All Time XIs – Music and Military

Today’s ‘all time XI’ cricket post sees two topics beginning with M, music and military, as the themes for our XIs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another installment of my ‘all time XI‘ cricket series. Today we have an XI of players with names that connect to music and an XI with names that connect to military matters.

THE MUSIC XI

  1. *Andrew Strauss – left handed opening batter, captain. The man who captained England to the top of the test world, and who have a very respectable test average. There have been a phalanx of composers named Strauss – Johann I, Johann II, Joseph, Richard etc. Here is a youtube video of Johann Strauss II’s “Blue Danube Waltz”:
  2. Dean Elgar – left handed opening batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. Has a fine record for South Africa, though just short of being genuinely top drawer. He gets in here thanks to Sir Edward Elgar. Since openers represent the overture to the innings, here is a youtube video of Elgar’s “Cockaigne Overture”:
  3. Bob Barber – left handed batter, occasional leg spinner. An attacking batter whose greatest innings was played when opening the batting for England in the 1965-6 Ashes – 185 to set up an innings victory. Samuel Barber was a USian composer, best known for his “Adagio for Strings”:
  4. Michael Clarke – right handed batter, occasional left arm orthodox spinner. Averaged 49 in his test career, in spite of a truly horrible series in the 2010-1 Ashes. Jeremiah Clarke was a composer, chiefly known for his “Trumpet Voluntary”:
  5. Walter Gilbert – right handed batter, right arm slow bowler. A cousin of WG Grace whose career ended in sad circumstances. He played a peripheral role in bringing about the first test match to be played on English soil – he and GF Grace strengthened many of the sides against whom the 1880 Aussies, who had arrived under a major cloud, played against, and were impressed by their strength, which they communicated to WG, who was eventually able to persuade the right people that a test match should be arranged. He gets is as name sake to WS Gilbert, the Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan.
  6. Felix Organ – right handed batter, off spinner. A very promising youngster, having already scored a century and taken a five for in the course of his fledgling career. He averages 26 with the bat and 15 the ball at the present moment, but his five-for does account for more than half of his tally of first class wickets.
  7. +Keith Piper – wicket keeper, right handed batter. Part of Dermot Reeve’s Warwickshire side that had a brilliant period in the mid 1990s. There are various musical instruments that include the name pipes, and one who plays the pipes is a piper, as in “who pays the piper, calls the tune.”
  8. Jason ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie – right arm fast bowler. The original Dizzy Gillespie was a famous jazz musician:
  9. Trent Boult – left arm fast medium bowler. Sir Adrian Boult was a famous conductor.
  10. Neil Wagner – left arm fast medium bowler. Very different to Boult in approach. He is here as analogue to Richard Wagner, a great composer. Here is a youtube video of “The Ride of The Valkyries”:
  11. Charlie Parker – left arm orthodox spinner. The third leading wicket taker in first class history, with 3,278 scalps at that level. The other Charlie Parker was a jazz musician. Here, again from youtube, is “Ornithology”:

This team has a solid top four, two all rounders, an excellent keeper and four very respectable bowler. Gillespie, Boult, Wagner and Parker backed by Gilbert and Organ, with Barber’s leg spin also available make for a decent and very balanced attack.

THE MILITARY XI

  1. *Pelham Warner – right handed opening batter, captain. He earned the nickname ‘the general’ because by the time he became captain of Middlesex he had led England on several successful campaigns, including the 1903-4 Ashes.
  2. Harry Lee – right handed opening batter. A regular opening partner of Warner at Middlesex. He was once the victim in a very quirky scorebook line, when Middlesex played Somerset – his brother Frank took the catch that dismissed him off the bowling of his other brother Jack. His analogue is General Lee.
  3. Stan McCabe – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler. Nicknamed ‘Napper’, which derived from Napoleon.
  4. Julius Caesar – right handed batter, occasional fast bowler. Appropriately given his name he was inclined to the aggressive approach. His playing days were before the era of test cricket, but he did tour Australia in 1863-4. His military namesake can be read about here.
  5. Paul Collingwood – right handed batter, right arm medium pace bowler. His approach to batting earned him the nickname “Brigadier Block”.
  6. Stanley Jackson – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler. Hero of the 1905 Ashes, when as England captain he won all five tosses, led England to victory in both the matches that reached a conclusion and topped both the batting and bowling averages. Although it is as a namesake of general ‘Stonewall’ Jackson that I have picked him he also won a DSO in the Boer War.
  7. +Phil Mustard – wicket keeper, left handed batter. Due to his surname and the game Cluedo he was nicknamed ‘Colonel’.
  8. Xenophon Constantine Balaskas – leg spinner, right handed batter. The original Xenophon served as a mercenary soldier, while the most famous Constantine became Roman Emperor after winning the battle of the Mulvian Bridge.
  9. Paul Franks – right arm fast medium bowler, useful lower order batter. Referred to as ‘the general’ because of US general Tommy Franks.
  10. Amanda-Jade Wellington – leg spinner. Yes, on this occasion we have a Napoleon – ‘Napper’ McCabe – and a Wellington on the same side!
  11. Neil Hawke – right arm medium fast bowler. Played for Australia in the 1960s, and had a decent record. His analogue is Admiral Hawke who won the naval battle of Quiberon Bay. His direct descendant, Martin Bladen seventh Baron Hawke, captained Yorkshire for many years, but his playing record did not justify inclusion.

