Sunday, January 30, 2005

Trow Quarry Report

Trow Quarry Report

After fourteen months of "finalising" the report from Highpoint Rendell (the consultants paid to do a health and safety risk assessment at Trow Quarry) the Council has now "negotiated" an agreed form of words which suit them. There actions are nothing short of a disgrace.

I work in the private sector and my employer, like many others, pays an outside consultant to conduct health and safety audits and risk assessments. When we get their reports they are acted upon immediately, if not, someone will lose their job, and you can bet that it won't be one of the consultants!

We don't complain or ask them to change their findings or opinions, or ask them to alter the wording of their report, we just get on doing what is required to make the area safe for ourselves and our visitors.

By acting as it has, South Tyneside Council has sacrificed the independence of Highpoint Rendell and coloured the final report with it's own themes

The consultants must feel that their integrity has been belittled and their report can no longer be viewed as "independant".


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Bellamy defiantly leaves Sid James Park after tough talks with Sewerness!




I cannot resist mentioning the vitriolic valley dweller and his petulant tantrums with his employer Newcastle United.
If I could have played football well enough at his age, and been offered £40,000 per week for the pleasure, I'm sure I could have managed to play striker for a few weeks, winger for a month or two, right back towards the end of the season, and even do a couple of weeks in goal should the team need it!

The club are perfectly right to require it's employee to carry out any reasonable tasks required of him, they pay his bloody wage after all. If he doesn't want to do what is required of him, then he should not be too surprised if the club tears up his contract. It is likely that he has played his last game under Souness now, and it is only a short matter of time before he will be plying his trade with another employer. It is only to be hoped that this rather selfish young man has learned some sort of lesson from this episode.

I enjoyed having a little play with Photoshop to create this picture of Bellamy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Back to work

Good News - Victory in sight

South Tyneside Council's Cabinet yesterday decided not to build a new super school on Temple Memorial Park, they have decided to opt for building at the current Chuter Ede site. This has come as a bit of a surprise, not least because they have had a poor record of listening to the public in the past. Now we only wait for ratification by the full Council at it's next meeting.
I believe this is a sensible decision, although it may not have been welcomed in some quarters, and I congratulate and thank all of those who were willing to put their heads above the parapet to voice their opposition. Well done everybody!

See today's story in The Shields Gazette
Leader of the Council, Paul Waggot's comments.

Another piece of good news as far as Temple Memorial Park is concerned came in an e-mail today from the Property Department of Northumbria Police. It had been rumoured that they wished to relocate a facility from Jarrow to Temple Park, this can now be dispelled as a total myth. They had at one time considered the proposition to build adjacent to the new fire station, but rejected the idea because of financial considerations.
At least we now know for sure that another building on the park is not on the cards!

Craig Bellamy

I cannot sign off without posting my thoughts on the embarrasing episode being played out at Sid James Park between "Bellenemy", "Sewerness", and "fat Freddy". It's quite revealing how some overpaid brat footballers think that they can hold the whole of their team to ransom by childishly refusing to play a part unless it is on their terms. Can you imagine telling your boss at work that you aint gonna do it his way? Your contract would be terminated rather swiftly!
The poisoned dwarf has been fined two weeks wages (about £80,000) but not placed on the transfer list, however, today, the chairman announced that the club would be prepared to listen to offers. The transfer window closes next Monday so clubs will need to move quick to snap up this firebrand. It will take a manager with a more disciplinarian attitude than "Sewerness" to handle this one, and there aren't many of them about!
Someone will be willing to take the risk if the price is cheap enough, Blackburn perhaps?


Sunday, January 23, 2005


Remember The Holocaust

This week sees the 60th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz camp by elements of the Russian army in 1945, which pre-saged the discovery of shocking evidence of the Nazi regime's determined attempt to eliminate an entire race of people. What became known as the "Final Solution" was one of mankind's greatest criminal acts aganst it's own, the face of evil had been exposed to the world.

