Thursday, 8 December 2016

A message to all Barnet Councillors about library provision

It isn't just a nice to have. It's the law and this is because enlightened politiicans a generation ago recognised the benefits of having a literate and educated society. The current obsession with turning libraries into "hubs", coffee bars and massage parlours is a dereliction of not only moral responsibility, but of the law.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Wednesday Poem #7 - The first date

The First date

Shine your shoe,
Don't eat spaghetti,
Run for the hills,
If she mentions confetti!

(Rog Note - This was the advice my Dad gave me about how to woo the fairer sex)

Copyright Roger Tichborne 2016 (with a big nod to Flt/LT L.F Tichborne)

Every Wednesday, we feature a poem and a picture about our neighbourhood. If you have a poem and a picture you'd like to feature, just email to me using the link in the sidebar. I've written poetry for many years, for my own amusement. It was suggested that I share some of it. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to feature anything you have written. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Thameslink Timetable consulatation survey finishes on Thursday

Do you use the Thameslink Service. Are you happy with the Timetable? Do you want to know what changes are proposed? Thameslink are running a Thameslink Consultation, but it will finish on Thursday, so if you want to make sure that your voice is heard, please do it asap. Sadly they are not consulting on what customers think of the way they are running the service.

The Thameslink website says

Timetable consultation

The consultation launched on Thursday 15 September and closes at 17:00 on Thursday 8 December 2016.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has launched an extensive consultation which sets out proposed changes to the timetable which will be operated by GTR in 2018 following completion of the Thameslink Programme.
When the programme completes in 2018, it will transform north-south travel through London; journeys will be improved with trains every two to three minutes through central London at peak times. Improved connections will give you better travel options to more destinations than ever before, modern track will make your journeys more reliable and new trains will provide additional capacity. This will be the biggest timetable change on the routes affected in a generation. We are therefore seeking feedback from any interested parties who may be affected by the proposed changes to help shape the new patterns of service.
This consultation will be the earliest a train operator has released proposals in advance of the planned changes allowing sufficient time for meaningful and on-going engagement.

Please download the document with all the details 

Timetable Consultation document

Please download the information sheets with a summary of proposed changes by route:

Great Northern Metro
Great Northern Mainline
Central London to Bedford
Southern Metro, Wimbledon Loop and West London Line
Brighton Mainline, Arun Valley, West and East Coastway
Redhill and Oxted
Kent Thameslink

Please send your responses using the survey link below:

Timetable Consultation response survey

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Barnet Eye Annual Community Awards - Some exciting news

The categories this year are

Barnet Person of the year
Barnet Charity of the year
Barnet Pub of the Year
Barnet Band/Artist of the Year
Barnet Teacher of the Year
Barnet Restaurant of the Year
Barnet Event of the Year

+ Please put your nominations as comments - If you've got a good category to add, let us know. They will get a nice certificate.

We've already had some great suggestions. We have decided to add a special catagory this year. We are adding a Barnet Outstanding Citizen award. This is for a citizen who has spent many years dedicated to the local community.

We also have some  very exciting news. Mill Hill Music Complex is sponsoring the Band/Artist of the year award. The winning Band/Artist will receive a voucher worth £100 to be used towards the cost of recordings/rehearsals or items in the studio shop. 

If your business wants to sponsor and award, please get in touch. 

The way it works is that someone nominates someone and gives a citation as to why. The awards panel will pick the best nomination. For band/artist awards, use the email link in the sidebar and post us videos / clips.
Here's a small preview of  The False Dots - Winter in Your Heart- from the forthcoming album Songs of Love and War.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Tweets of the week - 04/12/2016

Here it is. The fave regular feature. What have the local twits been up to?

1. A great tweet. We love this place.

2. Whilst on matters celestial
3. On a more serious note, many people will be relieved to read this tweet

4. A serious assault happened in East Finchley. I sincerely hope they catch this scumbag piece of filth ASAP.
5. Fancy a bit of reenactment

6. The Barnet Police are pleased to announce that good children get presents this year. They haven't said if naughty ones will get nicked!

7. And don't forget those in need. Colindale Foodbank don't!

8. Nice Image of buses at Golders Green

9. We luv a paaarrrrty. So do the chaps at Mill Hill Rugby club

10. And here's a marvellous video from Barnet TV ;)

Mill Hill Broadway - No Cheese shop yet Mr Offord, but a few real gems

Christmas is coming. This is the time of year when we all spend loads of dosh. The easy thing to do is to jump in the car and give it all to the multiples in Brent Cross. We do however have local high streets. They really need your support. 

