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Pancake Race, South Shields

Come on folks, lend a hand!

The annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race took place in King Street, South Shields yesterday, always a laugh and it draws a half decent crowd as teams of four from retailers and South Shields businesses run a 100 yard dash along the town’s main shopping street in an effort to (a) win a small trophy, and (b) raise some pennies for a needy charity. The usual rules apply as the teams run in a relay fashion flipping their pancakes in their pans at the start line before being allowed to dash to the far end of the course, return and hand over to a team mate.

The event has been organised over the past few years by Mavis Maughan, the events co-ordinator at Asda in Coronation Street and this year included teams from the Shields Gazette, Specsavers, Slimming World, and Asda, however, (and here’s the rub) it seems that Mavis is having some trouble getting new participants, resulting in the same bunch of people taking part each year, and getting older it hurts the knees and hips. This is surprising because there are more than enough businesses in the town who could spare a team of four people for half an hour, perhaps some might even be persuaded to donate the half an hour on their day off!

It is a fun occasion and an opportunity to raise your business profile with the public, show your involvement with the community that you work in and make your profit from, and generally show that your organisation is a caring one when it comes to charitable fund raising. The sort of businesses that I have in mind that employ sufficient people to spare four might include the likes of Wilkinsons, Lidl, MacDonalds, Marks and Spencer, Greggs (who have four outlets in the town centre), M.I. Dickson, Superdrug, the Ocean Beach Fun Park, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Tesco, and a clutch of solicitor’s offices.

I find it pretty embarrassing that Mavis has approached some of these and been rebuffed, come on guys give it a second thought for next year, half an hour out of your working week is not going to cripple the business. There may be other ways in which you may be able to help the event without actually taking part in the race, for instance the printing of plenty of A4 posters to decorate shop windows in the week leading up to the race would help generate a larger crowd and a bigger footfall in King Street, I’m sure one of you could produce a poster on a PC and have it printed on your office laserjet printer!

So come on, give it some thought and get in touch with Mavis Maughan at Asda in Coronation Street, South Shields to offer your help for next year – please!

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Written by curly

March 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

Marsden and Whitburn Taxis, South Shields

with 5 comments

Marsden and Whitburn Taxis 2011 Calendar

This 2011 Calendar really gets under my skin.

A man called Ray Hunter emailed me towards the back end of last year, he wanted permission to use one of my images to make a calendar with, now if you are a follower of South Shields Daily Pictures you will know that I take my photography a bit seriously!

I often give people permission to use an image of mine free of charge, but strictly for non commercial purposes and strictly with attribution, so that the viewer knows who the photographer is. It serves the purpose of spreading my name and getting more visitors to the site. However, if someone wishes to use an image with commercial intent, and wanting to derive some profit from it, then it’s only fair that I get some of the reward for my work, intellectual and artistic ability, and the hours of post production required to make my images.

I emailed Ray and gave him permission to use a low resolution copy of this image, if, and only if, it was for a non commercial purpose. I informed him that if he wished to use a full resolution image with commercial intent, then we could mutually agree a license fee for its duplication and publication. I haven’t heard from him since.

You can bet that I was less than pleased when I received from a friend a copy of the Marsden and Whitburn Taxis 2011 Magnetic Calendar recently, which is adorned with this image. You may like to compare the image with the calendar, the image has been cropped and my Curly 2010 watermark in the top left corner has subsequently been removed, but it is surely my image!

If you have a copy of this calendar, you will notice that there is no attribution at all, no mention of where the picture came from. Therefore it would please me enormously if you destroyed it, the distribution of them is seriously getting under my skin, this clearly looks like a breach of copyright and is plainly contravening both the conditions for use as stated on every page of South Shields Daily Pictures, and the related Creative Commons License which I use to protect my images, also linked to on every page.

Marsden and Whitburn Taxis have previously been known as Marsden and District Taxis and Marsden and Cleadon Taxis, they are not strangers to controversy.

I am in the process of sending Mr. Hunter a bill for my services to his company.

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Written by curly

January 14, 2011 at 6:35 am

No snow today

with 4 comments

“Tropical ” conditions return to South Shields

“Sunny Shields” is back in smiling mood today, the Arctic conditions melted away in one of the fastest thaws in living memory over the last 24 hours – the snow has gone.

Whilst the rest of us somehow managed to get around town, out of town, into town, thanks to the help of gritters who have used half of the winter stocks in two weeks, South Tyneside Council’s refuse collection teams found it far too difficult to negotiate the roads and side streets.

So, perhaps they’ll stand a better chance now that sub-tropical conditions have returned, my bins have not been emptied since 22nd. November!

