Archive for April, 2010

Strange fungi on compost heap

April 26, 2010
Strange fungi on compost heap

compost heap fungi

Midday Sunday, a strange mould or fungi, bright yellow, almost chrome yellow, on top of a compost heap. An hour and a half later it had changed, the surface starting to brown. This was more noticeable mid-afternoon. By late afternoon, early evening, the surface was browned as though it was a loaf of bread just out of the oven. The fungi had appeared during the morning or overnight as it was not there the day before.

During the morning there had been heavy, fine rain. The previous two weeks or more, hot dry weather, though the compost heap had been watered with lukewarm water to stop it from drying out.

The compost heap consists of mainly garden weeds, autumn leaves, with vegetable scraps from the kitchen and scrunched up paper to provide fibre.

On at least one other occasion there has been a similar mould or fungi on the top of the compost heap, but not seen on any other compost heap.

What is it?

Goldline route 1

April 26, 2010
goldline route 1

goldline route 1

Goldline route 1 bus route runs through the Blackwater valley from Aldershot via Farnborough to Camberley.

It is a local bus route. Unlike most local bus routes which meander around the houses and seem to take forever, goldline route 1 is direct. The buses run every ten minutes, until evening when it is every half an hour. Sunday is something of a pain as buses are at half hour intervals with a two hour gap between and do not run all the way. Something the bus company Stagecoach needs to address.

The buses are low loaders, enabling buggies and wheelchairs easy access. The seats are sculptured, hand-stitched Italian leather.

Downside is that the fares are a little too pricey (though great if you have a free bus pass) and the drivers do not seem to have a clue how to drive. Instead of approaching a bus stop at a gentle deceleration, they suddenly stop, catapulting passengers out of their seats and if you are on your feet ready to alight from the bus it is necessary to grab one of the handrails, that is if you do not wish to be thrown out through the front window of the bus. Nor are they much better at pulling away from a stop when passengers have boarded, failing to give passengers time to settle in their seats before accelerating away.

Goldline route 1 is popular. Even in the evening the buses are regularly used.

This is how a bus service should be. It is where bus services were in Europe more than 30 years ago.

Also see

Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city

St Ann’s Well Café to close

April 24, 2010
St Ann's Well, Malvern Hills - Steve Luttrell

St Ann's Well, Malvern Hills - Steve Luttrell

After 20 years, St Ann’s Well Café in the Malvern Hills is due to close.

After 20 years, John Redman, who owns the now expired lease and runs the quirky vegetarian café, is to be evicted by an unaccountable quango and the café turned into a tourist information centre.

St Ann’s Well is set on the slopes of the Malvern Hills above Great Malvern, with commanding views over the Severn flood plain. The building dates back to 1815 and houses an elaborately carved water spout from which Malvern Water flows. It also houses the St Ann’s Well Café. The well is conveniently sited on a path leading up to the Worcestershire Beacon.

St Ann is the maternal mother of Jesus and the patron saint of many wells.

The water from the well is believed to have healing powers.

Out of thy famous Hille
There daily springeth
A water passing still
That always bringeth
Great comfort to alle them
That are diseased men
And makes them well again
So Prayse the Lord!

A plaque above the water spout celebrates the water.

Drink of this crystal fountain
And praise the loving Lord
Who from the rocky mountain
This living stream out-poured
Fit emblem of Holy Fount
That flows from God’s eternal mount

The café provides a fare of vegan and vegetarian meals, teas, snacks, a selection of scrumptious cakes and you can also fill your glass with water fresh from the spring.

This is not the first time the unaccountable quango otherwise known as the Malvern Hills Conservators has found itself embroiled in controversy. In 1963 they made the decision to demolish the “lump of Victoriana” known as St Ann’s Well. John Betjeman, poet and founding member of the The Victorian Society expressed concern about the plans for the building and his support and strong public feeling for St Ann’s Well convinced the Conservators to change their minds.

The café has acquired something of a New Age cum hippy reputation, which may be why the Conservators are determined to close it down.

