Lake District 2023 12: Brockhole Exhibition

A look at the exhibition at Brockhole, which proved well worth a visit.

Welcome to the latest instalment in my series about my holiday in the Lake District. This post is the second about Brockhole, and has a single focus, the exhibition about the Lake District.


Considering how small an area it occupies this little exhibition covering many details about the Lake District is remarkably comprehensive. The pictures will tell the story…

Pensthorpe 2023: Discovery Centre and Sculptures

Continuing my account of my visit to Pensthorpe with a look at the discovery centre and at the sculptures dotted around the place.

This is my third post in a mini-series about my part in a West Norfolk Autism Group excursion to Pensthorpe which took place on Saturday. It is a two part post, and represents the mid-point of the series – there will be two further posts afterwards.


The discovery centre at Pensthorpe contains many features of interest, including a harvest mouse, a glass fronted beehive, a tank containing small water creatures, exhibits about bird evolution and giant birds, some woolly mammoth remains, dating back approximately 10,500 years to a time when Norfolk was at the southern edge of a massive ice sheet extending all the way from the north pole, and other stuff. It is also inside, which on day like Saturday gave it extra value – I made a total of three visits…


There are sculptures dotted around Pensthorpe, and they definitely enhance the experience. I have slightly extended the range of objects that would usually be described as sculptures by including a bench and also a mosaic. I did not specifically set myself a task of finding and imaging sculptures, I just imaged them when I happened to find them, but one could undoubtedly plan to identify and photograph every sculpture at Pensthorpe. I favour a freestyle approach to somewhere like Pensthorpe but some may prefer to be more regimented/ organized.

Scotland 2022: Exploring Eigg

Continuing my account of my Scottish holiday with a look at the beautiful and interesting island of Eigg.

I continue my account of my Scottish holiday with a look at our explorations of the island of Eigg, the third of four posts devoted to Friday (see here and here).


There are a cafe and a shop right where the boat drops one on the island of Eigg. Having noted the existence of these establishments we began our explorations. The first point of interest was some information about the island itself:

We then came to a memorial…

Then it was walk uphill, until we came to a footpath that we took. Conscious of time constraints we did not go massively far along the path, though what we saw was very scenic…

There were some more information boards before we got back to the cafe, which we were now ready to patronise. First this, about the geology of the inner Hebrides:

Then this about electricity and green issues:

The cafe proved to be excellent. I ate a bacon bap and drank a reasonably local beer that proved to be of splendid quality.


We did a little more exploring after lunch, before heading back to the boat, which we boarded in good time for the journey back to Arisaig. Eigg was very interesting as well as very scenic, and I enjoyed my visit there.


Here are my remaining pictures from Eigg…

India Win The First ODI

An account of yesterday’s India v England ODI, some geological stuff and some photographs.

This post looks back at yesterday’s first ODI between India and England, which took place in Pune.


England’s chosen team was: Roy, Bairstow, Stokes, *Morgan, +Buttler, Billings, Ali, S Curran, T Curran, Rashid, Wood. Livingstone and Parkinson were players many would have wanted to see who were left on the bench. India handed debuts to K Pandya and Krishna, with KL Rahul named as wicket keeper. Their team was: Sharma, Dhawan, *Kohli, Iyer, +Rahul, H Pandya, K Pandya, Thakur, Kumar, K Yadav, Krishna. Morgan won the toss and chose to bowl.


Dhawan played superbly in the early part of the innings, but England also bowled decently and with 9.3 overs to go India were 205-5 with Krunal Pandya on international debut joining KL Rahul. Both these players batted beautifully, England bowled very poorly in the closing stages, a recurring problem for the current outfit, and the total mushroomed to 317-5 by the end of the innings.


Roy and Bairstow began superbly, and at 135-0 in the 14th over that target of 318 was looking manageable. Then Roy fell for 46, his fourth recent instance of getting to 40 and not completing a half century. Stokes was unable to get going at all, Bairstow lost momentum due to the problems at the other end and missed out on his century, and as wickets continued to fall England looked a panic-stricken side. Moeen Ali hinted at a late revival with 30, but when he and then Sam Curran fell in short order to leave Tom Curran, Rashid and Wood nearly 80 to score between them the writing was well and truly on the wall. England were all out for 251, beaten by 66 runs. The debutant Krishna had 4-54, the best figures of the day, but the most significant contribution was from the experienced Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who had figures of 2-30 from nine overs, applying the squeeze at a crucial stage. Roy and Bairstow gave England an excellent platform, but once wickets started to fall no one was able to steady the ship, and the cold hard truth is that England lost all ten wickets for 116 runs on a flat pitch.


