A Mixed Bag

A giant mixed bag of a post covering the European Elections, other recent developments in my life, cricket and liberally equipped with photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A lot has happened since I last put up a blog post I will try to cover all the interesting bits, and I have a large number of photographs to share. First of all…

THE EUROPEAN ELECTIONS

Today is polling day in the European Elections. Here in Britain the polling stations are open until 10PM. The decision for me was between two parties. In a general election, knowing the support base of the respective parties in my constituency and constrained by the outdated, unfit for purpose FPTP system used in such elections, I would vote Labour as the only way to have even a chance of unseating the Tories. In a European election, run under the D’Hondt system, it was a question of maximising the number of progressive MEPs from my region, and that dictated a vote for the Green Party who were just short of having someone elected last time round. Therefore, I made my way to the Discovery Centre, which I expected would be the local polling station (fortunately I was right – for some reason I never received a polling card for this election, so I was relying on the same polling station being used for this one as had been used in the local elections a few weeks earlier – when I was unable to vote, being in a hospital bed at the time), equipped with ID to make up for the absence of a polling card (neither should be required but Tories are up – or down – to all sorts of tricks these days and it is better to be safe) and duly cast my vote for the Green Party.

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STAMPS

I have finally got all my stamps mounted (I was given a large quantity while in Addnebrookes being treated for cancer, to go with some that I already had). Here are the photographs I took while finishing the job:

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The main division of the non-themed stamps was between Polish and not Polish, and as you will see later I did not quite manage to get all the Polish ones in the same place, but did pretty well.

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I particularly like the Occitane stamp – it is always nice to see trees being honoured.

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SUNDAY LUNCH

With my Aunt not being around my parents and I had Sunday lunch at Goldings, which is a very fine restaurant. Although my alcohol consumption is restricted at the moment a pint of Adnam’s Ghost Ship (not hugely strong at 4.5%) combined well with steak and chips. I am not yet quite fit enough to get from my bungalow to the town centre on foot, so this meant a car journey.

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A pint of Ghost Ship
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Anything in a glass bearing this label will be drinkable!

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TAPPING HOUSE

On Tuesday, as usual, I had my physio session at Tapping House. It went very well, even including one set of exercises that involved balance and co-ordination (neither of them strong points even before I became ill). This has become a valued part of my life.

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NAS WEST NORFOLK COFFEE MORNING

This took place yesterday morning at the Pretty Little Tea Shop on Norfolk Street (thanks for stepping in at the last minute to give me a lift, Rachel). There was a reasonable turnout, a good time appeared to be had by all, and, mirabile dictu, the filter coffee was drinkable (though somewhat under strength by my standards), although £2.15 for about half the amount I make for myself at home in the morning seems a trifle steep.

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FINAL THOUGHTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Much has happened in the cricket world over the last few days. England did defend their total of 350 in the final ODI. David Willey and Joe Denly not very surprisingly missed out on places if the final world cup squad, although I was a little surprised to see Liam Dawson given a place (the other selections were all pretty automatic given Alex Hales’ recent indiscretion which ruled him out). Somerset have consolidated their place at the head of the County Championship table by beating Warwickshire in seven sessions (out of a possible 12) while Surrey and Kent are involved in a fine scrap, likely to end in a draw, though a victory for Surrey remains possible. Now it is time for my usual sign off:

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100 Cricketers – Second XI – The Remaining Specialist Batters

A continuation of my “100 cricketers series”, with links to three important petitions – if you are able please sign and share them.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my “100 cricketers” series, in which I deal with the remaining specialist batters from my second XI. My most recent post in the series dealt with the all-rounders so as to tie in with International Women’s Day. After the cricket part of the post there will be some photographs, and then some links to petitions that I am suffiiciently concerned about to share on this blog. The next post in this series will feature the bowlers from second XI and introduce the third XI in batting order.

SACHIN TENDULKAR

I first saw Sachin Tendulkar as a teenager in the 1990 series in England, in the course of which he racked up a century. He also took an amazing catch in that series, making a lot of ground before holding on to the chance. 

