Thursday, December 03, 2009
Cyclists are more likely to end up in hospital as a result of traffic accidents than are car drivers, but the following observations are very important in this context.
Deaths and injuries per distance travelled by cyclists in the UK are more than three times those of the Netherlands and Denmark, they say. "This scale of variation between countries, and our findings of substantial seasonal variation, underline the scope for prevention of unnecessary injury."
Debra Rolfe, campaigns co-ordinator of CTC, the national cyclists organisation, said: "It's important to remember that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a factor of 20:1. Cyclists live two years longer than non-cyclists, have the health of someone 10 years younger and take 10% fewer sick days. CTC's Safety in Numbers research has shown that in places where more people cycle the risks of cycling is lower. In order to get more people cycling, we need to address the fears that deter people from cycling."
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Then, maybe I'll be able to get into position to kick myself hard enough.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
See what they haven't done here . No wonder we're all so damned cynical.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
and love them as I may,
the common herd makes use of them,
misuses, I might say,
were I inclined to pedantry.
‘You are’ I hear the call.
These tools you hone and store
are not locked up from pilferers
but lie in sight of all.
They die without the light
unpolished, lacking shine.
The trains of thought must run and run,
or rails, long since disused,
will dull and fade to history,
like Concorde, paper aeroplane
that’s banished from the skies
mere symbol of our past delights
profligate supersonic flights.
But words, just words is all they are,
these tools inside my kit
and if abused and then refused
they’ll wither on the line.
This came from two things. I saw the word 'illusive'. I thought it was made up, a mis-spelling of 'elusive'. But no, it exists, meaning 'illusory'. Though it was used as though it meant 'elusive'. The shifting sands of semantics caught at the moment when meaning slipped through my fingers.
Then there was a 'prompt' - paper aeroplane.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
When I left to come back home the blackbirds were already on the ground looking for worms - nice and juicy they looked too - the worms, not the birds.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
where are they born?
the tranquil jonquil,
or lilly dill of Daffy St Dafydd.
who knows for sure?
his own image.
of made up etymology
and nonsense rhyme
like quills upon
a fretful celandine.
like frills upon
the sun-filled celandine
Now we wait to see what the consequences are. The meetings below are ones to watch, not caused by Earth Hour, but maybe influenced by it.
Obama has announced a meeting in Washington on April 27-28 where representatives of the 16 major economies will meet to discuss action on climate change. This will lead up to various meetings, culminating in one in Italy in July.
And of course it should have some influence on both the G20 in the UK, and the Copenhagen meeting in December 2009.
Colin Butfield, campaign director for WWF, said a number of "iconic landmarks" such as Buckingham Palace, the Gherkin, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and the London Eye were plunged into darkness for an hour to mark the event.
On Facebook's page, and on the Earth Hour website there were a lot of facetious comments, as well as the positive. Some people feel morally obliged to represent the negative and anti-communal side of human nature. Oh well. It just shows how different we are, and how variable the nature of the human beast.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
This year, exceeding the wildest dreams of its organisers, participation (in Earth Hour) has swollen to an estimated 1 billion people in 83 countries. Of them, 47 were developing economies, up from nine last year.
There is an article on their website, too.
In Europe the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and Edinburgh Castle will be in darkness for one hour.
A symbol, indeed, but an important one.
Though there are dedicated environmentalists such as George Marshall, founder of the Climate Information Outreach Network , and the blog who argues against this action, as ineffective and likely to resonate badly with the unconvinced, to whom darkness is a Bad Thing, associated with death, decay and privation.
And there are plenty of 'rebels' posting on the comments threads, pledging to leave all their appliances ON.
Friday, March 27, 2009
It's good for salads, sprouting broc, carrots etc. I'm going to make a start on Tuesday morning...
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I'm hoping to make use of someone's garden in the village. She claims she doesn't use the veg section now. I met her at the newly resurrected Gardening Club. When I described myself as a frustrated gardener with too little space, we thought we should get together.
So tomorrow, off I go to check it out. It's about seven minutes walk away, up a very steep drive, though she assures me the garden is flat once you get there.
