Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Remembered Recipe

Katie's Kitchen Scrapbook

I was looking through my old recipe scrapbook the other day. I was looking for things my husband could use the left overs from Christmas. I came across some recipes from about forty years ago. Some of our older residents will probably remember Katie from the OXO advert. Well one of the recipes I found was one of Katie's labelled Money Spinner. Which I will write out at the end.

Well the reason for this blog is that it made me think that there are quite a few residents who may have ideas on how to save money. It could be recipes or how to make cleaning equipment go further or anything. I thought it might be a good idea if we shared this with others. I can see the recession getting a lot worse and may all have to tighten are belts. So if we all started thinking now how to save perhaps we may get through this.

So come on ladies and gents lets have your recession beaters.

My Recipe

Beanfeast Flan

Rub 1 1/2 oz. marg. and 1 1/2 oz lard into 6oz sieved flour.

Add 1 oxo cube dissolved in tablesp. hot water (cooled),

and enough cold water to make a firm dough. Roll out and line 9" flan dish.

Bake blind 15 minutes (gas mark 6) removing baking beans and cook a further 10 minutes.

Fry 2oz chopped bacon, 2oz sliced mushrooms and 1 chopped onion until tender. Add one can of baked beans 1 oxo cube and heat through. Turn into pastry case and top with mashed potato and a knob of butter. Brown under the grill.

posted by Pat

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Make Our Roads Safer

Make our roads safer – make walking to school your New Year resolution

In an effort to reduce the number of people parking illegally outside schools, Medway Council’s Road Safety Team suggests a healthy New Year’s resolution for children and parents alike – get walking.

Schools are consistently battling with illegally parked cars on restrictive road markings, such as on yellow single, double and zigzag lines. These lines are designed to allow pedestrians, in particular vulnerable pedestrians such as children, to see clearly and cross the road safely.

The Road Safety Team is asking parents and children to get walking to school, even if it's just for part of the journey. Other than the obvious health benefits, if more schoolchildren walked to school there would be fewer cars parked illegally and dangerously.

Su Negus, Principal Road Safety Officer, said: “Children are a similar height to a car meaning they are completely invisible to drivers until they step out into the road, which is too late.

“Most people who park on the lines think its OK because they are just there for a few minutes. However, when you have dozens of people doing the same thing it means the area is constantly congested with illegally parked cars.”

Medway Council’s Road Safety Team and Parking Services are urging drivers to leave their cars at home or park in an appropriate safe location to make crossing the road safer for all road users, particularly schoolchildren.
posted by pat

Free Swimming for Young and Old Alike

Free swimming for young and old alike
Thousands of people aged under 16 and over 60 can now benefit from free swimming at all of Medway Council’s swimming pools.
The move, which is backed by the government and financed until March 2011, aims to keep younger and older people healthy and active.
Free swimming starts on Friday, 2 January at the following pools: · Black Lion Leisure Centre, Gillingham · Strood Sports Centre · Splashes Leisure Centre, Rainham · Hundred of Hoo swimming pool, Hoo · The Strand leisure pool, Gillingham
The Black Lion pool is only open after 4pm until the end of March due to the refurbishment programme.
Free swimming was due to start in Medway this April (2009), but extra finance from NHS Medway meant the council could introduce it at the beginning of the year.
Cllr Howard Doe, the Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Swimming is one of the best ways for people to keep fit, active and healthy.
“I am pleased that thanks to the support of NHS Medway we are able to introduce free swimming from January for the under 16s and over 60s, so that the people of Medway can benefit from this scheme from the beginning of 2009.”
Marion Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of NHS Medway, said: “I’m pleased that NHS Medway is supporting Medway Council with this initiative and has enabled the council to introduce free swimming ahead of schedule. Swimming is great fun and an excellent way to keep fit and healthy. I hope Medway residents will take up this free offer.”
Free swimming will be available during normal public swimming times at all council pools.
posted by pat

Friday, December 26, 2008



Citizens Advice Medway and Jobsmatch Medway are announcing the launch of a new service for those residents of Medway who are most at risk from losing their jobs as a result of the recession and credit crunch. From today Citizens Advice Medway is operating a redundancy helpline whereby people faced with redundancy can seek help and assistance on:

Their employment rights
Qualifying and applying for benefits
Maximising their income
Getting the right redundancy payment
Paying their bills
Financial management
Finding another job

People can access this new service by telephoning 01634 888182 between 9.00am and 4.30pm each weekday.

