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

Shouldn’t Every Day Be “Earth Day”?

A post for “Earth Day”, which argues that every day should be Earth Day. Read, enjoy and please share.


Today is “Earth Day”, and it is all well and good to name it so, but the truth is that we should by now be capable of realising that every day should be considered to be Earth Day. This post is therefore dedicated to “Earth Day” but also to realising the inadequacy of “Earth Day”. There is a parallel here with the various “Autism Awareness” days, weeks and months (yes there is one of each) and their unfitness for purpose which I written about elsewhere. All of my own text in this post will be in green because it is about nature. Links where they appear will be in bold and underlined. 


Four days ago I came across this excellent post about the development of “Earth Day” on It is simply titled “Earth Day: Facts & History“, and it is an excellent read. The screenshot below will serve as an aperitif:



Five days ago Anna put a post sharing a poster created by one of her friends under the title “Power listen to the voice of nature“. Anna’s message in that post is simple and compelling. Below is her friend’s poster which inspired it:

Poster by Margareta Arnedotter Jansson


This one is for those of you who are on any of facebook, twitter and/ or tumblr. I have shared it before, and on its final day I do so once again. It is titled “Birds Join Bees this Earth Day“, and focuses on the damage pesticides are doing to pollinators. 



I consider this to be an excellent idea. Once again this is something that I have shared previously, and with eleven days to go until the deadline on this petition I do so again, considering it perfect subject matter for “Earth Day”. Please sign and share if you are UK citizens and have not already done so – let’s use today to get this past 10,000 signatures!



ALL trains in The Netherlands are now powered by wind generated (i.e renewable) electricity. For more and a video (also embedded below) please click here also that in strong contrast to every British public transport project I can remember this was completed not just in time but a whole year ahead of schedule.


Since he gained permission from his employers to unveil it to a wider public in 1931 Henry C Beck’s schematic diagram of the London Underground network, known colloquially as the “Beck Map” has taken the world by storm and become the template for public transport maps across the globe. Now, in it’s home city a Beck style map has been produced for the benefits of cyclists. There is a detailed article about this on featuring this map, which is reproduced below for your benefit:



We need to appreciate nature and the Earth every day of our lives. One day per year is most emphatically not enough. We also need to remember to very important things:

1. There is no “Planet B” at this moment – if we turn this planet into somewhere completely inhospitable to Homo sapiens we have nowhere else to go.

2. Following on from that first point we need to always bear in mind that we need Earth more than Earth needs us.

To finish this post, save for a few of my own photographs I turn again to Anna, and a piece of artwork I have shared before which she created based on comment that I made on one of her blog posts:

Nature Meme


These pictures of items that will be going under the hammer on the 22nd,, 23rd and 24th of May at James and Sons.


I travelled on this railway in my childhood, too many years ago to mention.


This picture, reminding us of where we and everything else on earth comes from seems an appropriate one to end the post.

A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.


A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.


My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…


A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.

My next major link is to a…


To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.


Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 


Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.


Now it is time for…


Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…


This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme


birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

Buildings and a Petition

Some more pictures of buildings in and around King’s Lynn, plus a link to an important petition.


This post can be seen as a sequel to “Buildings of Kings Lynn” and “More Buildings of King’s Lynn”. However, as you will see, this one has a slightly wider focus.


Our first building of the day is sadly not being used for anything. It used, in the days when such things existed to be our main Post Office (we now have the services of a few cashiers at WHSmith instead), and no subsequent use has been found for it.


Now we have some buildings near the train station…

Portland Street

The first of the two pictures I combined to make the ‘juxtaposition image’


The Fenman Pub – there is lots of railway memorabilia inside (it is directly opposite the station)
St John’s Vicarage

From here, since we are at the start of St John’s Walk, we enter the parkland area…


The Guanock Gate


The South Gate.

On our way from the South Gate to the Great Ouse we get a glimpse of the Baptist Church.


Looking across the river, we get a glimpse of West Lynn Church (one can use the ferry if one wishes to get closer, or walk down to the road bridge and cross there)


Near Marriott’s Warehouse one can see the Rathskellar wine bar…


The Rathskeller, with a side wall of Marriott’s in the background.

We finish this section with a few quirky images from the town centre.

In spite of the size of this poster the map is next to useless – I know the Hardwick Sainsbury’s well, but could not find it using that map.
The side of Boot’s .
Close up of the metalwork.
The top of the guildhall. The green structure projects the light show on to King’s Lynn Minster at night.


My aunt had noticed a cause for concern in a planning application for something in Gaywood, and as we were heading for Sunday lunch with my parents in East Rudham anyway we went via Gaywood. We actually saw no evidence there of the planning application that had caused the concern, but did see another, for an extension of the pub. The original planning application that had been brought to my aunt’s attention was for a small new build, and these photos from the area in question show, a plain concrete box which is what apparently was on the table would have been very inappropriate.