The batting, Roy and Bairstow apart, looks unreliable. Billings and Morgan are both injury worries, and I think Livingstone has to come in- Stokes did not look comfortable at three, while Livingstone habitually bats high in the order. Among the bowlers Tom Curran has to go – he has taken one wicket in his last nine ODIs, and if you are not taking wickets you have to keep it tight, and he is not doing so at present – India scored 63 off his ten overs without having to exert themselves to punish him. Personally I would be inclined to change the balance of the attack and bring Parkinson in to replace him, but could accept the alternative of selecting Reece Topley in his place. India would inevitably look to target Parkinson if he was selected and I would counter that by giving him the new ball because openers sometimes struggle when confronted with spin first up. I am not going to call for Morgan to go just yet, but he could do with a decent score some time soon, and he needs to a little less inflexible – perhaps the occasional decision to bat first when he wins the toss, and perhaps giving more consideration to certain players.


Courtesy of twitter (in the form of Science, Space & Nature) I can provide some film of a volcanic eruption on Iceland (please click picture link below to view):

Collapsing Crater 🌋🇮🇸✨

the first eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula in over 800 years, situated in Geldingadalur by Festarfjall mountain. Definitely the most surreal thing to ever experienced. You could feel extreme heat coming from the lava
Credit: h0rdur/IG— Science, Space & Nature (@ScienceIsNew) March 23, 2021

From the Natural History Museum twitter feed comes some info about the first ever Geological Map of a country (Great Britain) – see screenshot below, and click here for more.

I end this section with a picture of one of the maps on display in my bungalow, an old palaeontological map of Great Britain and Ireland:


My usual sign off…

A Beach Hut at Old Hunstanton

An account of the NAS West Norfolk day at the beach hut.


I am taking a one-post break from my series about my holiday in Scotland to cover last Sunday’s NAS West Norfolk activities centred on the Mencap beach hut at Old Hunstanton which we had for the day.


Having checked on google maps to remind myself of the distance between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton I decided to get the bus to Hunstanton and walk from there. Having a choice between Stagecoach and a local operator (Lynx) I naturally decided in favour of the local operator. This decision was rewarded with a fare that was less than I would have paid on Stagecoach:


For a sunny Sunday in June the traffic was quite light, and the bus reached Hunstanton pretty much on schedule. I then set off on the walk to Old Hunstanton. I have stated before on this blog that the shortest route is not always the best on my reckoning, and this was another situation where my chief criterion was not shortness. For reasons that I will not insult the intelligence of my readers by elucidating my sole criterion for choosing my route was to stay as near the sea as possible.

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Old Hunstanton Beach
Old Hunstanton Beach. I initially failed to identify the correct beach hut, but after a few minutes scouting I was noticed by one of the others.


Having got to know the beach hut some of us took the RNLI up on their kind offer of a tour as they explained about what they do, their boat and their hovercraft. This latter is one of only four in the whole country. The boat has to be towed into the water by tractor, and anyone familiar with north Norfolk beaches at low tide will therefore have little difficulty in understanding why the hovercraft which is an amphibious vehicle is sometimes necessary.

I took these first few pictures before the initial tour – the building was open and no one attempted to stop people from looking.

PipingHovercraft frontsturdy ringsHovercraft jacketEnginesLifeboats LogoControls 2Controls 1RNLI Hovercraft1

beach friendly wheelchair
One of the bits of equipment the beach hut have – a wheelchair specially adapted for going to the beach (btw it did get used as we had someone who uses a wheelchair in our group).


Net at the beach hut


The Beach Hut
The beach hut

Ancient Mariner1
Identifying a lunch spot.

lifeboats info2Lifeboats info 1Controls 3Controls 4Hovercraft2Boat ShedPretoursignsGuide and gear

Layer 1 - warmth
The first layer of a lifeboat person’s gear – this one is for warmth

Layer 2 - waterproofing
this wetsuit with built-in wellington boots goes on next to ensure that you don;t get absolutely soaked.

L2WHelmet modelling

The helmet and lifejacket complete the outfitting
The ensemble is completed with a helmet that has a ;protective visor and a lifejacket with a few extras.

Boat -sterntrailer frameBoatMotortractor-trailer coupling

tractor cab
The cab of the tractor – it has two steering wheels and multiple openings.

Boat unleashedboat being pulled by tractorCab openingsCab2

This tractor has particularly large wheels – that is me standing next to one of them.



I went to the Ancient Mariner for lunch, and it was quite excellent. I also had an outside table, which meant opportunities for taking photos.


Cliff formation from Old Hunstanton Beach
Cliff face viewed from Old Hunstanton beach


A pint of Adnams Ghostship – excellent for a sunny day in June

82Kitesurfing2Kitesurfing3Renewable Emergy4Renewable energy 5Kitesurfing5Renewable energy 6Renewable energy 7ALOHBLighthouse and cliffOHB2Flying gullShells OHBLadybirdP1020105P1020096

These are a subject of some controversy – personally I find this view, which shows humans at long last attempting to take care of their planet to be a lovely one.


