Hi everyone Could we be entering summer do you think? Let’s hope so for the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics. The torch comes to our towns this month, remember, and I will be featuring some photos in next months magazines, so watch out for those. If anyone manages to get some good photos of the events then email them to me and we may include some in next months issue or on the website. How about a prize for the best one??? Get snapping! Thanks and best wishes Trevor
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Puzzlers 1. One man has a nice portrait in his library. When he was asked whom it represented, he replied: “Uncles and brothers Have I none, But that man's father Is my father's son.” What relation was the subject of the portrait to that man? 2. How many minutes is it until six o'clock if fifty minutes ago it was four times as many minutes past three o'clock? 3. A bottle costs a pound more than a cork. Together they cost £1.10. How much does the bottle cost and how much does the cork cost? Answers: 1. The man’s son 2. 26 minutes 3. Bottle = £1.05, Cork = £0.05
By Shelagh Stewart JUNE IN THE GARDEN I'm writing this is early May and the news is dominated by flash floods caused by the torrential and relentless April rain. April 2012 was the wettest April since records began, roughly 100 years ago and yet 2012 is predicted to be a severe drought year, worse than the notoriously hot summer of '76 and with groundwater levels reaching an all time low. Hose pipe bans have been imposed in much of southern and eastern England and the Environment Agency says that no matter how much it rains the drought may well continue until Christmas. Fresh water's like any other natural resource and whilst it may seem like we're well of for it the supply isn't infinite. Sceptics may hiss, but you can't argue with the facts. Since 1900 sea levels have risen by 10cm, the ice sheets between Greenland and the Antarctic are rapidly retreating and although this may seem like a long way from our taps, it's where the majority of the world's fresh water is stored. In the garden we're seeing earlier springs and later autumns, we can grow plants that were once considered too tender for our climate and we're seeing more unpredictable weather - dramatic bursts of rain rather than the steady and persistent Manchester drip ! There's no doubt that rainfall patterns are changing, importantly we've just had 2 dry winters in a row and it's the steady winter rain that's needed to replenish groundwater supplies, it's sounds picky I know, but it's just the way groundwater works. The Environment Agency suggests that water efficiency shouldn't just be something we do when there's a drought situation and taking care of this resource is something we should all be doing regardless of the weather. As a gardener there's a lot you can do to capture and save water. *The most obvious is to set up water butts to collect rainwater. You can buy all sizes to fit the space you have available, but you'll be amazed at just how much rainwater a small roof can collect, so bigger is better. You can also join several water butts together by using link kits. Shop around for the best deals and don't forget to buy all the bits and pieces you'll need to attach it to the drainpipe etc. My top tip is to use PTFE tape (plumbers' tape) on any of the fittings, eg the tap, as you're setting it up, it'll seal the threads and prevent annoying and wasteful drips. You can collect grey water which is from the bath, shower and washing up, but it needs to be used quickly so it doesn't start to smell and you should avoid using grey water that contains harsh chemicals such as bleach. Grey water is ideal for larger, hardier plants whilst the rainwater should be reserved for more delicate plants, seedlings and vegetables.
