Thursday, 31 January 2013

DWP: Help With Benefit Enquiries

See this document: for where to get help with benefit changes 2013.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

PhotoSpot: "Lake Gadebridge" Hemel Hempstead

In Hemel Hempstead today, the grass was lush green, and the melted snows had contributed to turning Gadebridge Park into a lake. 

See here :
Buy a ProPrint here

Alan's Weekly Round Up


I'd like to share this WONDERFUL collection of photos from  "Bedfordshire Wildlife Trust".




Every day in the savannas and forests of Africa, elephants are being gunned down for their ivory tusks. Across the continent, tens of thousands of these majestic animals are being slaughtered each year. In many places the species has already been poached to extinction. If we don’t act now there may be no wild elephants left.

The WWF organisation today launches a global petition asking Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all ivory trade in Thailand in order to curb the illegal killing of African elephants.

Please take action and sign the petition:


Martin "Money Saving Expert" Lewis video tells me how students are better off under the new system than under the last system.


Here's a couple of videos that appealed to my senses this week.

And Finally... I Should Have Been An Artist. (We all need to chill out now and then)

Created with PaintApp HD on Android

Created  with Fractoid on Android

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Stop Horsing Around

All that people are asking when it comes to burgers is that we are told the truth. So that's why Tesco and other supermarkets withdrew their burgers from stock this week because the Irish burgers didn't say that they had horse meat as one of the ingredients.

Now there is all this fuss, even vegetarians want to know that their burgers contain no unicorn. Gourmet meatball lovers are wondering if they're really chewing the dog's bollocks. At a fast food outlet if you're asked if you want anything on your burger the now usual reply is "yes I'll have five pounds each way". You have to be wary that those low fat burgers are not also high in Sherga. And I even heard that a man who bought a Bacardi, Captain Morgan, and a burger at a supermarket now has white rum, dark rum, and red rum.

I have probably eaten horse meat, it's done me no harm, so enough of this horsing around, and just tell us the truth on the food labeling.

Tags: adw horse burger beef food labelling

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, 19 January 2013

PhotoSpot: Early Morning In The Snow

An early morning stroll around Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, as the sun was coming up. Sadly no majestic sunrise to see, but I got a few shots all the same. First try out with my new Canon 450D. Pro-prints available from the link above.

These are all greatly reduced image sizes, intended for online use. 

Houghton Hall Park. 07:33. 19th January 2013. Landscape Mode.

Houghton Hall Park. 07:38 19th January 2013. Landscape Mode.

Houghton Hall Park. 07:40 19th January 2013. Landscape Mode.

Houghton Hall Park. 07:52:14 19th January 2013. Landscape Mode.

Dog Walking.Houghton Hall Park.
 07:53:10 19th January 2013. Landscape Mode.

Dog Walking. Houghton Hall Park.
07:53 19th January 2013. Portrait Mode.

Houghton Hall Park. 07:56:56 19th January 2013. Portrait Mode.

Houghton Hall Park. 07:57:14 19th January 2013. Portrait Mode.

Footprints. Houghton Hall Park. 07:57:40 19th January 2013
Houghton Hall Park. 08:01 19th January 2013
Houghton Hall Park. 08:02 19th January 2013

Tags: adw Houghton Hall Park Houghton Regis Bedfordshire

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Busway Scheme - Park and Ride?

I had a look at the bus stops they are making on Dog Kennel Down, Houghton Regis, dlvr earlier this week. Near the top of this picture. From the size of the platforms that have been built I got the impression they were expecting a few dozen people to be waiting at any one time. Workmen are installing rails on the roadway at that point on what would otherwise be a tarmacadamed road without those concrete guides. I asked a workman what the rails were needed for? (Not necessarily a good idea to ask a workman). He said it was to guide the buses so that when they pass they don't knock each others wing mirrors. Not sure I entirely follow that one.

There is a distinct lack of park and ride incorporated into this scheme. As for "car parking", I kept looking at the land between fencing on Dog Kennel Down, near those bus stops, and wondering about the prospect of using that for parking. It might be that drivers decide to drive down Blackburn Road, Houghton Regis, park up, and then get a bus from there into Luton for a train. That would clog up that particular road, nicely! And the businesses around there wouldn't be too happy about that.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Time For Some Action In Town !

I had a pop at illegal fly-posted signing in our town last week. But in our High Street area there is a lot of neglect. I want a smarter looking town. Am I wrong for wanting that?

Wonky Sign-post.

Rusty Bin. Ok, well it's not looking very smart ,but it still holds litter.
CBC 17/1/13: "Contracts Officer for that area to inspect and arrange replacement if appropriate. ref: 03229 "

This unused building is awaiting redevelopment. Meanwhile it appears someone has decided to elbow in some of the windows leaving jagged edges for anyone to cut their fingers on.
Another nearby building has a broken window, and I drew the shopkeepers attention to it. He said it was being fixed.

