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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Milk Cow Blues - A Case Study



Interesting study of a song, its evolution and variations

Texas State University - go straight to pdf file, with illustrations, by searching for The Many Faces of "Milk Cow Blues"

Johnny Lee Wills version - Guy "Cotton" Thompson on vocals.

DECCA 5985 - JOHNNY LEE WILLS - MILK COW BLUES C93702 -  4/28/41

Doc Watson version

See also these comments

Monday, 28 December 2015

Charmouth, Dorset: Cliff-Fall, Fossil-Hunters



From MailOnline, Jennifer Newton  


"Fossil hunters race to a Dorset beach after a Christmas cliff-fall revealed the remains of hundreds of ancient creatures - Adverse weather caused a cliff fall before Christmas in Charmouth, Dorset -
The collapse revealed the remains of hundreds of ancient fossils on beach - Fossil hunters have flocked to the shore in a bid to collect souvenirs" 


USA: John Paul Jones - Scottish Father of the American Navy




We visited the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and learnt about the revered naval officer
and hero of the Revolutionary War, Commodore John Paul Jones (1247-1792).

He was born in  Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. 










USA - Counting the Cost


The Washington Post

"Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian".


Sunday, 27 December 2015

Ethiopian Christmas



For those of you who haven't seen my 1970's film on Ethiopia (featuring Christmas at Lalibela), or who might want to see it again, here's the YouTube link. It's just passed the 15,000 viewings mark.

There's still time to plan a trip to Lalibela for Ethiopian Christmas (January 7, 2016, Julian calendar).


Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Day in DC



It's going to be around 20 degrees centigrade in Washington DC today.

 The  birds are singing happily.





Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Greece: Unpopular Reforms



Is Greece really on the road to recovery? Jonty Bloom, BBC

Possibly not:

Update from e-typos - Δίνουν «χρυσά» αναδρομικά σε συνταξιούχους βουλευτές

Die Welt interview - "Was Griechenland leistet, ist eine Farce" - "Bayerns Innenminister Joachim Herrmann empfindet die mangelhafte Kontrolle von Einreisenden nach den Pariser IS-Morden als "Armutszeugnis". Eigentlich müsste Griechenland den Schengen-Raum verlassen".

Update, January 2, 2016 - Property Values - New objective values to come in a few days' time (Kathimerini)





Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Theodore Stephanides, translator extraordinary: his work on Greek poets from Sappho to Palamas



This promises to be a fascinating talk by Dr. Anthony Hirst:

THEODORE STEPHANIDES, TRANSLATOR EXTRAORDINARY

Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus, London

18/01/2016 (17:30-19:00)

"Theodore Stephanides (1896–1983) — doctor, pioneer radiologist and authority on freshwater micro-organisms — is widely known as a character in books of 1930s Corfu reminiscences by Gerald and Lawrence Durrell. Among neo-hellenists, though, he may be better known as the author of two eccentric volumes of memoirs, Climax in Crete and Island Trails, or as the translator of Kornaros’ Erotocritos(1984), and, with the collaboration of George Katsimbalis, of two major works by Kostis Palamas, The Twelve Words of the Gypsy (1975) and The King’s Flute (1982). What is known to very few, though, is the full extent of his work as a translator of Greek poetry, since more than half of it has not yet been published. Stephanides was also a minor English poet; and it is as a poet that he translates poetry, practising a rigorous form of verse translation — always a perilous task, and it is easy to find places where Stephanides does not succeed (as reviewers have done). I will try to show, though, that for the most part he does succeed, and often magnificently" - Anthony Hirst.


BOOK LAUNCH

The Ionian Islands: Aspects of their History and Culture, edited by Anthony Hirst and Patrick Sammon (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014)

Sweet-Voiced Sappho: Translations from Sappho and other Ancient Greek poets, by Theodore Stephanides, with facing Greek text, edited by Anthony Hirst (London: Colenso Books, 2015).

Iakovos Kambanellis, Three Plays: The Courtyard of Wonders, The Four Legs of the Table, Ibsenland, translated by Marjorie Chambers (London: Colenso Books, 2015).


Weymouth-London, New Train Route Plan?