These websites provide further information and education;

Auschwitz - free dictionary
Auschwitz museum
The Auschwitz album

"Those who cannot remember the past will be condemned to repeat it."


Saturday, January 22, 2005

This closer view shows the loose layers of infill waste falling to the beach, because of wind and sea erosion.


A view of the exposed seafacing area of the former landfill site, just off the coastal path to Souter Lighthouse.


The entrance to the controversial Trow Quarry at South Shields seafront.


Trow Rocks

Trow Quarry Photos

Despite the National Trust's utterances about caution and restricting public access to this highly and dangerously polluted site, you will be able to tell from the photographs taken yesterday that I was not the only person wandering about it.

The posting of a warning sign will not prevent animals or children from digging around here, and I must point out that the exposed face of the waste is very loose, there is evidence of it spilling to the beach below.


Another battling win by Sunderland today against Sheffield United keeps us within three points of the top spot in the Championship thanks to a well crafted goal by Marcus Stewart. Steve Elliott ought to have had a goal early in the game but his clever chip over the keeper rebounded off the bar.
Full steam ahead for the F.A. Cup match at Everton next week, I'm hoping for at least a draw.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Post Protest

Post Protest

Yesterday's protest outside the Town Hall has been favourably received by the local press, the Shields Gazette featured it with a picture on the frontpage, as well as almost the whole of page 7 with further pictures.
The Council Cabinet once again deferred a decision on the "preferred option", I get the feeling that they are starting to react to public opinion, and a little further public pressure will probably swing the decision away from Temple Memorial Park.
I also managed to find the right person at Northumbria Police Authority to e-mail in respect of the rumoured relocation of the force armoury from Clervaux Terrace, Jarrow, to Temple Memorial Park, I hope to have a confirmation or denial in a few days. This issue is becoming a bit of an "X File", previous e-mails to Northumbria Police dating back to 10th. December last year have all gone unanswered!
If I fail to get satisfactory answers this next seven days I'll persuade one of our Councillors to officially put questions to South Tyneside's representative on Northumbria Police Authority, Cllr. Eddie McAtominey.

Ready To Go Message Board

The RTG Message Board, much loved by thousands of Sunderland fans, has moved and changed it's format. The new board will take a bit of getting used to, anyway I've changed the link in the sidebar.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Day of the Protest

The Day of the Protest

Despite a cold wind, a very encouraging crowd of people turned out to protest at Council plans to site a "super school" on Temple Memorial Park and the event was recorded by the local media.

I got to meet the representatives from Friends of the Earth, Mr. Colin Campbell (a local property developer), Mr. Stephen Pattison (protest organiser), Cllr. Jimmy Capstick (ward Councillor), and former Councillor and colleague Stan Smith. In total there were about 70 people protesting, in weather like today's I would say that it was a very good turn out. Bearing in mind that most Councillors are elected by a very small proportion of voters in their wards, and that it is generally difficult to get people motivated enough to get off their backsides, then you would have to say that this crowd really does begin to represent the depth of feeling in this town about this controversial issue.

I have invited a number of them to make use of Curly's Corner Shop Message Board as a forum, a meeting place, where they can get together and discuss tactics on how to move the issue forward and influence the Council to seek another solution to it's educational needs. I look forward to seeing them on the board.

Council Cabinet meets today, and it is to be hoped that they defer any decision on referring the preferred option to the full Council pending further investigations to the suitability of the site (environmentally), local feelings, and alternative options.


Almost 70 people joined in the protest


An application has been made to classify Temple Memorial Park as a Village Green


The protest gets under way


Protestors begin to gather at the Town Hall


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Temple Park South Shields


Temple Park Protest

Temple Park Protest

I had a telephone call from Stephen Pattison this evening, he is one of the organisers of the protest at the Town Hall tomorrow morning. It was good of him to ring me and exchange views and I shall look forward to meeting him and others in the morning. I'm glad too that it appears representatives of Friends of the Earth will be there as well, this provides an ideal opportunity of bringing together the disparate groups of protestors to co-ordinate future activities.