Marxism 3: Saturday

An account of the Saturday at Marxism, with lots of pictures.


First the big news – I am writing this on my own computer. Second, for this post, the third in my series on Marxism 2016 (see here and here) I will not be writing about all the meetings I attended on the Saturday, but rather setting out a brief framework of the day before concentrating on two meetings in particular.


I had my usual smooth journey in. Here is my plan for the day:


Thus, my selected meetings were: Engels and the origins of women’s oppression (Celia Hutchinson) in room 728, Precarity: minority condition or majority experience? (Kevin Doogan) in the Elvin Hall, The Anthropocene and the global economic crisis (John Bellamy Foster) in the Galleon Suite room A Royal National Hotel), After the elections: Ireland’s new politics? (Brid Smith and Richard Boyd Barrett), in the Galleon Suite room C Royal National Hotel) and The gene editing revolution – its promise and potential perils (John Parrington), Room 728.

It so happened that the two meetings in the above  list that were in the Royal national Hotel were the only two that I attended there and were back to back. Regular readers will recall that the entrances to the Institute of Education building are on levels 3 and 4. Room 728 as its name suggests is on level 7, while the Elvin Hall is on level 1. There are lifts, but I am not keen on lifts and I also recognized that there were others at the event whose need for lift access is greater than my own, so this program involved a lot of stairs.

The first two meetings featured one late change – Kevin Doogan had to withdraw and was replaced as speaker by Joseph Choonara. Here are some photographs…


After the usual picnic lunch it was time for…


The Royal National Hotel is separated from the Institute of Education by the width of a street (albeit a central London street with all that that entails). Observation of the timetable will lead you to note that Galleon A and Galleon C but no Galleon B. This is because the Galleon Suite is divided by means of temporary partitions which are not soundproof (I have been attending incarnations of this festival since 1995, and can attest to this, as it was not always taken account of), so Galleon B (the middle of a three way partition) was used as a kind of anteroom to the other two parts of the suite, simultaneously serving as a sound-break between them. My first port of call in this building was Galleon C for…


The basic thesis behind this talk is that the scale of human impact on our climate has already been such that we are no longer in the Holocene, the period which began about 10,000 years ago, but in the Anthropocene, the start of which is still not agreed on, with estimates of the exact point spanning the 19th century.

The term Anthropocene is not as new as you might think, having been used in the 1920s by Alexei Pavlov. What this terminology implies is that human influence (anthropo- is a Greek prefix meaning human) on the earth has become so great that human history is now driving geological history.

The speaker (and we were lucky enough to have noted author John Bellamy Foster in that role) presented a huge amount of data explaining the thinking, and left himself without enough time to explain what we should be doing about this situation. While I found this meeting interesting and sobering I was somewhat disappointed by this aspect of it.

The platform with no speakers


Abstract art at the RNH

The platform just before the start of the meeting.




I had been looking forward to this one since hearing Brid Smith speak at the opening rally (I already knew how good Richard Boyd Barrett was from previous years) and I was not to be disappointed. Richard Boyd Barrett (now in his second term as TD for Dun Laoghaire) and Brid Smith are both members of the Irish Dail as part of the People Not Profits coalition.

Before looking at Ireland’s new politics, a brief summary of Ireland’s old politics. For virtually the whole history of the Republic of Ireland the government of the country had swung between two right-wing conservative parties,  Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, depending on which of them the Labour Party in that country chose to prop up.

So what is different now? Well both of the main parties have suffered heavy electoral losses, and one election after its best ever showing the Labour party is down to seven seats. People Before Profit has six seats, and four others are held by socialists who are not members of that coalition (this would be equivalent to having 40-50 radical left MPs at Westminster).

Ireland was forced by the EU to bail out toxic banks at a cost of 68 billion, which was clawed back by inflicting cuts on the weakest in society. Then, the EU decided it had not gone far enough in immiserating Ireland and demanded that the Irish government levy a water charge. This provoked a huge backlash, including a 250,000 strong demonstration in Dublin (equivalent, given the two countries populations to 4-5 million in London), and there is simply no way that the water charge will be made to stick.

It is not just in the Republic that things are changing rapidly (the Irish Socialist Workers Party is a cross-border organisation). There are now two People Before Profit coalition members sitting in the Stormont Parliament (Eamonn McCann and Gerry Carroll), the first two people in Stormont not be signed up as either nationalist or loyalist but as socialists pure and simple,and as part of the campaigning that brought this about they managed to have a meeting in the Shankill Road, attended by 50 people – even the most entrenched sectarianism can be broken through.


