Search This Blog

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Mud

Exactly 6 years ago I visited my brother in Devon. The photo shows my boot after we got back from a walk!

"Come to sunny Devon where it rains 6 days out of 7".

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Beetles

One of the exhibits at the recently refurbished Zoology Museum in Cambridge is of these beetles. Some are huge.

Monday, 26 November 2018

UAE Frees Academic

So the UAE has pardoned the academic who was researching security in the UAE I believe. No doubt this was a result of UK government pressure and the UAE fearing UK investment falling.

This reminds me of some years ago when the Greeks thought some UK plane spotters were spies: they just did not get it! It is true, some of us have very strange interests. 😊

One year on

About a year ago, the only bank in our village closed. It has still not sold. The plot is central and I am quite surprised it wasn't snapped up.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Mortality

Earlier, I walked to the bakers. On the way was a dead red-legged partridge that was probably hit by a car. I doubt the motorist was even aware. Things like this just remind us how fragile life really is.

A year ago my son's brother-in-law was killed whilst crossing the road on green at a pedestrian crossing in Australia. The car driver was on her phone and ploughed into him. He was only young. Tragic.

When we die (some of us) hope for some kind of life after death. No-one is really sure, but probably we just cease to exist as we did in the billions of years before we came into existence. What chance we were born at this time on this planet? One thing is certain: we know very little.

Are all religions our attempt to come to terms with our mortality? I do not know. No-one is really sure.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

East Suffolk

Thornham Parva Church
Yesterday, we went to east Suffolk, visiting Eye and Thornham Parva churches. The first is a very ornate place, probably as a result of the wool trade. The latter is a very small, thatched church. The architect of the re-built Coventry Cathedral is buried in the churchyard here. In my view, Thornham Parva is one of the best churches on the planet. It is simple, but a haven of peace.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Own goal?

Sorry, but President Trump seems to like own goals. 

His latest swipe is against the French president Macron, allegedly. Sometimes he would increase his ratings by just shutting up. I want to swear, but I had better not! To many outside of the USA he does himself no favours.


Monday, 12 November 2018

Remembering

100 years after the end of WW1, we are still fighting wars and innocents are still being killed. Looking back, WW1 seems a total waste of young lives. Lambs to the slaughter!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Christmas Too Early

If there is one thing that really irritates me it is Christmas starting in the shops months too early! Yes, I know retailers are having a hard time on the high streets, but this is all driven by profits.

For me, Dec 1st is quite early enough for Christmas fare. Grumpy old man! This photo was shared on social media earlier.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Grandchildren

These are our grandchildren this half-term. They are growing fast.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Cactus Day

No, we'd not heard of this either! It was an invention of our granddaughter. 

To celebrate this day, we will celebrate Oct 22nd as Cactus Day every year from now on.

The photo show the cake that our grandson iced.

Why cactus? Absolutely no idea! 😀

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Toadstools

OK, I am not very good at telling apart edible mushrooms from poisonous toadstools, so unless I am sure, it does not get touched or eaten! 

These toadstools (well I assume they are) were seen at Anglesey Abbey earlier in the week where they had removed an old tree. 

This seems to be the season to see all sorts of strange fungi.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Mindfulness

A lot of us spend a lot of our time worrying about tomorrow. Often, what we most fear does not happen! 

There is a technique which may help. This has rapidly turned into a word for our time, but there is good science behind it. Mindfulness. 

Sometimes we have to think about tomorrow, but perhaps we spend too much of our time needlessly worrying, when we should concentrate on enjoying the good things around us now.


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Saudi Arabia

It bothers me that the UK government wants to do business with Saudi Arabia and get them to fight wars on our behalf. In many ways this Middle East state appears out of step with values we hold dear.

The disappearance in Turkey of a critic of the regime makes us all the more suspicious. There may be an innocent explanation, but at the moment it looks murky.

In my view the current government is afraid of losing military contracts, so turns a blind eye on the kingdom's dirt. Moral high ground? We have none. The UK seems as bad as the rest.

Abandoned Boat?

This boat was seen at Lakenheath Fen last week. It looks abandoned.  A lot of the lakes there were dried up as we have had little rain this summer.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Royal Wedding - another one!

Apparently the queen paid for the wedding, but we, Joe Public, paid for all the security. I am not sure where I stand on royalty. I guess as a brand it earns a few million, but I am against wealth and privilege when not earned. On the other hand I can't think of a suitable candidate for UK president! Most in public life are a shower.


