On towers, belfries and ringing chambers

My friend Jonathan Calder from Liberal England recounts the fun he had inspecting a church tower in Shopshire recently.

Bell towers are often interesting (and dangerous) places to visit, so should you ever find a tower door open, it’s up to you to observe suitable safety guidelines. Don’t touch the ropes, and don’t go near the actual bells without supervision! Each church bell can weigh more than a small van, and can easily kill an inexperienced person who gets too close.

It’s very true that church towers have to work hard to hold up all that heavy metal – but think on to the forces that act against the tower when each of the bells is swinging through more than a full circle to fling the clapper onto the bell lip at the sort of speed that makes the bells audible for miles.

If you visit a tower during ringing practice or service ringing, and lean against the wall, it’s not unusual to feel the whole tower swaying as it tries to cope. The bells are often hung at 180 degrees from each other so they are not all swinging in the same direction at the same time.

One final advantage of being in possession of the keys to church towers is the fantastic views you often get from their rooftops. In most rural p;aces, the church will be the highest things for miles, so you can see all sorts of surprising things. To illustrate this post, here are some photos I took with my phone when I was ringing at St Peter’s, Nottingham, for a wedding recently. It was a fine day, so we ventured out onto the roof to sunbathe, and got a reciprocal view back into my office in the Council House to the one I can usually see from my desk of the roof of St Peters.

View from roof of St Peters   View from roof of St Peters   View from roof of St Peters

The cream building in the distance is one referred to as “the Pod” by planners, and is, depending on your view, “breathtakingly audacious” / “monstrously out of place”; “award-winning” / “carbuncle” etc, etc.

Tweets on 2009-06-23

  • Half the speaker candidates didn't reply to TheyWorkForYou questions about transparency and openness. http://tr.im/pk6i #
  • Dhanda commands a wide spectrum of support – from @joswinson to @iaindale! #newspeaker #
  • So… are they voting with crosses in this secret ballot? What's wrong with ranking candidates in order? #
  • RT @jamesgraham MPs could be in the pub by now if only they could figure out how to write numbers on ballot papers instead of putting an X. #
  • @ianvisits elections to councils that are tied can be resolved on a coin toss or drawing lots. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Local Solutions 2009 โ€“ Paul Scriven on the Sheffield story

This the second in our series of podcasts of recordings made at ALDC’s Local Solutions 2009 conference on Saturday in Sheffield. You can listen to Nick Clegg and Ros Scott in the first instalment.

For the second hour, the leader of Sheffield city council Cllr Paul Scriven gave delegates a detailed explanation of how the Lib Dems won Sheffield – and most importantly of all, what they did with the power once they had it. It’s an inspiring story of decentralisation and empowerment of the local citizenry and is well worth forwarding around any of your colleagues who want to know what a difference Lib Dems can really make.

Amongst the good ideas are:

  • Driving me crazy” – getting local drivers to contact council on irritating road schemes and then making a difference
  • Consultation – going out to people at workplaces and schools to ask them what matters rather than a city centre marquee
  • Ending city-centric policy making
  • Huge new powers and budgets for area committees – which devolves decision making to local people and gives back bench councillors real decisions they can make
  • Involving the public in recruiting a new chief exec

Sheffield Local Solutions 2009

You can listen to the sound file right here on the web, or you can download it for use with your MP3 player. Why not listen to the conference next time youโ€™re out delivering leaflets? If you use iTunes you can search the podcast directory for Lib Dem Voice; for other podcast software, you can use this RSS feed of LDVโ€™s audio content.

Tomorrow’s instalment is a session by Mo Baines of APSE on the carbon reduction commitment for public authorities.

BREAKING โ€“ first #newspeaker results

A few very brief words from the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party as mediated by twitter:

PaulRowen Waiting to vote in the next round of the Speaker’s election, Beckett, Bercow, Haselhurst, Widdecombe and Young all still standing

joswinson Beckett, Beith, Bercow, Haselhurst, Widdecombe and Young all standing for next round #newspeaker

joswinson Bercow 179, Young 112, Beckett 74 – Shepherd, Cormack, Lord and sadly Dhanda all out #newspeaker

SandraGidley Pleased that J B won 1st round but how will it change after re allocation of votes. Not over til fat lady stops voting

SandraGidley Then we will have to wait for new papers to be printed. What’s wrong with a quick sweep with the black. Markers on the old ones.

SandraGidley Bercow won first time round. Shepherd, lord, cormack and dhanda out. 10 mins for others to withdraw.

EDIT: follow the action as it happens on liberal tweets or on the #newspeaker hashtag (awfully busy!)

EDIT: SEE ALSO: Steve Webb almost liveblogging.