This side has a respectable top five, an all rounder in Jackson, a keeper who could bat and four varied bowlers. There is a lack of genuine pace, and also both front line spinners are leg spinners, but the bowling attack is perfectly respectable.

THE CONTEST

I have to say that, notwithstanding managing to accommodate references to Napoleon and Wellington in the same side for that purpose, the music themed side looks the stronger and I would expect them to win the contest for the ‘John Philip Sousa Trophy’ (he was a composer of military music).

LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) have produced an official response to Jonathan Reynolds’ (supposedly ‘Labour’) comments on welfare reform. Please click on the screenshot below to see it in full:

DPAC

Now we are ready for my usual sign off…

RS

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MM
The teams in tabulated form.

All Time XIs: No Surname v All Surname

My latest variation on an ‘all time XI’ cricket theme. Also features photographs. Read and enjoy!

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to today;s variation on the ‘All Time XI‘ theme. In this post a team who appear deficient in the surname department pit their wits against a team who seem to be all surname.

THE NO SURNAME XI

  1. Bobby Abel – right handed opening bat. We have met the Surrey man before in this series, playing for Davids v Goliaths among others. Abel as a given name of course goes all the way back to the beginning of the Bible. In my more recent times two fictional Abels are Abel Whittle who has a bit part in Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge” and Abel Fearon, villain in “Steps To The Gallows”, the second book in a series by Edward Marston that currently runs to four books.
  2. Alec Stewart – right handed opening batter. We met him in the very first post in this series, dedicated to Surrey. Stewart spelt that way does sometimes feature as a given name, even of Stuart is the more common version. A cricketing Stewart is the illustrious Stewart ‘Stewie’ Dempster, who we will be making the acquaintance of in tomorrow’s post.
  3. Ian Craig – right handed batter. The Aussie was a mere 17 years of age when selected for the 1953 Ashes tour. He never quite delivered at the very highest level, though at Old Trafford in 1956 he battled over four hours for 38 in the second Aussie innings.
  4. Harry Graham – right handed batter. He made his test debut at Lord’s in 1890 and marked the occasion with a ton. The next person to make their debut at Lords with a ton was John Hampshire v West Indies in 1969.
  5. Syd Gregory – right handed batter, excellent fielder. Between his debut in 1890 and has retirement in 1912 Gregory made a record eight tours of England. His finest batting hour came at Sydney in 1894 when he scored 201, helping Australia to a score of 586. Australia ended up losing that one by 10 runs however. In the 1902 match at Old Trafford, which his side won by three runs he took a crucial catch in the England second innings to account for Stanley Jackson.
  6. *Johnny Douglas – right handed batter, right arm medium fast. Douglas took over from Pelham Warner, rendered hors de combat by illness as captain of the 1911-2 Ashes side and guided them, with some important assistance from the sick Warner, to a 4-1 series triumph. 21 years later under the captaincy of a man with the given name Douglas, Mr Jardine, England would duplicate that 4-1 winning margin in Australia.
  7. +Dennis Lindsay – wicket keeper, middle order batter. The stumper once scored over 600 runs in a series versus Australia, in which he also effected over 20 dismissals.
  8. Ashley Giles – left arm orthodox spinner, useful right handed lower order batter. Before the 2005 Ashes series began Terry Alderman stated that “if any Aussie batter gets out to Giles they should go hang themselves.” By the end of that series Giles had accounted for each of the top eight in the Aussie order at least once and intervened twice crucially with the bat. At Trent Bridge he kept his nerve in a very tense finish to put England one up with one to play, and then at The Oval he played a crucial support role while Pietersen was destroying the Aussie bowlers, holding up his end for over two hours and amassing 59 runs of his own. This meant the Australia needed 342 from 18 overs when the England innings ended, an impossible chase even had the weather not intervened one last time (of course given the difference between losing and drawing the series Australia would but for the weather have been obliged to throw everything at attempting this crazy run chase, the draw being valueless to them, and 1-3 very little worse than 1-2).
  9. Shannon Gabriel – right arm fast bowler. The West Indian, part of a cricketing revival in that part of the world after a dreadful period in the early 2000s, is the heir to a great fast bowling tradition. For those who feel that he properly belongs in the other XI, most of the names that come up when I search cricinfo using the name Shannon are of players with forename Shannon, and I also give you current US politician Shannon Bearman. Gabriel is well documented as a given name, going back to the archangel, but I offer you as further examples composer Gabriel Faure and one of the principal characters in Thomas Hardy’s “Far From The Madding Crowd”, Gabriel Oak.
  10. Matt Henry – right arm fast medium bowler. The Kiwis have produced a lot of purveyors of pace/ seam and/or swing over the years (contrary to what some may think, New Zealand is actually an even cloudier country than England, so there is even more natural encouragement for that kind of bowling), and Henry is part of the current crop along with such luminaries as Lockie Ferguson, Trent ‘the conductor’ Boult and Tim Southee (Neil ‘the composer’ Wagner does not wholly count, since although a Kiwi he is actually a product of South Africa).
  11. Devon Malcolm – right arm fast, genuine no11. In the immortal words of then England chairman of selectors Ted Dexter “Who could forget Malcolm Devon?”.

