Monday, 31 May 2010

Petition triggers mayoral referendum

A VOTE will be held to decide if Great Yarmouth should have a directly elected mayor following a successful referendum campaign.

The target of 3,500 pledges of support has been reached triggering a referendum which is likely to be held in the autumn.

The petition is set to be presented at the town hall by campaign organisers Labour borough councillors Michael Castle and Trevor Wainwright next week.

Both have spent the last seven months collecting signatures to gain the support of 5pc of the population needed to hold a referendum.

A mayoral election would be likely to take place next May if the vote is in favour.

Mr Castle said: “Judging by the public reaction there is quite strong support for an elected mayor, nearly everyone we spoke to was positive.

“An elected mayor is not just a figurehead and chooses councillors to be part of a cabinet which can include cross party membership.

“The role would include the duties of the current ceremonial mayor and cover a four or five year term.”

The referendum campaign received support from Hartlepool mayor Stuart Drummond who was famously firstly stood for election as the town's football club mascot Angus the Monkey.

Borough council Labour group leader Mr Castle said he would be interested in standing as a mayoral candidate at an election.

He added: “I'm not hiding my light under a bushel, I would like to stand and would expect there to be a large field of candidates including independents.”

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Mind, body and spirit fair

The programme promised Aromatherapy, Reiki, Indian Head Massage, Crystal Healing, Hopi Ear Candling and a series of talks by practitioners in many of these alternative arts. It all seemed too good to miss, so my Sunday morning was spent at the Hall Garth Hotel, Darlington, at their Mind, body and spirit fair.

When I arrived the whole place was lit by candles. I thought it was very atmospheric. “Unfortunately not,” announced the organiser, Sheila Wren. “It’s a power cut. Everywhere is off. We’ll just have to carry on as best we can.”

The lack of electricity was seriously inhibiting the activities of Nina Hall, the Aura Photographer, who had no power for her camera. However, just as I was walking past the table the lights came back on. It was a sign. I had to have my aura photographed.

My aura turned out to indicate I was going through a major change in my life. My right hand side was predominately orange indicating I was brave, positive and strong. Above my head to the left was white, indicating I was a bit lost. Below the white was blue just shading to green. Caring, sensitive, loyal and moving on through awareness. However, I wasn’t to be concerned “Your Grandfather is with you,” Nina reassured me. “I saw him as soon as you came into the room.” This apparently is very good, my Grandfather was my Spirit Guide and he was taking me on a good journey to a better place.

My aura safely captured I decided next on the agenda should be a more physical need. It was time for my ear candling. This was carried out by a very friendly and chatty lady called Jenny. The ear candling was fairly soothing and after it was completed Jenny opened the unburnt end of the candle to show me what the “chimney effect” had pulled from deep within my ear. A respectable amount of wax and assorted debris had been purged from within my head.

Now my chakras were calling out to be aligned. Reike therapy was the only answer. It seemed to consist of lying on my back and the Reike Master placing her hands on my chakra points, starting with the head and moving down my body to finish at my feet. I am apparently quite a well balanced person.

Moving on. I met my colonic therapist, Tania, who was there as an exhibitor. Surely not demonstrating colonic irrigation? Who would volunteer for that? I need not have worried; she was there to carry out food sensitivity and allergy testing.

I rounded off the day with an Indian Head Massage and then listened to Jo Smyth, a very perky lady, who spoke about the Law of Attraction in Action; Real Stories of Manifesting Health, Wealth and Happiness.

We can chose to be Tigger, full of enthusiasm and bounce; Eeyore, convinced nothing good can ever happen; or even Piglet, knowing that good things happen, just not to us; but the character we all should aspire to be is Winnie the Pooh, knowing that good things will happen to us, because we deserve them, and everything will be right in the end.

Driving home I pondered on the meaning of it all. My aura had been photographed and cleansed, both my ears fully candled, my chakras balanced and my head massaged. It was definitely a different way of spending a Sunday. Had this all made me into a bear of very little brain? Was I in my Pooh place?

The Mind, body and spirit fair cost £3 for admission. The prices for the individual treatments started from £5 for an Indian Head massage taster session and then went up from there.

The next mind body spirit fair will be in Staithes, North Yorkshire on 19th June 2010. Details available online at

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mind and Body Fair

Conventional wisdom would have us all believe that you can’t teach old dog new tricks. Well since embarking on my second half century on this planet I have decided it’s not totally true.

As a youngster I often held back from new experiences or activities because I was worried about what my family, friends or colleagues might say or think. It might be a bit extreme to say I no longer care about their opinions but it is definitely true that I place much less weight on them these days. I’m much more inclined to give things a go to see if I like them rather than dismiss something out of hand.

It is in this spirit or enquiry that on Sunday I will be going along to a Mind Body and Spirit Fair.

