Sunday, 27 April 2014

Fairy tale from Ulferstoon Episode 1

We have a Fairy Story Teller in our midst:

Once upon a time there lived a warlock called Lawrinse who cast spells over the land of Ulferstoon. 

Lawrinse lived in a castle known as Kafool near the black mountains of Cumfee. Lawrinse used spells from the book of Heath and Safeways to subdue the former brigands and trolls of Ulferstoon.

There were three fair Princesses in the land of Ulferstoon who understood the wicked ways of Lawrinse. Their palace was on the great way to the ocean and many peasants ran from the black mountains for the warm breezes of the green waters where the birds called. The three fair princesses placed a gold statue by the palace gates, it was of two fairies with strange cauldrons upon their heads. A four-legged elf sat with the fairies and the peasants smiled when they beheld the gold statue. The peasants were welcomed by the three fair princesses and they told them where the many treasures of Ulferstoon might be found on their way to the warm breezes of the green waters. In the land of Ulferstoon everyone was happy: the merchants gained gold and the nobles gained pride in this land, whilst the men and women danced to the music of pipes, whiling away their time with making silken banners and coloured images.

More to follow
(tyyped while I was having a stroke !)

TIC action/inaction

The email following has been sent .

Their answers are awaited

From: Geoff Dellow
Date: 27 April 2014 11:03:34 GMT+01:00
To: Janette Jenkinson
Cc: Ulverston Town Council , James Airey , Mark Wilson , Judy PICKTHALL , Norman Bishop-Rowe , Helen Irving

Subject: The Ulverston Tourist information Centre

Having received the answer from Conway

It is clearly up to you, the District councillors  and the UTC to do something about this situation.

Ulverston has officially lost /on the verge of loosing it's TIC through your ( all the local councillors) -inaction.

Back in 2010 we had a team of about twenty people wanting to run the TIC as Grange does but this was not supported by the UTC.

Then you were assuring us that everything was going to be alright.

What are you going to do about it now?

On 24 Apr 2014, at 20:37, Janette Jenkinson wrote:

Hi Mr. Dellow

Please find attached a response from SLDC Chief Executive. Sorry I have not responded sooner but I have been attending a planning meeting. 


Janette J


Begin forwarded message:
From: "Conway, Lawrence" <>
Date: 24 April 2014 11:05:03 BST
To: "Jenkinson, Janette" <>
Cc: "''" <>,  "Maguire, Jim" <>
Subject: RE: Please note
Dear Janette

Thank you for highlighting this to me.

Mr Dellow is incorrect about staff refusing to help.

From what I can ascertain from speaking to staff this morning, nothing is any different from how its been for some time.

A few months ago the sign outside that said TIC was covered up so that there was no doubt that it wasn’t a TIC, following an abusive episode from one member of the public.

When SLDC ceased providing all TIC services across the district some years ago, and provided what I think was 3 years of tapered funding for any group that wished to take them on, the staff at the CORO have continued informally giving information out about local sights, events and local hotels, because no local community group had taken on the responsibility for providing Tourist Information, as they have done elsewhere.

It would appear on the surface that there has been an acceptance by others, and SLDC allowing it to continue, that staff in the booking office doing all this informally would be adequate. They still use the leaflets they have in stock, but they have no ability to book accommodation or provide other tourist related services, and this informal service is all down to the staffs dedication to providing the best they can in the circumstances. It’s a booking office for the Coro.

In my view, it needs local direction and support. We can maybe help facilitate.

There is no evident intent to reverse the original decision. It was clearly felt the community that most benefits, e.g. the local businesses, should provide the service they feel they need. I can put you in touch with other community or business providers if required.

Best wishes


From a reader

Can you read this... They say that only 55 people out of 100 can.
I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it

Even if you are not old, you will find this interesting.

This is a TEST ----------------Good Luck!!! How old are your eyes? The Eye Test 

Can you find the B's 

(there are 2 B's) 

Once you've found the B's

Find the 1


Once you found the 1............…;.

Find the 6 


Once you've found the 6…;

Find the N (it's a little harder!!)


Once you've found the N…;
Find the Q.. 


thanks Les

Friday, 25 April 2014

Flags up !

We did it! Hard work in the rain for two of us - but a great feeling of satisfaction. John BT helped with the last five flags and helped get the twenty five centre flags ready for Jennie in the morning.

All we want now is a bit of sun and a gentle breeze.