This then is the ‘no surnames’ XI, with a solid top five, an all rounder, a keeper who can certainly bat, and four specialist bowlers. It is short in the spin department, with only Giles as a front line option there, but it still looks a decent side, especially given the actual selection criteria!

THE ALL SURNAME XI

  1. Bransby Beauchamp Cooper – right handed opening bat, born in what is now Bangladesh but was then part of India, raised in England and played his two test matches, the first two ever contested, for Australia. He and WG Grace playing for the Gentlemen against the Players shared a then first class record opening stand of 283, Cooper 101, Grace 180.
  2. Easton McMorris – right handed opening bat. He churned out runs in domestic cricket in the Caribbean, but his test returns were disappointing.
  3. Everton Weekes – right handed batter, lends some much needed class to this side. Everton is not a hugely common surname, but some of my readers may remember snooker commentator Clive Everton, and additionally Weekes’ middle name of De Courcy is the surname of a former Australian batter James De Courcy, who toured England in the 1950s.
  4. Seymour Nurse – right handed batter with a fine record.
  5. *Warwick Armstrong – right handed batter, leg spinner. Although George Giffen, whose playing days overlapped with those of the Gloucestershire legend, was dubbed ‘The WG Grace of Australia’, this man was in many ways a better fit for that moniker. He once tallied 2,000 first class runs and took 100 first class wickets on a tour of England. He captained Australia to a 5-0 triumph in the 1920-1 Ashes, a scoreline not duplicated in Ashes series until 86 years later, when Ponting and company exacted a devastating revenge on England for 2005, and secured retention of the urn by guiding his team the victories in the first three matches of the 1921 series, before the final two games were both drawn. His eventful life can be read about in full in Gideon Haigh’s “The Big Ship”, a title derived from one of Armstrong’s nicknames. At the end of his career he weighed in at 22 stone. I am aware that Warwick is a recognized forename, but I also give you singer Dionne Warwick as an example of it as a surname.
  6. Digby Jephson – right handed bat, right arm fast (under arm). Digby Loder Armroid Jephson to give him his extraordinary full name started the brief revival of under arm bowling in first class cricket that was taken into the test arena by George Simpson-Hayward. Again, Digby is not entirely unknown as a given name, but I can also point to Fraser Digby, former goalkeeper for Swindon Town FC and Andrew Wingfield-Digby, former captain of Dorset in mim. nor counties cricket and briefly chaplain to the England cricket team. Also of course there was the 17th century courtier Kenelm Digby who had a later cricketing namesake who played eight first class matches between 1855 and 1859.
  7. +Ridley Jacobs – wicket keeper, left handed middle order batter. Many years ago there was a government minister named Nicholas Ridley, while in a cricket context Arthur Ridley played in the 1870 Varsity Match (‘Cobden’s Match’) and also played for the MCC in the 1878 match against the Australians that was done and dusted in a day.
  8. Mitchell Johnson – left arm fast bowler, left handed lower order bat. We met him when I turned the spotlight on Australia. This is a player who can form an intermediary in cricket linkages – Yorkshire player and later coach Arthur Mitchell, or commentator Alison Mitchell being obvious starts and West Indian opening batter Johnson Charles being the next link.
  9. Anderson Montgomery Everton Roberts – right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter. The first Antiguan to play test cricket, being selected just before Viv Richards gained the honour, and the original leader of the four pronged pace assault that propelled the West Indies to the top of the cricket world.
  10. Nixon MccLeanright arm fast bowler, left handed lower order batter.
  11. Beaumont Cranfield – left arm orthodox spinner for Somerset. 137 matches yielded him 621 wickets at 23.98. Of course Beaumont is very well documented surname, the most obvious cricketing example belonging at the other end of the batting order – Tammy of that ilk.