Back in 2010 when Matthew Offord was seeking election for the Hendon constituency, he made a rather strange promise to a resident of Mill Hill. Whilst canvassing in Mill Hill Broadway, he promised her a cheese shop! I kid you not. I was canvassing on the Broadway at the time and a rather nice lady came up to me and said "The Conservative candidate has just promised us a cheese shop in the Broadway" I was intrigued and asked her "really? What exactly did he say?" She replied "He said that he wanted the Broadway to become the sort of place that it was great to start a business and that he'd love to see small independent traders such as cheese shops open". At the time I thought this was rather funny. As far as I am aware, this was actually the only promise Matthew Offord made the people of Mill Hill. As the saying goes, he had one job.... Matthew we want our cheese shop!!! I was reminded of this as I walked down the Broadway this morning. There are currently eight empty premises on the Broadway. I was inspired to tweet pictures of them.

What were those buildings?

Well we've lost two banks. HSBC and Lloyds have pulled out. This is a disaster for local businesses and traders. Whilst most personal banking is now done on line, businesses need tp pay in/withdraw cash on a daily/weekly basis. Both HSBC and Lloyds have concluded that there are not enough cheese shops and other independent traders needing banking services to bother with the Broadway. Then we have Dominico's, Sappori D'Italia, Half Full and The Day of the Raj (the Raj now runs as a takeaway business from Mill Hill East if you are missing Romels cooking). These were all restaurant/Cafe Bars. The Day of The Raj in particular was a highly successful restaurant, winning many notable awards. It had to close because changes to employment legislation and immigration rules, meant that they could no longer get visas for highly qualified, specialist chefs. Although the restaurant was packed every night, the owner could not get the staff required to run the operation. This is being mirrored in Indian restaurants all over London. Mill Hill's other Indian, The Mill Hill Tandoori is only hanging on because Lemon, the Owner doubles up as chef, delivery driver and waiter and does the job of three people. So much for small businesses being supported. The other restauraunt/cafe's were also independently run and suffered from the effects of competing with large chains. The final two shops were independent traders, both selling sports gear in their final incarnation. I see that one is turining into another nail bar (just what Mill Hill needs!). The other has "let agreed" posted. I don't know what this will become.

Mill Hill Music Complex in Bunns Lane
The good news for anyone wishing to open and independent cheese shop is that there is property to let in The Broadway. If you want to move in, this blog will support you to the hilt (this is true of any independent trader). The Mill Hill Neighbourhood forum is working tirelessly to try and promote Mill Hill. We do have some great independent traders, most notably Mill Hill wines, Cooksleys butchers and A&Y Locksmiths. If you need Jewellery, Rockman is an excellent place to shop, it is the only place I buy Clare such presents from. The Broadway Cafe does a mean bacon butty, there are several ladies fashion shops that do fine clothes and Princess Daisy is a well established flower shop. If you are taking a train from Mill Hill Broadway and you have a minute or two, please buy a coffee or tea from the kiosk on the station. During the week I received some harsh criticism on twitter from a certain local individual who felt I shouldn't promote my own business on my blog (for reasons I really cant' quite fathom, other than he seemed to think I should only promote everyone else).  I rather disagree and if you need musical instruments, books and gifts in the coming weeks, at Mill Hill Music Complex, we sell em!

Mill Hill
There are also a few other "off Broadway" local Mill Hill Businesses I really would like to give a plug to. For many years following a car accident, I've had chronic back problems. six years ago, I was advised to have surgery, but this would require twelve weeks in bed and probably end my football career, so I decided to live with the pain and try and manage. As a result, I have been aided no end by Osteopath Dominc Eglinton. I also have regular Thai massages from Siam Sanctury, which helps keep me moving. If you are a meat eater and you want a truly amazing feast, check out El Vaquero Argentinian restaurant in Hale Lane.

Finchley Nurseries and Pond Life
With the Festive season approaching, you may want a Christmas Tree. Finchley Nurseries in Burtonhole Lane have a great selection. As well as the usual garden supplies etc, they have a small tea room and sell organic fruit & veg. They also hold events throughout the summer with the Barnet Band regularly playing.

There is also a gem of an aquatic centre on site called Pond Life. They sell coldwater and tropical fish. They also provide maintenance and servicing of ponds etc, as well as supplying pumps, filters etc.

Another real gem has recently opened in Mill Hill East. This is Elias Fishmongers. They do wicked Sea Bass, great to bake in the oven with Tomatoes, capers and olives.

I happen to believe that Mill Hill is a great place to live. I am saddened by the current recent flight of businesses from the Broadway.

(Rog's note - Please note that contrary to some nasty people, none of the businesses here paid me a penny to plug them. I just do it because I love em and I regularly use their services. If we don't support them they won't survive. Use it or lose it).