Seeing the flags and knowing we have some lovely material in stock sends little meesages into our brains - Wouldn't it be great to make some more bright ones for the centre of the Gill? !

Any one else feel the same way? Feel free to make contact - it really is great fun and leaves a big plus in your life having done it!

Have I got news for you

I'm in touch with Paul Merton and Ian Heslop and they love the idea of a sketch based on our Tourist Information Centre. It could run along the lines of "now you see it now you don't" but who's to tell what these amazing commendians can do when they get hold of such a beautiful situation as Ulverston Tourist Information Centre.

Watch this space.

Flags in The Gill

Our small team of five have everything prepared ready to put up the flags in the Gill this afternoon.

We had a test run on Wednesday afternoon with the 24 Dancing Flags that go round the Cumbria Way Sculpture in the centre of the Gill. These will be put out by Jennie Dennett and family on Saturday morning even though they will be hidden a little by the arrival of the Fair yesterday. Then others in The Gill area will continue to put the flags out each morning and take them in each night.

The House Flags go up this afternoon with the help of John McArthur and backup John BT. All the flags reflect on an aspect of the houses that they fly from. The flags are on their poles, ladders and tools at the ready. These flags are different to the other flags put up all over town by the "Better Towns Team" later today. They are unrestricted by a rod that was originally used to prevent the flag becoming tangled up. The Gill Team found last year that these rods in fact served no useful purpose in that when flags with rods did get tangled they did not untangle themselves. Flags without rods do occasionally tangle but very quickly they untangle themselves. Furthermore they are far freer to move and flutter in the breeze without their restrictive rods - come see what you think.

Find your nearest Blue Bell Wood

The Woodland Trust

has prepared a lovely site with stunning photos to help you do exactly this.

Most of us will know about Sea Wood just beyond Bardsea but a search using "Ulverston" reveals many more locations:

Thursday, 24 April 2014


'The Facts'

 The Staff with their longstanding experience are directed no to actively promote their services. If people walk in and ask questions, the staff will answer them. Thus the sign outside the Coro that states "Ulverston Tourist Information Centre" has been covered over with black tape by the mamger of the Coro, David Phillips only to have it removed by someone who must have read this blog.

Thus at the moment everything looks normal. However what has happened is there is no longer a phone in the Centre that responds to outside enquiries , only for Hall Bookings.

The Staff describe the situation as highly complicated. One problem may weel be funding from within SLDC. To the outsider it looks like the thin (or even quite a fat) end of the wedge towards loosing the TIC altogether.

Hence all the concern on this blog. We need a person to keep a close eye on this situation ( and it's not going to be me - I've too much on my plate already) - over to you out there!

Ulverston TIC - some answers

Here is the exact situation.

An immediate response was received from one of our councillors:

"This all sounds very odd and it's the first I've heard of it.

I have no idea why TIC staff would be telling people they're not allowed to provide tourist information, but what I do know is (a) the management of the Coro and TIC is entirely the responsibility of SLDC at the moment and the town council has no say in what happens and (b) SLDC has not consulted with the town council about making any changes to the TIC.

You will get an explanation from whoever is the manager responsible for the Coro at SLDC. I don't know whose brief this is, I'm afraid. You could try asking David Phillips at the Coro if he knows what is happening and who his line manager is.

Any major decisions about the future of the Coro would have to go to SLDC cabinet, and as far as I know that hasn't happened."

I await futher explanations from SLDC manager of the Coro, David Philips and the reaction of concerned councillors, The Ulverston Town Council and our SLDC district councillors.

Let's hope a dreadful mistake has been made and that 'normal service will be resumed immediately'.

There's no harm in hoping!

Please join in by contacting your local councillors for their response.

Reply from Jayne Kendall:

This does appear to be the case, as it is now just a box office. The office is only open as a box office to support the Coro. I think if people go in there and ask for info, they do try to help as I understand?  I am sure Jim and David will be able to provide a more comprehensive explanation, as it is run by SLDC as you know.

Town Clerk
Ulverston Town Council
Town Hall

Our town clerk is telling us that we in fact no longer have an official Tourist Information Centre

The implication is "we know and we can't do anything about it and possible don't care enough to do something."  

