The Gaywood River

An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.

INTRODUCTION

I have had a very busy few days, which is why there have been no new posts here since Saturday. I will mention my activities since Monday in later posts, but this post is solely concerned with the activity that dominated (in a good way) my Sunday. At the end of this post I will be including a variety of links related in various ways to its content. Here is a map showing the course of the Gaywood River:

FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENT

I got an email from my aunt a few days before the event was due to happen explaining her role in it and asking if I wished to meet her there and go back to hers for sausage and chips or if I would prefer a saturday supper. I decided that the event could be quite interesting, so I opted for the former course of action.

GETTING THERE

Since the event was taking place at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street, which is on the bank of the Gaywood (Beulah Street ends in a bridge that crosses the Gaywood into the car park that serves the Scout Hut) I was going to walking, and since it was a bright, sunny morning I decided on an extended route. Leaving my flat I headed across Baker Lane Car Park to the bridge over the upper Purfleet, heading across King Street to the north bank of the lower Purfleet. Here are some photos from that early part of the walk:

Moorhensigull with spread wings

From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…

BoatCormorantiCormorantiiCormorantiiibirds 'n' churchcormorantiv

…before heading round by way of All Saint’s Church to the Library and entering the parkland area, following the Broadwalk until the path through the Vancouver Garden splits off from it, when I followed that and then the path out of the Vancouver Garden that joins the Tennyson Road end of St John’s Walk, at which point I was back on what would be the officially recommended walking route to Gaywood. There were squirrels about (in King’s Lynn only the grey ‘bushy-tailed rat’ variety as opposed to the red ‘Squirrel Nutkin” variety), though it is not always easy to get good photos of them…

SquirreliiiSquirreliv

Moorhen Chick
This picture and the next feature the heavily sculpted segment of the Gaywood River that passes through the parkland.

Moorhen parent and child

Traini
Apart from photograph opportunities the other plus side to being held up a by a train at the Tennyson Road level crossing is that you can cross the road itself in perfect safety as the cars are all stationary.

trainii

From Tennysod Road I followed the footpath the runs between the King Edward VII Academy and the Lynn Academy to Gaywood Road, which I crossed, then crossing the Gaywood on a pedestrian bridge before following its bank all the way to the Scout Hut. 

Butterfly
Although darker than their usual colouring I think from the markings that this is a peacock butterfly.
Gaywood river
A section of the Gaywood River

AT THE SCOUT HUT

Immediately outside the Scout Hut the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group had a gazebo and display boards (it was there that I took the photo that appears in the introduction). 

GazeboDisplay boardGaywood Valley 1LeafletsDisplay BoardGaywood Valley 2Gaywood Hidden HeritageGaywood Valley 3Display Board

Inside the hut was the Civic Society Stall, a cake stall, and various river related learning activities (colouring in pictures of river creatures for the artistically minded, an A-Z quiz of which more later). Although it was not the first thing I looked at, because it was my aunt’s reason for being there I start with…

THE CIVIC SOCIETY STALL

They were looking for people who knew about the history of the Gaywood river, because information boards will be going up at various points along it. They already had some good stuff, but wanted more.

Civic Soc display boardCS1CS2CS3CS4183818101960Wall DisplayMKBUrban Trees

Now we turn out attention to…

THE REST OF THE INDOOR ACTIVITIES

The cake stand looked awesome but discipline prevailed, and I did not sample any of the products. Although it was not really aimed at people my age I did the quiz, and predictably got all the answers in short order. The colouring proved popular, and many of the coloured creatures were then stuck on to a large picture of a river on the wall of the hut.

Quiz
I will reveal the answers (just in case anyone did not get them all) in a later post.

Colouring sheetsWall riverCakescolouring table

That is the inside stuff finished, but there was also plenty going on…

IN THE BACK GARDEN

There were two major centres of activity in the back garden, and I make my first port of call there, as I did on the day, at…

THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST GAZEBO

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust were showing children how to make portable ‘bug hotels’, and they also had a natural history display including a folder full of photographs of animals, and a stash of leaflets, to which I may return in a later post. 

