Archive for May, 2008

Council must take the blame and somebody must go!

May 31, 2008

Just a few thoughts about the Legionella bacteria at the pool.

First of all, let’s keep fingers crossed that nobody gets affected by Legionnaire, I know a battallion of pensioners using the pool and I want them to keep well.

Second thought, since the bacteria was there it’s only a matter of luck if nobody have contracted the disease. But the responsibility remains, the Council have put people’s lives at risk through neglect.

I don’t think that it’s over the top to ask Cllr Chris Best to resign from her position as Cabinet Member for Community. This may sound hard on her but it’s the place that she occupies in the administration that has the responsibility for the upkeep of Leisure Centres as well as the formulation and implementation of adequate policies reguarding Health and Safety in public places.

I have received scores of complaints about the state of the changing rooms for years, I still keep on receiving them, there are people that still email me with their complaints, here’s the last one that I received a few weeks ago:

Sent: 13 April 2008 19:38:09
To: ladywellpool@hotmail.com

ladywell baths are dirty and in need to of a clean . It is a disgrace the this service has been neglected to the extent that is appears to be a health hazard .

Complaints like these have also been received by the Council and the contractors for years, this is no news, this is what people have been saying for years, and what has the Council done? Nothing.

I can even remember the Mayor axing the repair and maintenance budget for the pool one year, and with gusto!

Now, I here said that Cllr Best should go, but of course in an Executive Mayor system as in Lewisham there’s only one person that carries responsibilities, it’s the Mayor. But he never takes a blame, doesn’t he? I don’t want to waste my time asking him to go, he won’t, that’s why I’m saying that it’s the Cabinet Member for Community that has to go, it’s the only way that this administration can pursue to show us that they understand the gravity of their neglectful conduct.

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Pool closed

May 30, 2008

Ladywell Leisure Centre was closed yesterday afternoon and will stay so until further notice.

The reason is that the toilets stopped working and without toilets they can’t open to the public, this is not detailed in the notice on the entrance that in a less prosaic but also much less informative style only speaks of “health and safety reasons”

I sent an email to the officer in charge of the Pool and am waiting response that will post on the best available place on the net as soon as I receive it. I would have written all this at http://www.saveladywellpool.com but it is rather down at present.

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1:00 pm Dramatic Update!! We were misinformed, it’s not that the toilets are out of order, it’s legionnaires disease bacteria in the showers! The News Shopper has the story, click here.

It’s a stitch up!

May 25, 2008

From the balcony of the penthouse of New Zealand House you can really see London. We were there yesterday for a Polynesian dance session, the event was really good fun, the Polynesians and all the other Kiwis there were lovely and the view from the balcony would have been all as breathtaking even without wind. I couldn’t refrain from stitching some of the photos up today, you can see the result in some detail by clicking on it.

What about open air theatre?

May 23, 2008

There is a wonderful spot of Lewisham Park, a gem in the city, it’s a lawn, in a depression of the ground, surrounded by tall trees.

Here’s two pictures that I took a couple of weeks ago, the top one shows the area as you see it through the trees – the drop just after the trees is of about 3m, gentle slope but clearly delineated. The second photo is of course taken from the other side.

To me this looks like a theatre and to be one it only needs a stage. And some performances of course.

And as I thought this I started thinking that one could have all the local children attending and learning performing arts, such an accessible space.

I see that Lewisham Council is now asking for ideas on how to spend money on “play areas for children and young people” and it also says that “play can also act as a gateway to structured, positive activities” and also “support services for children and families who may be hard to reach through other routes”.

Well, a good way to do this would surely be to place a stage next to a traditional playground, so that children and their families can do exactly what the Council wants them ultimately to do, “structured, positive activities”. And many of the families there fall exactly in the “hard to reach” category, as the Council jargon identifies them.

The Play area in that park is pretty bare, it would surely do with some money, why not also complement it with a performing arts area for daylight activities during the long days of summer?