What do the rest of our councillors think especially those on the District Council - notably Cllr Helen Irving, Cllr Janette Jenkinson, Cllr James Airey, Cllr Mark Wilson and others. Also those concerned about the future of the Coronation Hall and the potential loss of very experienced tourist information staff: Cllrs Colin Pickthall, Judy Pickthall, Pat Jones, Norman Bishop-Rowe, Jane Harris, Margaret Hornby.  People who surely care about the future of our town as one that thrives from promoting Tourism.

District Councillor Janette Jenkinson received the following from SLDC Chief Executive, Lawrence Conway:

Dear Janette

Thank you for highlighting this to me.

Mr Dellow is incorrect about staff refusing to help.

From what I can ascertain from speaking to staff this morning, nothing is any different from how its been for some time.

A few months ago the sign outside that said TIC was covered up so that there was no doubt that it wasn’t a TIC, following an abusive episode from one member of the public.

When SLDC ceased providing all TIC services across the district some years ago, and provided what I think was 3 years of tapered funding for any group that wished to take them on, the staff at the CORO have continued informally giving information out about local sights, events and local hotels, because no local community group had taken on the responsibility for providing Tourist Information, as they have done elsewhere.

It would appear on the surface that there has been an acceptance by others, and SLDC allowing it to continue, that staff in the booking office doing all this informally would be adequate. They still use the leaflets they have in stock, but they have no ability to book accommodation or provide other tourist related services, and this informal service is all down to the staffs dedication to providing the best they can in the circumstances. It’s a booking office for the Coro.

In my view, it needs local direction and support. We can maybe help facilitate.

There is no evident intent to reverse the original decision. It was clearly felt the community that most benefits, e.g. the local businesses, should provide the service they feel they need. I can put you in touch with other community or business providers if required.

Best wishes


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Stunned, absolutely stunned.

The Tourist Information staff have now been visited so that the exact situation can be described. 

The people, I understand, in our Tourist Information Office, the same people that have been providing this service for many years now,  at the Coronation have been instructed not to provide any tourist information to people that approach them. One apparently rational tourist was so upset with the refusal to provide that he was understandable furious. He was unable to control being abusive of the staff there instead of the true people that deserve abuse. Normally very helpful staff where also extremely upset by this behaviour and the manager offered no solution other than to tape over the notice outside  which advetises this service. The problem is in fact understanding who has made this appalling decision and why has the public been notified more effectively.

Ulverston has always had a thriving tourist appeal. What people love about our town is pur friendliness. So what message do we convey by refusing to give tourist information when the very people who have been doing so for years are sitting there in the 'Tourist Information Centre', ready and eager to give it?

A group of people, in July 2010, put a lot of work into organising an alternative to the way it was being run. A team of more than twenty people were ready to run the Tourist Office on a voluntary basis as is done at Grange over Sands. After a strong campaign this group was reassured that the office at the Coro  was going to continue to run as it had and that there was no need for an alternative voluntary group. SLDC provided staff for ticket sales so they could easily provide tourism information at the same time. Now we find that this promise was untrue and the groups willingness to run an alternative was in fact needed for a reliable service.

This work was documented here on this blog in a posting made on July 30 2010.

Again in a followup article urging the public to become involved at a Town Council meeting to be held on September 6th 2010, the detailed background on this campaign for Ulverston to keep control of the Tourist  Information Office was given. It was reported that Airey was "on radio cumbria after 5pm today saying he was going to push for the council to get on board.

So who is to blame for this sudden change? The person who must be the first to provide answers is Cllr James Airey who was the person at the centre of the decision at the time to not use a voluntary structure as is being used successfully in Grange over Sands.

Now by the back door - without consultation the tourist aspect of the office has been stopped.

So we have a very angry group who want answers.

Even if this is only an interim measure this disruptive action is unacceptable as a smooth transition to the town running this service must be secured. Our town wants to welcome tourists - they have a Stan and Ollie statue outside - for tourists - with tourist information just inside. The two go together.

While on the subject of the running of the Coronation and the formation of a Friends of the Coronation Hall : why is it that some people who joined at the very first meeting have not been informed of subsequent meetings so they have only found out by word of mouth after meetings have been held.

What is going on?

The following people should be able to provide answers:

James Airey
Colin Pickthall who is deeply involved with the Friends of the Coronation Hall
Jayne Kendall Clerk of Ulverston Town Council - Ulverston Town Council

and of course David Phillips the Coro manager - David Phillips

I suggest you contact them by email or even more effectively by phone or better still in the case of David Phillips, the Coro Manager in person. He's usually to be found in the back office.

