Friday, 30 November 2012

Housing Regeneration in Tamworth, Staffs

Today is a significant moment for Tamworth, Staffs, with the announcement of Tamworth Borough Council's  £21.5m housing regeneration project for the Tinkers Green, Wilnecote, and The Kerria, Amington, areas of the town which is projected to be completed in 6 years.  Follow this link to read the announcement.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

St. George's Church, Glascote, Tamworth

It's always a delight to walk down a street and to catch a glimpse of some church architecture which excites. I knew that St. George's Church, Glascote, Tamworth, was somewhere down Bamford Street but I had never ventured there to find it - that is, until today - a beautiful warm, sunny Tamworth summer's day.

I was so excited that when I saw a priest exit the Church I stopped him to ask if he was the Vicar. He wasn't but said: "The Vicar's inside - just knock on the door of the office and walk in." The Rev. Jim Trood welcomed me as did Anne Bassett who was working there with Jim.

Jim took me on a short tour and presented me with some literature about the church and allowed me to take some photographs of the interior.

On returning home Jim's literature told me that the church architect was Basil Champneys and was built at cost of £3,000. c1880. Champneys (1842-1935) also designed The John Rylands Memorial Library, Manchester.

If you like 19c Gothic architecture then you'll like St. George's. Visit between 9.15am and 1.00pm Mondays to Thursdays when visitors are welcome and you'll be able to enjoy the exterior and interior as I did.

Some alterations/additions to Champneys work have been made including to the interior but they are sympathetic to the style apart from a horrible monstrosity of a metal chimney at the back - you'll know the style - they usually adorn fish and chip or takeaway shops where they often catch and offend the eye immediately. Fortunately, the one here is only visible from the back but I would have preferred a "solution" other than this which is awful.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Personal Wellbeing

Last night on Newsnight on BBC 2 I found this Paxman interview with Professor Seligman fascinating. He talks about how to achieve personal wellbeing viz

1. help another person
2. every night write down 3 things that went well for you during the day. This is addictive and influences your continuing wellbeing
3. if you have grandchildren write your own obituary through their eyes - this will add meaning and purpose to your own life.

Public policy for wellbeing can be influenced. He gives an example of training teachers to learn/manage their own wellbeing with these tools and others. The teachers so trained in dealing with kids aged 10-12 years pass on this "learning" with the result over time that the kids' lives have more meaning; they suffer less from depression and their wellbeing is improved.

Anyway, see what you think about Prof Seligman yourself. The interview is the last item of this edition of Newsnight so you'll have to surf right to the end to find it. I guess there might be a quicker link to the actual interview but I lack the current "computer skill" to do it.

Here's the link - hope it works:

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Tamworth Lifeboats & Social Networking

Into Tamworth town centre this morning to support the Mayor of Tamworth's Coffee morning in aid of lifeboats! Yes, I know Tamworth is nowhere near the sea but we all have an interest in supporting the good work which those manning our nation's lifeboats do for all of us and this is a truly worthy cause.

Thence a short burst of retail therapy which found me in Smiths where I browsed the books/magazines.

I recalled that (like many of us) the Mayor of Tamworth is a keen social networking fan and sees this (again like many of us) as a useful way of keeping in contact with others both for business and pleasure. Ages ago, the Mayor mentioned to me that he had seen a book in a bookshop (where else?) which usefully brought together many of the tools to assist in social networking. Within the last fortnight I had stumbled across Tweetdeck (I'd read an article about it in a good old-fashioned newspaper) so looked it up. I downloaded Tweetdeck and started to experiment with it.

Now, in Smith's, I was thinking about this as my casual glance alighted on a magazine about Social Networking. As is my wont, I glanced and then went to the back cover to see the price! Ouch, nearly £10! "All this is available, free on the internet, if I only knew where to look but it will not be gathered together in one place" I said to myself under my breath.

I bought the magazine. The good old-fashioned hard-copy magazine or book "brings most of it together in one place" and is portable and easy to use. Surfing the internet offers too many distractions and I'm soon lost in too much detail and often forget what I've started doing in the first place.

