Archive for April, 2011

Two billion watched the Royal Wedding!

April 30, 2011

How true is this? Well despite all the hype, nothing like two billion worldwide watched the Royal Wedding.

The best guestimate for the Bejing Olympics was one billion.

Official figures released today are that 24.5 million in the UK watched the Royal Wedding. That is pretty good, but it was topped by Princess Di’s funeral (32.1 million) and the World Cup in 1966 (32.3 million). The wedding between Charles and Diana 30 years ago attracted 28.4 million viewers.

Less than half the UK population watched the Royal Wedding and they had the day off. Are we therefore to believe that a third of the world population watched the Royal Wedding even though more than half would have been at work or asleep?

The police estimate a million people lined the route of the Royal Wedding.

Royal wedding watched by 24.5 million on terrestrial TV
More or Less – wedding related statistics
PM – interview with former head of BBC audience research

A saint in the wrong place

April 30, 2011
heaven - Ken Crane

heaven - Ken Crane

‘Why is it that some people can resolve the most complicated problems really easily, whilst others agonize over every tiny crisis and end up drowning in a glass of water?’ I asked.

Ramesh replied by telling the following story: ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who had been the soul of kindness all his life. When he died, everyone assumed that he would go straight to Heaven, for the only possible place for a good man like him was Paradise. The man wasn’t particularly bothered about going to Heaven, but that was where he went.

Now in those days, service in heaven was not all that it might be. The reception desk was extremely inefficient, and the girl who received him gave only a cursory glance through the index cards before her and when she couldn’t find the man’s name, she sent him straight to Hell. And in Hell no one asks to check your badge or your invitation, for anyone who turns up is invited in. The man entered and stayed.

Some days later, Lucifer stormed up to the gates of Heaven to demand an explanation from St Peter. “What you’re doing is pure terrorism!” he said. St Peter asked why Lucifer was so angry, and an enraged Lucifer replied: “You sent that man down into Hell, and he’s completely undermining me! Right from the start, there he was listening to people, looking them in the eye, talking to them. And now everyone’s sharing their feelings and hugging and kissing. That’s not the sort of thing I want in Hell! Please, let him into Heaven!’

When Ramesh had finished telling the story, he looked at me fondly and said: ‘Live your life with so much love in your heart that if, by mistake, you were sent to Hell, the Devil himself would deliver you up to Paradise.’

I posted this story by Paulo Coelho last summer, but as it is such a lovely story, I have followed the example of Paulo Coelho and posted again, this time with an illustration by my good friend Ken Crane.

Another lovely story

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/story-of-a-maths-teacher-and-her-small-exercise/

The world would be a better place if we all carried out random acts of kindness every day.

Even Hell can be transformed!

Climate Camp – South Coast 2011

April 30, 2011

Resurrection for the Insurrection
23rd April — 1st May
Location: St. Anne’s School, Lewes

Imagine another world. A world where people matter, where the outstanding issues of the day, climate change, community resilience and workers rights are addressed and we can look forward to a more radical and sustainable future.

Imagined it? Good. Now come to the South Coast Climate Camp this Easter and help us build it.

The South Coast Climate Camp is popping up in Sussex to highlight the climate criminals along our coastline. We have drilling for oil in the South Downs National Park, an agrofuels plant proposed for Shoreham Harbour, proposed airport expansion and of course the incinerator in Newhaven.

All this climate criminality not only adds to the outrageous levels of greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere, it also despoils our National Parks and generally charming countryside. It ain’t right. Something needs to be done.

The South Coast Camp for Climate Action will take place from the Easter weekend through to the May Day celebrations somewhere on the beautiful South Downs in Sussex. Through living, eating and working together, we hope the camp will act as a positive catalyst for change, transforming both the camp community and the communities around it.

We aim to create a safe space where people can meet, share ideas, plan actions and then go do them.

At the end of the week we shall, as tradition dictates be taking part in a mass action. This will form part of Brighton’s May Day celebrations where many direct action groups from around the country are converging in the seaside resort for a very special day of direct action.

Workshops are invited from, UK Uncut, Plane Stupid, SolFed, Smash EDO, No Borders, Grow Heathrow, Transition Towns, the Rebel Clown Army and many more. Skill shares will be held on permaculture, guerilla gardening, workers rights and tactics of resistance, cooking, building rocket stoves, bee keeping & community organising: among other stuff.