Train journey times to London could be slashed if new multi-million pound project gets green light - Dorset Echo


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Up from Somerset



Well before my time (written 1913), but great fun -
"an Edwardian drawing-room ballad", words by Fred Weatherly, music Wilfrid Sanderson



"Oh, we'm come up from Somerset,
Where the cider apples grow,
We'm come to see your Majesty,
An' how the world do go.
And when you're wanting anyone,
If you'll kindly let us know,
We'll all come up from Somerset,
Because we loves you so!"


"Up from Somerset" - Malcolm McEachern

Benjamin Luxon (with lyrics)

Peter Dawson

Frederick Harvey

Stanley Kirkby (Edison Phonograph Cylinder)

A different video

Cleaner sound



See also, posting on "Danny Boy"

Greece: Debating (and Postponing) the Cuts



From eKathimerini

"Authorities won some time by putting off until January hugely unpopular plans for pension sector reform and postponing until mid-February a decision on whether the mortgages on first homes and loans held by small and medium-sized businesses will also be opened up to a new market selling NPLs. The regulations going to a vote on Tuesday night only concern loans held by large corporations, with a staff of more than 250 people and a turnover in excess of 50 million euros a year, and mortgages on properties that are not first homes".

- τα δύσκολα θέματα –ασφαλιστικό, συντάξεις, φορολόγηση αγροτών, φορολογικό νομοσχέδιο– έχουν μετατεθεί για τον επόμενο μήνα

Still many hurdles to jump.

Progress of previous years reversed in just a few months, eKathimerini

Creditors force Greek gov’t to withdraw economic bill to secure aid, sources say






Somerset: The Dialect of West Somerset; Frederick Thomas Elworthy, 1877




















-and an account of the Evil Eye!




UK: Public Art Missing; Lost Sculptures



A campaign to find lost art works The Telegraph - "Historic England have issued a plea for the public to help find dozens of lost post-war sculptures"


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Klaus Regling, ESM, Interview Transcript, Concerning Greece




Interview with Klaus Regling, Managing Director, ESM.
Published in To Vima, 13 December 2015 (English Transcript) 
From the ESM pdf file

Could you explain why Greece remains the only eurozone country still in an adjustment program? Do you understand why we had to reach the brink of collapse before an agreement was reached? 

“This is a very good question. Many people ask me about this and not only from Greece. I believe there are three reasons. First, when we got into the eurocrisis in 2009 – 2010, Greece had the most serious problems. When you look at the fiscal deficit, it was higher in Greece than in Ireland and Portugal. When you look at the trade and current account deficit, it was the highest compared to GDP. The loss in competitiveness was the most serious. The second reason is that the Greek administration is sometimes weaker than we thought. What needed to be fixed took longer because the implementation capacity was weaker. The third reason was, of course, what happened earlier this year. After the January elections, the government of Prime Minister Tsipras changed directions, did not continue the reforms, even reversed some of them. That was a relapse because you remember that in 2014, growth had reappeared, unemployment began to fall and the government was able to issue bonds again. These first signs of success disappeared in the first half of this year but I have no doubt that Greece can now go back to that situation.”

 Would you say that the economic projections included in the previous two MoUs were overoptimistic? Can we be sure that this time they will be avoided?

 “Certainly, with the benefit of hindsight, we know that some of the projections back in 2010 were over-optimistic. I think that in the beginning the magnitude of the problems was underestimated. We also did not have experience dealing with a country facing so many misalignments. However, this happened, we cannot change it, and we have to live with it. Now the forecasts are more realistic. We are trying to learn but also the problems Greece is facing today are much smaller compared to 2010. A lot of adjustment has actually already happened even though there are still many things to do.” 

Would you say there is real political will from the Tsipras government to reform Greece? I insist on this because the Prime Minister and some of his ministers keep saying every so often that the MoU is not what they wanted but it was imposed on them… In your opinion, is there Greek ownership of the program? 

“Some of the statements we sometimes hear are not so encouraging. But in general I take the view that there was a second election and the program presented to the voters by Prime Minister Tsipras and his team was very clear and he got the majority for that. The mandate was very clear and 75% of the Greek people want the country to stay in the euro area. This is a big difference compared to January – February this year.” 

As we are approaching the difficult reform of the pension system, it looks like the Greek government is starting to feel some arrhythmias. Would you say that the social cost of new pension cuts is too high and could bring back political instability in Greece? 