The two speakers and chair Emma Davis on the platform

A second picture of the platform taken moments before the start of the meeting


After the evening picnic it was time for the final meeting of the day. John Parrington gave an excellent introduction after which there was a variety of contributions from the floor. I was pleased to see Steve Silberman’s book Neurotribes (surely destined to become the standard work on autism) on display at this meeting. The homeward journey was uneventful as expected.

This one is a bit blurred – a consequence of being on an escalator travelling at London Underground standard speed of 145 feet per minute.


4,000 Miles and 4 Billion Years

A brief review of David Whitehouse’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”


This post is a review of David Whitehouse’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, the title of which comes from the Jules Verne classic. The title of the post refers to the distance and time span covered by this small book.


That certainly applies to the comparison between Verne’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” and David Whitehouse’s modern factual version. Whitehouse also provides a short comparison between the journey described in this book and its equivalent on other planets in our solar system.

As well as a story that holds the attention all the way through, the book contains some excellent illustrations, a few of which I now reproduce…

As the folks at Faradays Candle have it “It’s an amazing world of science…let’s go exploring!” This little book does just that and the journey is splendid.


“Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth”

A brief review of Stephen Hurrell’s “Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth” accompanied by a few pictures.


This is a book review, of a book that I have just read which has the title I have used as the title of the post. This is a standalone post with no links or unrelated pictures.


The book that gave it’s title to this post is by Stephen Hurrell and it seeks to provide an explanation for the giant size of the dinosaurs.

The Front Cover
The Front Cover

Hurrell’s theory, argued very persuasively is that the Earth was smaller and hence gravity was less in the distant past. Many different sets of data fit with his argument – including the fact that in every era since the extinction of the dinosaurs the biggest land animals have been progressively smaller. The super-giant land mammals of 35-40 million years ago for example grew much larger than their counterparts today. A graphic illustration of the size difference between the largets dinosaurs and today’s largest land animals is this…


The illustration of the difference between his theory of earth formation and the standard version (constant size earth) is shown in this graphic…


I found the book thoroughly fascinating and absorbing and would heartily recommend it to anyone, and conclude this very brief post by passing on another recommendation of a book that I share Mr Hurrell,s opinion of, Robert Bakker’s “The Dinosaur Heresies”…


England Take The Lead In 2015 Ashes

A bit about England’s magnificent win at Edgbaston, an infographic about an event being staged by Surrey, some quality links and infographics.


I have some links and infographics as well as my main piece. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be encouraged to share it.


England responded to the battering they took at Lord’s in the best possible way, by storming to a three-day victory at Edgbaston to restore their lead in the series. Australia won by 405 runs at Lords, England by eight wickets here. I reckon this constitutes the most spectacular about turn in fortunes in successive ashes matches since 1965-66 when the teams traded innings victories in the second and third matches of the series.

Particularly welcome was the return to top form of Steven Finn who followed James Anderson’s first innings six-for with six wickets of his own the second. Among the scraps left by these two were enough wickets for Stuart Broad to reach 300 in tests. Ian Bell whose poor form had him in the last chance saloon with the last orders bell being sounded came up with two fifties in the match in front of his home crowd – and given the low scoring nature of the game these were easily worth centuries on a flat one.

An unfortunate injury means that for the fourth match at Trent Bridge England have the unenviable task of attempting to fill an Anderson shaped hole in their squad.

To finish this cricket related section, Surrey are putting on an event to celebrate women’s and girls cricket featuring current England captain Charlotte Edwards, head of ECB women’s cricket Clare Connor and being hosted by Surrey”s Director of women’s cricket Ebony Rainford-Brent…

Women's cricket


My first set of links follow on from my last blog post and feature more on…


First up an event that will probably remain unique in the history of aspiblog – a link to an article in the Daily Mail

Next, courtesy of Huffington Post, this piece by wildlife expert and occasional ballroom dancer Steve Backshall

Finally on this particular topic, this from The Age.



Tonight is the second full moon in July – a rare event called a Blue Moon and best know for the cliche “once in a blue moon”. For a detailed account of the phenomenon check out this piece from

Next, courtesy of livescience come two dinosaur related links:

1)A new discovery of a dinosaur with an exceptional sense of smell

2)Photographs of remains of one of the largest animals ever to walk the earth.

Dinosaur bone

Ending this subsection on science, courtesy of, this piece about the Earth’s magnetic shield being older than previously thought.


Just two connected pieces here:

1)A post on Patheos about an atheist suffering persecution

2)The original blog post that triggered the Patheos piece.


Again, just two connected pieces:

1)An update on a petition calling on Lego to positively represent disabled people

2)And a piece courtesy of themighty that connects to the above petition.


I finish this post with two infographics, one from the Corbyn campaign and one on the subject of NHS pay…

Corbyn NHS