His amazing subsequent career is well documented. The greatest batter in the history of cricket, Sir Donald Bradman, publicly rated Tendulkar as being, along with Brian Lara, the best of the moderns, and also noted similarities between himself and Tendulkar, his attention having been drawn to them by Lady Bradman, while they were watching him on television.

At the moment Tendulkar is the only person to have scored 100 international hundreds. As a a testament to his longevity he also stands alone in having played 200 test matches. 463 ODI appearances and a T20 in addition mean that approximately four years of his life have been spent in international cricket action.

Although cross-era comparisons are generally invidious (Bradman’s colossal – 40 runs per innings – margin of superiority over the rest making him an exception) I feel sure that Tendulkar would have had had an outstanding record whatever era he had been born into and whichever kind of bowling he had had encountered.

ALLAN BORDER

An outstanding captain of Australia over many years, and a great left-handed batter whose career had two distinct portions.

For the first decade of his long international career Australia were a struggling outfit. He started in the 1978-9 Ashes series, won 5-1 by Mike Brearley’s England, and it was not until their unexpected triumph in the 1987-8 World Cup that things really started going right for Australia. In these circumstances Border was very often battling to save his side from defeat, and many of his innings were through sheer force of circumstance defensive in nature, batting as long as possible.

In the latter years of his career when he was finally in charge of a strong, confident side he showed that given the opportunity he had plenty of strokes and was willing to play them – in all of his last three Ashes series (1989, won 4-0 by Australia and would have been 6-0 but for major rain interruptions in the other two matches, 1990-1 and 1993 he batted in attacking fashion at every opportunity).

Of the four long-serving Australian captains of my lifetime I rate Border a very clear first – looking at their records in this specific role we have:

  • Allan Border – took over a weak, struggling side that had little idea of how to win, and left for his successor a side who were by then acknowledged as the best in the world.
  • Mark Taylor – took over from Border and maintained Australia’s position at the top of the cricket world.
  • Steve Waugh – taking over the captaincy of a team who were already acknowledged as champions he made them even better, a highlight of his term of office being a record run of 16 consecutive test match victories.
  • Ricky Ponting – in his first few years in charge he won a lot of matches with the remnants of the great Australian side of the previous era, but he lost three Ashes series out of four, including one on home soil in which his team were three times defeated by innings margins. 

In this XI, where the batting is overall exceedingly attacking in nature, Border is the person who in the event of bad start could dig the team out of a hole, while at the same time if the innings is going well he would be perfectly capable of stepping on the accelerator. His presence also means that there is a left-hander in the middle order, valuable from the point of view of giving the bowling side a different challenge. Finally, although not by any means a major part of his game his occasional slow left-arm did once win his country a test match against the West Indies (11 wickets in the match, including 7-46 in the first innings), and his safe hands (156 catches pouched in the course of his 156 test matches) would also be useful.

PHOTOGRAPHS

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A pair of mallards whose Sunday morning walk took them past my front window – you can just see the tail feathers of the female as she heads into the lavender.
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The male, keeping an eye on his companion.

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A couple of close-ups of the female as she emerges.

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PETITIONS

First up, a petition on 38 Degrees produced by the Grenfell survivors, calling on the government to make our housing system work for tenants. As someone who has recently moved into social housing through force of circumstance this is particularly important to me. To sign and share please click on the screenshot below.

Grenfell petition

My final two petitions are both on the official UK Government petition site, meaning that only UK citizens are allowed to sign. The first is a call for increased funding for Children’s Mental Health. If you are able and willing to sign and share please click the screenshot below:

Childrens Mental Health

Last and by no means least is a petition calling for police officers to be given mandatory autism training, something that I as an autistic person consider to be very important. Again, please click the screenshot below to sign and share.

police autism training

A Mixed Bag for Monday

Solutions to my last two maths problems, some sciencey pieces, a petition and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post includes solutions to the problems I posed on Saturday, and a few other things from various sources. 