Who can provide acceptable answers? - I am asking by email : David Philllips and his boss Michael Keane at Kendal, our Councillors and the Town Clerk to explain.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

An insight

I've just had a thought. Does this make sense?

The 'civilised world' is falling apart. We depend too much on sophisticated support systems that are wonderful as long they work as intended. But they are beginning to go wrong.

Facebook is being used to pull teachers apart so that they can't cope.

The financial world has put all the power in the hands of big companies.

Democracy is no longer effective.

We're all dependent on energy from complicated sources: how many of us would cope if we had no gas or electricity.

Countries like America and Russia (China ?) are on the verge of fighting each other in power struggles.

But who will be the people who will be the least effected?

Who are the people that communicate well with only the ancient art of voice, facial and body language expression?

Who have well established communities that continue to function well?

Who appear to us to be enjoying life the most?

Is the answer below?

The people living in remote areas of the world that nobody wants to invade. People who have 'primative' skills and are still adaptable to changes in weather conditions.

While the rest of us destroy each other, doesn't the third or even fourth world stand most chance of surviving! Time to teach our children how to blend in with the people of remote Nepal, remote Amazon remote Antartica. Are there still places where the 'civilised world' hasn't managed to influence greatly what I could could call the Fourth World?

What do you think - if in fact you do think (out of your box)?

Preparations for Flag Fortnight this week end

For up to date info on what is happening with The Gill Group go to their Facebook Page.

Who are they? Once again go to their Facebook page. Nowadays you can't do anything without Facebook!

You wanna bet? Says Geoff

SLDC Chief Executive, Lawrence Conway

 The Government is talking about you, Lawrence Conway aided and abetted by  Cllr Helen Irving.

Councils urged to curb health and safety ‘jobsworths’

This is exactly what happened over the pottery that was removed from Mill Dam Park fencing last year: brought about by the actions our District Cllr Helen Irving. This story was highlighted by the Westmoreland Gazette editorial saying "Lawrence Conway haven't you got better things to do" - than back the removal of this harmless pottery from the park fence. Helen Irving should be ashamed of her role in supporting such a negative Chief Executive. Even Conway's Officers, Deborah Wright and Jim Maguire were extremely unhappy over being ordered to remove the pottery for Health and Safety reasons. However they felt they had to do as they were told by their boss Lawrence Conway.

At a meeting with local residents Conway stated that they should not do any work in the park unless they were being supervised by a SLDC officer for Health and Safety reasons. Furthermore the pottery should not be put back up because SLDC considered that it was dangerous. Irving raised no objection - it was she who had raised the matter with SLDC in the first place. Basically the excuse was that residents' actions wouldn't be covered under the Council's insurance. 

This directive is still effective in the park to this day. But are the locals taking any notice? Isn't it time for Conway to reconsider his policy and instead welcome any work being done to maintain a SLDC Park? One that is much used and much loved by the local people.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Yahoo email attack

It seems that there has been a major attack on those that have Yahoo Mail accounts.

I rarely use mine and it has a random password that is extremely unlikely to get cracked so changing the password doesn't make much sense.

I've just closed the account.

The Yahoo system must be feeling the effect which puts Google in an even stronger position.

We all need to gain control of these powerful internet giants who have far too much control over what could happen to what has become a way of life.

Rod Demick at the Swan was sensational

Rod has a real talent of attracting people who love listening and joining in, in a pub atmosphere.

By six o'clock all the rooms were full of people listening and clapping at the end of each number with many standing. Most of the numbers we were joining in with rich harmonies and chorusses. We were all having a great time - we even had some dancing 'in the aisle'. There were several well behaved pub dogs and some children - it is an inn after all.

You can find Rod on Facebook He has great presence and a wonderful sense of rhythm that gets feet tapping. People come fair distances to be part of the event - several of them are performers in their own right.

Isn't it great that we have this kind of thing happening in several of our Ulverston pubs.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Spring photos from Allan Wilson

A pansy and two tulips.

Isn't it amazing what a photographer sees that passes us completely by.

A walk up Hoad today

Today the weather will be much better than a year ago when this was filmed!

Les Tallon will be there to greet us with drinks - always a hot cup of tea and a biscuit. Quote "I'm an Ulverstonian and I believe you must always put something back into the community " And sure enough Les did just this last Monday : see below!

