Friday, 31 December 2010

The Year that Was.

So here we are, at the end of another year ... another decade ... and the beginning of another!

2010 has seen the greatest change to our lives since the girls were born. My elder daughter sat her A levels and was offered a place at Glasgow university to study history. At the same time my younger daughter sat her GCSEs and has moved up to Sixth Form College. The first half of the year was dominated by revision timetables, mocks, UCAS forms, university open days and then the interminable wait for results. It wasn't an easy ride, but we survived!

So now we are three (at least during term time), which is strange but we're growing accustomed to it. I've learnt to ask for 300g of mince instead of 400g, and am getting quicker at texting. I miss her, but she's where she wants to be, doing what she wants to do, and that's all that matters.

As for the rest of the year, I've been struggling to remember everything I've done. It's always now that I wished I'd kept a better record of my activities. My diary contains too many empty pages.

Let me see ...

We had a fortnight in St Ives in the summer. It was our 11th visit and one of the best. My younger daughter finally persuaded me to buy a wet suit and join her and her dad body boarding and all I can say is that I wish I'd given in sooner as it was so much warmer and I had such fun in the waves. We like to do something new every visit and this year we discovered the Knill monument above St Ives and visited the Newlyn Art Gallery. The panoramic view from the hill, even when overcast, was worth the climb (before breakfast I may add!) but I'm afraid that the exhibition at the gallery wasn't worth the effort. In fact it was quite disturbing, which was a shame as it's a delightful gallery with an idyllic sea front location. Fortunately we'd combined it with a return to Mousehole so it wasn't a wasted journey.

We did manage to elevate a couple of university open day visits to mini break status. I'm now familiar with the location and facilities of Travelodges in Brighton, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Although my daughter didn't take to the campus environment of Sussex, we were charmed by the back streets of Brighton and I'm resolved to return with her younger shopaholic sister. Aberdeen brought back memories of my memorable postgraduate year and we felt very welcome by the staff and students. However it was Glasgow that was the true revelation. My memories of visiting relatives and friends on our infrequent trips home from India as a child, were of a dark and gloomy city. This year I have discovered a completely different place, bursting with architecture, art, dance, museums, restaurants, parks ... and humour. I'm looking forward to many more visits in the years to come

Also this summer we helped persuade the Council to turn down Sainsbury's application to build a superstore at Ashton Gate. It's not often that a local community prevails against the wishes of one of the Big Four but on this occasion we did ... and on my birthday! Unfortunately they've since lodged another application so we'll have to go through it all again next year. Hey ho! See if you want the full story or would like to support our campaign.

Apart from these few highlights it's been life as usual, packed with the many routines that keep me going. There's a lot I would have liked to have done differently, but rather than dwell on what's been I'm going to try and look forward to what's to come.

So here I come 2011!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Stop Sainsbury's

The Stop Sainsbury's campaign was launched by a group of local residents opposed to the prospect of a Sainsbury's superstore at Ashton Gate in south Bristol. At 9,290 square metres, the largest superstore in the south west, we believe it will have a negative impact on our community and pose a threat to local independent retail.

The website ( provides details of the application, grounds for objection and how to contact the Council.

If you are affected by this proposal and wish to support the campaign we suggest 7 ways in which you can do so:

1 Send your objection to the Council (see for advice on how to do so). If you could copy your objection to the website it would be useful.

2 Write to the local councillors and MP (see for contact details).

3 Advertise the campaign on your blog, your Facebook profile or Twitter.

4 Email all your friends with a link to the website and encourage them to support the campaign.

5 Ask sympathetic websites to post a link to the Stop Sainsbury's website.

6 Print one of the posters on the website and display it in your window, or use your leaflet (delivered with this month's Pigeon or available from many North Street shops).

7 When you've finished with your leaflet pass it on to someone who may not have seen it.

If you can only do one thing, do No 1!

We have successfully opposed two earlier applications from Tesco and Sainsbury's and are determined to do the same with this one.

The time has come for local people to halt the relentless march of supermarkets across our land and support a more sustainable way of shopping.