Friday, June 30, 2006

North Mymms Community Centre help needed

The North Mymms Youth and Community Centre is still in need of new volunteers to help with its upkeep. Despite recent appeals in the local press and on the Brookmans Park Website, there has been very little response.

The Centre is extremely well used by the local community, but it is not directly funded by the local authority or parish council, although both have and do help with practical assistance when possible. Primarily it relies on fund raising and volunteer labour to keep it going.

As a venue for many local organisations and for family parties and gatherings, it needs an enegetic and enthusiastic management committee. If you could help,please email the center by clicking here.

A recent re-launch of a youth club at the Centre by Welwyn Hatfield Youth Partnership and The Welham Green Youth Project unfortunately was unsuccessful. Due to a number of anti-social youths spoiling it for the majority of the young people in the village, over £1000 worth of damage was done to the Centre in under 2 months.

A burnt out car at the community centre

Regretably, both the organisers of the club and the management committee of the Centre were agreed that the club had to close as it was clearly also damaging relationships with the many other users of the Centre and risked the Centre losing bookings as a result.

Damage at that level was unsustainable. Besides, the Centre was already providing a venue for may activities for young people through other organisations with no damage.

The resulting damage to the garage doors

Unfortunately, damage around the Centre has continued, with the now empty garages on the site having been targetted. Two of them have asbestos roofing and have now been damaged by youngsters climbing on them and falling through. They urgently need to be removed, but at a cost of around £1000 for each garage, the centre would like to seek assistance from the local community.

If anyone is in contact with, owns or works for a licensed asbestos removal/building contractor, please email the center by clicking here.

It has been decided not to replace the roofs as the doors have been damaged by frequent attempts to break in and when a car was abandonned and burnt out beside one earlier this year. Also, there is evidence that the garages have been used for drug taking and therefore will not be repaired.

It is a sad state of affairs, but to continue to provide a safe and popular local venue for local people, the Centre's committee must take this action. Unfortunately, the cost of removal is equivalent to around a third of the Centre's normal annual running costs. Any help would be welcome.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Overcrowded trains or roads?

Train fares double in secret deal by ministers

By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

From the Times Online

The good news seems to be that First Capital Connect has had a rethink on the off peak fares from Brookmans Park and Welham Green.

A spokesman for First, which has rebranded the Thameslink franchise as First Capital Connect, said that it expected to reduce the number of passengers on trains between 4.30pm and 7pm by 13 per cent. First will announce today a partial retreat by reducing the number of stations affected from 37 to 27.

The previous rules on the use of cheap fares will be reintroduced at Cuffley, Bayford, Watton at Stone, Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Radlett, Hatfield, Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City and Potters Bar.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Fermi Paradox

Have you ever looked up at the sky on one of those nights where the sky is clear and the stars shine with a beauty unmatched and un-captured by any work of art? When you did, did you find yourself wondering if there was any other intelligent life out there? After all there are up to 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone and there are about 100 billion galaxies. With such mind numbingly huge numbers, no matter how rarely life appears, surely there must aliens out there? Mustn’t there?

Back in the 1950’s a man by the name of Enrico Fermi asked himself the same question. But Enrico was smarter than the average bear and he new a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. He was a physicist and knew how to work with big numbers, so he started drawing up calculations. He realised that if the people on Earth really wanted to (and they would have to really want to) then within the next couple of centuries they could build space ships that could reach nearby stars. These wouldn’t be your Captain Kirk, warp factor 9 space ships, which could get you to Sirius in time for tea. These would be slow, big ships which would take decades. They would be one way tickets and the passengers would have to build a colony. But they would do it on a new planet around a new star. Then, thinking a bit more, Enrico decided that within a few centuries these colonies would probably send out their own ships and start the process again. If, on average, each colony created two more colonies then the whole galaxy would be full of humans in about a million years.

Only trouble was that Enrio knew something else. The sun is a second generation star and (for reasons I won’t explain now) only second generation stars can support life. It’s been around for 4.5 billion years, which makes it middle aged. Some second generation stars are much older. Billions of years older. And if one of these stars had of had a race of little green men grow up on one of its planets, then they would have been buying up the real estate on Earth long before the Dinosaurs got their turn.

