National Park Cities Thunderclap

Introducing the concept of National Park Cities, publicising a thunderclap about the same and displaying some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

To take part in a Thunderclap you have to be on at least one of facebook, twitter or tumblr, so for the benefit of those among my readers who cannot take part I am also including some recent photos of my own that tie in well with this particular thunderclap. 

NATIONAL PARK CITIES

The idea behind this thunderclap, set up the folks at team4nature is that there are recognized health benefits to people having easy access to nature. Among the potential pioneers of the concept of a National Park City is London, and you can declare your support here. To take part in the thunderclap click here, or on the image below, which shows the story in full:

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PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my recent nature pictures, which also feature the two main parks in King’s Lynn, The Walks and Lynnsport Park and sections of Bawsey Drain and The Gaywood River.

GullsMerula IWalks IWalks IIWalks IIIWalks IVWalks VMerula IIMerula IIIMagpieGulls IIbirdsSmall birds ISmall birds IISmall birds IIISmall birds IVMerula IVbrown patchesOmniaOmnia IIgrey specklesdark muscovydark muscovy IItwo foron the bridgedark muscovy IIIGreymuscovies and mallardseightPanoramaParting shot

Trees in Transistion II

INTRODUCTION

After the success that made original “Trees in Transistion” post has had I am back with another. As in the first one all the trees featured are within walking distance of central King’s Lynn, though there is no overlap between the two.

TREES TO THE FORE

These trees are all in the area between the town end of Bawsey Drain and the junction of Littleport Street, Blackfriars Street and Norfolk Street.

Witness Statement Re Fire At Bawsey Drain

An eyewitness statement regarding a fire that I regard as highly likely to have been the result of arson, although accident is a possibility.

INTRODUCTION

I am putting this post up as a witness statement regarding an incident that happened somewhere in the region of one hour ago. 

THE STORY

I went out for a walk, to take some photos and do some thinking. I set out across the upper Purfleet, on to King Street and thence via the Tuesday Market Place and St Nicholas Chapel to the start of the footpath that runs alongside Bawsey Drain as far as Lynnsport. My initial plan was to cross a bridge that leads into a field, head via Kettlewell Lane to the train station, then through the parkland to Seven Sisters, down past the South Gate and across the Nar to hit the Great Ouse by way of Harding’s Pits and thence back into town along the river. However, I was approaching this bridge when I saw white smoke rising from the field on the other side of the river. A cyclist approaching the bridge from that side was there before me and phoned the fire brigade, who sent people out to deal with it. When the fire engines arrived a few moments later I waited on the bridge while the cyclist went to meet them and guide them to the spot. 

The fire was only a small one, though very close to the bridge and to the footpath leading away from the bridge, and fortunately had not yet spread, although the smoke had noticeably thickened by the time the fire brigade got there. They were able to deal with it quickly and easily, and apart from a small blackened patch of burned vegetation there was no lasting damage. 

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF THIS FIRE

Sadly Bawsey Drain is treated as an all-purpose dumping ground by those who live alongside it, so there are two possible causes, both human in origin, given in order of where my personal suspicions based on observation lie:

1)Arson – a fire started deliberately by some person or persons who neither thought nor cared about the possible consequences of their actions.

2)Accidental but very stupid and selfish human action (e.g someone tossing a cigarette that they imagined to be out but was not onto the vegetation, thereby starting the fire).

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE FIRE

As well as this written account I have some pictures:

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The first two images sbhow how close to the bridge and footpath the fire was, the third and fourth, courtesy of a telescopic zoom lens focus more closely on the fire.

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FOOTNOTE: SPECIES IN THIS AREA

Although I only edited those photos between the first and last fire shot, I captured two of the butterfly species that along with various birds live in this area regularly. I have also seen rabbits, hares and small deer in that location on previous occasions. This fire potentially endangered all these as well as the plants it had already started to burn. Here are some Butterfly pics from that area, taken today, to end with:

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These last two pictures were taken while waiting for the fire brigade to arrive, while I was on the bridge.

