National Park Cities Thunderclap

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


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. 


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:



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

MCG, Photographs and Solutions

Some thoughts on the recent test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, solutions to my lest set of puzzles and some photographs.


This is a two part post – first of all a bit about the test match that finally ended in a draw at about 6AM UK time, and then the companion to piece to “Puzzles and Pictures“, answering the puzzles posed there. 


England had the better of Australia in the fourth test match of this Ashes series, but neither team stood a chance against the real winner of this drab affair – the MCG pitch which offered no assistance to any kind of bowler and was also so slow that batsmen could not play their strokes. Alastair Cook ended his poor run of form emphatically, with an innings demonstrating once again his astonishing powers of concentration. Australia without Mitchell Starc and on a pitch that was utterly lifeless looked an ordinary bowling unit.

At lunch on day 1 Australia were 102-0 with Warner going well and Bancroft surviving, but that was the only session of the game that Australia unequivocally won. Although wickets were in short supply on that opening day Australia reached the close at 244-3 – a definite failure to build on that fast start. The second day belonged to England – Australia were all out 327, losing their last five wickets for 13 runs and England in response reached 192-2, Cook 104 not out, Root 49 not out. The third day was also England’s – 491-9 at the end of it, with Cook 244 not out. On the fourth day rain intervened. Anderson lost his wicket to the first ball of the day, giving Alastair Cook yet another place in the record books – highest score by anyone carrying their bat through a complete test innngs, beating Glenn Turner’s 223 not out v West Indies. Bancroft and Khawaja were both out fairly cheaply, but when the rain finally halted proceedings for the day Australia were 103-2 with Warner and Smith in occupation. On the final day Warner fell 14 short of his second hundred of the game. Smith did reach his own hundred, after seven and a quarter hours, and then declared which officially ended the game as there was no time left for England to chase to 100 they would have needed to win. 

The Melbourne Cricket Ground has a huge seating capacity, and the Boxing Day test is for that reason the best attended of all test matches. In particular, the Boxing Day Ashes test is habitually hugely attended. Because of the failure to produce a proper pitch the biggest crowds test cricket ever sees got a game that was not worthy of the occasion, and that is not acceptable. The MCG need to sort this out – on proper pitches test cricket can be the most fascinating of the three forms of the game, but on lifeless rubbish such as the MCG groundsman produced for this match it is a poor spectacle. The ICC (cricket’s global governing body) should come down on the MCG like the proverbial ton of bricks.

Alastair Cook’s epic innings deservedly gained him the player of the match award. A full scorecard and links to further detail about this match can be found on cricinfo. The final match of this series is in Sydney, starting on January 4th, and I sincerely hope that they produce a better pitch (they cannot produce a worse one – such a thing does not exist).


As we switch focus the the puzzles I presented a couple of days ago, here are some bird pictures from yesterday:

RookLapwing Ilapwing and waderFlying gullsMH1MH2MH3white duckblackbirdsMH4



As I said when I set it, this one is very straightforward. The key is that person B has said “I am the Knave”. The Knight cannot say this as it would be a lie, and the Knave cannot say it as it would be true, so the only person who can say “I am the Knave” is the Jester. Therefore the Jester is person B (note that both Knight and Knave can say “I am not the Knave”, so we cannot say which of A and C is which).


Great OuseGreat Ouse 2


area test

The red sgements in the four corners of the shape are each half the size of the red segments along the sides of the shape, which in turn are each half the size of the blue shapes in the middle of the pattern. Thus counting the smallest segments as 1 there are (4 x 1) + (8 x 2) red segments = 20 red segments. Each blue shape in the middle comprises four segments and the are four of them = 16 blue segments. Thus the ratio of red area to blue is 20:16 = 5:4


The Walks was still flooded yesterday, although less than it had been when I took my last set of pictures there two days previously.



Odd and Even

Instinct suggests that the answer should be no, but this is one of those occasions when one should mistrust one’s instinct. To demonstrate a solution (one of many along these lines), I choose as my three even numbers 6, 8 and 4 in that order. Six divided by eight is 0.75, and 0.75 x 4 = 3 = an odd number.


