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

Ashes Composite XI

My composite Ashes XI with reasoning and justification. Also some photographs.


A common feature of final days of series is the selection of a composite XI based on performances in said series. This is my effort for the current Ashes series. I am going to name my team in batting order first and then explain/amplify/justify these selections.


My team in batting order (England player names in dark blue, Aus in green):

  1. Alastair Cook
  2. David Warner
  3. Dawid Malan
  4. Steven Smith (Captain)
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
  7. Mitchell Marsh
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jimmy Anderson


The openers need no justification – the only major contribution from an opener not named Warner in the series was Cook’s monumental innings at the MCG. Number three is a thorny one. James Vince has demonstrated clearly that he does not belong there, and his huge score here at the SCG notwithstanding I remain skeptical about Usman Khawaja, hence my decision to promote England’s leading run scorer in the series to a position he occupies for his county. Number four, and with it the captaincy was the easiest selection of the whole lot. Shaun Marsh has not put a foot wrong since being called up to replace the inadequate Handscomb at number 5, and I regarded him as a must pick. Jonny Bairstow and Tim Paine have both had good series with the gloves, but I have opted for Bairstow as definitely the superior batsman. Mitchell Marsh has had a magnificent series, and was an absolute shoe-in at number 7, especially as Moeen Ali has had a terrible series – he has batted poorly in every match and his bowling average reads like a Bradman batting average. Of the specialist bowlers I have picked those at number 8,9 and 10 in the batting order are absolute stand outs. Number 11 was tricky, since Anderson with virtually no support has had a good series, and the better supported Hazlewood as also had a fine series. Accepting that even were it possible vivisection is not permissible (though ‘Anderwood’ is only one letter removed from a former test great!) I have opted for Anderson as I rate his the greater achievement. 


Looking at the makeup of the team (and accepting that Hazlewood for Anderson and Khawaja for Malan would both be valid changes), Australian picks predominate in both batting and bowling, though it is especially the bowling, which in my team comes out at 4-1 (including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh) to Australia and is reality more like 4.3-0.7 (rating my selection of Anderson over Hazlewood as a 70:30 pick) which has split the sides. England have collected barely more than half of the 100 wickets that were available to them at the start of the series, whereas Australia assuming that they take the six England wickets that remain in this match will have managed 90, failing to take 20 opposition wickets only on the MCG pitch. 


I always like to include a few photographs in my blog posts, so I end with these recently taken pictures:

The first five pictures were taken while walking to the Scout Hut on Beulah Street for Musical Keys yesterday.


These last four pictures were taken in Fakenham on Thursday.



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


A Survey and Some New Pictures

A survey for autistic people and some photographs, some of which feature flooding in The Walks.


The pictures that feature in this post were taken earlier today, and I saw the survey while editing them. 


The survey is a facebook survey intended for autistic people being conducted by Emma Dalmayne and asks one question: do you prefer person first or identity first? At the momnet the poll is running at 86% for Autistic Person and 14% for Person with Autism, and the fact that the latter percentage is even that high has led some people to suspect that some of those who have answered so far are not autistic (for example none of the authors of the many excellent blogs by autistic people that I follow have ever expressed a preference for ‘Person with Autism’. I urge those of my readers who are autistic and on facebook to take part in this survey by following the link – and if you are not autistic kindly do not take the survey.


Although nothing like as dramatic as the stuff that John Jonasson has recently been displaying on about floods in his area, there has been some small scale flooding in The Walks, and some of the pictures show that.

A shop front turned display board and a planning application (two pics)

Planning application

duck feeding point
My first clue about the flooding in The Walks.

Near cafe

Willows in the water
The willows here are normally close to the edge of the river – not in it.

FootpathFlooded field

Swimming gull
This gull is swimming over what is normally part of a field.

Tree in poolFloodingRiver overlaps with standing waterTrees in waterFloodunofficial duckpondInto the Vancouver Garden

Mini waterfall
Here overspill water was running over the path so fast that it formed a mini waterfall cascading down over the side of the path.

PathUnofficial duckpond 2Vancouver Garden 2Flooding 2Vancouver Garden 3

I don;t think this bench will be getting much use today!
Flooding near 'troll bridge'
Heading towards Seven Sisters.
The Nar (the last pic I was able to take as I ran out of battery power)
Our friend of the species Cairina moschata was not unduly troubled by the flooding (17 pics of it today)



Musical Keys

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


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


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

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



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


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


This is best shown in a series of photographs…

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


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

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



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


Heritage Open Day 2016 – Starting the Day

My first post about Heritage Open Day 2016.