NWTNH1NH3NH2NH4NH5NH6NH7NH8NH9NH10NH11NH12NH13NH14NH15NH16NH17NH18NH19NH20NH21NH22NH23NH24NH25NH26NH27NH28NH29NH30NH31NH32NH33NH34NH35NH36skull

We now come to what was for me the best of all the exhibits, courtesy of…

THE NORFOLK RIVERS TRUST

There were two parts to this exhibit. The minor part was display showing graphically how different treatment of land in the winter affects the soil:

Winter demo 1
These three models were side by side demonstrating what happens to soil when there is nothing there at all – gets washed straight into the river)…
Farm demo 2
When there are dead leaves covering it – still lots of it ends up in the river…
Farm demo 3
…and what happens when something suitable is planted – note the much clearer water at the end – most of this soil remains in place.

The second part of this display was a living exhibit from the river – two large buckets of river water with creatures that naturally live in it there to be seen (the amount of dissolved sediment in the water, the small size of these creatures and the fact that some of them live on the bottom of the river means that this the only way to make them visible). There was also a small sample dish which the person running the exhibit used to show as very small curiosities…

Caddis House
This is one of nature’s smallest houses – within it is a caddis fly larva, and at some point the adult fly will emerge.
Stickleback
The next three shots are of small sticklebacks.

Stickleback 2Stickleback 3

Gudgeon 1
This was described as a gudgeon, but looks different to the other gudgeons we will see later. The silvery sheen to its scales suggests a dace to my eyes.

Water shot

Stickleback 4
I am not sure what this piebald fish is, though it could be a stickleback.

Water shot 2

Sample dish
This shot of the sample dish showing the thumbnail of the dxemonstrator reveals just how tiny that Caddis fly home actually is – it was in this same dish that I saw it.

Water shot 3Water shot 4Water shot 5SaladsPond animals

Gudgeons1
Two gudgeons in the second bucket – note that as would be the case in the river they are at the bottom.

Gudgeons 2Water shot 6two sticklebacksWater shot 7Water shot 8Water shot 9

There was also a story teller outside…

Story

LINKS

To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:

Now we have a few science and nature websites:

  • Wildlife & Planet – interesting stuff about wildlife from all over the world.
  • WEIT – the website that grew out of Jerry Coyne’s classic book Why Evolution is True. 
  • Science Whys – the blog of Brandeis biology professor James Morris.
  • Rationalising the Universe – sets about accomplishing the big task laid out in its title and does a good job of it.
  • Faraday’s Candle – a science website that will really illuminate your life.

I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:

  • Cindy Knoke – keen photographer and nature lover. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent post:
  • Anna – her posts about fighting to save nature in her part of the world are always inspiring, and her two recent series of posts “Paradise on Earth” and “Butterflies in Trosa” are both stunning. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent butterfly post.

CONCLUSION

This was an excellent event and I learned a good deal about the history and nature of the Gaywood River. I have one kvetch which is that the event was poorly publicised – I only found out about it through my aunt and then only a few days before it was happening, meaning that anyone else I might have alerted would almost certainly have had other plans. If half of you have enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoyed the event I have done a good job. I finish by urging you to take the time to follow up those links.

 

 

Science and Nature

Some of the best science and nature related pieces I have recently come across.

INTRODUCTION

Having started the day with a science related squib I finish it with a full length post concerned with Science and Nature. As this is a post where all the text will be the same colour please not that links are in bold and underlined. Before proceeding here is a list of all of today’s previous posts:

PART ONE: A VARIETY OF SHARES

I am building up for big finish by dealing with everything else first in a single section. I am going to start with…

A REPORT FROM SUMOFUS.ORG

The campaign group sumofus.org have produced a definitive report to the effect that we do not need bee killing pesticides to feed the world. For detailed information on where we are with the fight to save bees please click on the graphic below:

sumofus.jpg

THUNDERCLAP: #GARDENS4NATURE

Yes another thunderclap for those of you who are on social media to support. Click on the screenshot below for more…

Gardens4Nature

THE EDEN PROJECT

The Eden Project in Cornwall, of which I have very fond memories, has just added to its laurels by winning VisitEngland’s award for Inclusive Tourism. Thus I have two links, each accompanied by a screenshot to share:

  1. The disabledgo blog piece detailing this latest success for the Eden Project.
    Eden Project VisitEngland award
  2. The Eden Project’s own website.