SPACE STATION DODECAHEDRON

Here is the question as a reminder:

Space station Dodecahedron

Here is the answer:

Dodecahedron answer

Here is a splendidly concise solution from David Vreken:

Vreken route

A VARIARION ON THE MALFATTI THEME

Here is the question:

Malfatti Mistake question

Here is the answer:

Malfatti Mistake answer

In the 19th century Malfatti conjectured that the way to maximise the area of a triangle you could fill with three circles was to fill in the three largest circles that touch specifically two of the three sides. Although he was not alive to be humiliated it turned out that he was not merely wrong, his proposed solution has been proved not to work for a single triangle. The solution that always works is first put in the largest single circle that touches all three sides that you can, then fill in the largest circle you can in the remaining space and then do so again. In an equilateral triangle the difference is small, but in a long thin isosceles triangle it is quite substantial. 

Here is Jeremy Galvagni’s published solution:

Galvagni outdoes Malfatti

SCHOOL REFUSAL SYNDROME PETITION

This on the official site for petitions to the UK government, which means that you have be a UK citizen to sign it. Please click the screenshot below to sign and share it if so minded:

School Refusal

A TRIO OF SCIENCE PIECES

First a fascinating piece from the National Geographic titled “Can Today’s Whale Species Survive the age of Humans” which covers the past and present of the cetaceans and speculates about their future. 

David Quammen, a good writer and a useful scientist to know about if you are planning an A to Z post, has a new book out on the subject of evolution, and Jerry Coyne of whyevolutionistrue has provided a very detailed review of it.

Finally, a letter to the Guardian signed by 60 well known environmental campaigners declaring their unwillingness to debate with climate change deniers, and why they are unwilling to do so. Below is the opening to the letter (please click to visit the original) and a list of signatories:

Guardian letter

signatories

SOME FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

To finish here are some of my recent photographs:

Sea birdsFlying cormorantBlackbacked gull lands on the waterCormorant and rowing boatCormorant and sea birdsWingspanMoorhenCormorant

 

 

 

Open letter to all Leaders: Time’s up

Originally posted on Annas Art – FärgaregårdsAnna:
If you wanna spread this letter, you are welcome to share it worldwide. Tag it with #timesup if you want. If you want to make a translation of the text to other languages and share it, do it. We all have to help out saving our…

Please read and share Anna’s wonderful open letter to leaders. Note that this is Anna’s work and that therefore I am closing comments, as those should go direct to the original.

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna


If you wanna spread this letter, you are welcome to share it worldwide. Tag it with #timesup if you want. If you want to make a translation of the text to other languages and share it, do it. We all have to help out saving our planet. This is one way among millions to help.

The image is free to share.

Anna

View original post

It’s time the BBC realised that the opposite of reasonable debate is not unreasoned extremism

An excellent piece by Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. This piece was provoked by Rupert Read’s response to being invited by the BBC (to whom I refuse to give any of my money for reasons highlighted in this post and others) to debate with a climate change denier. As Read pointed out in his … Continue reading “It’s time the BBC realised that the opposite of reasonable debate is not unreasoned extremism”

An excellent piece by Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. This piece was provoked by Rupert Read’s response to being invited by the BBC (to whom I refuse to give any of my money for reasons highlighted in this post and others) to debate with a climate change denier. As Read pointed out in his refusal there is no serious debate on this issue – the evidence is overwhelming, and by insisting on giving climate change deniers air-time the BBC are doing great harm. Referring to his own area of expertise Murphy also points out the regularity with which folk from the Tax Payers Alliance and the Institute of Economic Affairs are given air-time, with no scrutiny of them or their organizations (at a barest minimum such organizations should be required to state publicly where their funding comes from, and the BBC should display this information whenever one of their representatives is speaking). Please read the original in full and post comments there.

Source: It’s time the BBC realised that the opposite of reasonable debate is not unreasoned extremism

Marxism 2018: The Closing Rally

Wrapping up my series on Marxism 2018 with an account of the Final Rally.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the final post in my series about Marxism 2018. As this series has for various reasons been somewhat spread out I start by providing links to all the previous posts in the series, in chronological order:

GETTING TO THE FINAL RALLY

As I mentioned in the overview of the weekend I left my last regular meeting a little early to head for Friends Meeting House. I deposited my bag there, and then had to wait to be let into the meeting room because it had been decided not to open the doors until 5:15PM, which given the size of that room was allwoing absurdly little time for people to be in and seated before the 5:30PM start. Knowing that I would be leaving early I positioned myself in a position to do so without generating any fuss.#

Posters, FMHPosters, FMH IIThe light, just after openingThe light IIThe light IIIThe PlatformStarting to fill upSister actJanet Alder, Christine Buchholz, Amy Leather and chair Naima OmarFull panelChristine, Tina and JanetFilling upFilling up IIThe Light IVTina, Christine, JanetFilling up IIIFilling up IVFilling up VTina, Christine, Janet, Amy, NaimaAlmost ready to startPanelalmost starting time

Panel II
The panel for the final rally – Tina McVeigh, Christine Buchholz, Janet Alder, Amy Leather and chair Naima Omar

Filling Up VIFilling up VII

THE RALLY ITSELF

A little later (but only a little) than originally intended chair Naima Omar got things started.

Naima opens the rally

The first speaker to be introduced was Dublin councillor Tina McVeigh, who talked inspiringly about the current Irish political scene, and reminded us of the recent triumph for progressive forces in that part of the world, the repeal of the 8th, about which her compatriots Mary and Siomha had spoken so movingly during the Opening Rally. 

Tina McVeigh speaks
Tina McVeigh making her speech

The team

 

The picture above shows The Team, the people who keep the event running smoothly, act as first point of contact for queries etc. This is a challenging and exhausting task (I did it six times myself, so I know whereof I write).

The second speaker was Christine Buchholz of Die Linke, a member of the German parliament, and virtually bilingual. She gave us a direct account of fighting against the rise of the far right in mainland Europe (Germany being one of the places where this is a particularly hot topic at the moment).

Naima introduces Christine
Naima Introduces Christine

Christine starts her speechChristine Buchholz

Third to speak was Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher, a former soldier, was killed while in police custody. This is bad enough, but what followed was if anything even worse – while consistently refusing to reveal the truth about what had happened to Christopher the police also used resources that should have been used to investigate the death to spy on Janet instead (similar to how Doreen Lawrence was spied on by those who were supposed to be investiagting her son’s murder). Janet told us about the campaign, which has now been running fior almost 20 years to get justice done – to this day Christopher’s killers remain unpunished. It was at the end of this speech that I left the event.

Janet Alder
Janet Alder

Standing ovation for Janet IIIStanding ovation for Janet IV

The two pictures above show the response to Janet’s speech.

HOMEWARD BOUND

There was a train nominally for Cambridge and King’s Lynn leaving just after 7PM, which I managed to be on. An announcement by the driver told us that they hoped to be able to split at Cambridge and travel onwards to King’s Lynn but that they may not be able to because there had been problems, so I prepared myself to change at Cambridge (I have a justifiably low opinion of Great Northern, so I given two possibilities I naturally assumed that the worse would eventuate). In the event my assessment was correct, and those of travelling beyond Cambridge did have to change trains, so I arrived back at almost exactly nine o’clock.

St Pancras
St Pancras Station from the far side of the Euston Road
Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral

Marxism 2018: Meetings with an Environmental Theme

The environment themed meetings at Marxism 2018.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the penultimate post in my series about Marxism 2018 (to be followed in the not too distant future by a series that I will title “A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall” following my recent visit to Cornwall (more on that curious word grockle at the start of said series). I missed only one of the environmentally themed meetings at Marxism 2018 (it clashed with a meeting about mental health, which I attended instead), the one featuring John Bellamy Foster.

