Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Deaths that shock the world
As the end of the year draws near, the world is in shocked disbelief that Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated just days before the country goes to the polls. A terrible tragedy for her country, her supporters and her family. The world will be nervously watching to see if her death will stall Pakistan's return to democracy.
Loved and admired by millions, her death will undoubtedly ignite riots in parts of Pakistan.
Tears from the world, The Telegraph and The Guardian obituaries.
Just as sad locally is the shocking news of the death of 16 year old Nassirudeen Osawe who was stabbed in broad daylight at the bus-stop just outside Angel Tube Station.
The growing knife culture is getting out of hand. Reports about this latest killing is in all the papers and has been on the news because it seems so incredible that it could happen in public view in such a crowded place during the day. Seeing something so horrific must have a lasting effect on the children who witnessed the murder.
It's not the first killing of a youth we have had in Islington. My friend Robert's niece this weekend talked about her buddie-buddie who was killed earlier in the year in Tollington Way near where she lives. Hadn't really given it a thought until now just how traumatic it was for her.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Walking on Air
A Christmas song to touch the soul.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
Update: Somebody has just pointed me to the brilliant Barr Irn-Bru advert which has been adapted from the video.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Camden councillors at war in the chambers
Keep saying I've got a warped sense of humour but Camden's most ridiculous political story of the week has to be Filthy rant spells deep trouble for political blogger
Knowing all the personalities involved it's mind boggling that grown men can behave in such a childish way all with the aim of political point scoring. Don't know about their behaviour being described as being part of the cut and trust of politics, it's becoming almost fisticuffs at dawn.
Labour Councillor Theo Blackwell (photo right) is the author of Theo's Blog. He is known to write light hearted cutting remarks about his political opponents and gives them all alternative names when he writes about them - he can be a bit rude at times. He tagged LibDem Councillor Alexis Rowell, Camden's Eco Champion, with the name Nut Roast which I've always thought was very appropriate because of his passion about everything Green.
Alexis is part of the collective who pen the blog Belsize Lib Dems. He's no pussy cat and gives as much as he gets.
Camden LibDems hate Theo with a vengeance. Even to pass him in the street results in undignified verbal insults. Seeing is believing, I found it a bit embarrassing. Can imagine in the council Chamber the digs would continue on both sides at every opportunity but it's now claimed their rude hand gestures and naughty nicknames have turned the Town Hall into a den of anti-social behaviour.
Don't really know how or why Robin Young a LibDem campaigner has involved himself with this unless it is to make a name for himself in case a bye-election is called, but he's complained to local government watchdog, the Standards Board, that "vulgar" Labour councillor Theo Blackwell had brought the council into disrepute. Robin is of an age, old school mentality, that would feel such behaviour is undignified but he's not a councillor yet!
Ok, they may have behaved like a couple of dipsticks but is Robin's complaint to the Standards Board really a prudent expenditure of public money. Me thinks it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black but lets wait and see what the outcome will be.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Partners ending up the year
Not been an easy week rushing to sort out so many things before the Xmas break. Having a heavy cold and a thumping head has not helped matters either - It's also been an embarrassing red nose week. Then there is the non-stop flow of cards. I always seem to forget somebody or receive one from somebody I don't expect. Bit late now to do any further catch up.
My growing list of residents issues are being dealt with one by one. Very pleased to have been able to get the heating sorted out in one elderly residents property. It's so cold of late and I was concerned she would be left without adequate heating over the hols. At times it's difficult not to feel emotional when dealing with vulnerable or elderly residents. They always worry they are disturbing me when they telephone with their problems.
Feel chuffed to bits that I seem to have a high success rate in solving their problems at the moment. Probably because I'm a pain in the contractors backside when I'm on a mission. Least there seems to be kind of respect that I do know what I'm talking about so they don't try to blind me with building waffle just to shut me up.