“I am not an expert on pension reform but I know that pension reforms have been difficult in every country in Europe for obvious reasons: it means that old rights in which people believed are changed. It is going to be difficult for Greece, too, but this is an issue that has to be tackled. The Greek pension system is among the most expensive systems in the EU in terms of GDP. This is out of line with the size of the economy and the standards of living. But there are also other elements, such as early retirement, which create problems for the labor market.”

 Are you certain that the IMF will participate in the Greek program? There is a sense that this may not be so easy and the Greek government has recently appeared critical of the IMF’s role... 

“My assumption is that the IMF will participate. The conditions are the conclusion of the first review, more information about pension reform, some specification of the budget orientations and some kind of agreement on additional debt relief. However, I am a bit surprised about the uncertainty expressed by the Greek side because the agreement of the Heads of State and Government last July and the decision of last August’s Eurogroup very clearly mention that the IMF should be part of the program. The ESM Treaty also says that the IMF should contribute to an ESM program whenever possible. We are talking about an economic adjustment program and therefore IMF participation is possible. This is what the ESM Treaty says which, by the way, was ratified by the Greek Parliament and Greece is not only a recipient of ESM money but also a shareholder. The language in the ESM Treaty is very clear and I am confident the IMF will come on board.”

 If the Fund does participate, how will this happen and with how much money? If it decides to withdraw, would the program run aground or do alternative scenarios exist?

 “I think that the IMF’s financial contribution is likely to be small but this is not the main issue. There has to be a financial contribution because the IMF, according to the ESM Treaty and to the agreement in the July Summit, should be part of the program also financially. It will not be like in 2010 when the IMF put in one third of the money. It is not my scenario that the IMF will not participate because, even if you put aside the July agreements, some member states which have to obtain the approval of their parliaments for every tranche of the program, know the ESM Treaty and the understandings reached. If the IMF decides not to participate it could be a big problem. But it is not my scenario.”

 You know better than anyone else the issue concerning Greek debt sustainability. It is also an issue of disagreement between the Europeans and the IMF, concerning the methodology used. Why do you believe that the ESM approach is better? 

“I think more recently there has been a convergence between our analysis and the IMF’s. The ESM programs have created something new. When the IMF alone steps in after a country loses market access, it is a situation where only the IMF is available as a lender of last resort. In Europe we have the ESM and we provide much more money than the IMF could do, with much better terms: longer maturities and much lower interest rates. This means that debt sustainability can be achieved even when the debt stock is very high. Initially, this has not happened in countries outside Europe. The actual annual debt service ratios become more important and they are small because of the conditions the ESM offers. We know that the actual annual debt payments for Greece over the next eight years are very small. There is no excessive debt burden for these years. After these years, it goes up because the interest deferral comes to an end.” 

What options are on the table concerning debt relief? Would it be a short-term or a medium-term solution? 

“I think it is more a medium-term issue. There will be no nominal haircut and the Greek government understands that, I believe. We will try to soften the debt profile. We all want to make Greece attractive to investment. We know that when debt is unsustainable, investors are reluctant to go into a country. If we manage to extend a bit longer the period in which the debt repayments are already low, then I think we will create incentives for foreign investment, not only financial investment but also investment for the real economy which has a longer-term time horizon.”

Should there be some extra conditionality for debt relief after the end of the program in 2018?

“I am sure that this will be discussed because we are talking about very long timeframes. At the same time it is important to realize that Greece as an EU and a euro area member state is already subject to a number of surveillance frameworks such as the Stability and Growth Pact or the Excessive Imbalance Procedure. They should be respected in any case.” 

How important is the formation of the new Privatizations Fund in order for the program to work? 

“This is something very important, for two reasons. One, politically it is important. It was negotiated at the top level at the end of the July summit and it is crucial to do it in the agreed time frame. Otherwise, credibility will suffer. Secondly, privatizations can help the economy become more efficient. We are not talking about privatizations at any cost or about fire sales. There has been so much financing from the ESM that there is no need for fire sales. There are certain public activities that could be run better by private investors or investors from the outside. I am thinking of the Piraeus port and this is a good example of what is possible.”

 Recently, the third recapitalization of the Greek banking sector was finalized. However, it looks like a lot of public money used in previous recapitalizations was lost. Are you satisfied by the way the last recap took place? 

“It seems to me that now the Greek banking sector is becoming much healthier. But it is unfortunate that this is already the third round of the recapitalization of Greek banks. One can argue that the Greek government lost money but also many private investors lost money. It was good that we got the interest of private investors even after the previous ones lost money.”

 Do you think that Greece has a real chance to access the markets by the end of 2016?

 “Some partial refinancing from the markets by the end of 2016 could take place. But by that time there will not be a proper exit from the ESM program which runs until 2018. Greece’s progressive return to the market requires of course full implementation of the program so that credibility is restored. That would be very positive because it is always good for program countries to test the markets early and not to wait until the program ends, by when full market financing is needed again.”

 Could you say, with a clear Yes or No, that Grexit is off the table or does it stay in the background? 

“The monetary union was designed in a way that no exit of any country was anticipated. Therefore, there is no framework for that. Greece has agreed to implement reforms which are necessary so that its partners can provide the financing needed and Greece can return to a sustainable economic situation. But ultimately the possibility is always there, if commitments as a member of monetary union are not respected.”

William Barnes: Some Dorset Dialect Poems - How They Sounded; T.L.Burton; Christmas Poems and Others, 1844


Listen to mp3 recordings by T. L. Burton, poems from Barnes' First Collection, 1844




From the Preface:  "Whatever the individual merits of recordings made by current speakers of Dorset dialects, there are numerous differences in pronunciation amongst them, and none of them reproduces the dialect quite as Barnes represents it".

"This series, developed from Tom Burton’s groundbreaking study, William Barnes’s Dialect Poems: A Pronunciation Guide (The Chaucer Studio Press, 2010), sets out to demonstrate for the first time what all of Barnes’s dialect poems would have sounded like in the pronunciation of his own time and place. Every poem is accompanied by a facing-page phonemic transcript and by an audio recording freely available from this website. The free PDF includes links to the audio files as well".


Chris'mas Invitation

Keepen up o' Chris'mas

Be'mi'ster

Bob the Fiddler

Eclogue, The Common a' took In

The Vaices that be Gone


Panigyria in Greece, Old Photographs



For those of you who are on Facebook (I'm not), there are some memorable old photographs of Greek panigyria at -

https://el-gr.facebook.com/panigiriastinellada

and a few of my own:

   

 







Dorset County Hospital: Threat to Wards



Hundreds march over threat to children's ward at Dorset County Hospital (BBC)

"About 1,500 protestors have marched through Dorchester ahead of a decision on whether to cut children's services at Dorset County Hospital. A campaign to save the Kingfisher Ward and the special care baby unit has also attracted more than 26,000 signatures".

An effective protest, and a moving expression of the strength of public feeling.


Greece: New Tax System and Tax Evasion Measures



From Kathimerini (Greek) - Αλλαγές στην κλίμακα εισοδήματος, νέος φόρος ακινήτων και περιουσιολόγιο από το 2016

New measures to avoid tax evasion - a complete change in the taxation system in 2016.

On bribery and the "fakelaki" in the health system - Ενας στους τρεις δίνει «φακελάκι» για νοσοκομειακή περίθαλψη

Greek Authorities Raid UBS Branch in Athens - Greek Reporter

The deep roots of tax evasion, eKathimerini












In the Choir, the National Cathedral, Washington DC




Not me, alas. One of my talented grandsons.
I wish I could have been there.
Last month he sang Mahler at the John F. Kennedy Centre
with the Children's Chorus of Washington.


Saturday, 12 December 2015

Back in Town






Robin Trower and Paul Jones

Santa Claus is Back in Town


Louisa Adjoa Parker, "Blinking in the Light"; Dorset Writer



The Dorset Echo has a feature by Harry Hogger today (12 December) about Louisa Adjoa Parker's new volume of poetry:



I look forward to reading it. 

Lyme Regis launch, Lyme Regis Library, February 12, 2016, from 7pm.

