Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chase Park reopening this weekend

Whickham windmill Mar 17

Major renovation work on Whickham's historic Chase Park has now been completed. To celebrate the £1 million refurbishment, Friends of Chase Park are holding a re-opening event on Saturday, 23rd September, from 11am to 3pm.

The Mayor of Gateshead, Cllr Pauline Dillon, will lead the re-opening ceremony. There will be lot of entertainment, activities and a fair.

Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations.

Chase Park entrance renovation Jul 17

The renovation of the Park was the result of the Friends of Chase Park's campaign to restore it to its former glory. A partnership of the Friends and Gateshead Council saw a successful bid for £1 million made to the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. The work was carried out during 2017 and includes:
•​Restoration of the listed windmill, entrance gates, paths and ornamental garden
•​Replanting of flower beds and trees
•​Remodelling and enhancement of the toddler play area
•​Resurfacing of the tennis courts and new table tennis installed 
•​New junior play area and skateboard park
•​Outdoor gym/trim trail 
•​Development of community garden 
•​New benches, signs and interpretations of heritage points of interest.
I'll be there with a couple of my goats (Pinkie and Coal) to promote my self-sufficiency project and to sell preserves.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hooray - home at last!

After leaving Bournemouth yesterday, I headed to London where I stayed overnight. This morning I struggled through the rush hour crowds (I am so pleased I gave up the rat race 8 years ago) to get to Kings Cross and caught a train back to the North East. I couldn't return home immediately. On leaving Newcastle Central Station, I got a taxi to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to visit my friend Richard whose condition deteriorated last week. I remained there until 7pm. I'm back home now! Hooray! And it's not long to go before my first council meeting. It's tomorrow, so I'm straight back into activities.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Photos from Vince's speech

Vince Cable arrives for conference speech Sept 17 (2)

In years gone by, I used to take photos for use by the party of conference. That normally meant being part of the photographers' scrum in front of the leader during the speech. I couldn't resist the temptation so I joined the scrum again. Here are a handful of the photos from Vince's arrival and then his speech.

Vince Cable speech Bournemouth conference Sept 17 (12)

Vince Cable speech Bournemouth conference Sept 17 (19)

Vince Cable speech Bournemouth conference Sept 17 (21)

Vince Cable speech Bournemouth conference Sept 17 (22)

The best lunch at conference

British Association for Shooting and Conservation Sept 17 (4)

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation normally, in my humble opinion, put on the best lunch at conference, and this year was no different. My reason for attending, should you choose to believe me, is that I have an interest in shooting. I don't take part in the activity myself, but in my world of self-sufficiency, I trade with people who do go shooting and fishing. They provide me with game which I pay for with jars of preserves, eggs etc.

British Association for Shooting and Conservation Sept 17 (5)

So it seemed perfectly reasonable that I should attend the BASC meeting.And of course the good food was appreciated!

British Association for Shooting and Conservation Sept 17 (1)

British Association for Shooting and Conservation Sept 17 (2)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Another What's-the-point-of-Brexit moment

I see Theresa May is off to Canada for talks on, among other issues, post-Brexit trade. The Canada-EU trade deal (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement - CETA), 7 years in the making, comes into effect shortly. According to the BBC, May wants to use CETA as the model for a UK/Canada trade deal.

But wasn't Brexit meant to give us the freedom to arrange bigger, better trade deals? Instead, we have May announcing that one of the benefits from which we are walking away is to be copied and applied to Britain. Nothing bigger, nothing better, just the same, except for the added costs of negotiating something we already have. So what is the point of that?

Lib Dem mugs - new and recyled!

Lib Dem mugs (2)

Get them while they are still in stock! Lib Dem Image are selling an extended range of Lib Dem mugs thanks to Theresa May's decision to call a snap election. With 4 more MPs than this time last year, it now costs 50% more to have a full set of Lib Dem MP mugs! In a move that will please the environmental movement, mugs of former MPs from before the 2015 general election can now be recycled - mugs of Ed Davey, Vince Cable and Jo Swinson have made a reappearance after 2 years of storage in the Lib Dem Image stock room.

