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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Neck and neck still

The UK General Election next week still looks far too close to call. Some opinion polls show the Conservatives ahead and others show Labour.  UKIP seem to be gradually losing support.

At the moment my intention is to vote Lib Dem as they do have a chance of winning here in East Cambs. Labour really have no chance at all having won just 6.5% of the vote last time. UKIP could well split the Conservative vote, so the Lib Dems have a decent chance. Personally, I think the moderating influence of the Lib Dems on either the Conservatives or Labour would be a good thing. I supported the Greens in the European elections but in a "first past the post" General Election they (sadly) have no chance here. Elsewhere, who knows?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

FTSE 100 falls

6946.28 today so quite a large fall in the FTSE 100 share index.  I think we can expect quite large  fluctuations in the index in the period close to the UK General Election. It could go up or down as we are very likely to end up with a hung parliament, coalitions and uncertainty for a few weeks.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Glasswells - what a dosy shower they are!

Last October we wrote to Glasswells in Bury-St-Edmunds as our so-called stain protected lounge carpet had a stain we could not remove. A month later, having heard nothing, I emailed again. Eventually someone was sent and as he could not remove the stains, we were promised a free replacement carpet. All this was before Christmas 2014.

It is now April 2015 and we were still waiting, so I emailed  Glasswells again today. Oh," we were waiting for YOU to contact us with a suitable fitting date!". Like heck they were!! Yet more lame excuses. It only would have taken a phone call.  We have now been promised this carpet will be refitted this Friday morning. We will see.

Overall, I am totally unimpressed. Frankly, their service and care has been pathetic.

I hope NEVER to do business with this bunch of amateurs ever again.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Nepal Quake

This puts thing into perspective. Winter is approaching. Many are living in tents. Already 2500 are dead and the number is rising. People are terrified of the next shake.

See .

Saturday, 25 April 2015

UK General Election

With less than 2 weeks to go this will be the closest election in years and it is very unlikely a clear winner will emerge: Labour and Conservatives are neck and neck with some polls saying one is marginally ahead only to be contradicted by another poll! Some sort of coaltion appears to be the most probable outcome but whether Labour or Conservatives are the main party is anyone's guess.

Friday, 24 April 2015

East Anglan Churches Blog

Today we visited Sutton, near Ely and I have updated the East Anglian Churches Blog.

See .

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cambridge, UK - concert reminder

A reminder that the concert shown on the attached poster will be held this Saturday evening (April 25th) starting at 7.30pm.  Tickets may be bought on the door.  It is excellent music in a great venue (West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge).

Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Other people - how we cannot know them on the inside

Time and again I have to remind myself that we have very little idea what really goes on in the lives of other people. On the outside all may appear fine, but inside they are living a real hell.

One of our neighbours, we found out only last week, has breast cancer and her daughter had post natal depression badly. Both are so worrying.   We sometimes have to pinch ourselves and remind ourselves not to judge others as we really cannot know all their inner worries. We must never, ever judge anyone. Accept them as humans like us with weaknesses and worries, as well as joy.

I so wish that everyone could be happy, but the human condition is we have joy and sadness. Overall, we have to love everyone as ourselves and be kind to everyone.  Everyone is a mixture of happiness and sadness, just like us.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Still too close to call

The UK General Election is on May 7th (2 weeks only) and the leading parties are still too close to know who will get the most votes. It depends on which poll you look at who is deemed ahead. The margin of error is greater than the difference, so essentially they are tied.

Monday, 20 April 2015

UK General Election - First past the post

A reminder than the UK General Election, which is only a few weeks away, is "first past the post" so if you are just one vote behind you lose everything. In the European elections I voted Green, but fear this will be a wasted vote in a "first past the post" contest.  Tactical voting will be needed.

For example, in my constituency Labour really have no chance of winning as they only got 6.5% of the vote last time. The Lib Dems (currently in coalition with the majority Conservative government) have a real chance of winning - they came a good second last time - especially as we have UKIP nowadays and the Conservatives could lose some votes to them. The most probable outcome is a Conservative win again in this constituency.

Nationally, the outcome is almost certainly another coalition government as the polls show Labour and Conservatives neck and neck nationally. UKIP support nationally is fading, although I always suspected this would be the case.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

No brain? Very odd brain?

See Remove Katie Hopkins as a Sun newspaper columnist.

This woman is writing rubbish about poor and very desperate people trying to reach Europe in flimsy boats from Libya.  Most are fleeing war and strife.  Many have payed thousands for the trip and thousands have drowned.  The sooner she is stopped the better.  The petition is being signed by very many people and very fast.

Please sign and share on social media.

Delhi - the most polluted city on the planet

Delhi in India has the highest levels of air pollution on the planet but only now are the locals being made aware of it. Daily, its inhabitants breath in air that is so toxic that it can lead to death or serious diseases. We may think London, on a bad day, has problems but these are insignificant when compared with Delhi.

I have heard that pollution is also bad in China.

See .

Churches blog updated

A few weeks ago we visited St Botolph's church in Cambridge. I have just updated the East Anglian Church blog.

See .

Friday, 17 April 2015

That General Election in the UK

Well, I look at the BBC pages on the polls and it is clearly going to be a hung parliament with some sort of coalition the most likely outcome.

Personally, I think the UKIP support will weaken and a coalition involving the Lib-Dems (with either the Conservative or Labour) could be probable. This would be no bad thing.

We have only a few weeks left. There is still plenty of time for politicians to make gaffs, that could lose them a lot of support.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

FTSE 100

At the moment the FTSE 100 share index is over 7100 - giddy heights! With the election not many weeks away and a very close run contest, I expect the markets to tumble with the uncertainty of the outcome. The last poll I saw showed Conservatives and Labour neck and neck. The UKIP vote could lose Conservative votes.

I shall probably vote Lib Dem again.

The active Sun

See .

An impressive video showing how active the Sun has been since 2010.

Activity is now declining to the next sunspot minimum. Many experts predict the next solar cycle (cycle 25) will be very weak indeed. Some are even saying we are approaching a Maunder Minimum with extreme cold on the way and virtually no sunspots for many years. Predictions are getting good these days.

See also .  This dates from 2013, but still applies. The last peak was a pretty weak affair. The next could be almost a non-starter. A Maunder Minimum might help offset global warming to some extent?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Monday, 13 April 2015

Politicians - don't you just love them?

Like many, I now just switch off when I hear politicians, of all persuasions, making "promises".  Most of these are just election hot air.  Nowadays, I simply turn off as I just know they are empty words.  Mr Cameron was going to limit net inward migration to 10000 a year (no ifs , no buts - remember?). Ed Miliband is also making promises which are unlikely to be met. And what about the NHS?  Most parties have promised an extra £8 billion with little idea how this will be funded. What the NHS needs is better communications and less waste!

At the moment I am still very much a "floating voter" with little idea who to vote for.  What I do know is I shall be ignoring those promises and voting tactically.

Stroke - small steps

Recovery progress is painfully slow these days. For the last week I have had more energy in the mornings after breakfast. Until about a week ago I'd have breakfast  and then be totally exhausted. For about a week now I have managed to do a few household tasks before resting. The progress is small, but this is progress and I am grateful for it. I still get exhausted but not quite as badly. I seem to require rest, but I am not totally "done in".

All I want is my old self back.....

Sunday, 12 April 2015

"Our" windmill video

As this file is nearly 4M large, I have added it as a Dropbox public link. It shows our local windmill with the sails turning. As a public folder, you all should be able to access the file. This windmilll is just over our garden wall and was recently fully restored. It is about 200 years old.


Churches Blog - minor changes

Today I have made a few changes to the East Anglian Churches blog - a few text changes and a few new photos added. No new churches until later in the week.

Concert reminder

A reminder that there is a very fine concert on in Cambridge, UK, on the night of April 25th, 7.30pm, at the West Road Concert Hall. This is a great venue with excellent acoustics. If you can come you will not be disappointed. Details are on the attached poster (click to enlarge). You can get tickets before the day (see website for details) or on the door.

Burwell Museum - new look

Our local Burwell Museum has been undergoing a facelift over the winter months. There is now a brand new cafe and shop and many of the exhibits have been changed. It really is superb and well worth a visit.