Alleyway nearby has discarded bus stop pole/cycle sign.
(cbc reference number for this issue is CRN 188426)

Same alleyway has a cabinet needing attention.

... And if you're all in favour of mixing old and new architecture this is the latest view.
Personally, I'm not that big a fan. By the way that yellow "M"arrow does not point to the car park!

No entry at all, at all.

Anyway, as any local councillor would do, I have made sure that all these things are reported to the relevant authority to deal with. 

And while I'm at it, I might as well advertise that I'm trying to get at least some of the pathway between Bovis Homes site on the Houghton Regis Quarry, and the A5 near French's Avenue, reopened. Subject, of course to checks by CBC, and agreement from the developers. It seems somewhat feasible. dlvr

Path might be reopened. Needs some fencing removed and hardcore in the red area.

A to B might be reopened at Houghton Regis Quarry edge.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Shops and Retail Evolution

Jessops closed this week and HMV are now in administration and very likely to go into liquidation.  At the end of last year Comet closed and Staples announced closure of 23 of their stores including the one at Dunstable. Argos, too have spoken about possible shop closures. So what future for shops? Is shopping online killing our shops?
The world changes you have to move with it. When business struggle and go out of business the land occupied by shops should go back to green field site or housing. Newspapers used to be a 1p but they won't be that price again. Change happens. Our mobile phones have internet and cameras on them. You can buy cheaper online so why do you need to go to a shop?
We need to think differently and think it's someone job that might be being lost if we don't shop there. NONSENSE I SAY.
Who do you blame for shops closing? In a nutshell I blame technology but I don't think it's right to use the word blame. Rather better to use the words "retail evolution".
Shops that treat people special and provide good service will survive? John Lewis announced good profit returns at end of last year. Personal service in Ampthill toy shop is regarded as a reason for surviving.
People can shop online at any time of day or night. Amazon have huge sheds that don't need heating to a standard expected by walk in customers. As a conduit they don't actually need to stock product, the products can be ordered via them but may come in from Jersey, Cornwall, or wherever, direct to the customers home. IPad in bed late at night. Shop online. Driving to shops takes petrol, parking fees, walking effort, browse shop to shop to compare prices. It's so much cheaper and easier online. If you wanted to browse with technology in shops maybe you would want to take pictures on mobile phones to record prices but how would the shopkeepers feel about you doing that?
Shopkeepers and assistants could be partly responsible for losing customers. They don't look after their customers properly. Does the shop assistant care whether you're looking and finding what you want? Are they just looking glum? Do they even approach you or give you a smile? Will the assistant allow browsing and then offer to help? Many times they just totally ignore you. So you walk out and perhaps decide to look online. I wanted a certain shoe and size from a shop in Dunstable. I asked and was actually told to try their web site online. Instantly it ran through my mind "why couldn't they do that for me? " . I went home found the exact shoe on their web site and bought it that way.
What about people who cannot afford internet or computers? Where are they going to get their things from if all the shops close? Is that even a problem? Surely the Supermarkets stock many those little extras? Around here we have excellent range of food shops all trying to include products other than food. Dunstable has Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Farmfoods, Iceland, Aldi; Houghton Regis has Co- op, Tesco Metro, Morrisons as well as Nisa's; and over in Luton two branches of Lidl.
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Job Ad Says I Need to "long closely" ?

Browsing job adverts. THIS one made me stop in my tracks.

"... qualification and/or experience of Scripting languages are desirable but not essential. Your role will be to long closely alongside the newly appointed Product Development Director and will play the lead role in all aspects of... "

Well, I wouldn't feel comfortable at longing at a male. 

If she's female I could long at her, if she's attractive enough. But that sort of thing is frequently frowned upon in a working environment.

Well, I long for a new job. Maybe that qualifies me?

Use Someone Else's Poop to Cure Your Diarrhea

I suppose my son's long-suffering with diarrhea helped this article to shine out at me while browsing latest science articles. 

Apparently, "One of the most promising (if not revolting) treatments that has been tested in recent years is called fecal bacteriotherapy or ‘stool transplant’, which involves taking donor poop from a healthy patient and inserting it into the gut of an infected one as a form of probiotics, seeking to replace the protective flora. 

I kid you not. So, that sounds pretty disgusting. Now, researchers have created fake feces, aptly named RePOOPulate.  Article:

By the way, my son's particular illness was diagnosed recently as Celiac disease which basically is an intolerance to wheat products, many of which he was very fond of eating. Where we go from here, I'm not entirely sure, although his mum is apparently having quite a time of it locating foods he can eat and not suffer from. I've suggested he brings his food with him when he comes to stop with me.