*There's never been a bigger or better variety of drought tolerant plants to choose from. Look online, in books or just ask at the garden centre/nursery. You probably already know a few: hebe, lavender, jasmine, euphorbia, osteospremum, santolina, nandina, eleagnus, alium, stipa....... *Adding organic matter such as well rotted manure to the planting soil will provide nutrients, improve the soil structure and help retain moisture. *Apply a good thick mulch around plants, preferably after a period of rain when the ground is moist, the mulch will lock that moisture in. *Delay planting out new plants and laying turf until autumn, the ground will still retain some warmth from the summer and the autumn/winter rain will reduce the need for artificial watering. *Pots and containers dry out very quickly and need a lot of watering, so planting in the open ground is more water-wise, but if you can't resist container gardening, choose larger pots that are slower to dry out and add water retaining granules to the compost. *Water plants early in the morning or in the evening to reduce evaporation. Water deeply and infrequently rather than small and often to encourage deeper more efficient roots. *If you do need an irrigation system choose dripper hoses which slowly leak into the soil, providing enough moisture without being wasteful. *Let your grass grow a little longer, a scalped lawn will quickly turn brown without regular water. If your lawn does look more like straw than grass don't panic and start watering it, there's really no need to as a couple of rainy days will revive it. For more tips about saving water go to www.waterwise.org.uk and if you're interested in the weather and all that jazz have a look at www.metoffice.gov.uk. If you want to see a beautiful garden that hasn't been artificially watered since it was built in 1992 go to www.bethchatto.co.uk And finally, if you've got a 'Passport to Leisure' you can get 10% discount on your water butt at Bowlee Garden Nursery, check for details at www.rochdale.gov.uk or telephone the nursery directly on 0161 653 3624 Stay dry and happy gardening !!
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Middleton Library News Middleton Library has been closed for over two months now for renovation works. There is a temporary mini library at Sadler Street Customer Service office where customers are able to pick up reservations, reserve other titles, return books and take books out, although the selection is limited. Books issued from Sadler Street will have an extended due date of 2nd of July. There is no internet access available. The opening times of Sadler Street temporary library are:
Monday 9.00-16.45 Tuesday 9.00-15.45 Wednesday 9.00-16.45 Thursday 9.00-16.45 Friday 9.00-16.45 Saturday Closed Customers can also use any other Rochdale library, but the nearest alternatives are at Langley, Junction and Alkrington. The microfilm reader and the Middleton Guardian on microfilm are available to use at Langley library along with some local studies maps. For book renewals and membership enquiries please phone 0845 121 2976, Monday- Friday 8.00a.m.-8.00 p.m, Saturday 9.00 a.m-5.00p.m. At the May meeting of Middleton Reading Group, we discussed A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Our next meeting is on 11th June at Alkrington Library at the usual time of 6-7p.m and we will be reading Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Please note that Middleton Reading group meetings will be held at Alkrington library until Middleton library re-opens.
Langley Library Reading Group meetings are held on the first Monday of every month 2-3pm. The next meeting is on the 11th June and we will be discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. New members are always welcome- pick up a copy of the book before the meeting from any Rochdale Borough Council library or just come along to listen to the discussion. For more information contact the library on 0161 6548911. Langley library is situated in Langley Sure Start Childrenâ€™s Centre on Windermere Road. Family history advice surgeries will continue to be available at Alkrington and Castleton libraries whilst Middleton is temporarily closed. Surgeries in June will take place at Castleton on 4th and 18th June and at Alkrington library on 11th and 25th June. Pop along for free help and advice on tracing your ancestry.
