Monday, 29 June 2009

New Indian restaurant Chennai Dosa in Reading

I visited this new Whitley Street, South Indian restaurant at the weekend for breakfast. Very tasty food, reasonably priced and friendly staff.

I would not usually have a curry for breakfast, but as the previous two times I had attempted to go to the restaurant it was so busy, I gave up and went home hungry, I thought it would be the easiest way to get a table. Now I am a convert and will definitely be going back for another breakfast when time permits.

More information here.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Newtown and Alfred Sutton summer fayres

This afternoon it is the summer fayre at Newtown school. From memory it runs from about 12 noon till 3 p.m.

I had a great time there last year -- apart from the rain at the end. There were stocks with sponges being thrown at the unlucky occupant, a range of stalls and lots of people. It looks dry outside so hopefully another good one this year.

The Alfred Sutton one is on July 11 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

East Reading Festival

East Reading Festival is approaching again (July 1 -- 5), see the programme for more information. This is a really positive community event for the area. It is later in the year this time and I will be interested to see what effect this has. On Sunday I will be helping on the GLOBE stall promoting battery recycling locally, say hello if you see me.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Whiteknights Studio Trail

Please forgive the short notice, but the Whiteknights Studio Trail is on this weekend. All venues are open tomorrow -- Sunday -- from 11 a.m. till 6 p.m.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Facebook group to reopen the Jolly angler

I have set up a Facebook group to campaign to get the Jolly Angler pub reopened. Please join and spread the word.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Jolly Angler to close...

It was a shock to find out last night that my local pub -- the Jolly Angler -- is closing -- now closed in fact!

The first I heard of this was yesterday afternoon when a friend told me that they would be closing at the end of the evening never to reopen and they were selling off the drinks cheap. I had a couple of meetings yesterday evening -- Green City Forum and a Green Party business meeting -- so I did not get down there till 10 30p.m. When I arrived there were still a good number of people there all pretty gutted that the pub was closing. Local pubs are part of the glue that holds communities together and so to lose one makes us all poorer. After a chat to the landlord I was a little more informed. Apparently the owning company -- Enterprise -- were selling the pub off to be converted to flats as has happened to a number of other pubs in the area -- Plasterers, Dove, Eastgate. John has already alerted the local and national papers, CAMRA and got a petition going. He is also asking people to lobby the Council as they will need to agree a change of use for the property if it is to be converted into flats. And so the campaign begins!

Age of stupid -- local film screening

From the Council:

We are showing the environmental film 'Age of Stupid' at the Town Hall on Tuesday 30th June - more details below. I hope this is something you and your friends and family would be interested in seeing. If you would like the opportunity to win four tickets to see this film, then you can do so by completing the pledge on line at This is useful if you have lost your paper saying what you are going to commit to doing!

The Age of Stupid - Film Screening
At Reading Town Hall on Tuesday 30th June 2009, 6.45pm for a 7.15pm start
Synopsis: A man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
There will be the opportunity to hear about local community environmental initiatives and sign Reading’s climate change pledge at this event.

Tickets: £5.50 Concessions inc YRP & Students : £4.50
****Fill in the Readings Climate Change Pledge on line now and be enetered into a draw to win four tickets: ****
Book tickets: on line at , call 0118 9606060 or at the box office at the Hexagon and the Town Hall.
Best wishes
Sustainability Team
reading Borough Council
0118 939 0100

Monday, 15 June 2009

Two months in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- April and May activity report

With the European elections it has been busy for the last two months, so I have not had a chance to do the April activity report. I have therefore rolled it in with the May one.

Thanks to Cllr Willis for the idea of the summary.

Council meetings attended -- 1
Community meetings attended -- 9
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 8

Council meetings

I attended Cabinet to support the Kings Meadow Campaign to protect the baths and green space.

Community meetings and work

Highlights included taking part in the Reading Single Homeless Project sleep out, attending the Reading Cycle Campaign AGM and supporting the Gaza Crisis Group's football event.

Resident enquiries and requests for repairs

Although in election mode and not proactively seeking casework I helped residents on issues such as overhanging greenery, speeding and that perennial issue of parking problems in Newtown.


As well as the positive Euro election campaign results -- first in Park Ward and second in East Reading Ward's -- we succeeded in getting the alley at the top of Cumberland Rd gated to prevent fly tipping. This has taken at least two years of work including meetings, newsletters, clear ups and lots of liaising with the Council and local businesses.

