Archive for the ‘war’ Category

Ukraine Independence Day

August 24, 2022

Walk from Mary le Wigford Church through the High Street up Steep Hill to Lincoln Cathedral to mark Ukraine Independence Day and six months since war criminal Mafiosi thug Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine.

After walking up Steep Hill, a pause in Castle Square to gather everyone together, then through Exchequer Gate to Lincoln Cathedral.

Form a circle. A line of tiny shoes with a white balloon attached. A mother and a child walked through, one at a time, released the balloons, then picked up the shoes, and carried on walking. The act was a symbol of innocent lives lost, Vladimir Putin’s war crimes.

Exactly six months since Putin attacked Ukraine.

In Kiev, Independence Day marked with captured Russian tanks. Not quite the military parade Putin planned.

War criminal Vladimir Putin marked the day by launching a rocket attack on a railway station, deliberately targeting civilians.

Across Russia and in occupied Ukraine, Crimea and Donbas, loudspeakers were hacked.

And back in the UK, Army musicians marked Ukraine Independence Day.



… to be continued ….

Dinner for Ukraine

April 14, 2022

Hosted by Jamie Oliver at Jamie Oliver HQ.

You are going to get to try some very authentic Ukrainian food. — Jamie Oliver

No more beautiful way to speak out against the war than through food. — Alissa Timoshkina


After drinks on arrival, shown to our tables, Jamie Oliver welcomed everyone and explained Cook For Ukraine. He then passed over to Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules co-founders of Cook for Ukraine.

Cook for Ukraine was founded by Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules, with the help of Clerkenwell Boy.

Their aim was to celebrate Ukrainian and Eastern European food while raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis facing Ukraine as well as emergency funds.

Alissa Timoshkina expanded on the founding of Cook for Ukraine.

Olia Hercules gave an emotional account of relatives in Ukraine and her fear for their safety.

Dinner for Ukraine a fundraiser for Cook for Ukraine.

By the side of each invited guest, a menu and cutlery wrapped in a yellow or blue ribbon.

The food prepared by Jamie Oliver and a Ukrainian chef Yurii Kovryzhenko, served by a team of willing helpers, all volunteers.

On the table a large plate of fermented vegetables. Help yourself, washed down with Dima’s vodka, a three-grain Ukrainian vodka.

Followed by soup, borscht, a beetroot soup.

Followed by slow roast belly pork served with new potatoes.

Followed by dessert, dumpling filled with I think apricots, together with cream and raspberries.

Part way through the dinner, a lottery draw, with prizes which included a complete set of signed Jamie Oliver cookbooks. Myself and my guest twice missed by one number, then me by two.

I have never tried Ukrainian food before, I had no idea what to expect, the names meant nothing. Would I even like?

Menus wrapped in ribbons, alternated blue and yellow along the table and across the table.

The food was amazing. As was the white wine and vodka.

Special thanks to Jamie for an amazing evening, excellent food, and to all his willing helpers, who volunteered their time for free.

I had spoken to Jamie earlier, I have an idea. We like ideas, we must discuss later. But sadly did not see later to discuss or to explain the idea.

Last year I met Mad Heads, a coffee roastery in Kyiv. Excellent coffee. I have have been in contact with them recently. Yes, they can ship coffee to Ukraine.

i would ask, please talk to your local specialty coffee shop. Would they like to stock and serve Mad Heads as guest coffee?

Ukraine coffee in times of war

March 28, 2022

One month on from Putin’s attack on Ukraine, slowly slowly in Kyiv, life is returning to normal, if can count as normal the outskirts of the city shelled, people who fled are returning to the city, markets are open, coffee shops are open, roasteriers are functioning.

Dating from the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution and the start of Russian aggression, the Ukrainian coffee scene has been on a steady rise. Up to the coronavirus pandemic Ukraine was leading the charts in new coffee places openings, as evidenced by the Project Cafe 2020 Europe a report by the Allegra Group.

Ukraine was represented at the World Barista Championships with Slava Babych taking the Cezve-Ibrik title in 2018; and, more importantly, the local roasteries were growing in Kyiv and all over the country. 

Yellow Place one of the flagship Kyiv coffee shops still operational.

Also operational, Mad Heads, a roastery I met at the Limassol Coffee Festival, excellent coffee.

Sprudge featured Mad Heads [see Coffee Is Fueling The Resistance In Ukraine]

mad heads vradii 7 ukraine copy

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy could use a cup of joe. He’s been the unifying force his country needed the moment Russia launched a full-scale, multiple fronts invasion of Europe’s largest country. Zelenskyy’s case is the very definition of rising to the occasion, as illustrated by the 90+ percent approval rating he enjoys in Ukraine and the global media coverage. What drives his team in these unprecedented times? Ukrainian specialty coffee by the local Kyiv roastery Mad Heads Coffee Roasters.

There’s only so much you can do to help when your country is being invaded by a foreign adversary, says Mad Heads co-founder Artem Vradii. For the coffee community, it means delivering fresh brew to the armed forces, emergency services, and hospitals. Oh, and you can also provide coffee to keep the president of your country (and the current leader of free world) energized.

Vradii says that the Ukrainian’s Office of the President (think the White House of Ukraine) asked Mad Heads to provide coffee for Zelenskyy’s team. “There’s lots of people working through the sleepless nights there. That was clear enough after we sent them most of our coffee and 1,500-1,800 drip coffee bags,” he says. The next time they reached out Mad Heads also sent all the milk and branded metal cups they had at the roastery.

mad heads vradii 1 ukraine copy

There’s no way of knowing if Zelenskyy specifically is the one to enjoy specialty coffee but Vradii certainly hopes so. “I just imagine him drinking Mad Heads coffee from our cup when I go to sleep. I never asked but that’s what makes me feel better,” he says. He had a chance to communicate with the president’s staff though: “I just asked if [Zelenskyy] feels the support he’s been getting from all over the country. And they said that he definitely does, in fact that’s what keeps him going in these trying times.”

What motivates Vradii’s team is trying to help the country in any way they can. “Admittedly for the first days of war we just froze. You just don’t know what to do when your country’s suddenly at war. But then we started to find some ways to help. These days I can go to sleep only if I feel I’ve done something helpful,” says Vradii, responsible for the coffee that helped Ukrainian Slava Babych win the 2018 World Cezve-Ibrik Championship in Dubai.

The logistics system Mad Heads has in place makes it possible to provide coffee to numerous Ukrainian army checkpoints, hospitals, and volunteer centers. And they continue to deliver coffee to the cafes still open in Kyiv that are providing free coffee to the citizens that decided to stay in the city. “We have 30 or so points of delivery in Kyiv now. It’s harder to reach out to our clients all over the country but we try to anyway,” Vradii adds.

It’s not only the president’s team that prefers Mad Heads coffee. Vradii smiles when he tells the story of one of the Territorial Defenses units that defend Kyiv now. “They said, ‘Guys we have lots of coffee here but it’s all Lavazza. That’s fine, we’re not complaining. But if you have some of your good stuff please send it to us.’” Of course Mad Heads did. There’s no way Russian occupying forces have specialty coffee delivered to them in trenches, adds Vradii cheerfully.

I had a chat with Mad Heads last week (use Telegram for security), yes, they confirmed, we are still operational and yes, we can deliver coffee outside Ukraine, the Postal service is operational.

Please place an order. Chat with your local indie specialty coffee shop. Suggest Mad Heads as a guest coffee. And if anyone using disgusting Nespresso (owned by Nestle, trading in Russia), order Mad Heads coffee capsules (I can recommend their Colombian coffee).

Nestlé chocolate

March 27, 2022

With added bitterness of Putin’s war crimes.

No surprise Nestlé refusal to pull out of Russia, Nestlé ranks as one of the world’s most evil corporations.

Nestlé not the only Western corporation refusing to pull out of Russia.

  • M&S
  • Burger King
  • Subway
  • Total

Find Nespresso shops in your locality. Leave 1* review on Google maps that Nestlé trading in Russia, complicit Putin’s war crimes.

In Russia, find Nespresso outlets on Google maps, leave a 1* review of Putin’s war crimes.

Note: Please do not review Putin’s war crimes on indie business in Russia, it will endanger them. The Truth in Russia a criminal offence, fifteen years in prison.

For Total, a French oil company with major stake in a Russian oil company, write a 1* review on TrustPilot.

If have a friend using vile undrinkable Nespresso, treat them to coffee from Mad Heads, excellent coffee.

Chocolate, treat yourself to bean-to-bar craft chocolate.

Vladimir Putin’s Adolf Hitler tribute act

March 19, 2022

Let’s just assume the Russia’s theories on their war crimes are lies and until they or their pro-Putin pals in the West produce direct evidence to support their conspiracy theories we can ignore their hustle and focus on documenting their crimes for accountability. — Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat

This is not about Ukraine at all, but the world order. The current crisis is a fateful, epoch-making moment in modern history. It reflects the battle over what the world order will look like. — Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister

Before a packed stadium, cajoled, bullied, bussed in, Vladimir Putin wearing a €12,700 Loro Piana jacket, paid for with money stolen from Russian people, Vladimir Putin performed his Adolf Hitler tribute act.

