Brexit – my biggest fears

JET – Joint European Torus

The future of this amazing project is my biggest fear with Brexit, along with what will happen for wildlife and rewilding. Why, I hear from some quarters, why doesn’t she care about people and ordinary things and the economy, and all that?

Because this, JET, is so utterly vital for all humanity but so very, very few understand it! This is how to make masses of sustainable energy for everyone … out of sea water! and it works, now, and will work even better and be producing electricity from good clean pwoer stations all over the world provided we don’t allow it to die from stupidity now. It knocks ideas like windfarms and even solar farms into a cocked hat! And how many of you knew that? How many of you have even heard of JET?

it should be being splashed all over the news but the news-people haven’t got a clue either, and their agendas are all on what will sell, what will make a profit for them, all about greed-for-me … Me! Me! Me!

I really want everyone – everyone in the whole world, not just Britain and Europe – to be fighting for this. We all need to get our heads out of the sand and understand things like this. Despite being up several orders of magnitude on Rocket Science, this really isn’t that hard to understand and the folks at #CulhamScienceCentre really can explain it in terms of “the cat sat on the mat”. Come on, people, let’s go for it, let’s learn about it, let’s understand it … and FIGHT tooth-n-nail for it. It really is the future …

Joint European TorusImage copyrightEUROFUSION CONSORTIUM

The Joint European Torus in Oxfordshire can lay convincing claim to be the greatest scientific experiment in the UK – and indeed in the world, and ever in human history! The long-term – and not so long-term now either – aim is to produce an unlimited supply of clean energy through nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is how the Sun works, how we get ll the energy we have now, what enables us to live, and we can now do that here on Earth.

But Jet is run under the auspices of Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community. And alongside the EU, we’re leaving Euratom too – which is utterly effing crazy!

The trouble is that funding for Jet runs out at the end of 2018. And until we know the future relationship between Euratom and the UK after Brexit, no one can say for certain that funding will be extended.

Surely, you cry, they won’t just pull the giant Torus plug?

“I work in fusion research so by definition I think I’m an optimist,” says Ian Chapman, the chief executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

“But everybody is anxious, and everybody wants a resolution to this as quickly as possible.”

So get with it, people, shout, a lot, and loudly, that this MUST continue if humanity is to have any future at all. Yes, it really is that big!

#energy #green #fusion @fusionenergy 

Ancient Devon Tradition

Long ago – but still happening now – and far away (well relatively speaking!) the ancient practice of Cow Drumming began in the wilds of Exmoor. This is a modern-day example. You can see just how much appreciated it is by the locals …

Froggy Goes a Courting

Origins of folksongs. Just listening to a BBC4 programme about Cecil B Sharpe and there was a lovely Appalachian rendition of Froggy Goes a Courting, they said it’s “just a children’s song” and also that it’s a nursery rhyme. Oh my no! Most nursery rhymes began life as political songs and Froggy’s yet another. It’s very old, read it’s history here …

According to Albert Jack in his book “Pop Goes the Weasel, The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes” (pp. 33–37, copyright 2008), the earliest known version of the song was published in 1549 as “The Frog Came to the Myl Dur” in Robert Wedderburn’s “Complaynt of Scotland”. He states that in 1547 the Scottish Queen Consort, Mary of Guise, under attack from Henry VIII, sought to marry her daughter Princess Mary (later Mary Queen of Scots), “Mrs. Mouse” to the 3 year old French Prince Louis, the “frog”.

The song resurfaced a few years later, with changes, when another French (frog) wooing caused concern—that of the Duke of Anjou and Queen Elizabeth I in 1579. Elizabeth even nicknamed Anjou, her favourite suitor, “the frog”.

Images by unknown artist
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Sleeping Pads – A grounded view | PMags.com

My sort of backpacking  … 🙂

Winter backpacking requires more of everything: More warmth, more insulation, more gear, more equipment, etc. Sleeping pads used for winter backpacking are no different.  A person can have a -20F bag but if they are camped out on too thin or short of a pad, then the night will be much colder than expected. Near Mitchell Lake at sunset on a fine winter evening R-Value is critical to keep in mind when picking out a sleeping pad (or pads) for winter camping and backpacking. Generally speaking, an R-Value

Source: Sleeping Pads – A grounded view | PMags.com

Cawwwww !!!