Two ley lines pass through the café. Nigel Kennedy has used the octagonal room for a recording.

In a world of corporate conformity, we need quirky little places like St Ann’s Well Café.

The supporters of the café do not intend to give up without a fight. A support group has been formed on facebook and an on-line petition launched which all are encouraged to sign.


St Ann’s Well Café
Save St Ann’s Well…!!!

also see

The Alchemist

Celebrating Earth Day

April 24, 2010

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope. HAPPY EARTH DAY… EVERYDAY!”

— Tadeh Daschi

Earth Day is celebrated every 22 April.

Eyjafjallajoekull ash plume and lightning

April 22, 2010
Eyjafjallajoekull ash plume and lightning Saturday 17 April 2010

Eyjafjallajoekull ash plume and lightning Saturday 17 April 2010

Eyjafjallajoekull in southern Iceland erupted on 20 March 2010, with a second eruption starting under the center of small glacier on 14 April 2010. Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume.

The dust cloud in the upper atmosphere drifted over northern Europe closing airspace for several days. Closure of airspace could last for weeks, months, years.

Gaia: Volcanoes effect climate, which in turn triggers volcanoes and earthquakes. Without volcanoes there would be no atmosphere. Ecosystems are dependent on the atmosphere. Without ecosystems there would be nothing to maintain the atmosphere. Mars has no molten core, no volcanoes. Mars has no atmosphere. Whether Mars has lifeforms is a moot point.

also see

UK airspace closed
Gaia strikes back
‘Tiny’ climate changes may trigger quakes
The Gaia Atlas of Planet Management

Every Warrior of the Light has suffered …

April 22, 2010

“Every Warrior of the Light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons. Every Warrior of the Light has, at least once, believed he was not a Warrior of the Light.”

— Paulo Coelho

also see

Manual of the Warrior of Light

Gaia strikes back

April 19, 2010
clear blue sky, no contrails

clear blue sky, no contrails

‘Let’s delete the arrogant “save the planet” motto, and change to “educate the humans”.’ — Paulo Coelho

‘Save the planet? Planet must be saying, “Save yourself idiots, I will be fine”.’ — Paulo Coelho

‘Human destiny is bound to remain a gamble, as at some unpredictable time and in some unforeseeable manner nature will strike back.’ — Rene Dubos

Clear blue skies, no contrails. Peace and quiet.

We are in a privileged position. We are seeing the world as it will be in the near future when no planes fly. When we can hear bird song. We will arrive at this position either when fuel becomes prohibitively expensive or citizen groups occupy and shut down airports.

It would only take a couple of activists from Earth First! to seize the control tower, disable the equipment and shut down Farnborough Airport, a business airport near London. Business aviation with its low occupancy is one of the most obscene forms of transport.

Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.

No planes fly. Gaia has spoken and shut down the airspace of northern Europe.

We have become overdependent on aviation, especially airfreight. Do we really need to import so-called fresh green beans from Kenya, all of uniform size? Even worse fresh flowers. Each day 500 tonnes of fresh flowers to Europe from Kenya alone. Land in Africa that should be growing food for local people, supplying local markets. The runoff is polluting local water supplies, lakes are shrinking, water tables falling.

Do we really need strawberries all year round? Nothing beats fresh English strawberries at the start of the season. It is only then that you know summer has arrived.

Airlines and airports are now calling for an end to flight restrictions. Profit must come before safety. Some are even calling for the public purse to bail out failing airlines!

Farnborough Airport simply ignores the no fly ban, putting passengers and crew and those on the ground at risk. Business as usual, profit before people and planet.

Eyjafjallajoekull has managed to achieve what no terrorist group has so far managed to achieve, the closure of UK and European airspace.

It is only in our arrogance that we think we can save the planet. Even worse is the hypocrisy of groups like Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network who are supporting the logging of old growth forests.

We may already be at a tipping point. What though we can do is protect old growth forests and other valuable ecosystems, stop the burning of coal, drastically reduce aviation and other fossil fuel forms of transport.