Meanwhile whilst the fascists cheered and Putin raved, close on 15,000 Russians killed in Ukraine, residential areas razed to the ground leaving rubble and burning apartment blocks, hospitals, school, kindagatens, a theatre sheltering children, targeted.

What is moving, woman and children walking to cross the border to countries bordering Ukraine, the children towing their luggage, and carrying their pets.

And the kindness of strangers from all over Europe, who meet them when they cross the border, and open not only their arms, but also their homes.

Then contrast with Putin’s war crimes.

Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat:

Let’s just assume the Russia’s theories on their war crimes are lies and until they or their pro-Putin pals in the west produce direct evidence to support their conspiracy theories we can ignore their hustle and focus on documenting their crimes for accountability.

Especially when it’s just recycling the same lies they told about Syria. Let’s not waste our time debating the same war crime denying idiots who lied about war crimes in Syria, and focus on accountability for those crimes.

It’s more convenient for them to turn the discourse over war crimes to a conspiracy fuelled debate over one incident, and make the entire debate about one thing, not a systematic pattern of crimes. Its exactly what they did in Syria, so let’s not repeat the same pattern ourselves.

They are not equipped, morally or intellectually, to engage in a serious discussion about war crimes and accountability, so they turn it into a one issue story, but we’re in the best position we’ve ever been to build cases for accountability, so let’s focus on that.

It’s fine to highlight disinformation and demonstrate the tactics used by those spreading it, but let’s not frame accountability efforts around the conspiracy theories of bad faith actors.

Putin is carrying out the same tactics he used in Aleppo and Grozny, war crimes, raze citeis to the ground, leave behind rubble and burning apartment blocks.

Putin has the same satellite imagery as the West, he can see the destruction wrought on Ukraine.

Syrians warned, do not identify your schools, hospitals, kindergartens, they will be deliberately targeted.

A month ago, early February, Ukraine was a free democratic European country. People led ordinary lives, went for a walk in a park, met friends in a coffee shop for a coffee.

Thursday 24 February 2022, war criminal Mafios thug Putin launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

Ukraine a free democratic European country, an affront to Putin, a beacon on the border to Russians as what their country would become once Putin deposed. Hence had to be destroyed.

A fascist rally, Putin’s Adolf Hitler tribute act, is what Putin wants Russians to see, beamed into their homes on every state TV channel. What he will not tolerate, independent media, brave protesters on the streets. 

End game: Overthrow Putin either with bullet through the head or on trial at The Hague. Detain his thugs and oligarchs, strip oligarchs of assets, release all political prisoners, hold free & fair elections. Those responsible for war crimes, issued orders, carried out, put on trial. 10km demilitarised strip established within Russian border. Sanctions on Russia should be tightened and remain in place until all these conditions met.

Shameful comments by Mayor of Paralimni refugees from Ukraine not welcome

March 18, 2022

Shameful comments by Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pirillis, refugees from Ukraine are not welcome in Paralimni.

Countries bordering Ukraine are welcoming refugees and their pets with open arms, no ID no papers, free health care, free to work, stay of three years.

Who would the Mayor of Paralimni rather welcome, Russian oligarchs to launder their dirty money, drunk tourists?

War criminal Mafiosi thug Vladimir Putin has lost the war in Ukraine. He is now razing residential areas to the ground, leaving nothing but rubble and burning apartment blocks. Targeting schools, hospitals, kindergartens, a theatre clearly marked where children had sought shelter.

Are memories so short, were refugees fleeing occupied northern Cyprus in 1974 told they were not welcome because they may damage the tourist industry? Many of who now live in Paralimni and form the backbone of the local economy.

The Mayor demonstrates Cyprus village mentality, cannot see further than the end of his nose.

Refugees will one day return to Ukraine, rebuild their country, then maybe one day return for a holiday to thank the people of Cyprus who showed them kindness, gave them refuge and hospitality. On the other hand, treat them badly, treat as garbage to be dumped elsewhere, someone else problem, the word will quickly spread, never visit Cyprus, look how we were treated.

This evening on BBC Radio Four PM programme, a refugee from Ukraine saying she hoped one day she could welcome to Ukraine to thank people for their kindness.

Paralimni Mayor Theodoros Pirillis should retract his vile comments, issue an unreserved apology, then resign. He is a disgrace to his office, an embarrassment for Cyprus.

Note: It has been drawn to my attention Paralimni Mayor Theodoros Pirillis is not referring to refugees from Ukraine. But then we enter an odious discussion of good refugees v bad refugees, and it still does not bode well for refugees from Ukraine, at what point do they change from good to bad, especially if the criteria is the impact on tourism?

