It’s the time of year I would be dusting down my bike and going for leisurely rides in the countryside and under the Government rules I still could I guess. I did try got a mile down the road, got a puncture and walked home…

Then I got a turbo trainer and discovered Zwift etc. which allowed me to cycle indoors #stayingsafe but getting exercise. I joined a Facebook cycling group and never looked back. I started a training plan which regimented my rides, is getting me fitter/stronger and gave me an aim at the end of the course, with a 2 hour non stop training ride at the end of the month (which I completed).

Alzheimer’s Society posted ads on Facebook (and elsewhere) to say they had a cycling challenge to raise much needed funded for dementia. As my mother and mother in law both passed away with this awful disease my thoughts were that I would like to help and with my training plan meaning I am bound to cycle for the next 5 weeks (at least) what could be better than to get fit AND raise money for a charity close to my heart at the same time!

cycling 100 miles

So I took up the baton and launched into raising funds and cycling. My initial target was raise £100 and cycle 100 miles

I also looked up some stats… did you know that 12.7% of deaths in England and Wales (2017, latest ONS figures available) were attributed to dementia, that’s a massive 67,641 people.

UPDATE: Challenge completed – in the end did 257 miles and raised £385

Link is still as below if you would like to add to it 😊:


Thank you to everyone who supported me 👏👏👏

CFD banner 1

p.s the challenge is still going if anyone else would like to participate!!!

VE Day 1945 and C-19 today

As this is the bank holiday weekend marking the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, I thought it would be good to draw some comparisons to the situation we find ourselves in today.

As some have said we are not at war with COVID-19, it has no boundaries, no armies and doesn’t belong to any nation. We are though in a battle with it.

There are those calling for an end to lockdown, those of the opinion the lockdown should remain until a vaccine is found etc. Unfortunately it is not going to be that clear cut. A phased return to whatever ‘normal’ is will be required and we should all have a bit of patience in that.

So where is the comparison?

On 8th May 1945 it was again safe to leave the curtains open at night with the lights on, you could sleep in your own bed without worrying about listening for an air raid siren etc. but life would not return to ‘normal’.

UK rationing would continue for 9 years until July 1954. NINE YEARS. Though the people of Europe (in the first case, VJ Day wouldn’t happen until 3 months later) were free from the tyranny of the Nazi forces they would not be able to purchase everyday goods in random measures for years to come.

Modern day we are battling an invisible killer, although in time we will be able to manage it, there will be no VE Day, no end to celebrate, we will still need a phased return to ‘normal’. We will still need to be alert to its dangers and infection. We can’t stay in isolation for ever and at some point normality of a variety will happen.

Looking back to 1945, as stated it was 9 years before restrictions were lifted it took time and so it will be today, hopefully not 9 years but we will feel the effects of this for a substantial time. The return to ‘normal’ has to be managed and responsible to prevent second and third waves.

Another thing to look at when talking of multiple waves, history from the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak should also be taken into account. On that occasion there were 4 reported waves, with the second being a lot more deadly than the first with estimates of 20 to 50 million killed worldwide:

So history teaches that we shouldn’t be hasty, our forefathers weren’t 75 years ago… (and we don’t want a repeat of 1918)

For reference:

  • 1948 – Bread ration ended
  • May 1949 Clothing ration ended
  • May 1950 – Petrol ration ended
  • Feb 1953 – Confectionery ration ended
  • Sep 1953 – Sugar ration ended
  • July 1954 – Meat and other food ration ended


VE Day (8th May 1945) 75th Anniversary

On 8th May 1945 the nation ‘let its hair down’ and celebrated the end of the war in Europe. Today we mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Not the flamboyant celebrations that were planned, they were set aside rightly when the current pandemic hit, but mark it we will in our own ways and together in spirit.

My dad, as did many others fathers, fought in WW2, he survived (albeit with a gash in his side from shrapnel) many didn’t. Today is as much about remembering them and their sacrifice as it is anything else.

What I can’t attribute to my dad is the phrase ‘lived to tell the tale’ not because of any medical (physical) issue, but like a vast number of survivors he never did recount his tales of life in battle. It’s not that I didn’t ask, but all I know is that he operated a 2” mortar and that he was in the Argyle Sutherland’s.

I do know he had a passion to remember comrades that fell and those that survived, he never missed a Remembrance Day, whether it was actually at a war memorial, or watching on TV. Every year the tears flowed as he saluted the unknown soldier.

So today although I can’t attend the local celebrations and mark the anniversary as was planned, I like others will be ‘letting my hair down’ (quite literally at the moment with the current lockdown!!) but also I will be remembering my dad, his tears and passion to remember fallen comrades and their sacrifice so that we can have the chance to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day…

However you are marking the day, have fun, celebrate as others did in 1945, put out your bunting… I guess it’s what those who didn’t make it would have wanted, what they fought for and a tribute to them as much as freedom itself.