Sure enough last Monday I met up with Les as he returned from visiting the monument - not for fun - but would you believe it: to clean all the steps to the top with a vacuum cleaner - on his own - ready for the opening over this weekend to the public starting on Good Friday and continuing Saturday , today and Easter Monday. Dedication indeed. He and his team will be found every Sunday and Bank holiday for the rest of the year: ready to raise our spirits - whatever the weather with a chat, a drink, and encouragement to climb to the top.

Maybe see you there this afternoon!

I look forward to paying him back with a drink when he visits the Stan Laurel on his 'days off'. You could do the same if you see him there!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Out of touch

Where have I been for the last eleven months?

Only now, by chance,  have I discovered this video

It's easy to remain immersed in ones own little struggles and sometimes miss the broader picture.

Looks like there are even more interesting videos yet to be seen on Youtube. Time for me to look around more!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Too bloody polite for our own good

Look at the number of people that can't cope with being teased.

People can't cope with disagreements. Disagree with someone and you've lost a friend for life. Yet surely the way real friendships grow is through learning to deal with the rough as well as the smooth. Thirty year olds break up because they hit a hard patch - they're not in the habit of having an argument and then learning to compromise: to allow the other person space to be different yet overall working together over the main things in life.

In French Cafe´s, I'm amazed how the locals break into a heated argument. Yet these are friends that have know each other for years. Often a cafe´serves different people from different backgrounds and ages - it's a great place to mix , disagree and get along.

Here, especially in Ulverston, we have lots of different factions all pulling in different directions and most about to fall down flat on their faces. People haven't learnt to get along, disagree but still stick together. Think of our public 'leaders' of all kinds:

How many of them can we tease?

Worlds apart

Our visit to Grange yesterday revealed what a massive difference the attitude of the council can make to the vibrancy of a town.

This is a "Can Do society".

Isn't it revealing that parents with kids take them to Grange rather than spending time in Ulverston. There are so many different things for them to do along The Prom.

First there's the park with it's wide range of ducks and feed available at 50p a bag. The Prom itself is well kept - different societies take care of their own bed along the front, there are sculptures made by locals to be enjoyed. Then there is a brilliant little park for both very small and slightly bigger kids. Keep going and there's a great cafe´just the other sides loads of fun equipment for the older seven up kids. Keep going and there's Pitch and Put and at the far end Some more equipment and a patch of grass for children to play.

Every month a separate organisation brings together crafts from a fifty mile radius thanks to the work of a former mayor and councillor - Robert Leach.

All this brings people in from a fair distance - Barrow, Lancaster Kendal - which in turn keeps the shops going with it's excellent range of cafe´s, the Chocolatier, the best Butcher in Cumbria, great bargain secondhand goods.

If you visit the Town Hall, you find the Tourist Information run entirely by volunteers and upstairs you begin to realise why all this is happening. Even the staff of the council office is involved in supporting the town helping in fundraising activities like a Cross Bay Walk. Now attend meetings of SLDC and CCC and Grange councillors are taking on the rest with energy - watch Tom Harvey in action. Not a smoothie like our James Airey who seeks power and position at all costs but someone who's not afraid to ruffle a few feathers as he fights with all he's got for his town.

By contrast visit our Town Council and you'll hear a lot of twittering and clucking from a group of old hens as they run with efficiency getting nowhere as the sit and watch the town rapidly going nowhere and ignoring the potential help available form the local community from people with business no how and experience of getting things done. Isn't it sad that people with the ability of ex Glaxo boss John Lawrence has to go to Dalton to give his extensive experience to the Music Centre there rather than get involved with our town affairs?

Come on Ulverstonian's - Pull your socks up. Stop putting up with poor leadership.

It isn't as though there aren't people out there able to help - look at the U3A all retired people. 400 of them looking for something useful to do. The Farmer's Market every Thursday does it's bit by providing a thriving 'inside market'. Then there are all the allotment holders - they obviously have time and energy to spare. Those that do, learn to do more. Let Ulverston become known as the town where people are enjoying life so much that they haven't time to sit and watch tele for entertainment!