Rushing blousy August
Blows the tits around the house
Swallows dive for food
Carried sideways
But the crows, oh the crows …
Watch them sliding. slipping, stalling
Playing the wind
Screaming their defiance as it tries to blow them of course
Cawwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Image by unknown artist
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Wind

Wind
I come home to wind
Autumn wind
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Sounding the chimney
Like it was November
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Whipping the trees
Shaking the leaves
Blowing the grass and the flowers
But it’s only July

I come home to wind
Blowing round corners
Stopping me in my tracks
Fleeting the clouds across the sky
Battering the windows with rain
But it’s only July

Oh Mother!
Oh Mother Earth
What is happening?
It’s only July …

Image by unknown artist
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Moorhen Chicks

Black fluff, feather fluff,
Red cap, red beak.
Plop!
Float like natural,
Perch on leaf,
Lily holds him,
Mother feeds him,
Life is good.

Nest on island,
Hidden shelter,
In the reeds.
Mother knows,
Hides them safely
From the eaters in the sky.

Growing quickly,
Soon be adult
Then I’ll go
To make my way

Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Still as Ghosts

after watching the video ringing of the Dyfi osprey chicks 2017

Thump! Crash!
Up from the ground the thing comes.
Still as ghosts we sit.

Smell! Scent! Sound!
It peers over the edge of the nest.
Still as ghosts we sit.

Gone! My brother is gone!
The thing goes. Returns.
My sister is gone.
I am alone.
Still as a ghost I sit.
Afraid.

The thing returns, lifts me,
Puts me in a bag,
Carries me down.
Now we, all three, lie
Still as ghosts on the ground.

Touched. Pulled. Held up. Put down.
My leg is stretched,
A thing is fitted to it.
Itches.
But the thing is gentle,
Its voice feels kind.
Still as ghosts we lie
All three together.
What will happen now?

Where is my mother?
My father?
Will I ever return to the nest?
I am afraid.
Staring, peering, wild-eyed.

Lifted up again.
The thing takes me upwards.
Ah! The nest. Home.
My sister and my brother join me.
We lie there panting, waiting, staring.

Mother. I hear her land near.
Mother come quick.
We sat still as ghosts
All three of us, like you said.
Mother, come back to us …

 

Vidoe: Dyfi Osprey Project – ringing 2017
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Rain from Heaven

Sipping, slurping, gulping, burping
Garden thirsty for the rain
Leaves unfurling, roots uncurling
Supping up the soft wet rain

Flowers dripping, grass-heads tipping
Holding shiny beads of rain
Lady’s Mantle holds the candle
Cupping silver drops of rain

Heaven opens, but so gently
Shining threads of silver rain
Falling softly onto soil-crust
Healing all the Mother’s pain

Image: Lady’s Mantle by Elen Sentier
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Midsummer Turning of the Year

Today the sun moves on
Three days he has stood still
Rising at the same point on the horizon
While the two kings wrestle

Oak has been the guardian
Caring for the Lady
Since the Sun-Return of Midwinter
Now it changes
Now Holly wins the match
Becomes her lord

Now he holds her
Guards her as the sun’s arc drops
Lower and lower
Every day
Less and less light
Every day
From now until Midwinter

Now is harvest
Now the lady gives us her bounty
The hay and corn
The fruits of the forest and garden
All the goodness grown in her belly
Since Midwinter

Holly King gives us the gifts from his lady
Holds her in his arms as the sun’s arc goes down
Takes her down into the darkness

Oak King sleeps now under the sod
Rebuilding himself
Ready to wrestle
Show he is worthy
At the next turning of the year

Image:the eternal struggle by arwensgrace
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Hunter in Darkness

Whiskers twitching
Ears listening
Eyes slit
She senses her prey in the gloaming light

Night holds no terrors
Except for Man
Him she shuns eludes
Escapes if she can

Whiskers twitching in the gloaming light
On the wild island where no man lives
Here she is
In all her glory
The very heart of wildness

Image: Scottish Wildcat by Colette Cheyne
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Four Magpie Brothers

Four young magpies, brothers, sat upon the porch roof this morning.

Squabbling, squawking, pecking the tiles.

Wicked, so they are. Lads and louts.

Waiting to see what I will do.

I go to the window.

They’re watchful

But I get there before they see,

Chuckling with delight at the four young bucks

Performing on the roof.

‘Whooooosh!’ I hiss loudly from the window.

A flurry of black and white and shining blue

Flies up

Squawking, chattering, screaming, laughing.

‘We got her!’ they call to each other.