If you are considering learning a new language but don’t want to incur the cost of attending a course, we have the perfect solution! All Rochdale Library members can now freely access a new online language system called BYKI, covering over 80 different languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Croation, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Thai and Urdu. The BYKI method takes learners through a series of simple steps to memorize words and phrases, including their meanings and proper pronunciation, in the shortest possible time. Library members can access BYKI from the library, at home on a computer or even on your Smartphone! To access the resources just go to this address: http://library.transparent.com/ukrochdale/ game/modern/login and register using your existing library card number to create an ID and password. If you want to set up on your Smartphone, just login and follow the BYKI Mobile link. Did you know that being a member of the library gives you access to Theory Test Pro, a simulation of the UK’s driving theory test? It contains the official practice test question bank, hazard perception video clips and an online version of the Highway Code. All this material is licensed from the driving standards agency (DSA), the people who set the tests. If you are already a library member go to www.rochdale.gov.uk and follow the link to the libraries webpage, Reference and Information Resources and there you will find Theory Test Pro. Our free and simple Go On computer sessions are continuing to take place at Langley Library whilst Middleton Library is temporarily closed. If you want to learn how to use a computer and the internet at your own pace, or want to build up your basic skills, come along to our guided sessions which take place every Tuesday 2.30-3.30pm. Places are limited so please call into Langley library or ring 0161 654 8911 to reserve your place. Storytime sessions take place at 11.00-11.30am every Thursday morning at Langley library. All young children and their parents and carers are welcome to come along for stories rhymes and a simple craft activity. Do you have problems getting to your local library? Do you struggle to carry your books? Rochdale Library Service covers all areas of the borough from Owd Betts to Blackstone Edge, Middleton and Heywood. You tell us your preferences and we choose your items according to your wishes. Ordinary print books, Large print books. Books on cassette or CD, jigsaws, DVD’S are all available at no cost to you. If this sounds like a service that would be of benefit to you or someone you know. A relative or a neighbour, then please get in touch with Sharon Roddy (Senior Library Assistant, Doorstep Library Service) at Rochdale Central Library by ringing 01706 924917 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
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The Olympic Torch in Rochdale (10am) See the torch up close and get involved in lots of FREE family activities. Torch arrives in the town centre at approx. 2.30pm Rochdale Town Centre
Colin Fry - The People’s Medium
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THE FEEL-GOOD FACTOR Bill Keeth Short Story in Three Parts Part Two: LET DOWN
Monday morning, Al was put through to a Mr Raphael Godlington, B.Sc. (Hons.), Dip. T.P., MRTPI in Building and Planning, who answered Al‟s query succinctly. „Concerns about the water table,‟ said Godlington. „Par-ding?‟ „Global warming.‟ Godlington sucked his top set like a Mint Imperial, seemingly content with this eventuality. „Wet this last twelve month or so. Meanwhile, Ship Canal‟s not far away as the crow flies. Canalised Irwell, you know: water drains into it from all the surrounding area. Tell you the truth, at this stage in the proceedings, we‟re not at all sure whether we‟ll be demolishing the Solferino Street properties or refurbishing them.‟ „But you‟ll keep me informed, won‟t you?‟ Al pleaded. „Assuredly,‟ Godlington lied, as would eventually become apparent to Al Horrows. Because, throughout the Council‟s deliberations in the matter only owner occupiers were kept in the picture. Private buy-to-let investors like Al heard nary a dickie-bird. „Sell the place, Al,‟ was Suzie‟s continuing advice in the matter, she now cradling a pyjama-clad infant in her arms. „Mind you, maybe Godzilla wasn‟t lying exactly.‟ „Godzilla?‟ „Godlington.‟ Twelve months later, this was, with Al Horrows in the Barbers Arms one night, and Gus Holtby dealing playing cards sufficient to a game of Crib in addition to his personal four-pennorth regarding Godlington‟s forty-faced reassurances over the past year, subsequent to yet another fruitless attempt by Al to persuade the guy to talk turkey. „I mean, maybe Godzilla‟s been kept in the dark, too.‟ „Yeah, like as if!