My Diary ...

Displaying 1 - 10 of 17
  • Bowls Club AGM 2018

    Published Date: 
    Tuesday, 10 April, 2018

    Another year passes by and another bowls club AGM comes round; is it really a year since the debacle with Larry House? I expected this year to be a much smoother ride with nothing contentious to discuss but, no, this is Wareham Short Mat Bowls Club I am talking about ...

    Things were progressing relatively smoothly until we reached a proposal that the session attendance fee be REDUCED from £2.50 to £2.00 otherwise we were going to end up with far too much money in the bank. Now I would expect in 99.99% of clubs that would go through unopposed as it was suggesting a reduction in playing fees not an increase but no, not in our club. Despite the overwhelming case for a reduction opposition soon broke out. One 'respected' member of the club felt £2.50 was quite a reasonable amount to pay for a good afternoon's entertainment and the ex-treasurer said it should stay the same and we should have more subsidised social events; he was not offering to organise these events, that was for someone else to do. After a while, with no one seemingly interested in a sensible, logical assessment we took a vote and 16 wanted the rate to stay the same, 11 agreed it should reduce. 

    I confess to being angry about this as it opens up a number of issues we could do without. Our income next year will now likely reach £6,000 which has two major consequences. Firstly, charities with income of over £5,000 per annum have to register with the Charity Commission and that is something we could really do without; added regulation will bring some pain and absolutely no gain. Secondly, it means our bank balance will be around £5,000 at next year's AGM, twice our approved reserve levels and what do we do then? Propose a reduction to £1.00 a session or let the reserves go on rising towards £7,000?

    This is a classic case of people not engaging brains before opening mouths and now I have to sort it out! I feel like giving up but if I want to play bowls I can't; I am trapped!


     

    Share
  • Nature in March 2018

    Published Date: 
    Wednesday, 4 April, 2018

    March started with county (and the whole country) in the grip of the 'beast from the east!'. Most of Britain had an extensive covering of snow and even down here in the soft south conditions were pretty dire for a couple of days. This not only wrought havoc with the human population but threw many ground feeding birds into panic as they tried to escape the sever conditions by flying further south. For many that came south to Dorset there was bad news, it was not good here either and the only option was to head out to sea. Flocks of thousands of birds were seen flying along the Dorset coast heading west in the hope of finding feeding areas rather than actually venture out in to the unknown.

    Small flocks of golden plover can be seen in Dorset every winter but for a few days during the 'beast' they were seen along the coast everywhere and in huge numbers, all victims of the of the desperate loss of feeding opportunities at a time when they actually needed extra food. Lapwing also feed in damp fields in winter and their numbers too reached four figure flocks as they were caught in the same trap set by the weather conditions. Fieldfare and redwing are more often seen here down south but again, the numbers during the 'beast' were far higher than we would normally expect.

    The most significant single bird to be affected was a Ross's gull. This is a species from the Arctic region and rarely seen away from the Siberian and Canadian north even in winter but one arrived in Weymouth just ahead of the 'beast', presumably brought here by the strong easterly wind. It soon developed a routine of spending the night at Ferrybridge (near the Portland Causeway) then moving on to Weymouth Bay. It then spent some time at Radipole, often in the company of the other gulls that line up in the car park there at high tide. From there it would move on to Lodmoor and then out in to the bay again before heading back 'home' to Ferrybridge. Being very rare in this country it drew crowds from all over although there were some very disappointed people who set out and could not get down to Dorset due to the dreadful road conditions. It stayed for about a week and then flew off out to sea one day and was never seen here again.

    Once the 'beast' had gone there was brief sign that the spring migration was under way with reports of wheatear, chiffchaff and sand martins coming in off the sea for a couple of days and then we slid back in to the 'mini-beast' with some more snow and the migration news has been pretty sparse since then.

    In the few days that were a little spring-like adders have been seen basking in the weak sunshine and a few butterflies, mainly brimstone, emerged.  Some enthusiastic 'moth trappers' had some early spring moths to identify but nothing too extraordinary. Reports of bloody-nosed beetle, green tiger beetle and oil beetle again gave encouragement that spring really is due here soon!

    Off shore the number of sea birds has been declining although two red-necked grebes in Weymouth bay seem reluctant to head back north but the main feature has been a pod of bottle-nose dolphin, possibly 12 animals in all, performing well and seen leaping out of the water off Portland Bill in the 'races'. They were also seen as far east as Durlston.

    So, as we await the arrival of April we also await the arrival of the spring migrants. A swallow was seen towards the end of the month but that is not going to make a summer is it? 