The Party, Tim and all…

Yesterday I had a discussion regarding Tim’s resignation on Twitter. We disagreed and I was blocked. I won’t name the person as this post is not about victimisation, or vindication, it is about where we are as a party and my thoughts on moving forward (and looking at recent past), though I do see blocking on Twitter an illiberal act in itself but will leave that for a separate blog. 

I supported Tim and will support his successor, this post is not any critique on his leadership etc.

The fact is, like it or not, Tim has resigned. Whether he was pushed, which it appears he was, is to some extent irrelevant at the moment.

That statement seems harsh and can be interpreted in many ways, so let me elaborate. We have just come away from a general election with more seats than before, but also lost some notable MP’s (e.g Nick) and lost ground in other seats. Whether it was successful is subjective, but as we did gain more seats, so I guess more positive than not. The election also gave us slightly more media attention. Before GE we seemed to be ignored or forgotten. So we are in broad terms rebuilding slowly. We knew it would be slow and take time, as Libdems we know it will happen.

With that in mind, and this was the discussion on Twitter, taking into account how Labour has been seen in recent history, looking divided, that  and the mumbling of discontent in the Tory ranks at present, we need to be seen and act as one united party. In fighting in a public arena will do us no good at all. I am not denying, condoning events but what advantage would naming and shaming give us?

As a long time Liberal/Libdem follower and member, I will support whoever leads our party. Apparently that makes me naïve, but I don’t think so. I have seen many changes over the years, disagreed with many, but the Liberal Democrats still represent my political stance, on the whole and hence my continued support. For the party to be credible we need a leader who has the backing of the whole party and that party being together, united in our goal of Libdem values. Reporting in the media and on public forums of disquiet an in-fighting will portray as divided, unelectable etc.

By all means have the inquests, reviews etc. but I politely suggest that now is not the right time.
You could argue, and would be right that as Libdem’s we are allowed our opinions and the right to give them and I’m not denying that, in any shape or form, I’m just suggesting the time and place is wrong.

Just my opinion…

Good luck whoever is chosen to lead our party and you have my support.

p.s not a lemming, but a realist

Tired of campaigning, never…

Now that sleep deprivation is almost out of my system…

The ideal conclusion to 4th May (avoiding Star Wars jokes) would have been the Libdems taking control of Somerset County Council, winning all seats in Yeovil constituency etc.

Obviously that didn’t happen, but the night, and the result wasn’t all doom and gloom. There were many positives to draw from the results.

  • My main focus in the County elections was to ensure that Tony Lock was re-elected to represent Yeovil East, which he was with 49% of the vote.
  • In the neighbouring Ward (where I live) our Libdem candidate Andrew Kendall, took the seat from UKIP
  • In Chard North, Libdem Amanda Broom also won the seat, from UKIP.
  • According to reports, apparently our vote share was 1% above the Conservatives.

According to all national reporting the UKIP vote is going to the Torys, but the two results in Yeovil Constituency despute that, though I do own that Paddy’s BlueKip slogan is nationally probably correct.

On a constituency level, based on vote share, we are well placed to regain the Parliamentary seat too. Nationally our vote share rose by 7%. Overall we won and lost with a net loss, but not as damning as some party’s experienced.

I witnessed over the campaign a lot of hard work and commitment and do genuinely feel for those who didn’t get elected and know that many will fight again next time round with just as much vigour, hopefully gaining the right result.

Now though, having survived the lack of sleep, we hit the campaign trail again to get the wonderful Jo Roundell-Greene elected as the next Yeovil MP…

We are proud!!

“Sad to see a once proud party so diminished.”

Locally, we keep hearing this statement, it seems to be a tag line at the end of posts potentially pointing a finger at Lib Dems. Funnily enough we haven’t seen that slogan today (In case you are reading this on ‘Dave’ LibDem’s have just won the Richmond Park by-election).

The problem I have is that if this were aimed at the Liberal Democrat’s it would be wrong. We are still proud, still standing up for equality, fairness etc. and all those good things, still representing the 48% (probably more if you include those who have had a change of mind and those excluded from voting). So it can’t be us… So then who?

Can it be an expression about the Conservative Party from one of their own?

A Party that stood aside to give an independent candidate a better chance, but he still lost?A Party with an unelected Prime Minister?
A Party that is split on Brexit, but trying to paper over the cracks
A Party that “wants its cake and eat it” apparently
A Party where certain members promote UKIP to reign over Labour in the North as an attempted dig at Libdem’s?

To be honest there isn’t enough page but I think you get the idea.

If it is a self judgement, of the Tory’s, I guess it’s right, if not it’s wishful thinking. We may be taking small steps but Lib Dems are still here and STILL PROUD!!

#Libdemfightback continues!! 

I funded a SchoolBag – one of Yeovil Mayor’s chosen charities…

Yesterday I funded a SchoolBag, one of Yeovil Mayor’s chosen charities this year. Here is a little bit more about the charity and what they do.

The Deputy Mayor, David Recardo has opted to fund a bag instead of sending Christmas cards this year.