A LEGAL WAY PAST PAYWALLS

I am indebted to WEIT for this. It is an app that is free to download. For more details please visit the WEIT article on this:

PART 2: SOME FANTASTIC EVOLUTION MEMES

I found these on twitter by way of their creator, whose twitter name is Lord Cropes. Below is the particular meme which caught my attention:

EvolutioninAction

This is just one of 129 memes of this type that he has created, and you can view all of them by way of the website pinkheretic.com. Here is one more to further whet your appetite:

PART THREE: PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some of my own photographs:

Moorhen + chicks
An adult moorhen and two chicks
Moorhen and chicks
Adult and two chicks close together
Moorhen chick
Close up of a chick

DSCN6063DSCN6062DSCN6061

 

A Walk and Some Links

A walk in and around King’s Lynn and a number of interesting and important links.

INTRODUCTION

I am making the walk the centrepiece of this post, with some links either side of it, starting with some general links, and then following the walk with some science and nature themed links.

SOME GENERAL LINKS

First up, Heather Hastie has produced this post titled “Betsy Devos Doesn’t Inspire Confidence in the Future of US Education”

From The Mighty comes this piece, titled “17 Things Not to Say to People on the Autism Spectrum” 

Steve Rotheram has put out a call for Jeremy Hunt to end the NHS crisis. The link is here.

Courtesy of Disability News Service, here is an article about how one of  Britain’s biggest bus companies is attempting to weasel out of a supreme court discrimination ruling.

THE WALK

Yesterday was bright and sunny, so I went out for a walk. The sun was shining on to the Lower Purfleet, revealing that the surface still had a thin covering of ice…

lower-purfleet

When posting about a walk in King’s Lynn I always like to showcase at least one of our historic buildings, and today I have this picture showing Hanse House and the Rathskeller with the towers of King’s Lynn Minster in the background:

hanse-house-and-rathskeller

There was nothing else of note until I reached the Nar outfall, where I have often observed cormorants. This time there were no cormorants, but there was a small wading bird which I had not seen before and which consultation of my bird book suggested was a Common Sandpiper…

small-wadersmall-wader4small-wader2small-wader3small-wader5small-wader6

I left the river by way of Hardings Pits, taking a couple of shots (one each way) at that moment.

river1
The view towards town
river2
The view away from town

Crossing the Nar on my towards the parkland I took a picture from the bridge…

nar-bank

Passing through the Vancouver Garden I spied a squirrel. It eluded my first attempt to photograph it, but…

squirrel

I then decided to make it a long walk and headed for Lynn Sport, to then go back into town by way of Bawsey Drain. Along the way I got a shot of the railway station as seen from Tennyson Road level crossing…

station

At Lynnsport I stopped to photograph a decorated signpost…

sign

The Bawsey Drain segment of the walk provided a number of pictures, including a raven and some moorhens…

moorhen2ravenmoorhensbawsey-drain

bawsey-drain-2
Unfortunately Bawsey Drain is used as a dumping ground by people who cannot be bothered to dispose of their rubbish properly.

miaow

While walking a,long John Kennedy Road I took this picture of the back of St Nicholas’ Chapel…

st-nicholas

Right at the end of the walk I spotted a pied wagtail..

long-tailed-tit-2long-tailed-tit

NATURE THEMED LINKS

The first link in this section is to a piece that appeared as part of WEIT’s Hili Dialogue series. The star of the series is a cat, the eponymous Hili, also known as the Princess of Poland. Hili has a staff of two, Andrej and Malgorzata and graciously permits a dog named Cyrus to share in this. The pieces always feature something about that particular date, and apparently yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. While I do not object to a day being designated Penguin Awareness Day, surely we should be aware of them and the rest of the natural world every day. To read the piece in full, click on the graphic below which is extracted from it:

image002

This leads neatly on to two recent pieces from Anna, the first of which is titled “This can never be wrong”, the ‘this’  being taking care of our planet. The other piece from Anna that I am sharing here is about the Save Trosa Nature campaign.