It is now a well-established tradition that Heritage Open Day in King’s Lynn takes place on the second Sunday of September. I had already decided that I was going to concentrate this year on places I had not previously seen. You can see what I wrote about Heritage Open Day 2015 (and indeed the text relating to Heritage Open Day 2014 – the pictures have been deleted due to lack of storage space in my media library) by clicking here. Also, since the whole point of Heritage Open Day is usually inaccessible places are opened to the public the outsides of buildings do not feature very much. The series of posts about Heritage Open Day 2017 will be different again as I have volunteered to help out at one of the attractions.


The weather on Saturday had been downright bad, so it was with relief that I looked out of my windows to see blue sky and bright sun. Leaving my flat at 9:30 (living in the heart of the town it is almost a case of leaving my flat and instantly being in the action I headed for the Tuesday Market Place where I picked up a brochure about the day, and took a photograph of one of the classic cars…


Having established that All Saints Church, a small establishment concealed from wider public knowledge by Hillington Square, was not opening up until 11:10 I set off to do other things until it opened (I was determined to see inside it, having photographed the outside a number of time). I was delighted to note that the Jewish Cemetery was open, and took a closer look at this little landmark that I previously viewed only through a locked gate.


This is a fascinating little place, and there was lots of information on display. This made an excellent first attraction of the day:

Information first (pics 1-7), then some general pics)


Just across the road from the Jewish Cemetery is…


There cannot be many people who are more familiar with the areas of this building that are open to the public on a regular basis than me, but I had not previously seen either the manager’s office or the turret room (home to the Stanley Collection, a gift from the 15th Earl of Derby). Unfortunately I was stopped from taking photographs, so I have no pictures of the latter collection, and only a few from the manager’s office.


This was one way to make sure your books did not get stolen!


Passing through The Walks I spotted that the fountain had had some kind of bubble bath added to it…


My next port of call was South Quay, where there was a…


The pilots in question are responsible for ensuring that ships dock safely, and in the case of the team on this boat the area includes the Great Ouse from just north of Downham Market to the Wash and also the mouth of the Nene, the river which serves Peterborough. As part of their responsibility they position buoys to indicate dangerous areas (it takes about ten minutes to shift one of these buoys once it is in position because they are anchored into position by one ton blocks of iron. There was one such on display so we could see closer than usual what they look like.

The Pilots Boat
A rowing crew approaching the jetty.


The buoy (two pics thereof)


Marriott’s, viewed from the ramp down to the jetty, thriving as would be expected.

My next port of call was…


This was both an opportunity to look closely at a historic landmark and an opportunity to have say in its future. They had three plans on show, and it was the third that I particularly approved of. I filled out the questionnaire that they were using to collect information. This looked like being a real consultation ( as opposed to for example ‘we are building a new road, where would you like it to go?’ or ‘we are building a new runway, which airport would you like to get it?’). Once you have seen the photos below and before reading on, why not see if you can guess which plan I liked best…


My preferred option of those on show was the third one. I hope that this building’s theatrical connection which stretches back six centuries will be maintained.

Walking through the Vancouver Quarter on my way to the next landmark I was pleased to spot a disused shop being put to good use…


Finally, it was time to visit…


This little church is reckoned to be the oldest in King’s Lynn, with parts of the current building dating back almost a thousand years. On the outside it is an attractive building, on the inside…


I finish this post with the last religious establishment I was to visit…


On the outside this is a smart but unspectacular brick fronted building. The inside of the building is very impressive…


The view from the centre of the upstairs gallery.


The organ




Heritage Open Day 5: A Retrospective

The final post in my series on Heritage Open Day.


Welcome to the fifth and final post in my series on Heritage Open Day, which was a week ago yesterday. The previous four posts give a personal perspective on  the places that I and my two companions for the day visited. This one is there to tie things together and sum up the whole experience.


This day provided further proof of how good King’s Lynn is at putting on  a public show. Whether it is water-skiing on the Great Ouse, the Lynn Festival, The Hanseatic Festival or the “Fawkes in the Walks” public firework display (which attracted 15,000 last year)  the event seems to work splendidly.

DSCN5386 DSCN5387 DSCN5755 DSCN5756 DSCN5757


By the end of the day I was thoroughly exhausted, but I had greatly enjoyed myself. My cousin Edward and his partner Rachael were excellent company, the weather stayed decent throughout, and it was a joy to see so many people enjoying what King’s Lynn had to offer.

DSCN5751 DSCN5752 DSCN5753 DSCN5754 DSCN5758 DSCN5759 DSCN5760 DSCN5761 DSCN5762 DSCN5763 DSCN5764 DSCN5765

This is the regular tourist map of Lynn, which can be picked up at the bus station among other places.
This is the regular tourist map of Lynn, which can be picked up at the bus station among other places.
This is what casual visitors can find out about Hampton Court any day of the year.
This is what casual visitors can find out about Hampton Court any day of the year.


If you are anywhere close to King’s Lynn for Heritage Open Day 2016 don’t miss it – it is a wonderful thing to be part of!