Citizens Advice Medway and Jobsmatch are providing two seminars for people threatened with or made redundant on 6th and 8th January 2009 at under1roof, 5A New Road Avenue, Chatham ME4 6BB. The seminars start at 9.30am and will last about 2½ hours. They will cover all aspects of benefits, managing bills, financial management, redundancy payments/employment law and finding another job. We have capacity for 60+ people so there is no need to book a place.

Citizens Advice Medway CEO, Peter Stokes, said: We are delighted to join up with Jobsmatch Medway in providing this service but are deeply saddened by the need to do so. Being made redundant happens to so many people during their working life and it can cause deep disruption and loss of esteem. We need to support people in making sure that they are best equipped to face the difficult times ahead and help them keep their homes. This new collaboration will provide much-needed additional support to all those facing redundancy. A lot of people will be affected by the credit crunch and this service will help to ensure that people will get the help and assistance they need.

Peter Stokes added: Hopefully this will be a short term service but who knows what the future holds in these uncertain times. This service will allow us to refer people to other agencies if we are unable to help them fully. It will also allow people access to the other services that we operate on behalf of the Legal Services Commission, such as welfare benefits, debt/money, employment and housing,

Cathy Le-Page, Project Co-ordinator at Jobsmatch Medway said: Sadly "The wonder of Woolworth's will be no more" what a great shame. It would be great if any employers looking to recruit retail staff would look favourable on those being made redundant from Woolworth's, MFI and Fads, as well as others. We are hoping to register staff with us so that we can provide FREE information on employment opportunities within Medway.
posted by pat

Monday, December 22, 2008

Medway Council and Recycling

Medway Council and Recycling

Medway residents continue to support recycling. Cllr Phil Filmer portfolio member for front line services said: “We do not send recyclable material to landfill sites. The only material that is sent to landfill is non-recyclable or contaminated material.

“In the last four years, Medway has doubled the amount of waste it recycles and now recycles or composts more than 30 per cent of all the waste it collects.

“Waste collected for recycling by the council is collected in three ways. These are a fortnightly collection from people’s home, neighbourhood bring sites (such as bottle, textile and paper banks) and household waste recycling centres (there are three in Medway and these are where residents can bring a wider range of material such as electrical items, batteries, chemicals and other material which it is not possible to collect from people’s homes). Unlike 9million people in the UK who now only get their waste collected every two weeks, Medway continues to be committed to a weekly collection of household waste.

“An article in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph stated that Medway sent more than 10 per cent of its recyclable waste or compost to landfill. This is not the case. In fact, only five per cent of material initially collected for recycling or for composting is sent to landfill as it is contaminated in some way and cannot therefore be recycled.

“Medway Council recycles more than 30 per cent of the total household waste it collects. This figure does not include any contaminated material, which has had to be sent to landfill, as this cannot be recycled.

“The council’s recycling is not affected by the economic downturn and we have not changed our recyling policy, except to increase the range of material we can recycle, since it was introduced in 2002. We now collect glass from households – a new service introduced in the last few months in reaction to demand from residents.

“Medway residents do a great job separating recycling from their normal household waste to help protect the environment.

“At Christmas time, we all receive a great deal of wrapping paper and food and drinks packaging that can be recycled.

“If residents are in any doubt about how to recycle the right materials they should visit the council website – -, look at their recyling calendar (which was sent to every home over the last couple of months), or call the council’s contact centre on 01634 333333 for more information.”

The material that Medway Council can recycle includes:

- Kerbside recyling (material that residents leave outside their homes in blue boxes or blue bags). Newspapers and magazines, all phone books, junk mail, card and cardboard, envelopes, all types of metal food and drinks cans, aerosols, foil, plastic bottles, carrier bags and glass bottles and jars.
- Bring Sites (Bottle banks etc.). Glass bottles and jars, all types of metal cans, paper and cardboard, textiles and shoes and five sites with liquid beverage cartons (Tetrapaks).
- Household waste recycling sites (there are three in Medway). All the materials above as well as electrical items, fridges and freezers, garden waste, metal, engine oil, car and household batteries, gas bottles, fluorescent light tubes and wood.
posted by pat

Friday, December 19, 2008

Funding for food lessons

Funding for food lessons
Six Medway schools are celebrating after it was announced that they will receive £300,000 funding each for food technology lessons. The money is targeted on schools where current facilities need improvement.
The DCSF funding amounts to £1.5million for Medway.
The funding is for practical cooking spaces and to support the introduction of compulsory food technology lessons for pupils in the early years of secondary education. The Government decided to make the money available after it became concerned that some children and young people are leaving school without having gained basic cookery skills.
The six schools are Chatham Grammar School for Boys, Sir Joseph Williamson Mathematical School, The Howard School, Greenacre School and The Rochester Grammar School.
Cllr Les Wicks, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: “I welcome the news of this funding. It’s great news for students. Learning to cook and understand how to handle food is a great life skill and one which will enable our young people to be more independent.”
Rose Collinson, Director of Children and Adult Services, said: “Increasingly. Government is realising that it is essential to help young people gain practical and work-related skills at home and at school. In Medway, we are leading the way in offering these skills alongside more traditional academic studies. Introducing this kind of learning allows more young people to achieve in different ways, as well as ensuring that they have the ability to earn a living and look after themselves and their families as they grow into adulthood.”
posted by pat

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dartford Crossing

Dartford Crossing

I have just been catching up with Tracey’s blog. She has a very good article about the Dartford Crossing. It is something that affects a lot of us. If you need to go almost anywhere in the UK you have to use the crossing. So please use our link and read Tracey’s article.
Posted by Pat

Exciting changes at a library near you

Exciting changes at a library near you
Calling all library users - if you haven’t re-registered your details at Medway libraries, it’s not too late to do so.
A new computer system, which will be installed in Spring 2009 will provide a speedier and more efficient service and we need residents help to make that happen.
While everyone needs to re-register, this is a good opportunity for residents who have moved or changed names to make sure all contact details are correct. Parents can update children’s details.
As part of this IT upgrade, from 21 January four-week loans will change to three weeks loans. Current customers should note that the due dates of items they currently have on loan will not change.
Re-registering is easy and takes just five minutes. Residents can either phone 337799 or by pop into their local library.
Residents who haven’t visited a library recently should come and take a look at what’s available. Libraries have changed and offer more than just books. With music, DVDs, free internet use, book clubs for all ages and monthly music and reading events - there’s something for everyone.
[Ends] Exciting changes at a library near you
Calling all library users - if you haven’t re-registered your details at Medway libraries, it’s not too late to do so.
A new computer system, which will be installed in Spring 2009 will provide a speedier and more efficient service and we need residents help to make that happen.
While everyone needs to re-register, this is a good opportunity for residents who have moved or changed names to make sure all contact details are correct. Parents can update children’s details.
As part of this IT upgrade, from 21 January four-week loans will change to three weeks loans. Current customers should note that the due dates of items they currently have on loan will not change.
Re-registering is easy and takes just five minutes. Residents can either phone 337799 or by pop into their local library.
Residents who haven’t visited a library recently should come and take a look at what’s available. Libraries have changed and offer more than just books. With music, DVDs, free internet use, book clubs for all ages and monthly music and reading events - there’s something for everyone.
posted by pat

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Planning Application

This is the latest planning application for Princes Park.
posted by matt bright.

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

This December two markets will help with all your Christmas shopping needs.
For fresh fruit, vegetables and all things Christmassy, shoppers will find it hard to beat the Farmers' Market in Corporation Street, Rochester on Sunday, 21 December.
Festive goodies for sale include cooked turkeys, Christmas cakes and puddings, mince pies and festive gifts.
All the regular goods will also be available including award winning pies, sausages, fudge and cakes, apple juice, cider, wine, beer, jams, olives, vegetables, bread, soups, cheese, plants, soaps and handmade jewellery.
Shoppers with a last minute approach to buying gifts will be pleased to hear that Gillingham Market is open on Christmas Eve from 9am to 4pm. All the usual stalls will be there.

Something For the Children

At last Pat and I were able to install some football goals in Princes Park. It has been a project we have been trying to fulfill for a few months but finally after cutting through some of the red tape (to do with Health and Safety) we managed to have them installed a few weeks ago. Both goals were funded through the Princes Park 'ward improvement funds'.
The first goal (bottom picture) has been installed next to the park on Princes Avenue and due to the central location this has become very popular with the local children.
The second goal has been placed on a small piece of land in Spitfire Close which is used quite frequently by the local residents. However, instead of the goal being the side of someones house they can now use this new equipment which has been positioned in a certain way to stop any nuisance balls drifting into peoples gardens.
posted by matt bright.

