The Strome Arms

Strome Court was built as a sheltered housing complex.
Its communal facility is due an upgrade, in part to be accessible to people of all abilities, and in part to modernise & keep the court as attractive to future tenants.
Consultation on the future décor and upgraded equipment, as well as an extension to host 4 wheel mobile scooters, took place this morning.
There’s a good spirit at Strome Court where they are active participants in Meadows in Bloom.
They refer to their centre as “The Strome Arms”, but I won’t say why.
Meanwhile, it’s obvious that streets in the area are being abused as city centre car parks.

St.George’s Day in Nottingham 2014

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A larger march than last year, but perhaps more one-dimensional; certainly when compared to last month’s St.Patrick’s Day parade.
Morris dancing and folk music featured in the Old Market Square, but perhaps a reminder of why we English embraced the Beatles.
A tad harsh, and one colleague told me not to take the event it too seriously.
To paraphrase Boris Pasternak, “But if people love parties, they love excuses for a party. And nobody loves parties like the English” and people came to have a good time.
Some want a bank holiday for St.George’s Day. There is a breadth to celebrating England, with inspiration available from many, including George Orwell’s ideas from his essay, “The Lion and the Unicorn“. But maybe the focus should just be a tad more on doing more of the radical things that made England great rather than saying ain’t it great.

grinding poverty and brutal hatreds

Made the decision to go to Alan Johnson‘s event late. £11 to watch what surely I could have seen on TV some time. Yet when I arrived, it was a choice of front row or back. Having checked it wasn’t a Rob Bryden style event where people on the front row got picked on, I chose the front and got the middle seat. John Hess, BBC reporter and host for the event later told me sales were over 260.
People had chosen to go for a mixture of reasons, from it was on at Nottingham Playhouse to they’d read his account of his childhood, but behind it a genuine respect for this leading Labour politician. Part of this appeal, was his roots, described in his autobiography “This Boy“, which he says more accurately was a tribute to his mother and his sister, living in the grinding poverty of Kensal Town in what is now in the well-to-do Notting Hill.
He described the 50s as brutal, in its grinding poverty and in the brutal hatreds, including racist (there was the murder of Kelso Cochrane and the subsequent race riots in 1959), anti-homosexual and sexist (tolerated domestic violence and official bars to promotions for married women), that limited people’s lives, overlooked when people romanticise the past.
Alan said he didn’t want to overdo the Monty Python-esque – poverty, you don’t know the meaning of it – but questions started with would Labour ever again having leading members who weren’t anything but professional politicians, from PPE at university to SPAD, to MP, to Cabinet, (not knowing a real job) to which Alan could only venture that it was a problem.
The final questioner asked why, with all this professional expertise, had Labour felt the need to hire a foreign political advisor (reputably for a six figure sum) to win the next General Election. Again Alan kinda passed.
But he did find space in one of his answers to emphasise how Labour had made massive progress on public health, with a combination of local health facilities and cutting the waiting list meant that the life expectancy of the poorest at the end of our time had matched the life expectancy of the well-to-do at the beginning – it’s just that their life expectancy leaped by the same amount during those years.

Hug a broken hearted husky

The old husky lifted its head. The latest pups yelping as they came its way.
They seemed more excitable than usual and formed a heaving mass within seconds.
“It’s your anniversary” they shouted.
The old dog winced.
“Tell us! Tell us! What was it like?”
They were referring to the current British Prime Minister’s visit to the island 8 years ago.
The pups knew they were to be special.
Providing transport to others.
Making the world of commerce work.
And the grand-parent had been part of the team chosen that day as part of the best of the special ones.
“Was it to save the planet?” yapped the youngest.
“Aah well, now, you see…”
But the old timer could see the new parents had already started sniggering.
Had it really been that bad?
Yes, the pink faced man had been aloof, but surely he’d shown he cared.
He’d wanted to see the receding ice of the main glacier.
He’d said he was he to put the environment first.
‘Greenest government ever’
‘Would provide leadership in Europe for tackling climate change.’
Why shouldn’t they have believed him?
Why shouldn’t they have been proud?
20140421-193332.jpg“Get rid of the green crap” shouted the newspapers!
Why oh why had old timer waved the newspaper coverage around in those balmy days?
The photos showing the energy and enthusiasm of the pack.
Now the British investment programmes to tackle climate change had been cut to shore up the profits of their big energy companies.
Fracking programmes to burn more gas, encouraged.
Insulation programmes stopped.
Inshore wind farms ridiculed.
The British, it now seems, can’t even survive without weekly collections of non-recyclable waste, according to the one who ate more biscuits that this pack of huskies could ever manage.
Of course, no-one even reported on the status of the glacier now.
The Arctic Ice continued to melt away.
Oh the disappointment, Or was it shame?
“Are you crying?”
“No, no. It’s just a touch of hay fever, that’s all.”
The pups looked up confused.
“Time for bed kids” gestured the parents, who looked at each other to indicate that perhaps the joke had turned a bit sour.

Here comes the story of the Hurricane

Rather like the movie, the story of the Hurricane was for me, the telling of the story of The Hurricane.
Our hippy English teacher heard the Bob Dylan song, and made it our fourth form’s playlet contribution to the school’s performance night.
I played a Police sergeant in the hippy teacher’s denim jacket, with some yellow ribbon sown onto the arms by my Mum to indicate the rank.
I was very proud of taking part, so imagine the sadness of it when we later understood that he had indeed been guilty after all.
And yet, as we have now known for some time, Rubin Carter was freed rather than tried for a third time.
In retrospect, one of the earliest political campaigns I was part of; that and leaving the Common Market.
I sense education was so much more relaxed in the seventies; that or the hippies had an undue influence in our school.
One example was discovering during the day from one of our French/PE teachers that that the school was supposed to be at a cross-country competition that afternoon, but there was no kit and what was available was a bit random. I had to rummage through the host school’s lost property basket and found only plimsolls and a shirt.
The photo at the start (published in the local weekly paper) shows our relaxed nature, especially compared to the winning school that were prone for a fast start and not only had kit, but kit with sashes.
See obituary published in The Guardian.
Images from CBS and Shrewsbury Chronicle.

Primrose Day

… at Old Oswestry Hillfort.
Surprising expression, and it turns out it’s a little remembered expression to celebrate Benjamin Disraeli, who died on this day.
Disraeli was a favourite of Michael Foot’s, seemingly for his humour.

Bluebells are just coming out on the best preserved hillfort of its kind in Britain.



A grim defeat in a relegation six pointer, made worse by the analysis – tired psychology from 25 years of Radio 5 who keep saying it’s all in the mind. Such misery.
The chairman won’t invest. The previous manager was better. Too many loanees. The loanees don’t care. There is no passion.
So I checked the match stats and it weren’t as bad as all that. Just look.
Except of course, it was. It’s not the stats lie, it’s just that they equate shots on target with efforts that are more like a back pass.
Just occassionally, the punditry got close. Clue being a league table showing Salop scoring fewer goals than all the others. Four consecutive attacks ended with the ball going eighty degrees to the perpendicular. It’s a shame that the squad has never worked out how to be threatening in front of goal, but a bigger shame for those who’ve been to watch so much of it.


Bridge ward mid-month progress report

20140422-123506.jpgMeeting people and walking around neighbourhoods: Currently meeting people in the run-up to the European Elections on 22nd May. Issues often associated with people not having enough money to spend; latest issues include street drinking, residents parking, impact of latest tram works. Been on two ward walks in the city centre, one at night. Also asked for tram construction vehicles to be parked on the construction site, not Sheriff’s Way.
20140422-124014.jpgPlanning for the future: Happened to attend a briefing by NCH to builders interested in building the new council housing in the south-west of The Meadows; (the buildings will include a trial of the new BIM IT system/process). Also received a briefing on new housing to face the River Trent, north of the canal and of Turney’s Quay. The council is talking to potential partners for the development of Arkwright Street and Blackstone Walk. Disappointed that the recent air pollution episode was misunderstood to be about the sand – there are issues with nitrous oxides to deal with in the city centre.
Future events: Zebra crossing to serve Mabel Street bus stop scheduled for June, subject to tram works; 20mph speed limits still scheduled for September. A new fire station for London Road has been announced, to replace fire stations in the city centre and West Bridgford.
20140422-123852.jpgArts: Meadows Tree Project’s story poles to be installed soon; artists from The Meadows are exhibiting at Bromley House library; a new abstract art exhibition at the Nottingham Contemporary.
Wider issues of concern include the loss of jobs at the tobacco factory and the performance of the Ambulance service.
Also attended the Hillsborough event in the Old Market Square. 20140422-123705.jpg

820 matters have been logged for chasing (drawing from conversations, comments at meetings, phone calls, letters, e-mails, Facebook, Twitter and public comment) since October 20th, 2011.
– DG Cars have now opened an office on Queens Road; they have entered into a management agreement with the council; I had hoped to share details by now, but DG seem very aware of the need go keep Queens Road free of new problems.
– I’ve opposed an application for chairs and tables outside a new restaurant to open on King Street; cos they get in the way of pedestrians using buses; and may impinge on Speaker’s Corner.