Check out Gumb0 @ Gumb0x

I’ve started a new blog – it’s all about my trials and tribulations in the world of Python Programming. I’m having a go at learning a programming language – something I should have done many years ago. Pop over and have a read – it’s started off on quite a funny foot – even if I say so myself.

Headover – it’s Gumb0x.wordpress.com – I got the name from Dave – you’ve seen pictures of Dave – he’s the lead guitarist in Percy’s Blues Jam below – they are Gin House Delta – go find them on YouTube – AFTER you’ve been over to Gumb0x of course !! Dave has always given me a pat on the back with a “Good work Gumbo” or “Well done Gumbo” on occasions he gets wiff I’ve actually done something close to being clever.

Be good to see you @ Gumb0x if you get the chance to pop over.

Steve

 

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Dunstable Kite Festival

The sun was out and the wind was blowing – what more could a successful kite festival want ? Well nothing of course – just a few shots of the fun …

AIR !!
AIR !!
Watching
Watching
In sync
In sync
12
12
Getting ready
Getting ready
Runaway kite
Runaway kite
Relax
Relax
Come on Grandad
Come on Grandad
Tumble tumble - rolly polly
Tumble tumble – rolly polly
Romancing the kite
Romancing the kite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bury Park

I took a wander down to Bury Park this morning and met the lady that runs the “In Bury Park” website, Marie. She told me what she was doing and I can fully understand the thinking behind it. For as long as I can remember the only time I have ventured into Bury Park, out of the car, has been to watch the football, and I’m guessing that’s the same for a lot of people.

The Doctor - I don't know why he's called the Doctor - but it made everyone laugh when they told me
The Doctor – I don’t know why he’s called the Doctor – but it made everyone laugh when they told me his name

My own ignorance, before I went for my wander this morning, made me think my camera and I might not be welcome but I’ve never met such a willing and friendly bunch of shopkeepers. Busy setting up, I knew I would get people busy about their business (I’ve been down to Covent Garden Apple Market while they were setting up and that was similar, although I must say they were not nearly as friendly and willing to pose as my models today).

The Boss
The Boss

There was a definite hierarchy at the larger shops as they were setting up – wherever you go and in every walk of life there will be a boss and underlings. It was very evident in these shops and almost gave me the feeling that there is a much stronger feeling of respect for the elders in the community. The boss would be stood on the pavement outside the shop directing the younger guys around and making sure the morning’s delivery was set out properly. It was the same in at least two shops and these were the only two large fruit and veg shops setting up. I think things get moving a bit later on – especially as it is Ramadan at the minute. I was advised to come back later in the day as things liven up once fasting is over and food and drink are aplenty after sunset.

Mr Shah - on the right - was most definitely the boss
Mr Shah – on the right – was most definitely the boss

The streets were clean and any rubbish was being picked up as they went along. It was a bit like going back in time on a few occasions – e.g. when the lorry was being unloaded and the fork truck was manouvering on the pavement – very skillfully I must say !

Unloading
Unloading
I say tomatoes - you say tomatoes
I say tomatoes – you say tomatoes
Smiler
Smiler
Kacha
Kacha
The butcher at work
The butcher at work
Danny Jamaica is a regular
Danny Jamaica is a regular
Lady shopper
Lady shopper
They didn't have my size
They didn’t have my size
gloves
The big man
Mango season - everyone was saying their mangoes are the best between here and Birmingham
Mango season – everyone was saying their mangoes are the best between here and Birmingham
Child's play
Child’s play

I met the local traffic wardens – they were keen to explain there is plenty of parking in and around Bury Park – there are two car parks at the Beech Hill end and plenty of street meters but they did advise to check the signs. On one side it might be ticketed metering but on the other it could well be resident permits only and a lot of people fall prey to the trap. Take a second look if you park on a meter – the wardens are double teamed and do their job well.

Warden
Warden

All in all it was a great morning. I was there too early but then I didn’t know any better. I will go back and I will, in the first instance, go back this week, later in the day, to see what happens as the day’s fast breaks. I will also go back on a more regular basis, the clothes are a bit colourful for me and I don’t have much money to spend on jewellery but if you are after some decent fresh fruit and veg and well butchered meat – Bury Park is the place.

As I said at the beginning Bury Park has been seen as a predominantly asian part of town and it’s true, most of the shops are run by asians. But there are a lot of other nationalities that run shops, units and street market stalls – among them are Polish, Turkish and Italian and I’m sure there are more. If you haven’t been down to Bury Park recently, park up in Sainsbury’s or on a street meter (watch the signs) and take a wander, buy some fruit and veg, have a coffee and have a chat with the people – I promise you you’ll gain from it.

Have a good week !