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Saturday list #107 - The ten worst decisions in history

In honour of Zac Goldsmith and his rather bad decision to sack himself, I thought we'd honour him by posting the ten worst decisions in history. Hopefully it will cheer Zac up to know that some people are even more stupid than he is!

1. Hitler invades the USSR. Probably the worst military decision ever. Although the USSR was in a mess, the German army did not have the infrastructure to fight a prolonged war against the USSR whilst the UK was still capable of fighting them. This decision was perhaps the worst ever and shaped the history of the world.

2. Japan attacks Pearl Harbour. The attack on Pearl Harbour brought the USA into the war and ended up with the complete defeat of Japan. Any sane assessment of the relative power of both nations would have flagged up the fact that this was a war Japan couldn't win.

3. Argentina invades the Falkland Islands. The ascist junta of generals was tottering on the precipice of defeat. They thought the UK was too weak to retake the Falkland Islands and that they would be seen as heroes. They assumed that the UK would just walk away from a conflict thousands of miles away. They were wrong. Their actions have probably guaranteed that the islands will remain British for ever. It also lead to the collapse of military rule in Argentina.

4. Egypt attack on Israel in 1973. Initially the Egyptians took Israel by complete surprise and had a stunning advance. This quickly evapourated and the Israeli's completely routed Egypt. It marked the end of Arab dreams of vanquishing Israel and within a few years Anwar Sadat realised that a peaceful solution was more sensible. That is how Egyt regained the lost territories.

5. Decca Records turn down the Beatles. Perhaps the worst business decision ever made. Decca took the view that there was no future in beat combos. EMI signed them instead and made billions.

6. Salman Rushdie writes The Satanic Verses. Rushdie thought that it was a jolly good idea to write a book slagging off Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. Ayatollah Khomeini took a dim view and put a Fatwa on him, demanding his death. That was the end of Mr Rushdie being able to live a normal life (whilst I'm all for free speech, one has to admit that in hindsight, even Mr Rushdie probably wishes he'd written a book about adultery in Airdrie instead).

7. Leon Trotsky falls out with Stalin. Trotsky was the darling of the Russian revolution. He made the fatal mistake of falling out with Josef Stalin. Stalin showed his apperication of Trotsky's efforts by despatching an agent to clean his ears with an icepick. Moral of the story, don't piss off homicidal tyrants.

8. Ted Heath calls election to decide who runs Britain. In 1974, the UK was in a state of perpetual industrial decline and strife. Prime Minister Ted Heath called an election to decide who runs the country. He lost. That ushered in Margaret Thatcher, the antithesis of Heaths One Nation Tories. We  have all had to live with the consequences.

9. Arthur Scargill calls miners strike without a ballot. Arthur Scargill wanted to do to Thatcher what Joe Gormley did to Heath. She had other plans. Because Scargill didn't have a mandate, the union split, with some miners defecting to the anti strike UDM. Scargill lost and Thatcher used this to bring swathes of visious anti union legislation that has virtually castrated the Trades Union movement in the UK.

10. Beeching report decimates British Rail. In the early 1960's, British Rail was losing money hand over fist. The then Tory government commissioned Richard Beeching to produce a study to sort the mess out. Beeching's report recommended wholesale closure of lines, closing just about everything that had red ink in the profit and loss account. Many viable lines were lost and whole communities were cut off. Many of these are now the subject of expensive projects to reopen them. The most notable to date are the Borders Railwaym whcih opened last year and the Varsity line between Oxford and Cambridge, which is in the process of being reopened. Had he not shut the Great Central line, we wouldn't be spending £50 billion on HS2. Probably the most expensive cock up in British history.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Zac gets the sack! Another Brexit shock

Brexiteer Matthew Offord MP must be worried after Richmond
We awake to the news that Zac Goldsmith is no longer the MP for Richmond. He was soundly beaten by Sarah Olney, the Lib Dem candidate. Goldsmith wanted to turn the campaign into a referendum on Heathrow, but this strategy spectacularly backfired as all of the candidates agreed with him on the subject. There wasn't a pro third runway candidate. What there was, however, was a clear choice between hard Brexit fan Goldsmith and pro remain Lib Dem Sarah Olney. Richmond is a London constituency (rather like Hendon) and London is a very pro Remain area. For the Tories, this was a nightmare. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They chose to not stand a candidate (as did UKIP, in a failed attempt to help their soulmate Zac).  As a result, Zac didn't have the party machine and the Lib Dems, seeing an opportunity, threw the kitchen sink at the campaign.

In some ways this isn't a surprise. The Lib Dems have always been good at winning by elections. The Richmond seat was a gift for them. It was formerly a Lib Dem seat until 2010 and with the seat voting staunchly remain, was a clearly winnable seat. Much credit must go to the Greens, who chose
to stand down their candidate. This shows that when parties are pragmatic, they can achieve far more.