We will share the knowledge and experience we have gathered over many years with local community groups to leave a lasting legacy: a truly radicalised community. The camp itself is just the sowing of the seed.

Visit http://brightonclimateaction.org.uk

Produced by “You and I Films”
http://www.youandifilms.com

Well done Climate Camp for seizing this site.

Story of a Maths Teacher and Her small Exercise

April 29, 2011
you reap what you sow

you reap what you sow

One day Maths teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter.. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in ‘Kargil’ war and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never attended Funeral of a serviceman before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The place was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk. The teacher was the last one to bless .

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Sanjay’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes..’ Then he said: ‘Sanjay talked about you a lot..’

After the funeral, most of Sanjay’s former classmates were there. Sanjay’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Sanjay when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Sanjay’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Sanjay’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Sanjay treasured it.’

All of Sanjay’s former classmates started to gather around. Arjun smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Prithwiraj’s wife said, ‘ Prithwiraj asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Rashmi said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Pooja, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Deepali said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Sanjay and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Share this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful. But its upto you to share this one.

If you’ve received this, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you’re ‘too busy’ to take those few seconds right now to share this message on, would this be the VERY first time you didn’t do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?

The more people that you share this with, the better you’ll be at reaching out to those you care about.

Remember, you reap what you sow.. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

— From Kgunner’s Blog.

Try each day a random act of kindness.

Special thanks to my lovely Indian friend Pooja for this story.

Top story in Random Kind Acts around Twitter (Saturday 30 April 2011).

Royal Wedding

April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

It is hard to believe the last one was 30 years ago. And yet I can recall where I was. I was on the route, prime location.

I do not know why I was in London, but that evening I ate in Food for Thought in Covent Garden. Then Covent Garden had yet to be ruined. If it was a nice evening, which it was, we used to sit on the market barrows outside. Nearby was the workshop where they were made or repaired. Sadly long gone.

After I had eaten I noticed it was strangely deserted. Where is everyone I asked. Gone to Hyde Park, I was told.

Apparently there was a party, fireworks, the night before Diana and Charles got married.

I hopped on my bike and cycled over.

When it was over, the tens of thousands who were there all poured out, or at least tried to. Only they couldn’t. The big gates at Hyde Park Corner were closed, only the side gates were open.

A crush started to form. We could not move forward but the people behind were pushing forward. Slowly slowly, we were being crushed. I had visions of us being crushed to death.

Luckily no one panicked. It was quite a terrifying experience. I was told later I had a calming effect on those around me. We asked those around us to stop pushing forward and to pass the message back.

How we survived I do not know. But we did. Eventually we were able to get out, but even when we did get out we could not move, as the mass of people had log-jammed the traffic.

I had long missed the last train home, so there was nothing for it but to spend the night with the girl who had been crushed up against me. We had somehow kept each others spirits up half expecting to be crushed to death. At the time, we thought it a miracle we were not crushed to death.

There was nothing else to do than walk the streets. We walked the entire route the Royal Wedding was due to take. To our surprise there was not that many people around, though they were starting to flood in. We had our pick of any location.

I caught the first train out of London in the morning. Got home very tired and went to bed.

Next day, or maybe that evening, I passed through London on my way up to Scotland. An overnight train to Inverness, then a local train.

I was on my way to John O’Groats. London it was hot, John O’Groats it was cold.

From John O’Groats, over a period of three weeks, I cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End in Cornwall. I camped in farmers fields, drank from streams, washed in the rivers. Luxury was camping on rugby pitches and sharing a hot shower with the girls. Once Lands End was reached, and the girls I was with celebrated by cycling into Land’s End naked (apparently hit the front pages of the national press), I spent a week or more cycling around Cornwall.

How times have changed. Then prominent members of the Labour Party took a ferry to France. Maybe that is why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown failed to get an invite this time around, memories are long. Now you will not find members of the Labour Party voicing criticism, at least not in public.

As a Member of Parliament, you have to swear allegiance to the Queen. I remember Tony Benn saying he did so with his fingers crossed so it did not count.