We worked together on the anthology "Dorset Voices" (Roving Press)




Dorset Tops Poll




From Dorset Echo - "Dorset tops polls of best place to live in England, according to new services survey"

"Dorset came top of the best places to live based on all the criteria including crime, health, schools, homelessness and deprivation"

"It also came fourth in the rankings of best regions for education in terms of the highest proportion of ‘outstanding’ schools".

More on this survey

This doesn't all seem to tally with recent reports about some underachieving schools in Poole, Dorset


Greece: Pensions Reform



From Paul Taylor, Reuters - As pension reform crunch nears, Greek coalition looks fragile

Agreement on other measures (eKathimerini)

«Κλείδωσε» η συμφωνία Αθήνας με τρόικα

Simon Nixon, The Wall Street Journal

"In practice, there may be trouble ahead. Athens is already gearing up for fights with it creditors over many of the details of the deal that it agreed in August, including reforms of the unsustainable pension system, liberalisation of the labour and energy markets, the creation of a new privatisation fund and reform of the taxation of farmers, whose remarkably generous arrangements are widely abused",

Also published in The Times








Friday, 11 December 2015

Greek Folk-Songs in English, Lucy M.J. Garnett, 1885










Why The Mountains Are Black - Mind-Expanding Greek Music






THIRD MAN RECORDS RELEASE PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED
GREEK FOLK RECORDINGS FEBRUARY 5, 2016 on CD and VINYL




(NASHVILLE, TN) -- "Third Man Records is proud to present on CD and vinyl a truly rare musical oddity- a two disc collection of primal and unhinged Greek village music that at times sounds more like free jazz or doom folk, feral and trance-like as it is. After years of research, fieldwork and collecting, Christopher King-Grammy-winning producer, sound-engineer, curator and writer- has gathered together from his private 78 rpm archive the most mind expanding and libido inducing song and dance music from the rural hinterlands of mainland Greece and its islands. Recorded between 1907 and 1960, this collection contains the first and the last-the alpha and the omega-of Greek demotika- or folk music. And it is not what you would expect.

Remastered from the original 78 rpm discs, this set contains 28 previously unissued recordings made in the cramped, primitive studios of Athens, Greece, New York, NY, and Chicago, IL. Crazed Macedonian bagpipes, keening violins, shiver-inducing zournas and shepherd-pipes are found throughout the two discs. Cover artwork is by legendary underground artist R. Crumb and designed by Grammy winning Susan Archie. A beautifully thought-provoking if not radical essay on this music by King accompanies the lavish package. Not simply for historians or collectors of long gone sounds, this compilation is intended to push the limits of what we have come to expect of music, its purpose and indeed its origin. You will experience a profound musical transformation immediately upon listening".


LA Times - Sasha Frere-Jones -'Why the Mountains Are Black' aims to show music as a 'tool for survival'

Greek musical artefacts find a home on Jack White’s imprint, The Daily Progress, Charlottesville

Interview with Chris King, in Greek - Μαρία-Άννα Τανάγια

NPR - Anastasia Tsioulcas

Ethnos interview, George Skafidas

Ο Αμερικανός που σώζει την παραδοσιακή μας μουσική - news 247

Popaganda interview

ngradio interview

Chicago Reader - Scholar Christopher C. King overseees another raw collection of antique rural Greek music
















Oxford: Winter in Victorian Times



Photos in Oxford Today

Wonderful black and white images - article by Olivia Williams

Cold!!!

Nobel Prize for Literature: Complete List



From Svenska Dagbladet

Click on Engelskspråkiga link to find all English-speaking prize-winners.


Corfu: EU Sues Greece over Corfu's Temploni Landfill Waste Management; EC; Tebloni



From eKathimerini - "The European Commission said Thursday that it is taking Greece to court for the inadequate management of waste at a landfill on the Ionian island of Corfu. The Commission found that the operation of the landfill near the village of Temploni, in the center of the island, has consistently flouted European waste management standards since 2007".


