall. He isn't used to ordinary people asking him straight questions like "Aren't you taking your eye off the ball in the way you run Ford Park" which I did a couple of days ago. A question that others of you claim needs asking loud and clear but apparently are reluctant to ask except behind closed doors to your neighbours and friends.

Oh well Geoff - get used to it - you're clearly getting through and doing a great Gadfly impersonation!

Yes when I stop being accused of being - opinionated, abusive and patronising, I should start to get worried. What will the next devastating word that gets used and will it register or have I developed a thick skin? The problem is that there are more and more people get out there fly swatters. They will delight in inflicting me  a death blow. That's why I heed the advice of Doris Lessing and take her warnings very much to heart. It's a viscious world - people will always want to swat gadflies- they are so bloody irritating. One change I'm trying to make that will help is to ask questions rather than make statements - it's a lesson that is taking a long time to sink in. I had to adjust my blog when dealing with people like Persimmons and Howard Whittaker.

Monday, 3 March 2014


As you may have noticed I'm adding some 'pages' - across the top of this blog. The idea is that these will enable visitors to find key posts easily - without doing a search.


"A man needs something to believe in"

Here at the Ulverston Sports and Leisure Centre at the Swimming pool this Friday 7th March at 8pm

"a busker, a barman, a kerb counter, a warehouse hand, a copywriter and an engineer. His musical odyssey began in 1987 fronting a bash-em-out band at school, and has seen him play in seven countries either as the lynchpin of pop-punk upstarts Lithium Joe or hammering out his unique brand of folk, punk and blues in his own right. "

For me, he seems a singer worth listening to.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Fire and Ice, Theme Night at Ford Park Bistro Feb 22

Great meal at the Bistro, Ford Park

The theme night was French and it lived up to expectations.

Not only was the food very special and the presentation was superb but the people there are exceptional. A real class act. Once again it was one of the best meals I've had. I know of nowhere in this area - including going to Lancaster where you can eat to this standard.

Here's the menu

Saturday 1st March 2014
Food served between 7pm and 9pm
French Onion Soup with Gruyere cheese croutons
Roquefort cheese, pear and caramelised walnut salad
With watercress leaves
Lamb kidneys with 3 mustards Cooked with smoked bacon in a creamy mustard sauce
Pork Medallions with fondant potatoes and a green peppercorn and Dijon mustard sauce
Pan-fried chicken supremeserved with truffle mash,fresh spinach and tarragon jus
Baked fillet of Sea bass With lemon crushed new potatoes , mixed olive tapenade and sauce vierge
Aubergine relish and goats cheese tart With a garlic cream sauce
Vanilla crème brulee served with sable biscuits
Poached pear coated in hazelnut praline with vanilla ice cream and wine caramel
Chocolate nemesis Flourless chocolate cake with coffee syrup and whipped cream
All served with gratin potatoes and mixed vegetables

Three courses for £20 ish