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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 and 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

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Abortion in Eire

The people of Eire have voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to overturn the law so abortion in the early weeks of pregnancy will become legal. To me this seems sensible and returns the rights to the mother. The people voted almost 2 to 1 in favour of the change. It is likely to become law later this year.


Lupins

We planted some lupins a few years ago. Last year they got nibbled by muntjac deer. They have just come out. I hope we have better luck this year!

GDPR Rubbish

It seems that every other email is about GDPR and even some of these are "dodgy". Yes, we all know data privacy is important, but this is taking political correctness to new heights, or is it depths?

Surely we want just a simple rule that says each person has to give express, clear, permission for any data held about them to be passed on. If data is currently held people cannot pass it on. Simple. No doubt some Brussels bureaucrats have to translate this into 27 languages at our expense too. Jobs for the boys.

GDPR = Great Deal of PRoper crap!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Begonias


In the warm May sunshine, we planted begonias this afternoon. These last all summer and need very little attention. They give lots of colour.

There are a few more to do tomorrow.

Last year my wife bought busy lizzies by mistake. They also looked good.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Local museum

Our granddaughter earlier today at our local museum playing with a hoola hoop. Years ago, these were all the rage.

We are blessed with having probably the best local UK museum (complete with windmill) just over the garden wall.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Cheese

As we were going to a funeral in Nottingham we stayed in Southwell (just to the east) at the "Saracen's Head". Everyone we met in Southwell was kind, helpful and welcoming. The photo shows my cheese course on Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Dandelions

These are considered weeds, but the flowers (yellow) and dandelion clocks (seeds) are actually quite beautiful.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Bowcombe Creek

We did a short walk here last week. It is in S.Devon, not far from Kingsbridge. Even with the tide out and the mud showing it is a beautiful area. As we walked, the tide started to come in.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Little Egrets

Until the late 1980s little egrets were rare in England. With climate change (please tell Mr Chump) their range has extended further north and they are now quite common here.

My guess is cattle egrets will be next.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Devon Sunset

Tonight it was wet and windy. Last night it was sunny when the sun set in the west.

Hand Feeding


Pheasants feeding from my hand a few nights ago. Magical.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Bots?

Suddenly this blog is of great interest to Russia. Now, I very much doubt they are suddenly interested in what I have to share. The more probable explanation is bots looking for vulnerabilities.

A Grave Error?

The photo show my wife taking a picture last night. I have no idea what she had seen. This is Thurlestone, Devon.

Yellowhammers

"Little bit of bread and no "cheeeese". These birds are quite common in the right spots in the UK, but they are on the RSPB's red list.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/yellowhammer

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Swan

This swan was enjoying a bit of quiet time at Anglesey Abbey earlier. There is a nest there and I think the pair of swans are taking turns on it.

UK Identity Card?

In the UK we seem to have a problem with illegal immigrants. One solution proposed is an ID card for each legal person living here. You would need this to obtain benefits. I think this would help, but I am not 100% sure.

In the light of the debacle over "the Windrush generation" in which people who were legally here but denied rights and deported (can you believe this?), it might help. This action is wholly inexcusable!!
As for the government I simply do not care whether it is Labour, Conservative or Monster Raving Loony.  This a total balls up.

As a legally here person, I have no problems with such a card, although I have not been through all the arguments.


Sunday, 29 April 2018

"Our" Windmill

We live right next door to a 200 year old, restored windmill. Our garden is just visible in the lower left.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Bluebells

Earlier this week we went to see the bluebells in Waresley Woods to the west of Cambridge. The paths were much wetter than we expected after the hot weather last week.

Tree Roots

I think this tree was blown over in a recent gale. The roots exposed clearly show the sandy soil in which it grew. Brandon Country Park.

Tree Rings

This tree looks like it was about 35 years old when it either blew down in a gale or was deliberately felled. It was in Brandon Country Park yesterday.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Dead Bodies

On two occasions I have seen dead bodies.

The first time was when I was an engineering student at university. I was "smuggled in" to the room in the medical school where they dissected corpses. I wore my white lab coat. This was the first time I had ever seen a dead human body. Reaction? The corpses looked like meat. It was hard to believe these were once real people with emotions, happiness, sadness, good times and bad times.

The other time was in 1987 when my dad died. I saw his body in the mortuary. He was cold and lifeless. My overriding memory was that the essential "him" was no longer there. It was like a chrysalis shell. Now, those who have a faith will say he lives on in another form. I just do not know. I wish this was true.

Death remains a mystery to us. It is a taboo subject.

Lunch Out

We ate a 3 course lunch today at Cote Brasserie in Bridge Street, Cambridge. £13.50 each, and they add the gratuity to the bill (much better than tipping in my view). If the service was poor you can remove this gratuity. Service and food were very good. We will go there again.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Wild Flowers

This collage (done by my wife) shows some of the spring flowers seen on recent walks. Although today is quite dull, you do feel winter has moved on into spring at last. The fields are bright yellow with rape and I have (at last) seen a swallow.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

South Hams

Until I went to university, I lived in the South Hams of Devon. This picture was taken 8 years ago, but it probably hasn't changed much in 1000 years. We know my ancestors owned a piece of land near here in 1428. I can trace the family tree right back to the mid-1500s with no breaks. Our family has probably been hereabouts for thousands of years.  BTW, Thurlestone (this place) means "rock with a hole" so Thurlestone Rock has been there a long time!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Spring at last

At last, after a long dull winter, with no real spring, the weather has changed and yesterday was sunny and warm. At long last it actually feels like spring! The next few days are promising too.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Mental Health

This came in from Molly earlier. The links may be helpful.

"Hi,

Having had personal experience with addiction, I’ve seen how important it is to address mental health issues before they take control. I truly believe it’s lifesaving to nurture our innermost selves before mental health conditions become debilitating, whether it’s something as common as stress and anger or something as complex as depression or suicidal thoughts.

As part of my work with Recovery Hope, I’m sending you some articles that offer insight and support for those who may be struggling. I hope you’ll consider adding these to your site on this page or one like it (http://g3xbm-qrp.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html). Based on the information you have there, it seems you’re just as aware of how important it is for people to care for their emotional wellbeing.










I truly thank you in advance for your support! If you’re open to working with me so that I can write an article for you that further explores the importance of mental health on our overall wellness, please let me know. Since this is a subject so close to me, there is no charge. (If you don’t want me to contact you again, please let me know that as well.)

Thanks,
Molly

Molly Anderson