For £20 you could too…

School in a Bag is run by the Piers Simon Appeal. The Piers Simon Appeal (PSA) was set up in memory of Piers aged 33 who died in the Indian Ocean Tsunami on the island of Koh Phi Phi in Thailand on December 26th 2004.

From the School in a Bag Website http://www.schoolinabag.org/ :

The birth of School in a Bag: Swaziland, Africa
In November 2008 the Piers Simon Appeal (PSA) were invited to join the disaster relief charity ShelterBox in a joint project to send school equipment out to orphan children in Swaziland, Africa. The Piers Simon Appeal committed £50,000 towards the project.
From liaising with NERCHA (National Emergency Response Council for HIV/AIDS) in Swaziland who had sent the request we learned the following:
1. Orphan children were given ONE pencil a year by the Swaziland government.
2. Children received ONE meal a day at school (often their only meal each day) but without eating utensils they were unable to eat.
The solution was to fill a rucksack with stationery and stainless steel eating utensils and in March 2009, the process of packing the 32,000 bags for children at 350 schools took place at the ShelterBox warehouse in Helston, Cornwall.
The bags were shipped to Swaziland and distributed by NERCHA. In June 2009 Henry, Celia and Luke Simon visited Swaziland with four ShelterBox representatives to help with the distribution of the bags at four schools. (LINK TO SWAZILAND PAGE IN MAP TAB)
The 5-day trip had a very strong impact emotionally on Henry, Celia and Luke. From the outset of forming the Piers Simon Appeal, helping children and enhancing education was always one of the charity objectives and these simple rucksacks filled with basic contents presented an opportunity to pursue the idea further.
One week after their return, Luke packed away his garden design office, transformed it into the Piers Simon Appeal and coined the phrase ‘School in a Bag’.

Through the fundraising of four local schools and PSA funds, the first 400 ‘SchoolBags’ were sent to two orphanages in Sierra Leone. Instead of being boxed up, these were sent as cargo in a minibus jointly funded by the PSA and Orphfund. In June 2009 Luke Simon and volunteer documentary photographer Jenny Hardy flew to Freetown to meet the van and distribute the SchoolBags. (LINK TO SIERRA LEONE PAGE IN MAP TAB).

In January 2011 the board of the PSA unilaterally decided to make School in a Bag its own brand to give it its own identity and provide it with the capacity to grow beyond the catchment area of the PSA.

See their website for more details…

Also on FaceBook and Twitter @SchoolinaBag1

With Dad… We will remember…

dad-with-medalsAt 11 a.m. this morning I will be standing with fellow councillors and other representatives from the Yeovil area in remembrance…

At this time I also reflect on attending the remembrance parade at Old Steine in Brighton whilst growing up, carrying the flag on behalf of my Scout Troup. Looking back on what it meant to my dad, who served and was wounded in WW2. Remembering what it meant to him and his peers, thoughts of lost comrades that for some reason was never discussed, though we all knew the feelings were present.

It is with regret that my dad passed away before I was elected to Council, though I know he would have been proud. No prouder than he would have been today to stand by my shoulder at the memorial remembering with me those that served for King/Queen and Country that we all should be free.

He will be with me today, not in body, but we will remember…

Brexit means Brexit – my definition…

Brexit means Brexit and Leave means Leave, but what DO they mean?

To explain let me change the words slightly…

Breakfast means Breakfast

So what does breakfast actually mean? If we are having breakfast it means that we have food of some sort, it doesn’t specify what sort of food, just that we will be eating. So that could be toast, grapefruit, English fry-up, continental etc etc.

Taking this analogy back to Brexit, what it actually means is that we will leave the EU. We wont all like what is on the menu (as with breakfast) and some of us would rather remain in bed and pass on breakfast all together.

The people of the UK voted for Brexit, they did not make their menu choices.

At this time the ‘menu’ isn’t even written, though I doubt when it is, we wont fancy the fare on offer!!

…makes my blood boil

One thing that makes my blood boil is the playground bully types…

Unfortunately that behaviour transfers into adult life too, you know the sort, picking on minor failings, mimicking them and making them out to be bigger and more of an issue that they actually are.

Not exclusively but it appears that some politician’s are no better than the classroom bully either, picking at others opinions without anything to offer of their own. Taking points in isolation rather than the wider points and then giving it the ‘look at me pose’ aren’t I great (or is that grate?).

It would be wrong of me to single out anyone, or any incident but you know the type. Do or say anything if there is a chance they may be given some responsibility or prominence and then, rather than ending up like Churchill (Winston), they actually end up like Churchill (the nodding dog) serving no use but nodding at the right time. Forsaking others for personal gain too, I suspect.

I have had my fill of playground bullies in the past, they used to worry me (and worse). Now they toughen my resolve, make me work harder and more determined fair play should win the day.

In the Libdem’s I can identify with the drive for equality, opportunity for all etc. quite the opposite to the bullies.

Campaign trail anyone?