I was preparing this proposal with the intent of bidding for some of the locality funds at the next Lewisham Central Assembly on 21st July and I also had in mind to contact the housing association London and Quadrant for some matching funds as they have at least 192 tenants overlooking the park since they now own the three big blocks by the park.

But now that the Council is asking for ideas to help them spend £1m I’ll try that first.

The proposal doesn’t stop at building a stage, the stage is only the focal point, it’s supposed to host activities, what one then needs is some sort of residents’ association to build a program and involve the target audience.

No Council Found

May 15, 2008

I’ve just been browsing Lewisham Council’s website to discover when exactly is the next Full Council meeting taking place, a browse the calendar brought no joy, I tried the “browse by committee” option and the result I got for the Council option is…

“no results found”!!!

Add to it that looking at the Calendar one gathers that yesterday’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting was cancelled and it really starts looking like “a regime run by officers” (words of a Labour Councillor, not mine).

The handshake

May 10, 2008

Today’s big story is that I’ve been shaking hands with the Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock.

But don’t believe that I’ve softened, I even have a submitted question in for next Council meeting.

See you there Steve.

Seven songs

May 7, 2008

I’ve been tagged by Andrew:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

I’m actually quite happy to share what music lives around me these days, interestingly Andrew that tagged me also mentions Curtis Mayfield. He’s evidently in the air. Let’s start with him then.

Curtis Mayfield – People Get Ready

I love this song, this afternoon I was at the playground at Hillyfields with my daughter, there’s a locomotive/climbing frame, I really can’t take it anymore to say choo choo at every reference to a train so I introduced this song to her today. All the other parents there probably thought I was a nutter.
And speaking of nutters here’s another version by Al Green, I love this version, this youtube video is from “the Gospel according to Al Green” a dvd that I’m a proud owner of.

Pino Daniele – Ce sta chi ce penza – A protest song from the alleys of Naples.

Steely Dan – Two Against Nature – there’s only this fragment available online, shall you decide to buy the disc to hear the rest you wouldn’t be wasting your money. Massive.

Nina Simone – Sinnerman – hypnotic.

Paul Simon – Slip Sliding Away, a great poem.

Jaco Pastorius – Ocus Pocus – – Jaco Pastorius debut album is a milestone – I had it on a loop for a few days last week.

Billy Cobham – Stratus – very good for air guitar.

Tagged: Andrew, Kate, Henry, Rob, Helena, Inspector Sands, Clare

The elected few

May 4, 2008

What better day to bump into James than on his first day as Member of the London Assembly, a Tory in a Tory administration of London, he was still on a cloud trying to grasp the full extent of what his election entails when I met him yesterday at Marks and Spencers here in Lewisham.

I feel I don’t have anything to add to the comments on this last local elections, the blames, the fortunes or misfortunes of one or the other party, everybody seem to be saying the same thing and they all seem to be pretty spot on but one thing that I’m truly happy that this election brought us is the election of James Cleverly as member of the London Assembly. Having known him for a while I know what a nice guy he is and how seriously he takes politics. The fact that I am not a Tory will tell you how truly heartfelt this congratulation is meant to sound.

Electoral success has been elusive to him until now, but what better way to break the tradition than to get on one of those real jobs that politics offers, helping the new Mayor of London to decide how to work for the good of London. Good on you James.

Also congratulations to our other local boy on the assembly, Darren Johnson has been re-elected as one of two Green Party members, he’ll make sure that the Tory slogans on blue being a new green stands to some scrutiny and if you know Darren you know how much a master of the art of politics he is, he might be in opposition but he surely knows how to put up a fight from there.

There’ll be Johnson vs. Johnson soon at the Town Hall and that will be serious fun.

Stop making sense

May 1, 2008

I just saw this paradoxical report from Afghanistan. There are British troops “patrolling” through poppy fields, chatting with the Taliban busy harvesting. I watched the video report a few times and found it incredible. I don’t know what to think of it, probably the only meaning that I found in it is that things have stopped making sense.

Click on the image to go the relevant BBC page.