The range of activities on offer includes several that most people will have heard of, like Reiki, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology. There are also some that I needed to refer to the internet to discover more about, like Hopi Ear Candling.
Usually attributed to the Hopi American Indian tribe, an ear candle is a cotton tube, impregnated with beeswax, honey and therapeutic oils, that is lit and placed into the outer ear passage. The candle generates a gentle heat which combines with the therapeutic oils to produces a light suction, known as the chimney principle, which draws impurities gently to the surface, where they can be removed. Each ear is treated in turn, taking about 20 minutes in total. This is followed by a period of relaxation, and sometimes a facial massage concentrating on the sinus areas.

An Aura Photographer is also listed in the program and one of the other guest speakers will be explaining crystal healing and singing.
Nine months struggling with T-Line shorthand to reach approximately 80 words per minute, (while watching the younger members of my class mastering 100 words per minute with apparent ease), have convinced me that my capacity to assimilate new information might indeed be reduced, but my openness to new ideas and concepts is in many ways greater than it was two or three decades ago.

Maybe I’ll see you at the Fair?

Mind Body and Spirit Fair at the Hall Garth Hotel, Darlington.
Sunday 23rd May 2010. 10am - 5pm.
Admission £3.00 (inc.all talks).
For further details contact Sheila: 01287 641931
or email

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Thank You

I would like to express my thanks for the residents of St.Hilda Ward who voted for me in the elections of 6th May. It was a great privilege to serve the ward as your Councillor for 8 years.

The residents of the ward have decided, as is their democratic right, that they feel they would be better served by having a Labour Party Councilor as their representative rather than continuing with me.

To those residents of the ward who have asked if I will be back then I will never say “never” but I’m afraid it is very unlikely. I will miss the opportunity to be of service to the residents of St.Hilda Ward and I am actually quite flattered that the Labour Party felt they had to employ such Machiavellian tactics against me, plus they had to enlist the help of the Tories to ensure my defeat.

I do find it ironic that despite close family ties to St.Hilda Ward going back several generations and having my business based there for over 25 years I faced almost constant criticism from certain quarters for not living in the ward. The new Councillor Marshal doesn’t live in the ward, works in Peterlee and is married to the Labour Councilor for Rossmere. What actual connection does he have with St.Hilda Ward? (Other than sharing a name with one of the other ward councilors of course?)

I wish Labour Councillor John Marshall every success in his political career with the Labour party and hope he can put the people of the ward ahead of his Labour Party loyalty. I would however just like to offer him one small piece of advice.

The next time Councillor Marshall is quoted in the Hartlepool Mail he should not say he is looking forward to doing his best for the people of the Headland. As the Ward Councillor he should know that parts of Powlet Road and West View, Bakers Mead and Central Estate are also in ST.HILDA Ward, not just the Headland!

Happy Birthday to me!

When my wife asked me what would I like for my 50th Birthday I gave her three criteria. A surprise, a new experience or something I’d never think to buy for myself. I should have remembered the old advice, “Be careful what you wish for.”

A few weeks later I found myself dressed in a backless hospital gown, wearing disposable paper underpants and waiting for a speculum to be inserted into an unmentionable place. I was about to experience the wonders of colonic irrigation.

My knowledge of colonics up to this point was limited to vague memories about Princess Diana being a regular participant. My colonic therapist, Tania, looked slightly long suffering when I mentioned the Diana connection. “Diana was a supporter of colonic therapy,” said Tania, “it id a recognized medical treatment and as in regular use in hospitals until fairly recently. It was only phased out due to the lower costs of purgatives and drugs.”

Before a treatment there are no special preparations, although a few pints and as curry are probably not to be advised. A registered colonic hydrotherapist will expect you to be nervous and will put you at your ease before proceeding with any treatment. As this was my first visit I was asked to complete a fairly detailed medical history questionnaire and a brief rectal exam was carried out.

I specifically requested NOT to see the speculum in advance of the insertion. “Please,” said Tania, “a speculum in introduced to the rectum, NEVER inserted.”

The thought of several inches of stainless steel tube was bring tears of anticipation to my eyes regardless of the difference between and insertion and an introduction. At this point do not attempt to lighten the mood with a joke. I doubt very much if there is anything humorous you could say that has not been said a thousand times before.

“Take a deep breath,” said Tania, and in it went, around 1.5 inches (4cm) was introduced to my rectum to open my sphincter. Uncomfortable? Definitely. Painful? No.

The first stage was a coffee enema. “I only use Fair Trade Coffee,” said Tania. I must admit I found this less than reassuring and was worried that she expected me to drink it afterwards.

The treatment lasted about an hour in total and during this time about 60 liters of filtered water was flushed through my bowel. Tania monitored the water pressure very carefully and it is actually kept lower than that normally generated by an ordinary bowel movement. After about 10 minutes I was allowed to sit up and had the slightly surreal experience of Tania explaining what was being flushed from my system.

“You had fish and chips last night, didn’t you?” was one of Tania’s comments. “Look” she said, “that’s a piece of fish.”

My wife had excelled herself. Her present exceeded every one of my three criteria. It was a definite surprise; an experience I’d never have considered in my wildest dreams and something I would not have chosen for myself in a million years.

Before I left, walking rather gingerly I must admit, Tania arranged my next appointment. My present wasn’t just a one off experience. My wife had booked me in for a course of three visits!

Next year I’m going to ask for a book token!