So where on Earth, and I do mean on Earth, are they? Did they all decide to stay at home? Did they all die in a nuclear war or plague? Maybe some of them stoped, maybe some of them had a cold war that turned hot. But all of them? Every one? Because it would only take one to keep going, get lucky and fill the galaxy.

Ok, so maybe Enrico was wrong. Maybe it’s just too hard and everyone has stayed at home. No colonies, no captain Kirk. Just one very final frontier. But that’s not the end of it. Every day our TV programmes, ham radio calls and mobile phone calls get beamed into space. Not deliberately, but out they go and they go for ever. Somewhere, 44 light years away, the original broadcast of Doctor Who is heading out into the vast unknown. And the same should be true of our alien cousins. Our radio telescopes are fine enough to detect the faintest whisper of the broadcast of Big Alien Brother anywhere in the galaxy. We do listen and we are very good are recognising random static from an encrypted message. But we haven’t heard anything. It’s as silent as a grave!

And this is the Fermi Paradox: The stars suggest that extraterrestrial life should be common, but where are they? Maybe we are alone.

Royals 'cost the taxpayer £37.4m'

From BBC News

The Queen and the Royal Family cost the UK taxpayer £37.4m in the last financial year, her financial public accounts reveal.

The cost, equivalent to 62p per person in the UK, rose 4.2% over the previous year, accountants said."

Should the royal family continue to receive money from the taxpayer?

Monday, June 26, 2006

No superstores 'means prosperity'

BBC News Online is carrying a report today quoting the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Plunkett Foundation, which claims that shops, employment and the countryside in England all flourish if plans for superstores are refused.

The report focuses on Saxmundham in East
Suffolk where planning permmission for an outside town superstore was refused in 1997.

The following is taken from the BBC report.

"The area's butchers, bakers, fish shops and greengrocers have since prospered, the report says. It says the evidence should inspire UK-wide action.

Benefits of rejecting the supermarket included small stores doing well, an increase in farm shops and markets, more firms adding choice and value and local stores helping to keep communities alive, the report said.

It also ensured local countryside was well managed and served the community.

In the area around Saxmundham, the number of food suppliers rose from 300, in 1997, to 370.

And the number of shops - 81 - had remained constant, bucking the national trend."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

An anthem for England

Next Saturday, England play Portugal in the quarter final of the World Cup and before the game the payers will stand to attention and pretend to remember the words to God Save the Queen.

But why? God Save the Queen is the British anthem, not the English one. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. The Scots, the Welsh and the Irish each have their own anthem, why not the English?

This may be more important a question than it first appears. One on the pressures on the United Kingdom is the resentment that springs from the confusion between British and English. Foreigners confuse them and so do the English. As a result the English have no distinct identity and the other parts of the UK, who have no desire to be thought of as English, become primarily Scottish, Welsh or Irish and less British. This increased national identity is in turn resented by the English, who look with jealously on the national pride these countries have.

We should separate Englishness from Britishness and a good place to start is by having a separate anthem. Jerusalem would be a good candidate. It is virtually the English rugby teams anthem already and it stirs the heart just as well as Flower of Scotland.

Shoppers 'want long Sunday hours'

Which camp do you fall into?

My Sunday My Choice
Keep Sunday Special?

This from BBC News Online.

More than half of consumers want shops to open for longer on Sundays, research suggests.

The findings come from a YouGov poll carried out for the My Sunday My Choice campaign, which wants the Sunday trading laws to be deregulated.

The government is currently reviewing the restrictions on trading, which let shops open for six hours on a Sunday.

A rival campaign called Keep Sunday Special says it wants to see the day return to a family day of rest."