Ketchup On Your Finger?

You know when you go for a meal and you get a sachet of sauce. Right. And you tear open the sachet, and squeeze the sauce out. Right. Well,  don't you always end up licking your fingers to get the excess off? It's long been a problem for fast food outlets, and their customers. But now some smart idea has resolved that problem. Watch video.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Bandit Gets 8 Years

For all the worry and concern this man has caused me in Parkside ward over the last year, I hope he steers well clear of the area after his EIGHT YEARS are up. I couldn't vouch for his safety in this neighbourhood if he ever ventured back.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Time to Clean Up Houghton Regis Road Signs

Apparently London, Hampshire and Somerset have been praised for axing "confusing and ugly" signs and now other Councils are urged to follow suit.

So, I thought, let's look at the signs in our town.

Immediately around the entrance to Morrison supermarket are three signs supposedly directing people into the new store's car park. Except one opposite is pointing to a car sales premises. There are  extra Morrisons fly-posters on the Bedford Road/ High Street roundabout. The store has been open about two months now. I think everyone who needs to know will know by now where this store is. Time to remove your illegal fly-posting, Mr Morrison.

Opposite the Co-op another sign points optimistically to the ground in an effort to direct people to the Community College and Sports Centre.
At the High Street roundabout with Bedford Road there's another ad hoc sign below the traffic signs.

The hoardings around the long burnt out Co-op store attract fly-posting. Meanwhile we all suffer the intrusion of "Living at the Edge" and "Tilia Park". Who authorises these, are they legal, and when will they be removed?

At the foot of Tithe Farm Road, if you're looking for the Medical Centre, you certainly won't find it in the trees that this sign directs you to. What you will find, though, is a forgotten, sad looking, dilapidated, "Bedfordshire" noticeboard lurking in the dark shadows.

Meanwhile, if you enter the town via Poynters Road you'll be directed to "The Parc" which was fine while the estate at Sandringham Drive was being built two years ago, but surely now is the time to take down those signs?

From Central Bedfordshire website:
"A fixed penalty notice of £80 can be issued to those fly-posting and to any organisation on whose behalf the signs are posted; multiple offences may incur multiple fixed penalty notices. " 

So all in all, the signposts need a bit of a review and tidying up. Some could certainly do with a good scrub. For others, someone needs to be asking and deciding "whether we really need this sign, or not?".

No, Paul, We Don't Want to Means Test Pensioners!

Message to Paul Burstow. Think before you open your mouth.

Means testing people to decide if they should get £200 winter fuel payment is wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

You'd create more bureaucracy.
You'd discourage people from saving for old age.
You'd encourage people to hide their money.
It's actually just an extension of the pension and helps politicians to look good when it get cold.
Give pensioners a decent pension and leave it at that. Same for all.

People who don't need it, spend it elsewhere putting money back into the economy and helping to keep others in employment.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Comic Show Writers Need to up their Game. #banfword #bancword

Happy New Year? Hope so. Of course it would be happier if modern comedians could actually tell jokes acceptable to a family audience. The best comic progs on TV this Christmas were the old ones. Those not sprinkled with the f word. Even I risked introducing my parents to Cuckoo (BBC) - sure, I had enjoyed it immensely on my own, but in their presence I became acutely aware of the use of the f word three times and even the w word once in just the first episode. Mother showed up to see the second episode and the f word showed up embarrassingly twice. Needless to say the third episode was voted "don't bother" in favour of the news. 

Then there was an episode of Mock the Week with Dara O'Brien (?) a slap dash compilation of highlights that seemed to be made up in the last five minutes of things from the cutting room floor apparently with all the swear words the non- funny comics could think of. This is not Mock the Week, it's mock the public. Sorry, absolutely not one funny thing to laugh at. 

Never been a fan of Mrs Browns Boys either. Disgusting that they get away with so much bad language.
New Years Eve channel 4 with 8 out of 10 cats received a drubbing from Daily Mail as being offensive crude and rude. 

Ricky Gervais didn't seem to be on anywhere. Always liked The Office when viewed alone, but he regularly tweets the c word and if he persists on any TV show he won't be on my TV watch list for long. 

Dads Army, Vicar of Dibbley, Morecambe and Wise and shows of that ilk have been great to re-watch and will continue to be shown because they are funny. There is absolutely nothing added to comedic value by adding the f word. Script writers need to up their game and learn a few more adjectives especially if they want longevity. #banfword #bancword

Reproduced from my Facebook Page, Tuesday, 1 January 2013 at 11:41