The all surname team has a solid top six, two of whom are genuine all rounders, a keepr who can bat and four bowlers. Johnson, Roberts, MacLean, Cranfield, Armstrong and Jephson is an attack should not struggle to take 20 wickets.

THE CONTEST

Notwithstanding the question marks over both openers for the ‘All Surname’ XI I still reckon they have a clear edge – their bowling attack looks much the stronger and has greater variety. On a turning pitch Giles on his own would not be a match for Cranfield and Armstrong, while if the pitch offers pace bowlers assistance Johnson, Roberts, MacLean and Jephson clearly offer more than Malcolm, Gabriel, Henry and Douglas. I am not going to take my prediction from the ‘Pidge’ McGrath handbook, but I would confidently predict that the ‘All Surname XI’ would win a five match series 4-1.

A BRIEF NOTE ABOUT THE
COMPOSITION OF THESE ELEVENS

I compose these XIs mentally, jotting them down in a notebook preparatory to then creating the tables with abbreviated comments that I use to advertise the contents of the teams and ultimately typing up the blog posts. I use cricinfo to find out details about players, but not in general as a selection tool – sometimes if I am a player or maximum two players short of a full XI I will do a bit of hunting, but most of the players I select are players I have across in my thirty-odd years of being a cricket fan and reading about the game – no game has a greater wealth of literature than cricket. I am already prepped in terms of selections for further posts up to and including Wednesday, plus a post which for reasons I will reveal on that day has to appear a week today.

THE FINISHING LINE

The pinchhitter has reached 300 not out – yes, today’s offering in which I get yet another mention, is the 300th post that blog has produced. A little etymological note: the term pinch hitter originated in baseball, where it referred to sending in a batter who adept at getting on base in preference to a regular batter who may be less reliable, it was pressed into cricket service in the 1990s to refer to batters who did not regularly open in long form cricket but were asked to do so in one day cricket in an effort to get their teams off to a fast start. The first successes with this method were Ian Botham and Mark Greatbatch, deployed in this manner by their countries in the 1992 World Cup, but it was four years later, when Kaluwitherana of Sri Lanka, Mark Waugh of Australia, Sachin Tendulkar of India and various others were used in the same fashion that the term became popular. Certain teams overdid it by using lower order batters rather than actual recognized batters (Zimbabwe tried it with Paul Strang, England with Neil Smith as opposed to Robin ‘Judge’ Smith who they should have used and there were probably others. And now it is time for my usual sign off…

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This muntjace put in an appearance last night – more pics in tomorrows post, as I had a surplus.

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Cricket, Music and Local Elections

Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well. 

CRICKET

The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…

DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling. 

MUSIC

The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…

MUSICAL KEYS

A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…

Kirsten
Kirsten, one of the two people from Musical Keys who run these sessions, at a very impressive looking keyboard.

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MK8
I shall be adding some mathematics to the mix in two weeks time.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subject I said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council website turned up the following information about who was standing:

candidates

In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.

Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland. 

WALES

In Llanbadarn Fawr ward, Powys, the Labour Party candidate is none other than Mike Sivier of Vox Political, a fact which he announced in a post titled “Vote for Mike in the local elections!

– Vox Political’s Mike Sivier is standing as a Labour Party candidate for Powys County Council’s Llanbadarn Fawr ward – and there’s more to him than a nice smile [Image: Mike Sivier].

Today, Mike has put up another post about his candidacy under the title “Shadow cabinet minister is right – local elections are about CANDIDATES, not Corbyn“.

SCOTLAND

The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message

Towards Indyref2…

PHOTOGRAPHS

I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…

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ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED

During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled. 

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.

Butterfly1
This was the first one I captured.

Butterfly2Butterfly3

Butterfly4
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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DSCN4870
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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Birds and a Coin

Some photographic highlights from in and around King’s Lynn and a coin used as case study in editing techniques.

INTRODUCTION

This post features some of my recent pictures of King’s Lynn’s thriving bird life, and also some pictures of a coin that I use to demonstrate the different degrees of editing to which a picture might be submitted.

THE BIRDS

The title of this section both refers to its contents and pays tribute to Italian composer Ottorino Respighi one of whose pieces has this title. Every bird you see pictured here was within walking distance of my town centre flat, in some cases very close indeed.