The planning application that was on display in Gaywood
Two brick houses with distinctive features.


Trees that may i danger of being knocked down.
Not brick and flint, but (like the library) brick and Carr.


Dedicated followers of this blog will know that yesterday I put up a post supporting a team4nature thunderclap. I am finishing this post by linking to an official petition to the UK government to give hedgehogs better protection. The petition can be viewed here (note and apology to my international followers – you have to be a British citizen to sign petitions on this site).

Railwayana and Evolution

An account of imaging at James and Sons with a focus on Railwayana, some links to pieces posted on whyevolutionistrue and a few general links.


The mesalliance of subjects indicated by my title is brought about by the fact that I only have time for a very quick blog post, and the two things I most want to share are pictures of some interestinfg railwayana that will be in our next auction and a number of superb pieces that whyevolutionistrue have produced recently.


I have had a particularly busy time imaging autcuion lots over the last few days, because the other person who regualrly does imaging was involved in a car accident (the car accident stats for Norfolk make grim reading because the lack of a proper public transport infrastructure and the prevalence of poverty mean that people start driving at the first available opportunity and are often using cars that are not really road worthy) is consequently off sick. Thankfully, albeit with a rejigging of work days for next week, we are on track for completing the catalogue by the end of Tuesday, which means that by the back end of next week printed copies should be available, and an online listing should be ready to view.

The two lots that especially caught my eye in and amongst the vast quanrtity of stuff I have been imaging were numbers 51 and 52, and I conclude this section with full photo galleries for both lots…

Lot 51 is this antique railway map
Lot 51 is this antique railway map
The remaining seven images including this one are of lot 52
The remaining seven images including this one are of lot 52

52a 52b 52c 52d 52e 52f


This blog, the title of which comes from a marvellous book by Jerry A Coyne has been in tremendous form just lately, with the pieces I am sahring merely the cream of a spectacular crop…


Just a few final links:

The Croft-Yates Wedding

A personal account of the wedding party for Rob and Olivia Yates, with lots of quality pics. Also, some important links at the end.


I will start with a word of warning: this is going to be a very long post, as there is a lot to talk about and I have some fabulous pictures to share with you. Olivia Croft (now Yates) is a cousin of mine, which is why I was there.


Needing to arrive at Kegworth early enough for those who would be at the ceremony itself to travel on to Loughborough and arrive by 12 meant an early start. I was not at the ceremony and was assigned another task along with my nephew Zachary, which I have already written about in a previous post. After a schemozzle over room bookings, which worked out to my benefit since I ended up with a room to myself (they had messed up, so we got the extra room we needed at no further cost) it was time to deposit our bags in the rooms and make the short walk to the house where the party was taking place, next door to the Kegworth museum.


Arriving at the venue the first arresting sight was a 1950s vintage Morris…

The Morris in all its glory
The Morris in all its glory
A very old style AA badge - this close up shot was gained much later than the shot of the car.
A very old style AA badge – this close up shot was gained much later than the shot of the car.

This is the time, before going on to the party itself to introduce my feature image, a montage of some of the many pictures I took through the day…

FB Montage

There was a Pimm’s table for those whose tastes run in that direction, although I ignored that and was then delighted to located cask beer (four kegs, each different). I went for something called Blue Monkey Infinity and it was delicious. There was a barbecue lunch which was excellent. It is now time for a brief diversion to…


The fish pond was quite simply magnificent, with a stunning variety of fish and an excellent rock garden…

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At 4PM there was a Punch and Judy puppet show. I watched it all and got some good pictures. It seemed to appeal to its target audience, the children, but I was unimpressed to say the least…

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Early on in the day there was some live music outside in the sun, and helped to be the volume not being too ridiculously amped up it was actually quite pleasant from a distance…

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The speeches took place in the same area as the Punch and Judy, and with the exception of the opening salvo from Andy, the bride’s stepfather, none were particularly impressive…

The groom, who was also MC for the speeches.
The groom, who was also MC for the speeches.

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Andy, giving the first speech.
Andy, giving the first speech.

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The bride's sister, flanked by Evie (blonde) and Libby (darker)
The bride’s sister, flanked by Evie (blonde) and Libby (darker)

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The groom's father making his speech.
The groom’s father making his speech.


The groom's brother at the mic.
The groom’s brother at the mic.


The bride making her speech.
The bride making her speech.

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Before going on to mention the supper and my own departure from the event here are some pictures taken at various times through the day that don’t fit neatly into a particular section…

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Each table in the marquee had floral displays on them, one of which featured this sunflower.
Each table in the marquee had floral displays on them, one of which featured this sunflower.