It is a strange anachronism that in a modern democracy we have a a heredity Head of State. I do not though get too worked up about it as oddly enough it seems to work. If it did not I would be calling for change. What I do not like are the the sleazy, parasitic hangers on.

I find it odd that across the world two billion watched the Royal Wedding. Or did they? Not me, I was in Guildford for lunch and the afternoon. It was strangely quiet. It was like what it must have been like when shops were closed on a Sunday. Few shops were open, hardly any one was about.

What was totally unacceptable were the preemptive arrests that were taking place. On the day more arrests. Political dissent will not be tolerated. This is not Saudi Arabia or Syria or Bahrain.

Preemptive arrests

What was also totally unacceptable was that the Corrupt House of Saud and the Bahrain Royal Family got an invite.

Spot the difference at the royal wedding between Bahrain and Syria

But some criticism did manage to get out.

‘Kettling’ at royal wedding, noted by BBC
Johann Hari: Frenzy around Britain’s Royal Wedding “Should Embarrass Us All”
Not the Royal Wedding Party

Preemptive arrests

April 29, 2011
Police detain a woman in Oxford Street dressed as a zombie

Police detain a woman in Oxford Street dressed as a zombie

In the run-up to the Royal Wedding there has been preemptive arrests of people. You might do something therefore we better arrest you.

Royal wedding: police use section 60 to deter anarchists
Political policing in Britain ahead of the Big Day

Others have been excluded from London for the day.

For weeks, senior police officers have been boasting that anyone planning to voice dissent at the Royal Wedding will be treated as a criminal with sinister warnings that officers have been ordered to “shoot-to-kill” and the Queen’s Guard empowered to impale any threat with their bayonets. With the memories of Jean Charles de Menezes and Iain Tomlinson still fresh, such warnings sound more than a little ominous.

Wedding party-poopers warned off
We can protect William and Kate on their big day

If nothing else, this explains why UK Uncut put a message out on twitter saying they had no action planned for the day. At the time I was puzzled.

A couple of bizarre stories have surfaced recently claiming UK Uncut is planning to disrupt the Royal Wedding. This is not the case.

UK Uncut has nothing to do with any plans to protest at the wedding. All actions are announced publicly on our website.

As Laurie Pennie said on twitter:

Police have been building for this all week, saying they’ll pre-arrest people who are planning to disrupt the royal wedding. But noone is!

One such person arrested was Charlie Veitch, who was arrested in Cambridge on Thursday. From the number of police involved anyone would think this was a leading mafiosa being arrested, a terrorist plot maybe.

Charlie Veitch Arrested In Pre-Crime Raid Prior to Royal Wedding
Man arrested in Cambridge for royal wedding protest plan

No one seems to know where Charlie is being held, not even his lawyer.

The police circulated rumours that on the day anarchists would carry out dastardly acts. Rumours the complicit and compliant mainstream press regurgitated as fact.

On the day itself, a woman was arrested in Oxford Street in London for dressing as a zombie. Her ‘crime’, wearing a t-shirt saying ‘marry me instead’.

And do not even think of singing in Soho Square ‘We all live in a fascist regime’, to the tune of ‘We all live in a Yellow Submarine’ as the plain clothes police will swoop and bundle you away.

Royal wedding: police criticised for pre-emptive strikes against protesters

Imagine the outcry if this was happening in Egypt, Libya or Syria.

It all seems to be part of a coordinated clampdown on political dissent. The cops busting a squat in Bristol in a manner more typical of a major drugs bust. Last weekend I was held in a police kettle in Brighton. The reason I was held was that I had in my hand a leaflet explaining what were your rights if held by the police!

Kettled in Brighton

Is it mere coincidence that 50 facebook accounts that could be deemed political were shut down today? Contrary to what most people think, facebook is not a neutral platform.

Over 50 political accounts deleted in Facebook purge
Facebook forced to respond to our campaign for restoration of accounts
Facebook accused of removing activists’ pages
Disruption Talk

We now living in George Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty-four

Not yet returned your census form?

April 28, 2011

Not yet returned your census form? If not, you are not alone.

Last time there was a census ten years ago, one and a half million households failed to return their census forms.

This year it would appear to be far worse. In London alone, 40% of households have failed to return their census form. In total 6 million households have failed to return their completed forms.