Monday, 8 October 2018

African Migrants Gone?

The African migrant birds seem to have gone. Swifts went several weeks ago and house martins and swallows seem to have largely gone. It is some weeks now since I last saw a swallow. Come next April, they will be back. In the meantime, safe journeys!

Village walk

Yesterday, we did a walk in the autumn sunshine around part of our village. It has grown a lot since we moved here in 1975, but still retains a "village" feel. Population is now over 6000.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

St Ives (Cambs, UK)


My wife made this collage of our trip last week to St Ives (Cambs).

It makes a good summary of our trip, which is why it is included here.

At the top is the famous bridge and at the bottom is the market.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Big Skies

We lack hills and mountains in East Anglia, but we do have some big skies. This photo was taken from a moving car about a mile from home.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Mist

Yesterday we went by train from Ely to Canterbury to see our son and family. Just before we left Ely the sun was rising over misty fields.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Corfu Lizard

This was another lizard seen last week in Corfu in the garden of our hotel. 

As soon as it saw me it scarpered - must be camera shy!

Burwell Museum Talk

Our local Burwell museum has a talk this Thursday. Honor Ridout on “I can’t stoop either” : Victorian fashions in Punch. Talks are from 14.00-15.00 followed by tea and biscuits. Free with museum admission. No admission charge for season ticket holders and current museum volunteers. Drop in. Booking recommended for a large group. Museum admission applies.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Human Consciousness

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is what happens when we die. Do we just cease to be and our consciousness dies with our bodies?

This has been the central question of all religions for millennia. I certainly do not have the answers. On a logical level we are only conscious because of our brains and synapses. As far as I know, no-one has explained why we are conscious beings.

And yet, there is so much we do not know. One thing is certain. This is the ultimate question.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Autumn

According to the Met Office it is officially autumn.

At the moment it still feels like summer with blue skies and warmth still.

However, nights are drawing in, most swifts have flown south and there is dew on the grass in the mornings. Soon the leaves will start to turn. Before you know it, it will be Christmas!

Norwich

At the weekend, we visited Norwich by train. Norwich is a lovely city. It is one of the places am sure I could live in and be happy. It is close to north Norfolk, it has a great Norman cathedral, some fine old streets and houses, second hand bookshops, a market and lots more. Altogether, it is a great place. The collage of Norwich was created by my wife.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Getting Worse?

Perhaps it is me becoming more of a grumpy old man, but in many ways things seem to be going backwards. In our village our only bank has closed. About a year ago our local building society branch in the village closed. Years ago you could ring your local bank manager. Now you are just an anonymous number in an Indian call centre! I tried to contact a train company but was connected to an Indian call centre who really did not have a clue. In fact they were totally useless. Many shops have closed.

Some things are better, but I think that god "profit" is gradually making life harder for us all.

Somehow we have lost that personal touch. I am sure this is a worldwide issue and not just here in the UK. Slowly but surely, life is getting harder, when it should be getting easier.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Llangollen Aqueduct

This is an amazing piece of architecture designed by Thomas Telford centuries ago to take a canal high across a valley. Although there is a narrow path on one side the other side has a sheer drop! 

We were taken here today by our wedding "best man". That was 47 years ago! He lives on the Wirral near Liverpool. I was too giddy to walk across.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Swifts

About this time of year, swifts start to fly south. For a few months they are part of the British summer. They sleep and feed on the wing. The screaming swifts are a common summer sound.

Then you realise they are not here. I am sure we'll see more still, but they are moving south. By September most will have gone.

Funny how I treasure the day when the first swift of the year is seen. To me, it is a sign that life goes on. This year we seem to have had fewer swallows and house martins. Luckily here swift numbers have held up. Several people have erected swift nest boxes.


Monday, 13 August 2018

Car Insurance

Well, I  have been with my current car insurer for ages. Most years I have to ring up to tell them it is too much and get a better quote. This morning I did this again and they dropped a very little. So I told them to let their policy lapse and I'd look around. I have got the same cover for very much less, even allowing for introductory offers.

Now, wouldn't you think they would want to keep a loyal customer who has never made a claim? No, they have lost me now, probably for ever. Crass stupidity!! Their loss - not being able to see this.