I was attracted to this article in the New York Times, complete with its picture of a tall planter made of old tyres. Now maybe I could do that bit at home???
Picture by James Patterson for the New York Times
Monday, March 23, 2009
In The Spirit Level, two sober academics – Richard Wilkinson and his partner Kate Pickett, both medical epidemiologists – have published strong evidence to prove that in unequal societies everyone suffers – even those who think they have it made for generations to come. They looked at 20 of the richest nations and compared various social and health problems, measuring those against an index of equality. The US, Portugal (feudal in the near past) and the UK are the most unequal nations, with the top 20 per cent earning nine times more than the bottom 20 per cent. Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden are where the money gap is smallest.
Teenage pregnancies, mental illness, life expectancy, obesity, illiteracy, homicide, crime are all worse in the states of greater inequality and not only for the poorest but for all citizens and residents. Spain is more equal than its neighbour, Portugal and you can see how vastly different are the social ills in the two countries. There is even evidence that in unequal societies, the people have higher levels of stress hormones
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Comments are interesting and there is a petition you can sign here
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
With your clever obscure strategy?
Obama won’t stand it
He’ll make you unhand it
Big bucks rule, it's not his liturgy.
Exactly on whom is the onus
Of controlling the size of a bonus?
The boss of the bank
Or the file and the rank?
These fat-cats must think that they own us.
Not entirely happy with the first one, but for the moment it'll have to do.
Would you pocket the lot AIG
with a secret payout strategy?
I hope O wan't stand it
and makes you unhand it
No big bucks, please, in his liturgy.
Of course the AIG boss is asking them to pay back (half) their bonuses now.
Monday, March 16, 2009
There was a rich guy, Bernard Madoff
Used new dosh to get the old paid off
The money swished round
Till it all tumbled down
Is penthouse for jail a good trade-off?
(So nasty to kick folks when they're down!)
The idea that a school you must choose
Will leave lots with no choice but to lose
For those with the money
Will sup milk and honey
Let the choose losers sing the old blues
(are my politics showing? Ooops!)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Huge differences in the length of time it takes to emit 1000 tonnes of CO2. But this is given per country, so to get a meaningful comparison we need to divide by the population, I think.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Phil Brooke, of Compassion in World Farming, said: “Selectively breeding hens for high productivity, whether larger eggs or larger numbers of eggs, can cause a range of problems such as osteoporosis, bone breakage and prolapse. We need to breed and feed hens so that they can produce eggs without risk to their health or welfare.”
Christine Nicol, Professor of Animal Welfare at the University of Bristol, said: “There is no strong published evidence of pain in egg-laying hens but it's not unreasonable to think there may be a mismatch in the size of birds and the eggs they produce. We do often spot bloodstains on large eggs. As a personal decision I would never buy jumbo eggs.”
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Yesterday I walked for about 40 minutes, with 100 paces running several times - total around 700. Probably not 5 minutes all told, but no ill effects on the knee so far.
Monday, March 09, 2009
On his way to Washington Town
Hopes contact with Obama
May help him control the drama.
Sir Fred Goodwin
Certainly managed to hood wink
The august bodies who regulate our high finance
16 million in the pot didn’t even make them look askance.
In the second one I was deliberately playing at having a lame kind of rhythm, or lack of it.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Lord Peter Mandy
Our business grandee
Anointed in green slime
Who’s to say it’s not time.
Doesn’t do snarling
At very rich men who lose money
Makes sure their bread’s spread with honey.
fraudster and hack
says prison's sweet as toffee
playing piano, drinking coffee.
and a senryu for good measure:
for Heathrow runway’s friend -
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
And still snow patches linger in the hedge bottoms and on some sunless fields. They're shrinking fast as the temperature reaches dizzy heights - well 9 degrees Celsius.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
...which our bodies and the varicella-zoster (chicken pox) virus play on us decades later! I have vivid memories of a five-year-old me, trying to run away from my mother, who was chasing me armed with a bottle of very cold calamine lotion to daub on my spots.