I'm also informed that ther will be media interest and coverage of the event, let's hope a decent crowd of Shields folk are assembled.

I'm hoping to persuade people to make use of Curly's Corner Shop Message Board as a focal point for expressing their views and ideas. It's the ideal forum and fits in well with the community ethics of the Sanddancers site, and I feel sure Jimmy will be pleased with the extra traffic.


Temple Park

Temple Park Protest

You will recall from my previous posts that I am in total opposition to the building of a new school (or any other development) on Temple Memorial Park because; I believe it would be an inappropriate use of the land, it would not be compatible with the covenants governing the future of the park, I am not convinced that this former brownfield infill site is environmentally safe, and there are more suitable sites for the proposed "super school".

As the Shields Gazette admirably reported the highly dangerous toxins emanating from Trow Quarry, I organised a series of e-mails to each and every Councillor in the Borough and highlighted the problem on the BBC website and on Look North and Tyne Tees Tonight. This type of exposure proved to be a bit of a surprise to the Council and the National Trust, and since then the NT has started to instigate further investigations at Trow Quarry, the Council has set up a special scrutiny committee and delayed a decision regarding siting a school at Temple Park.

In short, public pressure works!

We have to keep pressing the possible environmental dangers posed by the brownfield infill sites of the 1950's and 60's, if we have pollutant problems at one then there is sufficient reason to be concerned about the others! Remember, methane concentrations are already measured in Temple Park Leisure Centre, and we have already built one school and a fire station there. (I have one unsubstantiated source who claims that Northumbria Police Authority wishes to relocate it's armoury to Temple Park as well.)

The Council's best reason for wishing to build on Temple Park is the prospect of £112m grant aid from the Government for a school of "special sports status". I do not see any good reason why funding cannot be attained to build this school at one of the alternative sites i.e. Brinkburn, or Harton Welfare Ground as has been suggested recently.

Tomorrow, Stephen Pattison and Colin Campbell, two other Temple Park campaigners are organising a protest on the Town Hall steps, Westoe Road at 10.30 a.m., (The Council's Cabinet is meeting later in the day). I will be there, I wish to meet these people and see how we can co-ordinate our activities and possibly involve The Friends of the Earth also.

I appeal to anyone in this town who wishes to see Temple Memorial Park remain as a peaceful memorial to our kinsmen who gave their lives in defence of this country, to join in this protest and let the Council know that we do not want any more building on our green belt!

By the way, the pork in cider and apple sauce was delicious, Mrs. Curly would like me to cook it again next week


Monday, January 17, 2005



Well Curly is having a week away from the Corner Shop, and my what plans Mrs. Curly has for me! I guess at last we will make some real inroads into the massed piles of toys and clothes that the kids garnered at Christmas, I can see me driving many miles to Middlefields and back again as we set about removing anything that is more than six months old. Storage space is becoming a huge problem as relatives become far too generous at birthdays and Christmas.

I spent a large part of today researching further into the history of South Shields and adding more into the website (see the South Shields history page), I was keen to find sources on the internet dealing with the Yemeni riots at the Mill Dam in 1930's. The history page is likely to grow and grow, and will probably be split into separate pages for different time periods.


Picked up some nice pork fillets at the supermarket today (nice and cheap) and Mrs. Curly would like me to do the cooking tomorrow, she'd prefer a recipe with a little more "excitement" to it, so being a bit dumfounded, I headed to Recipe Source, one of my favourite online reference books for cooking. I am a bit of a gourmet given the right encouragement, so we've decided on a dish with apples and cider, let you all know how it went after we've eaten it!

Will it snow?

I know that the children would love it if the forecast comes good for an overnight snowfall, but somehow I think we'll only suffer a bit of sleet on the North-East coast, yet again they'll have to miss out. The Met. Office has issued an advanced weather warning of snow, but how often are they wrong?