My friend Alex is packing up to move just after the hols. The council approved her mutual exchange. I'm quite surprised the type of property she was able to exchange her flat for. Via Gumtree and Freecycle websites we were also able to collect packing boxes and more than enough bubble wrap. Felt a bit of a Charley walking up Tufnell Park road with two huge black bags of it which probably looked like rubbish. It's sad really, I'm going to miss her. Telephoning and email is just not the same as a natter over a drink. We have been through a lot together over the last 7 years. Partners will now move into her old flat after the hols as the other flats in the building have been renovated.
Partners are actually doing a proper tenancy audit. Illegal occupancy is one of my bug bears when there are so many people looking for places to live. An ongoing exercise, it will be interesting to see how many flats they eventually recover. Across the road, Camden borough have just declared they have recovered hundreds of properties. Flat downsizing is another target that is being pushed with a vengance. It's often a wrench to move when people have lived in the same property for years especially for older people. After a little gentle persuasion, Alex's mum took the opportunity now her children are living else where, freeing up a five bedroom flat. Now she's settled she's a happy bunny.
Winding down yesterday at the Partners end of year party for Forum members. Always lovely food at their do's. Lovely Katrina from the office glowing even in the picture is expecting her first baby in a couple of months. Actually she's having twins - It's really mind blowing, how wonderful.
The latest copy of the Residents Gazette is hitting the doormats. Opened mine rushing along the road. I've definitely got a warped sense of humour. Couldn't help but chuckle to myself noticing my mugshot's on the front page this time with my Christmas message alongside. The pic of me is going to upset some people I know again, it always does.
Two key pointers in it - The announcement of the 2007 Good Neighbour Awards. Time for all those busybodies who help the community and often get insulted for their efforts to be recognised. The hunt is on. Do you know anybody in your area fitting the bill who lives in an Islington Partners managed property. Then there's info about the social housing Home swap (mutual exchange) program for those looking to move.
Today is day my grandaughter was supposed to be born last year (that prediction was wrong) my friend Robert and my political friend Lynne Featherstone's birthday. Least I didn't forget in all the run up to Christmas chaos.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Nick Clegg it is
Wish I'd put a bet on now - Nick Clegg to win. BBC got wind of the result sometime before the 2.37pm official announcement.
Nick Clegg - 20,988 (50.6%), Chris Huhne - 20,477 (49.4%), Turnout - 41,465
Can't say that I know him particularly well but he will definitely rattle a few cages amongst the party echelon. There are a lot of stuffed shirts that need hanging out to dry. He's not one to be pushed around. It should be an riveting start to a new chapter in the party history.
Bit of sour grapes going around. Seems because of the close result they decided to recount the votes. Have been reading that he only won by just 511 votes. So what he won and that's the key factor. Bit below the belt from Iain Dale but he has one thing spot on when he says, Nick Clegg is the leader of a new generation of thirty and fortysomething Liberal Democrats. These are people who actually want power. They're not content to sit on the fringes and postulate. They want to change things.
Watch Nick - his acceptance speech to party members.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Libdem Leadership, Tuesday's the D-day
The poll has closed and now everybody is waiting with abated breath for the result to be announced on Tuesday as to who will be the next Liberal Democrat leader. My money is still on Nick Clegg. I'm hopeless at predictions but having followed the whole thing pretty closely, he's the better option who will hopefully bring a bit of life back into the party.
Chris Hulme has been putting himself about a bit in the media but he hasn't been making any waves. What do you expect, he is a stolid economist after all. Under his leadership the whole show will just stand still.
Seems the Hulme campaign team not wanting to spoil his goody two shoes image are panicing about an anonymous blogger who seems to have it in for him. To say they are rattled is putting it mildly. It's never very nice when dirt is dished up true or untrue but the fact they are trying to put a lid on it by fair means or foul (read some of the comments) has got more people curious and anxious to know what's what. OK, he met his wife Vicky Pryce 'on the economics circuit' who was a the time married to somebody else - it's all so stuffy and extremely boring. Can't quite see what is all the fuss about anyway, he's hardly the first and so what, it all happened a long time ago. It's never nice when children are brought into the public arena but that's the price of fame and anyway they are now adults who have their own opinion not little kiddies that need protecting.