Ulverston used to lead Grange by a country mile. Not any more. Ulverston going downhill at an increasingly rapid rate - if you want proof : look to our future Mayor - nice woman but ineffective -  in fact positively destructive - Mill Dam Park (there's a contradiction in terms ! ) - Grange bucking the trend. They are a Can Do society - why aren't we?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Grand Day Out

Gather nine children of ages between two and nine who know each other reasonably well. Take them on the train to Grange for a day out. There's so much for them to do along the Prom after a tour of the park immediately after arriving at the station. The parents can sit back and witness lots of activity with children learning massive amounts about leadership, running flat out for miles, getting on with each other, coping with teasing, sharing treats, taking care of each other, showing the initiative, organising their own games, obeying orders, learning to bargain and handle money; in short growing into responsible human beings. The role of parents: to enjoy not having to do a thing other that briefly console a child with a hug, sort out some bullying. The children are best left to themselves and ignored while the adults do their own thing.

We all arrive back happily tired ready for a nap - the other half will have to cook the next meal!

Definitely a win- win situation. When can we do it again one mum says!

The nature of spam is changing

Comments are pouring in looking like this:

プラダ トートバッグ ブログ 通販 レディス ルイヴィトン 財布 定価, ナイキ カスタマイズ ニューバランス ランニングウェア myuumyuu,ニューバランス まとめ スニーカー 人気色 ココシャネル ブルガリ 財布 定価 ニューバランスメンズシューズ hd25 adidas ディーラー店 miumiu 激安通販, ルイヴィトン 人気 財布, 韓国 mcm 財布, ニューバランス usa レディース トリーバーチ 店舗 アウトレット ティエ 時計 レディース 人気 トリーバーチ 靴 店舗  シャネル 大阪 ニューバランス大阪店 オークリー ブーツ adidas 福袋 アディダス ジャージ 下 ルイヴィトン新作トートバッグ, シャネル マトラッセ 指輪 new balance v45 ナイキ スニーカー ウィメンズ ニューバランスレディーススニーカー通販 ブルガリ 財布 メンズ アディダス ss2 


There's a very quick response time between the posting of an article to the arrival of a comment.

Presumably the language is Chinese so who are the targetted audience?

More constructive thinking

See the Westmorland Gazette

Houses should be built in place of proposed Ulverston supermarket

Well done Dr Richard Rowlett backed by Councillor Jane Harris at the recent town council meeting. (No, what happens there isn't all negative but what's the chance of this kind of initiative being taken seriously by sleepy Ulverston?)

What Ulverston desperate needs is accommodation for those requiring a small space in which to live in moderate comfort close to the town centre thus minimising transport costs and inconvenience.  A need particularly appreciated by retired older people and by young people setting up for themselves away from home for the first time. Families are being catered for by new build like that created by Persimmons in Union Lane but there is a great need by the above age groups.

People like the above would then boost the use of the existing shops in the town. A win-win situation!

Great art exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery

I've been once and am returning to see this amazing exhibition - it's so unusual you can't take it all in within one visit - the mind (mine especially) just can't cope.

Every now and then one comes across an experience that is trully inspiring. The emotional stimulation to ones own motivation is for me the most valuable thing in my life.

The concert at Kendal liesure centre was one such experience with The BBC Philharmonic playing Brahms Third Symphony and Beethowen's Violin Concerto. However for something truly mind blowing, the exibition now on at the Manchester Art Gallery is not to be missed.his is the work of internationally famous Portugese artist Joana Vascocelos in a creation called "Time Machine".

This exhibition ends 1st June 2014 - you've got six weeks to get there!

We need all the inspiration we can get at a times like this! A welcome break from the continuous negativity in the media. Treasure it while it's there.

"I don't work with objects - I work with ideas"

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Bursting with energy

Isn't it amazing how plants take off when the tempreature rises and the sun comes out.

The sweet peas are growing almost visibly - in seems like an inch a dayc. It's all "go" down at the allotment. Rhubarb shot up a fortnight ago and is still growing at an amazing rate. It gives one a great lift to be in touch with this creative energy. I'm turning more and more to the allotment as a great therapeutic activity.

Having an allotment fulfils a lot of wonderful needs. It involves working with a fair number of muscles and unlike 'artificial exercise' in the gym you do it because you do it for a purpose. At the moment I'm lifting heavy forkfuls of manure and spreading it all over the various beds. I'm digging out patches of couch grass from areas that haven't been tackled before. There's plenty of fresh air - sometimes accompanied by a biting wind and rain but then we have the refuge of our shed with it's seat and the possibility of enjoying a quick brew while we peek out at the weather outside our open door. We come home with a great sense of achievement. On the other hand on a day like this today we have the chance of friendly chat and the satisfaction of planting out perhaps fifty onions that have taken off with lots of quick roots and a bright green shoot  with the promise of a mature plant in three months time!