Sunday, January 16, 2005


Boycott the Bookseller!

It's not often that I implore people to stay away from corner shops but after reading this story in the Guardian, I invite you all to buy your books elsewhere!

What is happening to our freedom of speech these days!

I hereby announce my total support for Joe Gordon, and ask others to do like wise.


Junior Curly and his PC games

Junior Curly and his PC Games

I've had quite a frustrating day considering that I should have been sitting at home relaxing for the weekend. I had been intending to make a number of posts on Curly's Corner Shop Message Board, and to post on Curly's Daily Comment, but Junior Curly (aged 7) had other ideas, he wanted to play PC games virtually all day long, Medal of Honour seems to be his bag at the moment.

He's managed to get to the third campaign, Operation Overlord, 6th. June 1944, the D-Day landings. Spent hours running out of the landing craft to get shot dead before he reached the beach, very much like the real event I guess.

Then he went on to muck around with Word to complete his home work, discovered (somehow) that you can use speech to text recognition and proceeded to change the speech engine and brought everything crashing down! Nothing wanted to work, even System Restore was "not responding", it took me two hours to revert the computer back to where it was this morning (after two hours of shopping at Asda in Boldon.) So, you might imagine, it's been a bit of a trying day.


I went out for a couple of pints at the Snooker Club tonight to try and chill out a bit, and found the place to be freezing cold and half empty; however, I did get to see some of today's football whilst I was there. I thought the Darkside were a little fortunate to get past Southampton, Ameoba surley wasn't worth a penalty and the Saints were so unfortunate up front where a number of lucky defensive deflections denied them goals, James Prutton's effort springs to mind. The match also seemed to be quite a physical encounter!

I'm reasonably confident that our lads can go down to Derby tomorrow and come bag with three points in the bag. I hope that Andy welsh has another good game, and I also hope that Sean Thornton starts on the right to continue his rehabilitation in the style that he showed against Palarse in the F.A. Cup last week.


Friday, January 14, 2005

New Link News

New Link News

I'm going off to work at the Corner Shop in a minute, and I won't be back at this keyboard until about mignight, but I have some exciting news for Sunderland Fans.

Tomorrow morning you ought to be able to find a new link in the side bar to Mark's (Lord Cheese) site, where you can download clips of all the Sunderland goals so far this season. They are only short clips and take about ten minutes to download on a 56k connection, and play nicely in your media player.

Last year I used Windows Movie Maker 2 to make a film with the clips, kind of a review of the season, it's a great way to keep a permanent record and helps free up space on your hard drive.

Keep your eyes peeled!


Thursday, January 13, 2005


HTML Skills

Well my skills are improving slowly, I've managed to add a picture of me into the sidebar! I'm quite impressed with myself. Now, I'll have to try and add a few more links to my favourite places and add a little more interest to the blog.

The main website, which has been online for six days under it's new guise is starting to attract visitors, despite the fact that a lot of search engines don't know of it's existence yet. It will take a few more weeks before it's listed in Google but some search engines have it already listed (All the Web for example.) Although it has had an average of 45 visits per day this week, only four people have used the Guestmap facility, so I've tried to highlight it a bit more on the home page. There is also a little more added to the History page


This is a John Travolta film which I've watched on Channel 5 tonight, in which his character appears to be able to do amazing brain things, predictions, speed learning of languages, amazing inventiveness, total recall, and that thing where you can move objects just with the power of thought! It seems everyone began to think of him as some sort of freak, or security risk, and his home town gradually turns against him - all except his girl of course. It turns out that all of this exceptional brain activity has been caused by a tumour which would eventually kill him, quite dramatic, as he knows the exact point and time of his death. However, his passing brings all of the townsfolk closer together and knits the community as his life is celebrated.

It's a rare occassion when I have time to sit down and watch a film, and even more rare if I can see it through to the conclusion. I enjoyed this one.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Picture Time

I haven't been able to make a lot of time for my blog entry today, apologies.

I need to be awake by 04.45 each day to start work in the Corner Shop at 06.00,After work I go to collect Junior Curly from school and spend a bit quality time with the family before we eat,and after a few days of these routines my body and mind just give up. The only remedy is to take a couple of hours out for a sleep at about 16.30, so that's just what I did today, it will be enough to keep my batteries charged for the next five or six days.

This evening I've been using Photoshop to fix some photos for my friends Lynne and Graham. The originals were of their daughter's eighteenth birthday party and were extremely dark (almost to the point of being black), this was likely because the flash to subject distance was too great, therefore the pictures were not illuminated.
I have managed to use Photoshop to put a little more light into them and to really boost the contrast and colour saturation.

I hope they like them!

I'll have to check the chatterbox in a minute to see if Louise has dropped in.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Playing Games

Toca Race Driver

Junior Curly (aged 7) and I have been playing games on the pc this afternoon after I collected him from school.
Let's be honest, with gale force winds and driving rain I could hardly expect him to play outside! Missy Curly (aged 3) was asleep on the sofa, so we decided to play Toca Race Driver. I've always enjoyed going to motor race meetings, I've been to Croft, Donnington Park and Oulton Park, so I thought I could give this my best shot (of course I insisted on using the game pad whilst he had to settle for the keyboard. I like the split-screen multiplayer racing, it appeared quite exiting!)
Damn, how do people manage to control the car and keep it on the track, every corner was an adventure into the gravel traps, or a sudden stop as I hit the barriers or walls. All the while Junior Curly raced his car off into the distance!
I guess I'll have to be like that Bellendamy bloke and practise while the kids are at school.

Life can be so cruel to fathers!

New Blog Skin

Just as I said last night, I've changed the blog template, there were loads (thousands to be right) to choose from, do you like it? You can get one too from this site, free of charge! So you may see the style of this blog changing from time to time. The next thing to add will be a tagg board so that readers and visitors can add their comments to this blog and start a little chit-chat.

Happy surfing


Curly's Corner Shop

Well, version 2 of Curly's Corner Shop has been online since Saturday morning and it's already indexed by some of the search engines (although not Google yet), and it's already attracting some new visitors - I'm quite pleased with my efforts.

Many thanks to Memor in Brighton for your kind comments on the Message Board. It seems most of yesterday's visitors were all from places beginning with B, very strange. Blackpool,Brighton, Birmingham, Billingham, Blackburn, and oh,.......Geneva!

It's now time to start redesigning this blog to give a more corporate feel, I have a nice skin that can use the old Corner Shop picture, I'll have a try fixing it all up tonight.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Bill Clinton Daily Diary

Bill Clinton Daily Diary

I'm finding this blog quite interesting considering the man was reputed to have sent only 2 e-mails during his Presidency.



Temple Memorial Park

I found, reading the Shields Gazette last week that some very misguided person had wrote in suggesting that Temple Memorial Park ought to be closed or built over simply because he believed that it was no longer suitable for public recreational use. His arguement being that it was grossly overused by lager drinkers, drug users, uninsured motorcyclists and other assorted "charvas".
On the basis of this silly arguement we may as well close our other four parks, the beaches, amusement park and our shopping centres as well. This attitude displays appeasement and a lack of civic duty of the highest order. If residents are so annoyed at the misuse of our public facilities by such people, then surely they have a duty to inform the police!

Temple Memorial Park was given to the Borough of South Shields by the Church Commissioners in 1946 with a covenant that " it be used in perpetuity for for the enjoyment of public leisure and recreation" and as a memorial to those from South Shields who had given their lives in the service of this country during World War ll.

That is, those people who didn't want a bunch of goose-stepping louts marching all over Europe, which is what would have happened if the appeasers of the day had won there arguement.

All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing!


Trow Quarry-Temple Park

At last! Some action!

According to the Shields Gazette who have had some leaked minutes passed to them,the National Trust (owners of Trow Quarry) have decided that it's time to restrict public access to the site, because of the dangerously high levels of pollutants, methane, cyanide, lead, mercury, brown, white, and blue asbestos, benzo pyrites and other cancer causing agents.

Following a new risk assesment the NT have decided that it would be wise to commission further more detailed investigations of the site, and that the public should be excluded on grounds of safety. All this after both the Council and the NT declared the site safe on television in December.

Please remember, that at the time Trow Quarry was used as a landfill site in the 1950's and early 1960's, we were also burying our rubbish at Benton Road and Temple Park.
The same Temple Park that Council Officers are recommending building a school upon! We were using the same methods at the same time to bury the same types of pollutants!

Surely it is now time to order a thorough site investigation at Temple Park and Benton Road to ensure that no hasty decisions are made to develop further?

It is worth remembering also that the Church of England gave Temple Park to the Borough of South Shields in 1946 to be used in perpetuity for leisure and recreational purposes, not for wholesale development, and also that the Leisure Centre that stands there is equipped with expensive monitoring equipment to detect concentrations of methane gas emissions. This is an important point; a mixture of 5% methane in air is very explosive ( any miner will verify this point) and one needs to question the number of temporary closures at Temple Park Leisure Centre over the past five years.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

New Website

Well, the long toil is almost over!

Every spare evening or few hours over the past two months has been consumed by the building of version 2 of Curly's Corner Shop, and at long last the task is almost complete. My website will grow from 10 to 16 pages and the content richness will improve dramatically. The overall look and feel of the site will also change, and I hope, navigation will be a lot simpler.
All in all, considering that seven months ago I had never imagined having my own website, I'm quite pleased with this second design. Simplistic, clean, more informative and user friendly. I will apply the final touches this evening (a final spell check, meta tags, key words etc) and close down the current version. May I, at this point, say a big thank you to the 200,000+ visitors who have called into the Corner Shop during the past six months.
However, for the future, you will need to update your browsers with a new "favourite" or "bookmark", because from Saturday 8th. January the URL of Curly's Corner Shop will change to which ought to gain higher rankings from the search engines over the next few months.

New features on the site include additional photo galleries and places to visit in the North-East, what happened in history today, and a games room, as well as links to important sites for downloading free software. There will also be more comprehensive links to information about South Shields and a timeline history of the town. I hope you will all like it, please send your comments to after the site has gone online.

Happy surfing,



Saturday, January 01, 2005

Tsunami, a sobering thought!

I've been trying hard to comprehend and imagine the horrors faced by those in Indionesia as the tidal wave smashed in and killed so many or wrecked their towns. The imagination struggles to cope with something that we have never experienced. These thoughts are for those with a little knowledge of South Shields.
South Shields has a population of about 90,000 (almost the same as Acceh), we are situated at the mouth of the River Tyne on the North-East coast of England. If a tidal wave of the same dimension and speed was to rise from the North Sea to hit our beach it is likely that it would consume land up to a kilometre past the beach, and even further along the river banks. The whole of the commercial town centre would be wiped out including Ocean Road and King Street and the Market Place, damage would likely spread all the way along the riverfront to Tyne Dock and Jarrow Slake. The tallest waves would be as high as the Town Hall.
To be caught up in it would be sheer horror, it wouldn't feel like being overcome by water, more like getting hit by a wall of concrete. Most people would be battered to death by parts of damaged structures, swirling vehicles, uprooted trees etc.
If Acceh's population was reduced by 80%, then ours could be reduced by about 50,000 (bearing in mind we have some stronger structures).
Events would then be followed by a terrible silence.

Now try to imagine, having survived this cataclysmic event, trying to find lost family and friends. Trying to find shelter. Trying to find food and clean drinking water. Trying to move around through the debris, and bodies rotting and stinking away. Try to imagine how your brain would cope.

This is not a very inviting scenario, but thousands of poor souls in Asia now have to somehow survive the next stage of their survive!

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About Me

Born in 1956
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