Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Christmas of Goodwill - but if only we had a more generous Council

A Christmas of Goodwill among Leeds residents and visitors from Christkindelmarkt, Leeds - a tiny piece of Germany in the heart of the City Centre - but if only we had a more generous Council and parking charges after 1800 had not suddenly been introduced then the revenue from the attendance at Christlindelmarkt and many other events would be so much increased, much more than that received from a few extra parking charges ---

Christkindelmarkt, Leeds is one of the most established German Christmas Markets in the UK, with traditional wooden stalls, festive greenery, Christmas carousel ride and twinkling colourful lights all creating a unique continental festive atmosphere in the heart of Leeds city centre.

Set in the stylish civic setting of the award winning Millennium Square, Christkindelmarkt attracts many hundred thousands of visitors to Leeds each year and forms an integral part of the city’s annual events programme.

The market consists of over 40 wooden chalet stalls from authentic German traders providing a wide range of seasonal gift ideas for everyone including; handcrafted toys, jewellery, Christmas cards and festive decorations, speciality foods and traditional German delicacies such as gluhwein, bratwurst sausages, goulash, soups, schnitzels, stollen, gingerbread and candied fruits.

The popular Frank-furter Scheune, Kuh Stall and Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery provide visitors with a warm and cosy retreat in which to sample the very best in authentic German food & drink, and the ideal way to celebrate the festive period with family and friends. For further details and information visit

The market is open:
Monday – Saturday from 10.30am to 9.30pm
Sundays from 10.30am to 7pm (excluding Sunday 10 November, 12-7pm)
Info: 0113 395 0891 or        

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


I suggest we go to see Shipka’ where the Russian Church is pretty + and may even find English Ronnie with his cars as suggested by Kazan at the Kia garage.

  We travelled thru' Kazanlac to reach this ( tho' I felt we must by pass Kazanlac at first.)  A good very thin YM  helped us to turn round in the right direction, and I had now realised our road, after Shipka,  went on to Gabrovo and Veliko Turnovo.    

Indeed we find the church, very pretty and with silver adornments to spire and other high artifacts. It is possible to spy it in the hills for a few miles as u approach the town. This then is a memorial to the war of approx 1880 where Russia and Bulgaria fought to free Bulgaria from the Turkish ‘occupation’ -- there is a Crypt beneath the church which has details and graves of various ‘worthies’ of the conflict time on display. U are asked to pay for any pics taken also and we did  this by buying from the crypt display cabinets of memorabilia/ trinkets.  It was strange to be examining items in  the displays and to  look up and notice the  rather stern soviet looking woman in her office behind - waiting  to collect your money. 
Outside of the church were the usual stalls but there was no great pressure to buy and a chance to practice Bulgarian. We also took pics around the church. Then we headed down from it’s high situation to see if we could find ‘Ronnie’ . 

Instead we found an English 4x4 and a house/ family; they had moved to to live in BG  some 7 years ago from UK London.

i talked to a young lady through a basement window and  Archie came running out and told me how they, he and his brother, had just begun home schooling and the school at Shipka had beaten them sometimes.  I said sometimes they may have needed the discipline.  Archie also corrected me that he had no sister,for the girl I talked to at first turned out to be Dylan,  his long hair had misled me! 

So Archie would have invited us in and but Mum said they were almost ready to go shopping, so instead we drove on looking for ‘Ronnie”  but did not find him –

Now we were back on the Kazanlack road, and we stopped at a restaurant with one of those natural water springs taken to a tap, and here people regularly pulled in to fill their water bottles with the clear water. All this way side natural water is perfectly free.
My wife ate her sanis in the car, saying why waste money when you could grow your own -  and I , to avoid the starvation and weakness of the Monks went to the restaurant. Here for just 4.40 Leva I had a big swine burger and kartofs and a lettuce leaf and was happy to have an almost full tummy at last!

