Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A musical weekend in Reading

I had a very musical weekend last week. On Friday I went to see the Junkyard Scientists as part of the Greenpeace benefit at RISC. As always they were great but I jumped around too much and now have a sore ankle!

On Saturday I went to see a.P.A.t.T at South Street. Musically they were not exactly my cup of tea but visually two out of the four acts that I saw were quite interesting. One incorporated large men wearing aprons and a strobe light helmet. The last band were all dressed in white and had some very lively dance routines.

Finally on Sunday I went to see RASPO (Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra) as part of Black History month at the Town Hall. I had seen three of them playing before and they were good, but numbering about 20 the whole orchestra was amazing especially the young girl who could play both the saxophone and a steel pan. There was some racy calypso dancing but with my injured ankle I decided to take it easy and spectate. The evening was ended by Michael Bubbles Oliviere who is making a comeback.

All in all a good weekend.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Palmer Park improvements

Some of the changes we have been pushing for are contained within the report that is going to the next Cabinet. See item 16 on the agenda. Changes detailed include:

• Extending the play area and installing new equipment
• Making play safe
• Rationalisation of the car parking to reduce its impact on the rest of the park until the Sports Facilities Strategy reviews the formal sports facilities to be provided within the park and any subsequent change in demand for parking
• Improvements to landscaping and new tree planting
• Relocating the recycling bins
• Moving and replacing fencing around the East Reading Adventure Play Area site

Friday, 23 October 2009

Campaign Against the Arms Trade in Reading

Last night I went to a meeting of the new branch of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade in Reading. A friendly bunch of people and I was glad to see that it was not just the usual suspects. There was talk of the appalling record of arms dealers and the UK government including bribes, profiting from other peoples' misery and destabilising regions. More positively there was also a focus on taking action locally.

If anyone is interested in getting involved get in touch and I will point you in the right direction.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Palmer Park consultation results 2009

The results from the Palmer Park consultation have been published by the Council.

This is mainly positive stuff on the Wokingham Road side of the park, however no mention of the play equipment on the London Road side. We campaigned on this a while ago and managed to reverse Labour cuts to this equipment. But still no investment in it. The council has agreed to take the horrible high fencing down though.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Governors -- time to stake my colours to the mast

We had a full governors meeting at the Alfred Sutton school recently. It was time to stake my colours to the mast so to speak and choose which committees I wanted to go on -- up until now I had been going along to most meetings to find out what interested me and where I could be useful. The choice was finance, curriculum, community and premises. I plumped for the curriculum and community committees. I also became the link governor -- there are various link governors for different areas, some being legal requirements -- for sustainability.

We have an extra meeting of the full governors tonight for a briefing following on from OFSTED visiting us last week. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Mr McKenzie has a blog -- sort of

My new Labour opponent Mr McKenzie in Park Ward has started a blog -- sort of. Unfortunately it does not appear possible to comment! Otherwise following on from his latest post attacking the Green Party I would comment that if someone had invited us along maybe someone would have attended the event.

Street Pastors seems like a positive project. I hope they do not mind him using them as a political football?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- September

Council meetings -- 1
Community meetings and events -- 9
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 20

Now that the summer holidays are well out of the way everything has started up again -- Council meetings, governor meetings etc. My favourite event this month was the Nepalese Dashain Festival at the Warehouse.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

PCSOs cut from the University area

As you may have seen in the local press we are losing four PCSOs from the Redlands and University area due to the University cutting their funding. To put some numbers on it -- as some reports I have seen have been unclear. Talking to Inspector Sinfield both the Redlands and University policing areas are classified as enhanced which means they each have one Neighbourhood Specialist Officer and one Police Community Support Officer. The extra four PCSOs who have had their funding cut by the University split their time between campus (50 percent) and the surrounding area (50 percent). For comparison, the Newtown policing area which is classed as priority has two Neighbourhood Specialist Officers and two Police Community Support Officers.

I have written to Tony Downes (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University) urging him to reconsider this decision and asking what effect he thinks this will have on the area. The more people who write to him the better. You can e-mail him directly at: t.a.downes@reading.ac.uk

Listening to music under a bridge

I saw the most amazing mini gig last night! The brass section of Tim Hill and Tongues of Fire -- two trumpets, two saxophones and a trombone -- played for about half an hour under the bridge by Kennet Mouth. I was informed that the acoustics under there were really good -- it sounded great to my untrained ear. It was also really atmospheric, under the bridge, with light bouncing off the water, geese and swans gliding by and people silhouetted against the sky. This was one of the best gigs I have ever been to!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lunch club tour -- Pakistani Community Centre

I am now nearing the end of my lunch club tour. On Tuesday, I attended the Pakistani Community Centre lunch club. It had taken me a while to get down there because first of all it was not on for the month of Ramadan and last week it was cancelled.

Tuesday is the men's club and there were about 10 of us there. I had some salad, chapatis and a saucy and spicy curry dish. This was followed by a sweet dish of chopped up noodles -- I am not sure that they were noodles but that is what they looked like. This was all washed down with a few glasses of water. The chef informed me that the food is different every week. It was very tasty and there is no charge.

The final stop on my tour will be the Age Concern lunch club at the URC.

Monday, 5 October 2009

CORRECTION Alfred Sutton/TVU playing fields still under threat

Apologies, but contrary to my previous post -- which I have now deleted to avoid confusion -- the Alfred Sutton/TVU playing fields are still under threat. It is still a site that is under consideration for inclusion in the Site Allocation Document -- which details sites proposed for development.

The Council will shortly be assessing all of the proposed sites and a list will be going to Full Council in January.