For us in Barnet, there is a clear message. Two out of our three MP's are staunch Brexit supporters. Mike Freer, Finchley MP is a remain man. He is popular locally and seems in tune with his electorate. Theresa Villiers and Matthew Offord are hard Brexiteers. Both must surely be sitting far less comfortably in their seats. If Theresa May calls a snap general election, both must be at risk in light of the Richmond vote. London could very well determine the next election. A swathe of Lib Dems lost their seats in 2016, sacked in a protest at the coalition. Many Londoners have seen what a mess the Tories have made and bitterly regret the decision. This is graphically demonstrated by Richmond. The Tories have a wafer thin majority and London could well be the place where this is overturned. Theresa May will no doubt be aware of this and I see the prospect of a snap election retreating into the distance.

For Labour there is little to take from the Richmond election. They were always likely to be squezed. Richmond didn't seem to be a very Corbynite seat and their candidate lost his deposit. The seat clearly shows that electors have forgiven the Lib Dems for the sins of the coalition. We want to move forward. It is clear that in London Brexit is a major issue and people are worried. It seems to me that we have two Barnet MPs who are massively out of step with their voters. Only time will tell whether they follow Zac to the job centre, but this morning that looks like a very real possibility.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Barnet Council - Where have all the libraries gone

Yesterday was a profoundly depressing day for me. It was the day I woke up to the fact that we really do have barbarians at the gates, trashing our neighbourhood, our services and our communities. Don't get me wrong, I've been aware of the issues. Only too aware, in truth. But it has gone from being a concept to being a reality.

Mill Hill library is to shut. Workmen will move in. When it reopens, the beloved children's section will be gone. The council are seeking to rent out the space. When I was a child, my mum used to take me there. She'd borrow Thomas The Tank engine books and read them to me. My favourite was the sad tale of Henry, the green engine. My wife did the same with my children. They all have an abiding love of books. All have excelled at school. I believe the library has played a significant role in that.

There is a disgusting letter in the local paper from Rueben Thompstone, the Conservative councillor responsible for the changes. He rather dishonestly represents this dismemberment of the service as improvements. Mr Thompstone, a brash South African, has no appreciation of how important libraries are to us. He confesses this in his letter, without realising what he's saying. His comment that  'we know from our consultation how important the library service is to residents'. Those of us born, raised and educated in Barnet need no consultation to know this.

Rueben Thompson does not understand the difference between a public library and a room with a few books in. A public library has a qualified librarian, quiet space, is a centre of the community and has people qualified to assist the elderly, children and vulnerable people. They need to be certified to work in such an environment. I found that Mill Hill library is going to be run by volunteers from April. The plan is that the NW7 hub team want to run the library. This group are a charity and plan to use the library funding to help run a new community hub in Daws Lane. Whilst I support the hub proposal, I do not support the fact that it is being used to massively degrade the existing library offering.

The view of autocratic Tory councillors such as Thompstone is that libraries are outdated and the real estate is a cash cow to be milked. They believe local people should provide such services as volunteers for free. Oddly Mr Thompstone does not believe councillors such as himself are bound by the same public spirit. He gets tens of thousands of pounds in allowances, for a part time job, which he has no qualifications to perform.

It is interesting and instructive to think that Mill Hill library was opened by Conservative councillors, who gave their time for free. They employed qualified librarians to run establishments dedicated to improving the lives of the local residents. Those councillors successors are paid a Kings ransom. Theirs will be a rather different legacy.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Barnet Eye Xmas party and annual awards - Friday 16th December

The False Dots will be live at the Barnet Eye awards
Join us for the Barnet Eye official Xmas Party and Awards at the Midland Hotel Pub (next to Hendon Thameslink Station).  We've got great live music from The False Dots / Tell The Others + Just Jammin' + other surprises TBA...

The event is organised as part of the Save London Music Campaign in association with The Barnet Eye Blog

The fun starts o nFriday 16th December at 8.00pm. The party will also feature the Prestigious Barnet Eye awards where we recognise the people in The London Borough of Barnet who've really made a difference.

Awards at 9pm sharp - then boogie till you drop

The categories this year are

Barnet Person of the year
Barnet Charity of the year
Barnet Pub of the Year
Barnet Band/Artist of the Year
Barnet Teacher of the Year
Barnet Restaurant of the Year
Barnet Event of the Year

+ Please put your nominations as comments - If you've got a good category to add, let us know. They will get a nice certificate.

It promises to be a fantastic night and even better, its all Free and all are welcome!

Just a quick update. We've had great nominations in most categories, but please keep them coming, leave a comment or drop an email. Suggest a name and write a small citation. I am hoping that the nominators can present the award!