Too little, too late

The unwillingness of councillors to 'keep their eye of the ball' results in the kind of fiasco that we have on our market at the moment.

Yes, we now have ideal conditions for people on foot to enjoy the market and help it thrive now that New Market Street and Market Street itself has been pedestrianised - sadly one thing is missing - a market. How many stalls did we have last Saturday? Was it four in the Market Square and one in New Market St?

Sadly we don't have people on the council that know how to get on with a job when they start it. Worse still they refuse to be helped by others with more business experience. In fact how many people think that the council actually stops a job getting done rather than helping? ( An example could be what has happened at Mill Dam Park where community spirit has been all but squashed completely by the actions of our SLDC Councillor)

The Super Saturdays were much enjoyed last year - where have they been this year?

James Airey was dragged over the coals a year ago because the paperwork for the pedestrianisation of Market Street had got buried in a County Council back office. This project was kicked off a full two years ago and is only now being implemented. It was the police that had to draw the council's attention that nothing was happening eighteen months ago and even then they had to quietly have a word with certain councillors to put them straight as to what the real problem was.

James Airey practises a philosophy echoed by councillors time and time again. They think the job is done once they've raised it. It doesn't occur to them that any project travelling through either SLDC or the County Council has to followed not perhaps weekly but certainly monthly. Officers need agreed deadlines set and then checked that they are kept. When a deadline is not kept some penalty or other needs to be imposed. All that may be needed is to have the inaction made public. The other attitude that can really make a difference is praise. It's like training dogs and encouraging children: praise and in the case of children, lots of hugs, works wonders. For council officers to work well they need to be in constant touch with their bosses - the elected councillors. How is this possible with power mad people who persuade the public to elect them to be not only Town Councillors but District Councillors and not only these two but County Councillors. How can people like James Airey and Mark Wilson who profess to do all three possibly give the effort that all three jobs require if done well?

What did Catherine Thompson have to say on the subject of Super Saturday Markets back on January 26th

" I don't think Ulverstonians or visitors know what Ulverston is about anymore, new blood in the council would help !!"

Avoiding the public

Is Ulverston Town Council becoming more and more inward looking?

After the way members of the public have been treated in the past by the Town Council procedures that  cut off people trying to communicate with the council using the 15 minutes available at the beginning of  a council meeting, one might easily conclude that the public is regarded by the council as no more than a nuisance to 'getting on with the important business of the council'.

I dropped in last night to the latest meeting and everything was humming along swimmingly. The Mayor sat with her large gold necklace, ably assisted by her Town Clerk,  the Deputy was missing .The Labour seats were all filled with a third of the Conservative councillors busy elsewhere. There was a chummy atmosphere and councillors chirrup to each other in a respectful way addressing each other as Madam Mayor and Councillor Smith. Business shot through at a brisk pace and Councillors were careful to declare their prejudicial interests in any matter being discussed and the chair managed with difficulty to control the frequent interuptions of Cllr Bishop-Rowe - she's had lots of practice. The Town council is a well oiled machine and it must be a big boost to  member's ego to be part of such an august institution.

But hang on a minute, how do they treat  the public, not only in the council chamber but on their web site.

You would have thought that with paying more for the services of a town clerk that the web site would be kept up to date so as to inform the public efficiently but what does one find? Under Council Administration have a look at Minutes and Agenda :

The Latest Agenda reads:

Town Clerk: Jayne Kendall
Town Mayor: Cllr Judy Pickthall
Deputy Town Mayor: Cllr Helen Irving
Our Ref: JK/SY
27 November 2013
Dear Sir/Madam Councillor,"

Yes it's the agenda for the meeting last December 2nd 2013 . What happened to the four meetings since then and particularly the one last night on April 14th?

  • January  6th
  • January 20th
  • February 17th
  • March 17th

  • Now look at the Archives at the bottom. The latest is dated 20 January which is the minutes for the meeting held on January 20th - what happened to the minutes for the meetings in February and March?

    Can one conclude that in reality the public really aren't important to our Council ?

    Is it "Please don't bother us, we're too busy being busy".

    Do we only get made a fuss of at elections?

    Roll on the day when a councillor finally decides that their electorate are important and runs one of these newfangled blogs - then they might start to earn our respect.

    Until then will we bother to vote?

    Monday, 14 April 2014

    Can we face negatives ?