It’s a good job we didn’t have any deep snow such as that seen in North Yorkshire or Central Scotland.

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Written by curly

December 11, 2010 at 11:58 am

Unborn children at risk from Miliband

with 6 comments

david milibandDeficit denier continues with give away mentality.

Kelly Kane and her partner Dave Hall are in an unfortunate position, unlucky, but not catastrophic, with a bit of guile, common sense, and intelligent planning they could manage to do what thousands of Sanddancers have managed to do over the last century, and that is to nurture and bring up children – even when faced with the upheaval of having to negotiate stairs!

South Shields has had a good 50% of its land covered by terraced properties for at least the last hundred years, thousands of families have given birth to children, and brought them up as model citizens in upper flats, and even in more modern times hundreds continue to raise families in communal blocks and maisonettes, just what is it that makes this couple think that the job is that difficult? What is it that gives them some sort of feeling of entitlement to better conditions that they have not worked for?

For those others amongst us, we managed to squeeze past prams stored behind front doors at the bottom of stairs, others resorted to a trip to Halfords, B&Q, or even one of the multitude of Pound shops in King Street to procure a bicycle lock and pressed it into service to immobilise a pram in a communal block! Yet this couple feel they ought to be rehoused on the grounds that they may not be able to manage a flight of stairs with a baby – get real folks, this is not a hardship! The unborn child is at no greater risk than any other of the last four generations in this town.

However, we are all at risk from stupid politicians who don’t have the “bottle” when courting popularity, to tell their constituents the plain hard faced truth that their plight is neither unusual or exceptional, and that they have no automatic right to expect the council tax payer to help out by finding a new home for them. I refer to the “geeky” David Miliband:

“I would be grateful if you would look at it again, as I know Ms Kane has concerns about her safety and that of the baby if she has to manage the stairs on her own.

“I know the council is limited in what homes they can offer due to the criteria, but I would be grateful if you could look at this case again – to ensure that Ms Kane and her child have a decent quality of life.

“Is it possible for Kelly and David to be referred to other housing associations in South Tyneside by South Tyneside Homes?”

My guess is that Miliband has never done a Matthew Parris and lived in an upper flat, nor has he appreciated the fact that thousands of South Shields’ children have been brought up safely in such conditions, the former Foreign Secretary is still stuck in the Socialist dreamland where tax payer’s cash never dries up and we can continue to keep giving and giving even when the pot of cash runs dry. Despite having been a major player in a government that has saddled our grandchildren with £1.5 trillion of debt he seems incapable of realising the consequences of his thought processes, he seems to be in “deficit denial” and still believes it is possible for people to benefit where there is little entitlement to publicly funded support. Miliband needs to show more responsibility, particularly as he wishes to become the Leader of the Opposition, after thirteen years of waste a little more of the same is not what the doctor has ordered to help the rest of us!

Any South Tyneside politician or council officer who acquiesces to Miliband’s ill considered gesture ought to have their bare backsides publicly flogged under the Old Town Hall in South Shields Market Place, they should be used to make an example, and if this gesture itself was to bear a public expense then I’d gladly contribute a fiver towards the cost, and I bet a few hundred others would join me to witness the event. To continue to throw public resources at non existant “problems” should be viewed as a crime, and one which adds to the risks of the unborn children of the next two generations as they struggle to cope with the economic mess left behind by the architects of Labour’s follies.

As for Kelly and David, they need to be firmly told that there is no inherent risk in bringing up children in a block of flats, they should take a walk around Slake Terrace, Cleveland Court, Anderson Street, etc. and talk to a few other families to find out how it is done!

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Written by curly

September 18, 2010 at 9:06 am

Fresh from my in-box

with 2 comments

Which South Tyneside councillor did we waste the money on?

Yes, I know I don’t find a great deal of time to pop in here these days to offer my thoughts, I guess it needs something of significance before I am stirred into action.

These emails which I received yesterday (see below) got me thinking – just how much cash have we spent in South Tyneside setting up e-government, equipping our elected councillors with a suite of PCs in South Shields Town Hall, another to take home, and even Blackberries so they can “stay in touch” when on the move? How much did we spend on training and advice for elected members?

Over the course of the years, I believe that I have written some things that I have been passionate about, issues which have stirred emotions and stirred others to take some action, amongst those issues some have sparked bigger reactions in the wider community and some may have had a little influence over the decisions which our council eventually took (certainly once TV cameras got involved). I refer to the threats to develop Temple Park, the cleaning up of Trow Quarry, and the cleaning and re-opening of Readhead’s Landing, with all of these topics I regularly emailed each and every one of our elected councillors, giving my views and seeking theirs in return.