Rationalising the Universe’s latest offering is about Newton’s Laws of Motion.

WEIT get another mention, for this piece about a new species of moth which has been named after Donald Trump.

I started the ‘general links’ section of this post with a piece by Heather Hastie. I now finish the piece with another piece, the title of which, “Huge Crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica Grows” is sufficient introduction. I ‘pressed’ a link to this yesterday, but it is so important that I choose to share it again.

 

 

 

The Trumpocalypse

A post about the outcome of the US Presidential Election.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to what I promise will be my only post about the result of the US Presidential Election.

‘ELECTABILITY’

Right up until the result was confirmed many reckoned that Hillary was guaranteed to win – indeed late last night Jerry over at WEIT was still confident enough to follow his schedule of posts and put up one bearing the title “Hillary Wins!”. Many of those who were so confident of a Hillary win were not especially enamoured of her as a candidate, but reckoned that alternative was so gruesome as to be ‘unelectable’. At approximately 8AM GMT this morning that notion of ‘unelectability’ was consigned to oblivion when it was confirmed that he had been elected.

LINKS AND INFOGRAPHICS

I will start this section with a link to this very detailed break down of voting patterns (I draw particular attention to the breakdown of voting patterns by income – this makes it clear that the poorest people voted for Hillary – the only brackets in which she was ahead were those with incomes of under $30,000 per annum and those in $30-50,000 bracket).

vb
Some detail on voter breakdown
lcpem
A good visual representation of who voted which way, found on twitter.
usa-new-map
Another twitter find.
cto
This map was produced by http://www.independent.co.uk, and accompanied this article.

Next come some links to longer pieces from various people:

I end this section with this sage advice tendered by Catherine Mayer on twitter, which segues into the next and final section of the post:

tweet

DOING SOME RIGHT THINGS

I will start this section by referring you to the 50:50 Parliament petition on change.org, which I made a point of sharing again today, given some of the things that the new POTUS has had to say about women.

Also in circulation is this petition regarding the education of disabled children.

Next comes this petition against the third runway at Heathrow.

The last petition I am going to link to calls for better protection for victims of domestic violence.

To finish, some good news from the Let Bristol Breathe campaign:

Congratulations!

Following the Let Bristol Breathe campaign and the petition you and over 4000 people signed, Bristol City Council has voted unanimously to support a motion calling for urgent steps towards establishing a Clean Air Zone in Bristol.

Two of Bristol’s MPs and the Mayor have also asked to discuss a Clean Air Zone for Bristol with government ministers.

These are just the first steps, but they are in the right direction.

We’ll stay watching to make sure they stick to their promises. If we need your help again with this campaign, we’ll be in touch.

Meanwhile, give yourself a pat on the back or raise a glass to clean and healthy air!

Thanks again,

Jane, Deb, Steve, Sandy and Clare

Two Small Auctions and Imaging for one Big Auction

An account of Wednesday and yesterday – with plenty of pictures. Also a link to a splendi piece on WEIT.

INTRODUCTION

Most of this post deals with events of Wednesday and yesterday.

WEDNESDAY – NORWICH

We had a small stamp sale at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, which necessitated a seriously early start. I was at the bus station at 6:00 as intended (the bus I was going to catch is scheduled to leave at 6:10, and I always like to be there early), but the bus was very late. I considered briefly catching the alternative X1, but was not willing to pay twice as much money for the quicker journey (£11 for the X1, run by First, £5.50 for a day-rider plus on the X8/ X29 Stagecoach route). Finally, over 20 minutes after it was due to leave the bus arrived to pick up passengers. It made good time once it was under way, apart from the inevitable crawl past Hellesdon Hospital, and I was at the venue by 8:15. There were no computer issues, and the sale ran very smoothly. Those items that sold went for good money, and overall the sale was as good as we could have expected.

THURSDAY – FAKENHAM

Thursday featured an early start, but not so much as the previous day, since we were holding a postal history sale at our own premises in Fakenham. This sale was more of a success than the one the day before – due to the presence of internet bidders, and a number of items made good money. Once it had finished I had time to do some imaging for the big auction on June 29th, at which some lots will be sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College, London, and for which the catalogue is currently at the printers. There were some very large flags, one of them so huge that the only way I could image it was in the open air with two of my colleagues holding it up, one at each end. Here are the images…

342
One of the two images I took of the hypergiant flag
343
This was one of two giant flags
344
This was an ordinary size flag
345
The other giant flag
346
A supergiant flag – by spreading it out on the shop floor and standing a chair I was able to obtain an image of each hal;f of the flag and use my editing skills to bolt the two images together.
346-a
One half of the supergiant flag
346-b
The other half of the supergiant flag
655
Lot 655 – a piece with local historical significance – and a gallery of seven images

655-a655-b655-c655-d655-e655-f

675
This table needed careful handling and crafty psoitioning to get a usable image.

779780

To end this section, a challenge to my readers: from where did I get the descriptors (giant, supergiant and hypergiant) that I used for the outsize flags?

A LINK AND THE CURRENT TEST MATCH

Having already shared Richard Murphy’s piece on licences for company directors, when I then came across a gem of a piece on WEIT I felt that I could not justify a second such post within such a short space of time. Here therefore is a link to a piece about the Freedom for Religion Foundation going after NASA for giving a grant to a theological study.

England have recovered somewhat from a very poor start. Just before the close of day 1 of this third test against Sri Lanka Jonathan Bairstow reached his century, becoming only the second England wicketkeeper after Matt Prior to reach three test centuries in a calendar year and also only the second after Les Ames to reach two in the same test series.

I finish this piece with a few more photographs:

DSCN6462
Various model aeroplanes are currentrly on display at locations around King’s Lynn, and this picture and the next feature two of them

DSCN6589

DSCN6685
A bird enjoying the metal artwork that adorns the market square in Fakenham
DSCN6704
The image of the hypergiant flag that I decided not to use as the official one.

A Grab Bag

A pot-pourri of a post, featuring my website, mental health, public transport, a new find in the blogging world (for me), human evolution and a few pictures.

INTRODUCTION

I have spent a good part of today working on my website, www.londontu.be, and I also have some pictures that I have not previously shared, plus a few other things.

THE LATEST FROM LONDONTU.BE

I have recently created three new posts that I choose to share here:

 

THE MENTAL HEALTH TASKFORCE

Mind, the mental health charity, have produced this about the Mental Health Task Force:

Mind

MUSICAL KEYS

On Monday evening, Musical Keys had another session for autistic people. As well as my usual i-pad generated strings (cello only on this occasion), the session ended with something new – generating sounds by constructing lines on the i-pad screen for balls to bounce off (for those with long memories the approach is bit like reverse “bat and ball”). Here some photos relating to that event:

A NEW FIND

To give credit where it is definitely due, it was a post by Mike Sivier at Vox Political that introduced me to anewnatureblog, which I am now following. The particular post that Mike shared and that I followed up on was this one. I subsequently also read this one. I highly recommend this blog.

BETTER TRANSPORT MAPS

It was also courtesy of Mike that I found the Guardian piece that led to my discovery of the better transport campaign. One thing they are doing is producing maps which show how transport services across the UK are being endangered. Just one example: in Norfolk, where I live the county council’s transport budget was £4m in 2010 and £2.67m in 2015 – a cut of 33% in five years (and as a regular user I defy anyone to suggest that Norfolk’s transport provision is not in need of improvement!).

A GIF ABOUT HUMAN EVOLUTION

This little GIF, which WEIT picked up via twitter, started life in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV series. I have two links for you:

  1. The original post in which I saw this GIF
  2. The GIF on its own.

SOME FINAL PHOTOS