Saturday, 31 August 2013


I was surprised, but relieved, to see parliament vote against military action in Syria. It's right that the government condemns what appears to be the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, though other conventional weapons have done just as much damage and killed more people. I suggest that if our government wants to do something constructive, and to be consider a 'major player' in the international scene that it uses the money that would otherwise have been spent on bombing raids to provide more aid for the thousands of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

There is more than one way for Britain to be great - bombing others is not one of them.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Postcard from Shropshire

Staying here in beautiful South Shropshire I've acquired two new interests: geology and birdwatching. We are just round the corner from one of the most important sites in the history of geology - Comley Quarry (see photo), where, in 1888 a professor from Birmingham discovered the first Lower Cambrian fossil, thus being able to date the rocks as Cambrian. This dating apparently set a standard for all other similar rocks. The Quarry isn't much to look at, but it has international significance. Who'd have thought it? This immediate area near Church Stretton has volcanic rocks on one side of the A49 and sedementary rocks on the other. It makes for an interesting landscape.

And my other new interest - birdwatching. I'm not exactly a seasoned 'twitcher' but I've enjoyed watching the local birds through our window and can now identify blue tits, great tits, nuthatches and chaffinches. I spent this morning, as it was raining, photographing them as well. This photo is of a nuthatch.

The south of Shropshire is a wonderful place to visit for hill walking, with easy access from Church Stretton. I can see many benefits in retiring here when it's time. I'm told that a retired bishop with an extensive model railway lives here. The more I read about house prices and the cost of commuting in London rising so quickly, the more I can see the attraction of living somewhere else. That fine if you've got the choice, which I might have when I retire, but it's more worrying for those whose job and family needs them to stay.