So for the next forty, fifty, sixty years you go around feeling invulnerable whenever you hear of chicken pox, and indeed you won't catch it again. But the sneaky little virus hasn't gone away. It's found a cosy hiding place, usually in a bundle of nerve fibres near your spine.
Then one fine day, your immune system's a little low, or perhaps your body no longer realises it needs to fight this one, since you haven't met anyone with chicken pox for years. Grabbing the opportunity, the sleeping beauty wakes up. It starts to tingle and stick pins in to you, and bursts out in nasty painful spots. Spots which generally follow a band of skin along the nerve on one side of the body. They can itch and make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Sometimes the pain can persist for months after the initial attack.
There is a vaccination against chicken pox, not used in the UK, but offered to children in the US. This vaccine can also offer some protection against shingles when given to older people. I'd like to hear more about it.
My suspicion is that it's not a sexy topic, for several reasons:
*The disease isn't life-threatening, as a rule.
*It doesn't occur as an epidemic - you can't 'catch' it from anyone else.
*It affects mainly older people - so it's not as important economically. Not 'cost-effective' to vaccinate.
But possibly more so than the repeated attempts at introducing an effective computer system into the health service?
Monday, February 09, 2009
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Monday, February 02, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
‘Bad luck it’s a girl!
Now we’re in a world
without help for the task in our mind,’
My klone said to me
as we sat with our tea.
‘Using her’d be just like driving blind’
‘Oh come on,’ I replied
‘It’s time that we tried
to detox this here poisoned chalice.
No, don’t make that gesture,
dear klone, I request you
and kindly refrain from such malice.
For you may be male,
but that ‘k’ makes me quail
it means you’ve changed sex in the kloning.
A girl just like me
will be perfect, you’ll see.
Now button it. Stop all your moaning.'
Friday, January 23, 2009
She walks and walks for miles to clear her mind
To silence killing cries from times long past
The winter crisps her fingers sharp as bone
With interwoven strands of mistletoe
Though times were hard, forgotten all her loves
Simplicity of purpose led her forth
Across a placid ocean she still stares
Transformed into a birch, stripped of her leaves
Within her icy veins no blood now flows.
Friday, 23 January 2009
Such long dark days when spring has not emerged
from winter’s chrysalis; when rain pours down
from darkened skies; and children go to school
encased in shiny coats. The drip of rain
the swish of tyres on road, an engine’s growl.
Across the road, a front door’s outside lamp
Still shines at way past ten, as though ignored.
The dirty blotting paper air sucks up
what light there is. No colours here to cheer
Unless I count the brightness slick and harsh
Of umbrellas grown like toadstools overnight.
Give me instead a tourist paradise,
of sun and snow and glistening mountain peaks.
No doubt I’ll find one on the internet.
Both (pretty much) in iambic pentameter with variations and no rhyme. Does it show that the very last line of the second one happened when I ran out of stuff to say? It doesn't matter - they're doodles!
And I've just noticed two much rain in the second one, as well. Ah well ...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sarah Nuttall aged 24, was living at Penniment Lodge farm with her parents and younger sister. She was employed as a school teacher in the elementary school. Her 86 year-old grandfather, and five year-old niece were staying with them, and another school teacher was visiting. There were also two farm workers - a cowman and a horseman.
Alfred Shelton, aged 22, was working as a coal miner/hewer and living with his aunt and uncle in Stanton Hill.
Seventeen-year-old Lucy Briggs was in Albert St, Stonegravels, with her widowed mother, two brothers and a boarder.
Herbert Merricks, aged 21, was working as a pottery labourer in Chesterfield, and living with his father and mother in Queen Street. His brother and sister were still at home and there is a one-month-old Arthur Potts down as his parents' 'adopted son'. This must be a family connection through Herbert's mother, whose maiden name was Potts.
There's also a good very brief info piece on 1911 in the Guardian.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
And again - this would have been better as a closer mirror shot.
I quite like the fuzzy reflections here.
Through another cafe window
Harry disappears into the distance pursued by multi-coloured tadpoles.
Four pm at Leicester market.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
From the old track above the tunnel. I think that's my shadow on the hill top.
View across the railway to the Welland valley
one of many sheep
bright and snowy