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:

OSS

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.

Butterfly1
This was the first one I captured.

Butterfly2Butterfly3

Butterfly4
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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Birds and a Coin

Some photographic highlights from in and around King’s Lynn and a coin used as case study in editing techniques.

INTRODUCTION

This post features some of my recent pictures of King’s Lynn’s thriving bird life, and also some pictures of a coin that I use to demonstrate the different degrees of editing to which a picture might be submitted.

THE BIRDS

The title of this section both refers to its contents and pays tribute to Italian composer Ottorino Respighi one of whose pieces has this title. Every bird you see pictured here was within walking distance of my town centre flat, in some cases very close indeed.

Where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse - always a good spot for observing birds
Where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse – always a good spot for observing birds

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No cormorants this time, but  these will feature later.
No cormorants this time, but these will feature later.

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The last two pictures you have seen were taken on the bridge over the upper Purfleet, separated from my flat by the length of a car park.
The last two pictures you have seen were taken on the bridge over the upper Purfleet, separated from my flat by the length of a car park.
On Wednesday afternoon the cormorants were back in force - on both sides of the mouth of the Nar...
On Wednesday afternoon the cormorants were back in force – on both sides of the mouth of the Nar…
...as witness
…as witness

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The mouth of the Nar showing the cormorants on both sides.
The mouth of the Nar showing the cormorants on both sides.

SOME OTHER PHOTOS

Of course it was not only birds that caught the eye while I was out and about on these occasions…

The next two pictures show fallen leaves.
The next two pictures show fallen leaves.

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Yes, even in October boats still moor on the Great Ouse
Yes, even in October boats still moor on the Great Ouse

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Greyfriars Tower
Greyfriars Tower
A carving on Greyfriars tower.
A carving on Greyfriars tower.
A picture in my aunt's kitchen
A picture in my aunt’s kitchen
I carried this across from the neighbour with whom it had been left in my aunt's absence. Note that this delivery had been made on the Saturday and then look a the big sticker on top of the box! (and the box already had three extra bottles in it to compensate for previous blunders!)
I carried this across from the neighbour with whom it had been left in my aunt’s absence. Note that this delivery had been made on the Saturday and then look a the big sticker on top of the box! (and the box already had three extra bottles in it to compensate for previous blunders!)

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THE COIN

On Tuesday I happened to notice that one of the coins with which I was going to pay my bus fare was one that had been issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, so I photographed it while waiting for the bus to arrive. Later while editing the shot I decided to use it to demonstrate various editing techniques…

This is the coin picture after cropping but nut other editing.
This is the coin picture after cropping but no other editing.
This is the coin after cropping and sharpening.
This is the coin after cropping and sharpening.
This is the coin after my usual edit (shadow and highlights protection, lighting adjustment, sharpening and brightness for extra clarity.
This is the coin after my usual edit (shadow and highlights protection, lighting adjustment, sharpening and brightness for extra clarity.
This one features the use of colour boost as well (I almost never do this)
This one features the use of colour boost as well (I almost never do this)
Finally this one also had the contrast enhanced (something I used to do regularly but now only do on rare occasions)
Finally this one also had the contrast enhanced (something I used to do regularly but now only do on rare occasions)

Cormorants, Classical Music and Campaigns

Pictures from King’s Lynn and East Rudham, mention of two uppcoming events at King’s Lynn Minster, a large number of important links and some high quality infographics.

INTRODUCTION

I hope you will enjoy this very varied post and that some of you will be encouraged to share it. Talking of sharing, here are a couple of recent comments about this blog from twitter:

@obiwandar “Great blog. pictures, activism, tips WOW”
‏@spacesheepy loving the photos & duckies ~ nice blog Thank you for sharing 🙂

BIRDS, BOATS AND PLANES IN KING’S LYNN

In the break between innings of the delayed women’s ashes match at Worcester (yesterday was washed out entirely, so the whole game is happening on the reserve day) I went out for a walk and was delighted to see a cormorant in residence. As these pictures show, it was far from the only interesting sight of the day…

These model planes (two feature in these pictures - 5 pics in total) are by way commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
These model planes (two feature in these pictures – 5 pics in total) are by way commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

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The Great Ouse looks a bit choppy.
The Great Ouse looks a bit choppy.