One of the islands in the Mediterranean impacted by refugees is Lampedusa 173 miles off the coast of Sicily. And yet refugees are made welcome, helped. Stanley Tucci makes the valid point, refugees make a positive contribution to the countries in which they land. [see Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy]

I, as have many others, been moved by the reception refugees have been given, as they cross the border from Ukraine, people opening up their homes, some have already found work, their children a school place.

In the near future we are going to see many more refugees due to global warming and crop failure. Already we are seeing food riots in Sri Lanka as the price of wheat shoots up due to the war in Ukraine.

Mass tourism is a factor contributing to global warming. Cyprus will be hit badly, rising sea levels and storms will wash away the beaches, Larnaca will be flooded, high temperatures will make it impossible to exist out doors in the summer during the day. The last few years September and October has seen temperatures in the upper thirties.

VE Day 75 coronavirus lockdown we must move forward

May 8, 2020

VE Day, UK was broke, Europe was broke. Had useless prat George Osborne been Chancellor, we would have had austerity for 75 years. Instead we invested, rebuilt UK, rebuilt Europe.

Following the euphoria and celebrations of VE Day, VJ Day was yet to come, a more low key event, life was tough, rationing did not end until 1954. And we should not forget the role played by the Commonwealth. Nevertheless what followed, creation of the Welfare State, NHS, free secondary schools, school leaving age raised to 15, nationalisation of key industries, coal, steel, railways.
The desire was to create a fainer more just society.

During WWII we knew who the enemy was, we had weapons to fight. With covid-19, we know who the enemy is, but the enemy is invisible, a silent killer, we have no weapons with which to fight.

Post-Pandemic we are heading for the worst collapse since the South Sea Bubble burst.

We therefore do the same, we rebuild, not by going backwards. After VE Day, we did not go back to the 1930s, we moved forward.

We therefore must do the same. We do not bailout out dirty industries, we do not bail out tax dodging conman like Richard Branson.

We bail out people, local indie businesses, not global corporations, we fund a Green New Deal.

Strategic sectors we bail out through acquisition of a controlling share. Minimum conditions: no use of offshore tax havens, zero carbon by 2035.

Denmark, Hungary, France and Canada will not bailout tax dodgers.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We hear birdsong, our streets are traffic free, cities centres pollution free. We have learnt we do not have to engage in pointless consumerism, visit ghastly shopping malls.

As we slowly relax lockdown, indie coffee shops first, we allow them to spread out into the street, improve the ambience of the street, the norm in Athens, they then can social distance, safeguarding staff and customers.

But it needs worthless council jobsworths to engage their brains, act on behalf of local businesses, the local community. When a coffee shop in Lincoln asked of their local county council they were met with an emphatic no. That is how much they care about the local environment and helping local businesses back on their feet.

We need to develop Doughnut Economics for every city, every sector. Amsterdam working with Kate Raworth has developed Doughnut Economics Amsterdam. A rough draft has been drawn up for Cyprus, Doughnut Economics Cyprus, focusing on the tourist sector.

Berlin Wall Potsdamer Platz

February 17, 2020

At Potsdamer Platz can be found a few small remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall.

One section covered in graffiti, a slightly longer section with information about the Berlin Wall.

Worth visiting, The Barn Potsdamer Platz, housed in Haus Huth, the only pre-war building remaining in Potsdamer Platz.

Berlin 70

May 13, 2019

Sunday 12 May, seventy years ago marked the end of the Berlin Airlift.

At the end of the war, Germany was occupied and divided by the Allies, British Sector, American Sector, French Sector and Russian Sector.

Berlin was similarly divided.

Soviet Union declared their sector as East Germany, Berlin was cut off within East German.

Berlin was then physically cut off, the Berlin Blockade.

The Allies airlifted food and fuel to Berlin, one plane landing every three minutes for nearly a year. The largest airlift in history.

The first Soviet Cold War confrontation with the West which led to the formation of NATO.

As part of the celebrations Taxi Charity took RAF Veterans to Berlin and ferried them around in London taxis.

Berlin 1933-1945 Between Propaganda and Terror

May 11, 2019

An exhibition in the shadow of the Berlin Wall documenting Nazi rise to power and subsequent fall during the Second World War and the immediate aftermath.

Berlin was a prosperous city, then came the Wall Street Crash, corrupt politicians in Germany, factories closed, workers thrown on the street, the perfect conditions for rise of Nazism and Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler offered a society for all, only all did not include everyone.

Drawing on Nazi archives this is a very powerful and moving exhibition.

With the rise of Fascism across Europe as a direct response to the EU it shows where we are heading.

— to be continued —


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