Steve

High Town Festival

Popped up to High Town yesterday to see how the festival was going. High Town is a wonderful part of town, it’s underestimated and not given the credit it deserves. The High St is currently part of a regeneration scheme by the government whereby new startup businesses on the High St receive reduced business rates to help with the early years of trading. Shop 33 (Luton Community Arts shop I blogged about a few weeks ago is on the High St) was very busy yesterday with a programme full of local musicians coming into the shop to do an hours set.

DSC_8346
Shop 33 – local singer / songwriter

Street photography is an art, your mind has to be alive and awake at all times, you have to be able to see stuff going on and capture it quickly. You also have to be mindful of people’s wishes, I stood to take a photo of a young barber cutting hair (it looked great – it was a tight afro with a pattern being sculpted into it) and I noticed as soon as I lifted the camera to my eye he caught me out of the corner of his eye and turned around sharpish. I dropped the camera, smiled through the window and asked if it was OK, he waved as if to say no so I gave him the thumbs up, he gave me a thumbs up back and we went about our business. Most people are fine and even relish the thought that someone thinks they are interesting enough to be photographed but if they’re not happy about it, I find it best to honour their wishes – no harm done.

I didn't think I needed this little fellas permission so I hope you don't mind - if you know him - can you ask if he minds please
I didn’t think I needed this little fellas permission so I hope you don’t mind – if you know him – can you ask if he minds please

These guys were very happy to have their picture taken and very good they were too, there were lots of scheduled events but I liked these guys and stood and watched them for about 15 minutes. Impromptu street corner busking, they just pitched up with their guitars and mouth organs and started playing, and very good they were too.

Impromptu belting out of chooons
Impromptu belting out of chooons
Love the doo rag !
Love the doo rag !
This guy was a great accompaniment to the two guitarists
This guy was a great accompaniment to the two guitarists
Street food - noodles - £1 a pot
Street food – noodles – £1 a pot
the facepainter - with  angel wings
the facepainter – with angel wings
Harmony
Harmony

This blog is about Luton – the positives within Luton – it’s about the town but more importantly for me – it’s about the people – there are fantastic people in Luton. People who are proud to say they are from Luton, and this in a week where Luton, again, has been listed in the top 100 crappiest towns in the UK, an honour they won in the books 2004 publication. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the whole crap town affair. Well you know what !! I don’t give a shit about that book and I know a lot of Lutonians don’t either. I could go to ANY town in the country and shoot a series of photographs of dirty back streets, bins overflowing and general detritus. Luton’s got it’s bad points but it’s got a hell of a lot more good points ! I think this subject needs a full blogpost all to itself – I feel quite strongly about this !! Watch this space …

Have a good week !

Steve

Open Air Boxing Exhibition – Luton

A fantastic afternoon and evening of boxing in the sun at St George Square Luton yesterday with six amateur boxing clubs from Luton and clubs from as far afield as Corby and Rayleigh in Essex taking part. They all put on a great show for both paying attendees and the small crowd of freeloaders that gathered in the sweltering heat in Luton’s “Mall”.

Kane Lee from The Academy Luton gets in a head shot
Kane Lee from The Academy Luton gets in a head shot
Bobby Khan from Hockwell Ring ABC in the zone – the crowd went crazy when Bobby appeared – he did well to keep it all together
Graham Bell from The Academy consoles Paddy Ward from Northolt ABC after his loss to Steven Duffy from The Academy
Graham Bell from The Academy consoles Paddy Ward from Northolt ABC after his loss to Steven Duffy from The Academy
Billy Schwer - former Light Welterweight IBO World Champion was on hand to present awards
Billy Schwer – former Light Welterweight IBO World Champion was on hand to present awards
Freeloaders 😉

A great afternoon was had by all – the crowd went crazy at times and there were some fantastic fights – there were definitely a few future British and / or Commonwealth Champions on show – who knows there may even have been a future World Champ on the card.

Just another positive to buck the trend of bad news for Luton !

Have a good week.

Steve

Love Luton ! Love Lewsey Festival – LU4 !

I thought I would let the pictures and short captions tell today’s story –

This - for me - sums up what Luton and Lewsey Farm are about ... the positives !
This – for me – sums up what Luton and Lewsey Farm are about … the positives !
I'll do snakes but I won't do spiders - this little fella was much braver than me !
I’ll do snakes but I won’t do spiders – this little fella was much braver than me !
Yours' truly - as you can see - I'm happy holding a baby Albino Burmese Python - who will grow to between 14 & 18 ft and riple his weight.
Yours truly – as you can see – I’m happy holding a baby Albino Burmese Python – who will grow to between 14 & 18 ft and triple his weight. (photo courtesy of Mrs M)
Chillllll .....
Chillllll …..
If only my fella would do this ...
If only my fella would do this …
Young love !
Young love !
FANTASTIC street dance !!
FANTASTIC street dance !!
Working for the community - in the community - YOUR SAY, YOUR WAY
Adam Divney – Project Manager with Luton Council – working for the community – in the community – YOUR SAY, YOUR WAY
2 on 1
2 on 1
BoxFit - these girls (and guy) did 40 mins in the mid afternoon sun - well done !!
BoxFit – these girls (and guy) did 40 mins in the mid afternoon sun – well done !!
Tim runs the Waltzer - he's a very busy guy - once he's finished on the waltzer today - he'll be setting up the dodgems for tomorrow - all before he gets some shut eye - 2 hours sleep last night - I think he deserved that fag !
Tim runs the Waltzer – he’s a very busy guy – once he’s finished on the waltzer today – he’ll be setting up the dodgems for tomorrow – all before he gets some shut eye – 2 hours sleep last night – I think he deserved that fag !
Whooooosh ! Taking in the sights while the kids get dizzy !
Whooooosh ! Taking in the sights while the kids get dizzy !