    [Photo: Fieldfare in our garden]


     

    Share
  • Rain and pain

    Published Date: 
    Friday, 30 March, 2018

    There is a blanket of dark grey cloud over Wareham this morning, which matches the mood of the people in the town, and the rain falls incessantly reflecting the tears of the people of the town. A group of twenty or so people stand on the pavement in North Street, they release balloons into the sky. Flowers adorn the seat near the pedestrian crossing and a policeman walks towards the scene carrying a bunch of flowers, a stark reminder that the hardened professionals of our amazing emergency services have emotions and feelings they often have to hide. The shops and businesses in North Street are closed, the staff there would have been profoundly affected by yesterday's events and they need time to come to terms with it. The town hall door is open and a man with "Police Chaplain" stands in the entrance, some form of assembly is obviously about to happen. The shelf fillers in Sainsbury's are their usual morose selves but at least today they have reason to be, they have to put the contents of the truck involved in the fateful event on the store shelves. The women on the check out try and give the impression it is business as usual but it is going to be a hard day for them too.

    People want to know what happened and why, they want to know who was to blame. The photograph taken from a distance, presumably by a reporter or press photographer, shows the dreadful scene, and maybe gives some clues but it is the police, of course, who have the unenviable task of establishing exactly what happened, whether any laws were broken and if so make sure the culprit(s) have their day in court and face judicial punishment. Did the adults with the children not have proper control over the young ones, did they let them run across the road rather than hold their hand and lead them safely across? Did the lorry driver pass though an amber (or worse a red) light? Was the person who parked their car on the wrong side of the road and on the jagged lines where no one should park start a tragic chain of events through their selfishness and disregard for the law? One thing is certain; not only was the life of a three year old boy tragically ended yesterday morning, the lives of several other people where irrevocably changed by those events; they will live with, and be punished by, those memories for the rest of their lives regardless of the outcome of our human laws.

    One sees reports of tragic incidents like this on the news all the time but one does not expect it to happen in the little town you call home, it happens elsewhere. When it it happens close to home the reality has a deeper effect on you, you can't help but feel involved even if you were not there when it happened. We did see the air ambulance fly low over our house on its way to the scene so were deeply aware something terrible must have happened but we did not know what at the time of course.

    One day soon the sun will come out again in Wareham, the incident will fade in memories, people will continue to park where they want regardless of anyone else and life will return to normal for most of us but it will surely never do that for that family whose pain must be unbearable.  


     

    Share
  • Jigsaw: Hedgerow

    Published Date: 
    Thursday, 22 March, 2018
    Title Hedgerow
    Manufacturer House of Puzzles
    No of Pieces 1000
    Time 12 Days
    Difficulty Challenging

    Given the cold and snowy weather over the last couple of weeks we have been grateful for an indoor pass time as neither of have felt inclined to venture outside much. Despite a lot of attention this jigsaw still took us 12 days with pretty much every piece looking the same colours; it was eventually defeated by the House of Puzzles imaginative use of piece shapes. The end result was worth it, a lovely picture although hedgerows like this nowadays are very difficult to find but we can dream.


     

    Share
  • Food for thought

    Published Date: 
    Thursday, 15 March, 2018

    We had lunch at the Martyrs Inn in Tolpudle today. It is not far from us and so we go there every now and then, I suppose we have been there a dozen or so times since we moved to Dorset. Named, of course, after the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs the names of the six men (George Loveless, James Brine, James Hammett, James Loveless, John Standfield and Thomas Standfield) adorn the wall above the the main fire place and on the back of the pub's menu is their story. Today, whilst eating my lunch, something dawned on me!

    The story of the martyrs is quite well known but in case you are not familiar with it here is a short synopsis. It was 1834 and the British aristocracy, and therefore parliament, were living in fear following the French and Russian revolutions. The situation across rural England was tense with various outbreaks of unrest as farm labourers fought for better wages and also against the growing mechanisation on farms that were threatening jobs. In Tolpuddle there were six farm labourers, all struggling to feed their families on 30p a week wages for extremely hard labour; they were little more than slaves. The six got together and decided to take on the Lord of Manor to try and improve their lot. The Manor house family were doing very, very well thank you off the backs of these men's efforts, a good return for minimum outlay. The men met and swore a secret oath to do whatever was necessary in the fight and to support each other during the fight. Forming a workers union was not illegal but swearing a secret oath was and somehow news of this meeting and the oath sworn reached the wrong ears. They were arrested, tried, found guilty and sentenced to transportation to the colonies; a fate worth than death. The case provoked riots across the country, even in London, and force had to be used to put them down; they were turbulent times. There is much more on the web and there is also a museum to the martyrs in Tolpuddle which is well worth a visit.

    Anyway, to my point. The working 'martyrs' were exploited by the local estate who had them arrested and tried. The case made the six men famous, famous enough to now have a pub named after them; it was originally the Crown but rebranded as the Martyrs Inn in 1952. The pub is owned by the local estate and rented to a tenant. As far as I know, this means that the same family who made martyrs of the men to try and get rid of them now make a profit from a business that unashamedly uses the martyrs and their suffering as a form of attraction. In other words, nearly 200 years on, the martyrs are still being exploited by the same people. There seems something wrong in that to me.

    I am not a socialist but I believe passionately in fairness and social justice and there seems little of either in the case of the Tolpuddle martyrs. Food for thought eh?


     

    Share
  • Mixed emotions - judge for yourself

    Published Date: 
    Saturday, 10 March, 2018

    For fifty years I was eligible for jury service. Not just eligible but both willing and able to do my civic duty and do jury service. I have never been one to shirk responsibility or shy away from a challenge, I have always thrived on those situations. During my ten years in the charitable sector I was fortunate enough to be involved in the Common Purpose programme and that included a visit to Winchester Prison (as a guest, not an inmate) and an afternoon in Southampton Magistrates Court. The day exploring and discussing our judicial system was fascinating, interesting, troubling and sad. Whilst I cannot say I 'enjoyed' the day it is a day I will never regret having experienced.

    I remember a young lad brought before 'the bench' for remand proceedings. The night before he had attacked a girl in Southampton, something I find abhorrent and yet as I watched him in the dock I felt sorry for him!  In a moment of madness he had not only wrecked the girl's life, her family's life and his family's life but also his own life. He had no future other than to spend many, many years in a hell hole that is called Winchester (or any other) prison and I felt compassion for him! That's me I suppose ... he was remanded in custody, was a later found guilty in the Crown Court in Winchester and sentenced to twenty five years in prison. That was back in 2001 so he may well be still in there. What a waste for a pointless and worthless act.

    I can't help wonder what I would have thought had I been part of the jury at his trial. I am sure I would have found him guilty along with my fellow jurors and I suppose it is right that he should suffer in return for the suffering he dished out but I still can't help feeling sad. I am sure others would deem him a 'low life' and that he got everything he deserved and I should not give it second thought but it doesn't work like that for me.

    Anyway, back to my original point, whilst having been willing and able to do jury service for fifty years the call never came. Now, when I have a full time caring role looking after Ann what happens? Yes, I get a call to do jury service in Bournemouth. I have to be prepared for the case allocated to me to last for possibly two weeks or even longer. I should also be prepared to travel to a court further away or possibly to a crime scene and I should also be prepared for being away over night in the event of us not being able to agree a verdict. I was in no doubt that my duties to Ann are greater now than my duties to the process of justice in the country I live in and I had to ask for exemption. The answer was swift; yes "you are excused jury service".

    I am both relieved, as I just do not how I could have coped with it along with my caring duties, but disappointed at an experience and challenge missed but if I am just going to feel sorry for the accused may be it is as well I not involved in his/her trial, whoever they are and whatever the charges.


     

    Share
  • Jigsaw: Meet the Family

    Published Date: 
    Friday, 9 March, 2018

     

    Title Meet the Family
    Manufacturer House of Puzzles
    No of Pieces 1000
    Time 6 Days
    Difficulty Easy

    Another week, another jigsaw and that reflects the weather over the last week. With severe cold, some snow and some ice we have not been far! However, it now seems more spring-like so may be just one more then take a break until next winter. I love the expressions on the two parent collies faces. Mother is looking very pleased and proud "These are my babies!" but dad looks more stern and is taking his responsibilities to his young family very seriously. As for the puppies, they are up to all manor of naughty things. 


     

    Share
  • Jigsaw: Signalling Change

    Published Date: 
    Friday, 2 March, 2018
    Title Signalling Change
    Manufacturer House of Puzzles
    No of Pieces 1000
    Time 5 Days
    Difficulty Easy

    This week's cold weather meant we raced through this one. This jigsaw is a bit special for me as when I was 14 I spent two weeks of my summer holiday in a signal box at a small station in Scotland whilst were staying with my aunt. It was fascinating to see how railways worked and whilst most of my school chums wanted to be an engine driver I wanted to be a signal man! When I left school and went to see the careers adviser he asked me what I wanted to do and, niavely perhaps, I said I wanted to be a signal man and he said "Grammar school boys don't become signal men. Here, this insurance company wants junior clerks go talk to them." I hated being an insurance clerk and I realise now I should have said I wanted to be in railway systems management, I think I would have gone a long way! (Pun intended)


     

    Share
  • Jigsaw: Ship Inn

    Published Date: 
    Sunday, 25 February, 2018
    Title Ship Inn
    Manufacturer House of Puzzles
    No of Pieces 1000
    Time 6 Days
    Difficulty Easy

    After the challenges of Foxley Wood something with lots of colour and shapes to provide some light relief! Ran through in no time at all ...


     

    Share
  • Jigsaw: Foxley Wood

    Published Date: 
    Sunday, 18 February, 2018
    Title Foxley Wood
    Manufacturer House of Puzzles
    No of Pieces 1000
    Time 13 Days
    Difficulty Challenging

    An exercise in assembling 1,000 pieces of varying shades of brown and green! Worth the effort for a lovely picture - who could even think of harming such a beautiful animal as the fox?


     

    Share

Pages

PrintFriendly

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

AddToAny

Share