The Muscovy duck that I had seen in The Walks recently was not there yesterday, so I finished my walk by heading towards the place where I had first seen the species. I waqs rewarded when just on across Littleport Street from that location I saw the entire flock. Here are some of the pictures.

white muscovygrey patched muscovyBlack and white muscovyFive muscoviesFive muscovies IIthree muscoviesdark muscovyblack and borwn bodied muscoviesblack muscovyfour muscoviesblakc muscovy IIMuscovies and gullsthree dark muscovieslight muscovieslight muscovybrown muscovybrown muscovy IIMuscovy and mallardsmottled muscovymainly white muscovyside by side



And here is my own solution posted on brilliant:

Thomas Sutcliffe 
Dec 26, 2017

We have to use the numbers 1,2,3,4 and 5 to make a five digit number. The first requirement is that the first three digits form a number dvisible by four, which can only be achieved from these numbers by using 124 (= 31 x 4), then digits 2,3 and 4 must form a number divisible by five, so the fourth digit has to be 5 as numbers divisible by five end either in five ior zero and zero is not available to us. That leaves us the fifth digit to fill, and the only number we have not used is 3, hence the number is 12,453, and back checking using the last limitation, that the final three digits be divisible by three confirms this (453 = 151 x 3).


These were taken near the end of my walk:

Corn ExchangeMoon IMoon IIMoon III



The minimum starting amount he needs to ensure that it stays growing on these terms is $4. On my subsidiary question, although this starting point only yields a fortune of two billion and four dollars after one billiSuch is the power of exponential growth that if you increase this starting amount by even a small amount it will suffice. According to Denis Husudvac on brillaint even a stgarting point $4.01 will be enough.


dark muscovy IIdark muscovy IIImottled muscovy IIGrey muscovyGrey muscovy IIImuscovy and mallard drakemuscovies and mallardsMottled muscovy IVMuscovy Headfour muscovies IIbrown muscovy IIImottled muscovy Vblack muscovy IIImuscovy head IItwo muscoviesbrown muscovy Vtwo brown muscoviesblack muscovy IVIn convoymuscovy ducklight muscovy II


Puzzles and Pictures

A Boxing Day post composed of pictures and puzzles – enjoy!


I have five puzzles to share (all via the mathematical website Brilliant – I am approaching a double century, my current solving streak now extending to 199 days) and photos that I have categorized in four groups. Therefore I will be interleaving puzzles and pictures.


This is an easy one – Lestrade would probably solve it without amateur assistance!



In preparation for the Christmas Day festivities I went for a walk yesterday morning, and many of the photos you will see were taken during that walk – others were taken at other times of the day. I first came across these birds when they were in a group near Kettlewell Laneand since then I have seen a single specimen, in The Walks, on three separate occasions, most recently yesterday:

Mallard drake and Muscovy duckCairina moschataCm2Mjuscovy Duck and two mallard drakesCm3Cm and mallard drakesCm and mallard drakes 2Cm and mallard drakeCm and mallard drakes 3


This one should not be too difficult either:

area test


When everything is closed the opportunity is there to get unimpeded pictures of buildings that are usually busy.

Town Hall and Old Gaol HouseSt NicksLibraryLibrary frontGreyfriars tower


This is one is tricky rather than difficult per se – and only 37% of solvers on Brilliant managed to crack it:

Odd and Even


Recent renovations in the building that my aunt’s house is part of have revealed some very interesting little details, and I also got some interesting shots from the house of the person with whom we had Christmas lunch.

The first 13 pictures are from Hampton Court (no superstitions and no truck with triskaidekaphobia here!)


beams 1
Two shots of the wooden beams at the house where we had Christmas lunch

Beams 2

An artwork display at that same house that caught my eye…
train pic
…one picture in particular!