Where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse - always a good spot for observing birds
Where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse – always a good spot for observing birds

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No cormorants this time, but  these will feature later.
No cormorants this time, but these will feature later.

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The last two pictures you have seen were taken on the bridge over the upper Purfleet, separated from my flat by the length of a car park.
The last two pictures you have seen were taken on the bridge over the upper Purfleet, separated from my flat by the length of a car park.
On Wednesday afternoon the cormorants were back in force - on both sides of the mouth of the Nar...
On Wednesday afternoon the cormorants were back in force – on both sides of the mouth of the Nar…
...as witness
…as witness

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The mouth of the Nar showing the cormorants on both sides.
The mouth of the Nar showing the cormorants on both sides.

SOME OTHER PHOTOS

Of course it was not only birds that caught the eye while I was out and about on these occasions…

The next two pictures show fallen leaves.
The next two pictures show fallen leaves.

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Yes, even in October boats still moor on the Great Ouse
Yes, even in October boats still moor on the Great Ouse

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Greyfriars Tower
Greyfriars Tower
A carving on Greyfriars tower.
A carving on Greyfriars tower.
A picture in my aunt's kitchen
A picture in my aunt’s kitchen
I carried this across from the neighbour with whom it had been left in my aunt's absence. Note that this delivery had been made on the Saturday and then look a the big sticker on top of the box! (and the box already had three extra bottles in it to compensate for previous blunders!)
I carried this across from the neighbour with whom it had been left in my aunt’s absence. Note that this delivery had been made on the Saturday and then look a the big sticker on top of the box! (and the box already had three extra bottles in it to compensate for previous blunders!)

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THE COIN

On Tuesday I happened to notice that one of the coins with which I was going to pay my bus fare was one that had been issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, so I photographed it while waiting for the bus to arrive. Later while editing the shot I decided to use it to demonstrate various editing techniques…

This is the coin picture after cropping but nut other editing.
This is the coin picture after cropping but no other editing.
This is the coin after cropping and sharpening.
This is the coin after cropping and sharpening.
This is the coin after my usual edit (shadow and highlights protection, lighting adjustment, sharpening and brightness for extra clarity.
This is the coin after my usual edit (shadow and highlights protection, lighting adjustment, sharpening and brightness for extra clarity.
This one features the use of colour boost as well (I almost never do this)
This one features the use of colour boost as well (I almost never do this)
Finally this one also had the contrast enhanced (something I used to do regularly but now only do on rare occasions)
Finally this one also had the contrast enhanced (something I used to do regularly but now only do on rare occasions)

Cormorants, Classical Music and Campaigns

Pictures from King’s Lynn and East Rudham, mention of two uppcoming events at King’s Lynn Minster, a large number of important links and some high quality infographics.

INTRODUCTION

I hope you will enjoy this very varied post and that some of you will be encouraged to share it. Talking of sharing, here are a couple of recent comments about this blog from twitter:

@obiwandar “Great blog. pictures, activism, tips WOW”
‏@spacesheepy loving the photos & duckies ~ nice blog Thank you for sharing 🙂

BIRDS, BOATS AND PLANES IN KING’S LYNN

In the break between innings of the delayed women’s ashes match at Worcester (yesterday was washed out entirely, so the whole game is happening on the reserve day) I went out for a walk and was delighted to see a cormorant in residence. As these pictures show, it was far from the only interesting sight of the day…

These model planes (two feature in these pictures - 5 pics in total) are by way commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
These model planes (two feature in these pictures – 5 pics in total) are by way commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

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The Great Ouse looks a bit choppy.
The Great Ouse looks a bit choppy.

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Two boats at the jetty - "Pero" and regular visitor "Kalyptos"
Two boats at the jetty – “Pero” and regular visitor “Kalyptos”

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The flag drooped at just the wrong moment, but the gull made the pic worth keeping.
The flag drooped at just the wrong moment, but the gull made the pic worth keeping.
And I got the flag, plus an ornate weathercock as a bonus, at the second attempt.
And I got the flag, plus an ornate weathercock as a bonus, at the second attempt.
This stonework is on the side of the Magistrates Court
This stonework is on the side of the Magistrates Court

LINKS

I have a large number of links to share, and I am going to start with the various campaigns that feature in this context.

CAMPAIGNS

Within this subsection I am going to give each campaign its own small slot…

STOP TTIP

The campaign against TTIP is gathering momentum. 38 Degrees members, of whom I am proud to be one, are organising a day of action all around the country on August 22nd. The particular details for North West Norfolk are:

North West Norfolk / TTIP Day of Action

  • Sat 22nd Aug 2015, 12:00pm
  • Outside Top Shop, High Street, King’s Lynn

For more or (hint) to sign up for the event please click here. There is also a specific link for joining.

HELP YAZIDI WOMEN AND GIRLS KIDNAPPED BY ISIS

I encourage all of you to sign and share this petition from change.org. I am going to share a buzzfeed article that gives detailed coverage of this issue and the petition itself:

1)The article

2)The petition

THE JOANNE FOWLER PETITION

Joanne Fowler has posted an update on the petition she set up following the horrible and needless suffering her father endured at the end of his life:

1)The petition

2)The link to her Facebook account.

ON ORCAS

The campaign over Seaworld’s treatment of orcas has recently gained some coverage in the San Diego Tribune:

1)The article.

2)The petition

OTHER LINKS

The remaining links I am going to share in this post divide naturally into two groups…

HUMANISM

Two pieces here, one about an event and one excellent article:

1)The event

2)The article

OTHERS

First up, courtesy of independenclive, a horror story about someone who dared to take part in a protest immediately before an appointment, was refused entry to the building and then sanctioned for missing the appointment.

Then comes this Guardian piece on cuts to children’s mental health services.

Vox Political make another appearance in this blog, providing the signpost to another DWP related horror story, this one involving a suicide…

1)The VP ‘signpost’ piece.

2)The full article courtesy of the Daily Star.

My final link is to this piece about providing the police with training for dealing properly with autistic people.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

While at my parents in East Rudham for Sunday lunch yesterday I saw these two leaflets…

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…While I am sure that both events above will be excellent, it is the one on October 10th which really appeals to me. All three headline composers are among my favourites, while the subtitle piece was the first piece of classical music I ever heard, initiating a life long love. Here is a close up of that leaflet…

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A full listing of organ recitals at the Minster can be found here, while among the many things that can found at the Minster’s official website is this piece about the organ.

INFOGRAPHICS

Today has been a bumper day for infographics…

Attlee

The next three pictures are all related...
The next three pictures are all related…

Iceland LXI

Feminism Stop Homophobia Welfare

A FEW FINAL PICTURES

I bring this post to a conclusion with these pictures from East Rudham yesterday…

My parents new camper van
My parents new camper van
Inside the back of the camper van.
Inside the back of the camper van.
Once this pigeon nest was identified as reachable from ground level it did not survive long.
Once this pigeon nest was identified as reachable from ground level it did not survive long.

Cricket, Aeroplanes and Music

A brief account of the state of play in the current test match, an account of the fly by and two concerts tthat were part of the 65th King’s Lynn Festival, some cool links and some impressive and imortant infographics.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my subject matter as indicated above including photographs, I also have some links and infographics to share with you.

ENGLAND STRUGGLING AT LORDS

Yesterday was the third days play in the second test match between England and Australia at Lords. It was England’s least bad day of the match so far, but they were so far adrift going into it that they needed rather more than a decent day. Australia at 108-0 in their second innings lead by 362 and the obvious plan for them is to lash up as many runs as they can in the morning session and then leave England a mountain of Olympus Mons proportions to climb in the final five sessions of the game.

A FLY BY AT VERY CLOSE RANGE

My outside space was an ideal position from which to view the advertised fly by happening as part of the King’s Lynn festival. It was on the aeroplane’s third pass that I was finally able to get some pictures (six in total)…

All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.
All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.

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TWO CLASSICAL CONCERTS

Once the day’s action had finished in the cricket it was off to King’s Lynn Minster for the first of two concerts taking place yesterday evening. There was a blanket ban on photography at the event, so I have few pictures…

Some detail about the first concert.
Some detail about the first concert.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.

This concert was splendid. The Vivaldi and Manfredini pieces were particularly impressive, while the Vejvanovsky was a splendid introduction to a composer that few of us had previously heard of. The lead violinist, Bojan Cicic by name, proved to be a quite superb performer.

At the end of this concert we just had time to visit my aunt’s house before the start of the second concert, a violin and harpsichord duet playing works by Telemann (the most prolific of all composers), Buxtehude and J S Bach (who as young man walked 200 miles each way for the privelege of witnessing Buxtehude in action – no recordings in them thar days!).

This mini concert was every bit as good as the first one had been – no evening of two halves this time. I got some photographs of the Minster’s light show (one of several dotted around the town)…

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LINKS

My first two links both come courtesy of Vox Political:

1)The Lords earning their £400 per day.

2)Continuing to heap pressure on the government re death toll after fit for work tests.

My next three links concern a 38 Degrees petition on the subject of fracking:

1)The petition itself

2)The link to share on facebook

3)The link to share on twitter

My next link is by way of a shout out to my most recent follower on aspiblog, and takes to you to their site, luckyottershaven.

My last two links relate to electoral reform and segue nicely into the the infographics:

1)The original petition

2)The Thunderclap, to which you can still add your voice for about another eight hours.

INFOGRAPHICS

Voting Reform

My next infographic is a reminder of what things were like before trade unions existed:

BTU

The third and final infographic I am sharing in this post is about housing today and comes by way of London mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell…

HH

EPILOGUE

I hope that you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed creating it and that some of you will be inspired to share it!

A Trumpet Blast for the King’s Lynn Festival

An account of a concert at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange featuring Crispian Steele-Perkins, some links and some infographics.

INTRODUCTION

Having put up three new posts about my experiences at Marxism 2015 today I decided a variation was called for, and fortunately, especially given the links and infographics I also intend to share I have the perfect change of tempo ready…

AN EVENING OF TWO HALVES

King’s Lynn’s historic corn exchange (see pics below) was last night the scene for a classical concert featuring that master of trumpet playing, Crispian Steele-Perkins.

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The first half of the evening, with Steele-Perkins the centre of attention was magnificent. I have only a few pics because there is a no photographs during the performance rule which I obeyed to the letter…

The auditorium
The auditorium
A close up of the stage.
A close up of the stage.

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The tools of Steele-Perkins' trade - a coach horn (the same length of brass as an army bugle but dead straight rather than curved), a late 18th century trumpet, and smallest a 19th century trumpet.
The tools of Steele-Perkins’ trade – a coach horn (the same length of brass as an army bugle but dead straight rather than curved), a late 18th century trumpet, and smallest a 19th century trumpet.

Although I enjoyed the story behind the coach horn, and hearing said instrument played in the Mozart piece, the highlight of the entire event for me was the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, one of the greatest pieces ever composed for the instrument, and played quite magnificently.

In the second half there was no Steele-Perkins, and the quality was much less – there was one piece where one could not tell if it had been played well or badly so undistinguished was it.

LINKS

There are so many links to be shared that I have split them into subsections, starting with…

PETITIONS

The first petition I am sharing is the one calling for statistics on benefit-related deaths to be revealed. I have two links connected with this:

1)The Petition

2)A Huffington Post article connected to the above.

My second petition is the one on change.org calling for automatic Group B Strep tests to reduce deaths of newborn babies.

My next offering is this from those who want to keep the National Gallery from being privatised.

Last and in the chief place in this subsection is the petition calling for clemency for William Underwood.

A SOUPCON OF SCIENCE

I shall lead into this little section with a piece showing just how low SeaWorld are prepared to stoop in their battle against those who dare oppose cruelty to Orcas.

Phuketbirdwatching introduced me a species of bird I had ot previously seen in this, their latest offering.

My next link is to a piece about the discovery of a new particle, the pentaquark.

Faraday’s Candle can be relied on for good stuff, and their take on Nasa’s recent Pluto fly-by is no exception.

POLITICAL PIECES

First of all, a piece celebrating an event of 100 years ago.

My next piece, on dealing with London’s polluted air, is a must-read.

Huffington Post are back, with this piece which viciously exposes the misogynism and ignorance of UKIP’s Paul Nuttall.

My next two links are both to pieces from Socialist Worker:

1)On the home front, this piece about tube workers.

2)This about Iran.

Finally, chosen because it leads into the next section, this link to what will be my first infographic.

INFOGRAPHICS

EU Principles Mhairi Black quote

It is not often that the S*n apologises, so we should make the most of it when ti does!
It is not often that the S*n apologises, so we should make the most of it when ti does!

AFTERWORD

I hope that you have enjoyed this post and will be encouraged to share it!

Marxism 2015 3: Accommodation and Day Two

A personal account of day 2 of Marxism 2015.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this, my third post about Marxism 2015, the five-day political festival hosted by the Socialist Workers Party at the Institute of Education in London. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be inspired to share it.

ACCOMMODATION

I was booked to stay with somebody in Walthamstow, and although their house is not close to a tube station, it would nor amlly have been easy to get there. However, the tube strike meant that we had to go by bus to Clapton and get a London Overground service to Wood Street. In the heavy traffic generated by the tube strike this took considerable time. Getting in the following morning was easier, but I failed to allow enough time (a very rare occurrence) and arrived a little late for the first meeting…

AT THE EVENT

Here is a photo of my timetable for the day in question, showing the meetings I decided to attend…

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All of these meetings were magnificent, but I am going to concentrate for photos on the first two, and for most of my text on the third.

Here then are some photos from the first meeting, and fascinating stuff it was too, with a convincing demonstration of egalitarianism in early human history…

Anatolia.
Anatolia.
Catalhoyuk
Catalhoyuk
Cayonu
Cayonu

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These reconstructions are wrong in one respect - the houses had neither windows nor doors, being approached through the roof, with most of daily life taking place on said rooftops (there being no roads).
These reconstructions are wrong in one respect – the houses had neither windows nor doors, being approached through the roof, with most of daily life taking place on said rooftops (there being no roads).

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A mother goddess from these ancient remains.
A mother goddess from these ancient remains.
A 19th century South American village on similar lines.
A 19th century South American village on similar lines.

For the second meeting I attended that day on Mental Health, photos really can tell most of the story…

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Another connection to where I grew up - Jeremy from Streatham talking about the Mental Health Charter.
Another connection to where I grew up – Jeremy from Streatham talking about the Mental Health Charter.
Jo from London tells of family memories of living near a mental hospital (When we first moved to London there was exactly such an institution within a few minutes walk of our home)
Jo from London tells of family memories of living near a mental hospital (When we first moved to London there was exactly such an institution within a few minutes walk of our home)

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This picture adorns one wall of the Elvin Hall where the meeting took place.
This picture adorns one wall of the Elvin Hall where the meeting took place.

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Susan gives her opening talk on Mental Illness: A Disorder of Capitalism.
Susan gives her opening talk on Mental Illness: A Disorder of Capitalism.
The feature image for this post.
The feature image for this post.

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A GERMAN-CENTRIC TAKE ON CLASSICAL MUSIC

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this meeting I was a little disappointed that it was so dominated by German and Austrian composers, with only brief mentions of the Italians (my favourites). Before moving any further I must pay tribute to Siobhan from East London who stepped in at the twelfth hour when the person who should have been chairing the meeting could not be located, and did an excellent job…

Siobhan from East London who stepped in as chair at the twelfth hour.
Siobhan from East London who stepped in as chair at the twelfth hour.

Although as I have said I would have preferred more credit to be given the Italian composers, I did enjoy this meeting, and overall Sabby Sagall acquitted himself well in slightly testing circumstances…

Sabby Sagall speaking about Classical Music.
Sabby Sagall speaking about Classical Music.

I will finish this post with a few pictures from later in the day…

Mark L Thomas addresses a packed house on "Are the Greens a Left Alternative?"
Mark L Thomas addresses a packed house on “Are the Greens a Left Alternative?”
Shahrar Ali, leading Green, offers constructive comment from the floor.
Shahrar Ali, leading Green, offers constructive comment from the floor.
Sarah Creagh introduces "Rosa Luxemburg and the German Revolution"
Sarah Creagh introduces “Rosa Luxemburg and the German Revolution”
A moment of whimsy -a close up shot of on of Sarah Creagh's earrings.
A moment of whimsy -a close up shot of on of Sarah Creagh’s earrings.
Blackhorse Road Station, from where a 123 bus gets to the end of the road on which I was staying, by night (definitely the best time to see it!)
Blackhorse Road Station, from where a 123 bus gets to the end of the road on which I was staying, by night (definitely the best time to see it!)

Special Post: Highgate

The latest post in my series “London Station by Station”, this features some London Underground history, a musical interlude and a soupcon of politics.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and will be encouraged to share it.

OF MUSIC AND MARX

A CURIOUS HISTORY

One stop south of Highgate is Archway, which opened in 1907 and was for some time the northern terminus of the line. One stop to the north is East Finchley, which was first served by Northern line trains in 1939, having previously been part of the LNER. Highgate, our subject, only opened in 1941 – something of an afterthought.

TO THE UNKNOWN GODDESS

This title comes from a CD case, and concerns a story that began almost 400 years ago and that touches on Highgate…

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In 1619 a servant girl the household of the dramatist, librettist and poet Giulio Strozzi gave birth to an illegitimate child. The child, Barbara Strozzi, grew up in the household, becoming Giulio’s “figliuola elettiva” (elective daughter). Encouraged by Giulio she developed considerable musical talents and became known in her own lifetime as a composer and performer.

She is not so well known these days, but it was at Highgate that I first heard her music. The performance featured the same four people as the CD (Catherine Bott, Paula Chateauneuf, Timothy Roberts and Frances Kelly), which I bought that very evening.

A FAMOUS GRAVE

To be fair, quite a few well known people are buried in Highgate Cemetery, but I am confining myself to one. Karl Marx was buried there in 1883, and Marxism 2015, a five-day political event begins in London tomorrow afternoon. I will be there and I intend to put up regular blog posts and tweet about being at the event – watch this space.

TWO FINAL IMAGES

I finish this post as usual with two map pictures…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.