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Spring

Celebrating the arrival of Spring…

INTRODUCTION

By way of an introduction to this post, which is celebrating some welcome good weather here is a video recording of Spring from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. 

If you enjoy classical music you might like to visit young singer and Royal College of Music student Charlotte Hoather’s website by clicking here.

SPRING ARRIVES

Since the epic storms I wrote about a while back, the weather has been gradually improving. Within the last few weeks I have been able to leave the flat without a coat, and then yesterday I switched the heating off. Today, for the first time in 2017, I am making use of my outside space:

OSS

Also today, although they have been in evidence for a few days now, I managed to photograph some butterflies, again for the first time of the year.

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This was the first one I captured.

Butterfly2Butterfly3

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The fourth and best of the four butterfly pictures I was able to get today.

Where did I locate these little beauties? All within walking distance of my little town centre flat – two near Hardings Pits and two near Bawsey Drain, gained during…

A WALK

It being bright, sunny and reasonably warm I set off on a walk just after 10, and was out for over two hours in total. Here are some of the non-butterfly related pictures I took while out and about.

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The first seven pictures in this set are not actually from the very beginning of the walk – it has been a long while since I saw this many cormorants on what I call “Cormorant Platform”

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This buoy is not in its regular position – there is only one seal living in the Great Ouse, and no sand to be found. Norfolk does have one big seal colony, at Blakeney Point, which although part of the mainland is accessible only by boat – there is no road link as it is quite rightly a fiercely protected area.

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Musical Keys

A personal account of yesterday’s Musical Keys at the scout hut on Beulah Street and a walk on either side of the session.

INTRODUCTION

Musical Keys sessions happened at the scout hut on Beulah Street yesterday. I was there both as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and someone who enjoys the session. With it staying light later in the evening and yesterday being pretty benign for an early March day in England I got two good walks in on either side of my session.

GETTING THERE

I made a quick visit to King’s Lynn library before heading for the scout hut by way of the Broad Walk and the Sandringham Railway Path. I had sufficient spare time to take some photographs en route…

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This town centre cafe is the venue for an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning on Wednesday
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Here are some of the trees from which it takes its name, on the bank of the highly sculpted stretch of the Gaywood river that passes through The Walks.
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The library, fresh from recent repair works.
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The first of four flower pictures – all featuring crocuses.

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AT THE SCOUT HUT

I arrived with the youngsters session still in progress – here are some pictures I took before my session started.

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Before getting into details of what I did, I have a short subsection about…

A SPEAKER SYSTEM FROM Q BRANCH

This is best shown in a series of photographs…

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The speaker system in use
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Partially closed up – machine and bag of cables in the centre, the two speakers forming the sides of the case.
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And fully closed – a stout black plastic suitcase.

MY SESSION

I was on the computer, using Scratch 2. Once again I consider a series of photographs to do a better job than words…

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A modest but sufficient set up – I have eight notes on my chosen instrument (Cello) set to be played by pressing a, s, d, f, h, j, k, and l respectively, and various extras, including getting the cat avatar to move and draw, with the pen size increasing each time I pressed one particular key.

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THE JOURNEY HOME

Once the session finished, and the clearing up and locking up was done it was time for the walk back. I journeyed back by a different route, heading for Bawsey Drain, the Tuesday Market Place and King Street. Here are some photographs from this walk.

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Toxic Earth

A warning note courtesy of http://www.indy100.org, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about science, a link to a satirical pamphlet and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The title of this piece comes from an article on www.indy100.com although I am sharing many other things besides that, including some of my local photographs. However before I get into the main meat of my post there is one other matter to attend to:

ERRATUM

In a recent post I identified a bed of yellow flowers as daffodils. It has since been brought to my attention that they were in fact yellow crocuses. I apologise for the mistake, and please note that I am not resorting to the equivalent of putting the apology in six point type somewhere in the middle of of page 27!

TOXIC EARTH

Reading this article put me in mind of Anna’s recent post “No 17 drawing in my goals for 2017” where the drawing is about a group of people stranded in space looking for another planet to replace the one that they had to leave behind because they messed it up too badly. Click on the image below to read this important and sobering article.

chemicals.jpg

A COUPLE OF LONDON
TRANSPORT RELATED BITS

I usually reserve stuff about London transport for my London transport themed website http://www.londontu.be, where indeed I shared the second piece in this section yesterday, but I felt these two bits should also be shared here.

LAURIE PENNY ON UBER

Laurie Penny has turned her fire on private cab hire firm Uber, and the result is a devastating article in the Guardian, which I hope will succeed in weaning a few people off this vile organisation. Please read the article in full please click on the image below.

TUNNEL ARCHAEOLOGY AT THE MUSEUM OF LONDON

The central section of the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) cuts through London on an east-west axis, and there being no space on the surface it also cuts vertically through millennia of history. It is this latter that has led to the creation of a new exhibition at the Museum of London showing the best finds unearthed during the building of the line. Accompanying this exhibition is a short video, embedded below. After the video are links to more about this and about the Museum of London.

Extra links:

PAYING MORE BUT GETTING LESS

This is a petition put together by Going to Work which calls not only for affordable affairs on our railways but also for a fully publicly owned and publicly accountable rail network. To view, sign and share the petition please click on the screenshot below:

action-for-rail

PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

Here are some pictures from in and around King’s Lynn:

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Planning information posted near Lynnsport.

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The good and the bad of Bawsey drain in one photo – it is home to many species but in spite of continued efforts to clear it is still used by uncaring human residents as a dumping ground.

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This bridge crosses a stretch of the Gaywood, carrying Littleport Street across said river.

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The inaugural NAS West Norfolk curry night took place on Thursday, delayed by a week due to bad weather. Although some of those who had originally booked did not make it, those who did enjoyed it.
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My choice – Lamb Rogan Josh. The accompaniments are boiled rice, two small poppadoms and a garlic naan. The curry was a little spicier than I would have liked but other than that splendid. The accompanying drink, included in the £6.49 price tag, is a pint of Doom Bar ale (and yes for the record I drank only the one)
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One of many fine pictures to adorn the wall of The Globe, and the only one I got a clear shot at.

ATHEISTS ARE BECOMING MORE POPULAR

Here is a truly international link – a Brit sharing a post written by a New Zealander about the USA. Heather Hastie has carried out a typically thorough comparison between the Pew Research Centre’s findings of three years ago and of just recently. Please read Heather’s post in full by clicking here.

A TRIO OF SCIENCE PIECES

The first two pieces in this section were initially posted on whyevolutionistrue starting with a piece drawing on the work of Pliny the in Between, who runs a website called The Far Corner Cafe, and of a doctor who posts under the name of Orac on scienceblogs, whose piece can be read here, to demonstrate that Chiropractic is not merely nonsense, but dangerous (indeed potentially fatal) nonsense at that. Jerry Coyne, creator of whyevolutionistrue (it takes its name from his landmark book of that title published in 2009), has received many hostile comments in response to previous pieces he has written that are critical of Chiropractic. To read this piece in full please click on the image below, the first in a series of five drawings from Pliny the in Between that were used to illustrate the post.

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Second of the trio, again courtesy of WEIT, is a piece linking to a paper published in the journal Nature that mentions the discovery of potential traces of life in sediments that range in age between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years (the earlier end of the scale being about as early given what is known about our planet’s turbulent beginnings as life of any sort could have taken hold). To read the post in full and possibly move from there to reading the paper in Nature please click on the image below:

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The third in my science trio comes from the Smithsonian and has the self explanatory title “NASA Wants the Public to Log In to Help Find Plant 9”. To read the piece in full please click on the image below.