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Two boats at the jetty - "Pero" and regular visitor "Kalyptos"
Two boats at the jetty – “Pero” and regular visitor “Kalyptos”

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The flag drooped at just the wrong moment, but the gull made the pic worth keeping.
The flag drooped at just the wrong moment, but the gull made the pic worth keeping.
And I got the flag, plus an ornate weathercock as a bonus, at the second attempt.
And I got the flag, plus an ornate weathercock as a bonus, at the second attempt.
This stonework is on the side of the Magistrates Court
This stonework is on the side of the Magistrates Court

LINKS

I have a large number of links to share, and I am going to start with the various campaigns that feature in this context.

CAMPAIGNS

Within this subsection I am going to give each campaign its own small slot…

STOP TTIP

The campaign against TTIP is gathering momentum. 38 Degrees members, of whom I am proud to be one, are organising a day of action all around the country on August 22nd. The particular details for North West Norfolk are:

North West Norfolk / TTIP Day of Action

  • Sat 22nd Aug 2015, 12:00pm
  • Outside Top Shop, High Street, King’s Lynn

For more or (hint) to sign up for the event please click here. There is also a specific link for joining.

HELP YAZIDI WOMEN AND GIRLS KIDNAPPED BY ISIS

I encourage all of you to sign and share this petition from change.org. I am going to share a buzzfeed article that gives detailed coverage of this issue and the petition itself:

1)The article

2)The petition

THE JOANNE FOWLER PETITION

Joanne Fowler has posted an update on the petition she set up following the horrible and needless suffering her father endured at the end of his life:

1)The petition

2)The link to her Facebook account.

ON ORCAS

The campaign over Seaworld’s treatment of orcas has recently gained some coverage in the San Diego Tribune:

1)The article.

2)The petition

OTHER LINKS

The remaining links I am going to share in this post divide naturally into two groups…

HUMANISM

Two pieces here, one about an event and one excellent article:

1)The event

2)The article

OTHERS

First up, courtesy of independenclive, a horror story about someone who dared to take part in a protest immediately before an appointment, was refused entry to the building and then sanctioned for missing the appointment.

Then comes this Guardian piece on cuts to children’s mental health services.

Vox Political make another appearance in this blog, providing the signpost to another DWP related horror story, this one involving a suicide…

1)The VP ‘signpost’ piece.

2)The full article courtesy of the Daily Star.

My final link is to this piece about providing the police with training for dealing properly with autistic people.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

While at my parents in East Rudham for Sunday lunch yesterday I saw these two leaflets…

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…While I am sure that both events above will be excellent, it is the one on October 10th which really appeals to me. All three headline composers are among my favourites, while the subtitle piece was the first piece of classical music I ever heard, initiating a life long love. Here is a close up of that leaflet…

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A full listing of organ recitals at the Minster can be found here, while among the many things that can found at the Minster’s official website is this piece about the organ.

INFOGRAPHICS

Today has been a bumper day for infographics…

Attlee

The next three pictures are all related...
The next three pictures are all related…

Iceland LXI

Feminism Stop Homophobia Welfare

A FEW FINAL PICTURES

I bring this post to a conclusion with these pictures from East Rudham yesterday…

My parents new camper van
My parents new camper van
Inside the back of the camper van.
Inside the back of the camper van.
Once this pigeon nest was identified as reachable from ground level it did not survive long.
Once this pigeon nest was identified as reachable from ground level it did not survive long.

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.

INTRODUCTION

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

ENGLAND STRUGGLING AT LORDS

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.

A FLY BY AT VERY CLOSE RANGE

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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TWO CLASSICAL CONCERTS

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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LINKS

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.

INFOGRAPHICS

Voting Reform

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

BTU

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…

HH

EPILOGUE

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!

A Trumpet Blast for the King’s Lynn Festival

An account of a concert at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange featuring Crispian Steele-Perkins, some links and some infographics.

INTRODUCTION

Having put up three new posts about my experiences at Marxism 2015 today I decided a variation was called for, and fortunately, especially given the links and infographics I also intend to share I have the perfect change of tempo ready…

AN EVENING OF TWO HALVES

King’s Lynn’s historic corn exchange (see pics below) was last night the scene for a classical concert featuring that master of trumpet playing, Crispian Steele-Perkins.