‘We got her’.

Image: Magpie Mandala by Danielle Barlow
Land Song Series © Elen Sentier 2017 all rights reserved
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Dragon Bones

River rushing, tumbling streaming

Flowing faster than your dreaming

River runs between the stones

Washing clean the dragon’s bones

Forest crowding round the brink

Will you swim or will you sink

Trees and water, bones of earth

Cross the bridge to find rebirth

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Memory Lane … Thoughts about DTWAGE

Long ago and faraway … well, actually back in the 1970s and early 80s I used to spend many a lunchtime in science fiction bookshops in central London, near where I worked. My favourite was Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, and during the 1970s it was the largest of its kind in Europe. The place was in St Anne’s Court, Soho, and to get there, you went up this alley between Dean Street and Wardour Street, between strip-joints, film studios and music places – all the stuff on which Soho thrived in those days – climbed some rickety stairs and found yourself in two floors of sci-fi fantasy heaven.

The bookshop took its name, Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, from Ray Bradbury’s famous Martian novel, the bookshop took the name, it was my most favourite bookshop ever. the place itself lived up to the promise. It’s gone now, went bust in 1981, I miss it still.

Now, if you want sci-fi and fantasy you go to Forbidden Planet but, like Martin of Den of Geek says, “… the industrial numbers of available books at Forbidden Planet seemed to diminish the value of all of them …” That’s sad. I don’t find FP to be a browsers shop. I couldn’t nip in there in my lunch break and end up being late back because I’d got into conversation with the bloke who ran it! Not like in DTWAGE. It was a source of Roger Zelazny and Ursula le Guin and many, many others for me. The folks in there were very knowledgeable and seriously intelligent, great fun to chat with as well as excellent sources of info on what was new and good to read. And you made friends with fellow customers too. Not like that now.

Again, as Martin quotes Douglas Addams, “… the universe is too large a place, and most people move somewhere smaller.”

Here’s Martin’s musings on DTWAGE …

But the most poignant part of any lost idlings around Soho is my inevitable pass-through of St. Anne’s Court, which defies its grandiloquent name by actually being a fairly dingy little alley connecting Wardour Street to Dean Street. Here you will pass some anonymous glass business façade that once held a place that – to me – was an Aladdin’s cave of geekdom…

Dark They Were And Golden Eyed was a delightfully shambolic two-level science-fiction and horror bookshop that resided in that spot from 1970 until its decline in 1980, and whose polysyllabic name derived from a short story by Ray Bradbury. Myself, I visited the shop only a couple of times, with my sword-and-sorcery obsessed father. Since our interests diverged, I would end up perusing its vast shelves by myself and pouring pretty much any pocket-money I had into the old tills at the end of the ramshackle queues of geeks.

Back then, you were aware that science-fiction was counter-culture, despite the popularity of Star Wars; at DTWAGE the space-operas nestled in crudely-opened cardboard boxes sat cheek to cheek with the cross-hatching of Robert Crumb, punk and new wave fanzines, as well as surprisingly glossy magazines devoted to (strictly theoretical) instructions on illegal horticulture of all kinds. Put simply, the market for sci-fi was a very retrospective one, and no shop of that size was able to carry on regular trading solely off the back of geek wares.

It was here that I found the Alien movie novel for a fiver, which was sort of an extended ‘Bunty’ photo-strip, but with a bit more blood and death, featuring over 1000 full colour photos. On my second trip I followed up this purchase with the excellent Alien: The Illustrated Story, a graphic novel of the movie apparently based on an earlier version of the O’Bannon/Shusett script, as it featured the ‘Lambert-slap’ which was not to be seen in the original until the special edition DVDs twenty years later.

And I wonder if I will ever be made as happy as that again for a fiver. Even accounting for inflation.

DTWAGE was finally bought by its suppliers and morphed into Forbidden Planet, who by the early eighties had split its trade between the flagship ‘purist’ sci-fi shop near Charing Cross road and the more movie-oriented Forbidden Planet 2 in Tin Pan Alley.

Then, as now, I found FP’s endless acres of sci-fi novels so overwhelming that I frequently left with nothing. I don’t know if it was chronic indecision, information overload or just the fact that the industrial numbers of available books at Forbidden Planet seemed to diminish the value of all of them, and in truth I usually only exited the shop with a novel that I had expressly gone in to buy. As Douglas Addams said, the universe is too large a place, and most people move somewhere smaller.