There are a lot of census refuseniks out there.

We live in a closely monitored society. We are followed down the street by CCTV. Our credit and debit card transactions show where we were and when. As does our mobile phone, and depending how small the cell, this can be more accurate the GPS. Store cards show what we buy, from where and when. Births and deaths are registered. Electoral Register shows where we live. TV Licence shows if we have a TV. Car registration show how many cars we have and where the registered keeper lives. Social Security Records, Health Records, Credit Card Agencies, School Records, Council Tax Records, bus passes, travel cards …

There is masses and masses of data on us. Why therefore spend £482 million and nine years of planning to carry out a census? In opposition the Tories were highly critical of the census as a waste of public money and hinted it would be scrapped.

We can see Herod may have had the need of a census, with officials going round collecting data on every family, but is there a need today when every citizen is subjected to extensive electronic surveillance that would make even Big Brother blush?

Facebook is a social networking site, Google a search engine. Wrong! Neither charge for these services, neither are they charities. Both are data collection companies and we provide them with the data. I never cease to be amazed at the amount of personal data people put on facebook, and no it is not only accessible to friends and family. [see Disruption Talk]

For many people it is the intrusive nature of the UK Census 2011. 32 pages to complete!

For many the last straw was that the data was to be collected and processed by Lockheed Martin, a US Defence Contractor.

Under the US Pariot Act, Lockeed Martin can be required to hand over this data to the US Government.

There is of course confidentiality. Actually not. Read the legislation. The police and security agencies have access to this data. They do not even have the inconvenience of having to go to a Court or a Judge and obtained a Warrant. They merely have to request, a right enshrined in the legislation.

The UK Census 2011 must be one of those rare occasions when you can be fined and obtain a criminal record for doing nothing. Failure to complete the 32-page census form renders you liable to a £1,000 fine.

Will the 2011 Census be the last in the current format?
How to Fill In Your Census Form Without Lockheed Martin Profiting (short version)
Census may not be confidential, expert warns
The confidentiality of personal data in the Census 2011 is not guaranteed

Who stole my story?

April 28, 2011

When I was active on Myspace (I am not anymore), “Fly me to the moon” (Frank Sinatra) was deleted from my profile.

So who deleted the song? The answer is simple: greed and ignorance.

Greed that does not understand that this world has changed. Ignorance that thinks that, if the music is available for free, people are not going to buy the CD.

A] some will say :
you are rich enough to afford having your texts here for free.
It is true that I am rich (as were Frank Sinatra, and his heirs), but this is not the point. The point is that we want to first and foremost SHARE something. If you go to most of the pages, what will you see? Fantastic pictures, great blogs, amazing photos. For free. My texts are for free here. And you can reproduce them anywhere provided that you name the author.

B] The industry will say:
artists cannot survive without being paid.
But the industry is thinking on the opposite direction of our reality today. I follow Hilal on Twitter (even if she tweets once a year…). Hilal is from Turkey, but lives in Russia (and she is the main character in O Aleph, Elif in Turkey). She first read a pirate edition of The Alchemist. Hilal download the text, read it, decided to buy the book. Up to today, I have over 12.000.000 hard copies sold in Russia, and counting.

C] I also decided to create “The Pirate Coelho”, an non-official fan page that allows people to download the full texts in different languages. I am selling more books now than ever. (Where is it? Well, not difficult to find…)

D] How did all these social communities start?
At first it was just wanting to chat with another person. But chatting isn’t enough – we have to share the music, the book or the film that we love. When there was no law against it, this information was exchanged freely. Finally, when the entertainment industry caught on, the repression began.

E] Art is not an orange.
If you buy an orange and eat it, you have to buy another one, and then it makes sense that oranges should not be given for free, because the consumer consumes the product. Art is about beauty. Music is about beauty. If I visit a page and I like the music, I am sure I will buy the CD, because I want to know more about the work of the artist.

F] A woman went to a market and saw two jars.
She asked the vendor for the price:: “ten coins”, he answered.
The woman was surprised: “but one of these jars has been painted by an artist!”
The vendor replied: ” I am selling jars. Beauty has no price.”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

I could not agree more. It is greed and ignorance that has destroyed the music industry, the film industry is going the same way and it looks like the publishing industry is fast catching up.