Great day today ! For me – the helper and old gent are what Luton is all about. It’s a culturally diverse town, there are by far more positive things to talk about than you see on the news. If you tell someone outside of Luton you are from the town and proud of it – they look at you like you are mad – helper and gent show what Luton (and Lewsey Farm) are all about – living in harmony – irrespective of race, creed or colour !

Steve

PS please leave a comment – I’d love to know what you think !

THE ACADEMY – LUTON …

… is an amateur boxing club – established in 2008 – with a difference. It’s not just another boxing club – it’s a classy club – it has a winning ethos – a club where champions will come from (Steven and Niall pictured below have had 12 and 13 bouts respectively and each won 9 of those bouts). The guys that run the club are also the benefactors – they don’t get money from the council – the club underwent a major improvement 6 months ago where they took over the unit downstairs at the expense of the owners and coaches. Before Christmas 2012 the club occupied the upstairs of a fairly run down unit on a small industrial estate near Wardown Park. The occupants downstairs went bust and moved out leaving a derelict warehouse. Academy club owners took over the space, completely gutted it, moved the training ring downstairs and converted the upstairs space into a self contained training area complete with bags and a weight training area – they have spent thousands of pounds to bring the club up to a very high standard and now occupy both upstairs and downstairs. A second ring was donated and also installed downstairs.

Steven and Niall
Steven and Niall beside WBO Champion Nathan Cleverly’s signature from the club’s re-opening day ceremony

Most of the members are kids but there are a handful of adults and ladies that train at the club – there is a dedicated ladies only session on Thursday nights where a small and dedicated number of ladies come to train. The coaches are keen for more ladies to train at the club. The self contained upstairs training area was set up during the refurbishment – ladies have their own secure well lit entrance, their own changing rooms and the training area can be shut off from the rest of the club to allow the ladies to train in the comfort of their own company. Doors can be opened up to allow mixed training but the coaches are keen to allow ladies to have their own space. I think this is truly unique and only one thing at the club that sets it apart from other amateur boxing clubs.

Bag training

The Academy will be taking part in Luton’s Open Air Boxing Exhibition on 6th July this year and I’m guessing they will do well. Personally, I have loved boxing for as long I can remember, I’ve watched lots of boxing on TV but never been to a live fight. Steven and Niall – they are cousins so there’s always going to be a bit of rivalry there – did some sparring for me – coach Graham told them to take it easy with each other – I must have led a sheltered life because to my clouded eyes they looked like they were going for it – and the sounds the punches made sounded pretty full on to me. I’ll need to go again to educate myself more. Steven and Niall come down to the club five times a week – they live about 2 miles away and get there on their bikes – they are two very dedicated kids !

Steven and Niall sparring
Steven and Niall sparring with coach Jim looking on from the shadows

There were approximately 25 members training tonight – mainly kids but there were also 5 or 6 17/18 year olds and there was at least one senior member (I’m guessing he was about my age – I’m the wrong side of 40 – tonight was mixed carded fighters and seniors). Graham, said it was quiet tonight, there were more at the Saturday morning session. Halfway through the evening they split up – some went upstairs to do some technical training while the others stayed downstairs doing their 3 minute circuit, 60 second rest, again and again …….. and again. I was there nearly 2 hours and short of a couple of small breaks the 3 minute, 1 minute, 3 minute routine carried on – punctuated by the end of round bell. For me, the uninitiated, it felt like a full on training session – and these kids do this 5 times a week – on top of whatever sport they do at school. These kids are fit ! They take their training seriously but I also noticed they all have a lot of fun while doing the serious business of training.

… believe in yourself …
All mod cons
All mod cons
Under 11 - shadow boxing
Under 11 – shadow boxing

The Academy Luton is fresh, it’s fun, it’s well established and run on passion and desire. If a champion doesn’t come out of this club in the foreseeable future I will be very, very surprised. Get along to the club, take your son, take your daughter, take your wife or husband. It’s a family club, run by and for families, with an underlying will to produce a champion and in the meantime have fun doing it.

Keep it going guys and see you soon !

Steve