In my view, the insurance industry is mad. Surely, they should give loyal, good customers a good deal to prevent them going elsewhere. Instead I get an idiot in a call-centre who couldn't care a jot. As I said, their loss, not mine. They deserve to lose all my business in future years, and they probably will now.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

SETI

SETI = Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence

We have probably been searching of extra-terrestrial life now for about 50 years. Years ago, the famous Drake equation predicted the chances of finding intelligent life as quite high. All these years later we have still not found any signs! No sign of any extra-terrestrial life, let alone intelligent life.

Perhaps we are truly alone in the universe? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong way?

Should we succeed, it could be transformative. However, I am beginning to have my doubts.

Years ago I recall reading "We are not alone" by Carl Sagan. Perhaps we are alone?

Personally, I think we should keep looking, but I am quite surprised that we have found nothing at all.


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Bee

A bee on a flower at Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk  yesterday.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Holme next the Sea

When on holiday last week at Holme next the Sea in Norfolk we had glorious weather. Most mornings we did a walk before breakfast.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Innocent until proved guilty?

Today we heard that a well known UK singer had won substantial damages from the BBC. Several years ago the police raided his house searching for evidence of child abuse and the BBC "in the public interest" hired a helicopter to film it all.  He was not even charged.

Now, if such an accused is found guilty the full force of the law will fall on him or her. If innocent, their reputation will be tarnished for ever. There are several occasions when reputations have been ruined without due cause.

The answer is simple: people are innocent and anonymous until proved guilty in a court of law. There is no place for innocent people being judged by the mob and the press. Saying such intrusions are, "in the public interest" is wholly wrong in my view. It is gutter journalism at its very worst.

BBC - serves you right! Pay up please NOW.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Kingsbridge, Devon

Originally I came from Salcombe, Devon, although we moved to Kingsbridge, Devon in 1959. This is a recent photo of Kingsbridge. Both places where we lived in Kingsbridge can be seen in the photo.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Last Night's Sky

After a hot day, we went for a walk around the village. This was the sky. We have had no rain since May!

Friday, 13 July 2018

"Our" windmill at sunset

This was the view of "our" windmill next door at 10.10pm last night. It forms part of the excellent Burwell Museum.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Status Quo

Life has a nasty habit of surprising us. We go along with certainties we have known for years, then suddenly something happens to remind us that change always happens. It can be someone dying or getting gravely ill, a different house or something far more trivial.

Change is part of life and the future holds all sorts of shocks. Those best able to accept are people who are not phased by changes or endings: people who can say, that is the end of a chapter and the start of a new one.

Sadly, I find endings hard. Perhaps we all do in our own way. 


Someone sent me this link:

See http://jef.mentalis.org/hersenspinsels/downloads/WhoMovedMyCheese_DrSpencerJohnson.pdf

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Barnacle Geese

Quite amazed by the sheer number of Barnacle Geese around Helsinki. Every park and lake seems to have them. In the UK these are winter birds. They look a bit like Canada Geese, but are smaller with different markings.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnacle_goose .

Saturday, 23 June 2018

UK Litter

Without exception Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland are virtually litter free. You sense civic pride. In the UK have we no pride? Why do we drop litter in the first place?

Surely we can get someone to clean our mess? Surely if Estonia with its tiny population can have no litter we can do the same? Basically we are litter louts in the UK!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Coventry Canal

The wives of my wife's brothers walking along the towpath of the Coventry Canal a few days ago.

Lichfield

My brother-in-law lives in Lichfield north of Birmingham. The walk into Lichfield along the side of Stowe Pool is delightful.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Home

It seems hard to believe we have lived in our current home for almost 5 years. We lived in our previous home for 37.5 years. At first, we thought we'd be very homesick and miss the "old place". Actually we haven't. I guess we still have the familiar things all around us like furniture and photos. Our bungalow has our stamp on it.

Where I came from in Devon

This photo appeared as one of my FaceBook memories earlier. We have lived hereabouts for a very long time.

We had a part share in some land near here in the early 1400s.

It is entirely possible one (or several) of my ancestors manned the promontory fort at Bolt Tail in the distance thousands of years ago.

Painted rocks

This seems to be a nationwide craze, especially with young people. Yesterday we were visiting friends with young children and they had loads to re-hide. I saw one in Devon a few weeks ago. You find yourself looking all the time!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Storm Gazing

Our grandchildren were interested to see if a storm was coming over their house on the day they went home.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en