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The first half of the evening, with Steele-Perkins the centre of attention was magnificent. I have only a few pics because there is a no photographs during the performance rule which I obeyed to the letter…

The auditorium
The auditorium
A close up of the stage.
A close up of the stage.

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The tools of Steele-Perkins' trade - a coach horn (the same length of brass as an army bugle but dead straight rather than curved), a late 18th century trumpet, and smallest a 19th century trumpet.
The tools of Steele-Perkins’ trade – a coach horn (the same length of brass as an army bugle but dead straight rather than curved), a late 18th century trumpet, and smallest a 19th century trumpet.

Although I enjoyed the story behind the coach horn, and hearing said instrument played in the Mozart piece, the highlight of the entire event for me was the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, one of the greatest pieces ever composed for the instrument, and played quite magnificently.

In the second half there was no Steele-Perkins, and the quality was much less – there was one piece where one could not tell if it had been played well or badly so undistinguished was it.

LINKS

There are so many links to be shared that I have split them into subsections, starting with…

PETITIONS

The first petition I am sharing is the one calling for statistics on benefit-related deaths to be revealed. I have two links connected with this:

1)The Petition

2)A Huffington Post article connected to the above.

My second petition is the one on change.org calling for automatic Group B Strep tests to reduce deaths of newborn babies.

My next offering is this from those who want to keep the National Gallery from being privatised.

Last and in the chief place in this subsection is the petition calling for clemency for William Underwood.

A SOUPCON OF SCIENCE

I shall lead into this little section with a piece showing just how low SeaWorld are prepared to stoop in their battle against those who dare oppose cruelty to Orcas.

Phuketbirdwatching introduced me a species of bird I had ot previously seen in this, their latest offering.

My next link is to a piece about the discovery of a new particle, the pentaquark.

Faraday’s Candle can be relied on for good stuff, and their take on Nasa’s recent Pluto fly-by is no exception.

POLITICAL PIECES

First of all, a piece celebrating an event of 100 years ago.

My next piece, on dealing with London’s polluted air, is a must-read.

Huffington Post are back, with this piece which viciously exposes the misogynism and ignorance of UKIP’s Paul Nuttall.

My next two links are both to pieces from Socialist Worker:

1)On the home front, this piece about tube workers.

2)This about Iran.

Finally, chosen because it leads into the next section, this link to what will be my first infographic.

INFOGRAPHICS

EU Principles Mhairi Black quote

It is not often that the S*n apologises, so we should make the most of it when ti does!
It is not often that the S*n apologises, so we should make the most of it when ti does!

AFTERWORD

I hope that you have enjoyed this post and will be encouraged to share it!

Marxism 2015 3: Accommodation and Day Two

A personal account of day 2 of Marxism 2015.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this, my third post about Marxism 2015, the five-day political festival hosted by the Socialist Workers Party at the Institute of Education in London. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be inspired to share it.

ACCOMMODATION

I was booked to stay with somebody in Walthamstow, and although their house is not close to a tube station, it would nor amlly have been easy to get there. However, the tube strike meant that we had to go by bus to Clapton and get a London Overground service to Wood Street. In the heavy traffic generated by the tube strike this took considerable time. Getting in the following morning was easier, but I failed to allow enough time (a very rare occurrence) and arrived a little late for the first meeting…

AT THE EVENT

Here is a photo of my timetable for the day in question, showing the meetings I decided to attend…

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All of these meetings were magnificent, but I am going to concentrate for photos on the first two, and for most of my text on the third.

Here then are some photos from the first meeting, and fascinating stuff it was too, with a convincing demonstration of egalitarianism in early human history…

Anatolia.
Anatolia.
Catalhoyuk
Catalhoyuk
Cayonu
Cayonu

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These reconstructions are wrong in one respect - the houses had neither windows nor doors, being approached through the roof, with most of daily life taking place on said rooftops (there being no roads).
These reconstructions are wrong in one respect – the houses had neither windows nor doors, being approached through the roof, with most of daily life taking place on said rooftops (there being no roads).

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A mother goddess from these ancient remains.
A mother goddess from these ancient remains.
A 19th century South American village on similar lines.
A 19th century South American village on similar lines.