Then back home for a cup of tea and a snack and a more detailed glance at my new acquisition. "Is this the sort of book which the Mayor told me about some time ago?" I asked myself. Yes, I know that I'm given to asking myself a lot of questions. There it was a section on Twitter and Tweetdeck and lots more all neatly gathered together with some attractive eye-catching pictures.

So, as an enthusiastic novice and silver surfer, I hove to my computer and resolved to Blog this experience. Because I've not blogged for awhile up pops a menu demanding my password. Out comes my file of passwords all kept in neat order (essential, I find - there are so many of them) and after a couple of goes I stumble upon the right one which lets me in to my dashboard. This constant necessity to "log in," I understand, is meant for my protection but it is still a chore when it is frequently having to be performed. When I first started surfing and "experimenting" it constantly put me off but a file of user names and passwords for my sites has helped me no end. I get over the logging on hurdle again and here I am.

"Can I add a picture to this quick blog?" No time, I want to get this off my chest and back to my social networking magazine. But wait, though retired, I have some work to do - generated by emails no doubt and then I have meetings to attend in less than a couple of hours time so perhaps the magazine had better wait to be enjoyed and absorbed at my leisure.

Modern life dominated by the computer is something I never dreamed about when I was a young or even nearly middle-aged adult. Now I am in my mid-60s, I cannot avoid it nor do I want to do so - it is exciting and new possibilities open up continually.

"Well done, Bill Gates" I said to myself as I listened to him on Newsnight on TV earlier this week, when he was discussing his current project to spend some of his vast wealth generated by his ideas for the computer on less fortunate folk.

So, I'm really back where I started this morning - give generously to the Lifeboat men or others less fortunate than yourselves and be thankful for what you might have, health or relative wealth and, if you can, take advantage of the modern technological revolution which includes social networking to keep you in touch with what is going on elsewhere in the World.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Swimming At The Peaks, Tamworth

Went swimming this morning with 4 grandaughters at The Peaks, Tamworth.

The attraction for the girls was the inflatable in the middle of the main pool which seemed popular with other children and adults too. 2 of my girls accompanied by their intrepid grandad also enjoyed the flume, over and over again - great fun.

After lunch worked in the garden and enjoyed the sunshine. Now I'm tired.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

This image is of Archer Copley and Cissie Spencer on their Wedding Day in Sheffield in 1916.

In 1901 and 1911 (Census Returns) Cissie (Dorothy Mabel) Spencer's family home was at 149 Walkley Lane, Sheffield. Archer's family home in 1911 (Census Return) was nearby at 171 Providence Road, Sheffield.

I speculate that the couple are pictured outside Cissie’s family home.

The image is classic postcard size with the imprint "The Arcade Studio, 380 Regent Rd., Salford" on the back. Also on the back written in ink is:

"Cissie Spencer married to Archie Copley of Sheffield"

and then in pencil:

"Cissie was daughter of Mary Ann (Polly) Roper (sister to Beatrice Amelia & Frank Roper)."

The Roper family hailed from Winster, Derbyshire.


Still worried this morning as late yesterday I could not log onto the internet. I have recently "upgraded" my broadband connection but the extra monthly rental does not yet appear to be justified. Why do I rely on the computer as I do? When it works, it's fine but when it doesn't I click a few buttons, switch off and then back on and get fogged completely by the error message(s) which pop up. Where are the DNS settings? Where is the Wrench menu. This assumes a dexterity with my computer which I do not have and which I frankly don't want to learn - I just want to click a button and for it to work and when it goes wrong to be confronted with another button and a simple message to "Click This."

I had to leave this problem and drive a few miles to collect 4 grandaughters ranging in age from 12 to 8 as my wife had offered her childminding skills whilst the parents were at work. Arrived at the pick-up point far too early (motorway traffic light) so listened to the radio and continued to worry about my internet connection. Children arrived (without coats) and morning not to promising but we were soon back at my home. Is it only senior citizens who now bother with "coats?"

Lacking confidence, I turned the computer back on - very, very slow but I got connected to the internet! Hurray! Magic! Treated the machine very gingerly but have managed to remain connected until at least nearly 6.00pm as I write this.

Did some town councillor work - mainly reading but as result of letter received at lunch time also did some thinking (about the letter). At times I have a tendency to form an instant opinion but am pleased with myself on those occasions when I let my views "emerge" as they sometimes do with the passage of time. Kids playing football on my patio, my wife finds the tent in the garage which is built with support from patio-tree - still too damp for them to play with it in the garden.
Hear one shout of "Don't kick that ball in that garden!"

Short walk on my one to the Post Box to post a birthday card for my wife.

Lunch follows - cooked meal (as usual) - I eat extra-splendid meals when we have the kids. All of us have "mash" and chicken + veg but one insists on chips which she eats first and then toys with the remainder of the meal. Kids take ages to eat whereas I eat very quickly.

Dishwasher loaded and switched on and back to the computer. Now settle to do some work on one of my hobbies - feel pleased with myself so offer to take the kids for walk. We play (or rather I play) an impromptu game of football on a grassed area but kids anxious to admire every dog that passes by. I don't like dogs.

Short walk then to Motorway Service Station where kids play on the play area. I relax and enjoy what is now quite warm, pleasant sunshine. I'm always reminded at this point that kids always growing - all 4 of them can now master the climbing frame whereas it only seems a short time ago that the youngest pair lacked confidence to climb down a pole; now they can both climb up the pole and hang and "turn-over" on it before dropping to the ground. I issue the odd injunction to "Be careful" knowing full well that I will get a severe reprimand if there is "an accident" resulting in crazes or at worst a broken limb. Kids doff shoes and then put them back on when I insist that they do so as a "safety precaution" against broken glass which might be lying around. Little competition goes down well which I happily organise (and time) which all kids participate in with some enthusiasm. Pullovers doffed (which I am instructed to "look after") - did I worry unnecessarly about absence of coats around 9.00am this morning?

Kids must have enjoyed the exercise as they noticeably much quieter as we wander back home with a couple of stops again to admire dogs. Eldest grandaughter at this point comments that "There are a lot of cats around your house, Grandad." She's right - there are but then I love cats so that's O.K.

Back to the computer (still connected to the internet) and kids now indoors with my wife telling them to "Turn that TV down." It's usually me that's troubled by noise.

Around 5.00pm kids depart for home with their Granny being the driver for this journey. My childminding duties to resume again tomorrow morning at 9.00a.m. Oh, I do hope the weather is OK it is much better when they can get outside otherwise it is likely to be a long week.

I console myself with a glance at the paper, grab an ice-cream from the fridge, and pull a curtain over to shield me from the Sun as I sit again in front of the computer - still OK. I observe again my neighbour working in his garden which makes me feel guilty so I promise myself I may (may, I said) mow the lawn tomorrow and do some weeding if it's fine.

I suppose a picture to support this Blog would be nice but I can't be bothered. Also decide quickly not to read through this Blog but just to post it and then read it. Will probably be suprised at my spelling errors and how "it rambles" but, as I say, I've had some variety today so who cares!

The Spencer Children

This Cabinet image is by Maybury, Independent Buildings, 21 Fargate, Sheffield. On the plain back of the image in pencil is “13764 Spencer C” and then in ink:

“Left to right cousins

Cissy Spencer

Norman Spencer

Joseph Spencer

Charlotte Spencer”

In 1901 and 1911 the Spencer family home was at 149 Walkley Lane, Sheffield. The children pictured in the image in the early 1900s are probably:

Left to right –

Dorothy Mabel (“Cissy”) Spencer born about 1896.

Norman Stanley Spencer (1901-1975)

Arthur Joseph (“Joe”) Spencer born about 1892

Charlotte Amelia Spencer born about 1898

All of these children were born in Sheffield apart from Joe who was born in Winster, Derbyshire.