Volcanoes are essential to life. The earth has a molten core. Tectonic plates move around on the surface. Iceland straddles two tectonic plates, the North American and European plates. The volcanoes are on the fault line. Volcanoes provide earth with its atmosphere, the living systems help to maintain that atmosphere.

Mars has no molten core, no volcanoes, no atmosphere. Hence no life.

Gaia has spoken.

also see

‘Tiny’ climate changes may trigger quakes
UK airspace closed!
A world without planes
Iceland volcano: Kenya’s farmers losing $1.3 million a day in flights chaos
How the volcano took out our fruit salad
UK relies on ‘virtual’ water from drought-prone countries, says report
Farnborough Airport breaches no fly ban
Plan B 2.0
Funny Weather
The Gaia Atlas of Planet Management
The Revenge of Gaia

Just dance!

April 19, 2010

‘When the work day is still in overload with the hump taking its toll … sometimes you just have to stop everything and just DANCE!’

— Tadeh Daschi

First world championship fight John Heenan (USA) v Tom Sayers (UK)

April 17, 2010
Sayers v. Heenan, 17 April 1860. Drawn by the lithographer W. L. Walton (c. 1811-75)

Sayers v. Heenan, 17 April 1860. Drawn by the lithographer W. L. Walton (c. 1811-75)

Exactly 150 years to the day, on 17 April 1860 an illegal bare-knuckle fight took place in a field at the back of the Ship Inn in Farnborough, Hampshire, on the Surrey-Hampshire border. Prize fighting at the time being illegal.

John Heenan (USA) v Tom Sayers (UK) the fight was in essence a world heavyweight fight. The reason for the location was that in the event of the Hampshire Constabulary turning up (which they did) the fighters could cross the River Blackwater and be over the county border into Surrey, and out of reach. Not that the constabulary were going to do much in the midst of a large bloodthirsty crowd.

The fight that took place behind the Ship Inn on 17 April 1860 between the Irish-American John Heenan and the gypsy Tom Sayers was the first world championship fight. A bare-knuckle fight, it went into 37 rounds before the ropes were cut, the ring invaded, and the referee abandoned the fight. The fight went on for a further 5 rounds, a total of 2 hours 20 minutes, before being declared a draw. Both contestants were awarded a championship belt. A crowd of 12,000 attended the illegal fight. Sayers was reported in The Times as continuing the fight with a broken arm.

Tom Sayers (1826-1865), born in Brighton, only ever lost one fight in his boxing career. After the Farnborough fight, he and John Heenan became good friends. They toured the country putting on exhibition fights to commemorate their world championship fight in Farnborough. Sayers lies in Highgate Cemetery.

The fight was the last of its kind. The nation was so shocked by the brutality of the fight that legislation was pushed through Parliament that put an end to bare-knuckle fighting.

What is strange is that there is nothing at the Ship Inn to commemorate the fight, no plaque, no poster. Although talking to the landlord some weeks ago, he did start to tell me of the fight and was very surprised to learn that I already knew of it.

Locally, no one seems to be aware the fight took place. With such an important anniversary taking place, one would expect something to commemorate the event, but nothing. Nothing that is other than a book signing in the local library by an author of a book on the fight. And even for this, no publicity, not even a poster or flyers in the Ship Inn! And the obvious place for the book signing would have been the Ship Inn, not the local library. This should not though be seen to imply any criticism of the current landlord of the Ship Inn.

The day before, local TV conducted an interview, only it took place two miles away at Mytchett in Surrey, not outside the Ship Inn!

also see

The Lion and the Eagle

Sayers vs Heenan: the bare-knuckle heavyweight championship of the world

Heenan v Sayers: The fight that changed boxing forever

International boxing anniversary marked by historians

The bare knuckle fighter who fought British champion for 42 rounds in 1860

Land is life

April 16, 2010

“Land is life… even if it looks it is not doing anything, it is working all the time. Why do we even say that it is sitting idle? Do we ever question how the trees came to be or the flowers or the air that we breath? The land is doing its job diligently and it must be appreciated.”

— Bismarck Ramu Group

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