Friday, 3 January 2014

Lancaster Canal Trust projects need volunteers

Volunteers are needed to help with a variety of Lancaster Canal Trust projects over the next few months – and there's a nature event listed below that may interest many of our readers coming up, too.

• Volunteers are needed to help create a community Nature Park near the Lune Aqueduct, Lancaster, with work starting this month and running to the end of March. Contact David Hennessey on 07500 606030 or

• A bird watching walk will take place at Glasson Docks on the River Lune Estuary on 18th January  from 8.00 to 10.00am.  Grab your binoculars and join Canal and River Trust  for an exciting bird watch session. Again contact David for more information.

• A Northern Reaches Work Party is needed on Sunday 19th January. Meet Millness Yard 9.30 on A65 to restore Hincaster Tunnel approaches and tidy Lancaster Canal Trust stables and paddock. Contact Keith Tassart on 07747 366084 or

• For more about the work of the Lancaster Canal Trust visit

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Rail Fares up, wages flat – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope you had a great festive season.

As millions returned from our Christmas breaks today many locals will have bought or renewed their rail season tickets and been hit with yet another huge annual fare increase. While commuting by rail is something less of us might do in our area (compared with Manchester and London, for example), with fares increasing by at least 3.1 per cent and by as much as 5.1 per cent on some routes, commuters and other rail users up and down the country will be wondering exactly how they can continue to afford to pay for their tickets as fares continue to rise three times faster than wages.

Today the Better Transport campaign group published a report called Fares and Rail Financing (PDF link), carried out by independent consultancy Credo, which has found by 2018, fares revenue will cover 103 per cent of the operating costs of the railways, up from 80 per cent in 2009, meaning that the Government will be effectively profiting from rail users.

"We are making progress with our Fair Fares Now campaign," say the campaigners, "and, following the recent announcement to end above inflation fare increases the Government are starting to listen, but we still have some of the most expensive rail fares in the world and as the 2015 General Election draws nearer we urgently need your help to give us a much louder voice and make fares a key election issue."


Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Really Heavy Greatcoat Review of the Year 2013

The Really Heavy Greatcoat by myself and Lancaster-based artist Nick Miller was published fairly regularly for about 20 years in alternative Lancaster print titles such as On The Beat and Off the Beat and online on

The strip's last regular appearance in print was in the now defunct Comics International.

When last seen in a regular strip, Kevin, the current owner of the Greatcoat - a talking garment with transcendentally dimensional pockets - was a student. He was clearly not postgraduate material so Nick and I reckon he's in a bedsit in Skerton, Lancaster somewhere, eking out a life on benefits...

If anyone ever offered to pay us to write it, it might still be running today - but Nick still creates an annual Review of the Year, bless him!

Happy New Year!

• More by Nick Miller at:

Greatcoat Review of the Year 2012

Greatcoat Review of the Year 2011

Greatcoat Review of the Year 2010

Greatcoat Review of the Year 2009

Greatcoat Review of the Year 2008
More Really Heavy Greatcoats on the original downthetubes web site