Στο Ευρωδικαστήριο η Ελλάδα για τον ΧΥΤΑ Τεμπλονίου στην Κέρκυρα - patrisnews.com

Η Κομισιόν εξέφρασε την έντονη ανησυχία της για τον ΧΥΤΑ στην περιοχή Τεμπλόνι, το οποίο λειτουργούσε όλο αυτό το διάστημα παραβιάζοντας την ευρωπαϊκή νομοθεσία τηε ΕΕ περί αποβλήτων και υγειονομικής ταφής, τουλάχιστον από το 2007 και αποτελεί σοβαρη απειλή για την ανθρώπινη υγεία και το περιβάλλον. Σε μια προσπάθεια ενθάρρυνσης της Ελλάδας να πάρει τα απαραίτητα μέτρα για να εξασφαλίσει την ενδεδειγμένη λειτουργία του ΧΥΤΑ, η Κομισιόν παραπέμπει στην Ελλάδα στο Ευρωδικαστήριο.








Thursday, 10 December 2015

Cecil Sharp: Photographs




From Somerset to the Appalachians

A fascinating archive of the photographs taken by pioneer folk-song collector Cecil Sharp

English Folk Song on the Margin, Yvette Staelens (pdf)

All Among the New Mown Hay, Alfred Edgell/Edgehill -
recordist Cecil Sharp, 1907, folk-song on wax cylinder - Chew Magna, Somerset, December 26, 1907


Folk Songs from Somerset - full text

From the Introduction:

"Folk-song, unknown in the drawing-room, hunted out of the school, chased by the chapel deacons, derided by the middle classes, and despised by those who have been uneducated into the three R's, takes refuge in the fastnesses of tap-rooms, poor cottages and outlying hamlets. It harbours in the heathen kingdoms and the wilder parts. It is a treasure to be sought and found in nooks and corners, underneath much mental and some moral lumber. It comes out very shyly, late at night, and is heard when the gentry have gone home to bed, when the barrack-room has exhausted its Music-hall menu. It is to be found when men have well drunk. The parson hears of it, but rarely hears it. Domesticated and holy Penelope does not sing it at her loom. She invites you to gather up the sunbeams, or to be a Daniel. You must ask our Arcadian Aspasias if you want to get news of it. Those who shelter it the most, will often be the first to assure you that they have never heard of such a thing. They will not sing at all, cannot indeed ; or if their scruples are outweighed by silvery arguments, they will oblige you with the tale of " Grandfather's Clock " or of his " Cottage by the Sea." Just as you are wearied out with " Uncle Jeff," or the strokes of the " Village Blacksmith," and are about to abandon the search and to dismiss the songster with a begrudged fee, he or she will rather apologetically remember a fragment, or maybe a complete ballad, which " grandfather used to sing," and there all at once you are face to face with some modal melody, some Aeolian or Mixo-Lydian air from the spacious days of Elizabeth, possibly from the wars of the Roses or earlier than that. Stories, which the Scotch have claimed for their peculiar heritage, mated to airs which could never at any time have been groaned from the bagpipe, fall from the lips of carters and labourers, who have relegated them to their mental attics and far prefer the shoddy furniture which they shew you to begin with".

"The collection here made is presented to the public as nearly as possible just as it was taken down from the lips of the singers ; in the tunes with exact fidelity. We have not tried to reproduce by spelling the Somerset dialect, because such attempts are useless to those who know, and merely misleading to the ignorant. But anything like a peculiar use, which is characteristic of the speech, we have carefully kept, as we have done with archaisms and rare words. We have reluctantly changed the weak perfects into strong ones, but this can easily be seed and knowed and changed back again by the reader who chooses to do so. In a few instances the sentiment of the song has been softened, because the conventions of our less delicate and more dishonest time demand such treatment, but indication has been given, and we plead compulsion and not desire in these alterations. Things which were obvious slips of grammar we have corrected, but not until all other excuses for them had been tried". 

Charles L. Marson, Vicar of Hambridge , 1904.


Meanwhile, in Hungary, Béla Bartók was collecting folk music on phonograph cylinders, as in this photo of a 1908 collecting trip:


And in the USA, J.W. Fewkes was active


Poundbury: Cars, Parking and Traffic - A Contribution to a Local Debate









The Poundbury Magazine (Spring 2015 issue), reported on the Residents' Association General Meeting of 10th December 2014. One of the matters arising at the meeting concerned parking issues: "A motion was put to the meeting that 'residents should not be admonished for non-compliance with the stipulations until the main parking problem has been addressed'. The motion was not supported by the majority present".

