Emily goes out for an afternoon with grannie and grandad. Lockdown week26

Garden Glimpses

The geraniums I rescued from the bin are bright red and keep coming.
The buddliea was the survivor out of four cuttings. Supposedly a butterfly magnet. Not in our garden. 


Anyone see how the MCC are keeping financially viable. They are selling memberships. No need to wait 29 years. If you have £7000-80000 depending on your age. They will be sold out.

We need a degree in something with a module in common sense to wade through all the government and scientific advice. We were going to Anglesey. Not now.


Beaumont Park

Dave's notebook

Referring back to meritocracy and how it might be less powerful than it was. Note this week that most grammar schools are oversubscribed. Applications are being received from long distances. Parents are prepared to move. Parents are also paying for private tuition. Still survival of the fittest then.

We need a lot of autumn pruning as the trees and bushes took off following the great spring. Included heather which was taking over our walls. So quite a large job and the wall reappeared as did a frog which must have been resting in the straggly wood. Ugly and black, but alive and maybe homeless. I left it to its fate. It'll be somewhere in the wall. Nearer the pond there is a yellow one. Better colour but still not my favourite.

Simon Barnes is easy to read and interesting. Try 'Rewild Yourself', 23 spellbinding ways to make nature more visible. Chapter 7, 'The Bottomless Sit'. Outdoors. Maybe on a walk. Remember a supermarket plastic bag to sit on. Wet underclothes are not recommended. Persist beyond those first few sits which will be restless. Nothing much may happen. Eventually sitting will just be it. Seeing something won't matter. It's a Zen thing - just sitting allows us to achieve I don't know what, but eventually you will experience what it is. Forget all the breathing and the posture and the meditation rules. It is not therapy.
  I first got a sense of this in Malta, singing. Continuously surrounded by friends, relaxed, I often found myself just sitting. Less when we are chasing our tails and time and goodness knows what else. Being out in the wild Simon thinks is a great way to try and achieve nothing.

Lockdown week25

 Garden Glimpses

The pile of stones has been absent for a couple of weeks.
But it hasn't gone away.


David Spiegelhalter, statistician, on More or Less, Radio4 - 75 year old has more chance of getting cancer, heart attack and stroke before his/her 76th birthday than he/she has of catching Covid.

The presenter of More or Less, Tim Harford, admitted a mistake this week. 'Getting Covid was less risky than taking a bath'. Written in the FT, and picked up by the dailies. Having admitted this, the story went viral. What he omitted to say was the bathing was over a 12 month period.

If the story is true, Phillip Green's financial manipulation of the Arcadia covid furlough arrangements, makes him a bigger nob than Trump. On the Childbride's measurement of nobs, he becomes an Everest sized nob.

Some random stuff - Dave's Notebook

During my reading of the increase in hominid brain size I discovered that our brains take 20% of our daily energy requirements. "Is that why we get so tired?" asked the childbride. She gets tired counting my beer cans.

Correction from last week - the Dunbar number is 150. From Wiki the 'number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person'. Hunter-gatherers vs the first agricultural settlements.

Again from More or Less. The fastest jelly fish cannot outswim an olympic swimmer, but it might if it grew to the size of an olympic swimmer.

A discussion on meritocracy on Start the Week, Radio4. Having a talent, using it and working hard will find rewards. Education is the route. It will lead to a better life, previously only gained as part of a wealthy and privileged aristocratic elite. Meritocracy is not great however, in principle or in practice. Applying for higher education is competitive. The best places go to those who can afford the best preparation and the competition promotes anxiety - a kind of childhood Darwinism. And if and when you make it how do you feel about all those that don't? Do they see it as a better life? However value is now gradually switching to other pursuits such as vocational education and women's traditional roles. Moreover those that wish can get into learning at any age. It's learning and life experiences that help develops humanity.
   Thanks to Butler's 1944 education act everyone had a shot at secondary education and hence higher education. Something my father never let me forget. Goodness knows what would have happened if I'd failed the 11 plus. It was a time when we were said to be in the 'top' 4%, at a boys' grammar. I never really got that - I was more hung up about not being good enough. Still influential. My university course was vocational. G. knows where my humanity came from, if at all. Leaving home, fending for myself, relationships, rugby, cricket, wife and family. It's a balancing act between climbing the greasy pole and the personal qualities that can be left behind. I could pass exams and perform well in my chosen profession, which I initially chose so I could seek fame and fortune. Money and status did follow. I eventually mellowed into the humanity of the work as part of the family, work and leisure triad.

Personal printed photographs make super bookmarks.

Family in the park

You get 'pooshoes' if you don't watch out for the dogsh.. 
Who is the male model?


Andrew's pig, with                    and without cutout

Garden Glimpses

Too close for Covid


Scarborough summer wet day

Summer is over - as if it never happened. Could be morose, but we did some things - even went to the pub. Clic on link and choose large screen for the last day of summer. It did get rough eventually with the wind, but I can only hang about for so long.


The tories and Boris are taking some abuse for their apparent dithering and U-turns. Sir Keir can't get a clear hit on Boris at PMQ's however because Boris punches and stammers back, rather than answer the question.