Tweets on 2009-06-22

  • Two songs on the brain. "Open now the chocolate fountain, whence the healing streams doth flow." #
  • And Flanders and Swann, the Slow Train, since Lady Mark told me yesterday that he and Ros Scott were heading to Chorlton cum Hardy. #
  • @chrishughes didn't say the other day how much "It's a trap!!!" made me laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ have been repeating it often. #
  • @lgalibdems @edfordham just completed the constitution magnets – did I lose a "by" or was it left off? #
  • http://twitpic.com/80kfj – That 5/10 minute speech plan in full. #
  • http://twitpic.com/80kgh – Not bad – either as conference food or from an "eatwell plate" perspective. #
  • http://twitpic.com/80kiv – The LGA Lib Dem Group had a fridge magnet word game of the Federal Constitution #
  • http://twitpic.com/80kiv – NB, I got some of the words in the wrong order. This is because I am not enslaved by conformity. #
  • Eek, ShoZu has gone mad and posted loads of twitpics all at once. #
  • @edfordham yeah, it's brilliant – but was "by" missing or have I lost it? #
  • @edfordham @helenduffett I know it's the preamble to… but 140 characters sometimes requires brevity! #
  • Jealous of neighbour's rotary spinner. We have a big garden, but there's nowhere to put one without the points touching the hedges. #
  • @edfordham PS you at LGA Conference next week? #
  • http://twitpic.com/80shk – Overflowing bottle bank #
  • @kayray rotary spinner airer for laundry like one of these http://tr.im/pfy0 – even in nicest weather ours ends up being dried indoors ๐Ÿ˜ฆ #
  • Mmm, fondue. #
  • @edfordham Aha, I found the "by" – it was my fault all along. Yes, will be at LGA conf. Have half an eye to LDV content if anything occurs #
  • Listening in to the Westminster Hour – scant weeks after quitting the party's employ, @markpack is queuing up to dish dirt on the #libdems #
  • Woo, here comes @markpack on the Westminster Hour. #
  • Dammit 12seconds.tv where have your permalinks gone in this new upgrade? #
  • Booking a hotel for #ldconf – the Queen's Hotel. Hmm. #
  • 12seconds – Brass band interrupts training session http://tiny12.tv/VESFF #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Local Solutions 2009 โ€“ Nick Clegg and Ros Scott

For four mornings this week, LDV will be bringing you audio recordings of the proceedings at ALDC’s Local Solutions conference for Lib Dem councillors. One of the features of this event is to cram in as much as possible – including training sessions clashing with plenary sessions, which means many attendees themselves may not have heard the plenary. First up this morning is Saturday’s early morning session with party leader Nick Clegg MP and party president Baroness Ros Scott.

Sheffield Local Solutions 2009

You can listen to the sound file right here on the web, or you can download it for use with your MP3 player. Why not listen to the conference next time you’re out delivering leaflets? If you use iTunes you can search the podcast directory for Lib Dem Voice; for other podcast software, you can use this RSS feed of LDV’s audio content.

Tune in at 11am tomorrow for Cllr Paul Scriven’s account of how the Liberal Democrats are transforming Sheffield.

NB, the photo is of the multistorey carpark ALDC recommended drivers to use, a very few minutes walk from the town hall and the conference hotel. Very interesting treatment of the outside. It’s the same car park Will Howells calls “the best car park ever“. It’s not, however, a car park that my satnav could easily find.

Local Solutions 2009 โ€“ first responses

Yesterday, I was at ALDC’s local government conference in the very heart of Sheffield, in a very contemporary new hotel right next door to the Town Hall. It was a smashing day with many useful lessons to learn, and just the event to spur Lib Dem campaigners onto greater heights when we return home.

The day included an interesting variety of main speakers, and simultaneous fringe meetings, so as a service both those who were there and couldn’t be in two places at once, and to those who couldn’t make it all, I will be podcasting sound recordings of all the plenary sessions here on the Voice every morning next week at 11am.

To kick start, here’s a very brief vox pop with delegates at the conference from around the country.

Tomorrow morning – the introductory plenary session with Nick Clegg MP and Baroness Ros Scott.

Tweets on 2009-06-20

  • Hmmm. Across town to garage to head for next meeting. Eek, no car! Oh yes. Came by bus today. Whoops. #
  • Just got home. Someone appears to have left a chocolate fountain on the dining room table. #
  • Omg, the LGA Lib Dems have the federal constitution as fridge magnet word game. #
  • Nick Clegg to Lib Dem councillors: it's time to replace the Labour party. #
  • Ros Scott: we will have a robust system to investigate expenses, not kangaroo courts. #
  • Clegg: Westminster has gone from mother of all parliaments to eunuch of all parliaments. #
  • Oh, dear, my N95 has crashed and died twice this morning. #
  • London and metropolitan councils worried their election to be shared with general election for first time since 1979. #
  • Eek, just heard about Dunnline fire – hope everyone's ok! #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

LDV at Local Solutions 2009

LDV will be represented tomorrow at ALDC’s Local Solutions 2009 conference in Sheffield. It’ll be a first outing for the exciting new Lib Dem Voice banner.


We’ll be there to help raise the profile of the site, and to ask Lib Dem councillors to write their stories up for us. We’re always on the look out to beef up our local government coverage with stories the Lib Dems at the coalface who are actually running things. Could you write a piece about an exciting Lib Dem achievement in your area? If not write… why not phone the podcast hotline on 020 7617 7221 and tell us about it?

We’ll also be working with Laura Willoughby, representing the Be A Councillor campaign, who will be videoing councillors for an exciting new website aimed at local government aspirants.

And like last year, we hope to tape some of the plenary sessions from conference and bring them to you as podcasts next week.

PS I’m also going to LGA Conf at the end of June. Anyone else going?