It's too late now for it to have any effect anyway, the ballot is closed.
Labels: LibDem Leadership
Friday, December 14, 2007
Stepping out with Vince Cable
A man with many talents
Vince Cable dancing with Elisha Dixon on This Week programme. He is such a lovely man, he really is. We'll see more of Mr twinkle toes on the Christmas Special Strictly Come Dancing - Wish I'd been a fly on the wall to see their reaction when his appology was read out at the Federal Executive meeting.
Labels: Vince Cable
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Human ashes united with daughter
My previous post The Islington Lib Dem ashes seemed to have caught the imagination of all who read it. The kind of story you only normal read in books.
The Camden Gazette has managed to follow the rather spooky tale of the human ashes found in a car park. Everybody loves a happy ending read about the extraordinary story of what happened.
THE mystery of the "lost ashes" has been solved and the remains of a much loved father returned to his daughter - via a crook with a conscience and a considerate caretaker.We told how a casket containing the ashes of George Green was found by caretaker Gerald Burton in a car park off Essex Road, Islington.
Lyndsay Green is reunited with her father’s ashes thanks to caretaker Gerald Burton - photo above.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Islington Gazette, somebody needs to go back to school
What a disgrace coming from the Islington Gazette - the board posters outside all the local news vendors and newsagents. Supposed to read "Nude pole dancing plan is rejected". This is not the first time it's happened, remember Islington Gazette: How sloppy.
Update: Somebody has suggested it can also be read as Nude police - very funny
Labels: Islington Gazette
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Most wonderful time of the year
Supposed to be Christmas festive cheer and all that. All along Holloway road in Islington, the council has decorated the trees with an impressively beautiful display of fashionable blue lights. In the dark it looks really mystical. My flat's too small to really make a majestic Christmas gesture but in the spirit of things one has to do something. Found some blue lights for small windows and after spending nearly two hours precariously balancing on a ladder fixing hooks to hang them, the end result is pretty amazing especially in the dark. They are noticeable from afar - least everybody looks up as they walk past.
Just had an email from Partners asking me to approve a Christmas message to go out in the latest end of year Residents Gazette. Cor, didn't know what to say, the words read like a stuffy lawyers script. Just couldn't sign something that clearly wasn't my style. Had to rehash it and email back one in my own words. Seems they like it and it will go into print.
Also received a message asking for my approval to have Islington council's guru on Anti Social behaviour as a guest speaker at our next meeting. Nice to be asked, will be very interesting to know what she has to say. One thing that is very welcome is the drive in the borough against anti social and harassment neighbours - only recently understood the legal difference.
My ridiculously pathetic case of harassment. I'm now to make a list of all the people around connected who are following the dictates of the matriarch and giving out the silent treatment. It is all very weird behaviour from people I don't have much social interaction. Am doing it just to follow the official procedure. Least it helps me to advise others in a similar situation.
It's like walking on egg shells. Why can't people just be nice to one another. Is that too much to ask?
Am pleasantly surprised that a chairs respect has enabled me to get some pressing repair jobs to be done quickly. Don't even want to mention who or how things have got damaged in the property where I live. The issue of the sticking of communal light switches has been solved. Some elegant sensory switches specially ordered have now been installed on all floors through out. A new letterbox has appeared and all the cracks in the communal hallways have been filled. They were made worse by all the bang from the flats below and above which resulted in some of the old plaster falling off the walls.
What a kind postman. With several Christmas parcel deliveries expected, our regular parcel delivery man who has stayed on the route for some time now knows when he can find me in. He arrived early morning with a whole pile of parcels he had collected over a couple of days - so very heavy he actually took the trouble of bringing them all upstairs to my flat. How exciting to sit down and open them all. The contents of one box was obviously not one of my orders, with no name on the box I dumped it on the table. Looking for some identification later found an invoice stuck to the side in a plastic pocket. God it was for unpredictable moaning Minnie downstairs. Honestly I regret making the effort to giving it to her now - even took the trouble to explained why it was opened but all I got for my kindness was the usual cutting verbal abuse as she snatched it from my hands.