I decided to have a closer look at the literature on the subject. The parking issue came up again at the meeting of 9th December, 2015, with Graham Douglas's presentation of an interesting “mind-map”, so I looked again at what I had written a year ago (with some minor updates about developments around Queen Mother Square), to see if anything had changed.

We read a lot about the planning principles of Poundbury: of challenging the dominance of the car (keeping the car firmly in its place, reclaiming the streets, reducing the number of car journeys), of the absence of traffic signs, traffic lights, road markings, parking signs, directions or yellow lines.

The design of the streets is apparently intended to offer continuous, uninterrupted street facades; the streets and courts have been scaled to pedestrian use; the alignment of the streets, the road geometry, the traffic calming techniques such as short, restricted visibility round corners, varying road widths and visual pinch points, the informal sharing of space with little segregation of pedestrians and vehicles, the lack of rules governing the uses of shared space areas (with no clear priority or right of way) seem to stand in contrast to the rather strict Poundbury rules and stipulations concerning residential parking. Off-street parking is encouraged (in garages and designated spaces) but not stipulated (who would buy a house if not permitted to park on the street near where he or she lives, regardless of the availability of garages in courtyards?); many residents own more than two cars.

There is a greatly increased number of flats. Visitors, shoppers and out-of-towners have discovered that they can park wherever they like (some apparently leave cars indefinitely), that they can treat Poundbury as a large free car-park or free Park-and-Ride facility. Residents are sometimes admonished or criticised, fairly or unfairly, for 'un-neighbourly' car-parking, when they may be reacting to the overspill of car-parking from firms and an even greater overspill from "hotspots" like Queen Mother Square into neighbouring residential streets. Vehicle owners can cause obstructions by parking on corners, or by blocking and impairing views from houses by parking large vehicles in front of neighbours' windows.

It's acceptable to most residents that there is a specific stipulation against trailer caravans, motorised caravans or boats, but surely the definition (and implied prioritisation) of "visitors' car parking spaces" is not intended to cover on-street parking throughout Poundbury's residential streets?

If the planners were serious about keeping the car relatively "invisible" , would it not have been sensible to have incorporated much more underground parking space and provision, especially beneath Queen Mother Square?

At present, many streets have not been adopted by the Council, and the situation could change radically once they are adopted. When visiting Queen Mother Square on a busy day it's plain to see that the dominance of the car has not been effectively challenged. The car has not been kept in its place: the streets have not been reclaimed. Parts of Poundbury are still subservient to the car.  The Shared Space Concept and the 'Integration of Cars and Pedestrians' need more thought if a proper balance is to be achieved. There may not have been any accidents to date, because of the element of doubt and uncertainty. Everyone may be on the lookout for everyone else, but not everybody has tried to drive through Queen Mother Square on a really foggy night, or when cars are parked close to the roundabout where the statue of the Queen Mother will stand. The Garden Centre, Little Waitrose, Dorset Cereals, popular coffee shops and all the other shops, real estate offices and new apartment buildings are putting a severe strain on the space available for cars. When Little Waitrose becomes a larger Waitrose in 2016, when the Duchess of Cornwall Inn opens (2016), and the relocated school opens in 2017 (600 pupils with many parents probably finding it convenient to combine the collection of children with a visit to Waitrose), it is not difficult to imagine the increased pressure on parking.

As one blogger has commented with a note of irony, Poundbury is extremely car-friendly, especially to visitors and to those residents owning two or three cars.


(My starting-point for some points included the book “Poundbury, The Town that Charles Built”, by Dennis Hardy, 2006, and various official Poundbury planning documents).

The pedestrian at the centre, the car out of sight? YouTube video



A petition in The Brace of Butchers -




Related (Update), from MANCO 3 - The Poundbury Stipulations

Some Extracts:

Not to park or permit to be parked on the Car Parking Space any vehicle other than a private motor vehicle and not to carry out any works of repair to such motor vehicle.

Not to allow any trailer, caravan, motorised caravan or boat or other similar chattel to be brought onto the Property or to be parked in any Car Parking Space.

Not to erect or permit to be erected any television wireless or other aerials or satellite dish on the exterior of the Property.

Not to use or permit any parking space designated by His Royal Highness as a visitor’s parking space to be used otherwise than for occasional visitors parking.