Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A history of modern Britain - book review

I have just finished reading A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr. It covers the period from 1945 up until the present. At 600 pages it was a fairly weighty tome and took me a while to read. But having got to its end, I can report that it was both an educational and an enjoyable experience. I thought it is especially good because it didn't just cover politics but covered music, culture, arts etc. It also had colour photographs from some of the different moments in history covered by the book.

This followed on nicely from Churchill' s book A history of the English-speaking peoples. I have to confess though that I didn't read all the volumes but read the condensed version instead.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Alternative xmas meal ideas

Not eating meat means there is no turkey on the table at xmas for me. So the question is what should I have instead? Being at home with my parents in Cheshire I've had a bit of time to cook over the last few days. Meals that turned out well are the Leek and Chestnut Purses - fancy name for a spring roll type of dish in a purse shape - and the Smoked Bean Curd Medallions with Shiitake and Walnut Stuffing - fancy name for burgers. Both would work well as an alternative xmas meal.

What are others having?

Monday, 22 December 2008

Reading's recycling problems

Thanks to Paul for point me towards this on recycling:

"Medway, Peterborough and Reading councils had the worst figures, with each failing to recycle more than 10% of what was collected."

Is this just one of the curses of rolling doorstep recycling out across the borough? I suspect not. I think that far more could be done in terms of education. As a start I'll try to put something in our ward newsletter about what can be recycled.

Of course as I've said before if we were to focus more on waste reduction, this would mean fewer recycling problems.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Green xmas

Being self-employed I have no work Christmas party to go to. Fortunately this week I was invited to the Pakistani Community Centre Christmas party. There were loads of people from many local communities in attendance, people gave short but interesting speeches - about religon, Pakistan and xmas - and this was followed by a very tasty meal and music.

At this time of year people sometimes ask me about how to have a Green Christmas. The best advice I have - which is recycled from fellow Green Derek Wall - is "consumer less, share more and enjoy life".

Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Uni car parking overspill

Hat Tip to Daisy - although her blog is down at the moment - for this information on university parking:

"UoR to produce it's first ever legally-binding car parking policy for its students which has been included with the planning application and has now been adopted.

This includes a policy to reduce parking off campus, which is very welcome. However, the rather obvious question is - how will this policy be effectively enforced?

The policy states:

"Students in halls of residence who do NOT have authority for a motor vehicle on campus/hall precincts MUST NOT keep their vehicles on public roads within one mile of the University’s main campuses. Students who break this rule will be in breach of their student residency agreement and will be liable to be required to vacate their campus accommodation. The University will co-operate with appropriate local public authorities, such as Reading Borough Council, in respect of off campus parking""

In Park ward this will be of particular interest to people near to Bridges and Wessex Halls who suspect an overspill into their roads - Green Rd, Talfourd, Melrose, Belle, Earley Hill and Holmes.

Friday, 12 December 2008

New WOMAD - Heavenly Planet

Great to see a new festival Heavenly Planet in Reading to fill the gaping chasm left when WOMAD and the council fell out. I'll be booking my ticket as soon as I can pin my partner down to a date!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Caversham lock island still for sale

Despite the statement given in the Post that "just five cottages not on the river or adjacent to lock sites will be sold when they become available" - giving the impression that Caversham Lock Island is safe. I spoke to the Environment agency today and they say IT IS STILL FOR SALE with the Kings Meadow Lido!

This lock-keepers house is on the river and it is a very busy lock. So bad news for the lock, lock keeper and river users!

It seems everyone has been hood winked!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Report on climate march - guest blog

My friend Brian who went on the climate march on Saturday had this to say:

"A Dozen of us from Greenpeace Berkshire & upto 10,000 other folk descended on Grovner Square & the US embassy, then marched to Westminster, in a lovely sunny day. Where we listened to speeches by Caroline Lucas & a speaker Bangladesh & Nick Cleg & others & Seize The Day played. Good & inspiring.

Also advertised, were the following are not Greenpeace events but interesting.

Climate Rush hits Heathrow…
Dinner At Domestic Departures (with Caroline Lucas) T1 7pm 12th Jan.

Big Green Gathering 29th July – 2nd August 2009
Early bird prices till 31st Dec, £115, apply by post to avoid on line booking fee, to
Big Green Gathering Co Ltd, PO box 3423 Glasto ba6 9zn !

Afterwards we obviously ended up in the pub."

There was also a good contingent from the Green Party there, although not me as I was busy door knocking in Park ward.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Good old bbc radio have done a version of my one of my favorite books, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Sad but good.

"Adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic tale set in 15th-century Paris, dramatised in a collaboration between the BBC and Graeae, the disabled-led theatre company. Starring deaf actor David Bower, artistic director of Signdance Collective."