Had a small drama in the property next door. Those beautifully refurbished flats - Bad plumbing workmanship cause a flood of water to leak through to the ground floor flat. The whole carpet has had to be replaced AGAIN and all the painting touched up.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Gillian Gibbons what a foolish women
Have been following the story of Gillian Gibbons situation in Sudan, the teacher jailed in Sudan for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohamed. The scale of furore surrounding her extraordinary case has made headlines around the world. It was not hard to feel sympathy for her predicament but really what a foolish women she is.
For her sake and diplomatically it's a relief she has been released but honestly I just can't get my head round the fact that a women of her age went off on her so called adventure to a Muslim fundamentalist country like Sudan without the slightest inkling of what she was letting herself in for nor without the knowledge or awareness of its laws and customs. It's extreme naivety at it's best.
On arriving back in Britain today she declared: "I never imagined this would happen. I am just an ordinary primary school teacher." She said it like it somehow justifies everything. Obviously happy to be back home, she appears genuine and homely but she's so naive it's mind boggling.
What did she really expect going to Sudan as a white middle-aged non-muslim female teacher? All eyes would have been on her. Most British born muslims living by Western standards don't even have any real concept of living amongst brainwashed fundamentalists. It's beyond their comprehension what could happen if one makes the slightest misinterpreted mistake according to the ridged Islamic doctrine applied in those countries never mind somebody who has no real knowledge of the religion nor one who has probably not even read the Koran. Taking the Prophet's name in vain by naming a toy after him was bound to upset somebody. Gillian Gibbons claims it was an "innocent mistake"- we know that but it turned out to be a very costly mistake which probably could have been averted if she had done her homework first before she travelled to Sudan.
With the religion taking precedence over all aspects of life in such places in the world, what we take as being trivial can turn into an ugly incident. Before anybody starts adding rude comments I do know what I'm talking about from personal experience. The interesting aspect of the case was that it was two British Muslim peers Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who secured her release from President Omar al-Bashir, something our own Foreign Office diplomats could not achieve.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Viagra an incentive to vote
Getting lost over the "who done what" in the UK political scene. Came across this snippet of wacky election campaigning news from Thailand. The country has recently introduced a tough new law where both the supplier and recipient of anything that is obvious vote-buying can face criminal charges.
Now one of the candidates is being accused of handing out Viagra tablets as an incentive to voters so they'll vote for him.
Sayan Nopcha, a campaigner for the People's Power Party in Pathum Thai province just north of Bangkok, said the drug - used to treat sexual dysfunction in men - was being distributed to elderly male voters at social functions.
Strange kind of bribe but there is nowt as queer as folk. Certainly puts a knew slant on election rigging.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Another week gone by
This week has seen the end of all the local noise around my flat. The renovation works in the flat above has been completed, all that remains is the final snagging. Went upstairs and had a look. Best keep my mouth shut - sloppy workmanship, there is still some touching up to do. Wonder if it will be picked up or they will just ignore it. Least all the heavy banging overhead has stopped. Was really doing my head in.
My big issue of the week is that my cooker finally fell apart. Least the doors did. Nothing wrong with the top cooking area but with all the cakes I'm now making I need an oven. Trust me, chose one of the new wide flash double ovens with insite glass - good for my eyes. Wasn't sure it would fit in the space but the carpenter working upstairs came and carefully measured it for me. Had to spend extra for a quick delivery otherwise it was likely I wouldn't have had a cooker for Christmas.
Spent the whole evening wrapping presents for my grandchildren. They were piling up on the table rather overtaking my small sitting-room. Silly really but can't resist buying things for them. Such an exciting time of the year. Even more so this year since Aalia will be 1 year old on Christmas day. Imagine being born on Christmas day. Knew somebody else years ago and his father named him Isa the muslim name for Jesus.