In my view having choice is special.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Iran, Trident and leadership

Currently the UK is among a group of Western countries trying to persuade, or cajole, Iran into giving up its plans to develop nuclear power. The powers believe, despite Iranian denials, that Iran’s real intention is to develop nuclear weapons. The West feels that Iran is not to be trusted with such WMDs and is quick to point out that development of such weapons would breach Iran’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. What the West in general and the UK in particular fail to point out is that article VI of the same treaty calls on the existing nuclear powers to undergo “…general and complete disarmament …”

So, the UK is breaching its own treaty obligations and has been for a number of years by not disarming. Up to now it could put up an arguable case as to why it had to retain a nuclear arsenal, but with the end of the Cold War and Trident reaching the end of its shelf life, this becomes much harder. It could (and will) point to the threat poised by the newer nuclear powers and the danger of rouge states giving terrorists nuclear weapons to justify upgrading. But Iran could use the same arguments to justify withdrawal from the treaty under article 10, which covers “..extraordinary events..” such as perceived threats.

Should the UK use the conjunction of Trident and Iran to show some leadership and offer unilateral nuclear disarmament, provided Iran gives enforceable undertakings to forego nuclear weapons? It would enable the West to lose the stench of hypocrisy and gain the moral high ground while not forcing Iran to lose face. Or is such leadership too much to expect?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Summer fete reporters wanted

This year we are inviting local residents to report on the various local school summer fetes and post their accounts here in the Brookmans Park Newsletter's new Weblog.

You can even include pictures, although please avoid images of children and also make sure you have obtained the permission of those you have photographed before you upload images.

If you want to write a report for the site, simply log on to the Brookmans Park Newsletter's discussion forum and send me a message asking to be registered for the Brookmans Park Newsletter Weblog.

For more information on the fetes, click here.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Joke For The Day

There once was a young man from Australia
Who’s limericks were always a failure

His rymeing was fine
But he forgot the fifth line



There was a young man from crew
Who’s limericks would stop at line two



There was a young man of Verdun

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Joke For The Day

There was a young man of Milan
Whose poems, they never would scan;
When asked why it was,
He said, "It's because
I always try to get as many words into the last line as I possibly can"

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lioness kills visitor at Kiev zoo

This story was posted in the Christians in Brookmans Park thread in the Brookmans Park Newsletter Forum but moved here to the Weblog.

From BBC News Online...

A lioness at Kiev's zoo has killed a man who climbed into her enclosure.

A Ukrainian of Azerbaijani origin lowered himself into the enclosure using a rope. He was quoted as saying God would save him.

One of four lions in the enclosure seized the 45-year-old by the throat, and he died at the scene."

If you want to comment you can add your views by clicking on the 'comment' link below.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Debate

The Vicar of St Mary's C of E, North Mymms, Revd. Sally Davenport, has written about the Da Vinci Code in this month's parish magazine.

"We always have a choice – to withdraw or to engage with our culture, its values and ideas ..."

Revd Davenport continues...

"... None of us have the whole truth and there’s always more we can learn from each other – often provoked from the most surprising sources."

You can read the entire article by clicking here or add your comments below.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Crouch, top man for England

Well, who else is there?

Okay, he looks as though he is going to fall over everytime he approaches the ball, but he puts them away.

England 6-0 Jamaica

"A Peter Crouch hat-trick rounded off England's World Cup preparations in style with an easy win over Jamaica.

Frank Lampard swept England into an early lead, which was doubled by Jermaine Taylor's own goal.

Crouch scored England's third from a set-piece, before Michael Owen rounded keeper Donovan Ricketts to make it 4-0.

After tapping in the fifth from Jamie Carragher's cross, Crouch blazed a late penalty over the bar but completed his hat-trick from Owen's pass."

(yes, okay, I am a life-long Liverpool fan.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Could Arsenal get thrown out of the Champions League?

A BBC Newsnight investigation raises a rather gloomy prospect for all Arsenal fans.

According to the BBC...

"Fifa has launched a probe into whether Arsenal have broken regulations which may leave the club exposed to possible expulsion from the Champions League.

BC Newsnight has learnt that a police probe in Belgium has concluded Arsenal made secret payments of £1m to Beveren.

"If Arsenal secretly controlled another club, especially one such as Beveren who they bought Emmanuel Eboue from, they could be in breach of FIFA rules and could be heavily fined or even thrown out of the Champions League."

More on FC Beveren from Wikipedia.