Spring

Celebrating the arrival of Spring…

INTRODUCTION

By way of an introduction to this post, which is celebrating some welcome good weather here is a video recording of Spring from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. 

If you enjoy classical music you might like to visit young singer and Royal College of Music student Charlotte Hoather’s website by clicking here.

SPRING ARRIVES

Since the epic storms I wrote about a while back, the weather has been gradually improving. Within the last few weeks I have been able to leave the flat without a coat, and then yesterday I switched the heating off. Today, for the first time in 2017, I am making use of my outside space:

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Also today, although they have been in evidence for a few days now, I managed to photograph some butterflies, again for the first time of the year.

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This was the first one I captured.

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The fourth and best of the four butterfly pictures I was able to get today.

Where did I locate these little beauties? All within walking distance of my little town centre flat – two near Hardings Pits and two near Bawsey Drain, gained during…

A WALK

It being bright, sunny and reasonably warm I set off on a walk just after 10, and was out for over two hours in total. Here are some of the non-butterfly related pictures I took while out and about.

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The first seven pictures in this set are not actually from the very beginning of the walk – it has been a long while since I saw this many cormorants on what I call “Cormorant Platform”

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This buoy is not in its regular position – there is only one seal living in the Great Ouse, and no sand to be found. Norfolk does have one big seal colony, at Blakeney Point, which although part of the mainland is accessible only by boat – there is no road link as it is quite rightly a fiercely protected area.

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Grab Bag

A variety of things that have come to my attention recently.

INTRODUCTION

This post is about a mixture of things from the last few days, hence the title.

CHAMPIONSHIPS AND CONTRIVANCES REVSITED

Some of you may remember that I put this post up on Thursday, with Somerset having secured an emphatic win in their game and Middlesex and Yorkshire going head to head in theirs. Sadly, when I checked what was going on on Friday afternoon, Lyth and Lees (the two opening batsmen, neither with any sort of status as bowlers) were purveying out-and-out filth for Yorkshire to help Middlesex set an agreed target. Yorkshire paid for accepting such an arrangement when their batting subsequently collapsed handing the title to Middlesex. Sadly, Somerset were innocent victims of this scam by Middlesex and Yorkshire, being robbed of would have been their first ever county championship not by good cricket but by dirty back room dealings.

BEES AND PARKS

This refers to two important issues that came up this weekend. Firstly, Greenpeace have exposed Bayer and Syngenta as having covered up evidence that their products were hugely damaging to bees. Greenpeace’s release can be viewed here, and here is a copy of their accompanying picture:

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The parks part of the title of this section refers to an effort by 38 Degrees to secure better protection for our parklands. Living in King’s Lynn at this time gives this a particular resonance for me, so:

Britain’s parks are at risk. There’s no legal responsibility to look after them and squeezed budgets mean our local green spaces – from playgrounds, to the park you relax in on your lunch break – don’t have the money they need. We could end up being forced to pay to use our parks – or lose them altogether. 

A group of MPs are looking into the crisis right now. They’re thinking of making protecting parks a legal requirement, and they’ll advise the government on what to do. A huge petition, signed by all of us, will prove how much we love our parks. It could convince the MPs to come up with a water-tight plan for protecting them. 

Can you sign the petition now and demand that looking after our parks is made a legal requirement by the government? It only takes 30 seconds to add your name:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-parks

Here are some pictures of my own, including a few from King’s Lynn’s own parkland areas:

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP ELECTION 

I will let these beautiful infographics culled from twitter do the talking for me on this one:

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SOME AUTISM RELATED STUFF

As NAS West Norfolk Branch Secretary and as someone who is #ActuallyAutistic I am always glad to share really excellent autism related content, and I have two absolute gems for you:

Finally to end this section, as regular readers will know one of the activities I am involved in via NAS West Norfolk is Musical Keys, and this is an advert they have recently produced:

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THE FINISHING TOUCHES

One of my favourite blogs is that of singer Charlotte Hoather, who has just started at the Royal College of Music in London. Her post about her first week there can be viewed here.

To end this post I give you a series of pictures starring a snail…

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This is the original picture that I took.
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This is cropped but not otherwise edited.
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This is the snail after my normal editing routine.
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This is a colour-boosted version.
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This version has the contrast enhanced.
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Finally, this version has had the colour boosted and the contrast enhanced.

 

An NAS West Norfolk Coffee Morning

An account of a coffee morning organised by NAS West Norfolk, some photos and some important links. I draw your particular attention to the levitycropscience crowdfunding issue.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece I have some photos from the King’s Lynn area to share, some important links and a platinum quality infographic.

A MUCH ANTICIPATED COFFEE MORNING

Having received more than one email from my friends at NAS (National Autistic Society) West Norfolk about this coffee morning I was hoping for a decent event. From my perspective the rest of the story involves three elements..