For the second meeting I attended that day on Mental Health, photos really can tell most of the story…

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Another connection to where I grew up - Jeremy from Streatham talking about the Mental Health Charter.
Another connection to where I grew up – Jeremy from Streatham talking about the Mental Health Charter.
Jo from London tells of family memories of living near a mental hospital (When we first moved to London there was exactly such an institution within a few minutes walk of our home)
Jo from London tells of family memories of living near a mental hospital (When we first moved to London there was exactly such an institution within a few minutes walk of our home)

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This picture adorns one wall of the Elvin Hall where the meeting took place.
This picture adorns one wall of the Elvin Hall where the meeting took place.

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Susan gives her opening talk on Mental Illness: A Disorder of Capitalism.
Susan gives her opening talk on Mental Illness: A Disorder of Capitalism.
The feature image for this post.
The feature image for this post.

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A GERMAN-CENTRIC TAKE ON CLASSICAL MUSIC

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this meeting I was a little disappointed that it was so dominated by German and Austrian composers, with only brief mentions of the Italians (my favourites). Before moving any further I must pay tribute to Siobhan from East London who stepped in at the twelfth hour when the person who should have been chairing the meeting could not be located, and did an excellent job…

Siobhan from East London who stepped in as chair at the twelfth hour.
Siobhan from East London who stepped in as chair at the twelfth hour.

Although as I have said I would have preferred more credit to be given the Italian composers, I did enjoy this meeting, and overall Sabby Sagall acquitted himself well in slightly testing circumstances…

Sabby Sagall speaking about Classical Music.
Sabby Sagall speaking about Classical Music.

I will finish this post with a few pictures from later in the day…

Mark L Thomas addresses a packed house on "Are the Greens a Left Alternative?"
Mark L Thomas addresses a packed house on “Are the Greens a Left Alternative?”
Shahrar Ali, leading Green, offers constructive comment from the floor.
Shahrar Ali, leading Green, offers constructive comment from the floor.
Sarah Creagh introduces "Rosa Luxemburg and the German Revolution"
Sarah Creagh introduces “Rosa Luxemburg and the German Revolution”
A moment of whimsy -a close up shot of on of Sarah Creagh's earrings.
A moment of whimsy -a close up shot of on of Sarah Creagh’s earrings.
Blackhorse Road Station, from where a 123 bus gets to the end of the road on which I was staying, by night (definitely the best time to see it!)
Blackhorse Road Station, from where a 123 bus gets to the end of the road on which I was staying, by night (definitely the best time to see it!)

Special Post: Highgate

The latest post in my series “London Station by Station”, this features some London Underground history, a musical interlude and a soupcon of politics.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series “London Station by Station“. I hope that you will enjoy this post and will be encouraged to share it.

OF MUSIC AND MARX

A CURIOUS HISTORY

One stop south of Highgate is Archway, which opened in 1907 and was for some time the northern terminus of the line. One stop to the north is East Finchley, which was first served by Northern line trains in 1939, having previously been part of the LNER. Highgate, our subject, only opened in 1941 – something of an afterthought.

TO THE UNKNOWN GODDESS

This title comes from a CD case, and concerns a story that began almost 400 years ago and that touches on Highgate…

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In 1619 a servant girl the household of the dramatist, librettist and poet Giulio Strozzi gave birth to an illegitimate child. The child, Barbara Strozzi, grew up in the household, becoming Giulio’s “figliuola elettiva” (elective daughter). Encouraged by Giulio she developed considerable musical talents and became known in her own lifetime as a composer and performer.

She is not so well known these days, but it was at Highgate that I first heard her music. The performance featured the same four people as the CD (Catherine Bott, Paula Chateauneuf, Timothy Roberts and Frances Kelly), which I bought that very evening.

A FAMOUS GRAVE

To be fair, quite a few well known people are buried in Highgate Cemetery, but I am confining myself to one. Karl Marx was buried there in 1883, and Marxism 2015, a five-day political event begins in London tomorrow afternoon. I will be there and I intend to put up regular blog posts and tweet about being at the event – watch this space.

TWO FINAL IMAGES

I finish this post as usual with two map pictures…

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The full map, spread out.
The full map, spread out.