We are now in Kazanlak and my wife and navigator, finds the market. “Sprit” I shout and go to the end stall with its hardware + elec items. I Point to paving slabs and do, after about 20m trying and using pics of 300mm slabs on bit of tissue from restaurant, at least get the Bulgarian word for ‘Slab’. It is ‘Plozka’    

Next we proceed to where I know there is an old wood yard. Amazingly this as now gone upmarket and is sawing wood to specification. But first I go to shop nextdoor to this selling sand cement etc. I and the man there get on OK considering I have only little Bulgarian and he v. little English. But the technicalities of mortar and concrete are not easy to define this way. However, in 5 minutes his  son who speaks English, arrives on the scene and we make real progress.  Mortar is available ready mixed and we also buy a bag of cement to bring up the strength of the mix as necessary. On the bag are essential words which are difficult to find such as sand cement and telling of mix ratios etc..  Dorrette sits in the car and complains re the heat. ‘Hurry up' she chides.  With the biz owner and his son I say ‘women are like this the world over –   I told her to get out and walk in the cool---'      

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

sad to see this prescriptive education forced upon children and teachers

It makes me very sad to see this prescriptive education forced upon children and teachers; it is killing and spoiling the sense of adventure and enjoyment that is possible in their early years

    I was fortunate enough to teach in primary school before the national curriculum became the all consuming rule that it is now. With a class sitting in groups of mixed ability children it was possible to organise so the more able could help the less able. 
Then on each Friday afternoon came the time for ‘class competition’ – all the children sat up straight and one was chosen to be at the board to put up the marks scored and discipline any who spoke out of turn by taking a mark from their team.. I sat and guided what went on and usually found a different group to win each week.  
    There was almost complete silence in the room as these very interested children did their very best in work often of their own choice.
    Now this free method of working with children is gone and with it the value of real education and enjoyment for the children;  now the chance for teachers to teach and use their own skills to the maximum is lost.
    Prescriptive education is now being forced upon our children and teachers and kills and spoils the sense of adventure that can be felt in early education;  can we not allow children to be children at least till they reach 10 years of age and give them worthwhile ideas and ways to keep them through the rest of their lives.   

Thursday, 28 March 2013

We are building LINK co-operative and ---

     Campaigning in 2013             
   LINK co-operative UUA
    07802 741346 , 07400444291,

Friendly yet  Serious Meetings for jobs, health & wellbeing
Providing Community transport at reasonable rates
Opening our Co-op Centre - Saturdays 1900 - join us, ‘drop in’ 
Sending kids clothes to Kenya pls bring any you can
We are building LINK co-operative and it’s various ventures...  Membership is free and all we really ask is that, when you can, you make an effort to attend our meetings and share your experiences.  - This happens as ‘FRIENDLY FORUM’  every month. Usually on Fridays, occasionally Thursdays; details are in this paper or visit 
     I’m John Broadhead, editor and ‘co-ordinator’ - it means I try to make sure everything happens as planned and of course that’s impossible; but we are here whatever and it’s all part of the friendly fun & liveliness of LINK co-operative.
    Working together on the events and getting people along when they need transport, is Steven Jhakra, who runs E Comm, engaging the community and transport. We met outside the ‘every little helps’ shop and Steven helps more than a little in many ways!
    Evans Gallo is our political editor - he talks, rightly, about ‘checks and balances’, definitely a politician!  Sometimes we do politics and we hope to have a benficial influence on life in general , in finding jobs and homes.    

Sunday, 13 January 2013

There comes a time where good sense must prevail.

The recent Con/ Lib Dem presentation on the coalitions success is my point. Yes, it has been a success, as, though sometimes a bumpy ride, it gives the first signs of govt parties trying to work together. This is an essential if the UK is to move forward in these straightened times.

It even requires that Labour, and all other parties should join this coalition!  Only when govt goes forward with proper and full debate representing all views can we quickly move forward –

Government is not just about producing a leading nation but is about providing a place to live in wellbeing without the stress and struggle we presently have.
Let mps, ministers , and prime minister come out from their  ‘ivory tower’ and travel extensively and join in debate at street level, then they will see what to do We need to be in this process together.
When we have this real effort to put things right, in education, in job provision, in financial management, and in genuine concern for all people,  then, and only then, can the country pull through.
We have the infrastructure already – rather than build, build, build, let us sensibly and carefully provide what’s needed.  An all party coalition,  taking this ‘street level’ approach and allowing full debate without antagonism, will soon find useful solutions to the many problems we are now facing