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A full floral display.
A full floral display.
My cousin Richard and his fiancee Ida - they will soon be off to her native Sweden.
My cousin Richard and his fiancee Ida – they will soon be off to her native Sweden.


Ida and Rachel, girlfriend of another of my cousins, Edward
Ida and Rachel, girlfriend of another of my cousins, Edward


Me and Richard
Me and Richard

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Serious rain in the early evening.
Serious rain in the early evening.


Supper was fish (or sausage in my case) and chips, and it was delicious (give what my uncle had apparently paid for the hire of the chip van for the evening so it jolly well ought to have been). While I was eating it in the shelter of the marquee, the evening’s entertainment were warming up, and that was sufficient to persuade me that as it was no longer suitable weather for being outside it was time to return, since there was no way I could cope with that kind of music at that volume and accompanied by strobe lighting at close quarters.

The cake, which I did not get to see being cut.
The cake, which I did not get to see being cut.
These last two pics are of the evening's entertainment making their preparations.
These last two pics are of the evening’s entertainment making their preparations.


I had a fabulous day, and by departing early was able to keep the good memories untarnished. This concludes the main part of this post, but I also have some…


My first set of links concerns…


Lots of stuff about this case…


I start this section by reminding readers of the petition calling for a better gender balance in Parliament. Another reminder of a petition that I have been pushing for some time, Fiona Paddon’s via calling for the NHS to provide tests for group B strep to prevent needless deaths of newborns. My next two are related, a call on BA to stop selling trips to seaworld and one from uk.whales calling on ABTA to enforce its own very tight guidelines. Still on the Cetacean theme, have this plea on behalf of the Vaquita. Next and penultimate, another reminder, this time of the Sweets Way Campaign. Finally, I end this subsection by inviting all my readers to take part in a thunderclap on behalf of the Hen Harrier.


I have several very interesting science pieces for you:

  1. A light start courtesy of Faraday’s Candle, whose latest offering is this one.
  2. Cosmos Up have this on red arcs on one of Saturn’s moons, Tethys.
  3. From Niume comes this on “Methane the Destroyer
  4. Finally, accompanied by some graphics to whet your appetite comes this magnificent youtube video on the evidence for evolution.
    Cetaceans skull Whales


The first link to appear in this section comes courtesy of a new find for me, suburbanprincessteacher who has produced this wonderful piece about school dress codes entitled “Newsflash: Girls Are Not Distractions“. Tax Research UK, often a source of good material have produced this on human rights versus trade deals. My next piece comes from unisonactive and is their take on the Trade Union Bill. My final link is to a quite wonderful response by a paramedic to news that New York fast food workers have won a minimum wage of $15 per hour.


I hope that you have all enjoyed this post and will be encouraged to share it. A final message for all who have made it to the end…


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.


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


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.


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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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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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.


Voting Reform

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


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…



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!

Thunderclaps and Hashtags

Some important links, notably about getting Katie Hopkins to apologise to the autistic community and about electoral reforms and some photographs.


I have given my post this title because a large part of it is given over to sharing links, including to thunderclaps.I also have some good pictures from Kings Lynn today.


The above is a hashtag now being used in our campaign to get Katie Hopkins to apologise to the autistic community for some very offensive comments. There are two links connected to this:

1) Petition, courtesy of

2) Thunderclap, pooling social media reach for better effect.

If you decide to tweet about this campaign don’t forget the hashtag, and if you wish to retweet something someone else has posted about the campaign append a comment of your own and the hashtag (“quote tweet”)


One of the things the recent election demonstrated to everyone with eyes to see it was how badly flawed ‘first past the post’ is as a system. I have three links connected to this to share with you:

1) A blog post which makes the case superbly, from Dan Keeling.

2) A petition that I hope you will sign and/or share from

3) Thunderclap (see previous section).


First, a link and a picture relating to an anti-austerity demonstration


My final four links are all in their different ways responses to the election result:

1) A moving open letter to those who voted Conservative

2) A fact checker courtesy of Mike Sivier on Vox Political

3) A poem courtesy of julijuxtaposed.

4) Last and in the chief place, this from Caroline Lucas.


This picture can be seen at The Crown Inn, East Rudham
This picture can be seen at The Crown Inn, East Rudham

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The first days play has just finished in the county championship match between neighbours Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Worcestershire would seem to be having the better of things, having bowled well, but one really needs to see both sides bat before attempting to form strong opinions.


Can you spot the bee? Given it's size it did a fine job of hiding.
Can you spot the bee? Given it’s size it did a fine job of hiding.
Preparing for the ascent
Preparing for the ascent

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I hope that you have enjoyed this post. I encourage you to share any or all of it. A final message for those who have made it to the end: