Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A Trip around The Borough of Barnet - Day 2 - Hendon in the summer of '76

We live in an amazing borough. For some time, for some time I've been meaning to do a little series on the good things. So all this week, I'll be taking you on a little trip around the Borough, detailing some of the things I like most in our neighbourhood and a few great tales. Here's installment 2 -

Click here for more DMU pictures
One of the best blogs I've read about our area is one which is the recollections of a train driver from what is now the Thameslink line. He writes a fascinating account of driving DMU's (the old diesel suburban workhorse trains) through the Borough. It takes us back to the summer of 1976, a summer remembered for it's endless sunny days. The one I've chosen details how he drove a train full of passengers at full pelt through a brush fire at Silkstream Junction (between Mill Hill and Hendon). No health and safety concerns in those days.

Click here to read more.....

I would have put a snippet up but couldn't obtain copyright clearance. Make the effort though, it's worth it. I love such stories from the past in our neighbourhood.

Monday, 21 August 2017

A trip around the Borough of Barnet - Part 1 - Folly Brook

We live in an amazing borough. For some time, for some time I've been meaning to do a little series on the good things. So all this week, I'll be taking you on a little trip around the Borough, detailing some of the things I like most in our neighbourhood. I also think that many Barnet Eye readers are the type of open minded souls who are always on the lookout for other interesting blogs, websites and other sources of information. So this tour is through the eyes of fellow bloggers and writers. We start today with a man we've long admired. The legendary Diamond Geezer. He takes us on a fascinating tour of Folly Brook. Click the Link on the Tweet.


Here's a little taster of what he had to say

"The amazing thing about the Folly Brook is that, although it flows across north London for over two miles, its valley is almost entirely un-built-up. Wealthy Totteridge residents stepped in to protect the land from development between the wars, since when the Green Belt has done the job for them. What remains is mostly farmland, woodland and haymeadows, so that's lovely, although it's not always possible to walk alongside the river, especially in its upper course......" 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Saturday List #143 - Eight reasons why Donald Trump's behaviour is "not Christian"

I read a report that Donald Trump believes he has a divine mandate for his behaviour. Now I don't want to get into a religous debate here. Simply to point out that at Jesus's biggest gig, he laid down his philosophy in eight easy to understand statements, know as the BEATITUDES. I guess this is Christianity for dummies. The rules of the club are the Ten commandments (you know thou shalt not steal, though shalt not kill etc). The Beatitudes are the philosophy. It's like "follow the rules, live by the principles". From what I've seen Mr Trump and his fans version of Christianity doesn't really seem to have much truck with these.

 The reality of Christian faith and it's attitude to non whites/non Christians is well made by James Martin, an American Jesuit priest, editor at large , author of 'Jesus: A Pilgrimage' and 'Building a Bridge,' consultor to the Secretariat for Communication​.

 I doubt Mr Trump reads the Barnet Eye. More surprisingly for someone who claims to be a Christian, he doesn't seem to read the Gospel according to St Matthew much either.

THE EIGHT BEATITUDES OF JESUS

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10 

I could say more, but I think it's all there isn't it? 

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Friday Joke 19/8/2017 - Getting old

This is the last Friday joke before my birthday. So here is a topical joke



Image result for funny oldies
Getting Old
 A couple had been married for 35 years, and the pair was also celebrating their 60th birthdays. During the celebration, a fairy godmother appeared and said that because they had been such a loving couple all those years, she would give them each one wish.
The wife said she wanted to travel around the world. The fairy godmother waved her magic wand and BOOM! The wife had the tickets in her hand.
Then it was the husband's turn. He paused for a moment, then said boldly, "Well, I'd like to have a wife 30 years younger than I." The fairy godmother picked up her wand and BOOM! He was now 90. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Mutual Aid - A message from the Leader of Barnet Council

Leader of Barnet Council - Richard Cornelius
The tragic events we recently witnessed with the Grenfell Tower fire have made councils up and down the country take an urgent look at their housing stock.Our number one priority throughout this process has always been about ensuring that residents are safe in their homes.

The way people rallied around to help the residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in their time of need showed how Londoners show such indomitable spirit in times of crisis. This extends to support between London Councils. We have a robust and strong resilience network in the Capital that offers assistance between boroughs when they need it most. The Grenfell Tower fire was no exception in that respect. We were one of the many London councils that supported the emergency response.  By providing our experienced Emergency Planning and social care staff, we played our part in managing an extremely difficult situation.

This mutual aid also extended to our neighbours in Camden, when they evacuated thousands of residents in response to concerns about the safety of cladding on a number of their tower blocks.
This work is ongoing. We still have social workers on the ground in West London helping the families that have been made homeless as a result of the fire that engulfed the high-rise tower block. In some cases, this assistance can be as simple as booking taxis to get children to school or by arranging viewings of potential new homes.

However simple; it all helps and make London so unique and well-prepared when it comes to dealing with a crisis am extremely proud of the support and help that we and others offered to a fellow London borough.

To read more about our response to the Grenfell Tower fire, please read the following update.

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This statement was originally published on the Barnet Council website

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Wednesday Poem #26 - Where are the sardines now?

Todays Poem marks the start of Silver Jubilee season with an Ode commemorating the most infamous momemt in Premier League History!

Simmons says he was in the 'wrong place at the wrong time'.
Ooh La La, Cantona

Ooh Aah, Oooh La La,
An early bath for Cantona,
Left the field in disgrace, 
then kicked a yobbo in the face,
Scandal headlines in The Sun,
A lengthy ban soon begun,
Up in court before the beaks,
Community Service for a couple of weeks,
Cantona what did you do?
Uniteds hopes were pinned on you!
United's season in disarray,
Us City boys exclaimed Hooray!
Blackburn Rovers won the league,
A single point I do believe,
These days old Eric advertises lager,
United fans recall the saga,
Viewed through the prism of time,
They think old Eric did just fine,
The Seagulls have all now flown,
The Sardines will be left alone,
So long Eric, one thing is true,
We won't see another like you. 
 
Copyright 2017 - Roger Tichborne

Guest Poems always welcome

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Common Sense Prevails - The Garden Bridge is cancelled

Image result for broken bridge
The dead bridge - the end of afinancial disaster
Back in 2015, I wrote a blog entitled The Garden Bridge - The mother of all vanity projects. An amazing thing happened, Brian Coleman, my political arch enemy tweeted that he agreed with me! Coleman would not say such a thing lightly. But both he and I recognised that the project was a complete waste of money, didn't solve any issues and was likely to be a money pit for decades. The officially quoted price was £175 million. Apparently it's cost nearly £50 million without the construction even starting. Based on this, I'd estimate that it would probably cost four times this amount.

I've run a successful business for 38 years. I have a few simple rules. The first is that I never spend any money on things which there is no good business case for. The second is that I have a list of priorities and I spend money on the most important and all the nice to haves have to wait. I regularly ask my staff what we could do to make things better in the business. A few years ago one said "why don't we get energy saving bulbs?" This was a simple suggestion that saved money, so we did it. Another one said "why don't we replace all the amps in the studios with top of the range new models". I thought about this. Yes, the amps would look nice, but it would cost tens of thousands of pounds and would it ever bring that back. So I did a questionairre for our customers. I asked about various things. Not one mentioned that they'd like top of the range amps in the studios. Most guitarists want something simple to use. Those that have special requirements, bring their own. Most players these days use effects pedals. In short, there was no business case. The customers actually said that they'd prefer better bathroom facilities, so this was what we did.

How many Londoners think the garden bridge was the best way to spend hundreds of millions of quid? I don't know any. Sure Joanna Lumley and a bunch of luvvies think it would be wonderful, but it doesn't solve any problems and will create quite a few. London already has great parks. I was discussing this with someone who said "Well what would you spend the money on". My answer? Nothing. Why is there this idea that you have to spend money. If someone comes up and says "I've got a great idea that will cost £175 million, will cut congestion in London, won't put a burden on the taxpayer for decades and will give a payback", I'd be all for it, but just trying to dream up projects to spend the dosh on is ridiculous.

When it comes to river crossings, there is a case for a new one in East London. One which cars can use. There is a case for crossrail 2, which will transport commuters. There is a case for the Brent Cross Light railway, which will improve commuting and reduce congestion in our neck of the woods. But all of these need proper business cases and justifications. They all need proper scrutiny. They all must be shown to deliver benefits to the tax payer.

The Garden Bridge did none of this. It solved no probems. It added little benefit. The oddest thing is that a Tory Mayor was its arch supporter. As far as I am concerned it is more abut his ego than anything. The only mistake Sadiq Khan made was not cancelling it on day 1.  It's just a shame that we've flushed nearly £50 million quid down the bog to achieve nothing.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The far Right are not just a problem in Charlottesville

The big news story of the weekend was the awful events in Charlottesville. The violence at a far right rally was not only rather scary, it was a wake up call to all of us to be aware that there are people with some very dangerous views in our world, who see nothing at all wrong with NAZI salutes, emblems and ideology. These are people who worship Adolf Hitler, a man who brought the world to the brink, exterminated nine million people in a systematic program of genocide, targeting Jews, Gypsies, the Disabled, Homosexuals and political opponents. Tens of millions were killed in the war he started. Europe was partitioned for decades as a result of the settlement at the end. When the concentration camps were opened, not only did we see systematic extermination of people, starvation and totrure. We saw awful evidence of inhuman experiments.
Some of us may see Charlottesville and think "oh well, that's the USA bible belt, it couldn't happen here". Think again. One of the candidates in the UKIP Leadership campaign, Anne Marie Waters, is a well known anti Islam campaigner. Sadly for many, Muslims are seen as a soft target for bigotry. There is a subtext that Muslims are somehow rather dangerous. This idea is planely rather stupid. There are a billion and  half Muslims in the world, with 2.7 million of them living in the UK. Whatever you may or may not think of the religion, it is patently obvious that the vast majority of the 2.7 million are not supporters of terrorism, rape of white teenagers or any other behaviours that the likes of Waters shriek about.

Just for a moment think about the logic the likes of Waters employ. By her logic all of us white Christians are KKK sympathisers, which we are clearly not. Why should Muslims who are decent people have to justify their behaviour any more than I have to? We must always be vigilant guarding against the forces of unreason. The biggest worry is that the USA has a President that hasn't called out  these vile racists for what they are. Let's not forget that the KKK are steeped in a history of murder of people who did nothing except be born black. The concept of lynching anyone is abhorrent but doing it to cow a section of society to accept inequality and slavery is vile. There is no excuse. What we need to ensure is that such fascist thought is not tolerated here. We seem to have fallen off the cliff of sanity into a very dangerous period. Burying our heads in the sand is the most dangerous thing in the world.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Tweets of The Week in the London Borough of Barnet 13/08/2017

Here we are again. At the end of the week. So it's time for our fave regular feature. The tweets of the week. What's going on in our community, through the eyes of the local twits. Don't forget to follow any who tickle your fancy!

1. Looking for something to do with the kids in Burnt Oak this week?

2. A story we've been following. The Railway Hotel in Edgware is now up for sale


3. Finchley Residents will be pleased to learn that a nuisance moped driver has had his moped confiscated


4. Proud of your marrow or your tomatos? Here's your chance to wave them around for all the world to see!

5. Great picture of the momentous Hendon Town Fc team of 1972, after their famous Barrassi cup victory!

6. Mill Hill has a new newspaper and it's proving popular

7.A rather sad little story in Golders Green

8.Who needs Hollywood, when you've got Cricklewood!

9. A little puzzle from one of our regulars!

10. The artistic influence of our little corner of London is spreading far and wide!

That's all folks

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Saturday List #142 - My Top Ten comic characters




   

Last weeks list was my top ten books. After I'd compiled the list, it occurred to me that, the list was perhaps a tad misleading. Whilst it is deffo my top ten book list, it doesn't accurately reflect my reading habits. I don't know if it is because I'm dyslexic or some other reason, but I've always been an avid reader of comics. People unfamiliar with the genre, often think "comics are for kids", however I totally disagree. The success of the genre of comic heroes at the box office sees to validate this, although I feel that very few films do the genre justice. As with the book list, this is semi chronological, in as much as they are ordered roughly by when they came into my life, rather than when they came into existence. There are two different medium, comics and newspaper strips, that for me are both equally important, so I've tried to cover the best of both worlds. Of course there are many great ones I couldn't include here.


Image result for Roger The Dodger
Roger The dodger

1. Roger The Dodger. I guess that his cool name was the reason I took to this particular character. I also associated with his love of trying to get out of doing anything, by deploying cunning dodges. Like many cartoon characters, Roger is anarchic, but not malicious. He's a bit of an outsider, unlike the Bash Street gang. I suppose as a dyslexic, this was a persona I could associate with. I thought Roger was the orignal punk rocker. his style was deffo punk!


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Jeff Hawke
   
2.  Jeff Hawke. Hawke was the star of a comic strip in the Daily Express, and the work of the great Sydney Jordan. Hawke was a British astronaut involved in  dealing with contact with alien races. My parents bought the Express and the Jeff Hawke column fascinated me. Hawke was a complex character and whilst most sci fi and cartoon characters viewed aliens as inherently dangerous or threatening, Hawke tended to view them as interesting and requiring understanding. He tended to take the view that if they had made it to earth, they were probably more intelligent than us. The stories have been reprinted as collections and are well worth a read.

Image result for judge dredd
Judge Dredd
3. Judge Dredd. Dredd is the flagship character of 200AD. He hit the streets in 1977. Set in a future megacity, on the Eastern seaboard of the USA, where democracy has been replaced with a fascistic system of judges, who dispense instant justice. Dredd is the toughest street judge. The strip emerged at the height of punk rock and the society depicted is was in many ways very 1977 punk. Over the 40 years of his existence, Dredd has been amazingly consistent. A brilliant character. The second film (don't mention the first) is IMHO the best depiction of a comic character ever.

SELENEx.png
Selene
4. Selene. Selene's a character in the X-Men series, who first appeared in 1983. I'm not a massive fan of US comics, however, I was working with a friend who set out to re-educate me around that time. Selene was a mysterious and highly dangerous figure. She'd seduce men at singles bar, the bigger and stronger the better and drain their life force, in a  matter of seconds, regarding them simply as food. She was also capable of enslaving them and bending them to her will. I don't think the character developed in a very interesting way (as is the want of US comics), but when she first showed up, she was probably the scariest of all comic creations. Maybe the scariest thing for me is that she looks rather like my missus, therefore she's clearly someone I'd find rather fanciable! (although my missus doesn't usually wonder round in bondage gear with a whip, just to clarify that).


Image result for slaine
Slaine
5. SlΓ‘ine. Pat Mills Celtic berserker, erstwhile King of Ireland, with his axe Brainbiter. Of all the characters who should have had a film or a TV series, this is the one. A tweet from Mills stated that a producer had turned it down because it was "too like Game of Thrones". What an idiot. Slaine is an outcast, who wanders the emerald isle, forever fighting for the virtue of the earth and the earth Goddess. He has a tragic romance with Naimh and is accompanied by a dwarf called Ukko, who he regularly beats. PC he is not!

Image result for the fat slags
The Fat Slags


6. The Fat slags. A creation of VIZ. Two rather large young ladies living in Nottinghamshire (Fulchester) who's two main interests are eating (usually chips) and casual sex. They made it onto the small screen in a channel 4 animated series and a full length film. A running gag is that the Slags will accuse any men unwilling to sleep with them of being homosexuals and/or having small penises, and many other women of being unattractive and overweight, even when they are quite clearly far prettier and thinner than our heroines themselves. Like many cartoons, the translation from print to film was problematic. What worked really well in print, where it was clear that it was paordying the views of many people as much as the behaviour itself of the characters, becomes very difficult to capture in a film. It's rally rather a shame, because I think the film should have been great.

Image result for "Accident man" toxic
Accident man
7. Accident Man. Another Mills creation, from the short lived TOXIC comic. Mike Fallon was a High end hitman, who's speciality was making his hits look like accidents. Another deeply scary character. A new level of complexity was added to his character, when his girflriend, a greepeace activist, was murdered and he went on a mission of revenge. According to wikipedia, the story has been picked up and made into a film. I think that it could be rather good, Mike Fallon as a sort of James Bond gone bad character won't work, but if they pick up the revenge story, it could be a damn fine film. As with all Mills creations there is a whole depth of character there waiting to be fleshed out. Hollywood productions tend to remove all subtlty with the comic genre, I hope that this does not happen here.

Arthur Ranson.jpeg
Judge Anderson
8.  Judge Cassandra Anderson. Imagine my joy when I went to China and found that Arthur Ransom, my favourite Judge Anderson illustrator was also on the tour. It would be up there with finding John Lydon was on the trip for me. Ransom had just illustrated the iconic Shambala story. I loved Ransoms artwork and was fascinated when he explained that, unlike a few 2000AD artists, he'd not drawn her as sexy, as she's a Judge. As a psychic, who solves crime using her abilities, shes a very complex character, one who, like Dredd, has seen no dips in the stories she's featured in. Often though provoking. There is a dark side to Anderson, that is occasionally hinted at.

Image result for Steve bell john the Monkey
John The Monkey
9. John The Monkey.I simply had to get a mention of Steve Bell in here. Steve Bell is by far the best British political satire cartoon artist, and I believe that John the Monkey is his greatest creation. A totally amoral character, who started his life in the pursuit of bananas by nefarious means, if my memory serves me correctly, as the sidekick of James Anderton, chief of Manchester Police, in Bells fictional world. Sadly his appearances are few and far between in Bell's Guardian column.

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Dilbert
10. Dilbert. As someone who has worked as an IT consultant at various times, this is a column that I find brilliantly observed. The work of  Scott Adams. There are so many scenarios that Adams  chronicles that mirror things I've seen, that I have started to get paranoid that Adams may actually be stalking me. Dilbert features in both The Daily Mail and The Daily Express and in both is probably the only reason to pick up the papers! It is good to see that there are still brilliant newspaper comic strip writers coming through. It is a fantastic medium and I hope that it survives the huge shock that the digital age has been brought to the printed press business.

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And finally....

I simply felt I had to give a mention to Rupert The Bear in the Daily Express. Not because it was one of my favourites, but when my eldest daughter was 2 years old, every day, we'd cut out the Rupert the Bear strip from the Daily  Express, read it and then she'd colour it in and sick it in her scrapbook. It is funny to look at now, as you can see how over the course of six months, her colouring got better and more refined. Sadly, the Express started to print Rupert in colour around that time, so we stopped, but she's now doing a fine art degree, so Rupert The Bear, I salute you!

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Rupert The Bear