Green Party

Highlights from the last few months include having the big Green campaign bus in Reading and the hustings that Caroline Lucas took part in at RISC. The activity that has probably taken most of my time over the last few months though is canvassing which I always enjoy.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Bike ride on Saturday -- critical mass

The critical mass on Saturday was a great way to get from my side of town -- East Reading -- over to Prospect Park for the bike festival -- and a good way of ensuring a crowd at the event. Admittedly, I was there a few minutes late for the start of the bike ride, but a quick U-turn on the Wokingham Road and I had joined the mass. At a guess I think we must have had about 50 plus cyclists. I always enjoy the sense of security and community of cycling in a large critical mass.

The only minor problem of the ride was when the mass was cut in half at some traffic lights and we never got together again. Maybe some informal stewarding might of helped?

Thanks to Adrian for this video of the event.

There were a variety of stalls at the bike festival -- although a few people were complaining about the lack of tea and coffee! The bike surgery run by Cycle Zone and the company -- who's name I cannot remember -- giving people test rides were both popular.

I will definitely be there next year.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Unofficial European election figures from Reading

I have just got back from the Reading count. They hadn't declared the official figures when I left, but the Green Party on the unofficial figures has finished in third place across Reading, beating the Lib Dems. Notable Ward results include, Park Ward, where we finished first, beating all parties by a majority of over 300 votes and Caversham, Thames and Mapledurham Wards, where we finished in second place. I will post more accurate results when I have them.

This vindicates our positive campaign based around fairness, integrity and the environment. It also gives me great hope for the local elections in 2010, where we shall hopefully breakthrough and get our first Green councillor in Reading.

UPDATE: the Green Party finished in second place in the East Reading wards (C 6,051; G 3,504; Lab 3,057; LD 3,040; UKIP 2,169) thanks to Cllr Willis for the figures.

Parking permit scheme in Newtown

Parking is a massive problem in Newtown at the moment, and over the last year, I have been working hard with the residents and council officers to try to resolve this issue. Following on from the public meeting I organised and residents on Filey Road, presenting a petition to the council. The Council has looked into the introduction of parking permits across the whole Newtown area. There will be a report to the next Traffic Management Advisory Panel, which is on June 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Election day

My legs are feeling tired, I have a sore throat and getting up this morning for the Food 4 Families meeting was hard work, but I think election day went well for us. So I am in a good mood. I took part in our usual, election day operation in Park Ward, starting at 7 a.m. when the polls opened, and finishing at 10 p.m. when the polls shut. Over the day, I did a combination of taking numbers on the gate of the polling station, organising and knocking up our voters to remind them to vote. We had loads of people helping, which spread the work and made it quite a social day as well.

There were no other parties on the gate at either polling station in Park Ward -- maybe they were out spending their expenses? A Labour Party supporter had left a red rose at the Newtown school polling station, which I didn't have the heart to remove. By the end of the day the rose was looking a little worse for wear -- in a similar way to Labour's performance recently. Maybe the other parties had bussed their activists to help with local or county elections elsewhere, or alternatively, perhaps, they were just fed up and stayed at home?

Anyway, our election day statistics showed our vote was up on last year but we shall have to wait till the weekend for the count and see how that goes to see how many Euro MPs we get in the southeast and across the country.

Free Wheel and Bike Festival - Saturday 13th June

Bike week is coming:

Bike Week 2009 will kick off with a Free Wheel / critical mass bike ride from Palmer Park to Prospect Park starting at 9am at the Velodrome car-park.

If you have ever had the urge to take over Reading’s roads amongst a phalanx of other cyclists now is your chance – don’t miss it. If just half of the Reading Cycle Campaign membership turned out that would be over 300 cyclists!

Reading’s first Bike Festival will also take place on Prospect Park from 10am-4pm. There will be all sorts of bikes and accessories to try out, led rides, an off-road race, information stands, bike repair workshops, Dr Bike, face painting and more. Come along and celebrate cycling.

More information on Bike Week events around Reading can be found on

Monday, 1 June 2009

Spread the word

Election day is fast approaching -- Thursday, June 4 -- and it is looking good for the Green Party. All polls I've seen have the Green vote as significantly up and predictions for the number of Euro MPs we will end up with range from doubling our current two, to four to quadrupling them to eight!

However, now is not the time for complacency and as the saying goes "there is many a slip between cup and lip". So please make sure all of your friends, family and colleagues at work have seen our Party Election Broadcast and so understand that the Green Party is about fairness, integrity and the environment and will get out and vote for us.

If you fancy helping on election day and ensuring that people who have pledged their support to us get out and vote please contact me.

The fate of King's Meadow

Thanks to Bob for this:

I would just like to remind you that tonight at 6.30pm in the Civic Centre is the meeting (open to public) to confirm or reject the plan to build a hotel / flat /bars/ car park on King's Meadow.

Your attendance would be much appreciated as this will alert the Cabinet that you are not happy for a commercial development to take away your rights.