The medic (James le Fanu) in the Telegraph (31st Aug) cites a study on statins and the elderly, in The Quarterly Journal of Medicine no less. They "might have deleterious effects on the manifestations of Covid 19" by increasing the levels of inflammatory protein "that are significantly associated with increased mortality". To be fair the QMJ is not often seen in a gp's surgery. I wonder if this information will get into the wider medical world because most people over 65 are on them. Not me.


On the same page Linda Blair tells us of research into plate/cup size and eating/drinking. Ground-breaking. The smaller the tableware the less we eat and drink. Even better, buy red cups and plates. Who'd have thought it. Mind you covid mortality is associated with type 2 diabetes and independently with obesity. Every little helps.


  Boris is sending everyone back to work. Work has a hunter-gatherer history since when it's not been all its cracked up to be. 

  To our evolutionary backstory. Energy in, babies out was all that mattered (4 Fs - feeding, fighting, fleeing and ...). So back in the day there was no work as such - collecting berries/other stuff growing, catching an animal/fish, preparation, cooking and repairing your hut. So quite a varied diet. You had around 50 in your group - the most you can keep in touch with according to Dunbar. So covid proof maybe, no raves anyway. Keep moving on, away from the latrines or wherever they did it and very little disease. Hominids were like this for millions of years (2-5 depending who you read). It came down to Sapiens alone from 13000 years ago. The first agricultural revolution occurred 10-12000 years ago. Nomadic bands then for 99% of hominid history and cooperative and cosy. Looking out for each other was part of the deal. 

  James Suzman has written a book about it, reviewed in the Times by James Marriot. The first agricultural revolution involved controlling plants and animals, thus providing food for much larger populations. It was a trap and no going back. 'Short disease-ridden lives of backbreaking work'. A surplus was generated and inequality began with the haves (10%) and the rest. Living in settlements, groups larger than 50, required organisation, political and social systems. Looking out for each other needed rules.

Science became our rationale 500 years ago and machines took over production 200 years ago. Everything changed.

 Needing and wanting very little with relative abundant resources morphed to modern excess work driven by materialism. It's said work gives us a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. Well it does, but other things can too. 

Stay active

Anyone else read articles in the press on drinking a small glass of beer daily leads to diabetes, raised blood pressure and obesity, the ingredients of 'metabolic' syndrome. G. help us.


Rhys Blakely writes about Daniel Lieberman's work on exercise in the Times magazine this week. Again the hunter-gatherers and the 4Fs. They didn't include a Sunday morning jog as part of their week. They needed to be quick and nimble, not strong or super fit. It actually paid to avoid exercise to conserve calories especially to fuel large brains. This phenomenon occurred in two phases and no one quite knows why. 2 million years ago. I know the telephone numbers get confusing. I won't labour the point, but this was why meat eating was important. Everyone was equal then, no SE liberal elite or university academics preaching at the rest of us. Or some mad senior registrar filling out his cv with; I can't think of a word for it.

However - 150 minutes p week of cardio and 2 sessions of light weights have been shown to increase life expectancy.

4.5 billion yrs.     - planet earth
2.5 million           - hominids
1-2 million           - 2 episodes of brain expansion
200,000                - sapiens in Africa
70,000                  - sapiens spreads
13,000                  - only sapiens
12,000                  - 1st agricultural revolution
5000                     - writing, money, polytheism
500                       - scientific revolution
200                       - industrial revolution

From the archive

July 2019

March 2019

Swinglo takes his camera to Upper Denby church and finds the men in relaxing mood
We have just had our AGM. Well orchestrated and brief.

Our secretary's report was interesting. We have recently discussed the Peterborough experience - several choirs developed and run by the musical director. And not just the music. He manages their various committees as well. Apparently our conclusion was the Peterborough set up was not all it was claiming and not a model New Mill wished to follow.

I didn't hear a formal strategic New Mill direction.

There were however several clear messages.
      New Mill is a village choir.
      Fellowship is the pivot around which the choir thrives.
      Our repertoire will be entertaining.

July 2015

Saturday was chocolate cake day. New Mill Male Voice Choir had their annual stall in Holmfirth; to raise its local profile and advertise concerts. We chose a central spot, next to the butcher, so footfall was much greater than the market where we had been before. The weather was kind.
  There were plenty of passers-by who got their heads down and tried to ignore us. Either lacking social skills or not wanting to do or give anything in exchange for our piece of chocolate cake. My response was 'You don't know what you're missing.' They didn't hang around long enough to discover the cake was free.
  More sociable pedestrians smiled and touched their tummies or said one or all of the following:
    'I'm on a diet.'
    'I'm trying to lose it.'
    'Not with my weight.'
    'I'm diabetic.'
    'I'm gluten free.'
    'No, I'm dairy.'
    'I've just had my breakfast.'
  There was a smell of cooking bacon throughout the morning, to be replaced around 11.45am by notes of battered fish.
  A good half of our custom had a piece of cake, laughed and said thank you. Many were from the Holme Valley, had heard of us and intended to come to a concert. Who knows? Our 100 programmes were gone by 11.30am
  A dozen or more singers turned out. Some went round the shops where chocolate cake was more than welcome. The butcher was especially grateful, though we didn't get any free meat samples.
  Some of our visitors wondered whether the cake was home made. Yes, thanks to Greg at the Bridge Bakery.
  We still haven't worked out how to muster enough singers to perform a short set. Maybe next year.

warm bread cold meat
home portraits far flung sun fun
cake and song for love