    The editorial of the Independent today reads:

    "There is a danger that we are becoming bored of being lectured about climate change. We witness new weather patterns such as the gales and torrential rain that battered Britain this winter. We digest the images of melting glaciers, and read – with increasing numbness – the predictions about the rise in global temperatures. And it is not surprising if there is an overpowering urge to change the channel. That explains why the dissidents on this issue, however marginal scientifically, find a ready audience.

    So it is commendable that the latest instalment of the lecture comes in a tidy form – a mere 33 pages – and that, although its message is as apocalyptic as ever, it identifies snippets of encouraging news that may shake us from our fatalistic slumbers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Summary for Policymakers insists on the seriousness of the situation: greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade were the highest in human history: without further action the impact of higher temperatures on agriculture, wildlife and human civilisation will be “devastating”.

    But the report also points out that past exhortations have not been in vain. Last year renewables accounted for more than half the new electricity generation added around the world. As the renewables industry grows it is becoming more and more competitive with fossil-based power generation. To avoid disastrous temperature rises, we will have to treble investment in renewables in the next 35 years: a tall order, but not impossible, given the political will. And the additional benefits, such as clean air and energy security, are lost on no one."

    This is very perseptive psychology. We can't cope with hearing about what I call doom and gloom and run away to look elsewhere, but the writer claims that actually there is hope - even though that hope is based on action "that is a tall order".

    If however there is no hope of a solution then no one wants to talk or listen about it.

    So when do we start focussing on a difficult subject? One we will repeatedly run away from in order not to face up to it?

    A great roman philosopher - Seneca said - “The mind that is anxious about future events is miserable.”  Does it not follow that the way to avoid being miserable is to not be anxious about future events. We need to look them full in the face and get used to  the worse possible senario and adjust our thinking to this eventuallity.

    Let's face it there may not be a future for the human race very soon. Does it follow that we have to be miserable.

    Those that face up to their own death don't end up feeling miserable.

    “It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” - Seneca

    Sunday, 13 April 2014

    Kids and parents

    Running activities in the holidays is a great way of making contact with both young kids and their parents. There can be a tremendous contrast in the way they behave if the families are from different backgrounds.

    I had a lovely time with one family yesterday - a father and three children ages between two and six. They all got stuck in and worked away making popup cards, going home with a collection of working 'masterpieces'. Even the youngest contributed. A focussed activity for two hours around a table and later briefly on chairs listening to a couple of stories being told.

    The day before another two very different families. One where both mother and a six year old sat with me making cards of our own whilst another family of mother and two children found the activity wasn't for them. It was never-the-less great to have contact and chat: with the possibilty of a totally different activity next time.

    This week we're talking of going to Grange for a day out by train. The excitement of the train journey all together; feeding the ducks; cycling along the Prom; story telling all round a table in the corner of lovely cafe; play in a great little park. Train home with exhausted kids ready for food and bed!

    It's at this age - 0 to 7  that children develop a lot of their basic characteristics. As a former teacher having the parents there with the children makes the interaction with each other and the outside world even more fascinating.

    Now it's switch off time at the allotment!


    Is there a link between eating and our state of mind?

    It's one of my highlights in the day: to eat. Meals are very special as then I enjoy very good food. Vegetables that are full of taste from the allotment; home made bread made with differing ingredients; soups that vary almost daily based on what's left over in the fridge rather fixed boring recipes; drinks made from house recipes that can be varied to the whim of the moment and above all cooks who have lots of creative ideas of how to make a meal very appetising.

    With this amount of enjoyment available no wonder some people look to food to provide their enjoyment in life especially if they aren't living in a way they enjoy.

    Obesity a sign of a nations state of mind?

    A friend returns from the States and tells me people are eating masses of food and are in general fat and overweight. A visit to Paris where  its a joy to sit in the cafe´s and watch all the attractive women walk by: not an overweight person to be seen other than those you're pretty sure are visiting foreigners.

    Looking around at one's friends and acquaintances: do the bodies of the slim and 'well built' belong to those that are enjoying life and the overweight to those that enjoy their food too much - and what is too much? Personally I don't believe in slimming but rather in living life to the full and being active. Then weight takes care of itself. Life is fun. Does it depend on what we find is 'fun'? A six pack and tele or a run on the fells - or something in between. Dancing to music for me! (Now doing it twice a week and planning for a third).

    Oh BTW when where sofas invented?