To the northern station

They come at me - and pass
like missed trains, failing
to stop on schedule, trailing
a line of lamp-lit heads.

Nothing is fixed -
or everything is -
and carriages rattle through,
each secure in its own place,
then off - beyond the horizon.

At a crossing
on the Shkodra road
(with mountains as horizon),
kids run up to the brink
of the train they've missed.
Kicking hard against shale
and cascaded shard,
they swing up to occupy
corridors that judder
at every joint in the rail.

Or maybe that's just how
I see it. At the fag-end
of a long haul, I'm only looking on
whatever might be expected.

The sun glints - of course -
and muezzins cry:
they're out of shot.
The train limps from sidings
back towards the capital.

In the aloof vacancy of a ticket hall,
I'm assuming something of moment
will occur. We've arrived!

Cars judder into parking spaces.
Puddles open. Nothing moves:
we step outside - and then
everything does.

Tom Phillips, November 2011

Climb a wall

The BMC website provides news, features and events on climbing; equipment, safety and medical advice is available as well as various downloadable guidebooks. Whether you want to get the hang of climbing or need to stretch your skills a little further, the BMC Climbing Wall Directory gives details of all facilities around the UK here or try the Regional Access database Their website also very helpfully contains videos, giving a step by step guide to beginners.   For those researching the topic, grab this survey on climbing wall users,

Johnny Dawes will be making a flying visit to the Redpoint Climbing Centre in Birmingham soon - book now for a masterclass or lecture.

  Catch some of the action...

2012 Adventure Travel World Summit

Registration is now open for the ninth  Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) to be held at Lucerne in Switzerland, from 8th to 11th October 2012. Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) annual event will be held  at the KKL Luzern (Culture and Congress Centre), built by renowned architect Jean Nouvel and is expected to draw 600 adventure tourism professionals from more than 50 nations  more...

Links to reports and pictures from previous summits, can be found on this page.

2012 - Year of the Domestic Holiday?

Britannia Hotel, Manchester
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed plans for hotel operators across the UK to offer discounts to British holidaymakers next year as part of efforts to boost domestic tourism. Addressing the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Hunt said he is in talks regarding the possibility of offering a 20.12 per cent discount at hotels and B&Bs. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and associated events, including the Torch Relay, were highlighted by Hunt as having the potential to “transform” the UK’s tourism sector. Working in partnership with tourism minister John Penrose, Hunt said the government will be looking to turn “strong interest into good business”. Last month, Hunt announced that £3m from the Olympic budget had been allocated to help boost domestic tourism based around the Torch Relay and the Cultural Olympiad. Hunt said: “We want to use next year to transform our domestic tourism industry. We want next year to be the year to have a holiday at home.” (IMSPA Digital magazine, Oct 11)

IMSPA news

Sean Holt, the interim chief executive officer of the new Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (IMSPA), has said the body will look to draw members from a much broader cohort than its forerunners. In an interview with Leisure Management, Holt said that while core membership will still comprise those employed by operators and suppliers, the institute hopes to attract professionals working across the physical activity sector. The broadening of the net is part of IMSPA’s aim to represent the whole of the active leisure sector. IMSPA was formed as the result of a merger of Institute of Sport and Recreation Management and the Institute for Sport, Parks and Leisure (ISPAL). While IMSPA will look to expand its reach within the active leisure sector, Holt added there would be less involvement with parks – formerly a key element of ISPAL. Read the full interview

Staged Reading Scheduled at Hickory Hill Community Center

The department, in partnership with My Creative Spirit, a new Northern Virginia theater company, will present a staged reading of “That ColorBlind Kind Of Love” at the Hickory Hill Community Center on Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m.     The play, written by English teacher Rebekah Peirce, premiered at the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival in September. The drama tells the story of Sampson and his

Veterans Day Program Scheduled at Byrd Park Carillon

The city of Richmond will host a Veterans Day Ceremony on Friday, November 11, at 4 p.m. at the World War I Memorial Carillon in Byrd Park. “The city of Richmond is proud to honor the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and we will never forget their courage and commitment to protecting our freedom and fighting for the rights of the oppressed,” said Mayor Dwight C.

The imaginary museum in northern Albania

They come at me – and pass
like missed trains, failing
to stop on schedule, trailing
a line of lamp-lit heads.

Nothing is fixed –
or everything is –
and carriages rattle through,
with each secure in its own place,
then off, beyond the horizon.

At a crossing
on the Shkodra road
(with mountains for the horizon),
kids ran up to the brink
of the train they’d missed,
kicking hard against shale
and cascaded shard
to swing up and take place
in corridors juddering
at every joint in the rail.

Or perhaps that’s how I saw it.

At the fag-end of another long haul,
once again I’m only looking on
whatever might have been expected.

The sun glints,
the muezzin cries.
Further up the track,
the train reverses for the capital.

In the aloof vacancy of the ticket hall,
I’m assuming the next moment will occur.
The train backs out of the station.
This manuscript page stays blank.

November 2011.

Department Recognized for Tennis Programs

The department received the Community Outreach of the Year Award from the United States Tennis Association’s Virginia District at the organization’s annual meeting and awards luncheon held at the Country Club of Virginia on October 29.  Department Director Dr. Norman C. Merrifield and the department’s tennis program coordinator, Victor Rizzi, accepted the award on the behalf of the city and Mayor

Cheerleading Jamboree to Showcase 600+ Area Cheerleaders

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities will hold its annual Cheerleading Jamboree on Thursday, November 10, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Landmark Theater, located at 6 N. Laurel St.  Approximately 600 cheerleaders from the department’s community centers and area high schools and colleges will perform during the event.       Tickets for the event are $3 in advance for

Top Cities of 2012

Lonely Planet have just released their top 10 cities 
for 2012,  

Employability Week

Employability Week is full of activities and events designed to support UCB students as you develop your career options and prepare to enter the world of work. Themes this year are:

  • Employability Skills Activities
  • Short courses to help boost your skills and CV!
  • Employer events

Find out more here

VisitEngland’s Regional Growth Fund Bid is Successful

A message from James Berresford, CEO, VisitEngland:
"I am delighted to inform you that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced today that VisitEngland’s bid for funding from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) was successful.

The money will be used on a three-year project entitled, Growing Tourism Locally which has been designed to stimulate economic growth and employment locally. A key part of the project will be a national campaign aimed at inspiring Britons to take more short breaks and holidays at home and in doing so create the equivalent of 9,500 full time jobs across the country.

VisitEngland will work with tourism partners and the private sector at a national and local level. Partners will manage elements of the campaign for their destinations, whilst VisitEngland will manage the national strategy supporting this local activity. The campaign will capitalise on next year’s once-in-a-generation events like The Diamond Jubilee, the Torch Relay, the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games that will act as a catalyst to showcase the whole of the country.

The funding will be divided into two parts, with some allocated to a number of destination partners who will work closely with VisitEngland to design and implement their campaigns, and the rest will be devoted to thematic activities, enabling a greater number of destinations to get involved and benefit. The thematic campaigns include countryside, heritage, coastal and business tourism.

VisitEngland and its delivery partners will work closely with private sector partners to match fund the grant received from the RGF. VisitEngland is currently working with Government on the next stage of the RGF process to confirm the fine detail and the terms and conditions of the funding.

This is great news for tourism businesses and English destinations and we will keep you up to date with the progress".