Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Wrestler

After reading this review of The Wrestler Sam and I went to the late-night screening at the cinema last night. On the face of it a film about wrestling with a fair proportion set in a strip joint doesn't sound like it would be any good. But based on the review we decided to give it a go and it was great -- although some of the violence made me look away. If you are going to the cinema I would definitely recommend this.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The full council meeting fallout

4 1/2 hours is a long time to sit and listen. But that is how long I was at the full council meeting for -- and it was still going when I left at 11.

The petition which I handed in on road safety at the Alfred Sutton School got a good reply with promises of action -- some of which have already happened.

The climate change strategy was adopted -- this followed on from a Green party campaign to get the council to sign the Nottingham Declaration on climate change.

Councillor Ennis is now the lead for Children's Services -- good luck to him.

Lastly a motion on Gaza was passed -- but not before it was first amended by the Tories to take any controversy out and then by the Lib Dems to put it back in.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Reading's Gaza humanitarian network

I was at the first meeting of this network. It was good to see so many people there with lots of ideas of what should be done. There will be a Council resolution on this tonight- hopefully it won't be trashed by any opposition.

It was mentioned at the meeting that a good way to donate is through MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians).

Have your say on the future of the private rented sector in Reading

The council have organised this meeting so people can have their say on the private rented sector and hopefully the sector can be improved.

My personal favourite for this sector would be to get it insulated up to the decent homes standard, thereby lifting people out of your poverty and reducing CO2 emissions. But it will be good to hear what other people think and what council plans are afoot.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Reading crime statistics and Newtown and NAG meeting

Hat tip Reading list for the link to online crime statistics for Reading.

On the subject of crime here are the details of the next Newtown NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group) meeting:



28TH JANUARY 2009, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

CONTACT: 08458 505 505

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Scores on the doors - food safety in Reading

The Scores on the Doors website allows you to look up a restaurant before paying them a visit to eat. You can see what their rating is for food safety.

This link takes you to the venues you may want to avoid.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Child Protection: "Is Labour letting us down or is it the opposition?"

The Lib Dems and the Tories are eager to attack the council on its failures to keep our children safe, but they could get together and kick the Labour group out. Why don't they do this if they are so concerned? Is Labour letting us down or is it the opposition?

Frank Turner

I went to see Frank Turner in Oxford a few days ago. Very good, but on his albums that I've heard it is just him and his guitar. Now he seems to have a band as well. In my humble opinion this is a step backwards.

You can listen here

He was supported by Chris TT and Emily Barker - both also good especially Chris.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

New Heathrow runway

Great a new Heathrow runway.

More traffic around Reading, a reduction in our air quality, more noise and don't even get me started on climate change!

Good on this MP though.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Cycle consultation

Thanks to Reading Cycle Campaign for this:

"Do you cycle around Reading or would you if you could follow routes on a Network Map?

The RBC Transport and Communication Teams would like to hear your views on a new Cycle Map for Reading, come to our drop-in sessions and have your say on the proposed new map:-

Thursday, 8 January 2009, 4pm to 7pm, Council Chamber, Civic Centre.

Monday, 12 January 2009, 12pm to 2pm, Mezzanine Meeting Room 1, Civic Centre.

We want to make it easier to cycle around Reading and a big part of that is making it easy for people to find their way around. We are proposing branded, colour-coded cycle routes with new signs and maps to help people decide where to go. As a first step, a new network map has been drafted for Reading. There is no standard out there, but we have researched what other towns and cities have done and tried to find what will work best for Reading."

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Pothole of the week

I report larger potholes to the council, but small and medium ones are so prevalent that quite often I just find myself of accepting them. Anyway, this one on London Road - see photo - is the bane of my life at the moment. Right at the side of the road specifically to catch cyclists. I've reported it to the council. Feel free to send in your current pothole photos...

From Potholes

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Gaza update - demo and petition

National Demonstration: Saturday 10 January
Stop the Massacre: Israel Out of Gaza
Assemble 12.30pm Speakers Corner, Hyde Park
March to Israeli Embassy, High St Kensington, London

and the petition,

Monday, 5 January 2009

Gaza Crisis Meeting in Reading

There is a Gaza Crisis Meeting at Pakistan Community Centre on Tuesday 6th January at 7.00pm.

The programme will be as follows:

7.00pm Arrivals

7.30pm Opening Remarks

7.45pm Statement from Labour

7.50pm Statement from Conservatives

7.55pm Statement from Libdems

8.00pm Statement from Greens

8.05pm Open to audience for Q&A

9.00pm Close Meeting


Some of you might be interested in a meeting that's due to take place at the Global Café on 19 January.

Cohousing Berkshire is a new group for people interested in the possibility of establishing a cohousing community in the county.

The essential concept of cohousing is a community made up of private homes but with shared space for occasional communal meals and other activities and some shared facilities. Although the main aim of cohousing is to make people feel less isolated, there's also a definite ecological benefit that comes along with it. Sharing resources automatically reduces environmental impact and cohousing communities naturally tend to attract people with a commitment to sustainable living.

To find out more visit and, if you're free, go along to the Global Café at 7.45 on Monday 19 January.

Panto virgin

Last night I went to my first pantomime. It was Dick Whittington at the Hexagon in Reading. My expectations were a very low, but I was pleasantly surprised. Like The Simpsons the pantomime operated on many levels - well maybe two, innuendo and child. I found myself laughing along, singing, and I even learned the actions to one song! It was interesting to see how they had tailored the production to make it relevant to local people - for example they picked on Tilehurst as a rubbish place in the Reading area. I am not even going to go into the way men were cast as women and women as men but I'm sure books have been written on this!

Next year the panto is Cinderella, I'll see you there.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Gaza demo

Unfortunately I was not able to make it to the Gaza demo today - follow the link for Guardian coverage.

Israel's attack seems totally disproportionate, but no one is blameless. We need an immediate ceasefire, and a reinvigorated political process, as I fail to see how more violence will bring a lasting peace.

I hope our Green MEPs can bring the full weight of the EU to bear on this problem.

UPDATE: Caroline Lucas MEP, has called for the suspension of the EU's important 'association agreement' with Israel (basically, a trade agreement giving Israel preferential terms), because of Israel's grossly disproportionate action in Gaza. If Israel wants to trade with us on good terms, then Israel must be willing to cease fire now.