Planet 9

A SATIRICAL PAMPHLET
FROM UNLOCK DEMOCRACY

To read this pamphlet from Unlock Democracy  in full please click the screenshot of the cover below:

ud

SOME FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

This set of pictures are of items that will be going under the hammer in James and Sons’ March auction, a full catalogue listing for which can be viewed here. 

127
Lot 127
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Lot 128
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Lot 140
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Lot 141
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Lot 142
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Lot 143
149
Lot 149 (three separate images joined together)
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149-b. In the past, before the American way of reckoning up large numbers took over, a 1 with nine zeros after it was not designate one billion, but either one thousand million or one milliard, and one of the banknotes here shows that the Germans with a small difference in spelling used the same word when necessary.
149-c
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393-c. When putting these together I decided to make this image the centre of the picture, thereby splitting the two sets of booklets.
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407 – a four piece composite image
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407-e – I could not resist extracting this close-up.

Tackling the MP

Some stuff about putting pressure on MPs, some photographs and some general links.

INTRODUCTION

As well as the stuff relating to Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for Northwest Norfolk and therefore my local MP I have a few other links and of course a selection of photographs. Also before I move into the main body of the post I start with…

ERRATUM

In my last post but one I described one the birds I had photographed as a long-tailed tit, when it was actually a pied wagtail. I have as those following the link will note made the correction to the original post, but I am not going to settle for the blogging equivalent of a correction notice in 6pt type at the bottom of page 27!

TACKLING THE MP 1: AN UNSATISFACTORY RESPONSE

I recently contacted my MP as part of a campaign brought to my attention by Alex Runswick of Unlock Democracy. Here is Sir Henry’s utterly predictable and deeply unsatisfactory response to my message about Propotional Representation:

Thank you for contacting me about Proportional Representation (PR).

I am afraid that I do not agree with your views on PR, and fully support First Past the Post (FPTP). This tried and tested system ensures stability and clear governance,
preventing disproportionate influence by minority parties with minimal public support, who typically end up holding the balance of power in PR systems.

The British people were clear on this matter in 2011. While the Early Day Motion suggests that the referendum is not relevant, it is clear that the verdict was not only
against the Alternative Vote system, but in favour of FPTP. The system is clearly well established and understood by voters, and also provides a very clear link between
constituents and their representatives in Parliament.

More often than not, FPTP results in a Government with a working majority in Parliament, making decisive government possible. It allows the formation of a clear opposition
that can provide an alternative to, and a check on, the Government of the day. The Government therefore has no plans to change the voting system for elections to the
House of Commons.

I note that EDM 591 endorses the principle of votes that count equally. This is exactly what is happening through the Boundary Review, which will equalise the size of
constituencies. As it stands, some constituencies have twice as many electors as others, and this cannot be right.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Every Best Wish

Henry Bellingham

Sir Henry Bellingham MP for North West Norfolk
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

The reference to the 2011 referendum is particularly annoying, since the system on offer as an alternative was very nearly as flawed as FPTP. Also in 2011 we had not had the farce of the 2015 General Election which saw a party in receiving the votes of 24% of the electorate enabled to form a so-called “majority government”. 

TACKLING THE MP 2: A BUS SERVICES BILL

The Better Transport Campaign are seeking to get people to contact their MPs to gain support for a strong Bus Services Bill. For more details of what this is all about and if applicable to contact your MP (as I have already done, though not in my case with any real hope let alone expectation of support) please click the screenshot below:

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 PHOTOGRAPHS

Today was a nice sunny afternoon…

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OTHER LINKS

Rationalising the Universe have put up an excellent post titled Quantum Numbers. To see the full post click on the diagram illustrating the shapes of electron orbitals that I have included below as a sample:

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Ficitional newsreader Jonathan Pie provides a pungent take on the Trump inauguration (be warned there is some seriously strong language):

Finally, to end on light note, here is a link to a Guardian quiz entitled “what is your travel identity?”. When I did it it told me based on my answers that I always followed trends and sought to be cool. Anyone familiar with either me or this blog will realise that this assessment is further off beam than a faulty Trident!