‟ said Gus. The upshot was, of course, that, given the uncertainty about the house‟s future, Al‟s plans for a third bedroom had to be put on hold. Running repairs would henceforward have be done on a make-doand-mend basis, a situation which obtained for upwards of two years, at the end of which time the Council finally decided to refurbish its housing stock on Solferino Street, leaving Al Horrows and the other private landlords with properties needful of accumulated repairs and attention not less than immediate now the crisis had passed. Al‟s house was in dire need of a new front door and some windows, a pitched roof to the rear lower level extension housing the kitchen and damp proof course repairs to an interior wall. In other words it stood in need of something in the order of £5,000-worth of repairs. „Steady as you go.‟ Gus Holtby directed Al in matters constructional and into the Lounge Bar of the Wilton Steak Bar, with both their wives in tow for a change. „You can‟t tackle all the work at once. Windows first maybe. Get the exterior lookin okay, that‟s the first thing.‟ There was a blast from the past playing on the juke box – Del Shannon‟s recording of „Kelly‟, Bside to „Two Kinds of Teardrops‟. The conversation briefly sidetracked into Gus and Al‟s habitual debate about the lyrics. That is to say, did Del Shannon sing: We are so in love
But he loves you, too? Or, given his Yankee twang, was the best friend he referred to a guy called Buddy? (Buddy loves you, too.) „Off-load the place, Al,‟ said Suzie, cutting through their pop chart tomfoolery – further advising him she‟d have the sirloin, bien cui, too, if you don‟t mind please, her GCSE-level French accent making them laugh. Came a further crushing blow for the private landlords of Solferino Street when the Council Housing Department was renamed “High-Five City”. Whereupon the Council sloping-shouldered its responsibility for housing in the area, together with some £10M in government funding upon the aforementioned High-Five City. „£10M, you credit it? (Al once more.) „Meanwhile, there‟s me, strugglin to set things right at a cost of five-thou for one house.‟ Gus and Al were in the Joiners, Archer Park, one night, with the Grand National replaying on TV. „Meanwhile, all the Council property on the street – sorry, all the High-Five City property – is being refurbed to the tune of three times that amount. Result: an impressively high standard of refurbishment inside and out being effected by more men and materials than it took to build the Great Pyramid.‟ „Which will naturally guarantee that the Government candidate retains his seat with an increased majority at the next General Election,‟ Gus told him, wife, Suzanne, adding immediately he got back home: „Get out while the going‟s good, Al.‟ But it was the pull-out property section in the Daily Mess one Friday night that had Al figuratively foaming at the mouth – this, coupled to some cleverly-angled photography featuring a couple of wide-angled perspective shots, depicted the partially refurbished Solferino Street housing as being uniformly Tyrolean-fronted and pristinely white. Alongside these photos there was an interview with Godlington, boasting of the refurbishment of as many as 45 dwellings. So Al was on to Andrew Gutter (Jnr), the editor of the Daily Mess, first thing Monday morning, demanding the right of reply. „No way, Mr Horrors‟, Gutter responded, „you‟ll have to write in to our letters page like everyone else.‟ „Horrows,‟ said Al. „You‟ll just have to take your chance on whether your point of view is selected to see the light of day.‟ „While the Daily Mess gets away with publishing a damned lie?‟ „I‟m not at all sure what you mean, Mr Harrows. Were 45 houses not refurbished by High-Five City, as we indicated? „Well, ye-e-es.‟ „There you go, then, Mr Herrors. 45 houses was the figure we reported – and 45, it is.‟ „But there are 90-odd houses on Solferino Street. Your photographs tell a deliberate lie.‟ „The camera cannot lie, Mr Hurrows.‟ „Horrows,‟ said Al, despairingly. „Don‟t you realise that people like myself are struggling to catch up with running repairs after two years of Council neglect?‟ „All I can advise is that you write in to us,‟ said Gutter. „I‟d best warn you, though: you‟re on a hiding to nothing.‟ „You sayin you‟ll refuse to publish my letter.‟ „Notta tall. No, the letters editor has free rein in the matter, Mr Arrows. But the plain fact of the matter is that your story has no feel-good factor.‟ „That‟s all that matters to the Daily Mess, is it? The feel-good factor. Where‟s the truth in all this?‟ „What is truth?‟ asked Andrew Gutter with Pilatian aplomb. „High-Five City refurbished 45 houses: that‟s the truth. Okay, maybe it‟s not the whole truth. But it‟s the kind of truth that‟s got a feel-good factor to it. Which is to everyone‟s benefit. High-Five City gains in reputation – and so does Solferino Street. ‟ „Because the Daily Mess is prepared to be party to a lie,‟ complained Al. „Come back, Josef Goebbels: all is forgiven.‟ [To be concluded]
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Published on May 31, 2012