THE WALK THERE

With the event due to start at 10AM I set off from my small town centre flat at 9:15AM and headed for the Scout Hut on Beaulah Street by way of Bawsey Drain and Lynn Sport. It was grey and uninspiring, but there was the odd photo worthy moment…

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I don't all that often include pictures of ducks, but this was a particularly fine specimen and there was not much else to command attention at the time.
I don’t all that often include pictures of ducks, but this was a particularly fine specimen and there was not much else to command attention at the time.

AT THE EVENT

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who had shown up – in total there were 14 of us present. One of the others, who I had not previously met, noticed the fact that i had a camera and had snapped off a few pictures, so I provided her with details of my blog, twitter account and email address, which she gratefully accepted, along with the explanation that all my best pictures are on the blog.

One of the two posters on the wall of the upstairs meeting room at the Scout Hut.
One of the two posters on the wall of the upstairs meeting room at the Scout Hut.

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Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I felt that this was a good start to what is intended to be a series of such mornings (and Karan, who organised the event, mentioned having people come to give talks in the future, which I also approve of).

The other wall poster - might be though of as 'zooming out' from the subject matter of the first.
The other wall poster – might be though of as ‘zooming out’ from the subject matter of the first.

THE WALK BACK

For the walk back I completed the circle by going via KES (King Edward VII Academy) and the train station. The only picture worth sharing that I was able to get was on the way out, heading down the stairs.

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I look forward to more events like this in the future!

SOME LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHS

Yesterday was a sunny day, and I got some fine photos, the best of which I now share…

My first four pictures related to classic local landmark, Greyfriars Tower, with two information boards...
My first four pictures related to classic local landmark, Greyfriars Tower, with two information boards…

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This up-tower shot...
This up-tower shot…
...And this external shot, taken from next to the the projector that displays a light show on the walls of the tower.
…And this external shot, taken from next to the the projector that displays a light show on the walls of the tower.
The next five pictures are of a remarkably coloured butterfly that was just near the Greyfriars Tower, in the Peace Garden.
The next five pictures are of a remarkably coloured butterfly that was just near the Greyfriars Tower, in the Peace Garden.

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A westering sun reflected off the Great Ouse yesterday evening.
A westering sun reflected off the Great Ouse yesterday evening.

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King's Lynn landmark no 1 - the Custom House
King’s Lynn landmark no 1 – the Custom House

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With two local landmarks pictured above this an opportunity to draw your attention to Heritage Open Day, this coming Sunday, when no fewer than 57 places of interest in King’s Lynn will be open to the public, some for the only time of the year.

LINKS

Cosmos Up address the question of why Pluto is no longer classed as a planet.

From secularism.org.uk comes this piece about a Norfolk council doing the right thing (yes ir does happen occasionally!)

Charlotte Hoather has produced a wonderful post, laden with lovely pictures, under the title “Charlotte’s Secret Garden“.

POLITICAL LINKS

dwpexamination feature with this piece about the British government surveilling kids as young as three years old for signs of extremism (yep you read that right – three years old!)

Tax Research UK have produced this piece whose title says it all: “11,000 People Die In The UK Each Year Because George Osborne Is Obsessed With Closing The Deficit

From the Joseph Rowntree Foundation via The Guardian comes this piece about how budget changes will hit single parents hardest.

Currently running on thepetitionsite is among others this “call for a full scale investigation into years of abuse by the DWP“.

I have previously mentioned that the UK is currently being investigated by the UN for human rights abuses because of the way the Scameron government treats disabled people. Courtesy of samedifference I can now tell you that there are no fewer than 41 issues that prompted this and provide this link (already widely shared on twitter).

This piece from politicalsift takes on the arguments about Corbyn and electability.

From cultureandpolitics comes this reminder that “I was only obeying orders” is not a recognised defence these days.

A LINK AND AN ADVANCE NOTIFICATION

While I have been producing this blog post I have received information about a crowd-funding campaign to support an autistic crop scientist, about which I shall be producing a full post sometime soon. For the moment, to prepare you, here is a link to levitycropscience.

A PLATINUM INFOGRAPHIC

This, from politicsbeginner comes this superb infographic about Kim Davis:

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A FINAL WORD

I hope you have all enjoyed this post. I end with a request: please share widely. Even if you choose not to share the whole post, please share at the minimum the stuff about levitycropscience.

Operation Catch Up

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece I have some photos which connect to that and some cracking links to share with you. Read, enjoy and please share…

OPERATION CATCH UP

The combination of two auctions happening in the space of four days and a degree of failure on the organsiation front has made things somewhat hectic of late. However, after a full day imaging for our June auction today, I believe that we will be able to give our online viewers a week to look at the items that will be going under the hammer, which did not look likely at one point. Today’s imaging has been very varied, including some lovely Hornby toys (Hornby for the uninitiated are THE name when it comes to railway themed toys and models). There were also some decent stamp lots and some interesting militaria. To end this section here are some pictorial highlights…

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LINKS

Here as promised are those links, starting with a fistful on the subject of…

RELIGION

My first three links are all related to the same organisation:

1)Atheist Republic home

2)Atheist Republic blogs

3)Atheist Republic’s brief explanation of atheism.

Patheos, so often a source of good material have done it again, this time with a piece about Christian extremist opposition to higher education.

A CHANCE TO BRING A VILE CRIMINAL TO JUSTICE

A single link, being given a subsection to itself. This is a petition being run by Avaaz to ensure that the South African government does the right thing and takes the opportunity to arrest and incarcerate former Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir

SCIENCE AND MUSIC

An unusual juxtaposition, but both my science related pieces are concerned with planets, and there is a very well known piece of music called The Planets, so I considered it acceptable on this occasion. The music related link is to a piece by Charlotte Hoather about Madama Butterfly, in a production of which she will soon be appearing. My two planets themed pieces both come from Cosmos Up:

1)Juxtaposition of Jupiter and Venus

2)A possible preponderance of Neptune sized planets in our galaxy.

A FINAL SELECTION

Three more links, starting with this from Jayne Linney.

Stop Homophobia have collected some superb responses to hate mail.

Last but most definitely not least is this piece from network autism about gender dysphoria and autism.

Cricket and Things

INTRODUCTION

As well as my main piece this post will include some good links and some photos.

CRICKET AND THINGS

Thanks to two splendid innings (Cook, finally out this morning for 162 and Stokes, an 85-ball century yesterday) England have pulled off a remarkable turnaround putting themselves in a position from which they might actually win this match. Moeen Ali has just gone, leaving England 343 ahead with one second innings wicket standing. If New Zealand are minded to have a crack at the target we could have a superb finish.

The weather is nice enough, though cloudy, to be sitting outside.

Anderson has just been bowled meaning that New Zealand will need 345 to win in 77 overs. The highest ever total in the final innings to win at a test match at Lords is 344 by the West Indies in 1984, so if New Zealand get these they will make history.

On now to some links…

LINKS

To start with, a link to Charlotte Hoather’s latest post.

DWP LINKS

I have three links in this section, one to a post on johnnyvoid, one to a DPAC post and one to an official government:

1)the johnnyvoid post on sanctions.

2)the DPAC post

3)the official document.

RELIGION

Two links here, one to an article about the Catholic Church’s response to the Irish referendum on gay marriage and one to a piece from atheist republic about proof:

1)The piece about the gay marriage referendum.

2)Atheist republic and science, proof and theories.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have some excellent photographs from in and around King’s Lynn to share with you. Mentioning sharing, i hope that some of you will share some or all of this post…

This beer mat was given to me by a friend in Norwich.
This beer mat was given to me by a friend in Norwich.

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An attempt to capture tadpoles swimming in the upper Purfleet.
An attempt to capture tadpoles swimming in the upper Purfleet.
A close up showing a couple of tadpoles.
A close up showing a couple of tadpoles.

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The Hanse Festival

INTRODUCTION

For those who do not know the form with this blog, I will start with the bit that gives the post it’s title, I will also be sharing some good links and as part of the post there will be pictures…

THE HANSE FESTIVAL

I did not get to see much of the Hanse festival because of being busy with stuff for the Great Centenary Charity Auction, of which more in later posts. However, I got a few good pictures, and got to take part in a community breakfast outside the guildhall.

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The first of many pictures featuring the Kamper Kogge or aspects thereof.
The first of many pictures featuring the Kamper Kogge or aspects thereof.

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There was a very enjoyable concert in King’s Lynn Minster, featuring music from composers with Hanseatic associations (Handel, Telemann, Bach etc). As part of this, the group playing the music had been working with children at Whitefriars School, and had developed the catch line “Crazy composers making music for you and me” which added an extra element to the festivities. Here are some more photographs…

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LINKS

Just a few links today. First of all, following on from a piece about a music performance, here is something from Charlotte Hoather. Having devoted this post to a community celebration, the Hanse Festival, here is a piece from a community coming together in the effort to save their library, the folk of Hale, Greater Manchester. The Independent occasionally provides good stuff, and this piece about cavemen and gender equality is an example. Last and in the chief place is a link to a wonderful open letter to Katie Hopkins written by Kevin Healey.

CLOSING REMARKS

I hope to have all enjoyed this, and that you wlll share either the whole post or this bits that you have particularly enjoyed. My final remark comes in pictorial form:

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