MEETING 1: MARTIN EMPSON ON CLIMATE CHANGE

THis meeting was the subject of my first Marxism 2018 post. Here is the featured image:

WHY DOES CAPITALISM LOVE PLASTIC?

Amy Leather started her talk with a potted history of the development of plastics. She then talked about plastics as a by-product of fossil fuel extraction, linking in to controversies over fracking. She also talked about how when disposable plastic first became a thing there were advertising campaigns to persuade people to dispose of the stuff. During the discussion James from north Derbyshire mentioned that the company who are seeking to engage in fracking in his part of the world and against whom he and others are fighting are primarily a plastic making company, and their interest in fracking is based on a desire to use by products of fracking to make more plastics.

Amy prepares to give her talkPlastics meeting just before startAmy at the ready.Amy and booksAmy makes final preparationsrecruiterBooksPlastics meetingSpeaker and ChairAmy speakingAmy speaking IIPlastic filled whaleA contribution from the floorthe filmer filmed

SARAH ENSOR AND IAN RAPPEL ON CAPITALISM AND EXTINCTION

This was the first meeting of the Sunday. The Institute of Education has a somewhat curious system of floor numbering, whereby you enter the building from outside on level 4. This meeting was in a room on Level 8, and I chose not to use the lift (I have been known to opt for the stairs at both Russell Square – 175 – and Covent Garden – 200 – stations, so for a mere four floors it was barely even a question). 

I enjoyed the meeting – both speakers were excellent, and although the sun prevented the presentation from being seen to best effect (even with blinds drawn and the lights off in the key part of the room – the latter a suggestion on the part of yours truly) it was still well worth the climb up and down.

Seminar room 802-4 for Capitalism and Extinction meetingPosters IPosters IIBookmarksPosters IIIDump TrumpSlide showIan adjusts the slide showTitle slidePlatformPlatform IIPlatform IIIThe chair introduces the meetingSarah Ensor speaks firstSarah speakingTitle slide IIBiodiversity - Arctic WatersBiodiversity pictureBiodiversity pic IIBiodiversity pic IIIArctic CodCapitalism and the EnvironmentDecline in Marine populationsMarine population declineDecline in marine populationsDecline in Marine populations IICapitalism degrades natureSarahWhaling 1850sWhaling 20th CenturyIan RappelIan Rappel IIpost-revolutionary ecological renaissanceRevolutionary ecologyCapitalist ecology3rd Runway protestOne (wonderful) world to win

DIRTY ENERGY AND CAPITALISM: WHAT’S THE REAL STORY

This meeting which featured Suzanne Jeffery and anti-fracking campaigner Tina Louise Rothery took place in Clarke Hall, on Level 3 of the Institute of Education in the post lunch session of the Sunday. It had been made even more topical by the fact that in the run up to the event the Tories had simultaneously refused to provide funding for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon (capable of supplying 10% of the country’s energy needs had it gone ahead) and forced through the 3rd runway at Heathrow.  Both speakers were excellent, and during the discussion Brid Smith TD talked about a bill she is trying to get through the Dail which would mean that no more fossil fuels will be extracted from Ireland (it has already passed its first reading). 

Dirty energy meetingJuxtapositionPostersPanelFrack Free Lancashire IISuzanne Jeffery speaking

Suzanne Jeffery
Suzanne Jeffery

Clarke HallClarke Hall IIClarke Hall IIILancashire

Tina Louise Rothery
Tina Louise Rothery

TLR ITLR IITLR IIITLR IVTLR VTLR VITLR VIIIAnti-fracking noticeTLR IXTLR XTLR XITLR XIITLR XIIIFrack Free LancashireTLR finishes her speech

Brid Smith TD contirbutes to the discussion
Brid Smith talks about her fossil fuels bill that is curfrently going through the Dail

Summing up

AN EXAMPLE OF A CAMPAIGN

A common theme running through these meeting was the necessity of supporting campaigns all over the world. I therefore conclude this post with a mention of the Save Trosa Nature campaign. You can find out more about this campaign by reading Anna’s posts about it. There is a petition currently running which you can sign here.