Not at all difficult, but very enjoyable to tackle:



We finish our photographs as we started, with a nod to nature:

MoorhenGull on crossMagpie 1Magpie 2Magpie 3Squirrel and birdSquirrel and bird 2Gathering of gullsFlying gullsFlying gulls 2GullsGulls and squirrelGullSquirrel 1Squirrel 2Squirrel 3blackbirdsblackbirds 3Blackbird


We end with a fairly tough problem to which I have added an even tougher subsidiary question.


My follow up, adapted from a question raised by someone named Anne on Brilliant is this: What is the minimum initial deposit required to ensure that Fred’s money grows at a sufficient rate for him to become a trillionaire if he lives for as long as Earth remains an inhabitable planet (the increasing size and temperature of the sun will cause this in 1 billion years, assuming that some stupid species has not already done so,

Computer Aided Composing

An account of my recent doings at Musical Keys with a photographic interlude.


A few sessions back at Musical Keys, an event run for autistic people that I am a regular attender of, I switched from using Scratch to using a different package called Reaper. This Saturday just gone I reached a point at which I feel that my work on Reaper is now worth talking about. Also I have some good pictures that I can slip in as part of the back story.


Scratch enables one to play notes on various musical instruments and also has some saved sound loops for variation. Effectively therefore Scratch enables one to play music and sounds but not really to create anything beyond the framework within which to do so. Reaper is both less and more – less in that it has no versions of musical instruments, more in that is really all about combining different recorded sounds into a larger whole, and therefore has much more of a creative element to it. 


I had spent one session assessing the available sound segments, working out which ones I liked and which of those combined well together, and a second session combining shorter segments into longer ones by putting together segments that would or could naturally flow together, but at the start of Saturday what I actually had was a set of useful components that I could start to think about assembling into proper length pieces…


I had decided to lengthen my walk to the venue by taking in a stretch of the Great Ouse before rejoining the regular walking route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Vancouver Garden, and a quick sampling of the air outside my flat convinced me of the need to don an extra jumper – it was cold, as some of the photos will make very plain. I had also allowed myself time for a visit to Gaywood library, since I would naturally pass very close to it. It may have been cold, but the birds were out in force, especially near the Great Ouse.

lapwings and a gulllapwings and gullsFlying lapwingswimming birdBlackbirdsBlackbird

Leaving the river by way of Hardings Pits I headed for the South Gate and thence Seven Sisters and the parkland areas…

framed magpieKL signSouthgatestarlingsthree birds

Among other things the walk through the parkland provided me with absolute proof of how cold it was – gulls walking on water. 

Gull walking on waterGull walking on water 2Gull walking on water 3rooksBlackbird II


John, who usually supervises the sessions was not feeling well, so having driven the equipment over he spent the afternoon sat in his car, while his assistant Kirsten took charge of the sessions. 

Once I had opened up Reaper, checked and adjusted the speaker volume (at least 99% of the time it is set too loud for me and I have to reduce it, often considerably – on this occasion it had been set to 70% of full volume and I reduced that to 35%) it was time to put my plan of exploring options for combining various elements to make a larger whole into practice. Before moving on here is a photo I took at the end of the session.


The piece that I called Organ and Strings was one of three background sounds that I used in the bigger pieces, the others being the drum and brass backgrounds. “Ensemble” and “Composite” as those names suggest were medium sized components, while “Horizontal” and “All in” were the two large scale components that I combined to make the final full size pieces. The two big pieces (12 and 16 minutes long respectively) were comprised of “Horizontal”-“All-in”‘-“Horizontal” and “Horizontal”-“All-in”-“Horizontal”-“All-in” respectively. By the time I had listened to the 16 minute piece at the end it was pretty much the end of the session. The next session is on January 6th and I shall work out some way to build on what I have already created. 



Answers to a query of mine and to a puzzle that I set, accompanied by some photos.


This little post features answers to two problems and at the end a few photos.


A couple of hours ago I put up a post featuring some large water birds that were new to me. Since then two people in the comments section (Cindy and Vicki) have suggested Muscovy Ducks as a possibility, and my twitter friends @team4nature have made a similar though more detailed suggestion.