Wishing You A Safe Christmas

Wishing you a safe Christmas
Christmas is coming, your guests are demanding to be fed, but how do you ensure you don’t accidentally give your relatives food poisoning during the festive season?
Medway Council’s Environmental Health team has drawn up a top tips list to ensure everyone knows when their turkey’s cooked and avoid hazards in the kitchen.
1. Clean your fridge and freezer with an antibacterial cleaner before stocking up for Christmas. This will get rid of any nasty bugs and spores.
2. Don't overstock your fridge or freezer as it will make it difficult to maintain the right temperature. Food should be stored separately in covered containers and properly wrapped.
3. Avoid cross-contamination by washing your hands after touching or preparing food, and after touching raw meat, coughing, sneezing or touching pets.
4. Frozen turkeys or other poultry must always be thawed thoroughly and fully before cooking. A 15lb turkey will take 24 to 28 hours to thaw in the fridge; allow two days to defrost a 25lb bird.
5. There’s no need to rinse your turkey under the tap as this may splash harmful bacteria that’s already on the bird around the kitchen and lead to the cross-contamination of other foods. Cooking will kill any bacteria present.
6. Use separate chopping boards and utensils or wash them thoroughly to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat, and any cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Use different boards for vegetables, raw and cooked meats.
7. Cook your stuffing separately. If you do stuff your uncooked bird, make sure you take the stuffing weight into account when calculating your cooking time.
8. Poultry, sausages and chopped and minced meat must always be thoroughly cooked. Check there are no pink bits in the middle, that the juices run clear and that they are piping hot throughout.
9. Don’t use raw eggs in food that will not be cooked. Use pasteurised egg if you are making chocolate mousse or homemade mayonnaise.
10. Always serve hot food piping hot and as soon as it is ready. If there is a delay between heating and eating then keep the food covered and at no less than 63°C.
11. Don’t leave leftovers lying around and make sure hot food cools quickly before putting it in the fridge. To speed cooling: divide into smaller portions, place in shallow containers or stand in a tray of cold water.
11. When you're serving cold turkey, try to take out only as much as you're going to use and leave the rest in the fridge. Don't leave a plate of turkey or cold meats out all day, on a buffet for example. Put it back in the fridge as soon as you can, ideally within an hour.
12. Avoid reheating food more than once - if you reheat leftovers make sure they’re piping hot throughout and don’t keep leftovers for more than two days.
For more tips visit
posted by pat

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Greener Christmas

Help make this Christmas a green one.
As Christmas approaches and the fridge gets fuller, now is the time to start thinking about what to do with all the rubbish, used wrapping paper and Christmas cards once the festive season is over.
With Medway’s recycling efforts going from strength to strength, the council is keen to see as many local people doing their bit for recycling when the holiday comes to an end.
Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services Cllr Phil Filmer explained: “There are many simple and environmentally friendly ways to get rid of the holiday rubbish. Residents can easily recycle all their wine bottles and glass this year too.”
Here are some top tips to help make this a greener Christmas:
• Recycle as much as possible, greetings cards and wrapping paper can be put in your blue box or sack. Try to remove as much sticky tape as possible as it is not recyclable;
• Christmas trees can be recycled by cutting them up and putting them in a brown bin. They will not be collected if they are loose or if the branches are greater than three inches in diameter;
• Recycle paper-based milk, juice and liquid food cartons at selected recycling points;
• Take the stress out of driving to the shops by using environmentally-friendly public transport instead;
• Try to buy locally-produced food that won’t have travelled unnecessarily. Imported food adds substantially to carbon emissions.
Here are the dates for the Christmas and New Year recycling and rubbish collections:
If it is normally collected on: It will be collected on:
Thursday 25 and Friday 26 December Saturday 27 December Monday 29 Monday 29 Tuesday 30 Tuesday 30 Wednesday 31 Wednesday 31 Thursday 1 Friday 2 Friday 2 Saturday 3
Medway’s civic amenity site opening hours are as follows: Christmas Day and Boxing Day - closed. New Year’s Day – closed. Saturday, 27 December - 8am to 4.30pm Sunday 29 October - 9am to 4pm
For more tips on how to be environmentally friendly, visit
To find your nearest recycling site or for more recycling information visit or phone 333333.
posted by Pat

Monday, December 08, 2008

Plea To All Cats

Plea From Molly

This is a plea to all fellow cats. I am very disappointed with a few of you. It is about time you had your human staff better trained. I have seen some of you out in this really cold weather. It is so silly of you. Train your staff to open the door for you so you can get into the warm.

I have not managed to train my staff to the standard I would like. In fact I think they are quite lazy. Instead of being by the door when I want to come in or out they have built a cat flap. Well I suppose it is better than nothing
Posted by Molly

New PCSO in Princes Park

We are now lucky enough to have a new PCSO in Princes Park. Her name is Nicola Simmons. So are line up now from left to right:-
PCSO Nicola Simmons, PC Dave Saunders, and PCSO Jessica Read.
We all welcome Nicola and hopes she enjoys working in Princes Park
Posted by Pat

Saturday, December 06, 2008



If you have read Tracey’s blog this week you will know a little about this subject. I was lucky to be invited to take part. The idea was to gain an understanding and awareness of autism.