The visit also allows a good look around the fully restored windmill. The windmill is literally over our garden wall. Quite a few TV programmes have used the windmill recently. Our bungalow has been on national TV at least once, albeit for just a few seconds!

Peacock butterfly

A few days ago we were in Cambridge at St Botolph's church. This butterfly was trapped inside, so I carefully picked it up and took it outside where it could feed. Its wings were closed, so it was only when it was outside that I could identify the species as a peacock, one of our loveliest in the UK.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

"London" grandchildren gone home

Our home is very quiet tonight.  Our "London" grandchildren have now left and the others are on holiday with grandparents in Australia. All  4 are aged 7 and under and we love them all.

Sadly, the innocence of young childhood soon goes, so we are making the most of them.

USA and Cuba talking

Like many of my age, I was at school in the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis. I remember going to school wondering if we would be in a nuclear war before the day ended. I was terrified and greeted the peace that broke out at the weekend as if life had started again. Years later I found out that it was even closer than anyone of us knew.

Image is on Wikipedia site.
"LeMay Cuban Missile Crisis". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

I find it odd that relations between the USA and Cuba have been so distant for so many years. The Cuban Missile crisis was 1962 and we are now in 2015. At long last, moves are being started to defrost the hostility. Not a minute too soon.

See .

Friday, 10 April 2015

Churches Blog Updated

Yesterday we visited the oldest building in Cambridge. This is St Bene't's Church (opposite the famous Eagle Pub where Crick and Watson cracked the secrets of DNA). It is very close to the original Cavendish Labs and the world famous Corpus clock (modern - looks like a gold disc with an over-sized insect on top) which is about 100m to the left along the road.

The church dates back to 1000AD. I have updated  our East Anglian Churches Blog accordingly.

Monday, 6 April 2015

So tired

Narrowboats on the R.Cam
This morning we did a walk totalling about 2km down to Bottisham Lock on the River Cam and back.  It involved climbing over 3 stiles. I just cut our back lawn this afternoon.  Now I am totally exhausted!

Give me an hour and I'll be OK, but cutting the grass was so very exhausting, even with 3 breaks.  In normal circumstances I would have been tired, but today it was a combination of (a) the first proper cut at the right blade height this season, so cutting was extra hard and (b) my cerebellum brain bleed after-effects.

Normally I can manage to cut both front and back lawns in one go, but I was just too exhausted to do the front lawn today. Maybe tomorrow?

Overall, I still think I am mending, but my level of fatigue after most physical and mental effort is still very high.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Swallows in Cambridgeshire

The Cambridge Bird Club "What's About" page is now reporting swallows locally again.

Usually I see swallows in Devon in the first week of April, but it is often mid-April until I see them around up here. I guess if you look hard you will see the odd one or two earlier.

The image on the RHS is on the RSPB site and not here. It will be immediately removed if causing copyright or other issues.


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Returning swallows

The Devon Wildlife website is now reporting the return of lots of swallows. This is good news. Spring returns!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Needless deaths

The world has recently seen a spate of needless deaths. Life is precious and this is so very sad. My wife and I were debating who was killed in the IRA car bomb on the UK parliament in 1979. I thought it was someone else, but it was Airey Neave.

See .

King's College, Cambridge added to churches blog

See .

King's College Chapel is probably the most famous building in Cambridge and is known the world over. Yesterday my wife and I went there for a lunchtime concert (great) and I have updated the churches blog.

This is a view of King's College Chapel from the River Cam.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


What a difference a week makes!

It now feels like spring with the birds singing again, buds coming through on trees and bushes, the grass starting to grow and a general feel of spring in the air. It is still cold at times, but overall the feeling is that spring is definitely in the air at last. We had a mild, wet winter, but it will only be a few weeks or less until the summer migrant birds (swallows and house martins soon, swifts at the end of the month) arrive.

I am looking forward to sitting out in the garden again on a light evening. Mid June it is still light here after 10pm.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

FTSE 100 up today

The FTSE 100 share index was up again today by 0.54%. It is still some way below its high spot which was over 7000. As the next General Election approaches and there is continuing uncertainty in Greece, more rapid fluctuations are likely.

At the moment, the outcome of the next General Election outcome is a total guess. The 2 big parties (Conservatives and Labour) are still neck and neck at 34% according to recent opinion polls.