Take a look at the screen grabs of these which arrived in my email in-box yesterday and try to figure out which Councillor cherished my emails so much that they held on to them for about six years, without even reading a single one! You will find the date that I sent them on the penultimate lines.

How well stuffed was their in-box, and how much money did the tax payers of South Tyneside waste on this councillor?

I won’t cause embarrassment by naming names, but just think on the next time you accuse South Tyneside Council of dragging it’s feet and taking years to make decisions – that there is probably a very good reason for it.





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Written by curly

September 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Who wants a coalition of the losers?

with 6 comments


Alastair Campbell probably does

I’ve refrained for a couple of days from expressing any opinion on the current round of horse trading ostensibly between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats but the stage of thinking in terms of the “national interest” has now passed. Events of the past few minutes confirm that the “interest” is purely political, and when Bad Al Campbell comes out spinning for Brown we all know it’s political.

If this is the level of sensible discussion which ensues during periods when no political party has an overall majority then I’m afraid the Liberal Democrats can go and swing, and take their arguments for proportional representation with them. I’m not sure that Nick Clegg is really big enough to be involved in the mechanics of government after the revelation earlier to day that he and his negotiators had had a secretive meeting with Gordon Brown, nothing wrong with meeting him and keeping him up to date, but one would have thought that with such heavy issues at stake that he would have had the decency to inform David Cameron and the Conservative team in advance. How does he expect to build any coalition of trust, with any party, if he manoeuvres around behind the players backs?

If Clegg and the Lib-Dems decide now to back out of any agreement with the Conservatives to join a coalition of losers, they must surely realise that there will be severe consequences from the electorate at the next general election which will not be far away. With Brown deliberately throwing a spanner in the works by announcing his intention to resign as Labour leader (in September) he is offering the Liberal Democrats a path to join Labour in government. It is quite clear that we would then be governed for a while longer with Gordon Brown remaining as Prime Minister after an election in which he led his party to the worst results in decades losing vote share down to the level of the Michael Foot years, and losing almost a hundred Labour seats. It is inconceivable that the voters will accept him remaining in office propped up by Nick Clegg only to be replaced by yet another Labour leader who didn’t face the judgement of the electorate. The situation would be obscene.

Let’s hope that Nick Clegg sees the obscenity in this scenario, and lets hope that he understands that if events move in that direction his loss of six seats last week will pale into insignificance compared to the losses his party will suffer at the next election!

The whole drawn out affair of traded deals done in the back rooms of Admiralty House or the Cabinet Office are proving to be a great advert for why we DON’T need proportional representation, the stable government that we need would not be delivered as policy after policy would have to be traded away by one side or another. Just what would be the point of writing a manifesto and presenting it to the voters at an election if half of it was to be scrapped in Monopoly style horse trading a couple of weeks later. This would NOT be the way to improve the level of trust between politicians and the public.

I understand that the Conservatives have now offered a referendum on sort of PR system to the Lib Dems, I hope they draw a line and say no more, no further – they are starting to make themselves look desperate.

I would rather The Queen invites David Cameron to form a minority government than carry on trying to find the “national interest” with players like Brown and Clegg who seem to be proving themselves to be the losers they were last week.

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Written by curly

May 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Labour’s latest election broadcast is a disgrace

with 2 comments

The Americanisation of our politics is now complete!

This piece of work is the most disgraceful scaremongering that I have ever witnessed, its style is redolent of the TV campaigns of the American religious right and confirms the impression that consultants, analysts,marketing experts, and spin doctors have taken over the campaign management of our politicians.

There isn’t a shred of evidence in the Conservative Party manifesto to support this nonsense, nor the printed matter which just about every household in the country has received, the propagandists at the heart of Brown’s machine must have received approval at the highest level for this work, a sign that Brown always intended to fight dirty, and no doubt the same forces are at work in CCHQ as bit of “tit for tat” comes into play.

Perhaps we can now look forward to the full horrors of a Tory nightmare in the coming days as first born children are killed at birth and eaten for breakfast, the unemployed are manacled and forced to work in chain gangs employed in the private sector and subsidised by the state, pensioners will be marched to the doctor as soon as they reach seventy and given a cocktail of death inducing drugs, remember folks Vote Conservative and the cancer will kill you!

(Btw, the “modest and middle incomes” talked about in here are £50000 pa, so the evil Tories will be taking money from the rich – I guess Labour just want to protect those who matter most to them!)

Could it be possible to drag our politics even further into the Yankee gutter?

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Written by curly

April 28, 2010 at 9:28 am