This level of consensus is sufficient for me – these are Muscovy ducks, possibly domesticated and possibly crossed with some other breed (possibilities raised by @team4nature). Here to conclude this section is the feature image from the previous post:

Swimming Bird II


I offered up this problem from brilliant last night:


This is my own solution, posted as such on brilliant, and reflecting mu frustration at the sheer number of people commenting based on failure to fully read the terms of the question:



To finish here are some more of my photos:

Gull on flagpoleaerial action!starlingsBlackbirdMIaowGull on logMoorhenMoorhen 2

A Meme, A Puzzle and Some Bird Pictures

A meme about Evolution and Creationism, courtesy of @AtheistRepublic, a puzzle courtesy of Brilliant and some bird pictures of my own.


Just a brief post to keep me on your radar!


This was posted on twitter by AtheistRepublic, and I think it is very good indeed:



This little problem generated a surprising amount of controversy on brilliant – though it is not particularly difficult, and there were no real grounds for controversy:


I will reveal the solution tomorrow.


We had a bit of sun in King’s Lynn today, but in consequence of it being December it was already virtually level with the horizon by 3PM. However, it being as pleasant as a December day in Blighty can be I did get out a couple of times, and augmented my stock of bird pictures along the way:

Blackbird IIBlackbird IIIBlackbird IVBlackbird VMoorhen triangleMoorhenFemale BlackbirdFlying gullGull and westering sunRookGullsGulls IIFlying gull IIbirdsFlying birdFlying cormorantGulls and flying cormorantSmall birdGulls and cormorantCormorant with guard of gullsGathering of birdsCormorant



Monday Madness 1: Science and Nature

A post largely devoted to nature, featuring links to Anna’s “Paradise on Earth” series of posts, a couple of infographics, a petition and some my own nature pics.


This is the first of several posts I will be putting up today. I will start by bringing you up to date with Anna’s magnificent “Paradise on Earth” series which now runs to 12 posts, then I have a couple of twitter images to share with you, and at the end I will include some of my own photographs. 


I covered the first three posts in this series in The Fight To Save Trosa Nature, reblogged part 4 in full here, and then put up another post featuring parts 4 and 5. Since then Anna has continued to showcase the Tureholm Peninsula’s wildlife as follows:

  • Part 6 – continuing to feature birds. I include the Mistle thrush picture below as a sample:
  • Part 7 – another post about birds, including this crane:
  • Part 8 – focusses on slugs and snails, including the beauty below:
  • Part 9 – A more general pieces showing a wide range of local animals, including the moose pictured below:
  • Part 10 – focusses on the butterflies that live in the area, including the rare Apollo butterfly shown below:
  • Part 11 – A few more butterflies, including the one below:
  • Part 12 – focusses on water creatures, including the stickleback below:


This is by way of a warning of what our species is doing to this planet, and since it concerns the Arctic it follows on naturally from the stuff about the Tureholm Peninsula:



This one shows an illogicality in our classification of species by showing side by side three species of cat that share 95.7 of their DNA, and are therefore quite correctly considered members of the felidae and two species that share over 98% of their DNA but are classed as members of different genera. The reason the second pair of species are classed as more widely split than the first trio has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with religion (and Carolus Linnaeus, also known as Carl Von Linne, the pioneer of our system of classification admitted as much in the 18th century btw):



UK Zoos are still treating their animals badly, and there is now a petition on thepetitionsite calling on DEFRA to crack down on misery in UK Zoos. As one who cannot remmeber when I last visited a UK zoo (the last zoos I visited anywhere were those in Melbourne and Adelaide, both of which treat their animals well and give them space to move, in 2009-10) I urge you to sign this petition and help increase the pressure being applied.



I finish this post with some of my own recently taken photographs:

Cormorant and Caspian Gullsposing cormorantCormorants2Cormorants and gullCormorant convocation 2

This grasshopper being on the path frather than in the grass made it easier to spot and photograph.

Flying Herring Gull 2Flying Herring GullMoorhen2Pollinator 1Birds3Birds2Blackbird2