So buy while stocks last and take your mug home - the tea there will be a heck of a lot cheaper than what's on sale at the conference centre!

Lib Dem mugs (1)

Foodie photo op for Vince

Vince Cable at food bank Sept 17 (3)

The Bournemouth Food Bank has a stand at the Lib Dem conference and people can bring donations of food. So yesterday, Vince Cable, at the start of the leader's tour of the exhibition area, handed over 2 shopping bags of groceries. It struck me that the contents of those two bags would have been cheaper than a round of teas, coffees and sandwiches at the Bournemouth Conference Centre tea room where prices are eye-wateringly steep.

Anyway, well done to Vince for his donation and it reminds me that when I get back to Gateshead, I need to sort out a session with a group that helps supply food to low income households. The plan is to use allotment and garden surpluses that would otherwise go into the waste system. More on this on another day.

Vince Cable at food bank Sept 17 (6)

Vince Cable at food bank Sept 17 (9)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Labradors for Lib Dems meet Vince Cable

Vince Cable and guide dog Sept 17 (10)

Glad to see Vince Cable was the guest at the Labradors for Lib Dems meeting today. I hope they didn't give him a rough time when he took himself for a walk around the exhibition area. It was a stroke of luck that I got this photo. I had to paws to take it. etc

I think that's enough........

Vince Cable and guide dog Sept 17 (1)

Vince Cable and guide dog Sept 17 (9)

Admiring my handiwork

Vince Cable at PCA stand Bournemouth Sept 17 (13)

Vince Cable did his obligatory leader's tour of the exhibition area this afternoon. What an ideal opportunity to get a pic of Vince admiring a copy of Parliamentary Campaigner! (Editor is.....ahem....a certain Jonathan Wallace who produces it for the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidates Association.)

Going to Conference stage 2

History magazine Sept 17

So much for planning to leave early this morning. Without the need to get up to deal with my livestock, I ended up sleeping in. It meant I only got on the train at Clapham Junction at 10.40am. The good news was that I found a cafe that served breakfast for only £3 - a bacon role and a cup of tea. That must be a record for London. Two hours to Bournemouth - a good chance to catch up with reading my BBC History magazines which often get neglected as I'm tied up doing lots of other things.

I'm at conference now. Having won the battle to work out how to get on to the BIC's wifi, I will be posting up photos from around the centre. First up is Vince Cable's tour of the exhibition area, at 4pm.

receipt Sept 17

Above - the breakfast receipt proving that breakfasts can be unexpectedly cheap in London. However, back home, breakfast normally costs us nothing - one of the joys of self-sufficiency!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Going to conference - stage 1

luggage Sept 17

Lib Dem conference started this morning in Bournemouth but I'm not there yet. I am staging my journey. I left Newcastle by train this aftrnoon and am now at my flat at Crystal Palace. It has been unoccupied for 3 months as my friend, who normally lives there, is seriously ill and since June has been either living with us where we can care for him, or is in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead where he is getting medical treatment. Apart from the appearance of some cobwebs and a large pile of post, the flat is in good order.

I travel lightly: a rucksack containing cameras, rechargers, underwear and shirts plus my laptop case. I always keep what I travel with to a minimum. I can never understand why some people going away for a few days need to take the contents of an entire walk-in wardrobe with them! Anyway, I'm leaving behind the world of self-sufficiency for a few days to be beside the seaside for sun, sea and politics in Bournemouth. I should arrive there early Sunday afternoon.

Lib Dem Conference live on YouTube

Lib Dem conference is live on YouTube. If you can't make it to Bournemouth, you can still follow what's happening.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Email to Gateshead members

I will be heading off to conference at Bournemouth tomorrow, Saturday, though I don't get there until Sunday (I'm staying overnight in London). I've just emailed Gateshead members about conference and some of the key debates that are taking place. You can read the email on this link.