I was like Tracey I knew nothing about autism. Unlike Tracey I was invited to join a family for a few hours to see the day-to-day problems. I went along to see them Friday afternoon and instead of the shopping trip we had planned we had a nice chat over a cup of tea.

The family I joined have three lovely children the two youngest are autistic. As well as talking to mum I had chance to talk to their eldest child about living with autistic siblings. She explained how it impinges on her life. But in no way did I see any bitterness she obviously loved the two younger members of the family and though there are many things she would like to do, but cannot, she understood. One of the things she said was that she would love to go to Lapland with the family, but this is impossible, as her brother could not cope with the travelling.

I would like to relay what their mother wrote to me before we met
“Before I had children I had a good job, well paid etc. but having children with these kinds of disabilities has involved a huge sacrifice. I have had to give up my job to become a full time carer so relying on one income means we live life on a tight budget. It was only recently that I discovered there are allowances available for families whose children are disabled. There is no ready available information for families in situations like ours. The local authorities, government and education bodies need to make support and information more ready available. It would be so helpful and supportive to parents who, upon diagnoses of these disabilities to be provided with details about allowances, including disability, carer etc. information about parent support group and a general extended hand that helps parents feel supported and are offered some direction and reassurance.”

Please do not get the wrong idea. Mum is not one for crying in her tea. She is a strong person who is the nucleus of a very loving family. It was a privilege to meet her and the children and I am looking forward to meeting up with them again. We agreed to meet up again when I can meet Dad.

posted by Pat

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Fencing

This may look like a piece of fencing that has no relevance but to the residents of Redwing Road and especially Dove Close this will potentially improve their quality of life.
The reason for the installation of the fence was the anti social problems and Health and Safety risks first brought to our attention from local residents during one of our monthly surgeries a few months ago.
Youths during the past few months were congregating above the embankment/chalk cliffe face and causing a general nuisance to the residents below by throwing objects and hanging over the edge to the annoyance of local residence.
Hopefully this fence will have curtailed that problem whilst potentially saving a youth from serious injury or death due to the 50 foot drop to the rear of peoples gardens.
The project was joint funded by Greenspaces (Medway Council Department), ward funds from Princes Park and the Lease holder of the roads (London and Quadrant).
Thanks also go to the Princes Park warden Brian (who carried out all the 'legwork' between the council and the Leaseholders) and the local Police who have been patrolling that part of the embankment more frequently.
This was another good example of different departments working together within the Council, involving the local Police and persuading an outside company to part with some funds.
posted by matt bright.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Brenchley Unit

The Brenchley Unit

I have spent today with a group of dedicated people. They run a centre for people with a Personality Disorder. Actually I will rephrase that, I spent the day with dedicated people who run the centre, and just as dedicated people who use the centre. My mind is in a complete whirl after spending time there. The patients have suffered badly in life, but there they are not only trying to turn their own lives around but helping others to do the same. I went there after reading many articles and came to the conclusion that “ these people” should be in residential accommodation. It took less than fifty minutes to realize I was so, so wrong. They are not “these people”, they are you and me, our next door neighbours our family. We all have problems in life but I wonder how many of us would have coped without mum and dad, big brothers or sisters husbands and wives. Just someone, at the ends of the day, that gives us a lot of unconditional love. I can honestly say the people at Brenchley gave me so much.

The Community at Brenchley has capacity for up to 24 members for twelve months, bringing in new members from a preparatory group as others leave the programme. The latter are encouraged to join a weekly “leavers” group, while every effort is made to monitor those who drop out prematurely. It is the case that a significant number of dropouts return to complete their 12 months.

I could write pages of my feelings about today. But I think I should stop here. The one thing I will leave you all with. Mental health is not a “sexy” subject but it is important. With luck you may never need it but if you do, it needs to be there. It should not be the poor cousin of the NHS.

posted by Pat

Monday, December 01, 2008

Surgery December 2008

It is surgery time again this week and it will be held on Saturday 6th December 2008.

It is open to any local residents from Princes Park who feel they have a local issue and no appointment is necessary.

Cllr Pat Gulvin will be in attendance to answer any questions between 10-11am in Christ the King church, Dove Close.

posted by matt bright.

New Planning Applications

Here are the latest planning applications for Princes Park.

Barleymow Close
Thrush Close
Hopewell Drive
posted by matt bright.