The music industry bleats about poor struggling artists. Since when has the music industry cared about poor struggling artists?

The music industry is a business, nothing more. It is looking for the next big hit, then on to the next.

It unfairly equates blank CD sales with lost album sales. It used to do the same with cassette sales. The film industry does the same with blank DVD sales.

These must be the only industries that treat their potential customers as criminals.

Nothing annoys me more than when I buy, yes buy, a DVD and I am forced, yes forced, to watch a video implying I am a criminal.

I am quite happy to copy CDs. That I have done so does not mean a sale as been lost, as I probably would not have bought it anyway. On the other hand, having copied it and liked it, I may go out and buy it, or maybe something else by that artist.

The publishing industry seems to be going the same way. Always on the look out for the next big blockbuster. Look at all the me-too Da Vinci Codes that suddenly appeared. We now have every Scandinavian writer being called the next Stieg Larsson.

We used to have gentleman publishers, men who knew their writers, appreciated good writing. Now, if those names exist at all, they are imprints of global corporations.

I used to occasionally write on a freelance basis for magazines, but it was such a hassle getting paid and being restricted on what to write, how many words to use, I now write for free.

My blog is a mix of what I write and other people’s work, but where I re-publish what someone else has written or created, they are always credited and a link goes to where the original may be found. All I ask if my work is reproduced, is that they show the same degree of courtesy (unless of course it is a commercial publication, and then I expect to be paid the going rate). I have had my work blatantly ripped off by the mainstream press and their lazy journalists.

Intellectual Property Rights are being abused by Big Business and the rich who can afford the lawyers and the bribes to lawmakers and politicians.

Intellectual Property Rights was intended to reward creative work, to grant a monopoly for a limited period.

But should it be used for what is discovered or found? Should life be patented? Should gene sequences that exist in nature or have formed part of a traditional practice, suddenly overnight be the private commercial property of a Global Corporation?

What we are seeing is the privatisation of our Global Commons of our Common Heritage.

We have Big Business trying to steal our cultural heritage. Who owns Snow White, the people of Europe as part of their cultural heritage or Walt Disney? http://bit.ly/e5nWqD

I first came across Paulo Coelho a couple of years ago when I came across a Lithuanian girl engrossed in one of his books. Since then I have read all, given many away to friends, even to strangers.

Are we to ban libraries, secondhand bookshops?

I wrote in this subject at the beginning of this month. I had a response from someone called Siobhan. [see Pirate Coelho/ help your community]

While I agree that it was good to release the books in Farsi, I think Paolo Coelho is being incredibly naive to think that everyone who downloads his book for free will go out and buy a copy to show the publishing industry that they have nothing to worry about from scribid type websites. It’s like after shoplifting a lemon and eating it going back and buying another lemon to show the shop that you could have paid for it all along. It’s just stupid.

It is not the same as shoplifting. Theft is to deprive someone of something. If I steal your car, you do not have the use of your car. If I copy your CD we both have the pleasure of listening to it.

Paulo Coelho has sold in Russia 12 million hardbacks and counting!

At times the claims of piracy hits unbelievable levels of hysteria as with a recent ill-informed rant in the Daily Mail. [see Google threatens to destroy not only pop sensation Adele, but Britain’s film and music industries]

Fighting the Copyright Ratchet Racket
Using trade marks to fence off the commons

Beans

April 28, 2011
seed market Istanbul

seed market Istanbul

French beans var Orca (Istanbul)

French beans var Orca (Istanbul)

Broad beans, French beans, Runner beans.

Broad beans (Vicia faba) are planted in the early spring, same time as peas (Pisum sativum). They will be ready to eat in June, same time as peas.

In shops, though not off good farmers markets, Broad beans are too old. They need to be picked when young and eaten straight away.

There is an amazing variety of French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The beans come in many shapes and sizes and colours. We have dwarf French beans and climbing French beans. The pods can be pencil or flat, green,yellow, purple, waxy or non-waxy.

Sow French beans in May, the soil temperature needs to be a minimum of 10 degrees Centigrade for germination. If I sow late April it can be a couple of weeks before they germinate, but mid-June they are up in a few days.

Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) have beautiful flowers and were originally grown for their flowers not to eat. Try Painted Lady. Flowers can be purple (Scarlet Emperor), white or bi-colour (Painted Lady). The seeds are different colours too.

Sow Runner beans in May.

French beans and Runner beans will be ready for eating in August. Pick when young. Old beans are tough and stringy. French beans can be eaten as green beans, ie their pods, or for their beans. The beans can be dried.

With climbing beans pick out the growing tip before the plant reaches the top of whatever it is climbing. Many gardeners do not pick out until it reaches the top, causing overhang. Picking out the top encourages side shoots and a higher yield.

Surplus beans can be frozen but never very nice. Best eaten fresh. Give away surplus.

Seed saving is easy. Either leave on the stalks until dried, or as more likely, it will be the ones you miss when picking to eat. Do not bother to pick the large mature beans, they will be tough and stringy, leave for next year’s beans for sowing. Places beans in an airtight jar or container and place in a freezer for a couple of days. This kills bean weevil.

Remember to label, otherwise you will have beans you do not know what they are.

With Runner beans, if saving the seeds, only grow one variety as they easily cross-pollinate. With Broad beans keep well apart. With French beans a couple of rows apart will usually suffice.

Beans, like peas, are very easy to grow,and delicious when eaten fresh from the garden. The only problem with French beans and Runner beans is that the slugs and snails eat the young plants.

Several years ago I gave a friend many different varieties of beans to grow on his farm in Tenerife. He did very well, had loads of beans. Only one problem, he failed to keep the beans he collected separate. Hence I have a mixed bag of beans.

I can see what I think are three types of Runner beans, white, light-coloured and dark-coloured. I have selected the light-coloured and sowed today. I am hoping they are Painted Lady. We will see. The dark-coloured I think are Scarlet Emperor. I have looked in a packet of Scarlet Emperor and they look the same.

What I think are Painted Lady I have sowed today.

A few years ago I had French beans variety Orca. Sadly when I sowed they all got eaten. I had three left and last year I gave to my friend Sian. She lost one, one plant got destroyed, but one plant did survive and she got some beans. She was going to give them back to me. I said no, with my luck, I would lose them. Please grow them again, I asked. She cannot this year as she has a small garden and is trying to rotate her crops, but I hope she does and successfully produces more beans.

Middle of last week, ie about a week ago, I sowed French beans variety Orca (Istanbul). I cannot be certain they are Orca, but they look like Orca. I found them on a seed market outside the Spice Market in Istanbul. My only regret is that I bought too few. A further regret is that I failed to buy any of the other seeds. What I think are Orca I planted last week.

I always sprinkle a layer of compost from my compost heap on top of the soil. This get drawn down into the soil.

Peas I planted early March. Broad beans late March. Both are up and doing well.

Broad beans suffer from blackfly. Mist with water or slightly soapy water does the trick.

Watering peas and beans when the pods start to form helps to fill them out.

Always try to grow old traditional varieties. Not only do they taste better but you are helping to maintain biodiversity. Seed swaps are springing up all over the country. The best known is Seedy Sunday Brighton, held in Brighton early spring, which this year celebrated ten years of seed swapping. It is a pity they now hold it in Hove Town Hall, not the lovely Old Market, which was sold August 2010.

Real Seeds are a good source of seeds. They also supply seed saving instructions when you buy their seeds.

Victorian seed catalogues show hundreds of seed varieties. We are now down to a handful of commercial varieties. EU Rules make it illegal to sell most traditional varieties. That is why it is so important we grow these old varieties to stop these varities becoming extinct.

Seed saving
Seeds of Dissent

Martin Sheen Raves About The Camino Documentary!

April 28, 2011

Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez presented a sneak peak of The Way – their upcoming feature film about El Camino de Santiago – at Georgetown University on 18 February 2011. During the Q&A afterwards, Lydia B Smith – Director/Producer of The Camino Documentary – stood up to congratulate the filmmakers, and Martin Sheen couldn’t help but comment on the documentary.

El Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage that at its height had a million pilgrims a year walking the route. It fell into disuse until in the 1980s Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was forced to walk the route as a penance and wrote his account in The Pilgrimage, since then it has seen an exponential increase in pilgrims, the numbers peaking in Holy Years.

The History of the Pilgrimage to Compostela
Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela today